Optimal case scenarios for each team at the NBA trade deadline | Bleacher's report

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0 out of 30

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    As the 2018 NBA deadline approaches, the 30 teams have immediate goals, long-term hopes, and precisely defined contingency plans.

    Rather than looking at each organization's whiteboard, let's focus on the top priorities. If each team could present an optimal scenario before the February 7 deadline (within reasonable limits), what would it look like?

    In some cases, we will offer a specific job. In others, it will be to reorient the franchise towards the best plans overall. Anyway, we are trying to build victories on time for the 30 teams.

    Each of our hypothetical scenarios is team-specific. So, when an agreement seems unbalanced (but not completely ridiculous), it's a bit of a goal. An optimal result is supposed to be favorable.

    And no, the optimal result of each team is not trading for Anthony Davis. Although this should probably be.

1 of 30

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    The rebuilding Hawks can and must seek to move Kent Bazemore, Jeremy Lin, Dewayne Dedmon, reserve office seating and other office supplies to store project assets. The Taurean Prince, third-year striker, is also available, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. He could bring him more than any other player he would consider trading.

    The 24-year-old is a high-volume, reliable shooter who has converted 36.9% of his career attempts. He is a suspect defender, but his frame of 6 "8" and 220 pounds suggests switchability if his fundamentals and concentration improve.With a year remaining at his rookie contract, Prince is the best chance to find Atlanta.

    If the Hawks are lucky, they can combine Lin, Bazemore and Dedmon in another first-round pick. Few other term sellers can match Atlanta's ability or willingness to take bad money beyond next season. This early reconstruction process, the absorption of some ugly contracts until 2021 should not be dissuasive.

    If the Hawks start the 2019-2020 season with a core group of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, John Collins and two players in the first round in addition to theirs (the top-five pick of Dallas in Young-Luka Doncic), it's a fantastic result.

2 of 30

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    "As for the players, I do not see much," said Celtics president Danny Ainge in 98.5 & # 39; Touch & Rich in January (h / t Darren Hartwell from NBC Sports Boston). "We have a lot of good players, it's hard to have better players than we have."

    This is not wrong: it would be difficult for the Celtics to improve in terms of talent this year. Especially if potential target Bradley Beal is not on the market, as Fred Katz tells The Athletic. And if Ainge's comments do not seem to be a false indication, note that Boston has not taken any significant action at any of the last three deadlines. This team has no problem staying patient if necessary.

    The Celtics could try to reduce the tax by proposing Terry Rozier and a minimum contract, but they'd better keep Rozier (and his restricted rights) at least until they're certain that Kyrie Irving will be back for a new contract this summer. If Irving remains on the job, Rozier does not have a lot of future with the team, but he's a good backup option if a dramatic event happens in July.

    If Boston wants to expand its range of options, it could sever ties with Jabari Bird and seek to occupy a prominent place in the buyout market. But it's hard to find a clear upgrade for such a deep team, especially considering the Celtics' incentive to keep their powder dry for a pursuit of Anthony Davis in a few months.

    And for the 19,000th time: no, the Celtics can not trade against Davis before the deadline. They have to wait for Irving to become a free agent this season before he can acquire Davis.

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    It would be easy to get carried away by the excitement of an unexpected playoff session that could loom on the horizon, but the Brooklyn Nets can not let this season's surprising skill influence their plans together.

    The Nets seem likely to be part of the playoffs, but they are miles away from the eastern elite. That's not to say that they should sell their assets and their tanks (even if they finally own the rights of their first player), but that they should realize that they will lose at first round with or without those of DeMarre. Carroll, Jared Dudley, Ed Davis or any other person not clearly established as a future pillar.

    Maybe Carroll would enter a second-round pick from the top 45. Perhaps a candidate could make something similar for Davis' elite who would get up from the bench.

    Brooklyn has options. He could add a big name and eat in his ample cap space for next year. This could free up even more space for self-service. He could try to empty Allen Crabbe's salary.

    The best is to appreciate the progress of this year, to stay in the playoffs and eliminate the veterans to get more ammo – in the form of young players or choices – for a sustained run over the coming seasons.

