The trade deadline is fast approaching with many teams looking to improve their rosters by making some big moves. We often see major trades done right before the deadline passes because franchises want to wait until the right offer presents itself. Of course, as in the case with any other season, there are All-Star players involved in never-ending trade rumors.
We expect that there will be some blockbuster moves because no team wants to rest on their laurels as the postseason approaches. There are plenty of title contenders that are not happy with their current play, and some rebuilding teams want to free up cap space and move on from players that do not fit into their scheme. With the end of January only a few weeks away, here are the 5 most realistic trades that we can expect to happen this season.
5. Dallas Mavericks Acquire The Best Shot Blocker In The NBA
Dallas Mavericks Receive: Myles Turner
Indiana Pacers Receive: Dwight Powell, Jalen Brunson, 2024 First-Round Pick
The Dallas Mavericks have been in the mix for Myles Turner for a long time now. The franchise feel that they need an upgrade at the center position even if Dwight Powell has been a solid starter over the past few seasons. There is no doubt that Turner is a better player than Powell, and he brings the best shot-blocking skill set in the league to Dallas. A twin towers pairing with Kristaps Porzingis and Myles Turner would be nearly impossible to score against in the paint.
The Mavericks have managed to build up the value of Jalen Brunson, a very capable backup point guard who has 6th Man of the Year capabilities. Losing him will hurt, but they need to find a way to make changes to force the team past the first round of the playoffs. For Indiana, they also receive a strong package to build for the future en route to a possible rebuild.
The Pacers have been shopping Turner for a while now, and receiving a nice package from Dallas will be enough for them. Meanwhile, the Mavericks greatly improve their defense while adding a paint presence who can also shoot the three. Turner is nailing 34.9% from three over his career, along with 2.3 BPG. Expect the Mavericks to get close to acquiring Turner this year.
4. Chicago Bulls Get Even Better With Jerami Grant
Chicago Bulls Receive: Jerami Grant
Detroit Pistons Receive: Patrick Williams, Derrick Jones Jr, 2022 First-Round Pick (From Portland)
Perhaps no team improved in one season like the Chicago Bulls have, because adding DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, and Lonzo Ball has made the team extremely competitive on both ends of the floor. The Bulls are a team nobody wants to play against, because they are unselfish on offense and exceptionally well-coached.
The only way for the Bulls to get even better would be to upgrade the power forward position, especially because promising youngster Patrick Williams is out injured. Derrick Jones Jr is a great athlete who can score the ball on occasion, but he pales in comparison to what Jerami Grant brings. Detroit’s best player is excellent on the fast break and has improved his isolation scoring over the past two seasons.
Detroit would also be better off acquiring Patrick Williams for their future core and also a valuable first-round pick. Williams is only 20 years old and could be a rebuilding option for the franchise alongside Cade Cunningham. Grant is in his prime and would be better suited to help a contender like the Bulls, so this package works perfectly for both teams.
3. The Clippers Finally Land Their Point Guard
Los Angeles Clippers Receive: John Wall
Houston Rockets Receive: Eric Bledsoe, Serge Ibaka, Marcus Morris
The Clippers have been looking for an All-Star playmaker for a few years, ever since they signed Kawhi Leonard to free agency and traded for Paul George. Leonard has also come out on occasions to make it clear that the team needs a playmaker, something they did not have with Patrick Beverley for years. Reggie Jackson is a very solid point guard, but he is more of a scorer than a playmaker. This season, Jackson is averaging 16.6 PPG and 4.0 APG. With George most likely out for the season and Leonard not expected to come back immediately, the Clippers need to make moves to set themselves up for a title run next year.
Former 5-time All-Star John Wall is one of the best players that are on the trading block, as he has yet to play an NBA game with the Houston Rockets. After averaging 20.6 PPG and 6.9 APG last year in 40 games, Wall was shut down by the Rockets as the franchise wants to give their young stars playing time at his position. After all, Wall averaged over 18 shots per game last year and took away from the development of the young players. It is obvious that John Wall can still play at a high level, and he needs to join a contender as soon as possible.
