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Two Trades for Every Team Before the Deadline

D’Angelo Russell to the Heat? Clint Capela to the Hawks? Robert Covington to … Everyone? With the timing out, we examine potential major and minor moves for all 30 NBA teams to consider before Thursday. You may hate our logic, but you can’t be mad at the effort.

Getty Images/AP/Ringer illustration

It’s been an inauspicious lead-up to the 2020 NBA trade deadline, but the buzz is starting to pick up with just a few days remaining. While this year’s trade season is unlikely to produce multiple blockbusters, there are some intriguing names reportedly on the market, and there’s a host of contenders looking to make an upgrade with this year’s title race seemingly up for grabs.

With that in mind, The Ringer’s hoops staff banded together and took a look at all 30 teams before this year’s deadline, offering up one potential major and minor move each squad could make before Thursday.

Atlanta Hawks

Major: Montrezl Harrell to the Hawks; Derrick Favors and DeAndre’ Bembry to the Clippers; and Cam Reddish, Jerome Robinson, and Maurice Harkless to the Pelicans

Yes, why wouldn’t the Hawks just wait to try and sign Montrezl Harrell this summer when he hits free agency? To be honest, it feels like they are operating like a desperate team before the deadline, connecting themselves to Clint Capela, Steven Adams, and Andre Drummond. So why not go for this now? Give me Trae-Trez pick-and-rolls for days. On the Clippers end, they need a more reliable, defensive-minded big in the playoffs, and Favors fits the mold perfectly.

Minor: Cam Reddish and Evan Turner to the Cavs for Tristan Thompson

Thompson doesn’t quite line up with the Hawks’ timeline. But with Young already starting in the All-Star Game, he and the Hawks are going to want to see marked improvement next season, and Thompson could give them the right kind of anchor to improve their abhorrent defense. He would also get plenty of lobs from Young, the best point guard he’s played with since Kyrie Irving. Paolo Uggetti

Boston Celtics

Major: Enes Kanter, Romeo Langford, Vincent Poirier, the Celtics’ 2020 first-round pick to the Thunder for Dennis Schröder or Langford, Grant Williams, the Grizzlies’ 2020 first-rounder to the Kings for Bogdan Bogdanovic

There’s been plenty of chatter about how Boston should seek a brand-name big for the stretch run, but Danny Ainge might be better served riding the underappreciated Daniel Theis and instead aiming for a jolt of offense on the bench: The Celtics score 9.3 fewer points per 100 possessions when Kemba Walker sits.

Enter Schröder, who ranks first among reserves in points per game and 11th in assists off the bench, and who has been a vital part of Oklahoma City’s surprising run to postseason viability. Or, if you’d prefer, enter Bogdanovic, a 6-foot-6 playmaker adept at playing on or off the ball, with plenty of big-game experience from his career in Europe, and who’d be a good bet to produce in a bigger role than is afforded to him on the Kings.

I’m honestly not sure I’d do this if I was the Thunder or the Kings. I think Oklahoma City should let the good times roll through the playoffs, then see what opportunities might open in the summer, and I think Sacramento should just swallow hard, pay Bogdanovic in restricted free agency, and figure out the Fox/Hield/Bogdanovic backcourt from there. In this framework, though, Sacramento turns Bogdanovic into essentially three first-round picks—including one, Williams, who has already proven to be a quality contributor on a good defense—while OKC turns Schröder into Langford, an athletic and long (6-foot-4, 6-foot-11 wingspan) 20-year-old shooting guard with upside as a complement to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, plus another pick for the pile, and reunites the Stache Bros. Good vibes all around.

