6 NBA teams that need to make a deal at the trade deadline
It seems like the trade deadline landscape is changing by the day but these teams desperately need to make a trade before Thursday.
We’re just over 48 hours from the NBA Trade Deadline and the Kyrie Irving trade has already thrown things into chaos. Buyers and sellers keep shifting with the standings and as different players appear to come on and off the market. There is still plenty of time for circumstances to change but these teams really need to make something happen before Thursday afternoon.
Which teams most need to make a deal at the NBA Trade Deadline?
The Pistons are apparently keeping Bojan Bogdanovic but they still have Saddiq Bey, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel, all of whom could be turned into draft capital or younger players to grow with the rest of their young core. The Pistons are playing the long game, hoping not another top draft pick, waiting on the return of Cade Cunningham and the development of Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey. But they have appealing assets and there’s no sense just sitting on them right now.
Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard wasn’t the Clippers to trade for a point guard and he’s right. Reggie Jackson is shooting 34.9 percent from beyond the arc. John Wall is at 30.3 percent. Their playmaking is of secondary importance with Leonard and Paul George as complementary creators. If the Clippers are serious about contending this year, they desperately need a point guard who can provide some defensive pressure at the point of attack and help space the floor at the other end.
The Suns have been on the outer fringes of trade rumors all season, mostly for their reported interest in certain players (Kyle Kuzma, John Collins) rather than anyone, in particular, they were shopping (other than the disgruntled Jae Crowder). However, word was leaked that they offered Chris Paul, Crowder and draft compensation for Kyrie Irving. Now that the seal is broken it may be harder to keep Paul and keep everyone happy at the same time.
The healthy and productive return of Devin Booker would go a long way toward smoothing out what has been a difficult season. But he may not be back on the court before the Suns need to make a decision about Paul. It’s not clear what else will be on the table for him, especially since they want to win now and Russell Westbrook and the Lakers picks probably don’t help them much. But they’re looking more and more like a team that needs to do something.
At the beginning of the season, the assumption was that the Jazz would be trading almost everyone in a full-scale teardown and rebuild. An incredibly hot start to the season made it look like they might not trade anyone. They’ve since settled into the play-in tournament range and trades are back on the table.
Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley seem like the most likely trade candidates but Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley are still on the table. The Jazz have the benefit of a few potential foundation pieces to build around — Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen — but they have plenty of assets they don’t need and getting some value for them while they can is essential.
Almost every team has to deal with trade rumors almost every season but they can reach a cumulative breaking point and it seems like the Raptors are there. Essentially every key player has been not just mentioned but featured in trade rumors. They probably won’t trade everyone but at this point, they probably can’t get away with not trying anyone — the vibes are too broken and change is the only way to address it.
The issue is trying to figure out how to rebuild, presumably around Scottie Barnes. If the Raptors were starting from scratch, they’d probably be looking for strong shooting point guard comfortable playing on and off the ball, someone like Fred VanVleet. Maybe another elite wing defender who can space the floor, like OG Anunoby. And then maybe another backcourt shooter who has some juice as a complementary creator, like Gary Trent Jr. And then finally, a second star, someone who can carry the scoring load as a finisher or creator, like Pascal Siakam.
The point is, the Raptors have all the pieces on paper. But something isn’t working in the mix of personalities and shared experience. They desperately need a reset.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are walking a knife’s edge. The truth is they are probably better off not making a trade this season. They would keep the two future first-round picks they’ve been dangling. It’s not clear that anything out there actually makes them a contender this season. At the end of the season, essentially everyone comes off the books except for LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They can re-sign Rui Hachimura to an extension and build out the rest of the roster with better-fitting pieces when free agents like Khris Middleton, Kristaps Porzingis, Draymond Green, Kelly Oubre Jr., Jakob Poeltl and more could be on the market.
BUT LeBron James is clearly not happy with the team’s current level of competitiveness and missing out on Kyrie Irving has been another blow. The most important factor for their present is keeping LeBron happy and engaged. That might mean finding a trade that gives them a small step forward now without sacrificing too much of their flexibility for next year.
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Latest NBA Trade Rumors
We’re two days away from the NBA Trade Deadline. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest trade rumors:
- Heat: Miami is reportedly open to trading for Russell Westbrook and draft compensation and then buying out Westbrook.
- Lakers: Los Angeles has also discussed a similar deal with Utah that would bring back Mike Conley and Malik Beasley.
- Nets: If Brooklyn decides to rebuild, trading Ben Simmons is going to be tough. His trade value is reportedly zero.
- Nets: Word is the Nets might consider trading Kevin Durant but not at the trade deadline. They would wait until the summer if they were to move him.
- Cavs: Cleveland has been looking for a wing upgrade but it sounds like they may prefer no trades to their available options.