4 out of 30

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    The Hornets and the impending free Kemba Walker seem to be united, so let's talk about moving him for the moment.

    To improve their chances of keeping Walker, the Hornets should at least try to build a support cast that will help him. Ideally, this would mean that we are getting good deals for underperforming rotating parts like Nicolas Batum as a first step in a renovation plan. However, there is no effective way to release money like Batum, and any transaction should involve a major compensation project and a young player as a sweetener.

    Perhaps there is a less extreme way.

    Charlotte could look after Malik Monk, Jeremy Lamb and a second round pick in Orlando for Nikola Vucevic, which would fill a hole in the center. The Hornets will probably not be able to sign Lamb again with an unrestricted free market contract, anyway – not with Walker, who also expires for pay.

    This agreement should include a tacit agreement that Vucevic would consider signing again in Charlotte. Otherwise, it is difficult to give up Monk for a few months at a Lamb-for-Vooch exchange.

    Walker and Vucevic would be a formidable pick-and-roll tandem, and Vucevic's ability to function as the first offensive option would give Walker much needed breaths on the ground several times.

5 out of 30

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    The Bulls have a lot of young players in their lineup, but none of them – Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Kris Dunn and others – claims to be a prominent star. Chicago must adopt the concept of asset accumulation.

    This will involve accepting the relatively low cap of his current talent, to understand that the franchise is in its infancy of a reconstruction that should last three or four years and accept bad multi-year contracts in exchange of choice.

    If the Bulls could get the first protected tower of Denver in 2019 in Brooklyn's property in 2019, with Allen Crabbe and his salary of $ 18.5 million in 2019-20 attached, it's a good thing to do. If they really wanted to be bold, Nicolas Batum and his agreement on albatrosses (which was expected to be close to $ 52.7 million for 2019-20 and 2020-21) would give a deadly sense to the future. 39; money.

    The $ 14.4 million salary of Robin Lopez expiring in Chicago and Jabari Parker's agreement actually expiring (his salary of $ 20 million for 2019-20 is a team option) to be put into effect. place for approximation purposes.

    Whichever form is chosen, the Bulls best result by the deadline must reflect their understanding that a return to respectability will take a lot of patience.

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    No team is further from the relevance or prospect of a sustained victory than the Cleveland Cavaliers. So, every second that Kevin Love spends on the list is a second lost, both for his own career and for Cleveland's asset management.

    Bringing Love, 30, who has been injured in the left foot for four games this season and should begin his $ 120 million extension for four years next year, will be tough. No suitor can be sure of his behavior when he is healthy, and the age-related decline at the time of the extension seems imminent. It's a tough combination when Cleveland is trying to sell other teams on Love.

    The Cavs are not going anywhere, though, and the priority must be to get any future value asset for Love.

    If Cleveland could entrust love to a perpetually mediocre team like Charlotte or a good organization that is generally struggling to use its free agency money like Utah, it would be a victory.

    Dan Favale, from B / R, put together a Hornets package that would send out a protected first-round member, Malik Monk, and a pile of bad money. Perhaps the Jazz would separate from Derrick Favors, Dante Exum and a very protected first responder, the one that converts in a few seconds if it is not transmitted, for example, in 2020.

    Utah takes a lot of risk in this hypothesis, but that does not really worry us. This is the best scenario of Cleveland.

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    According to Tim Cato of The Athletic: "Dallas has obviously agreed to negotiate [second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr.], and Smith was ready to be traded, and none of that changed. Now we play a two week waiting game. "

    As a result of Smith's absence during his six games and a whirlwind of speeches that he would have traded, it's hard to see the Mavs Union with the number 9 pick of the # Last year last a long time. But … why hasten the break?

    Smith needs talent for a long time. He is a dynamite athlete who can hit a catch-and-shoot, and we often forget how long it takes the point guards to acclimate to the speed of the NBA. If the Mavericks want to trade it so that Luka Doncic can orchestrate the next decade without complication, why not wait until Smith plays well enough to restore his value? In case of failure, wait until at least this summer, when memories of Smith's dissatisfaction could fade and that an interested suitor could sell it in the course of from an exciting summer review.

