NBA Trade Deadline: The trade each team must make

With just 10 days remaining until the 2015 NBA trade deadline, you can bet each of the 30 NBA team's general managers are actively surveying the landscape, looking for any trade that can help their team not only today, but down the road.

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NBA Trade Deadline: The trade each team must make

Brooklyn Nets receive: Lance Stephenson, Gerald Henderson and Marvin Williams

Charlotte Hornets receive: Joe Johnson

The Brooklyn Nets are in a state of disarray and it appears after a failed attempt to become championship contenders a long rebuilding period is looming in the near future. All three of the Nets core pieces Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are open to being traded and although there have been numerous rumors regarding these three players no trades have been made yet. Brook Lopez was almost traded early in January and if the deal in place would’ve went through, Lopez would’ve been on the Oklahoma City Thunder and Lance Stephenson would be a member of the Nets. Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Sunday, January 25 that the Nets and Hornets were discussing the possibility of sending Lance Stephenson to Brooklyn, but instead of Brook Lopez ending up in Charlotte, this time the focus is Joe Johnson.

Stephenson signed a 3 year deal worth $27 Million with the Hornets and he’s already on the trade block, not even fully through his first full season of his contract. Stephenson was born and raised in Brooklyn and he has said that he wants to play for the Nets at one point in his career. Stephenson has potential to be a great player and he showed that capability with the Indiana Pacers. Trading for Stephenson would be a big risk, but if Stephenson has his head in the right place and is focused solely on basketball, acquiring Stephenson could be a great move for the Nets.

Joe Johnson has been the Nets most consistent player over the course of the past two seasons, but Johnson indicated after a Nets loss to the Jazz that he is suffering through knee and shoulder tendinitis. Johnson has played a major amount of minutes for the Nets lately and it appears that the wear and tear is finally getting the best of the 33 year old. The Nets are trying to get younger and look ahead to the future and pulling off this trade would help Brooklyn achieve that goal.

(Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Charlotte Hornets trade Lance Stephenson to the Toronto Raptors for Terrence Ross and Landry Fields.

Instead of fooling around trying to acquire an over the hill, expensive piece like Joe Johnson, why not grab a much less expensive and younger player like Terrence Ross. Ross shoots 37% from three point range for his career, and he is not shy about taking those shots. More than that, though, is that Ross can create his own shot, and creativity and shooting are two things Charlotte desperately needs.

By getting rid of Lance Stephenson, the Hornets no longer have the headache potential of a volatile guy, and they do not have to worry about that $9M price tag looming for next season. Stephenson was a good gamble, but he has never fit into the team or system. Ross is a better fit, and costs far less. For the Raptors, this gives them the chance to turn a disappointing Ross and cap filler into a guy who really fits their up tempo, fast break style. Imagine Lowry running the break and feeding Stephenson. This is a win-win.

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Memphis Grizzlies trade forward Jon Leuer and guard Nick Calathes for forward Lavoy Allen of the Indiana Pacers

The Memphis Grizzlies are in win-now mode, and the recent trade of Tayshaun Prince and Quincy Pondexter for Jeff Green of Boston has tremendously helped out the team.

The team has lacked some much needed depth at the forward position though since the trade for Jeff Green. Green has slid into the small forward slot, but hasn’t played much at power forward since the trade.

The Grizzlies’ have been forced to use Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos and Marc Gasol in extended minutes at the 4 & 5 spot on the floor. If Randolph and Gasol are forced to play 36+ minutes per game it’s going to tire them out down the stretch.

The Grizzlies’ are heavy at the shooting guard position with Courtney Lee, Tony Allen, Vince Carter and Jordan Adams. Nick Calathes is the odd man out right now on the Memphis roster.

Moving over to the forward position for the Grizzlies’, they are short on the depth chart. Jon Leuer out of Wisconsin is the backup forward behind Zach Randolph, but he lacks the size to play with bigger forwards in the league. Trading a combo of Leuer and Calathes for Lavoy Allen of the Indiana Pacers is the move that Memphis should make before the trade deadline.

At 6’9″ and 255 lbs, Allen has the much needed size to battle with the bigs in the Western Conference. He averages just over six points and six rebounds per game which is much better than the production the Grizzlies’ are currently getting from the backup forward position off the bench.

Indiana is in rebuilding mode, and are in need of some young talent. Calathes and Leuer have a PER of just above 12, which is below the league average of 15. Allen is just under 16 in PER.

The ESPN trade machine predicts the Grizzlies’ would pick up an extra win this season if the trade were to go thru, while the Pacers would lose two more games than originally predicted.

I believe this trade would benefit both teams in the long run, because Indiana is getting some young talent, and Memphis is getting the same in return. This trade will help Memphis make a run at winning the Western Conference in 2015.

