5 Teams That Will Make a Trade this Summer
The NBA season is over! It was fun as always, filled with bizarre situations (Fultz, Kawhi, Colangelo), and greatness, (LeBron, the Warriors, James Harden) but the result was what everyone predicted. The Golden State Warriors are champions again after a sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers. While the NBA Finals did include a fantastic performance from Kevin Durant in Game 3 and LeBron James in Game 1, plus an all-time brain fart from JR Smith, overall it was kind of blah. Now, the real fun begins in the offseason.
Starting with the draft on June 21st, trade season begins and then free agency on July 1st. There are several big names hitting the open market, only about six teams with real money, and tons of teams wanting to make trades to fix their cap situations. Add it all up and we should have an exciting summer full of movement, action and hopefully a few twists. Expect more trades than normal as teams try to position themselves to either avoid the luxury tax or make room to go big game hunting this year and next year. Here are five teams that are destined to make a trade.
My beloved Hornets will 100% make a trade this offseason. I would be shocked if they didn't. The question is whether or not Kemba Walker is part of the trade package. Trading Kemba signals a full rebuild, but he is the best way the Hornets can get rid of some salary. Kemba is by far Charlotte's best player, but if the Hornets are going to trade him, they are going to want to attach a lousy contract to him. This will be hard as only a few teams have money to take on a bad deal, and that team must be confident they can re-sign Kemba in 2019.
It is hard to get a read on the Hornets right now amidst a ton of change to the front office and coaching staff, so I would put the odds at 50/50 Kemba gets traded. If he does, I would not be shocked if Cleveland makes a move to try to keep LeBron to stay. The Hornets could offer Kemba, Dwight Howard, and Frank Kaminsky for Cleveland's first-round pick (the Brooklyn pick) Jordan Clarkson and George Hill. The trade would get the Hornets another lottery pick and save them about $5 million in cap space.
If the Hornets don't trade Kemba look for them to make smaller moves to save money, the player most likely to be on the move is Michael Kidd Gilchrist. His contract is $13 million a year, so not great but not awful. He is still only 24, and even though he can’t shoot, wing defenders are still valuable. One MKG trade that makes some sense is sending him to Chicago for Jeremy Grant and Justin Holiday.
Other names to keep an eye on are Cody Zeller and Jeremy Lamb, both still have some upside, and their contracts are more moveable. For Hornets fans wanting to get rid of Nicolas Batum, which I understand, I would be surprised if Charlotte could move him. His contract is just too monstrous, and Charlotte would have to attach too much to get rid of him. Charlotte will make a move this summer; it is just a question of what direction they go in.
2.Portland Trail Blazers
Woof! Portland had an ugly end to their season. The Pelicans eviscerated them in a four-game sweep, and that signaled it is time for a change in Portland. If that wasn't bad enough, Portland is headed for the luxury tax for a team that is nothing more than a first-round exit. They have to make a change. My guess is they move C.J. McCollum. There is an argument to be made for moving Damian Lillard as he would return more value, but he is Portland's star, and my guess is they still want to build around him.
If they move McCollum, Portland would want to attach some salary to him. One trade is to trade him and Meyers Leonard to Orlando for Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, and two second-round picks. This would save Portland some money; get extra picks and a bigger wing to pair with Lillard. Also, keep an eye on the McCollum to Cleveland for Kevin Love swap. Either way, I would be surprised if McCollum was a Blazer next season. The ceiling of McCollum and Lillard is not high enough to justify keeping them together, and unloading McCollum is a great way to get them some salary relief.
The Miami Heat are a pain in the ass to play due to their toughness, defense and grit, but really they are just a slightly above average team. Pat Riley doesn't stand for slightly above average for too long. Miami doesn't have a ton of money, so to upgrade they need to make a trade. It is no secret the player the Heat want to trade is Hassan Whiteside. His value is not too high right now, but he still has some. When he is engaged, he is a force. I also think he will be shooting threes soon. One trade that makes sense is sending him and Rodney McGruder to Dallas for Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel, and Max Kleber.
This trade would give Miami some salary relief, more scoring punch in Barnes and if any team can get the most out of Noel, it is Miami. Some would say they should try to get more, but I would be shocked if they could. Remember Miami doesn't have a first-round pick, so they may make attempts to get into the first round. Keep an eye on Dion Waiters (wishful thinking) and Justise Winslow. Winslow to New Orleans for Cheick Diallo and Frank Jackson makes some sense for both teams.
