The NBA trade deadline is fast approaching and already two major deals have shaken up both the Eastern and Western Conferences.
First, the Toronto Raptors traded Terrence Ross and their 2017 first-round pick to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka. Even if Ibaka is Toronto’s only addition before Thursday he still helps make them more dangerous come the playoffs.
Then, the New Orleans Pelicans traded for DeMarcus Cousins in what is being viewed as a wildly lopsided deal. The Kings received Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans, plus a 2017 first-round pick and second-rounder (via Philadelphia) for perhaps the most dominant big-man in the league. The Pelicans now have an intriguing front court duo of Cousins and Anthony Davis and they’re only a few games out of the playoffs.
Along with these two trades, rumours are swirling like mad about more possible deals. Below, we tried to compile the latest rumblings.
Minnesota in talks with the Knicks to trade Ricky Rubio for Derrick Rose
According to ESPN’s Ian Begly, the Timberwolves have inquired about a potential Rubio-for-Rose deal. Rose, of course, played the bulk of his career with Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago, where he won the MVP. Rose is also on an expiring contract, while Rubio is on the books for the next three seasons. Getting rid of Rubio (which the Wolves are reportedly keen on doing) would help clear up some salary-cap space for Minnesota.
The Knicks, meanwhile, are reportedly taking calls about Rose, who reportedly wants a max contract this summer. If the Knicks believe he won’t re-sign next season (or if they decide they don’t want him), it would be in their best interest to trade him for something before he leaves and they get nothing.
Pacers looking to give Paul George help
According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, the Pacers are ready to trade their 2017 first-round pick for a veteran to help Paul George. Several outlets have reported that teams (notably the Celtics) have called about George, but the Pacers reportedly have no interest in dealing him. Instead, they are hoping to bring an “
established wing or an established frontline player” into the fold.
Boston setting its sights on Jimmy Butler
After the Kings traded Cousins to the Pelicans for very little, the NBA world was quick to point out that the deal meant the asset-rich Celtics must not have wanted Cousins. Otherwise, the thinking went, they could have offered a more enticing package to Sacramento.
Instead, it seems clear that the Celtics have stronger interest in Butler. That said, Zach Lowe of ESPN reported that it seems unlikely a deal for Butler gets done between now and Thursday. The Celtics would likely have to give up a ton of their pieces (rookie Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, the 2017 Nets pick, which could turn into the top pick in this year’s strong draft) in order to get the Bulls to bite. Even then, adding Butler might still not be enough to make the Celtics the favourite to win the East.
As Lowe pointed out, with each passing day Boston’s war chest becomes slightly less powerful. Who knows what they will do, but for now the best bet might be keeping all their draft picks.
Washington and Toronto looking to add another piece
The Wizards have been red-hot and now they are reportedly trying to make a move to bolster their bench. This would obviously help during the playoffs, and the name repeatedly linked to the team is Lakers point guard Lou Williams.
Another name that has been linked to the Wizads is Bojan Bogdonavic of the Nets.
The Raptors, meanwhile, have a slew of young big men that General Manager Masai Ujiri could dangle in exchange for some help on the wing. According to the Toronto Star, the Raptors could make another move. Ujiri said he’s still holding his phone.
Thunder and Clippers jockeying for Wilson Chandler
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, both the Thunder and the Clippers are in hot pursuit of Denver’s Wilson Chandler. For the Thunder, Chandler would provide some much-needed scoring to a team that already relies too heavily on Russell Westbrook and just lost Enes Kanter, who broke his hand punching a chair on the bench. (It’s that same thinking that also reportedly has the Thunder interested in Sacramento’s Rudy Gay.)
The Clippers, meanwhile, are once again dealing with injuries and slightly below the West’s top tier.
Jahlil Okafor not leaving Philly yet
Okafor missed a couple of games for the 76ers because it looked likely that he would get traded, and although reports said the Sixers and Trail Blazers came close to working something out, Okafor remains in Philly — for now.
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