THE NBA REGULAR SEASON ROCKETED PAST the one-quarter mark last week. It still seems early, but the standings are already taking shape enough to allow front offices to chart their personnel courses for the remainder of the year. This is a good thing, because we are approaching December 15th, one of the sneaky-important dates on the NBA calendar. Per the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, the 15th is the day when most of the free agents signed over the summer — approximately 40% of the league, as you may recall — become trade-eligible. [A handful of guys don’t become eligible until January 15th, but we’re not here to pore over CBA arcana, so let’s move on.] For all intents and purposes, it is the kickoff of the NBA trade season. In anticipation, today we’ll look at some impact players who could be on the move, and which teams might have interest in swinging a deal. Let’s get started.
THE BIG NAME ALBATROSSES
Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder
Contract: $38.5M (’19-’20), $41.4M (’20’-’21), $44.2M (’21-’22)
Possible Destinations: Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks
Ever since CP3 was banished to OKC in the Russell Westbrook blockbuster, there has been non-stop speculation about his possible re-routing to a team more aligned with his competitive timeline. Thunder GM Sam Presti has instead been content to stand pat and run Paul out there with the currently assembled mediocre roster (10-12 as of this writing; 16th/15th in Offensive/Defensive Rating), perhaps hoping to provide proof of concept for the future Hall of Famer’s continued trade value in spite of his millstone contract.
The good news: Paul is still an excellent player! His assists are at a career-low rate, but he’s averaging 16.0/ 4.1/ 5.8 on healthy 45/37/89 shooting splits in 31 minutes per game. Best of all, he’s played in every game thus far, an encouraging sign for a guy who has missed 69 regular season games over the last three years. [I know. Nice.] His volume isn’t what it once was, and his shot profile has shifted as he’s aged — he hasn’t been a high-end rim attacker in many moons, but that part of his game has almost entirely disappeared over the last two years — but the eye test and the analytics still paint the picture of a very useful two-way player.
The problem is two-fold: at 34 and with almost 38,000 combined minutes on his legs, this is about as useful as he’s likely to be; and holy hell, is that contract a nightmare. Is there any team out there prepared to up its risk profile (as his former GM Daryl Morey likes to say) enough to take on $44.2 million in salary two years from now for a 36-year-old, small point guard, even one as legendary as Paul? The team willing to take out such a mortgage would have to: 1) think it is one move from a title; 2) be willing to pay luxury tax for several years; and 3) have the kind of organizational culture in place to weather Paul’s notoriously demanding personality. Minnesota might have kicked the tires on a Paul-for-Wiggins swap over the summer, but with Wiggins suddenly starting to reward the Wolves for their considerable patience with him, that’s probably a non-starter now. The Bucks would have a tough time cobbling together matching contracts and assets for a trade without adding a bunch of long-term money in which Presti is unlikely to be interested, and Philly’s dilemma is similar.
This leaves Miami, the team many analysts (myself included) pegged as the most logical destination way back in July. The Heat have burst out of the gate to a 17-6 start, perhaps cracking the door open for a win-now move. They have historically been willing to take big risks for big rewards, and the organization’s gritty, hard-charging ethos (as well as the star pairing with Jimmy Butler) seems like a snug fit. Lastly, they have the expiring (or near-expiring) contracts and young assets — especially Justise Winslow, who may prove expendable with Butler in the fold — to structure a deal Presti might find palatable. Is a trade likely? Probably not. Does Miami want to tinker with the chemistry it has unlocked on the current roster? Unclear. But if there is a deal to be swung for the aging legend, Pat Riley sure looks like the guy to consummate it.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Contract: $28.9M (’19-’20), $31.3M (’20-’21), $31.3M (’21-’22), $28.9M (’22-’23)
Possible Destinations: Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat
A similar story to Paul, though finding a trade partner may prove even more challenging. Love is also an over-30, oft-injured star with a bloated contract finding renewed success in a low-pressure environment. His deal is less onerous than that of Paul, especially with the declining salary in the final year. Problem is, there just aren’t a ton of teams looking for a ground-bound big man with a lengthy injury history who can’t credibly man both the 4 and 5 on defense, even one who offers consistent floor spacing like Love. In 2019, it’s tough to find an ecosystem where plugging in the things Love does well — which, don’t get me wrong, are numerous — doesn’t immediately create a new set of fatal roster flaws due to what he lacks.
