Hey everyone! So by now you all know that here at Real Ball Insiders we do things just a bit differently. With that being said, with the trade deadline coming up, I thought I’d cook up a couple of questions and have my friends Chris Krugg (@ckrug90) and Derek Kainz (@kainzd) help me answer them. The questions are varied, we basically move across the country! They range from some unrest in NY to the potential rocky mountain roster shake up with the Denver Nuggets. You know how we do. Let’s get right to it.
1. What are the chances Carmelo gets moved? If you were the Cavs or Clippers, would you consider adding Anthony to the fold?
Derek: I think Phil clearly wants to move Carmelo, and I think Carmelo would prefer to be playing for a contender (or with his banana-boat mates), but I still think it’s pretty close to a toss-up. I would put the chances of him getting moved at 6/10. If I’m the Clippers I make a run at Carmelo. Especially if the reports are true that it will only take 2 players out of the Rivers, Crawford, Redick trio. If I’m the Cavs, I would love to have Carmelo for the right price but I am definitely not parting ways with Kevin Love in this instance.
Chris: It’s hard to exactly say if Carmelo Anthony will be moved from the Knicks this year. I’m learning more towards a trade likely happening for the 9 time all-star. It’s easy to say the time Melo has spent with the Knicks has been a huge let down for fans, players, and the front office. In reality it’s not really Melo’s fault at all. New York didn’t build team around Anthony that could win. For the sake of Carmelo and the Knicks it’s time to move on. Now comes the question which top team from the west or east will trade for the 32-year-old small forward?
With a number of rumors surrounding the Clippers and Cavaliers as the two top teams showing interest. Which of those two teams will pull the trigger? Honestly I hope the Clippers decide to make that call for Melo. Los Angels hasn’t had a threat at the small forward for years, and with having a good year, this trade will help them compete against Golden State for that spot in the Finals. Anthony will help as another option to score, and making those big time play he is used to making from his years with Denver and New York. What will the Knicks get in return? The Clippers will send Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, and a future second round draft pick.
In the end this trade will help both teams. The Knicks will get into full rebuild mode, and the Clippers will have a chance to reach the ultimate goal, winning a championship.
Corban: I want the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony to mutually move on from each other and call this relationship a done deal. I think the likelihood of a deal happening is 6/10, I’m sure Melo is tired of the drama, but I’m not sure if that translates to a strong desire to move on. I’m also not sure about the likelihood of it but I think that, while intriguing, a Carmelo to Cleveland deal is unlikely to happen. The Cavs swear up and down that Kevin Love is not available, and any other deal would include Iman Shumpert, who is still an important part of Cleveland’s bench unit. An Anthony to the Clippers trade would weaken their bench but strengthen their starting lineup. However, with the way the Clippers have been playing, I think GM “Roc Divers” would be anxious to make a trade and shake up their lineup. It wouldn’t take that much for the Knicks to make the move either. To deal Carmelo, the Knicks would get Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, and probably a second round pick. The Clippers would get Melo and Sasha Vuvecic. That is the most feasible deal.
2. Is it finally time for the Nets to trade Brook Lopez? Any teams you’d think he’d fit with?
Derek: I think it is beyond time for the Nets to trade Brook Lopez. If they were a young team with assets I would consider keeping him and trying to rebuild. The issue here is, the Nets do not have assets. They are still dealing with the consequences of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade. By the time the Nets have assets to draft talented players and develop them, Lopez will be leaving or completely out of his prime.
Chris: No surprise at all, another year full of rumors flying for the big man Brook Lopez from the dreadful Brooklyn Nets. With a 9-43 record the Nets finally need to let go of Lopez, and begin going into a full tanking mode. With their 2017 and 2018 first round draft picks sent to Boston, this team is desperate to find young talent. By trading Lopez they’ll be able to possibly get young prospects, and a first round pick from a team. However which team will pay the price?
Brook Lopez is averaging 20.3 PPG and 5.2 RPG this year, and a team such as the Washington Wizards could use help from the 28-year-old center. The Wizards who started of slow this year are starting to pick up steam as of late. In the trade Washington would receive Brook Lopez and a 2017 second round draft pick. The Nets in return would get Kelly Oubre Jr., Marcin Gortat, and a 2017 or 2018 first round draft pick.
