The 1 Trade Deadline Deal Every NBA Team Should Already Be Exploring
As much of the world decks its halls with boughs of holly, NBA teams, fans and media members are making their trade lists and checking them twice.
Why? Well, on Dec. 15, more than 100 players around the league will suddenly become eligible to be traded.
Anyone who signed a free-agent deal this summer has been in a holding pattern for trade purposes. As soon as that date hits, trade packages become significantly more interesting.
With less than a week to go until that magic day, the front offices of all 30 teams are undoubtedly throwing potential deals around, whether within their own walls or over the phone line with rival executives.
What exactly should each team be looking for? The following provides the type of trade ideas that every NBA squad should be exploring.
Links for each of the deals below contain details on draft picks included. Trades declared illegal by the trade machine will be allowed after Dec. 15, when free agents signed this summer are eligible to be moved.
Ian Begley from SNY joins “The Full 48 with Howard Beck” to discuss David Fizdale and the New York Knicks!
The Andre Iguodala Suitors
When the Memphis Grizzlies acquired Andre Iguodala from the Golden State Warriors this summer, few (if any) expected him to play a single game there. And so far, he hasn't.
Many expected a quick buyout, but Memphis has instead chosen to gauge the trade value of the 2014-15 Finals MVP as he enters his age-36 season.
Which teams could use the experience, playmaking and defense Iguodala has to offer?
The Deal: Courtney Lee and two second-round picks for Andre Iguodala
The Mavericks have one of the league's more intriguing trade chips with Courtney Lee's expiring contract. His $12.8 million salary is all Dallas needs to send to Memphis for salary-matching purposes. And Lee has played only 62 minutes this season.
The hangup for the Mavericks is the picks. Because of the two first-rounders they sent New York for Kristaps Porzingis, the Stepien Rule makes it difficult to include one for Iguodala. But there's no guarantee he'll command that. In fact, his age suggests teams may start the bidding with lowball offers.
If the bidding never heats up, would Memphis be willing to unload Iggy for two seconds?
The Deal: Mason Plumlee and Malik Beasley for Andre Iguodala
The Nuggets would have less trouble parting ways with a first-rounder, but they may not have to. On top of the reasons outlined above, Denver can also send an intriguing young player to the Grizzlies.
Malik Beasley looks less like a part of the Nuggets' future than he did 12 months ago. And Denver may not want to deal with his impending restricted free agency. That wouldn't be a problem for the Grizzlies, who should relish the opportunity to match any offer for a 23-year-old sharpshooter.
Although his scoring average has dipped from 11.3 points per game last season to 6.4 this year, Beasley is still shooting over 40 percent from three. His ability to space the floor would fit nicely in forward-looking lineups including Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Deal: Maurice Harkless, Landry Shamet and Terance Mann for Andre Iguodala
If the Grizzlies are dead set on getting a first-round pick for Iguodala, the Clippers also may be out of luck. They already unloaded their war chest for Paul George this summer. But if Memphis resigns itself to receiving a young player instead of a first-rounder, Landry Shamet would be intriguing.
The Clippers may be hesitant to trade their young sharpshooter for a player at the end of his career, but imagine the defensive potential of lineups with Patrick Beverley, George, Kawhi Leonard and Iguodala.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Deal: Just wait and hope.
Sorry, Lakers fans. Unless they're willing to trade Danny Green (they shouldn't be) or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope waives his de facto no-trade clause, the Lakers won't be a major player in trade talks this season.
Not only do the Lakers not have great salary-matching fodder, but the Anthony Davis trade redirected a lot of their draft capital to the New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards.
So, L.A. mostly has to hope that Memphis doesn't get an offer that it wants to accept. And that front isn't looking terribly fruitful at the moment. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t HoopsHype), the Grizzlies are intent on getting something for Iguodala.
The Deal: Dante Exum, Ed Davis and a first-round pick for Andre Iguodala
The Jazz have underwhelmed in the early portion of this season. The bench has been particularly bad. And though Dante Exum may have been a constant in head coach Quin Snyder's doghouse for the last four seasons, he should still have some value as a multipositional guard who can slash and defend. He could spare Morant from having to defend the league's more challenging point guards.
Ed Davis' inclusion is necessary to make the money work, and Tony Bradley has shown enough flashes to get a bigger shot at the backup center role. Jeff Green could even play some 5 in a pinch.
