A few writers at the Basketball Society dive in on a few topics in regards to the upcoming trade deadline. Our writers for this roundtable are:
DJ Allen – @djallen23
Ralph Cortes – @__RLoading
Alfonso De Falco – @FonzyDeFalco
Felix John-Baptiste – @TwoSmooth2
1.) Toronto and Boston seem to be a piece away from being a threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. Do you see either team making a trade before the deadline is passed?
Allen: I don’t see a trade happening for either team. Both the Raptors and Celtics seem pretty content on where they are. Paul Millsap was the name that was associated with the Raptors but that ended quickly with the trade of Kyle Korver. With these teams at 2 & 3 in the Eastern Conference, they might just play it through with what they have.
Cortes: Absolutely. The Cavaliers are by far the strongest team in the Eastern Conference and teams like the Celtics or Raptors need that extra piece on their team to come close to the Cavs. I think Boston’s constant activity in trade rumors makes them more likely to make a move than the Raptors. However, with the drama surrounding Carmelo Anthony, I would like to see the Raptors try to acquire him.
De Falco: I think Toronto is more likely to make a deal. I’ve been saying for a while that they need a rebounding forward/center in their rotation. I think if they acquired someone that fits that description, it can definitely help their team come postseason time.
John-Baptiste: I don’t see a legitimate trade for Boston that puts them over the top for this season. Any trade for a household name would require too much in return, and I’m not sure there’s a role player that does the trick. As for Toronto, they’re pretty much locked in at all positions except for the 4 spot. With Millsap “off the block” they may stand pat and go head to head against Cleveland with the weapons they have.
2.) The Philadelphia 76ers still haven’t dealt with their big man issues and they have a frustrated forward in Nerlens Noel. Name a trade that would benefit both parties involved.
Allen: If I’m Philadelphia, I would definitely approach both Portland and Toronto. Both of these teams need rim protection and Nerlens Noel provides that. We know the 76ers love draft picks so either team could include some of those. But if Portland shopped McCollum, that would work out perfect for both Philly and Portland. The Trail Blazers get their rim protector while the Sixers gets a true scorer in C.J.
Cortes: I think a trade with the Lakers for Lou Williams would benefit both sides of the deal. The Lakers need a rim protector more athletic than Timofey Mozgov, which is what Noel is. Meanwhile, the Sixers could definitely use more playmakers on the outside, someone who is a capable “bucket getter” to ease the load off of Joel Embiid. This deal could benefit both sides as each team gets a player that addresses their needs.
De Falco: This is just off the top of my head. Nerlens Noel to Portland in exchange for Allen Crabbe. Now you might have to work out salaries and add other contracts (maybe a third team) but Noel to the Blazers might be a perfect match. Imagine a lineup with Noel, C.J. McCollum & Damian Lillard? All three can potentially grow nicely together and can be a good replacement at the four since LaMarcus Aldridge left for the Spurs. For the Sixers, they get a good scoring guard in Allen Crabbe that can contribute right away.
John-Baptiste: This may not put them over the top but it sure would fill a hole down low. If I’m the Sixers I’m picking up the phone and calling the Celtics. Noel for Marcus Smart helps both teams. Boston can fill the void at PF/C (whichever they decide to play Amir Johnson at) and Philly can get a defensive minded play making guard. Who knows if the dollars and cents add up but from a style of play perspective, it looks good for them both.
3.) With the frustration rising in New York and Carmelo Anthony hinting at possibly being traded, do you see it happening? If so, what team would Anthony make an immediate contender?
Allen: I honestly don’t see it happening. Listening to a lot of Carmelo’s post game interviews and seeing his tweets/Instagram posts, he has too much in stake in New York and too much pride. He truly loves New York despite all of the backlash that he receives when they don’t do well. I believe Anthony has zero desire in leaving and wants to retire a Knick, no matter how bad it gets.
Cortes: Yes. With Melo’s relationship with Phil Jackson hitting rock bottom, it doesn’t look like Carmelo wants to be a Knick anymore. Yeah, he reiterates that he doesn’t want to leave but taking everything into context, I think the “divorce” between Melo and the Knicks seem mutual. A lot of teams could use his services. There’s of course the Clippers with his close friend CP3. The Clippers have needed that SF for quite awhile now and Melo is just that. He would add that extra scoring in their team with Blake Griffin in and out of that lineup and DeAndre Jordan not really being an offensive option for the Clippers. Another team that could use his services is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The load off of Westbrook can be taken off, while he adds a premier scorer on his team. A Westbrook-Melo-Adams big three can possibly make noise in the playoffs.
