With new and old faces in their respective teams, everything settling in after the NBA free agnecy aftermath, one thing is still on each team mind: How do we make ourselves even better?
If the best team in the NBA right now, the Golden State Warriors, did not settle resting on the championship laurels of their 4 All-Stars by getting DeMarcus Cousins, then why should the whole league rest? Unfortunately, most of the league is unlike the Warriors and their near spotless free agency wizardry. Some teams are paying for terrible contracts with their over-pays and lost potential. But all is not lost for regrettable!
Here are some trades that have the potential to be a perfect scenario for that huge contract.
Hassan Whiteside to the Bucks
It is no secret that the Milwaukee Bucks need a decent center. They have been linked numerous times to the estranged center. It may seem like long ago that he has averaged 17.0 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 2.1 during the 2016-17 season.
With the rise of positionless basketball and his cumbersome price tag, $25 million to be exact, it definitely looks as bad as his reduced role and playing time in Miami. The fact that Whiteside wants out does not help his trade value either.
While the Eric Bledsoe project has more to be desired, the Bucks are poised for a breakout year this season. If they prioritize win now mode than developing young players, going for Whiteside would simply vault the Bucks to top 5 in the East and give Miami the cap relief it covets.
Possible trade: John Henson and Tony Snell to the Heat, for Hassan Whiteside and a future second rounder to the Bucks.
JR Smith for Patty Mills
In a non-Popovich setting this might be a death sentence. Since it is not, it may not be as absurd as you think. If there is someone who can tame the wild JR Smith, it will definitely be Greg Popovich.
Let’s not look at his atrocious last season, playoff antics, and quite possibly what makes JR Smith himself. That is a lot to swallow, but given the physical tools and skill set, Smith could be what the Spurs need to revive their playoff aspirations.
A lesser Stephen Jackson-esqe kind of role would plug the 3 and D void left by the departure of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. If Pop manages to bring back even a shadow of his former Sixth Man of the Year form it would definitely be a win for the Spurs.
This also opens up some needed burn on the point guard slot for the Spurs youngsters.
As for Cleveland, a Patty Mills and a Collin Sexton pairing sounds intriguing. A player from the Spurs stable with a winning pedigree might be just what the post-LeBron Cavs need.
Do not expect this to go down without a ton of sweeteners from Cleveland.
Possible Trade: Patty Mills to the Cavaliers, JR Smith plus multiple future picks to the Spurs.
Ryan Anderson to the Lake Show
It would not be a surprise if new Laker LeBron James would miss his old running mate Kevin Love in Cleveland. With Love locked up as main man in Cleveland, James should give Kevin Love light aka Ryan Anderson a try and reminisce that old Cleveland catch and shoot magic.
Aside from Michael Beasley, most of their Free Agent signings are three ball challenged. Anderson’s career 38% clip from long range will definitely be welcome in Hollywood.
With the dismissal of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute the Rockets have been defensively thin at the wing. Unless incoming Rocket Carmelo Anthony embraces more than an ounce of defense, the Rockets are in a worse position than last year.
Enter Luol Deng. The Lakers paid him big bucks to be the veteran wiseman who looks after the young guns. Last time the two time All-star truly played significantly was for the Miami Heat.
Nowadays, what he lacks in athleticism and lateral movement he makes up with good positioning and defensive IQ. He can also hit the three given an open look.
Given that Deng is still sharp and in playing shape despite the age, it would be a good idea to take a flier on him.
Possible Trade: Luol Deng to the Rockets, Ryan Anderson and a second round pick to the Lakers.
Nicolas Batum as a Clipper
As a Blazer, there was a time that everyone took a flier on Nicolas Batum. Contributes two-way and athletically gifted, the Frenchman was full of All-star promise.
With the Charlotte Hornets overpaying him and the rest history, Nicolas Batum is being paid as an All-star without playing like one. A change of scenery might do him and the Hornets good.
The Los Angeles Clippers are supposed to be rebuilding post-Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but their roster decisions seem to put them in limbo, a state of not really tanking, but not really winning either. They need a potential building block to move forward.
Getting Batum and Malik Monk plus picks make it enticing enough for the Clippers to stock on assets. A Batum, Malik Monk, and Gilgeous-Alexander pairing makes it interesting enough to watch.
On the other hand, a package of Tobias Harris, Milos Teodosic, and Wesley Johnson from the Clippers would be a soild haul. Future cap relief, legitimate scoring threat and playmaker aside Kemba Walker.
Teams can play around with their trade exceptions if put in a pinch.
Potential Trade: Tobias Harris, Milos Teodosic, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to the Hornets, Nicolas Batum, Malik Monk, a future first and second rounder to the Clippers.
Evan Turner to Brooklyn
It is still a mystery how a wing who needs the ball in his hands to be efficient with no three ball commanded a payday like he did. Knowing you have Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, this signing was an easy bust. There was no need to try it on the court.
The Brooklyn Nets are on a salary absorbing spree for former lottery busts and picks. With their abundance of cap space and no hurry to contend any time soon, this trade sets them up for the Free Agency of 2020, which is headlined by marquee names like Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler.
As the Nets stockpile on more assets and prepare for Free Agency, the Blazers get rid of their bad contracts which have haunted their progress for years. It would not hurt their playoff aspirations to get two season hardened wings in DeMarre Carroll and Jared Dudley.
Possible Trade: Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, and future picks to the Nets, DeMarre Carroll and Jared Dudley to the Blazers.