Welcome to the Trade Machine game! The rules are simple, and it was really fun to do, even as some of the trades became a little difficult. I ranked the teams alphabetically, assigned them a corresponding number (1-30) and entered it into a number randomizer. The order of which the teams came up are as follows below.
Note: I did not involve any sort of intricate draft pick scenario and I tried to keep the team’s needs and overall intentions in mind.
Dallas Mavericks – San Antonio Spurs
This was tough. The Spurs are uniquely complete from top to bottom and would never do anything to jeopardize their stability and chemistry, so I came up with a cop-out trade:
The deal: The Mavericks trade Jeremy Evans to the Spurs for Rasual Butler. The Mavs keep get one more expiring contract to chase more free agents in the summer and the Spurs take Jeremy Evans and indoctrinate him in the Spurs ways and turn him into a borderline all-star because of course they would.
Golden State Warriors – Phoenix Suns
Second cop out!
Another basically impossible one. The Warriors don’t have any clear cut “dead” salary and every person seems to contribute to the chemistry on the team. In terms of play, Mo Speights was my choice to leave, but ultimately it just seems like he’s too important to that locker room.
The deal: Warriors trade Brandon Rush to the Suns for Ronnie Price. The Warriors save some money on luxury tax while the Suns get a player with more upside and alleviates some of the PG glut (when healthy) that the Suns have.
Milwaukee Bucks – New York Knicks
This is where it gets fun. I had decided before I even started this that no matter who gets paired with the Knicks, Carmelo will get traded. I like Carmelo, but his career and this Knicks team progression into a good team simply doesn’t align and it’s better for both the Knicks and Melo that he moves on.
The deal: The Bucks send Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker for Carmelo Anthony. The Bucks get a legit star to pair with Giannis and Greg Monroe. Now, the Bucks might be overpaying here, both Khris and Jabari are on GREAT deals but Carmelo carries with him true star power that can continue to help in free agency. Worth a shot!
After accurately being scolded by the Bucks fan community, there’s been a change.
The deal: The Bucks send Khris Middleton and OJ Mayo for Carmelo Anthony. This actually makes way more sense, and one of the risks about not talking this through with somebody before publishing something is missing something like that. The Bucks get a true star and the Knicks get a rising star on a great deal who can build with the core.
Toronto Raptors – Memphis Grizzlies
Here’s what was important: the Grizz, as always, desperately need scoring, and the Raptors need to keep their books clean to pay DeMar DeRozan and potential free agents as Toronto continues to develop as a destination organizations.
The deal: The Raptors send Terrence Ross, James Johnson, and Anthony Bennett to the Grizzlies for Jeff Green. The Grizz solidify their SF spot in their best small-ball lineup with Carroll at the 4 (when healthy) and can be an off-the-bench scorer. The Raps improve this year while acquiring an expiring deal while the Grizz get Ross on a supremely affordable deal as a super athletic, scoring forward.
Miami Heat- Atlanta Hawks
The most unique thing about the Miami Heat is that A) they’re ultra-aggressive, and B) the Don Pat Riley is the master of the “wink-wink” deals. That’s the only way something this bat-sh** happens.
The deal: The Heat trade Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside to the Hawks for Ex-Florida Gator Al Horford. The versatility and fluidity with which an Al Horford-Chris Bosh front court would work will be unparalleled combined with the fact that Horford would sign long-term with them (because the Don). The Hawks hope that Hassan Whiteside re-signs, being close to his home in North Carolina.
This deal never happens because Whiteside doesn’t sign in Atlanta long term, but hey – fun to think about.
Sacramento Kings – Minnesota Timberwolves
This deal wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, but still would never happen.
The deal: The Kings trade Rajon Rondo to the Timberwolves for Ricky Rubio. The Kings are in constant turmoil and for them to get a point guard like Ricky Rubio secured for the next 4 years would be a godsend versus having to sign a long-term deal with 29 year-old Rondo. For the T-Wolves, this accelerates them handing off the PG role to Zach LaVine, with Andre Miller continuing to be a mentor to him.
Denver Nuggets – Houston Rockets
While this deal may offend Daryl Morey’s analytical side, I’m sure he will understand it from a locker room chemistry side.
The deal: The Nuggets trade Jameer Nelson to the Rockets for Patrick Beverly. The Rockets are in need of adults more than any other team in the league and Jameer and Dwight can channel some of their Orlando chemistry. Meanwhile, Beverly can provide great defensive mentorship to Mudiay while also playing with him in lineups.
OKC Thunder – Detroit Pistons
OKC is in complete win-now mode while the Pistons are looking to move on from Brandon Jennings.
The deal: The Thunder trade Dion Waiters and Steve Novak to the Pistons for Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake. The Thunder gain a true bench leader in Brandon Jennings who can get hot and win a playoff game on his own while keeping the team afloat sans Russell Westbrook, and the Pistons get to take a look at Dion Waiters and see if he can fit into their long term plans.
