There is a lot of rumors surrounding the future of the Cavaliers after this season. LeBron could go into free agency unless he feels that the Cavs have a shot at the title. The team needs to reassure him that they will be competitive, so they might move a few pieces.
Memphis are struggling really hard this season, and it might be time for a re-build. Where will Marc Gasol end up if that happens? Oklahoma City are not having the season they envisioned when they brought in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, and they might have not finished making moves just yet.
The Lakers will surely make a move before the deadline, while the Pelicans must improve their roster if they want to have a shot in making the playoffs this year or the next. The Western Conference grows stronger, and there is no guarantee that they will be in the eight best.
For all these reasons, and more, and with the trade deadline coming ever closer, here is a look at 5 Blockbuster trades that just might happen before the February 8 deadline:
5. Washington Wizards <-> Detroit Pistons
Wizards send: Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre Jr.
Pistons send: Andre Drummond
Detroit Coach Stan Van Gundy is not the one who is afraid to speak his mind. He is fond of skilled Centers, and Andre Drummond might not be his favorite type of big man. Don’t get me wrong, Andre Drummond is really good, but due to his physical attributes and his intense training. However, the Pistons are really thin on the wings, and there has been a lot of rumors going around that Drummond might be traded.
The Wizards also want to shake things up, because there has also been some frustration about the team underperforming. They could be willing to trade Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre Jr. in order to lure Andre Drummond, a move that could benefit both sides. Stan Van Gundy will get a more skilled Center in Marcin Gortat, and a young wing that is capable of filling the gap at the SF position.
4. Los Angeles Lakers <-> Oklahoma City Thunder
Lakers send: Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson
Thunder send: Paul George
The Lakers are going nowhere this season, and they have expressed the intention to sign at least one superstar this summer. They have a lot of assets to move, like Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, and they just might cut a deal with the Thunder on this one. However, they must somehow make sure that Paul George will commit to resign for them when the season ends.
The Thunder are not having the season they thought they would have when they shuffled the deck this summer, and there is no guarantee that Paul George will re-sign this summer. In fear of losing him to nothing, they can really benefit from this trade. They will get a really skilled big man in Julius Randle, while Jordan Clarkson will fill both Guard positions with some much-needed depth.
3. Memphis Grizzlies <-> Boston Celtics
Memphis send: Marc Gasol
Boston send: Daniel Theis, a 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick
The Memphis Grizzlies have been decimated by injuries once again this season, and they currently have the third worst record in the NBA. Mike Conley has a lingering Achilles injury that could cost him the season, while Chandler Parsons looks like the biggest bust of the last decade. This might be the time for them to rebuild, and that must start with Marc Gasol. Getting a couple of picks for the draft is the way to go, while Daniel Theis has actually emerged as a pretty decent option.
The Celtics could really use some additions in their frontcourt, with only Al Horford being a viable asset. Aron Baynes might walk in the summer, while Daniel Theis and Marcus Morris are decent, but not great. They will surely need to reinforce their frontcourt in order to make a push for at least the Eastern Conference Finals, and adding Marc Gasol would immediately turn them into a contender.
2. Los Angeles Clippers <-> Cleveland Cavaliers
Clippers send: DeAndre Jordan
Cavaliers send: 1st round pick (Nets) and Ante Zizic plus assets to match Jordan’ contract
The Clippers are most likely not going to make the playoffs this season, not because of the lack of depth, but mostly due to injuries. They are bound to re-build some time soon, and DeAndre Jordan has already been linked to numerous trades. Getting the Nets’ pick along with promising Center Ante Zizic might be enough to convince the Clippers to send DeAndre to the Cavaliers, but they can maybe grab Channing Frye or Iman Shumpert in this trade.
Now Cleveland are looking to add a decent Center in their roster, as Tristan Thompson has been almost invisible this season, and LeBron James’ patience seems to be running out. The Cavaliers will surely want to keep him, but in order to not lose him this summer, they will need to convince him to stay. Bringing in a dominant force in the paint like DeAndre will shift Kevin Love back to the PF, where he can be much more effective.
1. New Orleans Pelicans <-> Cleveland Cavaliers
Pelicans send: DeMarcus Cousins
Cavaliers send: Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Ante Zizic and a 1st round pick (Nets)
The Pelicans seemingly got DeMarcus Cousins for nothing last season, but they did decimate their bench in order to do so. They have been really unlucky though, as they thought they would be creating a contender, but the Western Conference grew really strong in the offseason. They are currently 8th in the Western Conference, but there is no guarantee that DeMarcus Cousins will stay. A ton of teams will pursue him in free agency this summer, and he might be able to find a spot in a team that has actual chances for a title, and not stay in the Pelicans who are currently fighting for the last playoff spot.
On the other hand, this will be a no-brainer trade for the Cavaliers, who will eventually shed Frye’s and Shumpert’s contracts, but bringing Cousins would create a dominant Big 4 with LeBron James, Kevin Love and Isaiah Thomas. They would have to give up the Nets’ pick, but they will build a fearsome starting line-up, maybe even better than what the Warriors have.