With the NBA’s trade deadline now less than one week away, it’s time to start looking at some of the story lines to follow come next Thursday. In the days and weeks leading up to last years deadline, impact players like Isaiah Thomas, Goran Dragic and Brandon Knight all had to find new homes. This year, it seems as though even bigger names might be on the move. Rumors are already flying around, setting up what could be a hectic six days in the NBA.
One of the most intriguing parts about the trade deadline is seeing which teams are in a win now mode, and what teams will try and start from scratch next year. These teams are usually in the bottom half of the playoff race, and could either make a championship push by acquiring one player, or start a lengthy rebuild by trading away key pieces.
A potential buyer in the East could be the Detroit Pistons. They sit just a half a game out of the eighth spot but have some nice pieces in place. Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson are rising up on the best point guard/center combo’s in the NBA, and with a little more help on the wing, Detroit could become a team that nobody wants to face in the Eastern Conference, regardless of where they are seeded.
A team looking to move on in the East should be the Washington Wizards. Things have not gone as planned in D.C., as the team has failed to live up to expectations. After coming off back to back second round playoff runs, the Wizards were expected by some to make the final leap into the NBA’s elite, but it hasn’t worked out as planned. Bradley Beal has failed to stay healthy once again and John Wall can’t do it all by himself night in and night out. With guys like Nene, Jared Dudley, and Alan Anderson all coming off the books after this season, the Wizards should look to move these players for picks and free up cap space as they make a push for potential free agent Kevin Durant.
Moving on to the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers have to be buyers at the deadline. They’re comfortably in the playoff picture sitting at fourth in the West but have unable to get over the hump with their current Lob City trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers desperately need some help off the bench outside of Jamal Crawford. Los Angeles doesn’t have to make any splashy moves in the next week, but some solid low risk options off the pine could only help this team break through in the stacked Western Conference.
An obvious seller out West would be the New Orleans Pelicans. They have a young stud in Anthony Davis, but the parts around him are either hurt, underperforming, or both. Ryan Anderson is on many teams’ trade list, but New Orleans hasn’t moved him yet. He’s in the final year of his contract and it’s extremely unlikely he returns to the Bayou after this season. Other trade options could be shooting guard Eric Gordon, who is also in the final year of his deal, Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, who’s contracts run out after next season. Davis is going to be a superstar in the next two years, if he isn’t already, and continuing to build a young core around him should be the top priority for the Pelicans, not going after over priced veterans.
Each of the teams above is stuck at a sort of crossroads. There’s a road to be taken by each of these rosters, and a move or two at the deadline could get the ball rolling in the right direction, wherever that direction may be.
Cover Photo via NBA.com