Minor: A 2020 second-round pick (whichever of the Knicks’ and Nets’ is less favorable) to the Warriors for Alec Burks

In the less ambitious version, the Celtics send one of the New York teams’ second-rounders to Golden State for Burks to act as a lower-wattage microwave scorer. Dan Devine

Phoenix Suns v Brooklyn Nets
Spencer Dinwiddie
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets

Major: Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris to the Magic for Aaron Gordon

Because of everything that’s in the air with Kevin Durant on the sidelines this year, the Nets would have to be feeling themselves to take a big swing. Still, Brooklyn has been one of the worst teams in the league in terms of quality spot-up attempts, so finding a player who can screen and create in the short-roll is critical. Gordon brings two-way value to the Nets, and the Magic add legitimate, stabilizing offensive forces. Win-win.

Minor: Garrett Temple to the Nuggets for Juan Hernangómez and Vlatko Cancar

History says that if you use “a fresh start” in your rationale, you need to start updating your LinkedIn. Knowing this, I will still break the rule: The optimism about Hernangomez’s ceiling as a player has diminished somewhat, but a fresh start in Brooklyn could be good for him. I’m not fully out yet. Denver could also use the depth defensively. J. Kyle Mann

Charlotte Hornets

Major: Malik Monk to the Knicks for Frank Ntilikina and a second-round pick

Charlotte exercised a team option for Monk in October to keep him around next season. But the Hornets may not want to re-sign him after that; three years into his career, the former lottery pick has yet to start a game. The Knicks do want Monk, per Ian Begley, though their hesitancy to give up a first-rounder might stop any deal.

Minor: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to the Mavericks for Courtney Lee and a second-round pick

Dallas is reportedly interested in MKG, which is more than can be said for Charlotte. Kidd-Gilchrist has completely fallen out of the Hornets rotation; if another team is interested, the Hornets need to listen. Kidd-Gilchrist is on an expiring deal, so the risk is low. Haley O’Shaughnessy

Chicago Bulls

Major: Thaddeus Young to the Clippers for their 2020 first-round pick and Maurice Harkless

This might be more of a Clippers trade than a Bulls trade, but Chicago is reportedly calling teams to try to get rid of its veterans, and this move accomplishes just that—and nets a relatively decent haul in return. Young would provide a substantial boost to the Clippers’ playoff rotation, motivating them to give up their first-round pick and Harkless’s valuable expiring deal. NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson reported last month that the Clippers have “legitimate” interest in Young, who would provide some Kawhi and PG insurance down the stretch.

Minor: Kris Dunn to the Knicks for Dennis Smith Jr.

Just because. Matt Dollinger

Cleveland Cavaliers v Detroit Pistons
Kevin Love
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Cleveland Cavaliers

Major: Kevin Love for ???

As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi reported, unless something unexpected happens, it looks like Love isn’t going anywhere. I would love to see him end up in Portland, but with the Blazers experiencing a down year, does it make sense to swing big now? The Rockets are forever looking to add an extra piece, and I would never count out Daryl Morey, but Love is making $28.9 million this season, which would make it difficult for the contracts to match up unless a third team is involved. Maybe Love for Gordon Hayward in a shake-up for both sides? I’m not really sold on that for either team, to be honest. Love previously said he wants out of Cleveland, but getting him on a plane won’t be easy.

Minor: Tristan Thompson for a second-round pick

Thompson is on an expiring contract that pays him $18.5 million this season. The Cavs won’t get much for him. A second-rounder sounds about right. Maybe toss in a Chili’s gift card. John Gonzalez

Dallas Mavericks

Major: Courtney Lee and the Warriors’ second-round pick to the Grizzlies for Andre Iguodala

Dallas has always been one of the most logical destinations for Iguodala. Memphis wants a first-round pick for the disgruntled veteran, but a second-round pick from Golden State, which would be in the early 30s, is close to the same thing. This deal gives Dallas a wing defender that would allow them to match up with some of the best teams in the West without giving up a meaningful part of the team.