The Clippers and John Wall are perfect for each other because the point guard solves all of Los Angeles’ issues. Wall is smart and experienced enough to understand he will be a third offensive option and will be the team’s best playmaker since Chris Paul suited up for them. Still one of the fastest players in the NBA, Wall can up the tempo of the team and set up Leonard and George for good looks. Losing Marcus Morris will hurt, but he is not necessarily the most level-headed player and Wall is clearly a more talented player. The Rockets move on from Wall finally while bringing in some expiring contracts and a tradeable player in Morris.
2. The Knicks Add A Big Name To Excite Their Fanbase
New York Knicks Receive: Russell Westbrook
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Evan Fournier, Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel
The New York Knicks were surprising last year as they finished 4th in the East and made it to the playoffs, but have unfortunately not maintained their play. Julius Randle developed into an All-Star unexpectedly, averaging 24.1 PPG and 10.2 RPG while winning Most Improved Player. Randle exhibited a ton of new moves, including stepback threes and the ability to handle the ball on the break. A 6’8” powerhouse, Randle improved every area of his game and has become a valuable stretch big in the modern game. Other than Randle, guys like Derrick Rose and RJ Barrett have contributed in a very positive way.
This season, the Knicks are in trouble as they hold a 22-23 record which is only good for 11th in the East. Randle has been a target for the wrath of Knicks fans, who are frustrated with the team’s play and the slight decline in the big man’s play. It is obvious that the Knicks need another star player because Randle and Barrett are not a duo capable of leading a playoff push. In terms of an All-Star caliber player who is available, Russell Westbrook is a player that immediately comes to mind. Westbrook is not having a great season in terms of impact, but his numbers are still solid at 18.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 7.8 APG. The point guard’s lack of impact might come down to his lack of fit with LeBron James on the Lakers, and not in terms of his own skillset.
The Knicks need to make a move as soon as possible, as they have a ton of deadweight on their roster. Kemba Walker has been a below-average signing, as he is only averaging 13.8 PPG on 41.6% shooting from the field. Most importantly, Walker has only appeared in 25 games out of the Knicks’ 45 games. Meanwhile, Nerlens Noel has only appeared in 18 games and Evan Fournier is expendable this year. The Frenchman is averaging 13.9 PPG despite shooting 39.5% from three. They could create a solid lineup with Westbrook joining Barrett and Randle as their core, while Rose, Cam Reddish, and Immanuel Quickley fill out the rotation. The Knicks and Lakers each have a 22-23 record, and swapping starters could improve their standings. The Lakers add two shooters and a capable center, and the Knicks bring in an All-Star player.
1. Ben Simmons Finds A New Home In Sacramento
Sacramento Kings Receive: Ben Simmons
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: De'Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell, 2022 First-Round Pick
Out of all the players on the trading block, Ben Simmons is the biggest name. The 3-time All-Star has seen his reputation take a hit after last year’s putrid offseason because he made history as the worst free-throw shooter ever. The Philadelphia 76ers have been forced to compete this season without the services of Simmons, and have somehow played well enough to hold the 5th seed with only 2.5 games behind the first seed.
The Sixers have some nice talent with Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris around superstar Joel Embiid, but they need to find a replacement for Simmons immediately. The East is wide open because the Bulls have gone 5-5 out of their last 10 games, the Nets will not have Kevin Durant for 4-6 weeks, and the Bucks started the season very slow. If the 76ers can make a move for another star, they are right in the mix. Philadelphia need to trade Simmons but receive capable players in return, preferably an All-Star guard.
De’Aaron Fox has surprisingly been in trade rumors this season, and he could be used in a swap deal for Simmons. Swapping Simmons for Fox is a great move for the 76ers, because the speedy point guard is a better shooter than Simmons and pushes the pace with the ball. Davion Mitchell is one of the best defensive guards in the league and has seen his chances increase at 24.7 MPG. Along with a first-round pick, the 76ers can make a playoff push. Meanwhile, Sacramento get their wish by moving on from Fox and hoping they can guide Ben Simmons towards a career with unlimited potential.