The NBA trade deadline is just over a week away, and as usual, the rumor mill is swirling with possible blockbuster trades. We examine just a few of them:
Jimmy Butler to Boston
While it’s still unlikely, and wouldn’t address Boston’s biggest concern (rebounding), Jimmy Buckets to Beantown is still a possibility, and a fun one to discuss at that.
The Celtics have plenty of assets available for a possible deal, and with Chicago spiraling towards irrelevancy, a possible deal becomes even more intriguing.
If a deal were to be agreed upon, it would inevitably include the first round pick that the C’s acquired from the Nets (which is all but guaranteed to be a top-3 pick). Not even Danny Ainge can wiggle his way around this fact. The most likely deal includes that pick, along with some young assets currently on the roster, and maybe another draft pick.
Butler would likely take on the small forward role with Boston, and would make for a lethal defensive combination with Avery Bradley. The only concern lies on the offensive end. Is Isaiah Thomas willing to see a major dip in his role in the offense to accommodate for Butler? That’s a risk I’m not sure I’m willing to take, especially considering the package it’ll take to pry Butler from the Windy City.
Carmelo Anthony to Los Angeles (Clippers)
This rumor has been circulating for weeks, and for as unlikely as it seems at first glance, it actually makes sense for both sides.
Given the current state of the Knicks, it’s probably best to move on from the Carmelo Anthony experiment. It had its moments, particularly in 2012 and into 2013, but was an overall failure, and is doing more harm than good at this point. The smartest option at this point is to abandon ship and move on, even if the return value isn’t necessarily what you’d expect. The cap space they’d be getting should make up for that.
The Clippers make sense as the recipients of Melo for multiple of reasons. The first one being that, since Chris Paul went down, they’ve been in a tailspin, and are a stone’s throw from the 7th seed. Anthony could provide instant offense that could ensure a top-4 spot out west.
But the other, and more important reason is that this is likely the last season that these Clips are together. That is of course, barring a deep postseason run. Meaning a Conference Finals appearance. Minimum. And given the quality of upper-echelon Western Conference teams, the Clippers could find themselves suffer another early round loss if they don’t find more talented swingmen.
Okafor to Chicago
It’s likely that Jahil Okafor is no longer a Sixer by this time next year, and a deal to Chicago makes perfect sense.
In his rookie season, Okafor averaged nearly 18 points, and likely would’ve won ROY had it not been for Karl-Anthony Towns. But it’s been a completely different story for the Duke alumnus this campaign. By no means any fault of his own, Jah has been relegated to a role player off the bench due to the return of Joel Embiid.
It’s a tough situation for any player, especially any young player. But the solution may be found in the Windy City. Chicago are currently playing Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicia heavy minutes at the 5. That simply isn’t good enough for a team that’s currently in a playoff spot. And given that Chicago struck out big time on Anthony Davis a few summers back, they may go all-in for another homegrown big man.
The only question is return value. Despite his diminished role, Philadelphia still aren’t going to be trigger-happy with Okafor. He still has the talent to be a 20-point scorer in the right offense. But the Bulls are an older roster with hardly any enticing draft picks, so finding common ground will be difficult.