The trade deadline is almost upon us; Every NBA fan’s hopes and dreams can be lifted or destroyed any minute. There are plenty of enticing rumors being thrown around the league currently. Here are the deals that need to be made before the deadline is over on February 23rd.
5. Philadelphia 76ers trading away Jahlil Okafor
The story since the 76ers have drafted Jahlil Okafor is who will be the odd man out in Philadelphia. With Joel Embiid rising and Noel looking more compatible with him, it seems like Okafor is the odd man out. Okafor is only 21 and despite his struggles still has a lot of potentials. One team that has shown interest in Okafor is the New Orleans Pelicans. The deal would be a 1st round pick (most likely protected) and maybe Alexis Ajinca as a throwaway.
This trade works for both teams. 76ers finally get rid of the distracting logjam at center and the Pelicans get the chance to develop a center who can dominate the low post. Even if Okafor doesn’t work out for the Pelicans, they could probably get their protected pick back if they don’t make the playoffs.
4. Boston Celtics need to acquire a big man
I’ve been waiting for the Celtics to make a big move since the 2016 draft. They have been hot as of late but, they will need to make some sort of move to be able to compete with Cleveland in the East. The Celtics haven’t been as willing to give up young assets or picks to make a huge deal to acquire a star. Noting this, the Celtics can still go out and make a move for the rim protector they need. When you’re preparing for a playoff push against the better finishers in the league, (LeBron and Wall), you’re going to need a guy who could make them think twice when going to the hoop.
There are multiple guys that the Celtics can acquire. Big names that come to mind are Tyson Chandler and Andrew Bogut. Both players bring great size into the center of the paint and would be a huge boost in rebounding. Chandler is averaging 11.8 rebounds per game and Bogut is averaging 8.4 rebounds. No player on the Celtics is averaging over 7 rebounds; both players could really the Celtics with their weakness on the boards. The best part about acquiring one of these two players is the fact that the asking price won’t be too much. The most they would have to give up is their late 1st round pick this year.
3. Toronto Raptors acquiring Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic
I’m not sure if anyone knows what the Magic are exactly trying to do. Over the offseason, they traded one of their young pieces, Oladipo, for Ibaka in a shocking trade. Ibaka is having a decent season but is once again has his name back in the rumor mill. He’s averaging 14.9 points per game on 48% from the field and 38% from 3. He’s also averaging 7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. The Raptors could really make a move for him. Struggling of late, the Raptors could use another scorer and another rim protector. Ibaka brings both to the table. He can be a really good stretch 4 in an offense run by Kyle Lowry.
An addition like this could boost the Raptors contention in the eastern conference. This deal makes sense considering the Magic aren’t going anywhere with Serge at the helm now, they might as well try to get picks and young role players and move Aaron Gordon back to power forward.
2. Oklahoma Thunder need to acquire a scoring small forward
Russell Westbrook needs help. With Kanter hurt now, the Thunder need more help before Westbrook breaks his back on offense. Ideally, the Thunder should go out and make a move for a scoring small forward who can give them an instant boost. Their current starting small forward, Andre Roberson, is averaging about 6.6 points per game. Since the beginning of the season, the Thunder have been linked with forward Rudy Gay, but after suffering a season-ending injury, the Thunder need a new target.
The best small forwards on the market that would help the Thunder are Wilson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo would definitely cost more and would be harder for the Thunder to get so, realistically Wilson Chandler could be a great fit. He’s averaging 15.4 points per game on 45% shooting this season, with an additional 6 rebound per game. Chandler has expressed displeasure with being in Denver at this time. This is a perfect time for the Thunder to make a move for him.
1. New York Knicks sending Melo to Los Angeles Clippers
The New York Knicks are a disaster this season and need to finally commit to rebuilding their franchise. The Knicks have the 2nd worst record since Christmas day and it’s not getting any better. As much as Carmelo has meant to this franchise, they aren’t going anywhere other than the lottery this year. Sending Carmelo to the Clippers seems like the right move for both franchises. Knicks need to start building around their 2nd year pro, Kristaps Porzingis and the Clippers need to satisfy their star point guard Chris Paul.
Paul has recently told management that they need to do what it takes to get Carmelo to their organization. Not only would Anthony be the solid scorer they need, it would help the franchise bring back Paul over the summer. If the clippers can get Carmelo, they can be back in contention in the upper part of the West. If the Clippers are willing to give up Rivers, other role players, and maybe a future 1st rounder, these teams could get a deal done.