By Rey Valdes
With the NBA season drawing to a close, there are bound to be some big roster changes over the offseason.
And while most of the talk will center around free agency, there could also be some blockbuster trades. But forget about Kevin Durant!
Here are five trades that totally make sense and should happen:
Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks
Philadelphia receives: Dennis Schroeder, Mike Muscala
Atlanta receives: Nerlens Noel
It’s been reported that the Hawks and Sixers have had conversations about a multi-player swap. With the Hawks set to lose Al Horford in free agency and the 76ers set to draft Ben Simmons, we really have a perfect marriage here. Philly needs to trade away a Center to acquire a PG, and ATL needs to trade away a PG to acquire a Center.
However, it has also been pretty universally reported that the PG going to Philly is actually Jeff Teague. I don’t buy it; and if I’m wrong, then Philly is making a mistake. Jeff Teague is a good PG in this league, but he’s already reached his ceiling. Is Schroeder better right now? Probably not, but for stretches of the season and playoffs, he was playing over Teague. More importantly, Schroeder has the potential to improve and grow with this Sixers team. Here, Philly get the young PG they coveted at the deadline and Atlanta gets the Center they need to replace Horford. Muscala helps the contracts fit and can actually provide floor spacing depth at the 5.
Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics
Philadelphia receives: Jonas Jerebko, Terry Rozier, James Young, and 2016 #3 overall pick
Boston receives: Jahlil Okafor and Kendall Marshall
Philadelphia is trying to trade one of Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor to make room for the arrivals of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Although they may hold on to Okafor as insurance for Embiid’s surgically repaired foot, in this scenario they trade him for another top 3 pick. Jamal Murray, who they like a lot, would be a great fit at SG for their new look roster. Boston gets the Center they covet without affecting their free agency plans. Okafor gives them an offensive centerpiece down low, and their team defense (thanks to the genius of Brad Stevens) is strong enough to hide Okafor’s deficiencies in that area.
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Let’s talk about the supposed throw-ins of this trade for a second. First of all, I don’t think Jerebko and #3 are enough for Okafor, a franchise Center. While I really like Jerebko’s fit as a backup big that can defend and shoot next to Simmons and Embiid, adding Rozier is key as it gives Philly a nice developmental PG. Moreover, Young gets to go to a perfect spot to play and improve as a scorer, an opportunity he won’t get in Boston. Finally, though an add-in money-wise, Marshall intrigues me in a Celtics uniform. If anyone can utilize Marshall’s passing ability to the fullest, it’s Stevens. His contract is unguaranteed and he’d be the 3rd or 4th PG on the team, so he’ll likely be waived, but I keep having visions of him being the Eric Snow to Isaiah Thomas’s Allen Iverson in some rotations off the bench.
Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns
Milwaukee receives: Tyson Chandler
Phoenix receives: Greg Monroe
Whereas the Bucks are just as likely to give Monroe another year and eat his contract if it continues to not work out, they could look to move him. In this scenario, Jason Kidd gets the rim protector he wants, and he just so happens to be a former teammate. Chandler will assume the role of veteran leader that this young team needs and his abilities as a defensive anchor could have them back in the top of the defensive rankings after falling way down last year.
Phoenix is not as close to competing as they thought, and Alex Len showed impressive potential after the All Star Break. So why trade a Center to acquire another one if they already have Len at the position? Well, Len also played really well at the four, in a sort of anti-small ball lineup. Furthermore, Len’s a free agent after next year, and if he continues to improve, he will be due a big pay raise. Monroe’s contract is a year shorter than Chandler’s, and because the third year is a player option, he could conceivably come off the books two years earlier, at the same time as Len. If the twin-towers lineup works this year, they could resign both big men. And if it doesn’t, they could resign whichever of the young talented Centers they like best, without worrying about having too much money tied up in one position.
Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets
Milwaukee receives: Boban Bogdanovic
Brooklyn receives: Michael Carter-Williams
Giving up a 2017 first rounder for Greivis Vasquez, signing Greg Monroe, and especially trading Brandon Knight to acquire MCW; Milwaukee has made a few costly mistakes recently that will soon be erased because of the greatness of Point God, The Greek Freak, The Alphabet, and my favorite player Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s basically the Daenarys Targaryen of the NBA, with the tough spelling, numerous nicknames, and how they’re both slowly getting more and more dangerous in some far off land. But before he becomes King of the NBA and unites the two conferences, we need to continue purging the players that are poor fits next to him in Mereen, err I mean Milwaukee.
MCW is a non-shooter, and now that Giannis has taken over the offense, his role and opportunity are greatly diminished. Although MCW is a young, cheap player with upside, he’s probably not worth much to other teams as the PG position is flooded with talent and he’s seemingly regressed. Vasquez and Jerryd Bayless are both free agents this year, so they could wait on MCW and pray he develops a jump shot in the off-season. However, they’ll likely resign one of the two and potentially draft a PG (Wade Baldwin IV would be an awesome fit), so priority number one for the Bucks is to surround Giannis with better shooting threats. Luckily they find a Brooklyn team desperate for… well, just desperate. With Jack, their only PG on the roster, still recovering from an ACL injury, they can afford to take a chance on MCW and hope for the best. Milwaukee gets a shooter they need, and one that really blossomed toward the end of last season.
Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers
Denver receives: Monta Ellis
Indiana receives: Kenneth Faried
Denver has two exciting bigs in Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic that they want to develop, and still have Joffrey Lauvergne. Mike Malone struggled to find minutes for both Faried and the youngsters last year, and they’ll welcome back talented forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari this year from injuries. With all these players in the frontcourt, Faried may have to accept an even smaller role if he wants to stay in Denver. If he doesn’t and Denver wants to facilitate a trade, there may not be a better match than Indiana. The Manimal would fit perfectly next to Myles Turner because Myles can stretch the floor offensively and protect the rim defensively, two areas where Faried struggles.
Using Paul George as a full-time PF failed, and with the Pacers likely to let one of Ian Mahinmi or Jordan Hill walk in free agency, they could use a talented frontcourt player to keep George at SF. Furthermore, Larry Bird wants more pace this year with Nate McMillan (despite that being the opposite of Nate’s style), and Kenneth Faried thrives in an up-tempo offense where he’s able to use his athleticism. Some combination of Rodney Stuckey, CJ Miles, and the enticing Joe Young can pickup most of Monta Ellis’s minutes at the 2. Meanwhile, in Denver, Monta would provide a needed 3-point threat and ball-handler that can help take some pressure off of Emmanuel Mudiay.
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Cover Photo Credit: KT King/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)