In this six part series, I will detail every team in advance of February’s trading deadline. I will discuss the team’s current state of affairs, including whether they are buyers or sellers, which players are “untouchable” and what guys could be moved. I will also propose a hypothetical trade for each team.
Golden State Warriors
Current Record: 39-7, 1st in Pacific Division
Expiring Contracts: Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, ZaZa Pachulia, David West, Shaun Livingston, Anderson Varejao, JaVale McGee, James Michael McAdoo
2017 Draft Picks: None
Buyers or sellers? Buyers.
I think it goes without saying that the Warriors will not be making any major moves in advance of the trading deadline. Even though major media publications will lead you to believe that tings are not hunky dory in Oakland, the Warriors are still on pace to win well over 60 games. The core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are likely to lead Golden State to another Western Conference Finals appearance.
The Warriors do have the necessary expiring contracts to make a deal if need be. It would have to be to a team looking to dump a player on an undesirable contract, as both of Golden State’s draft picks will go to the Jazz in 2017. Golden State could move Andre Iguodala’s large expiring contract, but Iguodala is an important piece of the Warriors success, and the team may not want to mess with chemistry.
Potential Trade: Warriors trade Andre Iguodala, Kevon Looney, Patrick McCaw, Shaun Livingston, Damian Jones, 2018 first round pick to Nets for Brook Lopez, Randy Foye.
C – Brook Lopez, ZaZa Pachulia
PF – Draymond Green, David West
SF – Kevin Durant, James Michael McAdoo
SG – Klay Thompson, Ian Clark
PG – Stephen Curry, Randy Foye
This would gut Golden State’s already thin bench even more, but imagine this starting five. It could be the best offensive lineup in NBA history. Needless to say, this is not going to happen, but it would be fun. More than likely the Warriors could move someone like Kevon Looney for a backup big man.
Los Angeles Clippers
Current Record: 30-17, 2nd in Pacific Divison
Expiring Contracts: JJ Redick, Brandon Bass, Raymond Felton, Alan Anderson
2017 Draft Picks: None
Buyers or sellers? Buyers.
The Clippers find themselves in a familiar position; not as good as Golden State or San Antonio, but better than everyone else in the West. The Clippers roster has a nice blend of star power and role players, and it is unlikely the team will want to mess with chemistry too much. However, the front office has to know the current group does not have what it takes to overcome the West’s heavyweights. With JJ Redick, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin all potential free agents this off-season, the Clippers might want to swing a trade for one more big scoring piece, as things could look very different in Los Angeles next year.
Potential Trade: Clippers trade JJ Redick, Austin Rivers, Paul Pierce, Brice Johnson, Wesley Johnson to Knicks for Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Jennings
C – DeAndre Jordan, Marreese Speights
PF – Blake Griffin, Brandon Bass
SF – Carmelo Anthony, Luc Mbah a Moute
SG – Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford
PG – Chris Paul, Brandon Jennings
This rumor circulating the internet would definitely be a headline grabbing trade for the Clippers (and Knicks), but not one that makes the team as good or better than the Spurs or Warriors. In fact, this would probably hinder the organization in the long run. Los Angeles will want to resign Paul and Griffin, and no team in the NBA could afford the luxury tax that would be associated with four max players. In other words, this will not happen.
Los Angeles Lakers
Current Record: 16-34, 4th in Pacific Division
Expiring Contracts: Jose Calderon, Metta World Peace, Thomas Robinson
2017 Draft Picks: 1st round pick (own, transfers to 76ers if not in top three), 2nd round pick (own)
Buyers or sellers? Sellers.
During the first month of the season, it seemed as though the Lakers would make a bit of noise out West, but the team has fallen back into the basement. Which, like I stated in my most recent NBA Mock Draft, is probably a good thing. The Lakers still lack a franchise talent, and keeping their pick in a loaded 2017 draft needs to be the priority.
The Lakers have several solid building blocks with D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac and Julius Randle. The focus needs to be on those young players. Los Angeles could get something in return for Nick Young and Lou Williams, two reasonably priced veterans that would offer bench scoring for a contender. Spending big on Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng has backfired in a big way. Both players are nearing the end of their careers and will be a hindrance on the salary cap for years to come. The front office needs to commit to a rebuild and see things through.