The Raptors might be more excited about this potential deal if Kyle Anderson were in place of Crowder, but this still does a lot for Toronto (although it creates a sizable hole at the backup 5 spot).
The team's net rating falls off a cliff when Ibaka is in the game. And in lieu of scouring the buyout market or free agency for another center, the Raptors could experiment with some Pascal Siakam-at-the-5 minutes.
Surround him with a bunch of switchy defenders like Iguodala, Crowder and OG Anunoby, and Toronto would be a nightmare to try to score on.
The Kevin Love Suitors
On Friday, Wojnarowski reported the Cleveland Cavaliers " are expressing a willingness to listen to offers" for All-Star power forward Kevin Love.
"Nothing's changed," Love told ESPN's Tim Bontemps in the wake of the news. "What I mean by that is, since I got here they've been ... since I f--king got here, there's been talk of me being traded, so it's nothing different."
About a quarter of the way into his age-31 season, Love is averaging 15.6 points and 10.5 rebounds, while shooting 35.7 percent from three. If he can stay healthy, that kind of stretch-4 production could help a number of teams.
What may scare some suitors off is the three years and $91.5 million left on his contract after this season. What kind of offers can Cleveland expect for a player that age and with that much money left on his deal?
Portland Trail Blazers
The Deal: Hassan Whiteside for Kevin Love
Among the 256 players with at least as many minutes this season, Carmelo Anthony is 249th in box plus/minus. Among the 227 with at least as many three-point attempts, he's 188th in true shooting percentage.
The shine on the Melo reclamation tour has worn off. To stay in the hunt for the last few playoff spots in the West, Portland needs to explore the trade market.
The deal that seemed ready-made before the season started—Whiteside for Love—is tougher to buy now. Zach Collins is out for the foreseeable future. Whiteside's departure would make Skal Labissiere the only healthy center on the roster. And he's been decent in Portland.
But Love is more believable as a Jusuf Nurkic facsimile, with his ability to stretch the floor and make some plays as a passer.
A deal for Love would suggest the Blazers are going all-in on an all-offense, no-defense approach, but they may be desperate enough to try.
The Deal: James Johnson, Dion Waiters, KZ Okpala and a second-round pick for Kevin Love
This is mostly a way for Cleveland to save money. Johnson and Waiters are both under contract for 2020-21 (if Johnson picks up his player option, which he should), but that's still two fewer years than Love.
Okpala and a second-round pick would at least give Cleveland some glimmers of hope at help down the road.
For Miami, breaking up what has been a pleasant surprise may not be wise, but a little more offensive help for Jimmy Butler would be nice. And the Heat have the players necessary to account for Love's weaknesses on the other end of the floor.
The Deal: Dewayne Dedmon, Trevor Ariza and a first-round pick for Kevin Love
The Kings are one team that might be able to justify sending out a first-rounder for Love. They have most of their upcoming draft capital, and if they don't have the pick convey until 2022 or 2023, they could reasonably expect to be a decent team by then. It depends on how much faith they have in De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley.
In the short term, a three-big rotation of Love, Bagley and Richaun Holmes offers plenty of inside-out potential. And Love would absorb some of the heavy offensive burden that Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic are currently carrying.
For Cleveland, this is another deal that doesn't include expiring contracts, but the combined commitment to Dedmon and Ariza would still be less than what's headed Love's way. And if other teams are reluctant to include a first, the Cavs might need to pounce when those get thrown around.
The Deal: Tyler Johnson, Frank Kaminsky and Mikal Bridges for Kevin Love
Mikal Bridges is shooting only 30.8 percent from deep this season, but he still holds three-and-D potential. Perhaps Phoenix could send him out in lieu of a first-round pick. Johnson and Kaminsky would be mostly salary filler.
For the Suns, adding Love would make the frontcourt crowded. Aron Baynes has been excellent this season. Dario Saric has been solid as the starting 4. And Phoenix used the No. 1 pick on Deandre Ayton in 2018.
But reuniting Love with Ricky Rubio would undeniably raise Phoenix's short-term ceiling.
The Chris Paul Suitors
Chris Paul's contract is brutal. He's owed $38.5 million this year, $41.4 million next year and has a $44.2 million player option in 2021-22.
With teams looking to protect cap space for the potentially star-studded 2021 free-agent class, Paul's bloated contract makes him difficult to trade. But the veteran point guard has done a more-than-solid job of piloting the Oklahoma City Thunder.
