There hasn’t been a trade since the Thunder shipped franchise cornerstone Russell Westbrook in July. This is the longest trade drought that the NBA has ever seen in a non-lockout season. Blockbuster moves such as this one could be the reason that we haven’t seen a trade in four months, as new teams welcome in a lot of new faces and are still trying to build chemistry together. In fact, less than half of all NBA players returned to the same team that they suited up for opening night of the 2018-2019 season. That’s a lot of mixing up that has already happened, so the need to stabilize makes a lot of sense. However, we are almost 1/4 of the way through the season and it is already clear that some things just aren’t working. So we can’t help but ask, who makes the next trade? And will it be a big one?
Here are some stars that could be on the move before the deadline:
Demar Derozan and/or Lamarcus Aldridge
The Spurs 7-14 start is unprecedentedly bad for a franchise that has been in the top half of the West almost every year for the past two decades. Their 33% winning rate is on track to be one of their worst in franchise history if they can’t turn it around. They are in an unfamiliar position in the Popovich era which is almost certain to lead to a trade of one of their two All-Stars before the deadline. There have been several rumors linking Demar to some Eastern Conference teams, including the Orlando Magic via trade, and his desire to maybe one day return to Toronto.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The injury plagued Warriors currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference and with both Splash Brothers out for the remainder of the season, a playoff push at this point seems unlikely. Golden State is in an interesting position where they could land a high draft pick next summer and have both All-Star guards return and rise back to the top of the West after this brief hiatus from contention. D’Angelo Russell is their best trade asset and I expect him to be moved in exchange for more building blocks to make a resurgence in the 2020-2021 season. Draymond Green is another name that has been tossed around in trade discussions but is not as likely to be moved.
Cleveland is still bad, but Love is quietly putting together a good season. Through 16 games he is scoring 17.3 points per game along with 11 rebounds and nearly 3 assists. A career 37% three point shooter, many teams in the league could use a stretch big like him. Portland showed a lot of interest in him before signing Carmelo Anthony, and could still be considering a move for the former champion.
Andre Drummond and/or Blake Griffin
The trade that brought Griffin from LA to Detroit almost two years ago hasn’t worked out as planned. The Pistons barely scraped into 8th place in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season and were swept by the Bucks. Injury has limited Blake to only 8 games so far this season where he is averaging career lows in shooting percentage and rebounds. Lack of success with the supposed dominant front-court duo has some fans clamoring for one or the other to be traded and plan for a future around first round pick Sekou Doumbouya and off-season acquisition Christian Wood. There should be suitors for each if either is made available by Detroit.
Most likely the first trade to end the drought will be a minor one, but it could open the floodgates for some larger scale trades for some of the players previously mentioned to be finalized.
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Photo Credits: NY Times, NBC Sports, Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, SB Nation