Potential Trade: Lakers trade Lou Williams to 76ers for Jahlil Okafor
C – Jahlil Okafor, Timofey Mozgov
PF – Julius Randle, Ivica Zubac
SF – Luol Deng, Brandon Ingram
SG – D’Angelo Russell, Nick Young
PG – Jordan Clarkson, Jose Calderon
It seems hard to believe that the Lakers could land the third overall pick from the 2015 draft for a backup guard, but the 76ers are simply a better team when Jahlil Okafor is on the bench. This trade would actually represent an upgrade for a Philadelphia team that seems on the cusp of contending for the playoffs. While a Julius Randle/Jahlil Okafor front court would be brutal defensively, this is a worthy gamble for a team that simply needs to acquire as much young talent as it can.
Current Record: 15-31, 5th in Pacific Division
Expiring Contracts: PJ Tucker, John Jenkins, Alan Williams
2017 Draft Picks: 1st round pick (own), 2nd round pick (own)
Buyers or sellers? Sellers.
The Suns have a nice collection of talent, but it is unclear how well they will mesh together as they get better. It starts with the dynamic back court of Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker. If Bledsoe can stay healthy this will be a 40 ppg back court for years to come. With TJ Warren, Alex Len, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, there is a lot to like about the young front court players as well.
Tyson Chandler has resurrected his career this year, and could be a valuable trade chip, even though Phoenix has said it is not looking to trade him. The Suns would like to move Brandon Knight, but he has already shown for three teams that he is not starting material. They may have to package the two together if they want to get out from under his contract.
Potential Trade: Suns trade Tyson Chandler, Brandon Knight, PJ Tucker to Pacers for Monta Ellis, Al Jefferson, Lavoy Allen, 2017 first round pick
C – Alex Len, Al Jefferson
PF – Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender
SF – TJ Warren, Jared Dudley
SG – Devin Booker, Monta Ellis
PG – Eric Bledsoe, Tyler Ulis
It is clear that Brandon Knight is not a long term piece in Phoenix. Unfortunately, the Suns will not be able to trade his contract unless it’s attached to a productive piece like Tyson Chandler. This trade is basically a swap of contracts, with the Pacers throwing in a first round pick since Chandler and Knight are more productive than Ellis and Jefferson at this point in time.
Current Record: 18-27, 3rd in Pacific Division
Expiring Contracts: Darren Collison, Omri Casspi, Ty Lawson, Isaiah Cousins
2017 Draft Picks: 1st round pick (own, transfers to Bulls if 10 or lower), 2nd round pick (own, transfers to Magic if not in top 55)
Buyers or sellers? Buyers/Sellers/It’s the Kings, who really ever knows?
Oh, the Sacramento Kings. The Maloofs may be gone, but the ineptness that surrounded their tenure lives on. The front office is over-matched and divided, and it has shown with sporadic free agent spending sprees, terrible drafting, head coaching mishaps and constant mishandling of franchise player DeMarcus Cousins. Even typing up a summary for Sacramento is an exercise in patience and futility.
It would start if the Kings could draft well. Two lottery picks (Thomas Robinson, Nik Stauskas) could not make it more than one year on the roster. Another two (Ben McLemore, Willie Cauley-Stein) are buried on the bench. Free agency has not been kind either. Sacramento has more than $30 million tied up in Kosta Koufos, Anthony Tolliver, Matt Barnes, Garrett Temple and Arron Afflalo.
Potential Trade #1: Kings trade Willie Cauley-Stein, Arron Afflalo, Skal Labissiere, 1st round pick to Heat for Goran Dragic, Willie Reed
C – DeMarcus Cousins, Kosta Koufos
PF – Anthony Tolliver, Willie Reed
SF – Omri Casspi, Malachi Richardson
SG – Garret Temple, Darren Collison
PG – Goran Dragic, Ty Lawson
If the Kings want to try to end a long playoff drought, they could look to dangle some of their young players for a productive veteran. The Heat are in position to draft a point guard of the future, so could move Goran Dragic if it lands them another top ten pick in the 2017 draft. The problem with that is if the pick is lower than #10, it goes to the Bulls, so Miami would have to gamble that Dragic would not translate to more wins for the Kings.
Potential Trade #2: Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins, Darren Collison to Celtics for Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, Nets first round picks in 2017 and 2018
C – Kosta Koufos, Willie Cauley-Stein
PF – Amir Johnson, Anthony Tolliver
SF – Jaylen Brown, Omri Casspi
SG – Garret Temple, Malachi Richardson
PG – Marcus Smart, Ty Lawson
If the Kings commit to rebuilding, DeMarcus Cousins could fetch them a massive package. With an abundance of assets, the Celtics are an obvious match. This trade would land the Kings two long term starters in Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, and two future high lottery picks. Losing Cousins would sting, but Sacramento would be well on it’s way to a strong rebuild.