    In the most optimistic (unrealistic) scenario, Dallas and Smith would reconcile between now and the end, and he came to appreciate the opportunity he had in front of him: a life of secondary playmaker capable of attacking defenses already scrambled. by the virtuoso passage of Doncic. Smith could feast on late fences, flee during the transition, and take advantage of his athleticism to wreak havoc as a Doncic vice-presidential candidate.

    Smith may have decided, but his talent is too good to be abandoned so soon. It's worth it to accept until the end of the deadline, unless there is an unlikely offer that would allow the Mavs to rank among the top 10 choices.

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    After flirting with excellence in both directions early in the season, the Nuggets again become an off-road team. Their defensive efficiency is in 20th place since December 1st.

    To make real damage in the playoffs, they must find a way to get stops.

    The Mavericks swingman, Dorian Finney-Smith, ticks many things that Torrey Craig does (good size, defensive state of mind, commutability), but Finney-Smith has the upper hand in three-pointers. At 35.6% this season, the Mavs wing was significantly better than Craig (29.2%).

    Dallas is losing the hope of a playoff spot and could well pick a choice for Finney-Smith among a team that could better use it.

    If the Nuggets can not take over Finney-Smith, any row wing with a defensive mentality will help.

    It's a small potential shot, but it would help Denver to preemptively solve the problems that keep star wings in the playoffs.

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    Andre Drummond is the worst high-volume post option in the NBA. He can not shoot anywhere he has two years left and he has almost $ 56 million left when he accepts his player option for 2020-21, and his team defends himself better when he is on the ground.

    This may make Drummond difficult to move, but it would be even more difficult for the Pistons to build a winner around him.

    Detroit is likely to take on an undesirable contract for Drummond, but since he is only 25 years old and may seem to have the advantage of finding the right buyer, the Pistons may be able to get a compensation plan.

    If the Hornets call with a contract involving Nicolas Batum, a young player like Malik Monk or Devonte Graham and a pick (probably no better than a second-round player), the Pistons should pull the trigger. Even if such an exchange would not provide salary relief in Detroit, at least the unpretentious training of players would have a volunteer facilitator on the wing while it would get rid of a center. from the old school that did not contribute to the success of the team.

    Better yet, getting Drummond out of the hallway could strengthen Blake Griffin's talent.

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    When you are the best team in the league, your needs are short and there is no obvious business candidate on your list, you will probably not be active on the trading deadline.

    Instead, look for warriors to solve their problems in the buyout market.

    The general manager, Bob Myers, would have no problem with the team behind DeMarcus Cousins ​​and Kevon Looney being at the center of the list. Robin Lopez would do the trick, but the Bulls seem determined to extract value for Lopez in an exchange. The Warriors have nothing that they would have willingly traded against RoLo and his expiring salary of $ 14.4 million. If they end up having it, it will be via the waiver thread.

    Each team needs more wings capable of shooting and defending, but Golden State will not compromise until Feb. 7 to add such a player.

    The optimal scenario for the Warriors is that the Cousins ​​get better results over long distances, to the point that he and Looney look like a fair tandem for the playoffs. Either way, neither will end up playing. it's the work of Draymond Green.

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    The Rockets will probably not be able to find the real Trevor Ariza unless the Washington Wizards turn their back on John Wall's injury and collapse after the playoffs. This means that Houston needs a facsimile Ariza.

    It will be difficult to find a big wing that scores three and defends both places on the field, but it should not be difficult to find someone who provides some of what Ariza has brought last year. .

    Brandon Knight's contract ($ 14.6 million this year, $ 15.6 million in 2019-2020) is a solid commercial forage. A team in need of choice could take that money with tied assets. The Hawks could overthrow Kent Bazemore for Knight and a heavily protected first-round or second choice, or the Knicks could send Tim Hardaway Jr. or Courtney Lee to the Rockets under a similar deal. The Memphis Garrett Temple swingman would also work.

