Wow, what an offseason.
As we approach Thursday’s NBA Draft there have been a number of big trades that have already tilted the NBA world on it’s axis.
The Charlotte Hornets landing the enigma known as Dwight Howard. The Los Angeles Lakers shipping D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez. The endless trade rumors surrounding the likes of Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler and Indiana Pacers’ cornerstone Paul George.
And that’s just the tip of a very big iceberg, as there are more potential big moving parts that could be in motion as we head into Thursday.
Here are the best fits for some of the rumored talent, and the trades that make sense for all parties involved.
Paul George to the Los Angeles Lakers
Let’s start right here, at the very top.
The Indiana Pacers’ phone has been lighting up like a slot machine in a Las Vegas casino as word broke that Paul George would not be committed to staying in Indy.
This opened the doors for teams like the Cavs to start making their bids to acquire the All-Star forward.
But Cleveland lacks the assets, unless a 3rd team can get involved, to land George and they may not be able to convince George, who seems intent on playing for the Lakers, to stay in Cleveland long-term.
Which is why the Los Angeles Lakers, who are in the driver’s seat above other teams in trade negotiations, are the ideal spot.
And negotiations are getting deep.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported that Indiana is trying to land the Lakers’ No. 2 overall pick and while Los Angeles Daily News‘ Mark Medina reports that talks remain at a “standstill” Medina was told that PG-13 remains “highly likely” to get traded before the draft.
The Lakers are trying to acquire more lottery picks and were rejected by the Sacramento Kings for pitching an offer including the Kings’ 2 lottery picks. Essentially, Los Angeles is trying to avoid having to part with the 2nd overall pick.
But they may very well have to if they want to land George.
A package involving the 2nd overall pick, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle could get close to enticing the Pacers.
Without the 2nd overall pick, Indiana is likely to be asking for a package headlined by Brandon Ingram, which the Lakers should want no part of.
Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves
The Chicago Bulls are actively shopping Butler and some may categorize it as “aggressive shopping”. CSN Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill reported that the team is “shopping Butler to many teams.”
Jimmy Butler prefers to stay in Chicago but also has some interest in Cleveland.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Joe Cowley:
“One of the sources indicated that Butler would even push his front office to get the deal done, which is a huge change of direction for Butler, who has told both general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson numerous times over the last year that he didn’t want to be traded. But that was before the Eastern Conference powerhouse Cavaliers became a possible destination.“
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported that Cleveland has been informed Butler wants to stay in Chicago.
But don’t expect the reports to indicate a deal can’t be done. I just think Cleveland, unless they can pull Phoenix into the game, can get a deal done.
I look at Minnesota where Butler’s former head coach, Tom Thibodeau, is at the helm
If Butler is on his way out, then Bulls fans can get excited about a trade partner such as the Wolves.
Minnesota can offer the 7th overall pick and players such as Zach Levine, Kris Dunn and/or a myriad of other young pieces not named Karl-Anthony Towns or Andrew Wiggins.
Kristaps Porzingis to the Phoenix Suns
Another disgruntled player in the abyss of misery known as the New York Knicks. Phil Jackson is an albatross, but you, and everyone else, already knew that.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Knicks president Phil Jackson hasn’t ruled out the possibility of trading Porzingis, the 21-year old phenom from Latvia.
While it may be hard to part with Porzingis, the Knicks at least appear to be open to calls about their franchise cornerstone, or making crazy demands.
According to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 Radio, the Knicks asked the Suns for the 4th overall pick and Devin Booker in exchange for Porzingis, an offer that was apparently quickly rebuffed.
Yahoo Spots is reporting that the Knicks are eyeing either Devin Booker or Marquese Chriss, both considered to be major building blocks for the Suns youth movement and according to the report “neither is going anywhere.”
But does that mean the Suns don’t have anything else to offer the Knicks?
Phoenix can offer pieces such as Eric Bledsoe, the contract of Brandon Knight, Dragan Bender and fluff any package with the 4th overall pick. This could entice the Knicks but maybe not be enough to get the deal done.
The Daily News reported that the Boston Celtics have interest in Porzingis as well, so the Knicks will have plenty of teams to talk to.
At the end of the day, I think their best trade match would be Phoenix who can provide a powerful draft pick paired with a couple of proven, young assets, along with a young prospect, that could be just enough to get a deal done.
DeAndre Jordan to the Cleveland Cavaliers
What a difference a year makes.
Last year, the Los Angeles Clippers made a last-ditch effort to retain DeAndre Jordan as he was about to put on a Dallas Mavericks uniform and now they are shopping him.
The Clips offered Jordan to the Phoenix Suns for Tyson Chandler and the No. 4 pick but were rejected, and rightfully so.
But Jordan could be the “last resort” for the Cavs.
Jordan, who averaged 12.7 ppg and 13.8 rpg earning first All-Star selection and named to third-team All-NBA selection for the second time, would be an instant boost to the Cavs front court and could pay major dividends in an NBA Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors.
Jordan could help the Cavs control the glass, establish a presence in the paint and also help slow the tempo, keeping the game at a half-court pace.
That should entice the Cavs to at least pick up the phone to call the Clips if they miss on the likes of Jimmy Butler, Paul George or Carmelo Anthony.
And the asking price won’t be as steep as it would for the aforementioned trio.