Due to the constant trade rumors that swirl around the NBA — I’m looking at you, J.R. — I’ve decided to help a few teams out. Below is a list of fantasy transactions all involving players rumored to be on the trading block this season. In a perfect world, at least my world, these trades would happen.
These five potential deals aren’t being rumored specifically, nor are they petitioned with any inside information. But if the teams and GMs involved were smart, they’d make these moves without a second look. Here are five deals I believe should go down before the trade deadline.
*** *** ***
Minnesota Timberwolves acquire: BLAKE GRIFFIN
Los Angeles Clippers acquire: KEVIN LOVE
The Los Angeles Clippers have almost all the pieces to win the Western Conference. They have a championship-winning coach, the top point guard in the league in Chris Paul, good wing shooters in J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, as well as a former Sixth Man of the Year in Jamal Crawford. What the Clippers are missing is a dominant low-post scorer. Blake Griffin is not yet fully developed offensively and although his midrange game has improved this season, it is still not on the level of Kevin Love’s. Love is a double-double machine and would expand the Clippers offense beyond the “Lob City” era that has led to the Clippers being bounced out of the playoffs early the past two seasons.
The addition of Kevin Love would allow the Clippers to spread the floor and give Chris Paul more room to work with on the offensive end. Love and Paul would create a tough matchup for defenses to cover because of Love’s ability to shoot from long range. The pick-and-pop game would leave defenses in a bind, forcing them to hedge out on Paul, allowing Love to slip to the basket or step behind the line and knock down a three. Don’t hedge out on the pick and you allow Paul to drive and finish or drive and dish to L.A.’s outside shooters.
For Minnesota, this trade makes perfect sense. Kevin Love could opt out of his contract and become a free agent at the end of the 2015 season and there’s a chance he won’t return to Minnesota. Love is from Southern California and it would be shocking if he did not re-sign with the Clippers if they traded for him. This trade also allows the Timberwolves to still acquire a top talent and continue on rebuilding an improving basketball team. Griffin is locked into his contract for the next four years, allowing the Timberwolves to build around him. Ricky Rubio and Griffin could be a lethal tandem in a couple years as both are still developing parts of their game. Griffin is also much more marketable and has a bigger fan following because of his electric dunks to help out the organization.
The Clippers acquiring Love gives them a chance to win a championship this year. Blake Griffin gives the Timberwolves something to build around and turns the potential loss of Kevin Love into something valuable.
Boston Celtics acquire: PAU GASOL and Los Angeles Lakers 2014 1st-round draft pick
Los Angeles Lakers acquire: RAJON RONDO and BRANDON BASS
The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics were both at the top of the NBA not too many years ago but have now shifted gears and are in rebuilding mode. The Celtics are looking to clean house and free cap space to build a whole new team under new coach Brad Stevens in the 2014-2015 season. The Lakers, on the other hand, are trying to rebuild quickly in order to get the right pieces around Kobe Bryant for one last championship run.
What the Lakers need is someone that can emerge and be the face of the franchise once Bryant is finished in two years. Rajon Rondo would be a perfect fit for Mike D’Antoni and his pick-and-roll system. Last season, Bryant carried the burden of being the point guard in the system and fatigue was definitely an issue for the five-time NBA champion late in the season. Rondo would be able to play that part while distributing the ball to Bryant so that he can go back to focusing on scoring instead of trying to force passes to get teammates involved.
The Lakers would also have enough cap space to make a push for a solid player this offseason and if not, could make a serious push at Kevin Love in the summer of 2015. For the Celtics, the addition of Gasol is only temporary. The contract for Gasol expires at the end of the season, giving Boston even more cap space to go out and rebuild. Also the first-round draft pick could come in handy sooner rather than later, depending on what protection the Lakers would give it. The Celtics have the Nets’ first-round pick in 2014 and another draft pick will only increase the chances for the Celtics to get a high lottery pick. Who knows, maybe David Stern will work his magic in the NBA Draft lottery and give the Celtics a top-three pick for one of the star freshman to rebuild around?
