Yardbarker NBA writers Pat Heery and Sean Keane address the hottest issues in the NBA. This week’s topic: the trade deadline.
Keane: The NBA trade deadline, the second-most exciting day of transactions on the NBA calendar, is Thursday. Shams and Woj pull all-nighters, fans anxiously refresh their Twitter feeds, and teams desperately add and subtract players to take their teams over the top and under the luxury tax line. (The Houston Rockets will try to do both. )
Although there are powerhouse teams in Los Angeles and Milwaukee, the road to the NBA title feels as wide open as Ben Simmons behind the three-point line. As such, we could see a tidal wave of transactions, a plethora of pick swaps, and a slew of second-round picks changing hands all over the league.
The Bucks are running away with the East, but after last season’s playoff disappointment, you can’t rule out roster shuffling in Milwaukee, which has vehemently denied Eric Bledsoe is on the trading block. The Lakers are still holding off the Clippers and Jazz, but they have a negative point differential when LeBron is off the floor -– that means they need to shore up their supporting cast. Maybe that means coaxing Darren Collison out of retirement or making a move with their limited trade assets -– don’t get too comfortable, Kyle Kuzma! The Clippers could use some size, the Celtics could really use some size, and the Nuggets are sizing up their roster, deciding which of their assets are also members of a playoff rotation. And you can never rule out the Sixers blowing up their roster for the third time in a year.
Which contenders do you think will make a move? And which players do you think are most likely to change teams, and are any of them a five-time All-Star whose name rhymes with “Seven Dove”?
Heery: A Kevin Love deal to a fringe contender (Rockets? Celtics?) would be, ah, interesting. I attended the Pelicans-Cavs game earlier this week, and Love is more than ready to be traded out of Cleveland. He has actually turned into one of the more entertaining players to watch during warmups — he attempts floaters that damn near touch the ceiling and swats teammates layups into the front row. The Cavs need to accept the fact that they’re not getting much in return for this guy and move on.
Another player who is almost certainly going to get traded from a lifeless team is Robert Covington on the T’Wolves. A reunion in Philly would make a lot of sense — Covington is an ideal three-and-D wing for a contender and would help space the court of Simmons and Joel Embiid (although you would like to see him closer to the 37-38 percent he’s usually around (he’s at 34.5 right now). Covington would fit into any contender’s lineup, but I wouldn’t deal Kuzma for Covington if I were Lakers GM Rob Pelinka.
In fact, the more I think about it, the only Kuzma trade I see out there that I’d consider fair value on return is the rumored deal for the Kings’ Bogdan Bogdanovic. If the Lakers can’t get a somewhat young guard or wing for Kuzma, I don’t think they should deal him. Instead, as you alluded to, they should do whatever they can to get Collison for free from Team Jehovah’s Witness.