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

OKC Thunder receives: Al Jefferson (from Charlotte) and Norris Cole (from Miami)

Charlotte Hornets receives: Kendrick Perkins, Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb (from Oklahoma City) and Justin Hamilton (from Miami)

Miami Heat receives: Gary Neal (from Charlotte)

The loss of Kemba Walker to knee surgery inches this proposed trade (as per Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski) closer to reality, but now a three-team deal to involve Oklahoma City.

The Thunder have the bench scorer they need in Dion Waiters and Reggie Jackson is maddeningly inconsistent. They bring in Miami’s Norris Cole, a point guard with big-game experience (who faced the Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals) but is a solid on-ball defender and capable scorer. He won’t win a game for you but he won’t lose it for you either.

They reluctantly ship off Kendrick Perkins’ expiring contract to bring in a proven low-post scorer in Charlotte’s Al Jefferson, who can get his points in the paint or from mid-range, something neither of OKC’s current centers (Perkins and Steven Adams) can do. Adams has started for most of the season but Scott Brooks could platoon him with Jefferson to maximize Adams’ superior defense while limiting Jefferson’s minutes and avoiding any injury. While “Big Al” has a large contract on the books, it expires in 2016, leaving OKC enough cap space to re-sign Kevin Durant while still keeping the Thunder’s championship window open for this season and the next.

The Hornets would get a solid post defender (Perkins), a young swingman with potential (Jeremy Lamb) and a point guard that can put up numbers similar to Walker. Jackson and Perkins both have contracts that expire at the end of this season so Charlotte owner Michael Jordan still have plenty of cap space to retool this summer (assuming they can move Lance Stephenson, too) and they’ll get a restart on their rebuilding plans.

Miami’s point guards have been woefully unproductive and giving a proven shooter like Gary Neal (who torched the Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals when he was with San Antonio) gives them a floor-spacer in their second unit.

 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Heat get: Ty Lawson and Gary Neal
Nuggets get: Gerald Henderson and Chris Andersen
Hornets get: Joe Johnson, Josh McRoberts and Norris Cole
Nets get: JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson and Marvin Williams

The million dollar question: “Who says no?”

Maybe the Heat say no, because Pat Riley may not want to be involved in a trade that sends Joe Johnson to the Hornets–who Miami is battling for playoff position. (Although I don’t think he’ll have an issue with sending Lance to the Nets).

Maybe the Nuggets say no because they will lose their best player. But they recently signed Jameer Nelson and could go into full tank mode by trading Lawson away and freeing up almost $12 million in cap room to rebuild with.

The Hornets and Nets are more on board than a 19-year-old girl who snuck booze onto the cruise ship and knows she won’t get served if she deboards in Mexico. (Okay, I lied, those girls totally get served in Mexico.)

Anyway, the Heat are taking advantage of two teams wanting to dump salary and one team wanting to dump Lance Stephenson.

The Nuggets are getting a couple of digestible, short term contracts that come off the books by 2016 (again, the idea here being that they want to dump their largest salary).

The Hornets are getting Joe Johnson because Michael Jordan says he wants Joe Johnson. Not to mention they get Josh McRoberts back and Norris Cole for added depth following Kemba Walker’s injury.

Oh, and the Nets. This is the fun part. The Nets dump Johnson’s $23 million deal. They get to take Lance for a whirl and (I’m getting giddy over this next part) LIONEL HOLLINS GETS TO WORK WITH JAVALE MCGEE. If anyone can crack the McGee Code it’s him. McGee’s contract (two years, $11 million per season) seems like it kinda sucks but that becomes a valuable expiring for next season… the season before the vaunted free agent class of 2016.

This works, people! So, again, who says no?

You’re right, probably the Nuggets.

(Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

Nuggets Get: Spencer Dinwiddie, Luigi Datome
Pistons Get: Jameer Nelson

The Denver Nuggets are on the verge of blowing up the current iteration of their roster and starting the long, hard journey of rebuilding. General Manager Tim Connelly and Head Coach Brian Shaw put the team on notice a couple of weeks ago, saying if the team didn’t give them a compelling reason to keep the band together, changes would be made.

The Nuggets continue to struggle, so it looks like Connelly will have no choice but to start dismantling this roster. If the franchise is indeed looking to build from the ground up, it’s likely they will look to acquire young, inexpensive players or players with expiring contracts. If that’s the case, the Detroit Pistons might be an ideal trade partner.

With point guard Brandon Jennings lost for the season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon, the Pistons are in need of help at the PG position. The Nuggets recently acquired Jameer Nelson in a trade with the Celtics, but rumors already are swirling that he could be available on the trade market. Nelson is attractive to Detroit because he has a player option at the end of this season. If he ends up being a solid fit in Detroit, there’s a chance the team could get him to agree to back up Jennings (or start, if Jennings’s rehab takes longer than expected) next season. If not, Nelson could walk and the Pistons wouldn’t be out much.