He's posting a better box plus/minus than he did last season and is shooting 35.7 percent from three. As such, a few teams might be able to talk themselves into him.
San Antonio Spurs
The Deal: DeMar DeRozan and Marco Belinelli for Chris Paul
"Paul would noticeably beef up [the Spurs'] overall defense and has the outside touch to play off San Antonio's other ball-handlers," Bleacher Report's Dan Favale wrote when he cooked up this deal. "His offensive command would likewise be a boon for a team that has fallen to 13th in half-court efficiency."
Given the less-than-stellar market for Paul, something like this makes sense. DeRozan isn't an expiring contract, but if he picks up his player option for next season, he'll still make more than $10 million less than CP3. He'll be off the books after that, while Paul's deal lasts through 2022.
Although Paul's hefty contract will make suitors wary, he is a significant upgrade over DeRozan in all facets of the game.
Let's get weird.
There's a way to get Paul to the Pistons without moving Griffin or Andre Drummond, but the resulting team looks a little too much like the Lob City Clippers. And with the way things broke down at the end of that team's run, it's fair to wonder how Griffin and Paul would feel about playing together again.
Instead, let's just trade them for each other.
Griffin doesn't clear much money for OKC, as he also has a player option for the 2021-22 season. But bringing him in gives the team's reins entirely to young playmaker Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. And Griffin would be a nice pick-and-roll partner for him.
For Detroit, this deal leaves little at power forward. The Pistons could perhaps expand the framework to include Danilo Gallinari and Reggie Jackson (plus Thon Maker for salary filler). Even without that, the Paul/Drummond combo might be easier to build around than Griffin/Drummond.
Detroit has been a solid plus-3.9 points per 100 possessions with those two on the floor since 2017-18. With that said, the dual-big alignment still seems to be on the ropes, despite attempts from the Pistons, Indiana Pacers and a few others to revive it.
The Deal: Andrew Wiggins and Gorgui Dieng for Chris Paul and Andre Roberson
Wiggins is in the midst of the best season of his career. However, both his true shooting percentage and box plus/minus are below average.
Replacing him with CP3 instantly gives the Wolves one of the league's best pick-and-roll (and pick-and-pop) partners for Karl-Anthony Towns.
Taking back Wiggins means OKC doesn't get a ton cap flexibility out of moving Paul, but he's closer to SGA's timeline. And Dieng comes off the books after 2021.
Roberson is an expiring contract, and given his run of injury misfortunate, he's nothing more than salary filler here.
The biggest concern for Minnesota probably isn't what happens on the court, though. Paul has had less-than-ideal conclusions to his time with other teams. Would KAT struggle with CP3's brand of leadership, as he did with Butler's?
The Deal: Otto Porter Jr. and Cristiano Felicio for Chris Paul
Chicago has a bunch of interesting players. In theory, they should all fit together well. In practice, the Bulls are in the bottom third of the league in net points per 100 possessions.
Swapping Felicio (as salary filler) and Porter for Paul makes Chicago smaller and less switchable on defense, but it also raises the team's offensive ceiling.
Units conducted by Paul and including Zach LaVine, Tomas Satoransky, Wendell Carter and Lauri Markkanen should be able to score well. And CP3 taking on the point of attack on defense should help on that end, too.
For OKC, it'd still be on the hook for $28.5 million in 2020-21 if Porter opted into the final year of his deal. And he might not provide much on-court value this season.
A recent update from the Bulls has him in a "period of immobilization" for at least four more weeks with a foot injury. But the Thunder aren't looking at win-now moves with CP3. This is ultimately about the flexibility the team has when Porter's deal expires.
The Deal: Chandler Parsons, a first-round pick and a second-round pick for Andre Drummond
The Pistons have languished in mediocrity for the last 10 years, sporting the 22nd-best winning percentage in the NBA over that span. Since 2017-18, the season in which they acquired Blake Griffin, Detroit is 17th in winning percentage.
Are the Pistons content to keep churning through seasons in which they top out as borderline playoff contenders? Could the right trade partner entice them to blow it up and head into a full rebuild?
The 2020 draft class hasn't generated a ton of buzz yet, but it should feature intriguing prospects such as LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and Cole Anthony. And the Atlanta Hawks are likely headed toward an early or mid-lottery pick.