Despite the increasing likelihood of 2019-20 being a lost season, the best fit remains Portland. They could send either Zach Collins or Anfernee Simons as the principal asset, along with Hassan Whiteside’s expiring contract as salary filler, and then bank on a core four of Lillard, McCollum, Nurkic, and Love being enough to return to contention next season. They’d be paying luxury tax for the rest of eternity, but they already owe Dame $257 million guaranteed at this point, so what’s the difference? [Yes, the ownership situation remains in flux following the death of former owner Paul Allen, so there are some variables at play here, but let’s assume whoever controls the team going forward isn’t some Robert Sarver-level penny-pincher.]
DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs
Contract: $27.7M (’19-’20), $27.7M (’20-’21 — Player Option)
Possible Destinations: Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies
The shine sure has come off DeRozan’s star, and fast. Numbers-wise, he’s essentially the same player he’s been for much of his career: 21.7/ 5.7/ 4.8 on 51/36 (!)/81 shooting. He’s been named to four All-Star teams and two All-NBA teams. If DeRozan came along in an earlier era, we’d probably be talking about him as a potential Hall of Famer. Problem is, the game has changed around him. In the modern NBA, players who can score out of the midrange and the pick-and-roll can be valuable, but if they can’t also space the floor and defend their position, then the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
On/off data and defensive ratings can be squishy, but after a while, it becomes hard to ignore what they’re saying. The Spurs are 9-14 and their defense is horrendous overall (23rd in Defensive Rating, unfathomable for a Popovich team), but DeMar is definitely not helping matters. The team has a -7.4 net rating when he is on the floor, a figure which jumps all the way up to +4.9 when he is on the bench. Sure, roster construction, rotations, matchups, yadda, yadda, yadda. I get it. But it isn’t just this year. DeRozan’s teams are consistently worse with him on the floor than they are with him off of it. He has a negative net on/off rating in every year of his career save one (2011-12 with Toronto), but it is most pronounced this season. No one would ever accuse DeRozan of being an empty stats All-Star because many of his teams have been winners (at least in the regular season), but it increasingly appears most of them were succeeding in spite of him.
All this is to say, there probably aren’t any contending teams who would have much interest in acquiring him, leaving middle- and lower-tier franchises who could use some scoring punch and a flashy name to fill seats. The contract isn’t atrocious, even if one suspects he’ll pick up his player option for next season. He could act as a de facto free agency pickup for a small market team, but without the long-term downside. It’s been reported Orlando has had preliminary discussions with San Antonio about a deal, which makes some sense. Charlotte, Atlanta, or Memphis could similarly look to take the Spurs’ problem off their hands, and perhaps even extract some draft capital in the process. Perhaps San Antonio’s brain trust can hoodwink some unsuspecting front office into giving up an actual asset for the fallen star. If they can, they’ll be falling all over themselves to call that thing in to the league office.
Andre Iguodala, Memphis Grizzlies
Contract: $17.2M (’19-’20)
Possible Destinations, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets
The sharks have been circling Iguodala since the moment he was exiled to Memphis as collateral damage in the Kevin Durant/D’Angelo Russell sign-and-trade. Even at 35, his elite wing defense, savvy playmaking chops, and championship pedigree could provide a boost to any number of contenders. The Lakers are the presumed destination, though without any desirable trade assets to speak of, they are currently little more than spectators in the ongoing game of chicken between Iggy and Memphis over his status with the team. Iguodala has requested a buyout, but the Grizzlies have maintained they are committed to finding a trade partner. [Can’t really blame Memphis. Any asset they get in return is a bonus, and they’re nearly certain to get something for him.]
The other juggernaut in L.A. is also rumored to be a suitor, but it’s fair to question whether sacrificing assets from such a seemingly complete roster is worth the somewhat redundant skill set Iguodala provides. [One could argue it makes sense for them to acquire him simply to keep him away from the Lakers, and it’s not without merit.] A reunion in Denver is also logical, especially after the Lakers spent last Tuesday night repeatedly bullying the Nuggets all over the floor in a 105-96 road win. In reality, any number of contenders could use what Iggy brings to the table. If the Grizz can’t find a suitable deal, then it becomes a question of whether saving a few million bucks in a buyout is worth being the feeder system for the Lakers. Again.