    Anyway, Houston can make things happen with so much dead money and willingness to surrender.

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    The Pacers only have six players under guaranteed contracts for the 2019-2020 season, which could leave them nearly 50 million dollars worth of salary space this summer. It would be great if Indiana had had the habit of attracting free agents, but that's not the case.

    If Indy wants to make the most of her maximum space, her best move is to trade against a player already under contract. A team with strong chemistry might be reluctant to divide things now, especially since it ranks third in the East, but Victor Oladipo's injury changes the outlook for the rest of the world. l & # 39; year. Indiana needs to know that re-signing its impending free agents – Thaddeus Young, Tyreke Evans, Bogdanovic Bojan, Darren Collison, Joseph Cory and Kyle O 'Quinn – will not be at the same level as the East contenders.

    That's why it makes sense to negotiate for Mike Conley.

    Indiana should destroy the fundamentals for making money work, exchanging Collison, Evans, Doug McDermott, O. Quinn and Aaron Holiday for a salary of $ 30.5 million. The Grizzlies may also want a first-round pick. A third team may be needed to get more coins back to the Pacers.

    All of this would be complicated, and it would require Indiana to take a step back for the rest of the year.

    However, here's the thing: Oladipo's injury means that Indiana will have the chance to win a playoff game anyway, let alone a series. Do not enter the next season with a core composed of Oladipo, Conley, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis and (still) significant leeway (yet), sounds better than sending him back with the same group, many of whom would likely be re-engaged with higher wages than they currently do?

    Indiana does not land free agents that make the difference. Conley, from Indianapolis, would find his place.

13 out of 30

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    The Clippers' first priority on the deadline is not to cash in new funds for 2019-20. They can not allocate the funds intended for the maximum transaction of Kawhi Leonard (1 million percent current) and to the second star of a massive contract. This second guy may well be a re-signed Tobias Harris, but the free agent market could yield even more.

    Patience is the key.

    From there, there is nothing left to do in the offseason with support players who appeal to stars. The Clips need to keep their guys from dirty work (Showzl Harrell), their secondary scorers (Danilo Gallinari) and their promising hopes (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander). If they can leave Milos Teodosic, who is out of the rotation and who owes a qualifying bid of $ 7.9 million this summer, so much the better.

    It's a decisive year for the clips, even if they're profiling themselves as a playoff team. If they exceed the deadline with slightly cleaner books and intact key role fillers, they will be ready for a summer in which they could make a lot of noise.

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    Anthony Davis wants to be traded, the Celtics can not get involved until July and the Lakers have a group of young players with whom they could split up to give LeBron James his best execution companion (with Dwyane Wade's apology) .

    Pretty simple, no?

    It does not hurt the fact that "many league sources are waiting for the agent and the star to quickly find out through the league that Davis's favorite destination is the Lakers," according to Wojnarowski. .

    Pelicans should wait for the Celtics to enter contention in July, but AD's transparent desire to play in Los Angeles may diminish Boston's bid. The Celtics may be convinced they can convince Davis to sign again, but there is a real risk in giving up the choices and young players for a possible lease.

    The Lakers should offer Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Davis' choice, both because no one in this trio seems to be a cornerstone and better deals may materialize when the Celtics are free to enter the contest. Not only that, but once the lottery project is over, regardless of which team will land, the first choice will also have a major advantage to hang in front of the Pels.

    The Lakers should strike immediately.

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    The Grizzlies are already the team of Jaren Jackson Jr. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley just play it.

    That's the mentality that Memphis should have on the deadline, anyway.

    Small market teams are often reluctant to initiate a decommissioning process, but that is the only way forward for the Grizz. They can not treat this crucial deadline as an immediate reset. In addition to moving Gasol and Conley for young talent, the Grizzlies must also realize that keeping some of their bad money is worth it.

