With one week to go before the 2022 NBA trade deadline, talks
are heating up around the league. In a year that seems very wide
open, many teams could be enticed to make a win-now move and push
some chips to the middle of the table. According to the rumor mill,
we could see deadline deals involving a number of significant
contributors who can swing potential playoff series.
So, which teams and players make the most sense together? Let’s
go dive into the moves that could swing the Western Conference
standings despite Phoenix already creating noticeable distance up
Phoenix Suns: Eric
Will the rich get even richer? Phoenix may try to make a bold
move and remove all debate over who's the West's No. 1 seed. As I
mentioned previously, it’s no secret that the Suns have inquired about Eric Gordon
and Thaddeus Young as midseason upgrades. Gordon would be via
trade, while Young could be scooped up via the buyout market if no
trade happens in San Antonio.
If the Suns were to accomplish this, their rotation would be
absurd heading into a postseason as title favorites:
Starting Lineup: Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges,
Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton
Second Unit: Cameron Payne, Eric Gordon, Cameron Johnson,
Thaddeus Young, JaVale McGee
That right there is a dominant playoff rotation with no holes
presented. On top of that, it’s the type of trade teams make when
they know how close they are to the ultimate goal. Phoenix checks
all the boxes, and so do the fits of Gordon and Young in the
Gordon would immediately step in as a reliable third guard, with
way less volatility than what Payne and Landry Shamet have
presented this season. Gordon’s versatility and sharpshooting would
bring another boost to an already elite offense for the Suns.
Phoenix would have to send out Dario Saric, Jalen Smith and a
cheap expiring contract (i.e. Elfrid Payton, Abdel Nader, Frank
Kaminsky). The Houston Rockets have also let it be known they want
a future first-round pick in any Gordon deal. Phoenix shouldn’t
feel concerned about relinquishing a protected 2024 first-round
pick, especially with its championship window being right now.
Keep an eye on Phoenix, folks. They are positioned well to make
a few notable splashes through different avenues.
Dallas Mavericks: Myles
Does Dallas really want to lock in this core around Luka Doncic?
The answer should be "No," although Jalen Brunson and Dorian
Finney-Smith have provided strong chemistry alongside the Mavs’
young superstar point forward. Maybe the Mavs decide to keep
Brunson around, but it’s going to be a tough pill to swallow paying
both him and Finney-Smith this summer.
With that being the case, now is the perfect time to strike on
one of those assets to bring aboard a game-changing piece. Enter
Myles Turner, who instantly jolts an already-recharged Dallas
Turner instantly provides an elite rim-protector to take
pressure off Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The Mavs might take a
small step back in rebounding with this move, but Doncic should be
more than capable of taking on those duties.
The Indiana Pacers would receive Dwight Powell’s salary,
Finney-Smith as a looming restricted free agent and a first-round
pick. With Turner’s value down due to a foot injury — which could
have him back on the court next month — this might be the best
offer available for the Pacers.
With the sudden emergence of Isaiah Jackson and Terry Taylor,
Indiana would be wise to move off Turner immediately. The Pacers
are in a rare position to focus on the internal player development
of their young core and simultaneously lose their way into a top
draft pick. Focus on the young guys and take a flier on how
Finney-Smith could fit next to Domantas Sabonis long-term.
One of the most underrated wings on the trade market resides in
Oklahoma City. Kenrich Williams is a key glue guy for the Thunder,
but imagine how much more valuable his presence would be on a real
championship contender this postseason.
Williams is a name that checks a lot of boxes for wing-hungry
contenders. I thought about sending Williams to Phoenix for this
exercise, but settled upon how brilliant his fit would be in
Memphis. The Grizzlies need another versatile wing to keep up in
the West. Williams helps bring their strong start even more
Oklahoma City reportedly is looking for a future first-round
pick in exchange for Williams. Memphis can provide that, plus an
intriguing flier on a former lottery pick who hasn’t panned out yet
in Jarrett Culver.
It’s not a star-type move, but Williams is one of those
under-the-radar pieces that could thrive in the postseason.
Utah Jazz: Harrison
It’s time for the Jazz to push those chips all-in, especially
with their slump as of late with multiple core pieces out due to
injury. Utah has fallen off its earlier pace trying to keep up with
the Suns and Golden State Warriors. Now, they’ve been leapfrogged
by the Grizzlies, and multiple teams loom over the Jazz slipping
even further in the standings.
Three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert can’t do
everything by himself in Utah. The Jazz have been exposed on
multiple occasions for not having more versatile defenders
surrounding Gobert to make his job a little bit easier.
Now, with Joe Ingles out for the season with a torn ACL, Utah
needs to find an immediate contributor on the wing who can help
bring the team much-needed, two-way versatility. Harrison Barnes
makes so much sense as what the Jazz need to make the jump. Barnes
and Jerami Grant have both been linked to the Jazz, so this has
some serious smoke behind it.
Barnes is an excellent floor-spacing option who wouldn’t take
touches away from Donovan Mitchell. Also, the veteran forward is
versatile enough to handle tough assignments on the wing,
especially envisioning how it would look against Phoenix and Golden
Swapping out Ingles’ contract, Royce O’Neale and a first-round
pick for Barnes would be an instant upgrade for the Jazz. It brings
them back into the conversation as real Finals threats atop the
West with the Suns and Warriors.
How would you grade this rotation for the Jazz if it actually
came to fruition?
Starting Lineup: Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Bojan
Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, Rudy Gobert
Second Unit: Trent Forrest, Jordan Clarkson, Rudy Gay, Eric
Paschall, Hassan Whiteside
That bench is a little thin for Utah, but the potency of the
starting five completely outweighs that. Utah needs to make a big
move, and the time is now.
Welcome to the Wild West, folks. This trade deadline is going to
be a very interesting one for the Western Conference's true title
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