Minor: Courtney Lee and the Warriors’ second-round pick to the Pistons for Tony Snell

The same trade but for a less high-profile player than Iguodala. Snell could give Dallas another long 3-and-D wing who can help in a playoff series, and Detroit is trying to move anything not tied down as it begins another rebuild project. Snell also has a player option for next season, which means that his contract will be up in the all-important summer of 2021. Jonathan Tjarks

Denver Nuggets

Major: Gary Harris and Malik Beasley to the Magic for Evan Fournier and the Magic’s 2020 first-round pick (top-five protected)

Denver has tried to be patient with Harris over the past two seasons, but at some point the Nuggets will have to reckon with how unreliable he’s been both as a long-range shooter and as a finisher around the rim. Think of this as a move of consolidation. Packaging Harris with Beasley helps the Nuggets get more of the offense they need in a fairly similar form. The Magic, meanwhile, buy low on two wings who could help balance out their rotation.

Minor: Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, and Jarred Vanderbilt to the Grizzlies for Jae Crowder

Given the Grizzlies’ roster constraints, this move would have to work in conjunction with another—for starters, sending Andre Iguodala to a contender to free up his spot. If Memphis can make the logistics work, then Denver could land another wing defender to help manage the playoff gauntlet. The Nuggets have a solid team defense with a noticeable gap; Crowder slots in nicely for opponents too big for Torrey Craig and too quick for a healthy Paul Millsap.Rob Mahoney

Denver Nuggets v Detroit Pistons
Derrick Rose
Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

Detroit Pistons

Major: Derrick Rose to the Lakers for Kyle Kuzma and Avery Bradley

Look, I’m not saying the Lakers would definitely make this trade. But if the Pistons can grab a young wing with upside (plus Bradley, for salary-matching purposes and because Rose would assume his rotation spot), it’s hard to imagine a better outcome for a team in desperate need of some sort of spark.

Minor: Andre Drummond to the Knicks for salary-filler and two second-round picks

This just isn’t working, Detroit. In eight seasons with Drummond, the Pistons have made the playoffs twice—and been swept, as the no. 8 seed, both times. It’s time to move on without the center, who has a hefty player option for next season, and begin yet another rebuild. Plus, Knicks second-rounders are almost as good as first-round picks, anyway. Zach Kram

Golden State Warriors

Major move: D’Angelo Russell to the Heat for Justise Winslow, Tyler Herro, Dion Waiters, swap rights on the Heat’s 2022 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick (less favorable of Philadelphia or Denver)

Minnesota is the most likely destination should the Warriors decide to punt on Russell, given his relationship to Karl-Anthony Towns and the Wolves’ need to do something (anything, really, to help poor Karl). But the Heat have the motivation and the right kind of assets: young, relatively cheap players who can fit around Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Herro is a perfect Splash Step-Bro, and though Winslow (who’s injured right now, for what it’s worth) might be too Draymond-y to play with Draymond, he could become his heir apparent, shouldering some of the defensive burden as Green transitions into his 30s. Russell won’t help Miami’s defense, and he may jostle with Jimmy Butler for control of the offense, but he’s a star-level talent and Pat Riley is always in the star-aggregating business. Erik Spoelstra has made chicken salad with far lesser players.

Minor move: Anything that restocks the draft coffers

Trading Willie Cauley-Stein got the Warriors below the hard cap, and winning this season isn’t an option, so the only realistic goal worth pursuing before the deadline is balancing out the draft debt. Golden State owes two firsts and five seconds, with only a 2020 second from Utah (via the Cauley-Stein trade) coming in. Offseason pickups Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III are the most likely candidates to yield more, with Burks (playing the best of his career and unsigned past this season) being the easiest of the pair to part with. Philly has eight extra seconds (long live Hinkie) and needs some adults on its bench. Would Burks make sense for both sides? Justin Verrier

Houston Rockets

Major: Clint Capela to the Hawks; Cam Reddish, the Nets’ 2020 first-round pick (via Hawks), and the Rockets’ second-round pick to the Grizzlies; Andre Iguodala, Alex Len, and Vince Carter to the Rockets

There’s too much going on here, but this is how the Hawks can get Capela, and we can watch Andre Iguodala and Vince Carter play for a contender in the playoffs—everyone wins.