Would Detroit be willing to move Drummond and avoid his upcoming free agency for Atlanta's 2020 unprotected first-round pick?
Salary matching is easy here. Chandler Parsons' contract does the trick. This is all about the pick.
A monster contract for Drummond might be easier for the Hawks to justify. They already have building blocks in place with Trae Young and John Collins. Add Drummond, and you have an interesting up-and-coming trio.
Such a deal would likely send the Pistons into full-scale asset accumulation mode. See what you can get for Blake Griffin at that point. Dangle every veteran you have in the market.
In the short term, rebuilds like this are painful and risky. But the potential rewards outweigh years in the middle of the pack.
The Deal: Mason Plumlee, Gary Harris and a first-round pick for Gordon Hayward
The Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets are both playing well. Boston was stellar with Hayward in the lineup before he broke his hand. The Nuggets have been a solid plus-3.0 points per 100 possessions with Plumlee and Harris on the floor over the years.
But Denver is ripe for a consolidation trade, and the Celtics could use a little depth behind a starting lineup that has recently stabilized without Hayward. (Boston is plus-23.6 points per 100 possessions when Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are on the floor over the last two weeks.)
There's probably an argument to be made for any of Boston's three centers over Plumlee. They're all in a similar box plus/minus range, but Robert Williams is more explosive, Enes Kanter has a more polished post game, and Daniel Theis can stretch the floor a bit.
Plumlee's experience, switchability on defense and passing make him an intriguing fit alongside Tatum and Brown, though.
Plumlee is top 20 all-time among players his height (6'11") or taller in career assist percentage. Having him facilitate from the high post or out of short rolls would get open looks for the scorers that Williams, Kanter and Theis simply don't see.
Plumlee can guard, too. If he, Tatum, Brown and Smart are all on the floor, it wouldn't be unreasonable to switch everything 2 through 5.
Gary Harris adds some three-and-D ability and could start at the 2 (depending on how Brad Stevens would then want to deploy Smart). Such a deal would also give the C's four centers, creating the option to trade one of them for help elsewhere on the roster.
For Denver, depth has been a calling card for years. But things seem to have stagnated there, and Hayward could provide some offensive punch. Losing Plumlee would hurt, but shifting Jerami Grant (from the 4 to the 5), Juancho Hernangomez and Michael Porter Jr. down a position would alleviate that.
The Deal: Alec Burks for Dzanan Musa
Burks has shown enough for the injury-decimated Golden State Warriors to earn them some value if they place him on the market.
Musa has been awful for the Nets. Among the 271 players with at least as many minutes, he's 266th in box plus/minus. But the 20-year-old 6'9" forward is on a team-friendly contract through 2022.
With the Warriors' title window closing rapidly, they need as many shots at young talent as possible.
Meanwhile, Burks could provide some scoring punch off the bench and from the wing for Brooklyn while Caris LeVert continues to recover from thumb surgery.
Burks is averaging 15.1 points and is shooting a respectable 35.6 percent from deep. And that's in a higher-usage role for the decimated Warriors that he wouldn't have with the Nets.
In most lineups, Burks would be a third or fourth option on offense, leaving him to attack weaker defenders off the dribble and hit open catch-and-shoot opportunities.
The Deal: Tyler Johnson and a second-round pick for Marvin Williams
If the Suns aren't able to pull off something like the blockbuster described earlier, there are other shooting 4s on the market.
"Several teams are monitoring the trade availability of veteran forward Marvin Williams," Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote Monday.
This should come as no surprise. In his age-33 season, Williams is shooting 40 percent from three. If he finishes the season above that mark, it would be his third time in the last six years.
Over that same span, he's averaged 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per 75 possessions. Danny Green and Jayson Tatum are the only players who match or exceed his three-point percentage, steal percentage and block percentage since he joined the Hornets.
However, the rebuilding Hornets are now on a different timeline than Williams. As such, it makes sense to explore the market for his expiring contract and three-and-D skills.
Williams would give Phoenix another floor spacer in the frontcourt. And shipping out Johnson's expiring contract gives the Suns' coaching staff an excuse to devote more developmental minutes to Ty Jerome, Jevon Carter or both.
If the Hornets can get a second-round pick for Williams as opposed to losing him for nothing this summer, they have to consider it.
