Keane: Obviously the Warriors and Knicks will trade any veteran on a short deal, but are there any bad teams who should hold off on a fire sale for a while? And who’s your sleeper pick for a non-star who could make a big impact next spring?
Heery: I was listening to a Zach Lowe podcast recently, and he mentioned the Wizards as a sneaky buyer for Kevin Love — not so much for this season, but for the next couple seasons to form a decent big three with Bradley Beal, John Wall and Love. I actually like that idea a lot for the Wizards and wonder whether they’d pull off a move like that for Blake Griffin instead.
To answer your first question more directly, I know that everyone is going to be calling the Timberwolves (10-14, 10th in the West) about Robert Covington because the team looks like a deadline seller after a hot start. However, tanking would be dangerous for the Wolves. I know he’s a “bad” salary (and that’s a bit exaggerated because NBA take artists have to sensationalize everything), but Chris Paul is still a good player and would immediately make Minnesota a playoff team. Karl-Anthony Towns (25.9 ppg., 11.7 rpg., 4.5 apg., 41 percent from three) is only going to put up with so much losing and miserable winters before he becomes the NBA’s version of the distracted boyfriend meme.
And I feel like we touched on a number of my sleepers throughout this exchange — Favors was a good one. However, I don’t think we’ve mentioned any Knicks players yet. So give me Marcus Morris (19.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg). His stats are a bit inflated because the Knicks are horrendous and he’s a go-to guy, but he’s shooting an absurd 48.9 percent from three and would bring toughness and attitude to a contender. In fact, he typically wears out his welcome after a year, so he’d be a perfect rental for any of the Western Conference contenders (Lakers, Clippers, Rockets).
Is there a trade you think could swing the title out there, like Marc Gasol last season with the Raptors?
Keane: Denver needs to make a big move. The Nuggets (15-8) are good, but they’re not at the level of the L.A. teams. Denver is packed with young, cheap players. That’s where I want to see a superstar go, and I think it should be Chris Paul. Look, he’s overpaid, he’s fragile, and he and Nikola Jokic might drive each other crazy. But the Nuggets must do something dramatic soon or they’ll be blocked by the Clippers and Lakers for the next 2-3 years.