Two kinds of trades occur around the NBA draft. Teams near contention look to improve by adding one more key piece, while other teams don't mind trading down, either because they already have what they need or are so bad they must squeeze everything out of their available assets.
These three trade scenarios for lottery picks in the 2014 NBA draft satisfy team needs on both sides, though the propositions do not come without some risk. Just remember: Fortune favors the bold.
Jazz Trade Derrick Favors and No. 5 to Cavs for No. 1 and Select Jabari Parker
ESPN's Chad Ford answered a few fan questions, including Mitch from Cincinnati's hopeful query about the Utah Jazz trading up from No. 5 in order to land Jabari Parker from Duke.
Not only would that give the Jazz one of the very best college prospects available, but it would bring in a highly marketable young player to tout for the state's significant Mormon population.
In short, the Jazz are very much in play to move up, and with Parker widely projected to go in the top three picks, the Cleveland Cavaliers would be a more fitting partner than the scuffling Milwaukee Bucks at No. 2 or the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3. The Jazz swapping with the Cavs actually has a couple of scenarios that could work, but it won't be cheap to move up four spots.
As Ford observed about the Jazz:
They have a lot of assets and I think they could tempt Cleveland...What about a sign-and-trade that delivered Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter...Hayward is a restricted free agent. Free agency doesn't start until after the draft. So the Cavs would have to take Jabari at 1 and then hope they could get Hayward to play along. Derrick Favors could also tempt them I'm told. But the Cavs would need another piece—perhaps the 5th pick?
Kanter remains under contract for the 2014-15 season with a qualifying offer in 2015-16. The decision time on Hayward comes this season, and the versatile swingman would be a sought-after commodity on the open market, but the sign-and-trade scenario complicates matters.
Any trade with the Cavs would almost certainly require Utah to surrender its No. 5 pick, which would still leave the team with the 23rd pick in the first round, courtesy of the Golden State Warriors. If Utah holds onto the fifth selection, it will likely be left choosing between three forwards and a point guard as the best four players on the board, which would not fill an area of need.
However, trading Favors would be the move that really shapes the future of the franchise. That still leaves open a subsequent sign-and-trade for Hayward with another team, and Utah would have a full season to decide about Kanter's future.
Favors started 23 games as a rookie on the New Jersey Nets and only 21 games in the next two-plus seasons with Utah. He shifted to a full-time starter last season and predictably posted career-high averages, but he also turned in his best player efficiency rating to date, per Basketball Reference.
Now could be the time to sell high on the 22-year-old. He is owed $48 million over the next four seasons, so he hardly comes as a bargain. Kanter is the same age but will make less than half that amount for 2014-15 despite averaging a double-double per 36 minutes just like Favors.
Ultimately, this scenario is more realistic than the Cavs trading for Kevin Love. While Cleveland undoubtedly wants to, Love should look for a more cohesive franchise in a more attractive location.
Celtics Trade No. 6, Clippers' 2015 First-Rounder and Jared Sullinger to T-Wolves for Kevin Love
Comcast SportsNet's Tim Welsh discussed the Celtics making a move with their No. 6 pick for Kevin Love. Welsh spoke to sources "very close" to the frequent double-double machine, and the three-point-shooting big man would be open to joining the C's, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com:
(Love) wants to play for an organization that's going to be a winning organization; not necessarily I have to go to a championship team now, but a team that's going to be built to move in that direction. Maybe it'll take a couple years. That's OK. But he needs a change from Minnesota...He wants to go where there's the best opportunity for him which would be in a winning organization and he respects the history of the Celtics.
After slogging through six seasons of missing the playoffs with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Love would be wise to bolt for the Eastern Conference.
Boston not only has two first-round picks this year, but an embarrassment of riches awaits the team in future drafts too, as it holds two extra first-round selections in 2015 (a top-14 protected pick from the Philadelphia 76ers and one from the LA Clippers) and an additional first-rounder in each of the next three subsequent years.
While the roster currently consists of Rajon Rondo and not much else, the team has enviable assets at its disposal and an All-Star point guard to help lure Love. Team president Danny Ainge already constructed one championship team, and he is set up with the flexibility to do it again.
Young frontcourt players Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger could supplement the deal, and while Sullinger carries the higher upside of the two, he has also battled back injuries. Also, Olynyk has consecutive team options on his contract in the 2015 and 2016 offseasons.
Rondo will hit free agency in 2015, and the team's primary commitments after that include $10 million to Gerald Wallace and a $9 million player option for the oft-inconsistent Jeff Green. The future remains wide open for Boston, but luring Love with its bevy of draft picks would mark a clear path to championship contention.
Magic Trade No. 12 and Jameer Nelson to the Detroit Pistons for Brandon Jennings and 2016 First-Rounder
Let's call this trade scenario "The Wild Card."
The New York Knicks failed to make the playoffs after winning 54 games in 2012-13, and they don't even have a lottery pick to show for it. They conveyed it to the Denver Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony trade, and the Orlando Magic ended up with it at No. 12 as part of the Dwight Howard extravaganza.
Orlando also holds the No. 4 pick, giving it access to one of the consensus top-four prospects in Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Dante Exum. One of them will join the Magic's handful of promising young players in Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo, who is coming off an impressive rookie season.
The Magic can afford to spare the No. 12 selection, and the Detroit Pistons are surely eager to move back into the first round after getting nudged out by virtue of the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the lottery and moving up.
That bumped the Pistons to No. 9, and they had foolishly traded the pick and top-eight protected it as part of a 2012 deal that briefly netted them the services of Corey Maggette in exchange for Ben Gordon. Maggette played 18 games for Detroit and never appeared in the NBA again.
New Pistons head coach and team president Stan Van Gundy must be fuming about this boneheaded trade he inherited, and he would like to make an impression in his first draft as prez. Unfortunately, Greg Monroe is a restricted free agent, so any deal involving the big man would have to be a sign-and-trade.
Armed with a host of young talent, the Magic look to be only a step or two away from making the leap into the postseason, a la the 2013-14 Charlotte Bobcats.
Instead of suffering through another year of Jameer Nelson's injuries, the Magic should trade the 32-year-old and his expiring contract to the Pistons for 24-year-old Brandon Jennings, who will make $8 million per year for the next two years.
Jennings has averaged more than 15 points per game in each of his five seasons, but his shooting has been ugly at 39 percent for his career. On a team with other scorers to shoulder the burden, he can focus more on distributing to his teammates, a skill that saw him average a career-high 7.6 assists per game last season.
In Orlando, Jennings could experience a bounce in efficiency like former teammate Monta Ellis saw after moving to the Dallas Mavericks.
As for Detroit, it would get the lottery pick that it had hoped for despite the preposterous deal for Maggette. Of course, this would involve the Magic actually negotiating with their former coach who got unceremoniously fired, making for a delicious subplot to the scenario.