Minor: The Rockets’ 2021 first-round pick to the Grizzlies for Jae Crowder

Assuming the Rockets can offload Clint Capela’s $14 million (as they seem determined to do), they could simply give the Grizzlies what they reportedly want for Crowder—a first-round pick. Maybe they get a slightly better pick in return for Capela, but regardless, Crowder would give the Rockets another wing who could, theoretically, shoot from outside and play defense. —Uggetti

Raptors 905 v Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Alize Johnson
Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images

Indiana Pacers

Major: Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Clippers for Paul George

Just kidding!

Minor: Alize Johnson and the Bucks’ 2021 second-round pick to the Warriors for Alec Burks

The Pacers don’t need to make any big moves before the deadline, but it wouldn’t hurt if they found another wing to bolster the back end of their bench. Burks would be a solid, low-cost target from the Warriors. Kevin O’Connor

Los Angeles Clippers

Major: Ivica Zubac, Rodney McGruder, and Maurice Harkless to the Thunder for Steven Adams

It might seem unrealistic that the Thunder wouldn’t demand Montrezl Harrell in this deal, but Zubac is a proper replacement for Adams. (Plus, Trez will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.) L.A. needs length and strength, and Adams would give the Clippers a sturdy defensive anchor.

Minor: Maurice Harkless to the Bulls for Thaddeus Young

O’Shaughnessy: The Clippers have been linked to Young in their search for wing and frontcourt depth. Young, conveniently, is reportedly frustrated that he’s not seeing more time on the floor with the Bulls. Harkless is 26—he can run with the young Bulls and be a better fit for Jim Boylen’s system (and he’s on an expiring contract). —O’Shaughnessy

Los Angeles Lakers

Major: Kyle Kuzma and Avery Bradley to the Nets for Spencer Dinwiddie

I can’t fathom the Lakers making a trade that would drastically alter team chemistry given what they have been through following the passing of Kobe Bryant. If any move is made, they undeniably need a facilitator who can provide a spark off the bench; these two trades (see below) would accomplish that goal.

Dinwiddie is a Los Angeles native who grew up idolizing Kobe; he shines running the show off the bench, or as a complement to star teammates, which would make him a wonderful addition next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Nets could arguably use Kuzma’s size rather than Dinwiddie’s ball-handling once Kevin Durant returns next season and absorbs more touches alongside Kyrie Irving.

Minor: Troy Daniels and a future second-round pick to the Wizards for Isaiah Thomas

I.T.’s favorite player growing up was also Kobe, who became a mentor in recent years. Thomas still isn’t what he once was in Boston or Sacramento, but he’s far better than he was during his short stint with the Lakers in 2018. In Washington, he’s become a spark plug pick-and-roll playmaker and knockdown 3-point shooter. The Wizards would be doing Thomas a favor sending him to a contender, but Daniels could be a better fit off the bench once John Wall returns. —O’Connor

Memphis Grizzlies v New Orleans Pelicans
Jae Crowder
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Memphis Grizzlies

Major: Jae Crowder and the Grizzlies’ 2021 first-round pick (top-10 protected) to the Kings for Bogdan Bogdanovic

Thanks to hefty deals awarded to Buddy Heild and Harrison Barnes, Bogdan Bogdanovic has found himself on the trading block, by no fault of his own. Bogie has been superb for a struggling Sacramento team that has reportedly spoken to the Lakers about him in a potential Kyle Kuzma trade. In Crowder, the Kings pick up an expiring contract and add a first-rounder in the process. Memphis, meanwhile, gets the high-ceiling wing they need to play alongside Ja Morant.

