Kristaps Porzingis for Gordon Hayward and NBA Trades Where Everybody Wins

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2021

Kristaps Porzingis for Gordon Hayward and NBA Trades Where Everybody Wins

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    Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

    Almost every NBA trade is deemed to have a clear and immediate winner and loser. Wouldn't it be nice if both sides won?

    That's the mission foisted upon us here: finding deals of equitable, if not at least closely comparable, interest to all parties involved.

    Finagling victories for each team isn't about ensuring instantly identical value exchanges hands. It's about tapping into the directions of either side and assembling packages that fit and advance where they should be headed.

    Emphasis on should be. We'll be making course-corrective decisions and assumptions on who should be rebuilding, attempting to get younger, divesting singular salaries, consolidating assets, etc.

    Each proposal banks on good health from all players involved. Injuries and entries into the league's health and safety protocols have warped night-to-night rosters. This exercise doesn't seek to ignore or make light of the logistical and societal nightmare that is the COVID-19 pandemic. The NBA has decided to soldier onward, and trade season is upon us, so hypothetical deals remain worthwhile discussions.  

Phoenix Acquires an Old Friend

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Indiana Pacers Receive: Jalen Smith, 2023 second-round pick (top-44 protection)

    Phoenix Suns Receive: Torrey Craig

    Troll artists will have a field day with this one.

    The Suns are trading the No. 10 pick from 2020? For Torrey Craig? The same Torrey Craig they got for free last year? And then let walk? And they're giving up a second-rounder on top of everything?

    All we need to do now is mention that Phoenix could've drafted Tyrese Haliburton instead of Smith and then we're free to move on. 

    Lampooning the Suns for this deal is weak. Smith is a sunk cost. They declined his third-year option for crying out loud. They don't get to—and cannot afford to—pretend he's some mysterious top-10 prospect.

    Craig is far more valuable. He pesters the 1 through 4 spots, puts pressure on the rim and ducks in for offensive rebounds. Any threes he converts are a bonus. So is his familiarity with Phoenix. His $5.1 million salary for 2022-23 is reasonable and arms the Suns with another mid-end matching tool over the offseason.

    Indiana shouldn't need more than this to get the deal done. Kelan Martin and Oshae Brissett are currying favor over Craig. Picking up a second-rounder for his services is a win, and this deal gets the Pacers out from under the final year of his contract and, most notably, the roster spot it'd cost them.   

Denver and Toronto Swap Bigs

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    Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

    Denver Nuggets Receive: Isaac Bonga, Chris Boucher

    Toronto Raptors Receive: JaMychal Green, Vlatko Cancar, 2024 second-round pick

    The Nuggets need to shake up their backup big rotation. They don't have a true second-string 5, and JaMychal Green's shooting slump (22 percent from deep) has annihilated his pick-and-pop appeal.

    Boucher is not a solution without risk. He's in the midst of a shooting rut himself; his 21.4 percent clip from downtown is his lowest since his rookie season...when he attempted just a single three.

    Denver needs the shot-blocking and above-the-rim elements of his game more. High-flying theatrics are not the crux of Boucher's arsenal, but he's still a threat to finish alley-oops, and his defensive rebounding rate (21.2) would rank second among all Nuggets rotation bigs.

    In the event his three-ball starts falling, Boucher can sponge up reps at the 4 beside Nikola Jokic. He is feisty, oft-reckless, when closing out beyond the arc, and opponents are shooting nearly 10 percentage points below their season average when going up against him inside six feet of the basket. That Boucher's contract comes off the books after this season jibes with a Nuggets team prepping for future luxury-tax bills.

    Green has a player option for 2022-23 he's currently a lock to pick up. That shouldn't bother the Raptors. They don't profile as a cap-space team, and he becomes an asset for them as an under-control floor-spacer if his threes begin finding nylon again.

    Cancar likely won't factor into Toronto's plans but has a better chance of cracking the floor than Bonga as a secondary forward who flashed tons of offensive utility during his stint with the Slovenian national team last summer. The 2024 second-rounder is a buffer for Green's option. The Raptors can push for more, but Boucher is currently the fourth big in their fully healthy rotation.

Charlotte and Dallas Strike a Co-Blockbuster

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Charlotte Hornets Receive: Kristaps Porzingis and 2022 second-round pick

    Dallas Mavericks Receive: Gordon Hayward

    Too many want the Hornets to make a huge splash at center. The ascents of LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges have put them slightly ahead of schedule. They shouldn't be surrendering picks and young players galore for a Myles Turner or Richaun Holmes when neither propels them to conference finals territory.

    Acquiring Porzingis is no different. But this package isn't costing the Hornets future firsts or PJ Washington. They're giving up a 31-year-old Hayward. He's not the future, and Charlotte is about to pay Bridges in restricted free agency. Funneling Hayward's salary toward a 26-year-old big who should fortify a shaky interior defense has merit.