Danilo Gallinari, Oklahoma City Thunder
Contract: $22.6M (’19-’20)
Possible Destinations: Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks
Much like CP3, Gallo is another quality player obtained in a blockbuster trade, and he would likely have more value to someone else than he does in OKC. The main difference is Gallinari’s age, skill set, and expiring contract make him eminently more movable than Paul. His numbers as a Thunder (?) are down a smidge from his career year with the Clippers last season, but he remains a versatile forward who can create offense in a variety of ways. [Feel free to insert the obligatory “when healthy” anywhere you like in the previous sentence.]
Under different circumstances, Portland would be the ideal trade partner, but that ship may have sailed. Almost any of the contenders in the East could put together an appealing package, though Miami might make the most sense if they don’t want to go all-in on Gallo’s more well-compensated teammate. Bam Adebayo has proven to be such an elite defensive big that he could cover for Gallinari’s occasional deficiencies, and the offensive upgrade from those Kelly Olynyk/Meyers Leonard minutes would be massive. Dallas might have a tough time constructing a palatable deal, but The Rooster would immediately become the third-best player on the Mavs, as well as an elite second unit hub when Luka Doncic rests.
The complication for OKC in dealing either Paul or Gallinari is they could conceivably become too flush with future draft picks. There are only fifteen roster spots to go around — seventeen including two-way players, but stay with me — and continually clogging them all up with young bucks (who may or may not contribute anything useful) blocks them from rostering, you know, actual NBA players who can help win games. [Boston nearly butted up against these same diminishing returns over the last few years.]
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers
Contract: $18.5M (’19-’20)
Possible Destinations: Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets
Thompson has cooled off a bit since I included him in the Most Improved Player discussion a couple weeks back, but he is still having a career year and could draw the interest of several contenders. Teams may want to wait and see if Cleveland will buy out the remainder of his contract, but the Cavs would certainly prefer to get some sort of draft compensation if they can. Boston will be in the conversation for every available big man, and Thompson (along with a few other guys we’ll get to shortly) would do the job in shoring up the rotation in the middle and slotting the existing players into proper roles. [I like Daniel Theis, but he’s currently starting and playing about 22 minutes a night, which is a stretch for his skill set.] The Nuggets could use another strong interior player with some mobility to give them a prayer against the overwhelming offenses of the two L.A. squads.
Houston’s defense has come around after some notable early struggles — never forget, they gave up 158 points in regulation to the Wizards — but with Nene injured as per usual and Tyson Chandler aggressively washed, the frontcourt pairing of Clint Capela and P.J. Tucker is in need of reinforcements. Houston is projected to be a luxury tax team, and making a deal work is nearly impossible without including Eric Gordon, who is owed a ton of long-term money Cleveland may be reluctant to add. The Rockets are likely stuck hoping for a buyout because Thompson would be a tremendous get for them.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings
Contract: $8.5M (’19-’20)
Possible Destinations: Virtually anywhere
When the Kings started 0-5, they instantly became one of the most logical trade season “sellers” in the league. With some questionably large contracts already on the books, and eventual massive extensions looming for De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III, no team had more incentive to try to get off veteran money. That enthusiasm has dulled as Sacramento clawed its way back to 9-13, firmly in the race for the final two playoff spots in the West. [That sounds crazy, I know. But it’s true.] Even so, smart GMs around the league should be lighting up Vlade Divac’s phone in an attempt to trick the notoriously baffling Kings’ front office into a regrettable deal.