De Falco: At first, I really did not want Carmelo Anthony leaving New York. After a few weeks of watching frustrating losses I’m starting to think that a fresh start on both sides might work best for everyone. This is slowly becoming Kristaps Porzingis’ team and with Melo’s high salary, the Knicks should look at some potential landing spots for him.
John-Baptiste: I don’t see a trade happening. Melo has a no trade clause and continuously expresses his desire to remain a Knick. His “hint” as possibly wanting to be traded was frustration in response to the constant questions from the media, and alleged leaks from sources “close” to Phil Jackson. I get it. Also, the banana boat crew has long expressed interest in playing with each other before its all said and done. I don’t see a situation that makes that happen right now without sacrificing playoff contention for either franchise.
4.) Which team do you believe is in desperation to make a trade before the deadline?
Allen: I believe that the Sacramento Kings are in desperate need of a trade. DeMarcus Cousins is a great player but his attitude and his demeanor is something that can’t be tolerated. He has stated that he wants to stay but if I’m the Kings, I’m parting ways with him and getting all that I can. There are some teams that would be crazy enough to trade for him and one that I would attempt to sell, would be the Washington Wizards. Trade Cousins for Bradley Beal and a few draft picks, push the Kentucky reunion, and start the rebuilding process over again.
Cortes: The Bulls might be the team to pull a desperation trade. They’re playing average basketball so far and have not been happy with the production of Rajon Rondo on the court. The Bulls play better without him on the floor it seems like and the Bulls could probably be a better team with Rondo playing for them. Chicago might be just trying to get Rondo off the team, so in the event they do make a trade, its probably a trade just to make a trade, if that makes sense.
De Falco: I’m going back to Philadelphia in trading Nerlens Noel. It’s clear that he is not happy there and he is in the final year of his deal. If they can’t find a deal, Noel will most likely walk away this offseason. If that happens, the Sixers can potentially lose out on a deal that can get them some decent building blocks around Joel Embiid.
John-Baptiste: There are usually two types of teams that are “desperate” to make a move before the deadline. Teams that are on the cusp of the playoffs, and teams that are on the cusp of title contention. With that being said, the Knicks are the team in desperation mode. Phil Jackson has tried to make some “compete now” rosters and has dished out the funds to show it. However, the money hasn’t translated to wins thus far and the Knicks have fallen from 3rd to 11th in the conference. In order to somewhat take the media off their backs and jump back into playoff conversation, they need some grit and grind defenders. That may be Phil’s top priority.
5.) Name one trade that you would like to see before the deadline.
Allen: One trade I would love to see is Carmelo Anthony going to a contender. As a fan of Anthony, I think its in his best interest to depart from the Knicks. I think the fans are fed up with him and things are starting to get ugly between Phil Jackson and himself. I was on the record of hoping that he went to either Houston or Chicago back when he made his decision. Those were two teams in desperate need of a scorer but he decided to come to New York. The window for Anthony’s career is getting smaller and smaller and I would like to see him contend for a championship before its all said and done.
Cortes: Aside the from the Lakers trade for Noel mentioned earlier, a trade that would be interesting would come from the Dubs themselves. They’re already good as is, however trading for an athletic glass cleaner like Kenneth Faried would help their team a lot. The team is offensively talented no doubt but they might need a solid energy guy like Faried to grab extra possessions. With Jokic and Gallinari as the team’s focus, Faried could welcome a change of scenery. He gets to play with the Warriors, come on now.
De Falco: I keep talking about Noel being traded but I’ll talk about another player. Kenneth Faried is now coming off the bench for Denver after five seasons as the starting PF. He is currently averaging a career low 9.5 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game. I think if moved to a more of a starting role (looking at you Toronto), he’ll get back to his double-double ways. I’m not sure what Toronto will be willing to trade, maybe Terrance Ross or a draft pick. Regardless, I think Faried to Toronto is a perfect fit.
John-Baptiste: Rudy Gay to the Clippers. For their most recent years of playoff runs the Clippers have always been subpar at the wing spot. Rudy Gay may have been a cancer in his previous stops, but this team has too much veteran leadership and coaching discipline to allow those kind of distractions. As long as he’s willing to use his length to defend, I think he can be very effective within the flow of their game.