Minor: Andre Iguodala to the Raptors for Norman Powell, Stanley Johnson, and the Raptors’ 2020 first-round pick

Samman: Our man Dan Devine beat me to the punch with this trade. Norman Powell has been superb thus far for the Raptors, averaging 15.3 points on 40.1 percent shooting from deep, and losing him could disrupt Toronto’s good form, but the upside of Playoff Iggy is too great. Iguodala hasn’t played since June, and his 2018-19 campaign was arguably the worst of his career, but there may not be a better defensive wing on the market this week, and he’d give the Raptors the edge needed to defend their crown. Shaker Samman

Miami Heat

Major: Justise Winslow, Kelly Olynyk, and Derrick Jones Jr. to the Spurs for LaMarcus Aldridge

Aldridge is a large contract for the Heat to take on, but he’d be an immediate force in the frontcourt. He also wouldn’t hurt Miami’s spacing—over the last 18 games, LMA is shooting 48.7 percent from deep. Meanwhile, San Antonio needs to lean into its youth movement. Though Winslow and Jones may be too high of a price for Miami, the Heat are very short on picks.

Minor: Kelly Olynyk to the Knicks for Taj Gibson

Some of the Heat’s best players are also on their cheapest contracts, making it hard to orchestrate a smaller deal. Jimmy Butler adores Gibson—he chose to wear the number 22 on his Heat jersey, in honor of Gibson’s number with the Bulls while the two were teammates—and Gibson could help with the Heat’s rebounding issues. —O’Shaughnessy

Milwaukee Bucks

Major: Ersan Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson, the Pacers’ 2020 first-round pick, and a Bucks first-round pick to the Timberwolves for Robert Covington

The Bucks are on pace for 70 wins and boast a record point differential; they don’t need to do anything. But if Covington is gettable, he’d add another reliable wing to the playoff rotation and another 3-and-D skill set to a club that might need to match up, at some point this spring, with Pascal Siakam, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, LeBron James, or Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Minor: Any warm-blooded 7-footer for a second-round pick

Kram: Barring a meaningful wing improvement, Milwaukee’s only potential area of upgrade is another body to contend with Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis. The Bucks probably don’t need anyone else—that’s what happens when the roster is already almost flawless. —Kram

Minnesota Timberwolves

Major: Andrew Wiggins and Jake Layman to the Thunder for Chris Paul

Who says no? OK, probably everybody, but hear me out for a second. The Thunder are in the midst of a playoff hunt, and though Wiggins can be (and often is) a liability, he isn’t someone an opposing team can ignore. The Thunder could certainly use his scoring in the postseason. And long term, he’s a much better fit alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. As for CP3 to the Wolves … I don’t have a great justification other than to keep Karl-Anthony Towns happy. KAT generally does well with a veteran presence around (see: Garnett, Kevin), so this could be a good thing. Maybe?

Minor: Robert Covington to the Bucks for Ersan Ilyasova, DJ Wilson, and the Pacers’ 2020 first-round pick (via Bucks)

Covington is currently one of the hottest trade targets, especially among contenders. With this deal, the Bucks get a solid defender, scorer, and someone who can (hopefully) help them overcome their playoff hump. Covington is an extremely versatile player whom the Wolves would miss, but let’s face it, their season is already all but over. Megan Schuster

New Orleans Pelicans v Houston Rockets
Jrue Holiday
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

New Orleans Pelicans

Major: Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor to the Heat for Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard, and the Heat’s 2020 first-round pick

You never want to lose a player like Holiday, but a team working with the extended runway provided by Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram should at least consider it. A package like this bridges short-term production with long-term potential. How it hits you likely depends on what you make of Herro; Miami’s front office, for example, might be too bullish to part with the 20-year-old shooter so soon.

Minor: E’Twaun Moore, Jahlil Okafor, the Pelicans’ 2020 second-round pick, and the Wizards’ 2020 second-round pick to the Knicks for Marcus Morris

If we’re operating under the assumption that New Orleans is ready to push for the no. 8 seed, they could stand to upgrade their bench with a reliable combo forward. Morris should be available if the Knicks come to their senses, though perhaps that assumes too much. —Mahoney

Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks
Marcus Morris
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

New York Knicks

Major: Marcus Morris to Clippers for Maurice Harkless, Jerome Robinson, and the Clippers’ 2020 first-round pick

Honestly, the only major transaction involving the Knicks that I can bring myself to care about is “Bill Gates or Whoever Giving James Dolan Like $6 Billion in Exchange for Controlling Interest in the Knicks, Madison Square Garden, and the Madison Square Garden Company.” But, for the sake of this exercise, let’s start smaller.