We’ll get to the glut of big men momentarily, but the primary name teams should be poking around is Bogdanovic. Double Bogey has become a key piece for Sacramento in the absence of Fox, but with the generous extension they (belatedly) gave to Buddy Hield and the aforementioned one for Fox on the horizon, the Serbian sniper may be the financial odd man out in the Kings’ guard rotation. He’ll be a restricted free agent in July, so it would be advantageous for any non-destination franchise to acquire him now and take control of the RFA process, utilizing the trade as a proxy for free agency. Bogdanovic has proven himself worthy of a bigger role and a bigger contract. He’s 27 and in the prime of his career, averaging 18.9 points and 5.8 assists per-36 minutes. He’s not turnover-prone for a guy who has the ball in his hands quite a bit, and he spaces the floor effectively (37.1% from three on seven attempts per game). He’s no one’s idea of a great defender, but any number of teams could still use what he brings as a shooter and second-side playmaker.
The Nuggets have the pieces to make a deal, and reuniting Double Bogey with Serbian national teammate Nikola Jokic is an idea I can one-thousand percent get behind. Among other contenders, he’d fit in seamlessly on the Sixers, Heat, and Mavs as well. But his market should not be limited just to teams making a playoff push. Bogdanovic represents a rare opportunity for even a rebuilding team to add a really good veteran wing in his prime to its collection of assets, and at a reasonable cost. Fox will still be out for a few more weeks (and may need to be reintegrated gradually upon his return), so the Kings could slow-play the market for Double Bogey. [Yes, I know this implies Vlade, Vivek, and Co. have some kind of discernible strategy, an assumption for which we don’t have a ton of evidence.] In any case, it would be extremely surprising to see him remain in Sacramento beyond the trade deadline.
GOOD PLAYERS, BAD FITS
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Contract: $18M (’19-’20), $18M (’20-’21), $18M (’21-’22), $18M (’22-’23)
Possible Destinations: Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, LA Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans
It’s not accurate at all to say the Twin Towers combination of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis in Indiana isn’t working. The two bigs have a net rating of +5.3 points per 100 possessions in 317 minutes of shared court time, and after an 0-3 start, the Pacers have roared back to a 15-8 record even amid a rash of injuries and the continued absence of Victor Oladipo. [They’ve also had by far the league’s easiest schedule to this point, so there’s no guarantee the good times will keep rolling.] But the degree to which it has “worked” is mostly a function of the additional workload Sabonis has taken on and in spite of the decline of Turner. Domas is mostly the same per-minute monster he was last season, but with a full complement of minutes, he’s now in the All-Star conversation. In fairness, Turner missed eight games due to injury, but over the thirteen he has played, his point, rebound, and assist averages are all at their lowest since his rookie year. [Also, Indiana went 6-2 in the games Turner sat, although it wasn’t exactly a murderer’s row of opponents.] He remains an elite rim protector (2.5 blocks per game). On offense, however, he simply doesn’t have the fluidity or skill of Sabonis, and it has rendered him a glorified stretch-4, with 43% of his field goal attempts coming from behind the arc. [To his credit, he is hitting those shots at a 36.7% rate.] Again, it’s all working, but what is the opportunity cost? Is there a better use for that spot next to Sabonis, as well as the $18 million Turner will make this year (and the next three after it)?
Turner is still only 23 years old. He has untapped potential as a unicorn-adjacent big man who can stretch the floor and protect the rim. In the right environment, his contract extension could even turn out to be a bargain. But at some point, Indiana will likely have to choose between Turner and Sabonis, and at least as of this moment, it would be insane not to choose Sabonis. Granted, it isn’t usually a wise move to sell low on a talented player. But of the six teams in the scrum at the top of the East, only the Pacers have the potential trump card of “our best player hasn’t even set foot on the floor for us yet.” The front office may be looking at the core of Oladipo, Sabonis, and Malcolm Brogdon and dreaming about what might be if they can just find a player (or players) who fits better alongside them than does Turner.
Even if Indiana does want to jettison Turner, finding a workable deal could be tricky business. Boston is again the obvious destination. There were rumors before the season of either Turner or Sabonis being swapped for Jaylen Brown to even out both rosters. Brown has played so well, however, the Celtics probably have no interest in moving him, at least not without a metric shit-ton of sweeteners. [Also, the Twitterati would have a field day with the “yeah, because anytime you can re-create the team that stormed to a seventh-place finish at the FIBA World Cup, you have to do it” jokes.] Marcus Smart has an eminently tradeable contract, but he’s worth more to Boston than he is to Indiana. A third team might need to get involved to grease the skids. Also, these Eastern Conference rivals could be reluctant to strengthen each other, but there’s a deal to be made if both front offices are committed to it. If Toronto wants to mess with a good thing, they could look to flip some of their expiring money for a big man who fits better with the competitive timeline of the Siakam/Anunoby/VanVleet core. [A third team would likely be needed to make this happen as well.]