On the Nuggets end, they could receive two players in return: rookie point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and 27-year old Luigi Datome. Dinwiddie attended the University of Colorado and would be welcomed with open arms in Denver. He’s owed $700K this year and is scheduled to make less than $1 million each of the next two seasons. He has struggled with some injuries, but the Nuggets would have some flexibility with the cheap contract, whether they decide to keep him on the roster or make him part of an additional move. Datome doesn’t offer the Nuggets much in the way of production, but his $1.75 million contract expires at the end of this season, leaving the Nuggets with the option of re-signing him for cheap or letting him walk and opening a roster spot for future maneuvering.

If the Pistons want immediate help at the PG position, Nelson would be an immediate upgrade. And if the Nuggets are going to strip the current roster and start the fire sale, they could do worse than bringing Dinwiddie back to Denver in hopes of scoring a little positive PR with the local fan base.

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jazz trade Trey Burke and Ian Clark to Detroit Pistons for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Spencer Dinwiddie

With Dante Exum recently taking over the starting Point Guard position, the Utah Jazz may be looking to trade Trey Burke. If Burke is to be traded, the Jazz will likely be looking for a 3-and-D asset in return. Shooting and perimeter defense are the teams biggest needs, as they are 19thin the league in three point shooting percentage. This need has been amplified by the season ending injury to Alec Burks and the injuries rookie Rodney Hood has been dealing with.

Adding Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would be a good solution for the Jazz. KCP has not been the shooter he has billed as out of college. Part of the reason for this is the situation he has been in. When you are on a team with Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, you never know when you will see the ball. This can lead to forced shots. Working in a pass happy system like Snyder’s, Caldwell-Pope would be a much better shooter. Quin has been able to get the Jazz players to play better defense as of late, and he would droll over the opportunity to have someone like KCP defending the wing. Spencer Dinwiddie is a good prospect and would be able to take over the back up point guard role for the Jazz.

With the career-damning injury to Brandon Jennings, Detroit’s future at point guard is now unclear. Should they look to add a point guard, hometown-hero Trey Burke would be a good option. Brandon Jennings had a good season before he went down. Burke would be able to step into the role he was playing. Burke has done a good job at getting good looks for Derrick Favors throughout the season and would be able to run an effective pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Ian Clark could be kept for some wing depth, or waived for cap room.

(Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

Toronto Raptors receive Kevin Garnett from Brooklyn Nets for Landry Fields and Chuck Hayes

The Toronto Raptors are not suffering in the backcourt. Their guards, led by All-Star Kyle Lowry, have led the team to the top of the Atlantic Division. Starting centre Jonas Valanciunas is improving daily. However, the young Raps need a veteran front court player who’s been to the wars and returned with the spoils, someone with unimpeachable leadership credentials. I’m thinking Kevin Garnett.

The Raps have a Power-Forward-by-committee philosophy, and not by choice. None of the incumbents, Amir Johnson, Patrick Patterson and James Johnson, have taken firm hold of the position, and none is likely to. Amir is prone to quarters, or even games, of invisibility, 2-Pat is smallish, and James barely gets on the floor these days. The Raps need a beast under the boards, someone to challenge Atlanta’s Al Horford and Paul Millsap, the Bulls’ Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol, and Cleveland’s Timofey Mozgov, to name a few formidable playoff adversaries.

The Brooklyn Nets, currently sitting just outside a playoff berth in the embarrassing East despite a shabby record, have to know they need to rebuild. While Garnett would likely be little more than a playoff rental for Toronto, the players I propose giving up (Landry Fields and Chuck Hayes, plus our first-rounder in 2016) are irrelevant to the Raptors’ future. Like Garnett’s, their contracts expire this season, and fans would be astonished if the Raps resigned either. The acquisition of the still-young Fields would allow the Nets a painless tryout, at which point they could decide whether to offer him a new contract. Hayes could provide Brooklyn cheap front court insurance in the future.

For the Raps, Garnett’s presence would be as much symbolic as substantial. Kevin wouldn’t see a lot of court time, but his veteran leadership and “refuse to lose” attitude would be a playoff tonic for a Raps’ dressing room which sometimes looks blasé.

The Raptors are beloved by their fans. What they need is to be hated by their opponents and the acquisition of the aging but still feisty Garnett would do just that.

(Photo by Dave Sandford/NBAE via Getty Images)

Philadelphia 76ers send: Andrei Kirilenko
Washington Wizards send: Martell Webster, 2016 second round pick (protected)

After losing Trevor Ariza to the Houston Rockets this past summer, the Washington Wizards don’t have anybody on their roster that could defend elite small-forwards. That’s where Andrei Kirilenko could come in.