Morris has been the Knicks’ most productive player this season, and he is amorphously Tough Enough To Handle New York, so of course the Knicks are “hell-bent” on keeping him around. Setting aside the question of whether you should want to pay Morris for the long haul—the 30-year-old’s ascent has come courtesy of taking more shots than ever on a dreadful team, and suddenly making 44 percent of his 3-pointers after spending the previous eight years as a career 36 percent long-range shooter—it shouldn’t preclude the Knicks from making an asset-accumulating deal if one presents itself. If there’s a team out there that thinks Morris’s shooting, toughness, and ability to play the 3 or 4 in the playoffs is worth a first-round pick and maybe a young player—Robinson’s out of L.A.’s rotation now, but Jerry West liked the toolsy combo guard enough to take him 13th overall in 2018—the Knicks should race to the phone to sell high on one of their few profitable on-court investments in recent years.

Minor: Reggie Bullock to the Lakers for Troy Daniels, Talen Horton-Tucker, and a future second-round pick

Devine: Along the same lines: Bullock’s been up and down since rejoining the Knicks following surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back, and he didn’t set the world on fire in a brief stint with the Lakers last season. But if L.A.’s looking at around-the-margins moves before the deadline, a big wing who’s shot nearly 39 percent from distance over his career is the player type who tends to fare well next to LeBron James, and could return a couple of smaller pieces for the Knicks to take a longer look at. —Devine

Oklahoma City Thunder

Major: Terrance Ferguson, Andre Roberson, and a future first-round pick to the Wolves for Robert Covington

Most of the conversation around the Thunder has been about them being a seller at the deadline, but there’s no reason why they can’t be a buyer. Covington would be a massive upgrade over Ferguson on the wing, and they have more future first-round picks in their war chest than they could even use. The Wolves have been big-game hunting for D’Angelo Russell, and one of the picks the Thunder have assembled could help them in that process.

Minor: Andre Roberson and two future second-round picks to the Pistons for Tony Snell

Snell is a good backup plan for any number of teams looking for help on the wings. He’s a great shooter (41.2 percent from 3 on 4.4 attempts per game this season) with the size (6-foot-6 and 213 pounds) to hold his own on defense. The Pistons are rebuilding, so any future pick is more valuable to them than a 28-year old. —Tjarks

Orlando Magic

Major: Aaron Gordon to the Thunder for Danilo Gallinari and a future first-round pick

Gallinari could be the scorer that Orlando wishes it had in Gordon. The Magic could get a test run before deciding whether they want to commit to Gallinari in free agency this summer. Gordon could shine in a new system, much like Jerami Grant did with Oklahoma City.

Minor: Mo Bamba to the Celtics for Romeo Langford and Milwaukee’s 2020 first-round pick

It’d be rather soon for the Magic to pull the plug on Bamba after drafting him sixth in 2018—it’d be foolish to give up when he was always expected to be a raw project. However, Orlando does have a glut of bigs on its roster, and Bamba’s playing time has slipped because he has struggled on offense and is inconsistent on defense. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to cash out for a young perimeter scorer like Langford and a draft pick—or some similar structure with a different team other than Boston, which fits here since it loved Bamba before the draft and could use another young big man to develop. —O’Connor

Philadelphia 76ers

Major: Mike Scott, Zhaire Smith, Jonah Bolden, and picks to the Wolves for Robert Covington

The Sixers are unlikely to make what would qualify as a “major” Jimmy Butler–level trade. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons aren’t going anywhere, and Elton Brand invested $290 million in Tobias Harris and Al Horford in the offseason. After that, the biggest contract on the books is Josh Richardson, who makes only (relative term) $10.1 million this season. It will be hard for the Sixers to match up contracts on big-money players, which is why I’ve been told that rumors of them being interested in Danilo Gallinari were off base. Sixers fans would love to have RoCo back in the mix, but this seems like a long shot, even if the Sixers up the offering price and throw in a second-rounder or two. The Wolves could do better, no?