The Deal: Dewayne Dedmon, Yogi Ferrell and two second-round picks for Tristan Thompson
Cleveland is in a position to bring on some of the league's less savory contracts, provided the teams sending them are willing to attach some sweeteners.
And with the Cavs being willing to move Love, you'd think some of the other veterans might also be available.
"Thompson is the piece the Cavs would most want to retain beyond this season," Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com wrote. "The organization loves him. Sources say they would be interested in making him part of this growing core."
Thompson is only 28 years old. He has a few prime years left and plenty of playoff experience that he could impart on the youngsters. But Fedor also speculated that Cleveland might be able to extract a late first-round pick for Thompson.
How about two second-rounders instead?
It may be tempting to re-sign him, but moving Thompson's expiring contract to a team willing to part with draft capital is the wiser path.
The Dedmon deal hasn't panned out for the Kings, who are currently (and understandably) all in on Richaun Holmes. Having one of the league's top rebounders, who's also scoring more than ever this season, as the backup 5 would bolster a Sacramento bench led by Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Golden State Warriors
The Deal: Robert Covington, Gorgui Dieng, Jarrett Culver and a first-round pick for D'Angelo Russell
It's tough to find a deal involving the Warriors if they aren't willing to move Russell or accept a less-than-stellar package for Draymond Green, whose value has been suppressed this season.
Heavy's Sean Deveney shared the thoughts of an NBA general manager on why he thought Russell would remain a Warrior for the foreseeable future:
"If it is something that they're going to do quickly, like before the end of this month, I wouldn't say they're pushing for it. Maybe they have a deal in mind, maybe they're sitting on something and laying low. But I'd be surprised. That's not how they'd approach it, I'd think. You want to create a market if you are going to trade a player like him, you want to pit teams against each other, drive up the price. You don't want to lock into one deal. But the market thing, that's not really happening yet. They're not pushing the market for him."
However, another executive said: "Could do it now. Could do it later. But they'll do it."
Keeping Russell makes sense. Having a young All-Star waiting in the wings as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson age beyond their primes is a nice fallback. But adding some depth and a three-and-D forward like they had in Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala could give Curry and Co. one more crack at a championship.
Covington is exactly that: one of the game's best defensive players and a career 36.1-percent three-point shooter. Jarrett Culver gives the Warriors additional long-term potential and some depth. The first-round pick gives them a crack at more talent in the middle of the first round.
That may feel like a lot for Russell, but this scenario also has the Warriors taking on one of Minnesota's more cumbersome contracts in Dieng. Minnesota was also after Russell, who's averaging 22.0 points with an above-average true shooting percentage, this summer.
You can see why the Wolves would be intrigued by the raw talent of a Russell/Wiggins/Towns core.
The Deal: Austin Rivers, Nene and a second-round pick for Jae Crowder
There are a number of problems here. Rivers has an implicit no-trade clause. Moving him and Nene for Crowder increases Houston's tax bill. And the Rockets have already spent a boatload of picks in other deals recently.
But finding realistic trade options for this team borders on impossible, unless you're willing to go nuclear with some Russell Westbrook deals. Does Terry Rozier, Marvin Williams and a pick (or picks) for Westbrook do anything for you? Is some combination of the Knicks' veterans intriguing?
It seems like almost anything is on the table with Daryl Morey at the helm, but a Westbrook deal would be shocking. Eric Gordon's extension makes moving him a pipe dream. The market for centers isn't robust, and Houston's defense might collapse without Clint Capela. James Harden is untouchable.
That leaves some of the fringe guys on the roster, and with their salaries as low as they are, it's tough to find deals that fit the cap rules.
So, while this one makes the team more expensive, it also makes it better.
Nene hasn't logged a single minute this season. Moving his contract is easy to justify. But on top of the no-trade clause, Rivers is the only Rockets player even resembling a backup point guard.
For the sixth time in his eight seasons, Rivers is posting a below-replacement-level box plus/minus. His true shooting percentage is below average, and his assist percentage ranks 204th out of the 294 players with at least 250 minutes.
It's hard to rack up assists when sharing a roster with Harden and Westbrook, but maybe that's the argument for exchanging Rivers for another switchy defender who loves to shoot off the catch.
Adding Crowder to lineups with P.J. Tucker instantly raises the Rockets' defensive ceiling. It gives them real options against Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in a potential series against the Clippers.
