I think it’s now safe to conclude DeMarcus Cousins is actually off the trading block. Following the All-Star Game, news broke that Sacramento had traded the only player giving them a chance to win on a nightly basis to the New Orleans Pelicans. Boogie will now team up with Anthony Davis to form the league’s most dangerous frontcourt.
Serge Ibaka was another household name moved before the deadline, as the power forward packed his bags to head north of the 49th parallel after being acquired by the Raptors last week. With these two names already off the table, is there any reason to pay attention to the NBA trade deadline (Thursday, February 23, 3:00 PM ET)? I say yes!
Here are the five most notable names who have been rumored in trade talks, and the odds of them being shipped-off.
Jahlil Okafor, Center, 76ers
The 76ers are left in a tough spot with Okafor. Philadelphia made it clear the third-overall pick from the 2015 draft was on the trading block, but have since seen a number of interested teams acquire big-men from other teams – see Portland, Denver, and New Orleans. Trade partners are dwindling, which is bad news since the 76ers don’t have room for Jahlil in their loaded frontcourt for Okafor.
Both the Celtics and Bulls are looking to add for their respective playoff pushes, and each could use an upgrade in the frontcourt. Robin Lopez offers minimal offense and hasn’t been the rim-protector Chicago needs. Meanwhile, Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk are fine players, but Okafor fits better next to Al Horford in Boston. With time running out, Bryan Colangelo may have to just take what he can get here.
Odds Okafor is traded to …
Boston Celtics: 7/3
Chicago Bulls: 5/2
No trade: 8/1
Nick Young, Shooting Guard, Lakers
In what is being referred to as one of the deepest drafts of the last decade, the Lakers are in jeopardy of losing their first-round pick. The Lakers first-rounder is property of the 76ers, but is top-three protected. Though Los Angeles currently possesses the third-worst record in the league, both the Magic and 76ers are only a couple games up on them. In order to increase their chances of maintaining that pick, the Lakers would be smart to unload some talent that isn’t in the future-plans.
Nick Young is 31 years old and has provided the organization with many headaches. The guard is shooting 41.3-percent from behind the arc this year and averaging 13.8 points per game. Those are numbers a playoff team would love to have at their disposal off the bench.
The Wizards have made it clear they’re looking to add some bench scoring, and they likely wouldn’t have to part with too much to acquire Young. The Bulls and Thunder are the two worst three-point shooting teams in the league, so a move for Swaggy P immediately makes both better.
Odds Young is traded to …
Chicago Bulls: 6/1
Oklahoma City Thunder: 13/2
Cleveland Cavaliers: 8/1
Washington Wizards: 8/1
Houston Rockets: 9/1
No trade: 3/1
Derrick Rose, Point Guard, Knicks
The Knicks have a decision to make here: can this roster make the playoffs (and avoid the Cavs in the first round) or should they begin blowing it up now? New York sits four games back of the final playoff spot in the East and has lost 21 of its last 28 games.
If the Knicks don’t plan on re-signing Rose when his contract expires at the end of the season, then holding onto him makes no sense. The former MVP can still get to the rim, but he’s not distributing the ball and his defense has been terrible. Not to mention, he has promulgated his desire for a max contract.
In order for a team to pull the trigger on acquiring Rose, they would have to believe he is their point guard of the future. I do not see a team willing to rent him for the season, unless it wanted the inside track re-signing him in the offseason. Detroit is floating Reggie Jackson on the trading block, so a point guard swap could be in place here. Orlando is known to be in the market for a floor-general, too.
Odds Rose is traded to …
Orlando Magic: 7/1
Detroit Pistons: 9/1
No trade: 3/2
Carmelo Anthony, Small Forward, Knicks
This is the trade the Knicks would really like to make, but Melo has a lot of power in the decision due to his no-trade clause. The aging “superstar” has faced heavy criticism from Knicks president Phil Jackson this season for his unwillingness to buy into team-ball.
Anthony loves it in New York and has no desire to leave. If the 32-year-old were to waive his no-trade clause, it would only be for an opportunity to win a championship. Unfortunately for Jackson and the Knicks, no contender is going to send equal value in return for a volume shooter who only puts in effort on one end of the floor.
Odds Anthony is traded to …
Boston Celtics: 9/1
Cleveland Cavaliers: 12/1
No trade: 1/4
Jimmy Butler, Shooting Guard, Bulls
The DeMarcus Cousins trade proved anything can happen, no matter what the organization has said previously. As a result, I have been forced to include Jimmy Butler on this list. It would be asinine for the Bulls to trade away their franchise player. Unless, of course, the return featured a talented young player, the first-overall pick in the 2017 draft, and at least one more first-round pick with limited protection. If only there was a team that could offer them that …
Odds Butler is traded to …
Boston Celtics: 7/1
Los Angeles Lakers: 19/1
No trade: 1/4
Photo Credit: Kyledog7 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.