Any media member who works NBA games knows that of all the trade rumors that cross the wire in a given year, maybe five percent actually get consummated. Despite that fact, there are few things more fun for basketball fans than dreaming up ideal ways to improve their favorite teams, and in-season trades absolutely are the best options for organizations in need of an immediate shot in the arm.
The following are four hypothetical swaps that make more than enough sense to happen, but just because they should, however, doesn’t mean they will. Still, it’s fun to dream, and these blockbusters would definitely change the fate of all eight teams involved:
Charlotte Hornets trade Lance Stephenson to the Indiana Pacers for C.J. Miles, Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson and a 2nd round pick.
For starters, Pacers owner Herb Simon already has said that he’d be perfectly content bringing back troubled guard Lance Stephenson, who simply has not made a place for himself with the Charlotte Hornets this year. Larry Bird has always been good for Stephenson, and the infrastructure of support in Indianapolis was a big reason Stephenson came along so quickly there as a key cog to some really good Pacers teams. It’s also worth noting that they never wanted to lose Stephenson; they simply couldn’t afford him. This trade doesn’t do a whole lot for the Hornets in terms of talent, but Copeland and Watson are on the last years of their deals and would free up a good chunk of the money they so errantly spent on Stephenson. The draft pick is a little sweetener for their troubles.
Brooklyn Nets trade Deron Williams to Sacramento Kings for Darren Collison, Jason Thompson and Derrick Williams.
Rumors have trickled out over the course of the last week that Sacramento could be interested in Deron Williams, which isn’t particularly surprising considering the Kings also were involved in the Rajon Rondo sweepstakes before that. They want an “elite” point guard and ownership isn’t afraid to spend money on big-name players. Brooklyn only would do something like this to shed money, but since Williams is owed over $63 million the next three years, trimming his salary is pretty strong motivation in this case. Plus, for what it’s worth, Darren Collison is having a really good year.
Chicago Bulls trade Taj Gibson to Phoenix Suns for Gerald Green, Anthony Tolliver and Shavlik Randolph and a first-round pick.
It’s going to be hard for the Chicago Bulls to hold onto guard Jimmy Butler at this point, especially now that he’s a likely All-Star and will command max, or near-max money in restricted free agency this summer. The only way to have a shot at affording him is to ship off Taj Gibson, who just so happens to play a position at which the Bulls have loads of depth. Green and Randolph are expiring contracts, and Tolliver will have one more year at $3 million left after this season, a deal which should be fairly easy to move. This generates cap space (and a draft pick) for the Bulls and gives Phoenix a really good player that is being severely underutilized for his current team. Given the right role and right minutes, Gibson is a 15/10 guy. That’s surely worth a pick and a couple of expiring deals.
Denver Nuggets trade Kenneth Faried to the Toronto Raptors for some combination of players and a first-round pick.
As soon as it was leaked to the media that Denver didn’t really want to give Kenneth Faried the $50 million contract extension they gave him over the summer, the trade rumors started to swirl, and already this year he’s been linked to about a half dozen different teams, including the Lakers and Knicks. Toronto, however, makes a lot of sense for Faried as he would solidify their frontcourt for the next four years and probably wouldn’t cost them much more than some expiring deals and a first-round pick that is likely to be toward the back-end of the round anyway. Toronto GM Masai Ujiri drafted Faried while in Denver, so he’s familiar with the kid and very likely hasn’t seen much to dissuade him from making this trade. The Nuggets, meanwhile, can get themselves a draft pick and hit the financial reset button, which apparently is what they’re looking for first and foremost. If better offers were out there, they would have made them by now.
What trades do you want to see happen before the February deadline? Are there any of these that you find particularly attractive? Hit up the comments section or continue the conversation on Twitter, and pray that for Christmas this year your team deals for the player they need!
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