For Memphis, this deal doesn't add any long-term salary to the books. Crowder doesn't figure to be a staple of the team's future. And getting a second-round pick out of him is preferable to having him walk away for nothing this summer in free agency.
The Deal: Myles Turner for Danilo Gallinari
The Indiana Pacers' attempt to bring back the old-school frontcourt hasn't gone perfectly.
These numbers have stabilized quite a bit in recent weeks, but Indiana is plus-5.6 points per 100 possessions when Turner and Domantas Sabonis share the floor, plus-6.7 points per 100 possessions when Sabonis is on the floor without Turner, and minus-4.6 points per 100 possessions when Turner is on the floor without Sabonis.
The in-a-nutshell explanation of those numbers? There's reason to believe the Pacers might have a higher ceiling with Sabonis playing alongside a playmaking 4.
The rebuilding Thunder happen to have a playmaking 4, and he's one of this season's most intriguing trade candidates.
Danilo Gallinari is averaging 18.3 points with a 62.4 true shooting percentage in only 30.4 minutes per game. There are only 11 players in NBA history who have at least 500 three-point attempts and match his career marks for points per 75 possessions (19.2) and true shooting percentage (59.0). He's in the top 100 all-time in career offensive box plus/minus.
Adding that scoring punch to a team that's in the middle of the pack offensively pushes them closer to the top tier of the Eastern Conference. And unloading Turner's contract means Indiana would no longer be tied to a frontcourt that might not make sense in today's NBA.
From OKC's perspective, this makes a lot more sense if it can offload Steven Adams somewhere. That's easier said than done, as there isn't a robust market for centers and Adams is owed $27.5 million next season. Still, you have to imagine every Thunder vet is available. And even if they can't move him, one year of overlap with Turner isn't the end of the world.
The Pacers center is off to a slow start this season, posting a career low in win shares per 48 minutes, but he's only 23 years old. He's also on a reasonable contract ($18 million per year) through 2023. There could be much worse starts to a reboot than a core of Turner and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
The Deal: Jonas Valanciunas and Jae Crowder for DeMar DeRozan
With all due respect to DeRozan, Valanciunas may be the best player in this deal.
A handful of numbers for both over the last three seasons:
- Valanciunas: 22.3 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists per 75 possessions, plus-6.6 relative true shooting percentage, plus-1.3 box plus/minus, plus-2.9 net rating (minus-1.2 swing)
- DeRozan: 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists per 75 possessions, minus-0.7 relative true shooting percentage, plus-1.1 box plus/minus, plus-2.6 net rating (minus-4.4 swing)
So, why would the Grizzlies want to move on from the 27-year-old center for a volume scorer who might opt out of the last year of his contract this summer?
Well, there are a few reasons.
Most importantly, it paves the way for a Brandon Clarke/Jaren Jackson Jr. starting frontcourt. Those two, along with Ja Morant, make up Memphis' future. Getting them as many shared minutes as possible could expedite their development.
Next, Valanciunas' deal isn't onerous (only $15 million next season and $14 million the year after that), but clearing any long-term money gives Memphis more flexibility. And it might even make them more of a candidate to take on other teams' bad contracts when combined with draft assets.
Finally, DeRozan's teams may have been better with him off the floor in 10 of his 11 seasons, but he's still a multi-time All-Star who's top 100 all-time in career scoring average. That's a player who should put fans in the seats as the younger players work through their growing pains over the rest of this season.
For San Antonio, this frees up time in the backcourt for developing players who, like the Grizzlies mentioned above, need on-court time to jell. Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and Lonnie Walker need to play together more. DeRozan complicates that.
And for a team seemingly hellbent on playing old-school basketball, Valanciunas helps maintain that identity on a manageable contract.
The deal makes the Spurs deeper, too. Not just because of the obvious two-for-one construction of the trade, but because Crowder instantly provides something San Antonio desperately needs: defense.
Lineups featuring two of the Spurs' young guards, Crowder, LaMarcus Aldridge and Valanciunas could get this team back into the playoff hunt.
The Deal: Donte DiVincenzo, Sterling Brown and D.J. Wilson for Bogdan Bogdanovic
The Milwaukee Bucks look like the most complete team in the league right now.
They have 12 players who have logged 200 minutes. Of those 12, only two (Robin Lopez and Kyle Korver) have below-average box plus/minuses. No one in that group is below replacement level.