Minor: Mike Scott and Zhaire Smith to the Bulls for Tomas Satoransky

The Bulls have a super-crowded backcourt. Maybe they’d be willing to unplug one of their guards for a lotto ticket and hope Zhaire pays off? It seems unlikely, but I dare to dream. —Gonzalez

Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks
Mikal Bridges
Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Phoenix Suns

Major: Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Tyler Johnson, and a protected 2020 first-round pick to the Cavaliers for Kevin Love

It doesn’t sound like Love is getting traded, but that will not stop me from trying to get him to a warmer, happier city. This deal doesn’t exactly make the Suns a playoff team or even a better defensive team, but it’s fun to think about how both Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton would look next to Love. I would say that Phoenix also gets an adult in the room, but Love hasn’t exactly been that in Cleveland this season.

Minor: Dario Saric to the 76ers for Zhaire Smith

This works straight up and makes too much sense. Smith is not ready to contribute to a contender yet, but his upside is still mysteriously promising. Saric, meanwhile, gets to come home and give the Sixers another dynamic player who can actually play with both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (as he’s proved before). —Uggetti

Portland Trail Blazers

Major: Hassan Whiteside, Nassir Little, and a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick to the Pistons for Blake Griffin

Picture, if you will, a scenario in which the Blazers can rid themselves of Whiteside, pick up an All-NBA talent, and maintain their current trajectory this season. That’s what’s in play here. Griffin has been linked to Portland for a while now, and though he’s out for the year, and has had a checkered injury history, he’s the kind of talent (at full strength) that Portland has needed to get over the hump in the West. Detroit’s pickups—Whiteside’s expiring, Nassir Little, and a first—get the team closer to the path they should’ve been on all along: a full-blown tank.

Minor: Gary Trent Jr. to the Suns for Cameron Johnson

Portland already made a minor move last month, when it shipped Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to Sacramento for cap relief. This move is less about money, and more about fit. Trent doesn’t quite have a spot in Portland’s lineup, and could use a change of scenery. Cameron Johnson, trapped behind Kelly Oubre Jr., Mikal Bridges, and every other notable wing in Phoenix, would benefit from the same. Swap ’em. —Samman

Sacramento Kings

Major: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica, and a protected first-round pick to the Pacers for Myles Turner

Turner could be the player the Kings wanted Dewayne Dedmon to be—but much, much better. He can defend the rim and space the floor—and could be a great fit next to Marvin Bagley III. This probably isn’t the massive offer the Pacers want for Turner, but Bogdanovic and Bjelica look nice around Domantas Sabonis.

Minor: Dewayne Dedmon for a ham sandwich (from literally any team/deli)

The three-year, $40 million contract the Kings gave Dedmon this offseason was one of the worst free agent deals in Sacramento history—and there’s a high (low?) bar for that honor. Dedmon has been a healthy scratch in double-digit games already and openly wants to be traded. The Kings would do well to just wash their hands of his contract and be done with it. In fact, they don’t even need ham—make it bologna and you still have a deal. —Riley McAtee

San Antonio Spurs

Major: LaMarcus Aldridge to the Heat for Kelly Olynyk, Justise Winslow, and Derrick Jones Jr.

The Spurs are caught in the middle of the league, but based on their history, it’s unlikely that they’ll make a major midseason move. Aldridge is still a fairly reliable shot maker with experience, and putting a versatile defensive piece like Bam Adebayo next to him could be fun to watch. None of the incoming pieces—Winslow, Olynyk, or Jones— in this deal are stars, but it makes the Spurs younger, and there are feasible scenarios where they develop into usable pieces on a good team.

