6 Trades That Should Have Happened

The Los Angeles Lakers could have moved Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, but did not. What other potential trades were botched Thursday?

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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Now that the 2014 NBA trade deadline is in the books, we can take a look at some of the trades that maybe should have happened, but didn’t for one reason or another.

While this was, for the most part, not a “blockbuster” trade deadline, it could have been so much more interesting had teams pulled the trigger on some deals that were either close to happening or would have made a ton of sense for the two teams involved.

Plenty of smaller deals happened on Thursday, but here’s a few bigger ones that could have also happened had things gone down a little differently:

1. Iman Shumpert for Darren Collison – New York spent the better part of the last week shopping Iman Shumpert to various teams, and while those discussions were stalled to some degree when Shumpert injured his knee the day before the deadline, there was still enough interest from teams like the Thunder and Clippers that a couple of deals for Shumpert were reportedly close on Thursday. The conversations with L.A. were particularly interesting because of the needs both teams would have satisfied by pulling the trigger, especially now that J.J. Redick is expected to miss another big chunk of time. Ultimately, the Clippers didn’t want to take on Ray Felton (and who can blame them?), so things fell apart, but Shumpert in the L.A. lineup would have been really interesting. He would have been even more interesting in Oklahoma City (which was also discussed), but where he’s not interesting is in New York, where he’s jammed into a pretty loaded shooting guard rotation for the Knicks.

2. Luol Deng for Josh Smith – When the Cavaliers initially acquired Luol Deng, they knew that, at the very least, they were bringing aboard an expiring contract. They wanted (and still want) to keep Deng long-term, but Deng is reportedly not sold on an extended future there and wants to test the free agency market. With so much money floating around this summer, he’s bound to get plenty of big offers, and if he leaves, the Cavaliers would be left with nothing. A trade for Josh Smith would have given them a forward they could keep on the roster beyond this season, but what they reportedly really wanted for Deng was a first-round pick, which nobody was offering up for what probably would’ve equated to a two-month Deng rental. Taking on Smith, though, would have been a concession that LeBron James is no more than a free agency pipe dream, but they apparently aren’t ready to give that pipe dream up just yet. So, Deng remains in Ohio, for now.

3. Thaddeus Young to anywhere – Heading into the deadline, it was obvious that Philadelphia was going to look to cash out their veterans and impending free agents to try and acquire as many assets as possible rather than lose them all for nothing over the summer. Philly made three trades on Thursday, ending the day with about a third of the 2014 Draft’s second round under their control, but despite the fact that Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes were both sent to better teams, Young was left to flounder on what is now an even worse Sixers squad. The difference between Young and the other guys, though, is that he’s got years and money left on his deal that probably made it a little harder to move him. Still, he’s an undeniably talented forward that would have fit well on a playoff team, but unfortunately he’s going to have a very frustrating final third of the season.

4. Jordan Hill to Brooklyn – In trading Steve Blake, the L.A. Lakers were making a sort of public admission that the current roster is broken, and once he was sent packing, the rest of the roster started popping up in trade rumors, as well. One of the most public of those rumors was the one in which Brooklyn showed serious interest in the Lakers’ power forward. Thanks to a traded player exception, the Nets could have simply absorbed Hill’s $3.5 million contract, giving the Lakers luxury tax relief and the Nets a necessary rotational big guy. L.A. reportedly wanted a draft pick in the exchange, though, and since the Nets are so skimpy on those at this point, the deal fell apart. It’s a shame because it would have made a ton of sense for both organizations.

5. Pau Gasol to Phoenix – No doubt about it, the Suns wanted Gasol, and the Lakers would have loved to dump his $19+ million salary, but Gasol reportedly did not really want to play for the Suns beyond this year, and that scared Phoenix off of handing over $19 million worth of assets to get a deal done. Gasol doesn’t have to sign a contract anywhere he’s not interested in playing, but setting his personal reasons aside, the basketball reasons for making this happen would have saved L.A. money and helped Phoenix in the playoffs.

6. Emeka Okafor in exchange anybody who would actually play – The Suns have been better than anybody thought they’d be, but they’re entirely too young and inexperienced to make any sort of postseason run in what has proven to be an insanely tough Western Conference. Okafor’s insured expiring deal could have been swapped for any of a number of talented players (not just Gasol) that could have helped the team be more competitive. They’ve got plenty of cap space, but they need some more veteran help. Holding onto Okafor’s expiring deal doesn’t really help them.

There were a ton of deals on deadline day, but most of them were small. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there could have been so many more trades had some of the above teams found some more common ground. There’s always the summer, right?

What other deals were you disappointed to not have seen consummated? Hit up the comments section below, or continue the conversation on Twitter.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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