Enough games have been played this NBA season to sense where teams stand relative to the rest of the NBA. Some NBA Teams have solidly established themselves as playoff contenders, whereas others have fallen outside of the playoff picture. It is early enough in the NBA season where the right trade could save a season for certain teams, and this eight-part series of trades could turn around each team involved with the right factors.
Orlando Receives: Wesley Matthews, Brandon Knight, Salah Mejri
Dallas Receives: Nikola Vucevic, Alex Len, Alan Williams
Phoenix Receives: Serge Ibaka, Andrew Bogut, Jodie Meeks
This trade balances out all of the imbalance that these teams are currently dealing with. Orlando’s front court log jam is addressed, while the Mavericks and Suns address their back court heavy rosters.
Orlando gives up Vucevic, Ibaka, and Meeks, but they gain two great back court players and a high level back-up center. This trade would be less of an issue for them, but the new starters as a result of this trade at the four and the five Aaron Gordon and Bismack Biyombo are both hgih level defensive NBA players.
Meanwhile, Knight and Matthews have both played excellently in previous seasons, even if they are struggling so far. Knight is only a season and a half removed from averaging 17.8 points, 5.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game on 40.9% from three as the franchise point guard of the Milwaukee Bucks. That same season, Matthews averaged 15.9 points per game on 44.8% shooting and 38.9% from three as the three and D guard for those 50-win Portland teams. Knight and Matthews are still 24 and 30 years old respectively, and they have both played in high level starting positions recently.
Mejri has been highly effective in limited minutes. Since starting his NBA career with Dallas last season, Mejri has had offensive and defensive ratings of 118 and 100. He’s averaged 11.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per 36 minutes on 65.7% shooting.
Dallas gives up Mejri, Matthews, and Bogut, but they get a plethora of young front court depth. Vucevic is a fringe all-star when he’s playing 100%. The previous two seasons, Vucevic averaged 18.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game on 51.7% shooting. Those are high level numbers, and he could be the franchise player for Dallas when Dirk retires if he can play like that on Dallas.
Len’s future is less clear. He’s had an up and down first few seasons with Phoenix, but he’s 7’0″ tall and he’s currently averaging 9.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 23.3 minutes per game. This has been a good season for Len on Phoenix, but his future with them is unclear with the team’s selections of Dragan Bender (4th overall) and Marquese Chriss (8th overall) in the 2016 draft.
Alan Williams is just another player to have in their front court. He’s been very productive in limited minutes as well, as he’s averaged 16.4 points and 18.9 rebounds per 36 minutes, and he’s had offensive and defensive ratings of 111 and 98 in his career.
With the acquisitions of Ibaka and Bogut, Phoenix can address their defensive woes, as they’re just 21st in defense right now. Both of those players are great rim protectors and shot blockers. Ibaka is averaging 13.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game for Orlando. Bogut is averaging 10.1 rebounds and a block in 25.5 minutes per game. Both of those guys were elite front court players for some very good Oklahoma City and Golden State teams. They are both getting up there in age, but are still productive players for their current teams.
Ibaka and Bogut, as well as Tyson Chandler, can anchor the defense, and their limited offensive games won’t be a problem for the Suns team that currently features three players averaging over 17.7 points per game, and is 5th in points per game as a whole. Meeks is a solid player, who, while he hasn’t played consistently in a while, averaged a solid 11.1 points per game just a season and a half ago, and an even better 15.7 the year before that.
Here is what each team is left with:
|Projected Orlando Magic Depth|
|PG||Brandon Knight||Elfrid Payton||D.J. Augustin|
|SG||Wesley Matthews||Mario Hezonja||C.J. Watson|
|SF||Evan Fournier||Damjan Rudez||C.J. Wilcox|
|PF||Aaron Gordon||Jeff Green||Arinze Onaku|
|C||Bismack Biyombo||Salah Mejri||Stephen Zimmerman|
|Projected Dallas Mavericks Depth|
|PG||Deron Williams||J.J Barea||Jonathan Gibson|
|SG||Seth Curry||Devin Harris||Nicolas Brussino|
|SF||Harrison Barnes||Justin Anderson||Dorian Finney-Smith|
|PF||Dirk Nowitzki||Dwight Powell||Alan Williams|
|C||Nikola Vucevic||Alex Len||A.J. Hammons|
|Projected Phoenix Suns Depth|
|PG||Eric Bledsoe||Leandro Barbosa||Tyler Ulis|
|SG||Devin Booker||Jodie Meeks||John Jenkins|
|SF||T.J. Warren||Jared Dudley||Derrick Jones|
|PF||Serge Ibaka||Dragan Bender||P.J. Tucker|
|C||Tyson Chandler||Andrew Bogut||Marquese Chriss|