Kirilenko will not finish the 2014-2015 NBA season as a member of the Sixers. Instead of working out a buy out, the Sixers could obtain some salary from Webster and a second round pick, which we know Sam Hinkie covets.

Webster hasn’t been the same player since returning from his third back surgery this season. Otto Porter is clearly the best available backup small forward on Washington’s roster, and now that Rasual Butler has filled the shooting void off the bench, there is no more room for Webster on the team.

Kirilenko isn’t the All-Star caliber player he once was in Utah, but the Wizards need another wing defender. He’s capable of playing along side the starters in spurts and his ability to run the floor would make him a perfect fit in Randy Wittman’s system. Paul Pierce has surprisingly been a solid defender this season, but I don’t think you could rely on him to defend Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, or any of the top small forwards. Kirilenko’s length and basketball I.Q. would be a terrific addition to Washington’s roster.

(Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Chicago sends Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Taj Gibson to Miami for Luol Deng and Danny Granger

When attempting different scenarios in’s NBA trade machine, you can definitely encounter some unrealistic scenarios. Would it be crazy though for the Chicago Bulls to consider upgrading their SF position? Mike Dunleavy’s recent absence from the lineup showed how lacking they are at that position, and it seems prudent to consider which ways Chicago could upgrade before the trade deadline. One option seems particularly fitting after the player’s joyous return to the United Center recently.

It would be a legitimate move if the Bulls decided to trade Dunleavy and Taj Gibson for Luol Deng and Danny Granger of the Miami Heat. This is certainly not a decision you make without the emergence of Nikola Mirotic, but it is definitely an intriguing possibility to imagine for Chi-town. They never really wanted to let Deng go, however, it seemed like the right thing to do considering where the Bulls were in the standings at that point.

Mirotic’s play has been begging for more minutes, and even though he might struggle initially under a new role, Gibson’s production has started to decline with age. It might be more wise to sell high on the PF and get something in return for him.

John Hollinger’s prediction analysis claims this would increase Chicago’s wins by two throughout a full season of play, and I’m sure the Heat would not mind adding a player of Gibson’s quality. We will admit here at Pippen Ain’t East that this trade is not likely to happen between bitter rivals, however, it could be a lot of fun to reunite Deng with his brothers. I’m sure Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose would miss Gibson at first, but they would get over it once they have Jimmy Butler and Deng prowling the wings once more.

(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

Orlando sends Tobias Harris, Channing Frye, draft pick to Denver Nuggets for Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler

The Orlando Magic have the luxury of some options in the frontcourt, but the team lacks a rim protector, interior presence and toughness. Scanning the players that are reportedly available, or with the proper prodding could become available, acquiring a player like Kenneth Faried would quickly change that.

The Magic are about to hear the phone ringing. And Rob Hennigan’s cell phone may vibrate and convulse onto the floor if some of his conjurings come to fruition.

Tobias Harris has proven himself to be a scorer, and teams need that, be it starting or otherwise.

Yet, despite Harris’ natural scoring ability, he does not necessarily make teammates better. His skill set is formidable as either a 3 or a 4, but it is difficult to imagine him getting worlds better than he is now.

That said, the Magic need some help at the rim. Jacque Vaughn has received immense criticism, but the fact is, that at times he just lacks the personnel to stop opposing teams’ offenses.

Kenneth Faried would change that, and he would also address the Magic’s need for a rim protector.

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Sacramento sends Derrick Williams, Nik Stauskas, draft pick to Orlando for Tobias Harris, Dewayne Dedmon

Well, this escalated quickly, didn’t it?

In the span of two months, the Sacramento Kings went from being the darlings of the NBA’s criminally tough Western Conference, to being the red-headed step child of the NBA. The fans that once embraced the Kings’ transformation into a team that worked hard and entertained, has now turned on the team the same way Whoopi Goldberg turned on Danny Glover in The Color Purple.

“Whatever you done to me, already been done to you.”

Not only did Whoopi cursed Glover, but she also cursed the Kings as well. A Kings front office that looked so promising, has now made some tremendously bone headed moves, such as firing coach Michael Malone when the Kings were just two games below .500, and promoting a coach who has no business being a head coach not even in the D-League.

But in truth, the real problem with the Kings lie within the lineup, where it is obvious the Kings have a bunch of square pegs that just doesn’t fit the overall vision of the Kings, whatever that vision is.

So, how do the Kings fix their roster problems? By trade of course, because we all know that no sane free agent want’s to willingly come to Sacramento, no matter how much money they offer. So, I proposed this trade to help fix the Kings’ woes, via the Orlando Magic.