    Do not trade Chandler Parsons with a pickaxe attached just to get his pardon. Be prepared to let it plague on the books at least until the 2020 deadline. Memphis 'first round goes to the Celtics' home – it's not one of the top eight this year and the six first in 2020. If it is not transmitted by then, it will no longer be protected in 2021. Thus, the Grizzlies should hope to be on the rise. By 2020-2021, this choice would be less valuable.

    If the Grizzlies are still terrible in two years, this strategy would be a disaster. Memphis must understand this window, which begins by moving Gasol and Conley (and not Parsons) for the moment.

16 out of 30

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    Miami has done that alone.

    The signing of several members of the group who surrendered until 30-11 to close the 2016-17 season was a colossal mistake. It paralyzed the franchise with higher than market offers for medium-sized talent. The key term, however, is talent. The Heat have quality players; they are just overpaid.

    Perhaps a candidate mingles with Wayne Ellington and James Johnson. Maybe someone faints for a moment and decides that Tyler Johnson or Goran Dragic (who is still recovering from a knee operation) could make a difference in this season's playoffs and that they are worth $ 19.2 million next season. respective player options.

    And do not forget, Dion Waiters is also available!

    There is probably no way to get rid of Hassan Whiteside without signing such a costly contract. So we can exclude it at least until this summer. Nevertheless, the Heat must hope that desperation drives a team to seek out some of their veterans. This is the only way for them to create flexibility and break out of mediocrity.

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    The Milwaukee Bucks have no crying need, which is not surprising for a team that has led the league net for several months. They have already solved the problem of future flexibility by dropping Matthew Dellavedova and John Henson on the Cavs for George Hill, and they should be reluctant to further disrupt a formation that has played so well together.

    Wayne Ellington still has the spirit in mind and he could help the Bucks improve their conversion rate by 35.0%. If Milwaukee wants to dream a little bigger, he could pack Thon Maker, a company in search of trade, and a larger contract (perhaps Ersan Ilyasova's $ 7 million salary) to re-establish a reserve more robust in case Brook Lopez could not handle Joel Embiid in a playoff series. without fouling in the first quarter.

    Maker has shown lightning, especially in the last two games of the season, and he has enough size and shooting potential to intrigue the rebuilding teams who could still see him as a centerpiece.

    The Bucks are good enough to be tough, but they can meet a few small needs if they wish.

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    It will be difficult for the Minnesota Timberwolves to return to the lottery after last year's playoff game, their first since 2004. But the best way to set up a series of series trips is to unload the veterans – think of Taj Gibson, Jerry Bayless, Anthony Tolliver or Derrick Rose – to add younger pieces that would grow alongside Karl-Anthony Towns.

    Minnesota can not realistically hope to find candidates for Andrew Wiggins or Gorgui Dieng, but he should still make calls.

    With Towns, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Josh Okogie and Tyus Jones, the Wolves already have the makings of a decent nucleus. They must now complete it, and if this effort of repopulation is to the detriment of some hopes already unrealistic for the playoffs, so be it.

    Towns is bound by a five-year contract that starts next season. He is therefore not able to acquire a trade. It can handle another year of transition if it means a better stock of surrounding talent, more assets and a steady upward trajectory over the next few seasons.

19 out of 30

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    Ok, so Anthony Davis wants to go out.

    The pelicans of New Orleans had to know that this would happen long before ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday. As such, the Pels can not panic and treat AD now.

    It is in their interest to wait until this summer, after Kyrie Irving signs an extension of the Celtics. At this point, Boston would be allowed to trade against another player eligible for the Rose rule. Even if New Orleans does not want to send Davis to Boston, it should still wait for the Celtics are at the rendezvous, because their many strengths will raise the offers of other interested parties.

    This is how you make the best of a bad situation.

    For the moment, pelicans should look for a way to unload Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randle, E & # 39; Twaun Moore and even Jrue Holiday. After Davis's departure, the only real choice is to make a fresh start. Moving to veterans currently under contract should allow the return of future assets, while ensuring that losses accumulate and that lottery odds improve.

    Pelicans might be tempted to swap Davis as quickly as possible in order to start their new era, but that would be a mistake. Even if it involves paying Davis to stay home after his finger injury is cured, waiting to trade is the best thing to do before the trade deadline.