It’s going to be a long road for the Nets, however Brooklyn would get a young talent in Kelly Oubre Jr. and get a draft pick to help start building this team in the right direction. On the other hand, the Wizards add Lopez who could them make a serious push in the playoffs.
Corban: I think that it’s been time for the Nets to trade Brook Lopez. He’s been loyal, given consistent production, and is the face of the franchise. However the franchise has only won 9 games through 45 attempts this season, so the Nets should at least fish him around and see if they can get a first round pick and maybe a young prospect with an expiring for him (The Nets want 2 first round picks, I don’t quite think teams will be knocking down the door to match that offer). A pick that is top 20 would be great for the Nets, remember, players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler were both picked in the latter stages of the first round. Diamonds in the rough do exist in the draft, and in a class as deep as this the Nets could catch a break if they are able to get a good pick back in a trade.
One trade I think that could happen would be a good one for Brooklyn would be to send Lopez to Portland for Mason Plumlee, Maurice Harkless, Myles Leonard, Portland’s first round draft pick for this year, and 2 second rounders. Portland gets a talented offensive force at the center position, and Brooklyn gets a reunion with Mason, a young versatile frontcourt player in Harkless, and a stretch four in Leonard to further fit Brooklyn’s pace and space type of play. The draft picks will only continue to aid Brooklyn in their return to respectability.
3. A lot of big men seem to be available this trade season (Jahlil Okafor/Nerlens Noel, Andrew Bogut, Greg Monroe, Serge Ibaka) of those 5, who do you think would have the most impact on another team? if you were their GM, what would you value them? (a first/second rounder, young prospect, etc)
Derek: I think Jahlil Okafor / Serge Ibaka could have the biggest impact out of the players listed. Okafor offensively and Ibaka defensively. I think they are both likely to be moved before the deadline and they both can give meaningful minutes to teams that are looking to either make the playoffs, or advance further into the playoffs. This is a deep draft according to many experts, so if I was the GM who was dealing Okafor or Ibaka, I would be asking for 1st round picks in this years draft. I don’t think either of these players on their own will get a 1st rounder in return, but if I was the GM trying to trade them I’d certainly ask.
Chris: Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Andrew Bogut, Greg Monroe, or Serge Ibaka have had their names floated around in trade rumors this year. All five are talented big men who could possibly find a new place to call home after this years deadline. But one name comes to mind who I think will for sure be traded, and that’s Jahlil Okafor from the 76ers. With having three young talented centers the 76ers this year need to find a new home for Jahlil. Honestly the same case can be made for Nerlens Noel, but I feel like Philadelphia can get more in return for Okafor. Yes he needs to improve on defense, but he’s proven to be a big time player on offense.
One rumor involving Okafor quickly caught my eye was a trade involving the New Orleans Pelicans this week. The Pelicans are desperate to add talent next the superstar Anthony Davis, and adding Okafor will help add a talented center who could help take some of the load off of Davis. The 76ers in return would get a first round draft pick which would help them continue to build through the draft.
Corban: I like all 5 big men. They all have something to offer for a team, and I feel that all but Okafor can seriously help a contender. However I don’t think any of them will yield a blockbuster return for the team that owns them. Either Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel will be moved by the trade deadline and both the Sixers and other teams interested in them know this, which really makes it hard for Philadelphia to make a trade from a position of leverage. Andrew Bogut is a defensive anchor with great passing ability who is also injury prone and almost a complete non entity on the offensive end. Greg Monroe has been shopped by Milwaukee since around the time he signed it, and no takers have grabbed him yet. Serge Ibaka is the most impactful player on both ends, and also the one most likely to be moved with the Magic going into near fire sale mode. However he is on an expiring contract, and teams are wary of giving too much to a soon to be free agent. I expect Ibaka to be traded for either a late (late) first and prospects, or maybe a package of 2nd round picks and a young player who hasn’t quite reached his ceiling but may have some potential.
A likely trade involving Ibaka would probably be Serge to the Toronto Raptors for Terrence Ross and Jared Sullinger and either Bruno Cabloco or Lucas Nogueira. Both sides would receive at least an asset, and it would probably be an even deal considering Ibaka’s value as well as taking in his looming free agent status.
