One of the benefits of not being invited to the Florida bubble is the fact that these NBA teams — aka the “Delete 8” — have been afforded more time to prepare for next season. It’s not exactly the best situation to be in, but at this point, we need to look at the silver lining.
Below we’ve conjured up one trade deal for each of the eight non-bubble NBA teams that could potentially propel them to relevance next season and beyond.
The deal: Hawks send Clint Capela to the Charlotte Hornets for Terry Rozier, NBA 2020 second-round pick
Terry Rozier has been tremendous in his first season with the Hornets, and he should be a good fit for the Hawks. His defense should allow Trae Young to conserve more energy for what he does best — buckets.
Losing Clint Capela without the big man ever playing a game for the team is not ideal, but it should allow John Collins to get back to his dominating ways as Atlanta’s primary five last season. For the Hornets, Capela would be a great prospect to build around.
The deal: Hornets send Terry Rozier, 2020 NBA first-round pick to the Orlando Magic for Aaron Gordon
Aaron Gordon is not exactly superstar-caliber material, but perhaps it’s in Charlotte where he’s finally going to be able to live up to his full potential. For their part, the Hornets are just desperate to bring in a guy that could bring the noise to Charlotte, and Gordon’s flashy dunks might just do the trick.
For the Magic, Rozier might be the answer they’re looking for at the point guard spot. Parting ways with Gordon is going to be tough, but the first-round pick is certainly going to sweeten the deal for them.
The deal: Bulls send Thaddeus Young, Otto Porter Jr. to the Detroit Pistons for Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin
This is a high risk-high reward deal for the Bulls, as they will be acquiring two injury-prone stars in this trade. However, Griffin has had one of the best seasons of his career with the Pistons last term — when he was healthy at least — so he should be great for the Bulls next term as long as he’s playing.
The sentimental angle of a Rose homecoming is awesome, but beyond that, the veteran point guard still has some gas left in the tank. So much so, that he could help Chicago make a push for the postseason next season.
Detroit’s acquisition of Young and Porter is more geared towards their team overhaul. Porter is on an expiring deal, which should clear more cap space for the Pistons to make a run at a big name (or two?) during the 2021 NBA offseason.
The deal: Cavs send Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr., Larry Nance Jr., 2020 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Chris Paul
Cleveland will need to part ways with some of their best young assets — including their NBA first-round pick for the upcoming draft, but it should be worth it. A trio of Chris Paul, Kevin Love, and Andre Drummon should strike fear in their opponents. Plus, they get to keep Darius Garland, who Paul should also take under his wing.
The Thunder gets younger and promising potential stars in the deal, as they continue on their quest to be one of the best teams in the league in a few years’ time.
The deal: Pistons send Derrick Rose, Thon Maker, 2021 NBA first-round pick to the Brooklyn Nets for Spencer Dinwiddie
Assuming that the Pistons get a healthy Blake Griffin and get to keep Christian Wood, Spencer Dinwiddie might be the piece they need to become relevant again. Luke Kennard will also play a pivotal role from the wing, but a guy like Dinwiddie manning the point guard spot for the Pistons is going to be very interesting.
This will be a cap-space clearing move for the Nets, while also acquiring an outstanding veteran in Rose, as well as a Top 10 pick in the 2020 draft.
Golden State Warriors
The deal: Warriors send Andrew Wiggins, Eric Paschall, 2020 first-round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks for Giannis Antetokounmpo
Let’s throw in a crazy one on the list.
Assuming that the Bucks fail to sign the NBA MVP to an extension this summer, teams will be lining up to trade for him, and the Warriors might just have the pieces to win the Giannis sweepstakes. For the Dubs, acquiring Giannis obviously places them in dynasty-mode yet again.
On the other hand, Milwaukee will need to start fresh if they lose their superstar, and what better way to do this than with a Top 1 or Top 2 pick in the upcoming draft.
The deal: Wolves send 2020 first-round pick to the Chicago Bulls for Lauri Markkanen
For the Wolves, it’s all about finding a young power forward who could slide in nicely alongside their young core of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Jarrett Culver. Markkanen, 22, who actually spent his rookie year with Minnesota, would be a great fit.
For the Bulls, acquiring a potential Top 3 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft would present them with a great opportunity to find a new cornerstone superstar for the future.
New York Knicks
The deal: Knicks send 2020 NBA first-round pick, Julius Randle, Dennis Smith Jr. to the Phoenix Suns for Devin Booker
The Knicks have been in dire need of a superstar over the past few years, and Devin Booker might just be their man. Just imagine the scoring prowess of a Devin Booker-RJ Barrett duo once the latter starts playing more consistently. Along with Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, this could be a lineup that can present itself as a legitimate threat in the East in a year or two.
The Suns might just be willing to part ways with their cornerstone star given how they haven’t really been winning with him at the helm. A potential Top 3 pick in the 2020 draft, along with a guy like Randle is a package that the front office might just green-light.