The NBA truly is where amazing happens. Living up to this motto, they’ve never failed to knock everybody off their feet with surprising deals and trades that take place right before our eyes, with nobody even suspecting those players were on the trade block.
Either because of salary clearing purposes, for locker room scuffles, for lack of consent between players and teams, because the franchise’s planning ahead for the future or simply because the team wants to acquire a star or a player that fits the system better, players are constantly on the move and we just can’t help to be surprised at times.
Recently, Paul George and Kyrie Irving surprised everybody with their destinations, even though we already knew that they weren’t exactly comfortable in their prior teams and it was just a matter of time before they were heading out the door.
Today, we’re going to let you know about 7 deals that even though may not have the same impact as George’s and Irving’s, can still be quite important throughout the year and may surprise everybody.
7. Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel was expecting to be handed a huge extension by the Dallas Mavericks during the offseason and that never happened, and considering he’s not having as much playing time as he wants, he may not be really happy with the team.
That wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that the injury-prone defensive standout is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and even though the Mavericks were supposed to use him as their signature big man for the future, it just feels like they’re not ready to commit long-term to a guy with his injury history, so expect him to move him pretty soon.
6. Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton, and Wilson Chandler trade package
The Denver Nuggets have heavily relied on Will Barton to lead their second unit and he’s delivered, even getting a nice extension during the offseason, so that would definitely be a huge surprise, but could be very handy for the Denver Nuggets given the right situation.
Wilson Chandler has always been a very productive baller, but he’s way too injury prone, while it’s pretty safe to say that Mudiay’s a bust and the Nuggets just don’t want him anymore. So, with Denver looking to acquire a top-tier point guard or small forward, this three could be on their way out, although they’re definitely going to try and deal Faried instead of Barton.
5. Brook Lopez and Luol Deng
This one may come as a surprise for all those that didn’t even remember the fact that Luol Deng was still a part of the Los Angeles Lakers, and even though they were quite excited to acquire Brook Lopez, this move would definitely make a lot of sense both short and long-term for Walton’s team.
Los Angeles is pretty stacked at the 4-5 position with Nance, Randle, Kuzma, and Zubac, and they’re just better fits for them considering their age. So, with the Lakers wanting to clear as much cap space as possible to try and lure LeBron James and Paul George next summer, expect them to deal the veteran duo anytime soon.
4. Alex Len
Len hasn’t been nearly as impressive or dominant as he was during his Maryland stint, failing to earn steady playing time or even stay healthy and be a reliable contributor for the young Phoenix Suns, losing a lot of minutes to Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, and even Tyson Chandler.
He’s still a very talented player that make breakout given the right opportunity, and considering he’s set to be an unrestricted free agent and he doesn’t seem to be so happy with the dysfunctional organization, the Suns would be smart to try and deal him and get anything in return before he walks out for free.
3. Dario Saric
Dario Saric got off to a terrific second half of the past campaign, even being the Rookie of the Year runner-up despite a very slow start, and he’s perhaps one of the most versatile and talented young players in the league right now, being a veteran despite his tender age and proving his worth overseas already.
Saric is way too good to be playing a substitute role and he’s not getting as many minutes as he deserves, so he could try and force his way out of Philly demanding a trade, and he’d definitely have a lot of suitors waiting in line to acquire his services.
Let's be honest, Simmons will be a starter for the next 10 years, and that will be a big problem for a very talented player like Dario Saric.
2. Jonas Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas is a very good center and has always thrived in Toronto, but he just doesn’t fit the style of play coach Casey’s trying to impose at Canada at the moment, with the Raptors keen to go small and throw Serge Ibaka at center as much as possible.
Besides, they’re pretty stacked with young big men right now with Bebe Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, and Jakob Poetl, with the latter being very productive throughout this young campaign. Valanciunas should have a lot of value, although his big contract is going to make him difficult to move right now.
1. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been one of the biggest NBA Draft flops of the prior decade, failing to improve his overall game and not being able to go through a full season without being constantly sidelined with nagging pains and injuries.
The Hornets are nowhere near contention and they would be smart to try and deal MKG as soon as possible and just hand out minutes to Jeremy Lamb and Malik Monk while Batum nurses his elbow, and Charlotte would pretty much receive anything in return for the bust that Kidd has been.