This article was written on January 20th, 2020
Notable trade players on the block:
Alright, so let’s look at the current situation for the Pistons. They have a good roster on paper, one of their top players is facing season-ending surgery, and they have a record of 18-34. Not what they were expecting.
Andre Drummond, on the other hand, is having a year to remember. He is currently holding a career high in rebounds, points, and is most likely a 2020 All-Star. His contract will be expiring this offseason, and the team he has been with his whole career isn’t willing to pay big for him.
Let’s look at the teams that are in need of Drummond, and teams that are rumored to be looking for a deal to get him. So far, we have heard that the Hawks, Celtics, Mavericks, and Raptors are interested.
Atlanta: The Hawks are in desperate need of a piece that can help Trae Young and Co get wins, as they currently own the NBA’s second-worst record. This year, the Hawks rank 29th in NBA Total Rebounding percentage. That shows that a player like Andre Drummond would be huge for Atlanta. Although, on Friday, it seemed like the Hawks and Pistons couldn’t find an agreement, as the Hawks wouldn’t offer the Pistons a First Round pick.
Boston: Ever since the Celtics lost Al Horford to the 76ers in the off-season, they have been in search for a big man to team up with Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward. In my opinion, I don’t think that the Celtics will be able to pull a trade that lands someone that has Andre Drummond’s caliber without dealing Gordon Hayward. Currently, the Celtics have Daniel Theis at center, who is averaging about 8 points per game, 6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks. Although it would take a lot for the Celtics to offer for Drummond, it would sure help them. At the end, it would all come to what the Celtics want. If they trade for Drummond, they might have to give up Gordon Hayward. Would the Celtics rather have Kemba and Andre, or Kemba and Gordon?
Here is the comparison between Drummond and Theis: Drummond (Right)
Also, something to take into consideration is that if the Celtics were to trade for Drummond, they could also give away Enes Kanter, and have Theis back Drummond up on the bench.
Dallas: The Mavs are playing better than expected this year. They currently hold a record of 27-15, and are looking to make the playoffs this year for the first time since 2016. The Mavs have missed Kristaps for 10 games straight due to knee soreness, and his presence on the rebounding side has certainly been missed. When Kristaps comes back, the Mavs would strive with a big three with Drummond. Drummond would give Porzingis a lot of protection at the rim, and would make Dallas’ defense a lot better. Currently, the Mavs rank 13th in the league in total defense, allowing 109 points per game. The Mavs rank 18th in the league during clutch time (5 minutes remaining with neither team leading by more than 5 points). They have a record of 10-12 during clutch time, which won’t help in the playoffs. What will help is being able to dish the ball to Andre Drummond in the point for an easy layup to get a W. Like any other team, the Mavs will have to give big for Drummond, and they don’t have many assets to trade.
Raptors: Although the defending champs lost their best player this offseason, they sure haven’t shown any signs of weakness so far. The Raptors are 2.5 games behind second place in the East. Lead by veteran guard Kyle Lowry and 2019-2020 Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam, the Raptors are no joke this year. Don’t expect Toronto to stay quiet before the trade deadline, as Masai Ujiri will be trying to pull a deal anytime before the deadline. The Raptors are a strong team defensively, and Andre Drummond can only help.
Kyle Kuzma has been on the trading block for a while, with multiple teams showing interest in him. Kuzma is having a below-average year, but when the Lakers need him, he is always helping out in one way or another. He is averaging 13.1 points per game this year, shooting 43.7% from the field. There have been two teams who have shown a lot of interest in him include the New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings.
Here is the situation both teams are in, and what it would take to get him:
Sacramento Kings: The Kings are in an unexpected situation this year. They have a record of 19-31, and are six games behind the eighth seed in the West. They have dealt with injuries here and there, but consistently are coming up short in games that they should win. Sacramento offered forward Nemanja Bjelica and a draft pick to the Lakers, only to get their offer rejected. Los Angeles wanted Bogdan Bogdanović in a trade, but they could not get a deal done that both sides wanted. Bogdan is currently making $8,529,386, and becomes a restricted free agent after this season ends.
If Sacramento really wants to get a deal involving Kyle Kuzma, here’s what I think it will take. This would be a risky deal for both teams but eventually could pay off. The Kings would give Kent Bazemore (recently acquired from Portland), Bogdan Bogdanović, and a future second-round draft pick for Kyle Kuzma and Javale McGee. Here is why: Sacramento currently does not have a quality center other than Dewayne Dedmon, who isn’t having that great of a year. JaVale McGee´s versatility would really help the Kings on both sides of the ball. Sacramento currently ranks dead last in overall rebounding in the NBA. They average 32.5 offensive rebounds per game and allow 34.3. McGee beats Dedmon in rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and points. He can’t hurt the King’s push to the playoffs.
