We are 20+ games into the 2017-2018 NBA season, meaning it is the time to make some speculations on the moves teams will be making as we grow closer to the trade deadline. These potential trade targets are either in a bad situation and will beginning to be shopped around, or are valuable assets that title contenders will be looking to add to make a deep post-season run. Here we go:
Top 5 Trade Targets:
1.) Marc Gasol
2017 All-Star has been caught in middle of disastrous situation in Memphis. Already this season the Grizzlies have had their leader in Michael Conley Jr. go down to injury, fire their now former head coach David Fizdale, and suffered an 11-game losing streak that was just ended last night. As everyone can see, it is not a good time to be in Memphis.
In the midst of havoc, Marc Gasol is adding yet another solid season to his resume. The 33-year old center is averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds on averaging shooting splits (42 FG%, 33 FG3%, and 84 FT%). He is playing solid defensively as well to go along with recording a 1.5 blocks per game. It is apparent that the veteran still has some game left in him.
However, letting Gasol waist away the back half of his career in Memphis is idiotic when he could contribute to a winning organization. Cleveland may have some interest in the big as the season progresses. After moving Tristan Thompson to the bench to play smaller and spread the floor, acquiring Gasol would allow him and Kevin Love to spread the floor and still play big at the same time. Another team that could use Gasol’s services are the Milwaukee Bucks. He would be solid big to compliment Giannis, and also space the floor accordingly to allow The Greak Freak to drive to the basket. Either way, Memphis would be able to start the rebuild sooner, as well as give Gasol a chance to win elsewhere.
#2) DeMarcus Cousins
The Pelicans are currently holding onto the 8th seed in the West, but have also been up-and-down all season as well. Not to mention it is hard to imagine the Thunder do not jump the Pelicans when (and if ) they figure out how to play basketball again. Either way, NOLA big man DeMarcus Cousins has had an outstanding year, averaging 25 & 12 boards a game and is a potential MVP candidate. Prying such a valuable player away from the Pelicans would be hard, but it may be a good idea for each New Orleans and Cousins.
While Cousins is an incredible talent in the NBA, he is only under contract in New Orleans for the rest of the year. With the Pelicans being stuck in mediocracy, it is hard to imagine Cousins sticking around. NOLA may be better off building around fellow big man Anthony Davis and what they get in exchange for Cousins to begin to build for future. Cousins is worth an immense amount for any team, maybe enough to ship him to the Cavs for the Nets 1st-rounder they currently have. The Wizards also may want to pursue Boogie to pair him up with college teammate John Wall and give the Wizards a much better chance of competing in the East. If the Pelicans do move Cousins, it will be closer to the deadline to see where they are at, but do not be surprised if he is traded at that time.
#3) Dion Waiters
While Dion Waiters has not been mentioned in trade rumors up to this point, it may be a good idea for both him and the Heat. Miami is currently under .500 and are a very average team with or without Waiters. Waiters can be an extremely high-volume scorer, but he is also inefficient. With Hassan Whiteside as the future of the team and Goran Dragic as the best back backcourt player for the team, Waiters becomes very expendable if he is not playing up to par (which he has not been recently).
Waiters may be better on a team that could use guy to score off the bench with the second unit, where he would have less pressure but still be a shoot first guy. His problem is less about scoring and shooting but about decision making and taking bad shots. Greg Popovich may be able to tame him and make him a strong role guy on the Spurs if they can get him cheap. Another place where Waiters could make an impact in in Philly, where he could be the primary scorer on the second unit for the 76ers. If Waiters does not step it up and prove to be a vital piece of Miami’s rebuild, the Heat would be better off to ship him out and give other guys a chance to grow.
#4) DeAndre Jordan
The Clippers started off incredibly hot this season, only for multiple injuries to really make you feel like their season is already over. With that being said, the front office should be looking to send true center DeAndre Jordan to someone he needs more. You know what you are getting with DJ: a rebounding rim protector who will put up 10-12 points a night on easy dunks and put backs. While that kind of center (one who can’t stretch the floor) is going out of style, there will still be teams looking to add Jordan. It could be a stretch, but the Warriors could upgrade by getting DJ to start over Zaza Pachulia. Either way, the Clippers should be looking to get anything in return for him to help the rebuild.
#5) Joe Ingles
While Joe Ingles is a valued part of the Jazz, the team is still recovering from the loss of Gordon Hayward and should be building around Rodney Hood and rookie Donavon Mitchell. With the 3-and-D basketball Ingles plays, he would be more valuable on contending team. Not only that, a contender may also be willing to overpay for him, and help Utah acquire young talent and picks to put around Hood and Mitchell. With the East getting much better this year, Ingles would be perfect in Toronto to round out the starting lineup along with Lowry/DeRozen/Ibaka/Valanciunus. A late pick and maybe young 2-way guard OG Anunoby would be a fitting price for Ingles services, but it is unclear whether or not the Jazz are willing to get rid of him just yet.