Big Name Players That Could Or Should Be Traded Before The NBA Trade Deadline

Updated: December 14, 2019
Kevin Love Pic

Gone are the days of the Golden State Warriors tyrannical dynasty and the league has given way to parity. At least that is the sentiment around the association. That feeling breathes life into the chests of many teams who feel…why not us, why not now as the unofficial opening of the trade season hits on December 15. Rumors are starting to swirl and we here at are here to give a primer of the bigger names that either are, or should be discussed.

Kevin Love Pic 2

Kevin Love: 16.4 ppg, 10.8 rebs, 36% from three

With rumors that Coach John Beilein has already “lost” the team a quarter of the way into the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are faced with real decisions about their immediate future. Both the Cavs and Love have come to terms that a parting of the ways would probably make sense for each of their interests.

So great, everyone is an agreement.

The problem is Love was given a Chris Bosh-like thank you for staying contract that still has over $90 million owed over the next three seasons—without a player or team option. That type of guaranteed cash makes it difficult for the Cavs to find a trade partner that can satisfy their needs of picks and/or developmental worthy talent.

Still, Love is a plus rebounder, floor spacer and decent locker room presence that can help a team willing to pay the price. The Blazers, Heat and Celtics all have interest and others are sure to call. Miami looks like they’d have enough spare parts to make a deal but with their blazing start to the season, they aren’t likely to want upset their chemistry.

With the veteran forward keeping a mild-mannered temperament, the Cavs aren’t pressed and won’t need to make a deal they don’t particularly like. This could very easily play out with Love finishing the season in the wine and gold and being moved in the summer.

D’Angelo Russell Pic

D’Angelo Russell: 22.7 ppg, 6.2 ast, 36% from three

The acquisition of Russell was initially met with a mixed bag of emotions from analysts evaluating the Golden State Warriors. Was this desperation—was this shrewd? It turns out that both is the right and acceptable answer.

Viewed as a consolation prize for losing Kevin Durant, Russell’s long-term fit with Golden State was always going to be met with skepticism. Now that the Warriors’ season has officially tanked into the bay, it begs to question if the team should lick their wounds by trading Russell and obtaining assets to stock their depleted roster.

The lefty is just 23-years-old and in the first year of a four-year deal worth $117 million. Over the summer, he was coveted by the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns where his two best friends, Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker, are the men are their respective teams. Phoenix has found success with Ricky Rubio and Booker in their backcourt and are more likely to pursue frontcourt help.

The Wolves, however, are intriguing, especially with Andrew Wiggins looking like he’s been freshly dipped in basketball’s fountain of talent. A trio of Towns, Wiggins and Russell could make a run at a playoff spot in the West. A team like the Orlando Magic could also make a run at D-Lo to sure up their anemic scoring which is 27th in offensive rating and 29th in points per game.

Andre Drummond Pic

Andre Drummond: 17.7 ppg, 16.6 rebs, 1.7 stl  

The Detroit Pistons are going nowhere fast. They are caught in NBA limbo as a team that is somewhat competitive but not bad enough to snag a top pick in the lottery. Moving off Drummond’s expiring deal or trading Griffin could send the team in the downward spiral it needs to start anew.

Drummond is averaging career-highs in points, rebounds (leads the league) and free throw percentage and he’s just 26-years-old. He’s an active defender and does a good job at neutralizing guards on switches simply by using his length.

To date the Hornets are the only team with publicized interest. They would probably prefer to try to lure him to the Queen City in the summer after some of their bad contracts expire to avoid having to include a draft pick in the trade. Still, some two-part combination of Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could match salary for a Drummond trade now but draft pick sweeteners would be needed.

A contending team like the Boston Celtics should be putting their unlimited cell phone minutes to the test by calling the Pistons incessantly in regards to Drummond. However, a trading team has to be relatively sure that he’d re-sign this summer or they risk trading assets for a half-season rental.

Blake Griffin Detroit pic 2

Blake Griffin: 17.5 ppg, 4.8 rebs, 3.4 ast

Griffin’s situation is similar to that of Love’s where the annual price, years remaining and injury risk make most teams balk. Luckily, there are only two years and $75 million left on his deal, with a player option in the final year.  At this stage of his career—and not because of age—it appears clear Griffin can’t be the main piece to a contending team. Rolling the dice on him as number two is risky as well, but paying him over $30 million per year to be a third option seems ludicrous.

Griffin is one of the more ball dominant forwards in the league with a usage rate of 28.4% but that is in large part due to Detroit’s poor roster construction. In another situation, the former dunk contest champion, could see his efficiency rise with less responsibility to be the focal point offensively. A move to Denver, Phoenix, or maybe even in Minnesota would drastically improve his situation. Denver has the pieces that could intrigue the Pistons to pull the trigger and would be the most optimal situation.

Chris Paul Pic 1

Chris Paul: 15.7 ppg, 6.1 ast, 4.3 rebs

Entering the year, it was all but a foregone conclusion that Paul would be traded at some point by the Oklahoma City Thunder—even with the $85 million in guaranteed money that is owed to him. A short list of teams seemed destined to press OKC for Paul after seeing how the season played out including the Heat and Timberwolves. But the season’s results are changing the prospectus for Paul.

Miami lacks a pass-first-minded player on the roster, but the team is eighth in assists per game finding a way to win with multiple playmakers. As of now, it appears the South Beach sun will not be shining on the future hall-of-famer. Minnesota would rather invest in the aforementioned Russell but could circle back to Paul if OKC is willing to take on Jeff Teague and other filler parts.

Chicago, San Antonio and Detroit could potentially make the fit work if they kept their respective core players, but the money and assets don’t align with what OKC should be expecting in return. That leaves Paul in a precarious position running the Thunder as a fringe contender for a playoff spot. OKC has no desire to make the playoffs. The logistics of a Paul trade are difficult to navigate which could lead the team to pivot by trading his veteran running mates, Danilo Gallinari and Steven Adams, who are on more palatable deals.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers

Andre Iguodala

Memphis refuses, for now, to buyout the former Finals MVP and allow him to join a contender. The Grizzlies are essentially trying to double-dip by obtaining another draft pick for Iggy after already acquiring a protected pick from Golden State to take him on this summer—capitalism at its best.

Thankfully Memphis and Iguodala agreed that there was no need for him to report to the team while they seek a trade for his services. So, he gets paid to stay in shape and develop his off the court interests while the team identifies a trade partner. With his reportedly most favorable destinations being one of the two L.A. teams, the Grizzlies have a starting point.

The Lakers have a plethora of guards and wings which slightly negates his need there. The Clippers on the other hand are salivating at the notion of fielding a defensive unit of Patrick Beverly, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Montrezl Harrell and Iggy. It’s unclear how motivated either team is to make a deal and they might try to call the bluff of Memphis with regards to an Iguodala buyout.

One team that would like to get into the Grizzlies’ ear and would be willing to trade something tangible is the Houston Rockets. Minutes would flow a plenty for Iguodala in Houston’s system as a three and d guy who could sit in the corners awaiting passes from James Harden or Russell Westbrook. He made 25-61 corner threes last season good for 41% and the Rockets would encourage him to let it fly even more from deep.

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