If Milwaukee chose to stand pat at the deadline, it would be tough to argue against that decision. But with so much talent on the roster, the Bucks could be poised to make a consolidation trade and a push for a title in a league that's wide open.
After declaring Bogdanovic "probably" the "best option" for the Bucks, The Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks explained what he might cost:
"The Bucks have the pieces to make a deal. They dealt away their first-round picks in 2020 and 2022, but they still have some interesting young players (Brown, DiVincenzo, and Wilson) as well as three picks they got from the Pacers (a lottery-protected first-rounder in 2020, and second-round picks in 2021 and 2025) in the sign-and-trade for Brogdon. Milwaukee should overpay, even if it means adding pick swaps and trading away first-round picks far into the future, like the two L.A. teams with similar title aspirations did this offseason."
With long-term deals already on the books for Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes, and the same likely coming up for De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento may be wary of Bogdanovic's upcoming restricted free agency. Getting something for him now might be wise.
As Tjarks noted, Milwaukee could entice the Kings with one of the picks they got in the Malcolm Brogdon deal. Perhaps sending three young players offsets not including one.
DiVincenzo, Brown and Wilson have all shown flashes this season. Sacramento could get an extended look at all three before deciding whether any are worth re-signing and adding to the young core.
And though they've been solid for the Bucks, none of those three players raise the team's ceiling quite like Bogdanovic would.
The 6'6" combo guard is averaging 14.2 points in fewer than 30 minutes per game. And he's hitting 37.7 percent of 7.0 three-point attempts per game.
His secondary creation would be a nightmare to defend in lineups that include Giannis Antetokounmpo. And when he doesn't have the ball, he's shown an ability to punish opponents as a catch-and-shoot option.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Deal: Dante Exum and a first-round pick for JJ Redick
Redick's much-publicized playoff streak (he's gotten there in 13 out of 13 seasons) is in serious jeopardy.
As of Tuesday, the 6-18 New Orleans Pelicans' playoff chances are down to 16 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight's projections. And Marc Stein of the New York Times recently reported that No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson may not return from his meniscus injury until after the new year.
Barring some kind of miraculous turnaround, Redick won't be going to the postseason in 2020... at least not with the Pelicans, anyway.
In 2012-13, Redick's streak survived by virtue of a midseason trade to Milwaukee. The same thing could be in play this season.
Redick is on a tradable contract ($13.5 million this season and $13 million next), and his most marketable skill is always in demand.
He's averaging 15.0 points per game and shooting 44.9 percent from three this season. He could offer the Jazz a boost similar to the one they received from last season's Kyle Korver trade.
Exum seems to be on the outs with Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. But his size and athleticism should still make him intriguing for a Pelicans squad searching for the ideal supporting cast to put around Zion.
New York Knicks
The Deal: Hassan Whiteside and two second-round picks for Marcus Morris Sr. and Taj Gibson
The Knicks are on pace for the 15th-worst winning percentage in NBA history. They've already fired head coach David Fizdale. It's time to enter the sellers' market with everything short of the inflatable tube man.
With the exception of Mitchell Robinson and RJ Barrett, the entire roster should be made available for trades. In particular, the Knicks have to see what they can get for some of the veterans they signed this summer.
Morris and Gibson are two of the vets who may still some trade value.
Morris is averaging 18.6 points and shooting 50.0 percent from three on 5.7 attempts per game. That's significantly more than Portland is getting from Carmelo Anthony, and Morris isn't nearly as bad on defense.
Whiteside's departure would make Gibson the de facto starting 5 if this deal went through. But that may be OK.
If the Blazers committed to a fast-paced positionless scheme on both ends, they might have enough firepower to outscore lesser teams with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Morris.
Heading into Tuesday, Portland was only 2.5 games back of the eighth seed in the West. There's still time to make up that gap, but it doesn't seem likely with the current construction of the team.
For New York, Whiteside's expiring contract would be little more than salary filler. He doesn't offer as much as Robinson, now or in the future. The real get for New York is the draft considerations.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Deal: Courtney Lee, Maxi Kleber and two second-round picks for Danilo Gallinari
Any of the proposed deals involving the Thunder assume they even want to steer all the way into a rebuild. That may not be the case right now.
After they thrashed the Jazz in Utah on Monday, the Thunder moved to 11-12 on the season. They now have a 46 percent shot at getting into the postseason, per FiveThirtyEight.
