We’re still two months away from the NBA trade deadline in
February, but expect rumors to pick up once the moratorium on
recently signed players lifts on Dec. 15. Once that occur, it’s
open season on anything and everything, wherever the trade winds
blow in the league.
In the meantime, which teams seem poised to buy or sell? Are
there any players who could be better off elsewhere? Here are five
trade ideas that have already piqued my interest. Think of it as a
hypothetical early Christmas gift for these teams mentioned.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the scenarios below.
Christian Wood — Golden
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Houston Rockets
will be willing to listen to trade offers on
Christian Wood leading up to February’s deadline. O’Connor also
notes that the market is expected to be robust for the versatile
26-year-old big man.
So far this season in Houston, Wood is averaging 16.2 points,
11.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 blocks per game. With Houston in
a full-fledged rebuild centered around No. 2 overall pick, Wood
simply doesn’t fit the team's timeline. Whatever the Rockets would
be able to gather for Wood would be a win at this point, and he
could swing the fortunes of a championship contender.
Although the Warriors likely won’t mess with their team
chemistry, why not kick the tires on Wood? Not only would he fit
the short-term goal of chasing another Larry O’Brien trophy, but
he’s young enough where you can continue building around him. Wood
in Kevon Looney’s starting spot alongside Stephen Curry would be
completely unfair. Wood would feast with the gobs of spacing
available to him, plus he could take pressure off others in the
The question is: What’s a win-win hypothetical trade that makes
sense for both Houston and Golden State revolving around Wood?
Although Houston just selected two bigs in the 2021 NBA Draft —
Alperen Sengun and Usman Garuba — why not have as many bites of the
apple for elite talent as possible? 2020 No. 2 overall pick James
Wiseman plus Looney’s salary to match contract value actually makes
a lot of sense here. Wiseman would be able to play an extensive
role alongside Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., plus the rotation
at center would sort itself out eventually.
Maybe Golden State tosses in a protected future first-round pick
to sweeten the offer further, but I love this for both sides. Wood
raises the already immense ceiling for Golden State, while Wiseman
could be another lottery ticket to develop for Houston’s new
Myles Turner — Charlotte
Indiana needs to come to the realization of where its roster
stands. It’s time to sell to the highest bidder with some of their
core players. One of those who could attract a serious slew of
offers is Turner, who has proven himself to be a valuable defensive
anchor and floor-spacer.
Charlotte is exceeding expectations this season thanks to LaMelo
Ball’s superstar rise, plus Miles Bridges becoming the No. 2
option. Imagine how much better the Hornets would be if they
acquired Turner to stabilize their inconsistent defense. Mason
Plumlee isn’t going to cut it. Throwing Turner into the mix in
Charlotte would be a perfect scenario for both the team and the
player. Turner would thrive alongside LaMelo in an up-tempo offense
and take away a lot of easy looks that have caused serious problems
this season for Charlotte.
Would Indiana be enticed by Kelly Oubre Jr. and PJ Washington as
a trade package? Maybe swap out Washington for James Bouknight, who
hasn’t been able to crack the rotation due to Terry Rozier?
Either way, this type of return feels reasonable for Turner. If
Indiana decides to finally pull the trigger and embrace a roster
overhaul, Charlotte should be blowing them up to acquire an elite
Domantas Sabonis —
Portland Trail Blazers
If the Pacers decide to go in the aforementioned direction with
their team and ship off Sabonis to the highest bidder in February,
we already have a realistic baseline in place for a package thanks
to Nikola Vucevic last season. Orlando traded Vucevic, a similar
player archetype as Sabonis, to Chicago for Wendell Carter Jr. and
two future first-round picks. With Sabonis being five years younger
and a better overall player, that’s the floor for what should come
back in any deal for Indiana's two-time All-Star center.
Portland is already dealing with roster imbalance on top of
organizational issues, which now has led to general manager Neil Olshey’s
firing. As a last-ditch effort to appease Damian Lillard, how
about pushing the chips in for Sabonis? It would be awesome to see
another Sabonis suit up for the Blazers, and him being a secondary
hub to the offense alongside Lillard and CJ McCollum would create
an explosive offense. Lillard finally seeing the Blazers making an
aggressive move could delay/off his eventual trade request at some
point as well.
With Sabonis only being 25 years old and having three years
remaining on his bargain of a contract, the price would be steep.
Would Portland be willing to trade Anfernee Simons and Nassir
Little for Sabonis?
Pascal Siakam —
The quick emergence of No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes is
leading to the inevitable conversations revolving around Siakam’s
long-term future in Toronto. With OG Anunoby and Barnes, is Siakam
(and his hefty contract) a necessity to stay around? Personally, I
don’t think so. If the Raptors are able to find a big-time offer to
offload Siakam, it makes a ton of sense to explore that
Who around the league would be interested in Siakam, though?
There would be a bidding war ensuing for a near-star who can lift
the ceiling of a team on both ends of the court. One team that
actually makes a lot of sense for Siakam, potentially out of sheer
desperation, would be Sacramento.
After firing head coach Luke Walton, there are really no more
excuses for the Kings to not figure it out sometime soon. It might
simply just be time to reshuffle the roster a little bit to see
what happens. Adding Siakam would be a brilliant move to help out
De’Aaron Fox. Imagine how much fun this would be in Sacramento:
Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes, Siakam, Richaun Holmes.
That right there is starting lineup that can push the pace and
score efficiently while also holding up on the defensive end.
With Toronto on the outside looking in for the playoff picture,
acquiring Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III and two future first-round
picks may not be enough to say goodbye to Siakam. Maybe I’m
underselling Siakam’s value here, but I absolutely love the
on-court fit for him with the Kings, so let’s roll with it.
Ben Simmons for CJ
Nothing has changed when it comes to Ben Simmons and the
Philadelphia 76ers’ standoff. If anything, Simmons’ trade value is
plummeting. At some point, will Sixers president of basketball
operations Daryl Morey lower his asking price and circle back
around to discussions with Portland around a Simmons for McCollum
swap? Ever since Simmons passed up a wide-open dunk in a pivotal
moment in the Eastern Conference Finals, this trade has felt
Simmons would be Lillard’s own version of Draymond Green,
helping stabilize the Blazers’ defense while also being a potent
forward driving to the rim. Meanwhile, McCollum would help the
Sixers’ short-term hopes of forming a title contender. Philadelphia
certainly loses juice on defense swapping out Simmons for McCollum,
but he’s an experienced All-Star-level player who can score 20
points per game with ease. Imagining McCollum and Tyrese Maxey is a
fun exercise for a potential Sixers backcourt combination
What even is the value for Simmons right now around the
Association? It’s tough to gauge, but this trade construction still
feels like the easiest to navigate. As I wrote once news broke a
few months ago about Simmons wanting out of Philadelphia, it could
lead to a true win-win for both parties in