Cleveland will make a trade whether or not LeBron James leaves. If he stays, they will make moves to try to upgrade the roster for another NBA Finals run. If he goes, they will try to shed salary and start a rebuild. Either way, they are making moves this summer. One move is the move I listed earlier with Charlotte. Getting Kemba would probably not be enough to get LeBron to stay, but it’s a start. Also as I mentioned the McCollum for Love swap is an option.
If LeBron does leave, they are certainly going to trade Love. Love still has some value, and they could shed payroll and add young assets by moving him. One move that is interesting is sending him to Brooklyn for Spencer Dinwiddie, Allen Crabbe and a second round pick (from Milwaukee). Cleveland is a lock to make a move this summer.
The Magic have been a pile of garbage the past five years. They have given up too early on all of their good young players and while they were doing that they handed out a few bad contracts. The hiring of Steve Clifford should at least bring them some stability. They have few veterans who don't fit their timeline like Evan Fournier and Nik Vucevic, and they need to open some cap space to re-sign Aaron Gordon and Mario Hezonja potentially. They could make the McCollum deal to speed up the process and try to be good now (don't laugh), or go for another reset.
If they don't go for a deal like the McCollum one, they could trade Vucevic to a team like Milwaukee that could use a shooting big for Jon Henson and D.J Wilson. This is an excellent way to shed cap and get a couple of young assets. Orlando may not make a move this big, but they will make a move this summer. They could also look to move D.J Augustin or Shelvin Mack to contenders that need point guard depth.
Other teams to keep an eye on
Houston Rockets- If Houston is serious about going after LeBron or even Paul George, they will need to shed some cap. Namely Ryan Anderson. That will be tough because no one wants Anderson. Maybe they could send him to a team like Atlanta for Kent Bazemore if they attach a second round pick.
Dallas Mavericks- So far, Dallas is saying they will not take the Boston deal for Jaylen Brown, they like where they are in the draft. Still, I think they make a move. Nerlens Noel and Harrison Barnes could both be on the move for the right price. Dallas would also like an extra first round pick and can take on some salary to get one. Would they send Wesley Matthews to the Lakers for Luol Deng and a first-round pick (from Cleveland)? I would consider it.
Toronto Raptors- The Raptors season came to a crashing halt, and it led to the firing of Dwane Casey. More changes may come. That means trading Demar DeRozan or Kyle Lowry; they are not going to find a Serge Ibaka taker. Trading DeRozan is slightly easier. One trade is sending DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan, a first-round pick, and Danilo Gallinari.
L.A Clippers- I have no idea what direction the Clippers want to go in. They have picks 12 and 13 in the draft and could use them to move up, stay where they are and go young, or use one of them to get a star player like the DeRozan deal above. They may also use the first round pick to get rid of the Gallinari contract.
New York Knicks- The Knicks want to stink next season especially with Kristaps Porzingis likely gone for most of the season, and then they want to open up cap space for 2019 to go big game hunting. To do that, New York will try to trade some salary away this summer. Courtney Lee is the most likely to get moved. He can still help a contender. Trading him to Philadelphia for Jerryd Bayless and a second-round pick makes sense.
Detroit Pistons- The Pistons just hired Dwane Casey, and the clock is ticking for them to win now, especially with no first round pick and the arrival of Blake Griffin. A small deal to get win now players make some sense. One trade could be sending Jon Leuer and Henry Ellenson to Brooklyn for DeMarre Carroll.
Brooklyn Nets- Getting rid of Carroll and Crabbe will be the priority, but will be tough unless it’s a small move or they add an asset, most likely Dinwiddie. A darkhorse to get moved is Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. He does a lot of stuff well, but can't shoot. Would they send him to Indiana, who could use a defensive wing, for T.J Leaf and a pick?
Phoenix Suns- Like Orlando, Phoenix has stunk forever, but unlike Orlando, the future is brighter. They have three first-round picks, cap space, and Devin Booker. They still have a few bad contracts they would like to get rid of, and they would like to be competitive this year, so Booker doesn't bolt. Moving Tyson Chandler is the most likely scenario. They could move him to a contender like Minnesota for Gorgui Dieng and Justin Patton.
Milwaukee Bucks- The Bucks got a new coach and are definitely trying to win now. They could make small upgrades like the Vucevic deal with Orlando, but keep an eye on a sign and trade for Jabari Parker, if they feel they can't re-sign him outright.