With the end on the horizon for the long and memorable 2019-20 season, soon enough it will be time to shift gears into the offseason. With the draft and free agency slowly but surely approaching, plenty of teams will be dialing and picking up the phone around the clock. Here are a few trade ideas that will benefit both players looking for a change of scenery and their teams trying to plan out their future.
NBA Trades That Need To Happen This Offseason
CP3 to the Milwaukee Bucks
TO MIL: Chris Paul
To OKC: Eric Bledsoe, Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson, 2020 1st Round via IND, 2022 2nd Round to OKC
It almost seems like a matter of time before this deal is struck. The fit with Chris Paul and the Milwaukee Bucks is seemingly perfect, as he provides that next gear that Milwaukee needs in order to pursue a championship. In back-to-back postseasons, Milwaukee came up short in disappointing fashion, which has led to several questions about their future, specifically Giannis Antetokounmpo’s long term plans.
Bringing in Chris Paul provides floor leadership from one of the best minds in the league who is still capable of playing at an All-Star level. Pair him with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, and that is an instant upgrade from Eric Bledsoe a season ago. That big three of Paul-Giannis-Middleton makes Milwaukee a favorite to not only sit at the top of the East in the regular season but have a lengthy postseason championship pursuit.
Oklahoma City, on the other hand, is in a unique predicament. They overachieved this past season, largely thanks to Paul, but they have a young star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who they should be fully invested in. Moving on from Paul, in addition to letting go of players like Steven Adams and Danilo Gallinari, bringing in more assets and fully leaning into their rebuild should be their next move.
This is a win-now move for Milwaukee, while it is a play for the long run in Oklahoma City as they start to create new goals for the team moving forward.
Detroit Cleans House
To DET: Dario Saric, Quinn Cook, Frank Kaminsky, 2022 1st Round via LAL, 2022 2nd Round via PHX
To PHX: Blake Griffin
To LAL: Derrick Rose
In this three-team blockbuster, the Detroit Pistons would relieve itself of Blake Griffin’s contract, part ways with Derrick Rose, and lean into their rebuild as they hope to land a franchise cornerstone in this upcoming draft. By ridding themselves of Griffin and D-Rose, and bringing in Saric, Kaminsky, and Cook, Detroit gets younger, opens up more cap space, and adds a couple more draft picks to their disposal.
This team is directionless at the moment, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Griffin and Rose are wasting away the remaining years of their career in the Motor City. It would be a move that benefits all parties. Phoenix would receive a former All-Star forward to add to their core that is on the verge of being able to compete, while Rose provides some bench scoring that was needed for Los Angeles in the regular season, despite it not being an issue in their NBA Finals pursuit.
It’s a win-win-win for three organizations, each with their own specific goal in mind.
Al Horford Goes Back To Atlanta
To PHI: Kevin Huerter, Dewayne Dedmon, 2020 2nd Round via Miami, 2023 1st Round (Top 5 Protected)
To ATL: Al Horford
While this isn’t the perfect “fix-all” trade for either team, it is still greatly beneficial for both organizations. First for the 76ers. Al Horford is not going to work out in Philadelphia. The frontcourt is just too crowded with him and Joel Embiid sharing the floor, and in an offense with a lack of shooting from the outside, Horford is often rendered useless at times.
Freeing themselves of his salary and adding a young, consistent shooter in Kevin Huerter addresses that issue, and Dedmon is a reliable back-up to Embiid that won’t have to share the floor with him. All this, while putting themselves back under the luxury tax.
By bringing back Al Horford, Atlanta is adding a former All-Star with enough playoff experience to kick this young team into the next gear. Trae Young is a star in this league, and John Collins is not too far behind. The Hawks acquired Clint Capela at last season’s deadline, and he should still be the team’s lead center. Despite being paid like a star, Horford’s days as a starter may be numbered on most teams around the league. However, Horford can still be a strong bench piece that any team should be clambering for.
Houston Ends The Russ-Harden Experience
To HOU: Nikola Vucevic, Markelle Fultz, Al-Farouq Aminu, 2020 2nd Round via ORL
To ORL: Russell Westbrook, P.J. Tucker
Are the Houston Rockets stuck treading water? Is small-ball a truly effective play style that will yield championship results? Are James Harden and Russell Westbrook capable of bringing a championship to Houston, or has both of their windows already passed?
These are questions that the Houston Rockets need to ask themselves. After already parting with Mike D’Antoni, Houston looks to be making some more changes to the organization as they consider their next move. The big man position is something the team did away with by trading Clint Capela at this past deadline, yet big men in today’s NBA are still in high demand.
Acquiring Nikola Vucevic would provide Houston with All-Star quality minutes at the five position while also allowing James Harden to return to being the team’s primary ball-handler, a position in which Harden flourished in that saw him reach MVP caliber potential.
Now, why do the Orlando Magic execute this trade? This team has fought amongst the East’s fringe playoff teams for long enough, and with as crowded a frontcourt as theirs, they need to round out the rest of the roster. Trading Vucevic for Westbrook introduces star power to the backcourt while allowing more room for growth from the young frontcourt of Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon, and Mo Bamba.
It won’t boost them to championship status, but it is a nice change of pace for a team stuck in no-man’s land in the East.