Why would this trade work you ask? Because the Kings need a starting small forward, and Harris has grown into a legitimate scoring threat that Orlando bizarrely treats like damage goods. His scoring, rebounding and defense will be tremendous beside DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. It will be Sacramento’s own version of the big three.

And Dedmon is a solid center who did an admirable job starting when Nikola Vucevic was out earlier in the season. Dedmon can play defense, and has a nice touch around the basket. He has the potential to push Jason Thompson to the bench, which is desperately needed.

But then again, what is desperately needed in Sacramento, is a complete overhaul of this roster.

(Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Minnesota sends Mo Williams to Detroit for Anthony Tolliver, draft pick

The Timberwolves are willing to trade everyone on the roster short of Andrew Wiggins and probably Ricky Rubio. That said, it’s going to be hard to move many of their non-expiring contracts.

Basketball operations boss and head coach Flip Saunders no doubt would love to move swingman Chase Budinger, who has a player option for $5.5 million next season and is unhappy as part of a painfully young, rebuilding Wolves squad. Of course, Budinger is barely worth the money even if he were to revert to his pre-Minnesota form as a deadeye long-range shooter and decent wing defender, and to this point, knee injuries seem to have sapped much of his former value.

Thaddeus Young is in a similar spot, with a player option north of $9 million for next season. Nikola Pekovic only plays 60-65 games per season and is owed a ton of money over the next few years. Most of the rest of the team is on their rookie contracts and likely won’t be moved for various reasons.

Mo Williams, on the other hand, is on an expiring contract and could provide a scoring punch off the bench for a contender, similar to what he provided for the Portland Trail Blazers last season in their run to the second round of the playoffs.

The Clippers, Heat, Cavaliers, and Pistons are all said to be interested in Williams on various levels, but it will be tough for Saunders to glean much in return. The Clippers and Cavaliers have stuffed their benches full of over-the-hill veterans that the Wolves wouldn’t be interested in, and there aren’t that many expiring contracts. The Heat and Pistons have a handful of young players that the Wolves could be interested in if the deal is expanded. If Williams is the only player that the other team wants, however, this deal would work for Minnesota.

Tolliver is under contract for next season at $3 million, but only $400k of it is guaranteed. The Wolves don’t necessarily need another tweener (Young, Anthony Bennett, and Robbie Hummel all qualify), but they could use veteran leadership and outside shooting. Of all the contracts that would match Williams’ in a deal, Tolliver’s would be the most attractive for Minnesota.

The draft pick could be in either 2015 or 2016, as Stan Van Gundy has a full compliment of picks to move in the near future. If the Pistons had any interest in Budinger (they would if his contract wasn’t so steep for next season — great job, Flip), the Wolves could ask for rookie point guard Spencer Dinwiddie in return, and possibly Joel Anthony to balance the contracts out, although they probably wouldn’t get a pick anymore in this iteration of the deal.

More likely than not, however, the Wolves are realistically just shooting to bring back a draft pick or two at the 2015 trade deadline. But anything could happen.

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

New Orleans sends John Salmons, draft pick to Orlando for Luke Ridnour

The New Orleans Pelicans can really use a backup point guard that they can trust to run an offense for however long that Jrue Holiday is out with a stress reaction in his right leg.

While Ridnour isn’t a spectacular option he would give the team just that.
Since Holiday’s injury the Pelicans have used a combination of Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Nate Wolters and Jimmer Fredette to handle the point guard duties on offense though there are problems with all of them.

Evans is playing some of the best basketball of his career right now, but it remains to be seen if it can hold up. Asking him to shoulder this big of an offensive load for an extended period of time is also worrisome due to his injury history.

Gordon also has a history of being injured but by putting him on the ball the Pelicans lose one of the few spot-up, floor spacing threats on the roster.

New Orleans has already moved on from Wolters who was solid though unspectacular in his 20 day stint as a Pelican and Monty Williams has tried to bench Jimmer by any means necessary.

By adding Ridnour the Pelicans add a player who can help run things on offense by making the simple play, something that will go a long way with the second unit. With Ryan Anderson entrenched as the go-to weapon off the bench and Williams staggering rotations Ridnour would be asked to initiate things and knock down shots, two things he can do. In fact that career 35.1 percent mark from three-point land is the perfect fit for New Orleans in a backup point guard.

The biggest win for the Pelicans though is the cost. New Orleans doesn’t really have any assets to throw at Orlando but with the Magic wanting to get minutes for their young players, offering them the salary relief of Salmons and the second round pick the Pelicans got from Memphis may be enough to make things work. The Pelicans won’t get a huge difference maker but for the price Ridnour can be a nice addition.

(Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dallas sends Richard Jefferson to Denver for Alonzo Gee

As we know, the Dallas Mavericks have already done their work on the phones this season. They sent Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, and picks to the Boston Celtics to acquire Rajon Rondo back in December.