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    That's another vanilla suggestion that the Knicks are trying to get rid of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee, or both, as they gear up for a campaign for independent agencies this summer, but if we are talking about ideal scenarios, Anthony Davis must be involved.

    "The Knicks are determined to play a determining role in Davis' draw," Marc Stein of New York Times reported Tuesday.

    New York is expected to offer Kristaps Porzingis its first choice position for 2019, regardless of the salary chosen or the combination of young players desired by the Pelicans. Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox should be on the table. Hardaway and Lee should also be available, if only to match salaries.

    The only stumbling block could be some of the best protection of the first round this year. Le contrôle du contrat de recrue de Zion Williamson pourrait être plus précieux que Davis, qui sera toujours en liberté en 2020, à moins qu'il ne signe une prolongation.

    Si les Knicks négocient pour Davis, cela pourrait les placer dans la peau du pilote qui aura signé Kevin Durant cet été. À partir de là, il ne devrait pas être difficile de combler les lacunes avec des acteurs et des vétérans à bon marché.

    Ce serait une balançoire massive, mais il en vaut la peine.

21 sur 30

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    Le Thunder dispose déjà de la facture de taxes de luxe la plus élevée de la ligue. Il serait donc compliqué et coûteux d'ajouter des pièces significatives via le commerce. OKC ne peut pas justifier l’augmentation considérable de sa masse salariale (voire pas du tout).

    Au lieu de cela, ils devront espérer qu'Alex Abrines, Andre Roberson et Patrick Patterson reviennent dans la formation, ne subissent plus de problèmes de santé et qu’ils conservent des signes de vie récents, respectivement.

    Abrines et Patterson sont des tireurs à trois points en carrière avec 36,8%. Si ces deux types peuvent convertir leurs taux moyens à l'avenir, le Thunder n'aura pas besoin de chercher ailleurs pour obtenir de l'aide. Et tirer est une nécessité, puisque Oklahoma City se classe actuellement au 21e rang des ligues mondiales de loin.

    Pendant ce temps, chaque fois que Roberson reviendra au sol, l’une des meilleures défenses de la ligue devrait devenir encore meilleure.

    OKC n'est pas sur le point de conclure un accord majeur. Il doit donc espérer que les joueurs déjà inscrits puissent augmenter leurs contributions.

22 sur 30

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    La première partie du coup de poing double: Débarrassez-vous de Nikola Vucevic avant de payer son prochain contrat.

    "Débarrassez-vous de" est un terme fort pour un grand homme ayant une saison digne de meilleures performances et digne des étoiles, mais Vooch est au sommet de sa valeur en ce moment. C’est le moment de le négocier, même si son libre arbitre imminent et le manque de compétences dans l’ensemble de la Ligue pourraient nuire à son attrait commercial.

    Vucevic bloque les trois jeunes pièces d’avant-match d’Orlando. Il joue devant Mo Bamba, qui ne peut occuper que le 5, qui est également l'endroit où Jonathan Isaac devrait être le plus brûlé. Aaron Gordon devrait être un 4, donc la surabondance de position du Magic pourrait persister si Vucevic revient sur une nouvelle (et plus chère).

    Plutôt que de se concentrer sur une course improbable en séries, le Magic devrait appuyer sur un échange sur Vucevic. En outre, même s'ils participent aux séries, ils ne gagneraient pas grand chose à se faire fumer au premier tour.

    La deuxième partie: Commerce pour Dennis Smith Jr.

    Smith et les Mavs projettent de l'harmonie, mais c'est difficile à vendre. Les Magic ont désespérément besoin d'un meneur de jeu, en particulier d'un homme capable de grandir avec leurs jeunes attaquants et leurs jeunes centres. Smith a des bagages et n'a pas été efficace en tant que professionnel, mais il a toujours l'athlétisme et l'attitude pour devenir une star.

