3 early NBA trade deadline moves that need to happen
A quarter of the 2021-22 NBA season is just about done. There’s still a lot of basketball left to go, obviously. But this 20-game sample size could already be a good barometer for how the rest of the season could go. Some teams have started out on fire, while others are still understandably rounding into form. In this post, though, we’re looking at NBA trade deadline moves that need to happen.
There are still over three months to go before the NBA’s trade deadline on February 10, but the rumor mill is already heating up. The trade deadline is usually a spicy time of the NBA calendar.
Here are some early NBA trade deadline moves that should go down.
NBA Trade Deadline Moves We Need
3. Ben Simmons to Portland Trail Blazers
Perhaps the most fired-off name on the trade machine is Simmons. The three-time All-Star has yet to suit up for the Philadelphia 76ers this season and it’s clear that his days in the City of Brotherly Love are all but over. Sixers GM Daryl Morey has been trying to shop Simmons even during the preseason. One of the most talked-about landing spots for him is with the Trail Blazers.
The Trail Blazers seem to have no interest in blowing it up and trading superstar guard Damian Lillard. Likewise, the six-time All-Star has remained adamant about his desire to stay in Rip City and try to win a championship there. With that, if the Trail Blazers look to shake things up, they could look to trade Lillard’s long-time partner CJ McCollum and bring in a more defensive-oriented player in Simmons. The Sixers, meanwhile, could eventually settle and acquire a gifted scorer like McCollum who complements the game of franchise superstar Joel Embiid more.
This move benefits both sides. In fact, the two clubs have reportedly talked about a Simmons-McCollum swap. However, Philly’s asking price includes three first rounders and three pick swaps, which the Trail Blazers obviously rejected. If the Sixers lower their price tag and realize how McCollum could be a valuable piece to their potential championship run, perhaps this deal could go down in February, when the landscape of the season is already much clearer.
2. Russell Westbrook out of Los Angeles Lakers
Westbrook’s stint as a member of the Lakers has not gotten off to an encouraging start. The 2016-17 NBA MVP struggled mightily to begin his Lakers career and questions about his fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis already surfaced. Westbrook has been playing much better over the last couple of weeks. But if the Lakers’ inconsistencies continue, they might just already give up on the Westbrook experiment and ship him out of Tinseltown.
It’s definitely going to be tough for the Lakers to find a trade partner that would be willing to eat up the remaining $91.2 million of Westbrook’s contract. Still, he will be on an expiring deal next season and there could be one fringe playoff team that could talk itself into believing Westbrook could be the man to put the squad over the top.
One team that’s been heavily rumored as a potential trade partner for the Lakers is the New York Knicks. It’ll be difficult to work the numbers, but perhaps there’s a scenario that the two franchises could find a way to make the swap. Maybe a third team gets involved in a future Westbrook trade. While Westbrook has been finding some sort of a groove lately, the first 20-plus games of the season indicate that he may not find himself still sporting the Purple and Gold by the end of the campaign.
3. John Wall to the New York Knicks
Wall has basically been a sitting duck on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets. Wall and the Rockets initially agreed on the veteran guard to sit out until they figure out a way to move him. Recent reports, however, indicate that both sides are now working on a possibility for Wall to suit up for the Rockets this season and become an on-court mentor for the young squad. In the same way, Houston may also be doing this in an effort to showcase Wall’s value as a potential trade piece.
Eating up the remaining $91.7 million in Wall’s contract may be tough to swallow for any team looking to acquire him. Still, the 31-year-old being on an expiring deal by next season shouldn’t sting too much. The Knicks have emerged as a potential landing spot for Wall. With Kemba Walker getting bumped from coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation, rumors flared about the possibility of a Walker-Wall swap.
Wall showed last season that he is still capable of putting up solid numbers, having averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists in his first season since returning from a torn Achilles. If the plans of him playing for the Rockets push through and he shows that he is still the John Wall of old, he could end up becoming a Knick by February at the NBA trade deadline.