They plan on signing a free agent big man, and have their sights set on veteran Jermaine O’Neal, but it’s possible Donnie Nelson could tinker with the roster via trade, too.

The Mavericks gave up most of their available assets to get Rondo, and now the most expendable player would have to be Richard Jefferson. Al-Farouq Aminu has come on strong as of late, garnering the minutes that previously were allotted to Jefferson.

If they could move the 13-year veteran for, say, Alonzo Gee of the Denver Nuggets I think they’d do it. Gee would provide the energy that Jefferson usually brings off the pine, but is a better defender and a 43% shooter from behind the arc this season.

It’s not a major move, but one that could bring some youth to the second unit. He’s comparable to Jae Crowder, but with a better offensive game.

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Portland sends Thomas Robinson to Phoenix for Gerald Green

Like many teams, the Portland Trail Blazers are not biting their fingernails as the trade deadline approaches, but there is always room to improve even the steadiest of rosters. If they make a move, it will be for a reserve wing. The backcourt youth movement of C.J. McCollum, Will Barton, and Allen Crabbe is coming along rather slowly—perhaps too slowly for a team with championship aspirations. A bargain bin veteran could provide the sort of depth Portland needs to make a run.

Unfortunately, they are not in the best position to strike a deal. Most teams that are willing to part with veterans are rebuilding, and most rebuilding teams want large, expiring contracts or an excess of draft picks. Outside of starters that are off the table, the Trail Blazers possess neither. In which case; Portland’s best bet is to seek out a team on the edge of success for a mutually beneficial arrangement.

That team is the Phoenix Suns, and that arrangement involves Gerald Green. Even at 29 years old, Green is the definition of an offensive spark, averaging 13 points off the bench in 21 minutes per game this season. He is capable of playing both the shooting guard and small forward positions (Portland’s shallowest talent-wise) and has a relatively cheap ($3.5M) expiring contract that will not interfere with the Trail Blazers’ plans for 2015 free agency.

The Suns would, of course, require fair compensation. Thomas Robinson (also expiring) could shore up their thin frontline in a heartbeat. He is a phenomenal athlete, brimming with intensity, who presently lacks a role befitting his gifts because LaMarcus Aldridge absorbs most of Portland’s minutes at power forward. A saddening, but constructive, relocation would allow him to contribute valuably to the success of his new team.

Upon completing this transaction, the Trail Blazers gain an asset (Green) that suits their needs without sacrificing any long term players or long term plans.

Upon completing this trade, the Suns gain an asset (Robinson) that suits their needs while, simultaneously clearing space in their overcrowded backcourt.

Admittedly, Portland probably comes out on top in this one straight up, but reasonable terms can be negotiated if need be. Then again, Robinson is not to be underestimated, and this deal could be a steal for Phoenix if they use him well. Remember, the Trail Blazers are not desperate to make a trade, so there is no harm in just sniffing the air for favorable winds.

(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

Houston sends Terrence Jones to Oklahoma City for Reggie Jackson

In the ever competitive West losing a single game can catapult you down the ladder. Just ask the Rockets who were on a 4-game win streak, but a single loss in Detroit moved them from third to fifth. There is literally no room for error especially in the Southwest Division. So news Dwight Howard is projected to miss a month after re-injuring the right knee that held him out 11-games early this season is cause for concern.

While MVP candidate James Harden has carried the team on his back he’s suffering from his own myriad of injuries. Adding to this anxiety is how easily Golden State dispatched of the Rockets, sweeping the season series by an average of 17.75 points. The Warriors employed a strategy of aggressively defending Harden as a scorer, but more telling was how they shut him down as a play maker. It pinpointed the area of the game Houston is most vulnerable: starting point guard.

Patrick Beverley is a scrappy defender, but he’s more suited to a back-up role. Most of his shot attempts are wide open looks and yet his per game stats are modest: 11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists with 1.4 turnovers in 31 minutes.

If teams replicate the Warriors defensive strategy to isolate Harden in Howard’s absence ask yourself who is the secondary scoring threat?

Upgrading the starting point guard would unshackle Harden and make Houston less predictable and more versatile.

Oklahoma City’s Reggie Jackson is a Restricted Free Agent who covets a starting role and rumor has is unhappy. Historically the Thunder avoids free agency, notably trading Jeff Green at the deadline and Harden just prior to the season. Speculation is the Thunder will repeat this practice with Jackson.

OKC needs a front court player who can score inside and grab rebounds. Terrence Jones could address those issues and work well with either a small ball line-up featuring Serge Ibaka at center or with Steven Adams versus larger opponents.

Jackson averages 13.4 points, 4.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 28.9 minutes. However, starting in Russell Westbrook’s absence his numbers were: 20.2 points, 7.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds.