4. What did you think of the Bucks/Hornets trade that dropped this past week?
Chris: The trade wasn’t flashy or anything, but showed that the Hornets are looking to just clear some cap space for the future. Miles Plumlee in the off-season signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Bucks, and it’s easy to say he hasn’t performed to the standards the team hoped he would. Plumlee is averaging just 2.6 points, and that number is clearly low for a player who’s getting paid $50 million. New Orleans will receive the veterans Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert. Both are on one year contracts which gives the Hornets the ability to let them walk at the end of this season.
This trade gives Plumlee a restart with the Bucks, and lets the Hornets clear cap space to makes moves for the future.
Corban: I thought it was a mostly lateral move. For the life of me I have no answer as to why a team would willingly take on the contract of Miles Plumlee, but maybe that is one of life’s mysteries I’m just not privy to. On the Bucks end the get a pair of expiring contracts, and that will help them free up some space come the off-season.
5. Kenneth Faried. Brandon Knight. Nikola Vucevic. Ricky Rubio. Who is more likely to be traded?
Derek: I think they are all in play, but if I had to narrow it down to the 2 most likely to be traded, I would say Brandon Knight and Ricky Rubio. Rubio is still an inept shooter, but he can play good defense and run the offense making good passes. Brandon Knight has a much higher scoring ability and could be an upgrade for a team coming off the bench.
Chris: Out of those four It’s finally time for the Timber Wolves to trade Ricky Rubio, and let Kris Dun to take over the duties at the point guard position. Rubio who’s averaged 9.9 PPG and 8.3 APG in his career has had a lackluster time with the Wolves. Now comes the hard part to find a trade partner who’s willing to take Rubio on. My first thought is the Cavaliers who’s looking for a playmaker to join the team. Yes the rich keeps getting richer, however the Cavs don’t have much young talent, and even the cap space to get Rubio on the team. In reality this trade would most likely not work but one can dream.
If I was the T-Wolves I would do whatever it takes to finally find a new home for Ricky Rubio.
Corban: All 4 are very likely to be moved but Brandon Knight and Ricky Rubio are front-runners. both are players who no longer fit in their team’s backcourt and would greatly benefit from a change of scenery. Both have one limitation or another that makes it an interesting challenge to get them on a team that best suits each one (Ricky Rubio: Shooting; Brandon Knight: Defense, is he a pure point guard?) The more I mull this over, maybe the two guards could be traded for each other…..? It’s in play. I say one of them definitely gets moved, with a 75% chance both have new homes by February 24th.
6. On the Denver Nuggets side, if you were Tim Connelly, what moves if any would you make?
Derek: If I’m Tim Connelly, I’m trying to do whatever it takes to get a superstar. I wouldn’t stop calling the Bulls about Jimmy Butler until they blocked my number, and even then I’d go buy open up 3 more lines of service and keep calling them from new numbers. The Nuggets have so many assets – that should keep them from getting hung up on in about any trade talks. If you want to rebuild in the upcoming aforementioned very deep draft, the Nuggets have 2 first round picks. If you want some valuable win-now type of talent, I think the Nuggets would move off of almost anyone on their roster minus Jokic and maybe Jamal Murray. If no superstar is available, I would move Nurkic and possibly a pick to get an upgrade on defense (looking at you, Serge Ibaka).
Chris: Tim Connelly has one hell of a team at the moment with the Denver Nuggets. This team is full of young talent, but no star to help lead this team. Denver has a lot of assets, but they need to find a team that’s willing to give up an all-star which won’t happen this year. So that leaves me with a dream trade for a pretty decent player, that if I was Tim Connelly I would try my best to do.
I recently wrote about the rumors of the Orlando Magic looking to trade Serge Ibeka. I feel like Ibeka would be an amazing fit with the Nuggets. Imagine the duo of Jokic and Serge. It would bring joy to ever Nugget fan across the world. It wouldn’t take that much to get him with giving up Will Barton, Nurkic, and the 2017 Memphis first round draft pick.
As a Denver fan, it’s going to be interesting to see if Denver will do anything at the deadline.
Corban: If I’m Connelly, I’m trying to get that go to player. I’m thinking Paul George, Jimmy Butler, specifically an accomplished player we can go to in the waning stages of the game to get the Nuggets crunch time buckets. The Nuggets have assets, picks, and young prospects, as well as the talented Jusuf Nurkic who wants a new home. If Connelly can package it the right way and with a bit of luck, maybe we can get one of the two swing men, or a Serge Ibaka or Paul Millsap. It will be interesting to see what the Nuggets decide to do when February 23rd rolls around.