In the modern NBA, multi-team trades have become commonplace. Sometimes, franchises have to get creative in order to make their rosters better. While multi-team trades are generally harder to arrange than direct trades between two teams, sometimes, they're very much worth the payoff.
A recent three-team trade scenario presented by Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, seems like it could have great outcomes for all three teams involved. The three teams in the trade are the Portland Trail Blazers, the Indiana Pacers, and the Dallas Mavericks, and it features the movement of high-profile players such as Kristaps Porzingis and CJ McCollum.
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Kristaps Porzingis
Indiana Pacers Receive: CJ McCollum
Dallas Mavericks Receive: Myles Turner, Jeremy Lamb, and a 2022 first-round pick (lottery protected, via IND)
Zach Buckley believes that each team would have some solid reasons to make this trade. He mentions that each team "might have reasons to feel desperate" about their current situation. That makes sense as all three teams are fairly good, but they all need to make a move or two to take the next step and compete with other teams in their respective conferences.
Does this three-teamer give off a hint of desperation? It should, as each of the three teams involved might have reasons to feel desperate.
Portland would immediately shift from a frustratingly quiet summer to a major move for a 7'3" big who has averaged 21.1 points and 37.0 percent three-point shooting over his last three healthy seasons. If he can stay healthy and regain some mobility, he could prove a more impactful co-star for Lillard than CJ McCollum can be. This might put Jusuf Nurkic in an awkward spot, but maybe Portland could flip him for an upgrade on the wing.
Indiana might sense its current ceiling doesn't sit high enough, but feel it has too much potential to throw this nucleus away. So, it would finally modernize its frontcourt by shedding Myles Turner and sliding T.J. Warren to the 4 spot, gain a go-to shot-creator in CJ McCollum (who averaged nearly two points per game more than any Pacer last season) and clear some congestion on the wing by shedding Jeremy Lamb.
If the Mavs don't see a path to contention with Porzingis, then it's time to move on. Turner would provide a similar shot-blocking and floor-spacing combination at a much cheaper price ($35 million the next two seasons combined, compared to the $101.5 million it could owe Porzingis for the next three). Lamb could give Dallas more shooting and shot-creating on the perimeter, and the first-round pick has obvious appeal as a trade chip.
It's easy to see how this trade could be beneficial for all parties. This trade can certainly address the concerns of each team with their present rosters. However, there are a lot of pieces in this deal, and it remains to be seen whether this scenario actually transpires. It does seem as though this trade could be an option for those teams though, and perhaps they'll make this trade or something similar in the future.