NBA Trade Deadline Predictions
The NBA trade deadline looms on February 6, so we are in the last month of the status quo in the league. Let's get this out of the way up front - this is set up to be a very dull trade deadline. With all due respect to Kevin Love and Andre Drummond, if they are the two biggest names on the block in all likelihood, then it's not much of a thrilling deadline. But any change can be the one that makes the difference, and there should still be plenty of movement even if it isn't spectacular. Here is a look at seven of the most interesting and potentially impactful situations around the league leading up to the NBA trade deadline:
Kevin Love, Cleveland: Love is acting like a giant baby this season. Snapping at teammates, ignoring his coach, fighting with his GM, not following gameplans when they don't suit him - he's found all of the ways to disappoint that are out there. He badly needs a fresh start, and the Cavs needs to get more aggressive with their rebuild. Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. should be untouchable on this team, but Love is just the highest profile of all the other guys who could be on the move at the right price. If Love doesn't move, it would be a true shock.
Andre Drummond, Detroit: Detroit is a team going nowhere in a hurry, and they will quite possibly be without Blake Griffin for the rest of the season. They fooled themselves into thinking that they were much better than they actually are when the season started. Now they need to get real, and Drummond is the biggest chip they have to get serious about rebuilding. Drummond is on an expiring deal and almost certainly won't re-up in Detroit. If the team wants to really get serious, they won't stop at Drummond. Guys like Derrick Rose and Langston Galloway could have value as bench pieces for a contender as well.
The Knicks: New York is in a perpetual rebuild that is going nowhere in a hurry. Unlike Cleveland or Detroit, though, they don't have an obvious premium player to move. Elfrid Payton is probably the most attractive piece, or perhaps it's Marcus Morris and his expiring contract and solid performance this year. Morris has stated he doesn't want to go anywhere, though, so that could complicate things a little and challenge his attractiveness.
Sacramento: The Kings started lousy, got hot and showed some real hope, and now have fallen back to earth in a big way. It's yet another lost season in Sacramento, and they might as well take some action. Two pieces stand out. Center Dewayne Dedmon got a ridiculous $40 million deal over three years, but he has fallen down the rotation and has been vocal in his desire to get out of town. If the team could find a sucker to take the deal, they absolutely should. They could also look to deal Bogdan Bogdanovic. He's a very nice player, but with Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox on the roster, he's a bit of a luxury. They could find themselves in a bind financially in the next couple of years, so dealing Bogdanovic could help. If they do look to move him, they'll have plenty of interest.
Golden State: Given how lousy the season has been for the Warriors, you might expect them to look to move. But that likely isn't the case. D'Angelo Russell isn't likely to move because they need to see what he looks like with Curry and Thompson before they decide to move on. And some of their bench depth could go but likely wouldn't return enough to make it worthwhile. This is a team essentially in hibernation - preparing to pretend that this season never happened at all.
Portland: Injuries have just destroyed the ambitions of this team this year. It's been ugly. But while they have been just brutal, they are only two games out of the final playoff spot, so they aren't in a position to write off the year. And they like the core that they will have next year if all goes well, so they don't want to do anything massive. There are a couple of guys they would love to move - Hassan Whiteside and Kent Bazemore. Both have expiring contracts that are much bigger than either guy deserves to have, so that could make them moveable. It's not going to be a difference-making move involving either guy, though, so it wouldn't be shocking to see them stick around.
Minnesota: By this point there is absolutely no way that Karl-Anthony Towns is completely happy with the way things are going in Minnesota. He doesn't seem to want out yet, but he seems to be getting a little itchy. The team isn't going to trade him right now - though they could get a haul and a half if they did. So, they need to do something to try to make him a little happier. But there aren't many options. Robert Covington could be attractive, but as a solid 3-and-D guy with a reasonable deal with another year left, he could be just as attractive to keep around. This is a team who really needs to make a deal but probably doesn't have a deal of note to make. What a mess.
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