Rebuilding teams could likewise attempt to snag a young asset with extended team control in exchange for a vet who won’t be around the next time they’re in contention anyway. The Pacers will probably maintain the status quo and see what they have once Oladipo returns, but rival GMs should be sniffing around anyway to see if there is a buy-low opportunity here.
D’Angelo Russell, Golden State Warriors
Contract: $27.3M (’19-’20), $28.6M (’20-’21), $30.0M (’21-’22), $31.4M (’22-’23)
Possible Destinations: Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks
The Warriors’ front office has said from Day One that they acquired Russell to play him, not just to collect an asset and lessen the sting of losing Kevin Durant. There’s even a chance they weren’t completely full of shit initially, but with the unfathomably schadenfreude-y manner in which their ’19-’20 season has descended into the seventh circle of hell, it would be shortsighted of them not to look for ways to turn the ill-fitting Russell into long-term assets to bolster the presumably intact core which will return next season. They’ll already have their own lottery pick (which, based on how things are going, is unlikely to end up lower than about sixth), and it would make sense to try to hoard additional first-rounders from lower-tier teams interested in taking on a young All-Star entering his prime.
Speculation has followed both Minnesota and Phoenix, primarily because Russell has gone out of his way to tell the media how he wants to play with besties Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker. Minnesota has the contracts of Jeff Teague ($19M expiring) and Gorgui Dieng (who is still due an unbelievable $17.3M next season) to play with, though of course they would need to throw in sweeteners to make a deal. The Wolves probably don’t want to part with either Jarrett Culver or Josh Okogie, but if the opportunity presented itself to pair Russell with KAT and Andrew Wiggins — finally beginning to live up to his considerable potential — it would behoove them to move Heaven and Earth to make it a reality.
Phoenix also has the contracts, young players, and picks to put together an appealing offer. The only roadblock is the 51 million guaranteed dollars they owe to Ricky Rubio, who despite his limitations, has at long last brought stability to the Suns’ perennially dire point guard situation. Perhaps they could find a third team to absorb Rubio, but that’s a big ask. The Knicks would make some sense, if only there were any reason to to think they have the organizational competence to construct a deal of that magnitude. Miami could offer long-term cap relief and/or Justise Winslow, but not much else.
QUALITY ROLE PLAYERS WHO DESERVE BETTER
J.J. Redick, New Orleans Pelicans
Contract: $13.3M (’19-’20), $13.0M (’20-’21)
Possible Destinations: Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, LA Lakers, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks
Way back in the olden days of July, bringing in Redick and Derrick Favors — also a trade candidate — seemed like savvy moves for “adult in the room” veterans to complement the young core in New Orleans. Unfortunately, neither player has been able to do much to stop the implosion of the Pels’ season, as they currently sit 14th in the West at 6-17. The missing 285-pound freight train in the middle hasn’t helped matters, and the promise of Zion’s eventual return might cause New Orleans to hold onto their cards for a bit longer and see what they have at full strength. However, with no timetable for the ostensible franchise savior’s debut, it might behoove David Griffin to begin thinking about how to acquire assets to pair Zion with additional young stars going forward.
Redick is still a top-tier floor spacer (46.5% from three on 7.2 attempts per game), but he isn’t going to get this roster anywhere, and he isn’t getting any younger. [He’s also never missed the playoffs in his NBA career, a streak which is now in obvious jeopardy.] Even at 35, any number of contenders would be thrilled to have his shooting, and his contract is right in the sweet spot for finding a workable deal. Milwaukee brought in Kyle Korver to fill the same role, but he appears to be on his last legs at 38 years old, and replacing some of Wes Matthews’ minutes would give them even more scoring punch. Dangling either Donte DiVincenzo or little-used D.J. Wilson (along with salary filler) could draw New Orleans’ interest.