Skeptics of losing Jones while Howard is out should recall Houston went 8-3 without either playing and have since added Josh Smith to the mix.

Jackson would immediately force teams to game plan for either Harden or him as a ball handler or scorer and simultaneously relieve pressure from Harden.

OKC need to make a move now just to make the playoffs and Houston need to sustain their position without sapping Harden.

Could GM’s Daryl Morey and Sam Presti revisit history via a team altering move? Completing this trade may well be what secures their playoff seeds and simultaneously addresses their long term roster needs.

(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

Suns send Isaiah Thomas, Miles Plumlee, draft pick to Chicago for Taj Gibson, Aaron Brooks

A guy can dream, can’t he? In a perfect world, the Suns would be able to pull this off without having to include the pick owed to them by the Los Angeles Lakers (top-five protected in 2015, top-three protected in 2016 and 2017). A trade for Gibson would give the Suns the kind of paint protector they need, someone who has a serviceable midrange shot and would pair nicely with Alex Len in the frontcourt for the future.

Phoenix is a fine offensive team, but they need to improve defensively and on the glass before they ever take the next step toward contender status. Gibson helps them move closer to that while clearing out the point guard logjam. The deal also brings in a serviceable backup in Aaron Brooks, who’d be a cheap re-sign this summer, AND it allows Markieff Morris to terrorize opponents off the bench.

Suddenly, the Suns would have a very solid young core of Eric Bledsoe, Len, Gibson, the Morris twins, P.J. Tucker and hopefully, Goran Dragic (a free agent the Suns are hoping to re-sign this summer). Keeping Dragic, Brandan Wright and Gerald Green in free agency would be nearly impossible at that point, but Phoenix would still be taking a step in the right direction with this deal.

Losing Thomas hurts more than people would think, especially since those point guard hydra lineups really do work in limited doses. But when the Suns need rebounds to close out defensive possessions in close games, it hasn’t happened. Gibson changes that, and Brooks gives the Suns a backup who’s shot 39 percent from downtown this year — a superior option over Tyler Ennis.

The only problem is, would the Bulls be tempted in the middle of a title-or-bust season? Gibson’s numbers are down this season, but he’s arguably Chicago’s most important backup. Chicago needs some perimeter shooting, which is what Thomas provides, but is that upgrade at point guard worth downgrading from Gibson to Plumlee, even with the future first rounder thrown in?

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Lakers send Jordan Hill, draft pick to Thunder for Kendrick Perkins, Reggie Jackson

If there’s one trade I would make for the Lakers, it would be to send Jordan Hill and the Lakers’ second round pick to the OKC Thunder for Kendrick Perkins and Reggie Jackson.

This trade just makes too much sense for both sides. The Thunder need a big man that can do more than set a good screen (sorry Nick Collison) or look mean and ugly (sorry Perkins). Jordan Hill doesn’t need to be a top scoring option, is a highly efficient rebounder, and a big-time energy guy. What he lacks defensively as a rim protector can be covered up by Serge Ibaka.

For the Lakers, they sell off their most valuable asset at a high price and land a nice coup in return. Since bringing in Dion Waiters, Jackson has looked lost on the Thunder. With OKC very unlikely to match any deal for Jackson, who will be a restricted free agent, it makes sense for them to move him on for something in return that can help them make a run for the playoffs.

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Cleveland sends Brendan Haywood, James Jones, draft pick to Minnesota for Mo Williams

Reasons Cavs make the deal

The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t have a backup point guard who can score with the second unit. Williams can provide great scoring off the bench, something Matthew Dellavedova is gifted at. Williams has a history with LeBron James and the Cavs, can knock down open 3 pointers (38% for his career) and will have a chip on his shoulder after struggling in the playoffs the last time with the Cavs.

Reasons Cavs wouldn’t make the deal

Williams struggled mightily both on defense and in the pressure of the playoffs in his last stint with the Cavs. With age his defense has gotten worse. There is hope that he could overcome his past playoff issues but returning to the Cavs could put more pressure on him. The Cavs also would be spending their last two trade chips (Haywood, 2nd round pick) on a player who wouldn’t get many minutes.

Finding the second player to make the deal work is also difficult. Jones is a friend of LeBron, Dellavedova provides gritty defense and an improved jumper in the backcourt and Joe Harris is a young shooter that the team will need for years to come.

Reasons Timberwolves make the deal

The T-Wolves are not going anywhere and having Mo Williams on their team is not going to change that one bit. Williams takes time on the court that will go to younger players as they learn to develop. Getting Haywood’s unique contract, non-guaranteed next year for over $10 million, could give them a chance to add talent for free next year via trades. The 2nd round pick has some unique protections but is another asset while Jones would be bought out.