From the Lakers perspective, they need someone who can accurately shoot the three ball and be a good role player to help even more. Sacramento did not want to trade Bogan for Kyle Kuzma, but with an addition of Javale McGee in the trade, it might be a little easier to give up the second year man from Serbia. If the Lakers were willing to give McGee, they will fall a little short in the center position (they would have to make Anthony Davis play the 5 more), but would have more depth and skill in the guard position. The Lakers would also be receiving Kent Bazemore, who is a decent role player off the bench. Also, if you forgot, Los Angeles will get Boogie Cousins back by next year for sure, but possibly late May or June.
New York Knicks
The Knicks were by far the most disappointing team in the off-season this year. So far, they haven’t made any big moves this trade season either. They currently own a record of 15-36 and have their fans booing at games. They have been linked to rumors regarding Kyle Kuzma, with Marcus Morris being one of the players that they would trade. Although Kuzma wouldn’t be a player that could take the whole team under his shoulder and lead them to the playoffs, it could be a start to a new chapter. The two teams have been in “serious discussions”, with Los Angeles potentially sending Avery Bradley and Kuzma, for Marcus Morris. I think that Kuzma would be good for the Knicks, not now, but for the future. The Lakers aren’t the only team interested in Morris, so the Lakers need to make a deal quicker than expected.
I believe that Morris would look great right now in Los Angeles. He can shoot the three ball, get the ball to teammates in clutch situations, and is a quality role player overall. Would it be worth it to give up Kyla Kuzma and Avery Bradley for him? Some people may say no, but when you look at the numbers, Marcus Morris has an advantage on Kuzma. Morris averages 19.6 points per game, going along with five rebounds, compared to Kuzma´s 13.1 ppg, and 4.4 rebounds each game. In my opinion, if the Lakers get Kuzma to New York, I think that the Knicks will also make it a priority attempt to pull Golden State guard D´Angelo Russell, potentially setting up a new duo (maybe trio in the next years) for an organization that has been broken for a while.
The Rockets big man has had a pretty good season, putting up about 14 points per game,, and close to 14 rebounds a game also, although, he has been injured for a while. Capela has played with Houston sine 2014, but is now a player who most likely will be moved before the trade deadline. A couple teams who I think that Capela could go to are the Atlanta Hawks and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Atlanta has had a year to not remember, they are dead least in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 13-39. The Hawks have an all star in Trae Young, who is averaging 29.2 points per game, shooting 37% from 3-point range. But, Ice Trae isn’t enough. Atlanta just doesn’t have enough pieces around Trae to build a good, playoff team that can make it far. And that’s why they need to be buyers this year at the trade deadline. Obviously, the expectation here isn’t to bring in a player who can take them on a magical run to the playoffs, it’s to take a player who can help Atlanta get better, and help Trae and John Collins make a run to the playoffs in the coming years. The Hawks struggle in the center position. They currently have Damian Jones and Alex Len rotating at the big. That is a reason why the Hawks can (and should) bring in Rockets center Clint Capela.
Houston is looking to trade Capela, who has had a great year on the stat sheet, but his health has never been 100%. He has missed quite a few games this year, hoping to make a return soon. Atlanta needs a good big man who can run a nice pick-and-roll with a guard, leading to an easy bucket, who can also grab boards on the defensive end. The Hawks struggle getting rebounds, ranking 24th in total rebounding. Capela ranks 4th in the league in individual rebounding.
The Hawks may not receive immediate help from Capela, but at this point, anything can help. Capela isn’t a bad player, either. He is a quality center who can fight in that big man position to grab some boards and points.
Update on February 5th, 2020- Clint Capela has been traded to the Hawks in a four way trade.
The Wolves’ are in a rebuilding stage right now. Trying to get some value for Robert Covington, maybe even trade K.A.T away. The Timberwolves don’t have any good assets other than Towns to trade away, but they do have Covington and some draft picks. If the Rockets want a good 3 and D player, then maybe doing a potential Covington (with a future draft pick) for Capela could work out?
If the Timberwolves were to agree to this, it could bring some hope back to Minnesota. The organization isn’t looking so good right now. They were a playoff team in the 2017-18 season, but two years later, they are 14th in the West. Capela would bring in some veteran experience, and they would also still have a young team. They have Jarrett Culver and Andrew Wiggins, a good duo that a Capela could work around. I’m not mentioning K.A.T because I think that if these two were going to agree on a trade, Towns would eventually be traded before the deadline.
For Houston, losing Capela isn’t good, but bringing in Rob Covington is. He plays with the exact style that the Rockets need. 3 and D. Houston is obviously a team that loves the 3-ball, with Harden, PJ Tucker, and Eric Gordon accelling shooting beyond the arc. Covington would bring more of that. He is averaging about 13 points a game, shooting 35% from 3-point range. This deal would work great for Houston, but it would leave them just a little short in the center position. Maybe with the Timberwolves draft pick in my trade scenario, they could draft a big, or maybe Minnesota could give them a center of their own. They have been playing with a lineup that has no player taller than 6 feet 6 inches, and they seem to be doing fine without, although the success wouldn’t last forever. We will see what happens before February 6th, and what other potential blockbuster deals will happen.
Top picture by Nelson Chenault, USA Today Sports