The NBA trade deadline is slowly approaching and hungry teams are lining up to shop players that can boost their roster for chances at the postseason or further success down the road. Although the trade deadline is just a blur sometimes, there are many players that have indicated their their current NBA home is not permanent in the slightest. From what we have seen with DeMarcus Cousins trade to the Pelicans, it’s safe to say that the front offices of the NBA can’t be trusted, when they say “we’re not shopping so and so”. Just ask Anthony Davis.
With this in mind, who will be moved before the trade deadline. There are five players that certainly fit the bill.
5. Paul George
If you believe that Paul George will stick around in Oklahoma City after their dismal NBA season so far, then you have one thing coming. Paul George has also indicated that he wants to join the Los Angeles Lakers. There is no indication that George will sign with the Thunder next year. Why would he. The Thunder have proved to him that he cannot be played in the team’s current system. In fact, the Thunder have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA this year. With so much talent, the Thunder are currently bordering the .500 mark, and are at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. That isn’t good.
The Thunder took a risk trading for Paul George when he expressed that he was going to sign with the Lakers in 2018. With nothing to show for it, the Thunder ought to trade the small forward before he walks away. Sam Presti has a reputation of making smart decisions in scenarios such as these, and he has made bold moves in the past. Expect Paul George to be traded to the Lakers before the trade deadline is up.
4. Marc Gasol
What went wrong? The Memphis Grizzlies are 9-23, and they appear to be closing the Marc Gasol era, especially after the firing of Dave Fizzdale. Mike Conley is injury prone, the team doesn’t have the talent to win games, and Gasol seems to be running out of patience. According to Gasol, he is content to stay in Memphis as long as the team needs him. However, what is the Grizzlies don’t need him anymore. The Grizzlies have proved that they can’t contend anymore. They don’t even appear poised enough to make the playoffs. Therefore, a rebuild would be the best thing for this organization.
Don’t expect Gasol to wear a Grizzlies uniform after the trade deadline. Although Gasol seems content no matter the situation, the Grizzlies seem to be ready to move on from him and focus on the future. At 32 years of age, Gasol still has plenty of gas left in the tank. He can serve as a starting center on a contender, while the Grizzlies can obtain the pieces they need to rebuild. This doesn’t sound like a deal that the Grizzlies would say no to.
3. Julius Randle
The Lakers starting lineup used to include Julius Randle, and he showed some promise in the power forward spot. That was all before Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma were drafted. Now, Randle seems to be the odd man out of the lineup. Walton has made it clear that he intends to start Lonzo no matter what. He is also giving increased minutes to Kuzma, who is having an amazing season. Randle’s minutes have waned as a result, and things might be heading towards an eventual trade. Randle is a quality piece, and he can certainly fetch a great price for a team that needs a power forward. The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trailblazers have a need at the power forward spot, and Randle would be an ideal fit.
Most importantly, the Lakers are in room to build their roster to compete for free agents this summer, while making their team strong enough to fight for a playoff spot down the road in March. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that Randle sticks around after the deadline. This is especially true if a team in need puts in an offer that the Lakers can’t refuse.
2. Robin Lopez
The Chicago Bulls are one of the worst teams in the NBA, but they are open for business. With low quality talent and draft picks that don’t seem to make sense, the Bulls are a marketplace for teams that are looking for more rotational pieces. Though, Robin Lopez may just be the exception. Lopez is playing well, averaging 13.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 2.1 APG. He is an ideal center for teams needing a spark of the bench. In fact, who could say no to a scoring center that can aggressively secure rebounds?
Still, the Bulls would be in no position to give up quality players. Why would they give up Lopez when he is their only reliable scorer. Easy. The Bulls have no intention of competing this year. Trading Lopez will be a great way to gain actual players that fit, and some draft picks. Rebuilding teams need draft picks. Therefore, expect the Bulls to dangle Lopez on a string up until the deadline.
1. DeAndre Jordan
DeAndre Jordan’s days as a Clipper are numbered. That’s because the Clippers are rebuilding and can get a load of players and draft picks in return for the rebounding big man. Theoretically, this trade will make no sense for the Clippers since Jordan is a quality contributor. However, with the departure of Chris Paul, there is no need for Jordan now. He is currently averaging 11.1 PPG and 15 RPG. He is one of the best centers in the league, and the Clippers can surely use him now. But, they won’t. The Clippers long term future should not have Jordan in their plans, mainly because he is expensive and he is somewhat of a liability on the offensive end.
If the Clippers can unload DeAndre Jordan to another team, they can potentially get a load of talented players and picks that can help them win now. That’s truly what it’s all about with rebuilding teams, and the Clippers are no exception. Before the deadline ends, Jordan will be traded, mainly because the Clippers will receive a bunch of tasty offers that the can’t deny.