With the regular season now over, the league’s five most struggling teams of this season, the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, and Detroit Pistons, will certainly be looking for improvement. With that being said, the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft will likely be these teams’ primary focus. Adding a young building block isn’t the only way to improve, however, as these teams showed this season. NBA trades are always active during the offseason and a quick path to better results.
NBA Trades to Improve Bottom Three Teams
Houston Causes an NBA Trades Bonanza
Los Angeles Clippers receive: Tim Hardaway Jr.
Dallas Mavericks receive: Eric Gordon
Houston will be looking to trade Gordon, a streaky scorer and solid defender on a relatively large contract. Ideally, they’d look for cap space, but they receive Morris here who could mentor the plethora of young forwards on the roster. In addition, Morris will become a valuable piece around next season’s trade deadline. The Rockets can hunt for future assets there. Lastly, Boston Jr. is another young player showing solid promise.
The Clippers go a little smaller here, but then again they’ll have Kawhi Leonard back next season. They opted for several young twos and threes in their rotation this season due to injuries, but add experience with Hardaway Jr. His contract is a tad inflated, but one the Clippers will certainly take on to ensure playoff success.
Dallas replaces one guard with another here. Hardaway Jr. has been good for the Mavericks in the past, but his injury this season proved that the Mavericks don’t quite need him. Gordon can replicate Hardaway Jr.’s offense, but also bring in more defense. In addition, Gordon gets paid slightly less which betters the Mavericks’ chances of re-signing Jalen Brunson.
A Florida Swap
Orlando Magic receive: Duncan Robinson.
Let’s assume Jonathan Isaac returns to play next season and the Magic target one of the premier big men in this year’s draft. They’ll be at a good place with this kind of talent paired with their young and promising guards. They won’t have a major pressing need, considering they’re still building, but can always add shooting.
He didn’t perform as well this season as originally thought, especially after getting a hefty contract from Miami last year, but he remains one of the league’s premier shooters. Orlando’s quick guard play and tough and growing big men will give Robinson plenty of open looks. His ability to drain threes is their quickest route to improvement.
Miami probably doesn’t want to let go of Robinson, but this deal makes sense. First, it opens up future cap space to retain Tyler Herro. That’s certainly one of their primary goals. Ross is a perfect bench piece for this team, and he seems like the ideal Heat player. He’ll bring in strong shooting, great athleticism, and tough defense. Lastly, the Heat still get a talented young guard in Hampton.
Detroit Causes Four Team Mayhem
Portland Trail Blazers receive: Jerami Grant.
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Dario Saric and a Phoenix second-round pick.
Grant has been rumored to leave Detroit for a while, and he finally does in this trade.
Like Orlando, and probably Houston as well, it can be assumed that Detroit will target one of the three premier big men in the upcoming draft. That makes Grant more expendable. First off, they’ll get a very solid “three-and-d” guard in Shamet. He’ll play solid defense and will get looks with Cade Cunningham. Little is another promising piece, and second-round picks are a bonus.
Portland cleared house at the trade deadline but held onto Damian Lillard. They’ll look to build an improved roster around their superstar, making Grant a prime target.
Phoenix will contend for the NBA championship this offseason, but also likely for the next couple of seasons. Adding a veteran, and former Sun, like Bledsoe, can only help the cause. Muscala is also a solid depth option at the five.
Lastly, the Thunder take on the last year of Saric’s contract to be able to acquire yet another draft pick.
Main Image: Embed from Getty Images