5 Potential NBA Trades That Make Too Much Sense Not to Happen
NBA general managers are always on the lookout for a good deal, but sometimes the most obvious moves slip past even the most vigilant executives.
Right this second, there are a handful of hypothetical trades out there that could provide major mutual benefits to all parties involved.
Maybe that's the problem, though: They seem too good to be true.
How else do you explain the fact that Rajon Rondo is still a member of the Boston Celtics?
Look, most of the free-agent action is over, so if NBA teams are going to make improvements at this point, the changes will have to come on the trade market. Most of the following suggested deals haven't been discussed—or even hinted at by either team in these hypothetical trades—but they all work under the league's rules and they all address needs for both teams involved.
Some teams might be looking for help in a playoff push, while others are out to speed up the tanking process. Whatever the need may be, we've got a trade suggestion to address it.
And all of these proposed deals make way too much sense to ignore.
New Orleans Swaps Ryan Anderson for Houston's Omer Asik
We'll start off with a deal that, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, was actually once close to completion.
Shortly after the Houston Rockets nabbed Dwight Howard, incumbent center Omer Asik started fussing about playing alongside the big man. According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Rockets ultimately decided that they weren't keen on honoring Asik's demands.
But if Houston could get an ideal stretch-4 to play alongside Howard, you'd have to think it would at least reconsider the possibility.
Enter New Orleans Pelican sharpshooter Ryan Anderson.
Anderson is a prototypical perimeter power forward, possessing a killer three-point stroke and a willingness to get the job done inside on the defensive end. By no means a stopper, Anderson still mixes it up and pulls down more than his share of rebounds.
There's no better frontcourt running mate for Howard.
And the Pelicans desperately need a capable big man to play next to the wispy Anthony Davis. New Orleans seems intent on developing Davis' game away from the basket, at least until he puts on the muscle to compete down low.
Asik would serve as the defensive anchor and enforcer that the Hornets need to offset Davis' finesse game.
Indiana Sends Danny Granger to Dallas
The Dallas Mavericks haven't been able to land a proven All-Star on the free-agent market for some time now, so maybe their best bet is to take a risk on a trade for someone with loads of talent, but a scary injury history.
Danny Granger, playing in the final year of his deal with the Indiana Pacers, would fit the bill.
Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Dallas doesn't want to tank as long as Dirk Nowitzki is still wearing a Mavs uniform, and if Granger's healthy, he'd immediately become the team's second-best player (sorry, Monta Ellis).
More importantly, Granger's presence would allow the Mavs to take a look at him for a year before deciding whether or not he'd be worthy of a multiyear extension next summer.
In return, the Pacers would get Vince Carter and Shawn Marion, both of whom are in the final years of their respective deals. Marion would fit in nicely with Indiana's defensive identity and could take pressure off of Paul George by handling the opposing team's more dangerous wing matchup.
Carter has in his twilight years quietly turned himself into a capable defender and could work effectively as a two-way reserve. An underrated passer, he'd also help keep the second unit's offense humming.
And remember, Indiana's bench was its biggest weakness a year ago. Getting two capable reserves for the price of one makes sense—even after the team acquired subs Chris Copeland, Luis Scola and C.J. Watson this past offseason.
Granger would be a steal for Dallas if he could return to peak health, but Indiana knows it won't be able to re-sign him at the end of the year, so dealing him for more immediate help makes sense.
The Thunder Finally Rid Themselves of Kendrick Perkins
Inexplicably, the Oklahoma City Thunder haven't used their amnesty provision on Kendrick Perkins. So maybe it's time to explore a trade to get rid of him.
The big man is no longer an elite defender, and his presence on the court is so damaging to OKC's offense that the team might be better off having him stand at halfcourt while it plays five-on-four.
In other words, OKC needs a real center.
The guaranteed-to-tank Phoenix Suns happen to have Marcin Gortat, who is, in fact, such a center. If Oklahoma City offered Perkins, Perry Jones III and a future first-round pick for Gortat, the Suns would be crazy to turn it down.
First of all, Perkins would be an immense help in Phoenix's effort to lose games. Just as importantly, the Suns would also get a player in Jones III with upside and a late first-rounder to spend in the draft.
Gortat is a solid center who has no business on a team trying to start over, and there's no way the Suns would spend the money necessary to retain him at the end of this season. He could, however, be an immense help to the Thunder.
Straight Up: Luol Deng for Eric Gordon
The Chicago Bulls might balk at the two extra years on Eric Gordon's contract, but as a team in desperate need of a scorer who can create his own shot alongside Derrick Rose, they could do a lot worse than the Pelicans 2-guard.
Jimmy Butler is currently penciled into a backcourt spot, but if the Bulls traded Luol Deng for Gordon, Butler could easily slide over to the 3.
The fact is that Deng and Butler are a duplicative pair, so the Bulls stand to gain a lot by adding the pure scorer and floor-spacing shooter that they lack in Gordon. And from the Pelicans' perspective, Deng would help break up the strange three-guard look they're currently sporting.
With Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday also sure to start, Deng—a conventional small forward—makes much more sense than Gordon. With Deng on board, the Pelicans would have a legitimate defensive stopper to send at opposing wings. Plus, Evans could comfortably shift over to shooting guard.
Basically, both teams would be dealing from positions of strength to address areas of weakness.
Who says no to that?
The Celtics Boogie Down
It's nice to pretend that the Boston Celtics could rebuild without bottoming out. Some teams, like the Houston Rockets, have shown that it's actually possible to hang around the middle of the pack for a couple of years before vaulting into contention.
But the truth is that Boston has a lot more reasons to lose games this year than it does to win them.
With that in mind, it's probably time that we all agree on something: The Celtics are going to trade Rajon Rondo at some point this season. And if they're bent on shipping out their only All-Star, it only makes sense that the Celtics get some young players with real potential in return.
So if the Sacramento Kings offered DeMarcus Cousins, Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson for Rondo, Boston would have to listen.
Cousins is the big asset in the deal, but there's plenty of risk that would come along with him. He may never learn to defend at an adequate level, and there's a chance that his immaturity is a permanent condition.
But Cousins, like Patterson and Vasquez, are all in the last guaranteed years of their contracts, which means the Celtics wouldn't necessarily be on the hook to retain any of them beyond this season. Obviously, it'd be a disaster to lose Rondo for nothing, but flexibility of any kind is valuable for teams in the Celtics' position.
Sacramento, a franchise desperately trying to change its culture, would love to insert a proven star into its lineup while also getting rid of a headache like Cousins. Rondo isn't an easy guy to deal with in the locker room by any stretch, but he's far from being a distraction on the level of Cousins.
Boston has aggressively shopped Rondo before. Maybe this time, the Kings will make a purchase.
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