This season the NBA has seen a few surprising standouts such as the Miami Heat with their hot blooded young talent making a run for the top of the Eastern Conference and the Dallas Mavericks with European talent leading the way to a dominant run.
However, headlines in the NBA have been sub-par, considering seasons of recent past. James Harden had a two-month streak without scoring less than 30 points, Anthony Davis broke the trade market and Lebron James missed the playoffs. This was in 2019. Now as we enter 2020, a few teams will look to make the front page with a season-altering trade.
First, the Atlanta Hawks will look to trade for Andre Drummond. The star center in Detroit has been seeing his name through media channels asking for his talents to move on from the motor city into a more win-ready team looking to build a future. Surprisingly, the Atlanta Hawks have been the main team in conversations with the Pistons looking to include a package while maintaining their core of young talent with Trae Young, John Collins, Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter.
The problem with this trade is the question of why. The Hawks hold the worst record in the NBA and are attempting to gain a center who has never been the “X factor.” He just got benched in overtime and watched his team lose from the pine. His coach wanted someone who plays hard and can finish the game and chose to leave the all-star watching from the sidelines with the game on the line. I expect Drummond to move on from Detroit, and if the Hawks put the best option forward, the job will be complete, but look for a surprising return when the deal is made.
Second, the Los Angeles Lakers will make another market-altering trade. Actually, it might be a signing too. With Daren Collinson re-entering the NBA, the Lakers will do almost anything to sign him, which would leave literally everyone except Davis on the table. What this trade will materialize into is still a complete mystery. More depth is expected, and don’t forget that Demarcus Cousins could make his season debut in the upcoming months. With the team in first place, trading Lebron James would be a stupid idea, but don’t put anything out of the world of possibility with the Lakers.
Third, the Denver Nuggets. Currently sitting second in the Western Conference, the Nuggets are a real threat in the West, sitting quietly amongst big markets and big names that typically dominate. They have an extraordinary amount of depth and need to clear bench space for bigger contributors. Enter the rise of Michael Porter Jr. He could be the fourth best player on the team, so he needs to learn and experience starting lineups more. Clearing the bench for more minutes off the bench for Porter makes sense for Denver and they could grab some future incentives from a team willing to depart or take on extra salary.
The number of teams interested in the depth that the Nuggets offer is not limited. Already mentioning the Lakers, but the Nuggets seem most likely not willing to partner with the best team in the West. Teams like Phoenix, Dallas, Boston and more could offer a number of pieces and draft picks that would influence a deal. Denver remained quiet in a busy offseason, so they might decide to rattle the cage as the market shifts to a more friendly environment.
Finally, the Oklahoma City Thunder. After trading Russel Westbrook, they hit the reset button and might make the playoffs. While that was not the intent of the trade, it makes the players even more trade worthy. Why not deal Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, Chris Paul and anyone not necessary in the rebuild? Expect even more trade picks in return or possibly expiring contracts so they can compete in free agency. I know any competing team looking for just one last piece would make a call. The Thunder are not done booming in the trade market yet.
Hopefully, the NBA will have a stellar second half and create drama, hype and fun that everyone loves. The team that makes a deal will have a fun time and everyone will be watching. Until then, enjoy Zion Williamson’s return to the NBA.