Reasons Timberwolves wouldn’t make the deal

The T-Wolves could believe they could get something better for Williams or could decide to hold on to him to give a veteran presence that they currently are missing. The 2nd round pick doesn’t provide a ton of value and they are not certain to acquire anyone with Haywood’s deal in the off-season.

Should the deal happen?

For the Cleveland Cavaliers this is a deal they can make right at the NBA Trade Deadline. They do not need to rush it and may decide to move forward without making a deal. Williams, for all his offensive help, could hurt them defensively. Worst case scenario for the Cavs is that they just cut Haywood next season.

They can then fill their empty roster spot by signing any one of the free agents that have been linked to them: Ray Allen, Jordan Farmer or Samuel Dalembert. The two for one deal would still allow them to sign one of these players, likely Dalembert or another center type, as well.

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Indiana sends C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland to Brooklyn for Jarrett Jack

If the Indiana Pacers make a trade before the deadline, it will probably look something like this. It will be a deal that flies under the radar and doesn’t substantially alter the makeup of the roster or the salary cap. Larry Bird recently stated that he still wants this team to make the playoffs, and while the Pacers face an uphill battle to do so, getting to the postseason will remain the franchise’s goal until it become unfeasible.

This move would help.

With the starters now healthy for the first time all season, Bird will want to add something to the bench. Jarrett Jack may not be a marquee addition, but at this point he would likely be an upgrade over C.J. Watson, who shot just 38.6% in January and has been hobbled with foot injuries that are expected to linger until the offseason. As for Chris Copeland, he has seemingly fallen out of the rotation anyway.

Jack may not be a world beater, but he is an experienced professional who can shoot, play steady point guard for a reserve unit, defend his position, and put up a nice scoring game once in awhile.

For the Brooklyn Nets, the motivation is simple: Watson and Copeland are both on expiring contracts while Jack has one year left for $6 million. They are in cost-cutting mode now, so getting out from under any future salary should entice them to make the move.

While that extra guaranteed year, in theory, might be prohibitive to the Pacers as well, they may also see it as a positive. Presuming David West and Roy Hibbert both pick up their player options this summer (a likely outcome), Bird will want to have a final year of his Paul George/Hibbert/West/George Hill nucleus to make a run at the NBA Finals.

If Jack can fit in right away, he can help this year and become the bench-unit leader Indiana wants next season. Yes, the $6 million isn’t ideal, but the team won’t be much of a player in the free-agent market anyway. And the front office knows Jack — he played one season in Indiana in 2008-09 — so the team would know what it is getting and be confident that the 31-year-old will fit with the team’s goals over the next year and a half.

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Golden State sends David Lee to Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Garnett

The NBA trade deadline is no stranger to teams panicking and making last minute trade decisions that may have bigger repercussions down the track. Fortunately for the Golden State Warriors, they need not panic. The Warriors are in a great position – first in the league with their full roster contributing.

It is because of that that we at Blue Man Hoop find it hard to find a trade that works for the Warriors. Toss in the fact that every player on the roster has a role to play, and that the Warriors are hard-capped (after signing Shaun Livingston to the mid-level exception), finding a likely trade is near impossible.

The Warriors might try to find some salary cap relief, as they already have $78 million in guaranteed salaries for next season – and that’s without Draymond Green’s inevitable pay rise.

However, if pressed to make a trade, we would have the Warriors acquire Kevin Garnett from the Brooklyn Nets for David Lee in a straight-up deal. Garnett has an expiring contract worth $12 million and Lee is signed through next season for $15 million per year, a trade that would work salary cap-wise.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe reported that Garnett would appeal to a team like the Warriors looking for “a boost off the bench and/or some long-term salary relief.”

Neither of them are having great seasons – Lee has been relegated to the bench after recovering from offseason surgery while Garnett is aging and averaging a career low in minutes. But what Garnett possesses that Lee does not is his championship experience and proven leadership. For a fairly young team in the Warriors who are not accustomed to success, Garnett can help guide them almost like a player-coach and add that championship mentality.

Like Lee, Garnett can knock down the mid-range jump shot, but he also brings physicality and presence on defense that Lee cannot provide. The only downfall for the Warriors is Garnett’s age (38 years), but to be frank, Lee has not been a major contributor this season and they would likely not miss a beat without him.

However, we would not blame the Warriors for standing pat at the deadline – why tinker with a team that is off to a 40-9 start?

(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

That's the beauty of the NBA trade deadline -- EVERY team is active, because there's always a way to improve. We might not see superstars move, but we might -- remember the 2008 deal that saw Pau Gasol go to the Los Angeles Lakers?

How about the 2011 deal that sent Baron Davis and a first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers? That first-round pick turned into Kyrie Irving.

We've tapped into our network of team sites here on FanSided to get one trade from each team.

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