But it wouldn't be hard to see this team become a seller and look to add to its already overflowing trove of future draft picks.
Gallinari may be the most likely of the veterans to command a first-rounder. And if he does, the Mavericks might be out of luck. Because of the Porzingis trade and the Stepien Rule, Dallas can't convey a first until 2025 at the earliest.
If no one else in the league wants to pony up, the Mavericks might be able to swoop in with an expiring contract (Lee), a versatile big on a team-friendly contract (Kleber) and multiple seconds.
The other end of this deal is a no-brainer. Adding Gallinari's offense to an attack piloted by Luka Doncic would make Dallas, which is already playing like the greatest offense of all time, even scarier.
Lineups with Luka, Kristaps Porzingis, Gallo and shooters like Tim Hardaway Jr. or Seth Curry would be nearly impossible to defend.
Again, the key for this one is what else is out there for Gallinari.
The Deal: Aaron Gordon, Chuma Okeke and Wes Iwundu for DeMar DeRozan and Chimezie Metu
Back in November, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported that Orlando had "expressed interest in trading for DeRozan."
Just over a month later, the Magic still have one of the league's bottom five offenses, scoring only 104.2 points per 100 possessions.
DeRozan may not do a ton to move the needle in terms of efficiency, but he would provide volume and could possibly pull defensive attention away from Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic.
He also might hurt Orlando's top-10 defense, but there might be enough talent on that end with Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac to cover for DeRozan's shortcomings.
In a vacuum, Gordon is the best player in this deal, despite his struggles as a shooter this season (he's posting a career-low true shooting percentage). But his fit in Orlando has gotten weird. Isaac looks ready to take on a bigger role. And Gordon can't provide offense to the same degree that DeRozan can.
With San Antonio, a team in dire need of some stoppers, Gordon's defensive versatility at the 4 would be put to use by head coach Gregg Popovich. And the Spurs can conceivably surround him with enough offense to boost his efficiency on that end. If defenses have to focus on Aldridge and shooters like Bryn Forbes, Derrick White and Patty Mills, Gordon should have more room to attack closeouts and clean up offensive rebounds.
The Deal: Zhaire Smith and Mike Scott for Doug McDermott
The 76ers are 13th in the NBA in points per 100 possessions. The top three offenses in the league—Dallas, Milwaukee and Houston—are also the top three in three-point attempts per game, whereas Philly is 27th in that regard.
The Sixers' three-point percentage has been steadily climbing in recent weeks, but they still seem to be missing a proven marksman who generates fear off the ball the way JJ Redick did during his time there.
McDermott could be that guy.
He's playing an important role for the Pacers this season, and there's little indication that they're looking to move on from him, but perhaps a promising young player like Smith could sway Indiana. If that isn't enough, Philadelphia could include a second-round pick as well.
McDermott isn't taking many more threes than Scott right now, but he's far more suited for a Redick-type role predicated on constant movement off the ball. Scott is more of a standstill shooter.
If McDermott was there to bend defenses out to the three-point line, the much-discussed fit with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid should be less of an issue. Sure, it would be nice if both could consistently hit threes at an above-average rate, but that may not be in the cards.
If it isn't, Philadelphia needs to do what it can to accentuate the top-tier talent those two already possess.
The Deal: Dante Exum and a first-round pick for Davis Bertans
The longer this season goes on, the less likely it feels that a deal involving Bertans will happen. The 27-year-old sharpshooter has been dynamite for the Wizards, hitting 45.2 percent of his 8.5 three-point attempts per game.
Still, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported Bertans might be available. And a first-round pick might be enough to at least make the Wizards think about moving him.
A bunch of teams could use Bertans' shooting off the bench, something that has made him a massive plus over the last three seasons. The fact that he's on a $7 million expiring contract should make him relatively easy to acquire, too. The Mavericks and Nuggets, among others, make sense as potential suitors.
But again, Dallas just spent a ton on Porzingis. Denver already has trouble playing all of the frontcourt players it has.
But Utah might be desperate enough for some offense to offer a first-rounder and a multipositional defender who's still on the right side of 25.
The Jazz are 24th in the NBA in points per 100 possessions. That offensive rating plummets a massive 17.7 points when Bojan Bogdanovic leaves the floor. Being able to still space the floor when Bogey's on the bench could go a long way toward Utah winning some reserve minutes.