Philly is another one of Redick’s former employers who might welcome a reunion, though the logistics of a deal are trickier, assuming they don’t want to ship Josh Richardson out for the player he just replaced. As with a number of other available players, Denver could insert itself into any trade discussions it wants, but they may be content to let the current roster straighten things out. The Lakers have nothing else to give up the Pels would want, though they could offer up Kyle Kuzma and get a third team involved. Utah could finally punt on Dante Exum if Griffin were looking for a buy-low opportunity.
Point is, there are a ton of sensible destinations for Redick, and the longer Zion remains out, the better the chances Griffin decides to pull the trigger on a deal. [Also, I already mentioned Favors, but if New Orleans does decide everything must go, Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, and — gasp — Lonzo Ball could all be on the block as well. I don’t think they’ll pull the ripcord that quickly, but just know it’s on the table.]
Thaddeus Young, Chicago Bulls
Contract: $12.9M (’19-’20), $13.5M (’20-’21), $14.2M (’21-’22 — partially guaranteed for $6M)
Possible Destinations: Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets
Staying with the theme of surprising free agent flops, Young has failed to launch in Chicago. He is playing and scoring the least amount since his rookie year in ’07-’08. Thad has played nearly 1,000 combined games (regular season plus playoffs), so his odometer is getting up there. Even so, at only 31 years old, he shouldn’t be washed (or even rinsed, as the kids say) just yet. He may not be the “adult in the room” the young Bulls needed, but his stout and versatile frontcourt defense could be very valuable to the second-tier contenders of the world in search of a body to throw at the Antetokounmpos and Leonards and LeBrons of the world. Plus, he probably wouldn’t cost a whole lot in terms of assets. He’s a little overpaid at this stage of his career, but with the partial guarantee on the third year, Young’s contract would remain movable next season if need be. Anyone in search of a winning, two-way veteran to be the seventh or eighth man could do a lot worse. [A rival GM might also do well to inquire about fellow free agent signee Tomas Satoransky, though one suspects that would be a tougher sell.]
Richaun Holmes, Dewayne Dedmon, Harry Giles, Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings
- Holmes: $4.8M (’19-’20), $5.0M (’20-’21)
- Dedmon: $13.3M (’19-’20), $13.3M (’20-’21), $13.3M (’21-’22)
- Giles: $2.6M (’19-’20)
- Bjelica: $6.8M (’19-’20), $7.1M (’20-’21 — non-guaranteed)
Possible Destinations: Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers
All the usual suspects needing to bolster their frontcourt depth should be looking to exploit Vlade Divac and the bizarre logjam he has created in Sacramento. The strong play of Holmes (told ya so) has allowed the Kings to weather the absence of Marvin Bagley III, but with the second-year big man set to return to the lineup this week, someone’s minutes are about to get squeezed. Giles is basically out of the rotation as it is, and could be had for a song. His health will always be a concern, but 21-year-old, former no. 1 overall high school prospects usually can’t be nabbed off the scrap heap, so there’s post-hype opportunity. Dedmon figured to be the guy to step into a big-minute role, but his outside shot didn’t travel with him from Atlanta, and Holmes has wrested control of the starting center spot from him by force. Bjelica has been lights-out from deep (42.6% on 4.3 attempts per game) and offers enough of a floor game to fill in the gaps.
And then there’s Holmes. The 26-year-old hustle monster has perhaps played a little too well to be a trade candidate: 12.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 29.0 minutes a game, a league-leading .672 Field Goal Percentage (and .694 True Shooting, also tops in the league), an elite .212 Win Shares per 48 Minutes, and a 136 individual Offensive Rating. As a team, the Kings are 12.5 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor rather than on the bench. As I’ve been telling anyone who will listen, the dude can play. It might be an overpay, but Boston could offer the top-6 protected pick (unprotected in 2021) they still have coming via Memphis, and Sacramento would have no choice but to accept on the spot. Mason Plumlee is one of the league’s best backup centers, and Denver would be banishing him to Siberia by bringing in Holmes, but damn, a Jokic/Holmes double-big look could be fierce. Playing in Houston next to Harden and Westbrook, he’d get more flushes than a toilet at Taco Bell.
And on that note, we’re all done here. Happy trade season, everybody!
Top Photo Credit: The Athletic