As we head towards the February NBA trade deadline, the number of trades and trade rumors will continue to grow. There’s unprecedented parity in the league this year. Also, each playoff contender has a number of holes to fill. Especially with the league-wide desire for shooters, this deadline is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in years. Here are three trade ideas for the upcoming deadline. While hypothetical, each is based upon verified NBA trade rumors.
NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Trade Rumor 1: Joel Embiid to the Clippers
Clippers Receive: Joel Embiid, Jonah Bolden, Shake Milton
76ers Receive: Maurice Harkless, Ivica Zubac, Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet, Jerome Robinson, removal of protection for 2020 first-round pick, 2021 second-round pick
This trade rumor may seem laughable at first, but both sides would benefit from this deal. According to Justin Verrier of The Ringer, via Clutchpoints, Joel Embiid could be shipped from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Los Angeles Clippers at the trade deadline as concern rises over his fit with superstar Ben Simmons. While the two are among the best in the NBA, their skill-sets just do not mesh. Also, the Clippers need a center.
Philadelphia 76ers Perspective
Through this deal, the 76ers would be committing to Ben Simmons as their franchise centerpiece and they would gain pieces for him to succeed. It is clear that Simmons is at his best when he’s playing fast. Trading away Embiid would allow the 76ers to improve their slow pace, currently ranked 21st in the league. Ever since Embiid was injured, Simmons has been playing faster and with more freedom. As a result of his newfound aggressiveness, Simmons has drawn more defensive pressure and created more open looks for teammates.
The addition of Landry Shamet and Maurice Harkless would aid Simmons in assist opportunities, and the 76ers would greatly improve upon their three-point shooting woes. Also, acquiring Jerome Robinson would provide a high-reward youngster that would bolster the 76ers’ weak bench. Ivica Zubac and Montrezl Harrell would fit right in as defensive-minded rim protectors.
Los Angeles Clippers Perspective
By trading for Embiid, the Clippers would solidify their contending status. While the Clippers currently have two decent centers, neither provides the skill set that can elevate the Clippers to the next level. There’s a heightened sense of urgency in Los Angeles, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George able to opt-out in 2 more years. Add to that the Clippers’ poor play in recent weeks. Embiid would be the perfect solution. He would space the floor, as well as, provide rim protection, making life a lot easier for the team’s superstars.
In addition, Shake Milton and Jonah Bolden provide young depth that can be applied come playoffs. In short, this trade for Embiid would create a tantalizing Big Three that could elevate the Clippers to their first-ever championship.
Trade 2: Davis Bertans to the Nuggets
Nuggets Receive: Davis Bertans
Wizards Receive: Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, 2023 second round pick
According to NBC Sports Washington, the Denver Nuggets are the most recent team to join the Davis Bertans NBA trade rumors. With Bertans likely departing the Washington Wizards as a free agent this summer, trading the sharpshooter for assets would be in the rebuilding Wizards’ best interest. For Denver, their lack of shooting makes them unlikely to advance in the playoffs. The two teams’ opposite trajectories make a Bertans deal mutually beneficial.
Washington Wizards Perspective
This year has been one for youth development for the Wizards. Bertans has been a revelation, posting 15.2 points per game on 42.8 percent from three. While his emergence has been a surprise, Bertans probably isn’t part of the Wizards’ future. The Wizards would be better served to trade Bertans for young players and draft assets.
Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt haven’t had much time to develop with the Nuggets, but they are all solid young shooters. The trio should gain more minutes with the rebuilding Wizards, and they’ll ease John Wall‘s transition back into the NBA.
Denver Nuggets Perspective
This trade should improve the Nuggets’ biggest problem this season: shooting. The Nuggets don’t have a bad offense, demonstrated by their seventh-best offensive rating. The problem lies in the fact that they have too many creators and not enough perimeter shooters. According to nearly every advanced stat, the Nuggets shoot poorly, especially from deep. They rank 20th or worse in True Shooting Percentage, Three-Point Attempts, and Three-Point Percentage. To alleviate these deficiencies, Bertans would space the floor, provide assist opportunities for Nikola Jokic, ease defensive pressure off its playmakers, and aid in the development of the Nuggets’ young players (i.e. Michael Porter ). Adding Bertans means the Nuggets would be able to hold their own against the Western Conference’s elite.
Trade 3: Kyle Kuzma to the Kings
Kings Receive: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Troy Daniels, Talen Horton-Tucker
Lakers Receive: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica
While it is surely polarizing, this trade could be just what both teams need. It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings are mutually interested in Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kyle Kuzma. However, Sam Amick of The Athletic noted the Kings’ disinterest in a one-for-one swap. Thus, a deal involving Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica should fit the needs of both teams while adhering to the multi-player requirement that the Kings have set forth.
Los Angeles Lakers Perspective
This trade would fit the Lakers’ most urgent needs: shooting and secondary creation behind LeBron James. While currently leading the Western Conference rankings, the Lakers have relied more on inside shots compared to the three-ball. The Lakers really have to start shooting and making more three-pointers to contend. Part of the blame can be attributed to Rajon Rondo and Quinn Cook, who have regressed as shooters. Both Bogdanovic and Bjelica are shooting around 40 percent from downtown.
In addition, Bogdanovic would provide another playmaker for the team. Due to the Lonzo Ball trade as well as the underperformance of key free-agent signings, the Lakers have a lack of quality shot creators. Consequently, when James is on the bench, the Lakers’ offensive rating plummets. Adding Bogdanovic would alleviate some of the burden on James
Sacramento Kings Perspective
From the Kings’ perspective, the deal is a win for the present and the future. The Kings would be smart to trade Bogdanovic as soon as possible, given his pending free-agent status. They could be receiving a future All-Star, as Kuzma has demonstrated great shooting potential. Along with Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox, Kuzma could form the core of a perennial playoff contender. With increased playing time, he should develop into a full-fledged offensive weapon.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s off-ball shooting should also help Fox and Hield develop. Also, he would help improve their shaky defense. Talen Horton-Tucker could be a star defensive player with development and playing time. With this increased playing time, they can develop into helpful playoff pieces.
Overall, the Kings should trade for young players that can contribute right now, as well as later this decade. Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope, and Horton-Tucker all fit this description. Therefore, making this trade is a solid win for the Kings.
Embed from Getty Images