Southeast Division Trade Candidates
Whether the NBA season is canceled or not, every fan is thinking about offseason moves. Going division by division, I will identify one player from every team that will most likely be traded this offseason.
Miami Heat - Kelly Olynyk
Looking through this Miami roster, it was difficult to find a player that does not fit Miami’s new system. A well-rounded, youthful team that exceeded expectations this season has mob boss Pat Riley simply waiting for his young guys to develop and the possibility of pairing Jimmy Butler with a fellow superstar this offseason.
The one outlier in Miami who has not had a surge in numbers alongside the rest of the exploding roster is 28-year-old Kelly Olynyk. Olynkyk, who came over from Boston 3 years ago, is yet to have that big breakout season some expected out of the three-point shooting 7-footer from Gonzaga. Shadowed by a younger, more explosive starting frontcourt of Bam Adebayo and Derrick Jones Jr., Olynyk started only six games this season and is averaging a career-low in points and blocks, his assist average is only .1 higher than his previous career-low in 2016. The Canadian hooper has tied his career-high in rebounds (5.5), but for a 7 footer, he is underperforming.
Kelly Olynyk was almost shipped to Dallas this past summer in a confusing sign and trade for Jimmy Butler, but the deal was put off. Younger frontcourt players like Meyers Leonard and Chris Silva could push Olynyk out of minutes, and out of Miami as he is the team’s most tradeable player for an aggressive South Beach front office looking to return to being championship caliber.
Washington Wizards - Ish Smith
The Washington Wizards are in a strange scenario. Besides their coveted backcourt of Wall and Beal, only five players are over the age of 25. One of them being untouchable breakout star Davis Bertans. The Wizards are intent on keeping Wall and Beal, and roster blow up rumors have been shut down by their front office. Besides the superstar duo, this team is pretty much garbage with young assets who have not proved much in the league.
The Wizards have not been able to pair Wall and Beal with a superstar in past years, and do not have enough right now to do any damage in the playoffs. Besides trading their young guys for picks in hopes of sending them away for another star, the one player that could be shipped away is 31-year-old Ish Smith.
Smith has floated around the league since the 2010-11 season when he entered the league undrafted. Smith served as an average role player who has floated around 11 different teams but recently has found his groove again.
With the absence of John Wall, Ish Smith is having his best season since his 2015-16 campaign. Smith is averaging 10.5 points, 4.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and a career-high 37% 3-point percentage.
With the inevitable return of John Wall and a total of eight different guards on this Washington roster, Smith may be shipped away after raising his stock in the starting lineup during Wall’s absence.
Ish Smith would be sent to a team in need of a backup point guard like Orlando or Phoenix and in return, Washington would request young assets to flip them for a star to pair with Wall and Beal.
Charlotte Hornets - Terry Rozier
Flashback to this season’s trade deadline. 3 days prior to the deadline, the Hornets and Knicks were in heavy trade talks. A deal that would send Terry Rozier and Malik Monk to New York in exchange for Julius Randle and Dennis Smith Jr. After rumors floated around, the deal was eventually put off and talks simmered, probably because Knicks president Steve Mills did not know how to do his job.
Now, Steve Mills has been replaced by new team president Leon Rose. Rose will want to prove he is not as stagnant as Mills and push some buttons this offseason.
Unlike every other player in the league, Rozier actually envisioned himself in a Knicks uniform this past summer. According to the New York Daily News, Rozier said “For a second, I thought this was the place. I thought I was going to be a Knick,” Rozier said. “Obviously going through free agency was kind of wild for me. But it’s just a process of it. I thought I was going to be here. But it didn’t happen that way.”
During the offseason, we may very well see a similar package sent to New York for a Hornets team that has been trying to figure it out since Micheal Jordan bought the franchise.
Atlanta Hawks - Dewayne Dedmon
The Atlanta Hawks are near complete with their rebuilding efforts, by acquiring Clint Capela at the deadline they have shown the league they are ready to win. Of course, it will take some time, the youngest team in the league has only three players over 25. 43-year-old Vince Carter only there for his shortened farewell tour, 31-year-old veteran guard Jeff Teague who is there to mentor the young guys, and … 30-year-old DeWayne Dedmon.
Notorious for floating around the league and trying to resemble something of a role player, Dedmon has not found his role with the Hawks, similarly to the six other teams he has suited up for.
The Hawk’s have a surplus of young assets, arguably the most in the league. The Hawks also hold the fourth-best lottery odds but have their hands full with developing young guys.
The combination of the Hawks’ upcoming draft pick, a young star like De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, or Cam Reddish, and DeWayne Dedmon would combine for a trade package worth a star in this league.
The pairing of Trae Young, John Collins, Clint Capela, and a fourth star could very quickly resemble the 2015-16 Atlanta Hawks, which included four All-Stars and championship aspirations.
Orlando Magic- Aaron Gordon
The Orlando Magic currently sit at 8th place in Eastern Conference standings. Sneaking into the playoffs only to get bounced out in the first round is a recurring theme for this franchise. The Magic are stuck in no man’s land. Too bad to have any type of playoff success, and too good to land any significant draft picks. Insignificant moves like bringing in Al-Farouq Aminu this past offseason will not put this squad over the top teams of the East. The repeated failed attempts of half rebuild/ half playoff push have stunted Orlando’s growth in either direction. Instead, a more significant trade is required to give the Magic some friction. Talks of Aaron Gordon being shipped away have been rumored all season, and I believe this offseason the high flyer will find a new home. After Orlando’s years of failed attempts to pair Vucevic with any kind of talent, it is time to blow up the roster and build through the younger guys. Talks of the Warriors sending their first-round pick for Aaron Gordon have been circulating and would be successful for both sides.
Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba would headline the rebuild in Orlando, with Vucevic most likely out the door following Gordon close behind. Orlando’s hopes of finding an average backcourt player besides DJ Augustin will be more accessible due to their newly acquired draft picks after trading away their stars.