Minor: Patty Mills to the 76ers for Zhaire Smith, Jonah Bolden, and Mike Scott

This trade features a nice overlapping of needs. Smith is still oozing with potential, but the presence of Matisse Thybulle has loosened the insistence on keeping him around. Mills is still a highly credible dribble and spot-up shooter, and he would feast playing alongside the Sixers’ personnel. —Mann

Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks
OG Anunoby
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Toronto Raptors

Major: Raptors’ 2020 first-round pick, OG Anunoby, Stanley Johnson, and Patrick McCaw to Minnesota for Robert Covington and Shabazz Napier

Masai Ujiri says the Raptors will “die trying” to win back-to-back titles—and I’m inclined to believe him. The price for Covington, fittingly the deadline’s most coveted target, is reportedly high, and the Raptors can’t offer anything close to a lottery pick. But they can dangle OG Anunoby, a promising prospect who is essentially the equivalent. The Wolves need to keep Karl-Anthony Towns happy, and selling him on Anunoby, who’s closer in age to KAT than Covington, would be easy. Toronto would be reluctant to part with the young 3-and-D starter, but Covington is the type of all-in gamble that Ujiri has proved he won’t hesitate to make.

Minor: Patrick McCaw and the Raptors’ 2020 second-round pick to the Pistons for Markieff Morris

With the price of twin brother Marcus reportedly pretty steep, the Raptors could take a low-cost flier on Markieff, who would provide a little more scoring and size off the bench. —Dollinger

Utah Jazz

Major: Mike Conley to the Thunder for Chris Paul

The Jazz are probably all tuckered out on major transactions: Since mid-June, they’ve traded for Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson, traded away Derrick Favors, signed Bojan Bogdanovic and Ed Davis, and extended Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale. Their cap sheet is also immaculate, making it hard to match salary for a veteran without sacrificing a key rotation player. So let’s throw some shit against the wall.

Paul has been far better in his new setting than Conley, but Conley’s deal is one year shorter and owes $6 million less this season. So while this seems outrageous at first blush—and might still be after multiple blushes—there’s a certain logic to it: OKC gets out of the tax this season and off a max paycheck one year sooner (two, if we’re counting back from Russell Westbrook), while Utah doubles down on the all-in push it started this offseason, with a player who has proved he can work wonders for your young franchise off-guard. Some sort of draft compensation may be needed, but the more I stare at this one, the less I hate it.

Minor: Ed Davis and a 2022 second to the Magic for Khem Birch

Verrier: Much to the dismay of Twitter, Davis hasn’t been able to fill the backup center void once occupied by Favors; he has a minus-13.8 net rating, worst among Jazz regulars, and has often been bypassed in favor of Tony Bradley. Birch has been better than Mo Bamba, but the Magic seem committed to giving the former no. 6 overall pick a chance to prove himself. If Orlando is willing to make that decision definitive, a second is a fair price for Utah to pay for a center who can adequately hold down the fort when Rudy Gobert sits and who is also signed through next season. —Verrier

Washington Wizards

Major: John Wall and multiple first-round picks to the Rockets for Russell Westbrook

Let’s get wild! Gilbert Arenas’s contract for Rashard Lewis’s contract, part two. Houston likely won’t win the title with Westbrook, and he’s the only reasonable candidate in the whole league to swap for Wall, so let’s imagine that Daryl Morey agrees to this framework to recoup some of the picks he lost when trading for Westbrook last summer. Will this happen? Of course not—both teams would probably say no. But with any Bradley Beal deal off the table, the Wizards don’t have any other “major” moves available.

Minor: Davis Bertans to the 76ers for Mike Scott and at least one pick

The 76ers need more shooting; thus, a deal for Bertans. The Wizards aren’t winning even with the long-range Latvian; thus, a redirection of focus toward the future. —Kram

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