Chicago Bulls acquire: ERIC GORDON
New Orleans Pelicans acquire: CARLOS BOOZER
The Chicago Bulls are in the middle of a franchise makeover. After building a team around Derrick Rose that they believed would win a championship, the Bulls face the decision of scrapping the plan they had and rebuilding or keeping the roster together in hopes for a late season return from Rose. However, with the trade that sent Luol Deng to Cleveland earlier this week, it seems the Bulls have chosen to move on and begin bringing in new faces for next season.
Trading for Eric Gordon would give the Bulls an elite offensive talent alongside Derrick Rose. The Bulls have simply been missing someone that can help score points. The Bulls have brought in an influx of players over the past couple of seasons to try and help soothe their offensive struggles. An old AAU teammate, Gordon gives Derrick Rose a wing player to distribute the ball to and will ease the stress for Rose to have to do everything on the offensive end. Gordon can create his own shot and will help the Bulls score points. The addition of Gordon will also allow Jimmy Butler to play his regular position at small forward and can help the Bulls win games now.
Yes, Gordon comes with a steep price, but the Bulls have two first-round picks this offseason from Sacramento (via Cleveland; protected top 12) and Charlotte (protected top ten) where they can draft more pieces to put around Noah, Rose, Butler and Gordon. Gordon has not fit in with the Pelicans since being there and reports are the Pelicans are looking to move him. Adding Boozer will help New Orleans forget about them just losing Ryan Anderson indefinitely to an injury.
Indiana Pacers acquire: ANDRE MILLER and MIKE DUNLEAVY
Chicago Bulls acquire: DANNY GRANGER and DARRELL ARTHUR
Denver Nuggets acquire: TAJ GIBSON and KIRK HINRICH
If the Chicago Bulls feel Eric Gordon is too big of a risk to take on, acquiring Danny Granger is a safer move. Granger has been plagued with injuries in recent years but his contract does expire at the end of the season. Chicago can take a chance on Granger and see if he plays well this year, while still getting him for a cheaper price next season.
If Granger doesn’t work out, it will only give Chicago more cap space, along with moving Taj Gibson’s $7.5 million a year to Denver. Denver would dispose of an unhappy Andre Miller to an Indiana team that desperately can use a point guard, while adding some solid role players to their roster. Indiana would make out best in this trade, getting another veteran point guard and some scoring off the bench in Mike Dunleavy.
Sacramento Kings acquire: KLAY THOMPSON and DAVID LEE
Golden State Warriors acquire: DeMARCUS COUSINS and CARL LANDRY
The Sacramento Kings have already begun revamping the team’s image by bringing in Rudy Gay. In order to complete this process though, the Kings need to part ways with Boogie Cousins. Cousins has been rumored in trades for the past few seasons but has never been traded away. The Kings have already said that when Klay Thompson becomes a restricted free agent they expect to offer him big money. Of course the Warriors will have an opportunity to match the offer sheet, but it may be too out of their price range.
Thompson and Lee would give the Kings a new look and would be one low-post player away from being a playoff contender in the West. Now listen, I know what you’re saying: why would Golden State trade away either Thompson or Lee after just winning ten straight? Ten straight is great but if Golden State wants to win a championship they need to play defense. Thompson and Lee are not good on defense and if Mark Jackson can straighten out Cousins, he has the ability to be a force on both ends of the floor. The addition of Cousins would eliminate the potential best three-point shooting tandem of all time, but it would create one of the best young duos in the league in Curry and Cousins.
If Andrew Bogut can stay healthy, along with the veteran leadership of Andre Iguodala and the emerging young talent of Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, maybe the Warriors have a chance to win now rather than in a few seasons.
What do you think?
Follow Daniel on Twitter at @D_Ingham5.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.