NBA Daily: Trade Watch – Northwest Division

David Yapkowitz continues Basketball Insiders’ “NBA Trade Watch” series by covering the Northwest Division.

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Updated 1 year ago on

5 min read

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February is right around the corner and with that is the arrival of the NBA’s trade deadline. While we’ve seen some deals occur already, expect trade chatter to start heating up as the Feb. 7 deadline inches closer.

We kicked off a new series this week at Basketball Insiders taking a look at each division in the league and what possible moves, or lack thereof, each team might be looking to make. We continue this week with the Northwest Division.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets have consistently been one of the best teams, not only in the Western Conference, but in the league overall. There isn’t much they really need to do at this point. They’ve got a very talented roster and it’s worth a shot to see how this group performs together in the playoffs without messing with the chemistry by making any unnecessary moves.

Their main focus should be getting everyone back to being 100 percent healthy. Both Gary Harris and Will Barton have recently returned to the lineup, albeit being on minutes restrictions. Paul Millsap is still out, and Isaiah Thomas has yet to make his season debut. Despite the rash of injuries they’ve suffered, Denver’s depth has kept them afloat.

This is not to say that if the right deal should emerge, a deal that would significantly improve the team, that the Nuggets shouldn’t consider it. More so that they don’t need to mess with what they have for the sake of making a deal.

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have been mentioned in trade chatter pretty much since the season began. First it was Jimmy Butler, who got his wish of being shipped out of Minnesota. After that, a couple of the names who have been mentioned have been Tyus Jones and Gorgui Dieng.

But most of that chatter happened under former head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau. Under Thibs, Jones was getting squeezed out of the rotation in favor of Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose. Several teams that are in need of a point guard were mentioned as having interest in trading for Jones. Dieng’s name popped up as a potential filler in that the Wolves might be looking to get out from under his contract and include him in any potential deal.

With Thibodeau gone, however, and Ryan Saunders in place, the team might want to wait on making any moves while the new system takes place.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Despite being one of the best teams in the league after a slow start, the Thunder have one glaring need that they should look to address at the trade deadline. That need is outside shooting. As of now, they have two consistent threats from the perimeter, Paul George and Terrance Ferguson who are both shooting 38.9 percent from distance.

A third – and consistent – three-point threat would benefit the Thunder greatly, and there is one name who has emerged on the trade market that would solve that problem. Recent reports have suggested that the Miami Heat and Wayne Ellington are searching for a new destination. The veteran wing has been largely out of the rotation this season. He shot 40.7 percent from three last season and is a career 40.9 percent shooter from deep.

If the Thunder can find the right pieces to make this deal work, they should definitely make a move to acquire the veteran sharpshooter.

Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers have also consistently been one of the best teams in the Western Conference this season. Their success the past couple of seasons has largely been on the continuity and chemistry that the current roster has displayed. It’s no secret, however, that when judging their roster against other top teams in the West, they just don’t have the same depth of talent.

In an ideal world, the Blazers would be able to make a move for a third star player alongside Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The reality of the situation is they probably don’t have the assets to make something like that happen aside from trading one of the two which leaves them in same situation they’re currently in.

Neil Olshey should definitely be on the phones looking to make something happen, but again, it shouldn’t be for the sake of making a move. Sometimes standing pat is better than rushing into a short-sighted trade. The Blazers have had great chemistry the past couple of seasons. Sometimes that’s not something you want to mess up.

Utah Jazz

The Jazz have somewhat turned their season around despite starting off as one of the most disappointing teams in the league. After last season’s playoff run, the expectation was that the Jazz would take that next step and become one of the West’s elite teams. That hasn’t happened this season. But they have managed to crawl out from the bottom of the West and put themselves back in the playoff picture.

The Memphis Grizzlies have apparently begun fielding trade offers for both Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, and some recent stories have speculated at the possibility of Utah getting involved in those talks. Right now, the Jazz have only one player in Donovan Mitchell who can consistently generate his own offense. Conley would be a huge help in that regard, not to mention his playmaking ability.

Ricky Rubio is a free agent this summer and Utah will need to address their point guard situation.

Acquiring Conley would go a long way to answering that question. Yes, he does have a big contract, but he’s still capable of playing at a high level. He’s definitely worth Utah inquiring about.

It’s bound to be an interesting next few weeks as we inch closer to the trade deadline. Teams and players are most likely going to be hearing their names mentioned repeatedly in the days to follow. Follow along here at Basketball Insiders as we continue our division by division trade watch.

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David Yapkowitz has been a staff writer for Basketball Insiders since 2017. Based in Los Angeles, he focuses on the Pacific Division as well as the NBA at large.

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