    Granted, Porzingis isn't the poster child for good health. Hayward isn't, either. Porzingis fills more of a need. He's moving better on defense compared to last season, and opponents are shooting 51.9 percent against him at the rim, a top-10 mark among everyone to challenge at least 100 point-blank attempts.

    Charlotte might prefer an above-the-rim threat at the 5. It can try grooming that in Kai Jones. Porzingis will stretch the floor; he's a better shooter than his sub-29 percent clip from three. The balance of his contract is expensive but short-term enough to swallow (two years, $69.8 million).

    Hayward instantly becomes the Mavs' second-best on-ball creator behind Doncic. The 31 percent share of his looks coming at the rim would rank second among Dallas' non-bigs, he has more to offer as a pull-up shooter, and he's draining 37.8 percent of his catch-and-fire triples.

    Filling big-man minutes gets tougher for the Mavs without Porzingis. It's not impossible. They have Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Boban Marjanovic and Moses Brown, and replacement-level centers don't cost the moon.

Boston and Portland Shake Things Up

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    Abbie Parr/Getty Images

    Boston Celtics Receive: CJ McCollum, Ben McLemore

    Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Juan Hernangomez, Romeo Langford, Josh Richardson, Robert Williams III

    Blazers interim general manager Joe Cronin has said Portland is looking to "enhance" its roster rather than rebuild. That's mostly code for "Stop sending us Damian Lillard offers, Daryl Morey you vultures" but also suggests the team wants to reshape the now rather than the future.

    This package does a little of both. The Blazers get younger by adding Langford (22) and Williams (24) while significantly beefing up their defense. Richardson guards up and down the positional spectrum and is on the books for another year at less than $13 million. Langford has given the Celtics some active defensive minutes and shown flashes of better shooting.

    Williams is ideally suited to aggressive coverages and starts a team-friendly four-year, $48 million extension next season. The Blazers are free to trade Jusuf Nurkic or let him walk over the summer and should not be opposed to trying RWIII-Larry Nance Jr. frontlines.

    Shipping out McCollum is an emotional gut punch. Functionally, the Blazers can withstand it. Norman Powell and Anfernee Simons, a soon-to-be restricted free agent, offset enough of his scoring.

    McCollum is more essential in Boston, which needs another from-scratch scorer and additional shooter. He doesn't put pressure on the rim and doesn't have a timetable for his return from a collapsed lung, but when healthy, he's a mid-range artist who has honed his off-the-dribble three.

    Boston's defense should be able to survive the departures of Richardson and Williams. Punting on the latter stings, but Al Horford is the team's primary 5, and Grant Williams can play up a spot more often. McCollum's contract is steep (two years, $69.1 million), but Dennis Schroder is likely gone after this year, and it's much harder to replicate high-end offense on the cheap than center minutes. This move alleviates the creation burdens placed upon Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum without needing to dramatically infringe upon their volume.

Harrison Barnes to Atlanta

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Atlanta Hawks Receive: Harrison Barnes

    Sacramento Kings Receive: Danilo Gallinari, Cam Reddish, 2022 first-round pick (top-20 protection in 2022; top-18 protection in 2023; top-16 protection in 2024; turns into two seconds after)

    Imagine a version of the Kings striving to build something better than the ninth or 10th seed. That's what we're doing here. Sacramento isn't acquiring a star; it's going the other way.

    Trading Barnes will cost wins, but it allows the Kings to retool, rebuild, restructure, whatever the hell you want to call it. Reddish is a genuinely tantalizing wing prospect. He will be extension-eligible this summer but is only 22, can guard the point of attack and is drilling a career-high 37.7 percent of his treys.

    Atlanta's first-rounder may not convey this year. It should convey before the obligation expires. Sacramento can haggle over looser protections, but Gallinari isn't a net zero. He can still get buckets and is guaranteed just $5 million next year. The Kings can reroute him, keep him or waive him over the summer in favor of flexibility.

    The Hawks are ripe for a consolidation trade, and Barnes is a utopian fit. His spotty efficiency since returning from a sprained right foot shouldn't scare Atlanta. He doesn't need the ball but is more than capable of attacking off the deck and can help float lineups without Trae Young as well as struggling fourth-quarter combinations.

    A healthy De'Andre Hunter (wrist) doesn't diminish Barnes' fit. Using them together glitzes up John Collins-at-the-5 minutes, and the Hawks can try deploying ultra-big units with Barnes, Hunter, Collins and Clint Capela all at once.


    Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of NBA.comBasketball ReferenceStathead or Cleaning the Glass and accurate entering Monday's games. Salary information via Basketball Insiders and Spotrac.

    Dan Favale covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter (@danfavale), and listen to his Hardwood Knocks podcast, co-hosted by NBA Math's Adam Fromal.


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