23 sur 30

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    Peut-être que les Clippers voudront se faire exploser lors d'une série du premier tour. Dans ce cas, ils auront peu de chance de négocier un accord comme celui que nous avons concocté pour renforcer les Sixers. Toutefois, du point de vue de Philadelphie, un échange qui impliquerait Avery Bradley et Montrezl Harrell (peut-être avec un choix en pièce jointe) pour Markelle Fultz et la charge de traitement des salaires pourraient soigner de nombreux maux.

    Les Sixers manquent de profondeur et ont particulièrement besoin d'aide au centre de secours et sur l'aile.

    Harrell fournirait de l'énergie et marquerait des points, et il s'est fermement établi en tant que destructeur de deuxièmes unités adverses. Bradley reste un peu surestimé en tant que défenseur, mais il fait plus d’impact sur le ballon que Landry Shamet ou JJ Redick. De plus, son salaire la saison prochaine n'est que partiellement garanti. Cet accord améliorerait la flexibilité financière de Philly à l'approche de l'été.

    Abandonner Fultz pique, et il est difficile d'affirmer qu'il s'agit d'un bon retour sur papier pour un choix parmi les meilleurs. Mais il est temps de mettre fin à cette relation et Fultz ne va pas améliorer sa valeur commerciale s'il ne joue pas. Cela peut être aussi bon que possible.

    Si les Sixers voulaient faire échouer cet accord, ils pourraient injecter 6 millions de dollars supplémentaires en salaire et en projet de compensation pour que Lou Williams soit inclus. Mais maintenant, nous devenons un peu ridicules.

24 sur 30

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    Avec une équipe aussi mauvaise que les Phoenix Suns, il n’est pas surprenant qu’il y ait plus de questions de délai que de réponses.

    Les Suns pourraient-ils obtenir quelque chose pour Josh Jackson? Est-ce que quelqu'un veut donner un choix à TJ Warren? Un candidat potentiel pourrait-il faire la lumière sur l'envie de réaliser la carrière de Troy Daniels à 40,3% de la profondeur?

    A long terme, cette équipe a-t-elle besoin d'un meneur de jeu ou d'une aile aux côtés de Devin Booker?

    Phoenix a déjà vendu à Trevor Ariza pour Kelly Oubre Jr., ce qui donne l’impression d’une victoire. À partir de là, nous avons juste besoin de voir une vision claire et une volonté de couper les appâts aux joueurs qui ne se profilent pas comme des pièces utiles pour la suite des choses. Les Soleils doivent reconnaître le début de leur processus de reconstruction et commencer par les bases.

    Ils ont Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton et Mikal Bridges en place, mais tout le monde devrait être disponible. Espérons que les Suns sortent de cette échéance avec une meilleure idée de ce qu'ils veulent construire.

25 sur 30

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    Le refrain habituel voudrait vous faire croire que les Blazers doivent échanger CJ McCollum pour secouer une arrière-cour défraîchie qui semble plafonner le plafond de l'organisation, mais jamais.

    Je proposerais plutôt de libérer un peu plus de 28 millions de dollars de salaire pour la saison prochaine.

    Les Blazers pourraient envoyer Evan Turner et Meyers Leonard aux Kings pour les offres expirantes de Zach Randolph et Iman Shumpert. Le prix d'un allégement de plafond de cette ampleur serait une première à se rendre à Sacramento, une équipe disposant de 11 millions de dollars d'espace de capitalisation et qui devrait également être disposée à prendre de l'argent en 2020 pour un projet d'actif.

    Si Portland est prêt à se départir d'un choix, cet accord aurait un effet négligeable sur les séries éliminatoires de 2019 tout en créant un peu de flexibilité pour la saison prochaine. Shumpert serait une mise à niveau par rapport à Turner, en particulier du point de vue de l'espacement. Malgré le ralentissement récent, Shump tire toujours à 36,1% au-delà de l’arc. Turner's at a tidy 29.5 percent for his career, and he's much worse than that this season (16.7).

    The homecoming angle for Z-Bo, who spent his first six years in Portland, is a nice little bonus.

    Doesn't that seem better than cutting ties with McCollum?

