The NBA season has started, which means that trade season is fast approaching, a time of happiness for NBA nerds like myself. Here is a little taste of some of the possible trades
Brandon Jennings Heads To Utah, Trey Burke Goes Back To Michigan
Before he got injured last season, Brandon Jennings was in some of the best form of his life. After releasing Josh Smith, the Pistons' spacing and play improved dramatically. For once, they had room on the court to drive and room for Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe to go to work. They no longer had the highly inefficient Smith playing at the three, shooting bad, contested 20 footers.
With Smith out of the lineup, Jennings went from averaging 9 points and 7 assists, on less than 32% shooting in the month of December. After Smith left, the month of January was incredibly bright. Jennings' January was sensational, he averaged 21 points and 7.2 assists on 43% shooting. Proving that in the right situation, Jennings is a capable starting point guard that isn't completely a ball hog and a bad teammate.
On the other side, Utah are clearly trying to push for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. After finishing the season 19-10, Utah look primed for a playoff spot. But there is one thing they are missing; offensive spark at the point guard position. Losing Dante Exum to injury in Summer League has hurt their chances immensely, as they were counting on a leap from him to take them to the next level as a team. Exum started the back end of the 2014-15 season and looked significantly better than Trey Burke. But now that Exum is out for this year, they may need a stopgap replacement.
Enter Brandon Jennings. After the way he played after Josh Smith left, the rest of the league will surely be sniffing around at Stan Van Gundy's roster in an attempt to possibly steal him. This is because Detroit re-signed Reggie Jackson to a big contract this offseason and clearly see him as their point guard of the future. Jennings would give the Jazz the necessary offensive production that they need to take them to the next level. He would give them a much needed spark and as he is only on a one year deal, if they felt he isn't the answer and doesn't have a spot next season, they don't have to keep him.
On Detroit's side of the trade, the main thing that they get out of this is Trey Lyles. Sure they get Burke, but he will be no more than a competent backup point guard back in Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to the national championship game in 2013. Trey Lyles is the big prize here. He has the ability to be a good starter at the NBA level. He has a good offensive skillset, which includes good passing, high intelligence and a nice stroke for a big man, that could allow him to become a stretch four in the NBA. That last part is important because it means that he can be a perfect partner for Drummond for years to come.
Indiana Claims Its Point Guard Of The Future
It's time to settle this piece down a little bit and go on a more subtle, realistic route.
Indiana are in the midst of a transition period right now. They want to go young and play a more up tempo style and go to smaller lineups. They've shown this by getting rid of Roy Hibbert, moving Paul George to power forward (whether he likes it or not) and drafting the athletic Myles Turner to play center.
They are still missing a point guard to take them forward into the future. A new age point guard that pushes the pace and has bundles of potential. George Hill had a good season last season, but he won't be there for this Pacers overhaul. Hill is already 29 years old and while he is still an above average point guard, for this team they need a dynamic game changer to slot alongside Monta Ellis and Paul George.
So why not go after Dennis Schroder. The guy that was once called 'German Rondo', except he actually has a jumpshot. Schroder is a capable scorer and facilitator and is fully worthy of starting on an NBA team. This guy also has good athleticism and speed. Essentially he has all the skills necessary to become a great point guard in the NBA. All Schroder needs to do this is an opportunity. In Atlanta, he probably won't be able to ever start, due to all-star Jeff Teague being the incumbent one guard. A move to Indiana, would give him regular game time and a good mentor in George Hill.
From Atlanta's point of view, the loss of DeMarre Carroll has left a gaping hole at the small forward position. They lack a starting caliber wing player to help with their probable playoff run. In my opinion, C.J. Miles is a good fit here. He shoots with ease (over 13 ppg last season) and defends his position adequately. He would certainly increase their aspirations of being a title contender.
The Grindhouse Gets Joe Johnson
The biggest name on this list is probably part of the most interesting trade.
The Brooklyn Nets are easily one of the worst teams in the league. They have an incredibly old roster, with no young talent for the future and the Boston Celtics cleaned them out of basically all their draft picks. They also aren't good enough to make the playoffs, clearly stuck in NBA purgatory. The first step of getting out of no man's land, is getting some assets.
By gaining Jeff Green, they get a forward who still hasn't hit his full potential and could be a building block for the future. In Courtney Lee, they get a valuable expiring contract that they could flip for a better asset. Vince Carter is a good veteran that has trade value and Jarrell Martin was the 25th pick in the 2015 NBA draft and has room to grow. If the Grizzlies threw in a couple of draft picks, I don't understand why the Nets would say no. Johnson is only holding the Nets back from blowing the team up, grabbing picks and young talent and he's no longer a true star anyway.
For the Grizzlies, the one thing they always need is shooting and scoring. Somehow, every offseason, they always manage to not address this need. They already have a top tier point guard, great perimeter defense and the best big man combo in the league, they just need a little bit of shooting and scoring to take them over the top and make them true title contenders.
Johnson fills this gap. For years, Joe has been a volume scorer and although he has tapered off a little bit in the last year or two, he is still extremely reliable. Johnson gives them a floor spacer that can give Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol enough space to post up and be even better down low. Johnson can also be a go to perimeter scorer for the Grizz who need to take some pressure of Mike Conley.
None of the mentioned players above are really all too important for the Grizzlies, none of them aren't replaceable and getting Joe Johnson would certainly make them redundant. As for the draft picks, this Grizzlies title window is closing quickly and it's time to go all in for the title.
Markieff Morris Gets His Wish
If you haven't been paying attention, Markieff Morris is angry at the Suns. He was mad at them for trading his brother and he feels that the front office doesn't really care about him and he clearly wants out. It was reported he demanded a trade and since he is still young and tremendously talented, teams have been knocking on the Suns' door for the last couple of months.
Morris is a good NBA player, a proven starter and since he hasn't hit his ceiling yet, could possibly have the skillset and ability to be an all-star. Morris is a talented low post scorer that finishes inside and his range is expanding every day. Morris is also a quietly awesome defender that is important to the Suns.
However, if Morris is unhappy and upsetting the balance of the locker room and team chemistry, the Suns may feel the urge to trade him. So why not the Toronto Raptors?
If Morris were to leave it would leave a gaping hole at power forward. Patrick Patterson would fill this need. Grabbing a floor spacer that would be perfect for the up-tempo offense of Jeff Hornacek would be great. Last season he actually shot 40% from downtown and next to the defensive backbone of Tyson Chandler, their styles contrast quite nicely. In my proposed trade, the Suns also receive Terrence Ross. Just imagine how good he would be under Hornacek. Ross running in transition with Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight would be insane. The sheer amount of athleticism on that team would be amazing. In fact, they would shoot straight to the top of everyone's league pass rankings. Getting a youngster in Ross is also fair compensation for Morris.
From Toronto's point of view, they need to improve their defense up front, check. They need a floor spacer to open up driving lanes and post ups for Jonas Valanciunas, check. They need one last all-star caliber player to compete for the Eastern Conference title, check. It's simple from the Raptors side of things. The only thing that could possibly make their front office think twice is losing Ross. But the signing of DeMarre Carroll will make him expendable.
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