Top NBA Trade Targets

Let’s make the deadline interesting

Carmelo Anthony

We’ve now reached the halfway point of the season and as the NFL season comes to a close, mainstream focus is shifting to the NBA. With the Super Bowl only 2 weeks away, the NBA will be the only sport left (other than hockey but who actually follows hockey?) to watch and this is the best part of the season. The All Star Game is coming up in a few weeks and shortly after that the trade deadline will be upon us. Nothing is better than watching NBATV and seeing all the trades unfold on deadline afternoon. This will be a very interesting trade deadline because there may be a few stars on the move. That said, here are the top trade targets in the market.

Goran Dragić (Miami Heat)

Stats: 19.5 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.9 RPG, 0.9 SPG

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The Miami Heat are cratering. Ever since LeBron left Miami, this team has been falling and it didn’t help, both record and morale-wise, when Dwyane Wade left the Heat for his hometown Chicago Bulls. The Heat’s goal is to start the new era without Wade building a young team around the talented Hassan Whiteside. Dragić is the opposite of what the Heat want and need right now. He is an aging star that could serve as a complementary piece on a contender or as a veteran mentor to a younger group.

Options: Timberwolves, Kings, Magic, Cavs (would be an interesting play considering how badly LeBron wants another point guard but his contract is way too big), Nuggets

Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Stats: 7.7 PPG, 7.9 APG, 3.9 RPG, 1.8 SPG

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Boy has he been a disappointment. I remember when he was still dominating in Spain with everyone hyping the shit out of him. Then the day finally came and he made his NBA debut with the T’Wolves. He played pretty well averaging 10.6 PPG, 8.2 APG, and 2.2 SPG but………it all ended when he tore his ACL guarding the legendary Kobe Bryant. Since he came back from his ACL injury he hasn’t been the same. He has been an injury prone player that can’t shoot for his life. His only upside is his passing skill as he is a gifted passer with an incredible ability to set teammates up for quality shots. He would be a great play-maker off the bench (Hint: LeBron) that can benefit teams in playoff contention.

Options: Cavaliers, Kings, Thunder (they could use another ball-handler to take some of the pressure off of my Russy)

Everyone on the Chicago Bulls

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The Bulls started off the season HOT but cratered VERY quickly. Rajon Rondo (6.6 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.7 RPG, 1.3 SPG) is, once again, a locker room problem, Fred Hoiberg is an awful coach that can’t lead is team, and Dwyane Wade (18.7 PPG, 3.8 APG, 4.2 RPG, 1.4 SPG) hasn’t been nearly as efficient as used to be (obviously, the dude is 35). Management is said to be looking to trade Rondo and Nikola Mirotić but I believe that they would trade everyone, even Jimmy Butler (for the right price). The front office is trying to rebuild; the best way to do that is by trading the veterans for draft picks and choosing the right player to build around. One would think they should choose Butler but they haven’t committed to him. He has been involved in trade rumors since last season. They will most likely be keeping him but don’t be surprised if they look around to see what they can get (You have to feel bad for Butler. He is an absolute monster, pouring his heart out every night but he still can’t get his team to commit to him. Kind of like one of my fellow writers’ personal life…)

Options:

Rajon Rondo: Cavaliers (If anyone can shut him up and turn his career around it’s LeBron James. Think KG except disappointing LeBron is probably 10x worse because instead of yelling at you to the point of tears, he’ll pull a classic parent move and hit you with the “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.” Absolutely soul crushing. Kinda like that block and the Kyrie 3 that capped the Cavs comeback and the Warriors blowing a 3–1 lead…)

Nikola Mirotić: Raptors, Celtics, Clippers

Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)

Stats: 22.6 PPG, 3.1 APG, 6.0 RPG, 0.9 SPG

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Carmelo will be on everyone’s watch for the next few weeks. Will he opt out of his no-trade clause? He has said if the Knicks decide to rebuild then he will let them trade him. Melo’s contract will be the main impetus as the Knicks try to move him as he is making an incredible $24.56 million per year. That kind of contract will be very tough to move and only a few team have the cap space to absorb it. Another problem with shopping Melo is his age. He is now 32 turning 33 and is experiencing a major decline. To put it nicely, Melo has never been a particularly great defender and is a ball-hog. The Knicks’ last problem is his desire to only be moved to a contending team. Most of the contenders don’t have the cap, with the exception being the Celtics. The Celtics may have the cap and money but they will not want to give up their first round Nets pick (which could end up as the number one overall), which is what the Knicks will probably ask for. The situation with Phil Jackson and Melo will have to be monitored the next few weeks. As it continues to deteriorate it only becomes more likely that Melo will be moved, probably for less than he’s worth.

Options: Clippers, Celtics, Hawks

Honorable Mentions

Dwight Howard (Atlanta Hawks): There were rumors floating around that the Pelicans were interested in Dwight. Man, an Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard duo would be scary if AD could stay healthy and Dwight didn’t gain 50 pounds playing in NO (can you imagine Dwight during Mardi Gras? He’d go full Derrick Rose for at least a week and come back acting like nothing happened, but unlike Rose it wouldn’t be out of selfishness, just a weeklong hangover that he would have no recollection of.

Reggie Jackson (Detroit Pistons): A very surprising rumor last week was a Ricky Rubio for Reggie Jackson trade. Stan Van Gundy denied it but the rest of the coaches say otherwise. I don’t see why the Pistons would do this but it could be an interesting trade once they round it out with complementary pieces.

Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks): The Hawks took him off the market after they started winning but other teams think they will put him back. If the Hawks are looking to rebuild then Millsap will be the player they could start the process (!!) with.

Jrue Holiday (New Orleans Pelicans): There was a rumor last week that the 76ers were thinking of a reunion with Jrue Holiday. A point guard would definitely help the 76ers so this isn’t very surprising.