Note: all of these players are on expiring contracts, as low risk as possible.
New Orleans Pelicans – Brooklyn Nets
Two icky situations with icky contracts and misfit players throughout.
The deal: The Pelicans send Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson, and Norris Cole for Joe Johnson. This helps the Nets retain Ryan Anderson’s bird rights to try to pair him with Brook Lopez, have an NBA player in Tyreke Evans, and the Pelicans move on from Tyreke, try to make an improbably playoff run with Joe Johnson on the wing, with the assumption that they were going to lose Ryan Anderson for nothing anyway.
LA Clippers – Cleveland Cavaliers
This was my favorite random pairing because this has been my favorite hypothetical deal for a while now.
The deal: The Clippers trade Chris Paul to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving and Jared Cunningham. Oooooh boy. If the Clippers are (accurately) resigned to losing to the Warriors and Spurs this year, and the Cavaliers (accurately) feel the same way, who says no to this? The Clippers should absolutely break up their core if they feel they can’t contend, but the deal shouldn’t be to move Blake Griffin, it should be to move their oldest member in Chris Paul. For Cleveland, Chris Paul and Lebron James are good friends off the court and would work seamlessly together and in my opinion would make them a stronger contender to beat the Spurs and Warriors (and Raptors, for that matter).
Portland Trail Blazers – Orlando Magic
Both young teams, both teams that are still a few years away from competing, and teams with super interesting back court situations.
The deal: The Trail Blazers trade CJ McCollum to the Magic for Victor Oladipo. Oladipo covers for Damian Lillard’s defensive deficiencies and CJ McCollum fits better with and covers Elfrid Payton’s offensive deficiencies. Both young players, both not perfect fits with their backcourt partners.
Washington Wizards – Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are my favorite team, so sue me.
The deal: The Wizards trade John Wall and Bradley Beal to the Wizards for Roy Hibbert and Nick Young.
Ok, for real:
The deal: The Wizards trade Kris Humphries and Kelly Oubre, Jr. to the Lakers for Lou Williams. The Wizards get a legit 6th man of the year candidate combined with a potential starter for the inevitable Brad Beal injuries and the Lakers use their asset to pick up a young, unproven player that can grow with the rest of the core.
Chicago Bulls – Utah Jazz
Two very fiscally disciplined teams that although have roster needs, don’t have a huge need at this moment to make a big splash (in either direction).
The deal: the Chicago Bulls trade Kirk Hinrich to the Jazz for Tibor Pleiss. The Jazz gain a desperately needed veteran placeholder as point guard while the team awaits Dante Exum and the Bulls gain a young player who could develop to be the Center of their future.
Indiana Pacers – Charlotte Hornets
My only goal was to improve the Pacers defense, and this deal involved a lot of expiring deals with the ability for both teams to evaluate new center options.
The deal: The Pacers trade Jordan Hill, Ian Mahinmi, and Glenn Robinson III to the Hornets for Al Jefferson. All of these players might be moving on, might as well give new looks to these players, and Al Jefferson and Myles Turner might prove to be an excellent duo
Boston Celtics – Philadelphia 76ers
Tough having the 76ers in any deal because they are so young and are still only looking to add young players that can grow together while the Celtics are looking to add some proven players and turn the jets on in their rebuild.
The deal: The Sixers trade Nik Stauskas to the Celtics for James Young and RJ Hunter. The Celtics get next in line to try to develop an oddly bad pro in Nik Stauskas and the Celtics consolidate their roster a little more and try to add a player with more upside. Not great, but not a lot of options.
- Warriors (46-4) [LW:1]
- Spurs (43-8) [LW:2]
- Thunder (38-14) [LW:5]
- Cavaliers (36-14) [LW:3]
- Clippers (34-17) [LW:6]
- Raptors (34-16) [LW:4]
- Celtics (31-22) [LW:7]
- Grizzlies (30-21) [LW:8]
- Heat (29-23) [LW:10]
- Bulls (27-23) [LW:9]
- Hawks (30-23) [LW:12]
- Mavericks (29-25) [LW:11]
- Pacers (27-24) [LW:13]
- Pistons (27-25) [LW:14]
- Jazz (25-25) [LW:16]
- Trailblazers (25-27) [LW:17]
- Rockets (27-26) [LW:15]
- Hornets (25-26) [LW:18]
- Wizards (22-27) [LW:19]
- Knicks (23-31) [LW:20]
- Nuggets (21-31) [LW:23]
- Bucks (20-32) [LW:22]
- Kings (21-30) [LW:21]
- Magic (22-28) [LW:24]
- Timberwolves (16-36) [LW:26]
- Pelicans (18-32) [LW:25]
- Lakers (11-42) [LW:30]
- 76ers (8-43) [LW:28]
- Nets (13-39) [LW:27]
- Suns (14-38) [LW:29]