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NBA Trade Deadline 2018: End Time, Latest Rumors and Predictions

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 8, 2018

SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 5:  George Hill #3 of the Sacramento Kings handles the ball against the Chicago Bulls on February 5, 2018 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, and if you're not checking Twitter every five minutes for breaking news from a legion of national and beat writers, then you'll probably be behind.

A bevy of trade rumors have dropped in the lead up to the deadline for numerous players, and we'll take a look at a few who could give a playoff-contending team a boost as the regular season nears its stretch run.

                 

George Hill

Per Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento Kings are taking calls on veteran point guard George Hill, with the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers are interested.

However, Jones also noted the following: "But the Kings are proceeding with caution on any deal to move the veteran because they don't want to become the dumping spot for another team's bad contracts. They're inclined to pass on any deals that don't include acquiring young players or draft assets."

Hill is one of a handful of veterans who have been sitting more often in favor of Sacramento's young players, such as point guard De'Aaron Fox and wing Bogdan Bogdanovic. Sometimes, the vets are benched for entire games, while other times they play less than their usual amount. Given this situation, Hill would be best suited playing elsewhere coming off the bench for a playoff-contending team.

He would be a good fit in either Houston or Cleveland in theory. The Rockets could use a backup point guard to help James Harden and Chris Paul with ball-handing duties, especially if one of them is out with an injury.

The Cavaliers could also use some depth behind Isaiah Thomas, although that team probably need more than one piece to seriously contend for a title.

It's hard to envision Hill going to either team under the trading parameters Jones laid out in his article. Cleveland doesn't have the assets the Kings are reportedly seeking in a deal. As Jones noted, they don't want bad contracts (which the Cavs have), and they want young players (which the Cavs don't have enough of).

The same goes for Houston, as its active roster is filled with established veterans. The Rockets also don't have a 2018 first-round draft pick, which could have been a key asset in any deal.

Despite the difficulty it may take for Sacramento to get a deal completed with either team, don't be surprised to see Hill land with a new club given the Kings' primary focus on their young core. The guess here is that he has a new home by the deadline with a mystery team not yet connected to Hill in rumors.

                 

Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle

Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reported the following news on Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson and big man Julius Randle:

"The Lakers have listened to offers or explored trades for both players that included first- or second-round picks, but sources indicate that none of those deals would save significant cap space for the future, thereby negating the initial reason for exploring trades for those players. While the Lakers could still move either or both players before Thursday's trade deadline, one league source put the chances of a meaningful trade at '50-50 at best.'"

Wojnarowski also reported this Randle-specific news:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

So far, the Lakers have turned down several teams offering second-round picks for Julius Randle, league sources tell ESPN. No one will offer a first with him headed into restricted free agency.

As Shelburne and Wojnarowski noted, the Lakers are building around their super-young core of Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram in the hopes of attracting a star free agent from the class of 2019.

The Lakers have a glut of talented players on their team, but right now they don't mesh well, especially as they all try to develop their own individual skill sets. Two of the odd men out may be Clarkson and Randle, who could be excellent additions to other teams down the stretch.

Clarkson is an adept combo guard with an ability to get scorching hot from the field at any time. Notably, he posted a 33-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist effort against the Indiana Pacers on January 19. For the season, the 25-year-old is averaging 14.5 points per game.

Randle has impressed this year, most notably on the defensive end where he can stick with bigs who patrol the paint or stretch the floor. He's also productive, as the former Kentucky Wildcat has scored 14.2 points and grabbed 7.4 boards in just 23.9 minutes on average this year.

However, as Shelburne and Wojnarowski noted, dealing either player seems more unlikely than not at this juncture. Both should stay with the team through the regular season.

         

Wilson Chandler and Joe Johnson

Two Northwest division teams could be making a deal prior to the deadline involving Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler and Utah Jazz forward Joe Johnson, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic:

Michael Scotto @MikeAScotto

Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz have held exploratory trade discussions involving Wilson Chandler and Joe Johnson, league sources told The Athletic.

Chandler could use a change of scenery, as he's had a down year in Denver. For the season, the wing is scoring just 8.8 points per game, which is a career-low since his rookie campaign with the New York Knicks in 2007-08. He's only made 41.4 percent of his field goals and is taking just 7.8 shots per game.

Still, the 11-year veteran is just one year removed from a 2016-17 season in which he posted 15.7 points and 6.5 boards per game for a Nuggets team that nearly made the playoffs in a tough Western Conference. He can still be a strong asset for a team with the right role. Ultimately, he is probably best suited coming off a team's bench and providing versatility on the wing or as a stretch four.

Johnson, who was the hero of the first round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers when he averaged 15.7 points per game, would bring a great veteran presence to a young Denver Nuggets team (six of the team's top eight scorers are 23 years of age or younger). The Nuggets already have a veteran leader in Richard Jefferson, but Johnson can provide some extra guidance.

The main concern with Johnson, however, is that his three-point shooting has taken a sharp dip from last year. He's only making 27.2 percent of his threes, which is a career-low and 13.9 percent less than 2016-17.

Still, Johnson could be a good fit in Denver's locker room as the Nuggets look to make a playoff push. A deal makes sense, and the guess here is that it gets done.

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