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    Fernando Medina/Getty Images

    Cap space doesn't go so far in Sacramento, which is why the Kings should try to add a starter via trade.

    They've got a little over $11 million in space right now and several expiring vets—Iman Shumpert, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore—to make the money work if another team wants to get off a salary it doesn't particularly like.

    Example: The Hawks might not want to pay Kent Bazemore $19.3 million next year, but the Kings should be open to it. The same logic could apply to Tim Hardaway Jr. or even Otto Porter Jr. if the Wizards decide to increase flexibility rather than chase a first-round elimination.

    The Kings have an exciting core in De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles III. Adding an established but moderately overpaid wing could make these guys very interesting for the rest of this season and beyond.

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    The Spurs doing nothing at the deadline is as big of a trade season tradition as rampant speculation and agent-leaked "reports" flooding our timelines. They last swung a February deal in 2014. Just keep that in mind when digesting the fact that San Antonio's ideal scenario involves adding Stanley Johnson.

    The Athletic's Jabari Young offered up the Pistons wing as a possible name to consider: "Spurs assistant GM Brian Wright was with the Pistons back in 2015 when the team drafted Johnson. Around the league, executives mentioned that Wright is still a big supporter of Johnson."

    Johnson, 22, wouldn't be the first reclamation project to thrive in San Antonio. Perhaps he could follow the paths of Danny Green and Patty Mills, to name two. Those guys lack Johnson's draft pedigree, but both were nearly out of the league before the Spurs got hold of them. Johnson, who profiles as a defender and playmaker on the wing, could come aboard and magically learn to shoot, which would make him a highly valuable young wing.

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    The Raptors aren't scared off by uncertainty. If they were, Kawhi Leonard, impending free agent and seemingly certain 2019-20 L.A. Clipper, wouldn't be on the roster.

    As such, landing Davis with no assurance he'll be around for more than a season and change is pretty on-brand for the Raps.

    A package involving Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka or Jonas Valanciunas (with picks attached) could catch the Pelicans' eye. Even if there might be better offers out there now and this offseason, New Orleans might consider two rising talents and an established center a decent result.

    We're viewing this from Toronto's perspective, though. Adding Davis to a core of Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry stands out as an enormous potential win—especially as it could reduce Leonard's chances of leaving this summer from 100 percent to, say, 94.7 percent. Every little bit helps.

    More immediately, the Raptors would have to vault ahead of Milwaukee, Boston and Philadelphia in the race to the Finals.

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    Close your eyes and imagine Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles on the same team. Looks pretty good, right?

    Let's make it happen.

    The Utah Jazz could ship Dante Exum, Ricky Rubio and a first-rounder to Memphis, which might not seem like enough until you remember Conley is 31, due to make $67 million over the next two full seasons and hasn't had the cleanest health record. In light of that, and considering Memphis' lack of leverage, that's a fine return. If the Grizzlies want Grayson Allen or Royce O'Neale or some other low-cost filler, Utah shouldn't hesitate.

    Conley is the kind of experienced leader Mitchell and Gobert could benefit from. Even better, he, unlike Rubio, actually forces defenders to guard him on the perimeter.

    It's probably a stretch to say Conley moves the Jazz up to contender status this year, but his influence could help Mitchell and Gobert lead the team to that level sooner than later.

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    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Sorry, but John Wall was basically impossible to trade before season-ending surgery. Now that he's out for the year (and potentially less explosive going forward), getting him off the books is hopeless.

    So this best-case scenario is a nonstarter.

    Washington isn't interested in losing on purpose, but it should be open to some future-focused roster construction. Otto Porter Jr. isn't a star, but he's the kind of wing who would fit on virtually any team. The goal, then, should be finding someone willing to accept his star-level salary in exchange for picks, expiring deals and/or young players.

    If Wall is going nowhere and Bradley Beal is too good to trade, Porter is the only logical choice. Otherwise, let's all agree to meet back here next year at this time, when Washington is inconsistent, disappointing and generally the same team it's been for the last handful of seasons.

    Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com and accurate through games played Tuesday. Salary information via Basketball Insiders.