We’re almost a quarter of the way through this NBA season now and it’s been full of surprises. With the current landscape of the league and recent reports about possible moves let’s dive into 3 players that could be moved, and where they could be moved to.
It’s no secret that the Washington Wizards are currently imploding from the inside. Recent reports have stated that GM Ernie Grunfeld has labeled nobody off limits and that includes the star SG, Bradley Beal. With his numbers down across the board, this season and a manageable long-term deal, Bradley Beal is more than likely the Wizards most tradeable asset.
Ideal Landing Spot: Los Angeles Clippers
One rumored landing spot for Beal has been the Lakers, but what about that other LA team? The Clippers currently sit with the best record in the Western Conference at 13-6, good for 3rd in the league as well. However, if this team starts to lose some games targeting Beal wouldn’t be a bad move. Even with his numbers down this season, Beal is still putting up 21.5 PPG on 52.3 eFG% to go along with 4.6 RPG and 4.1 APG. The Clippers currently rank 6th in DEFRTG and just out the top 10 in OFFRTG. They’ve been leading the in FTA and FTM (free throws attempted and made) as well as ranking in the top 5 in 3P%. Beal being a sharpshooter would fit right in with their scheme while also giving them another perimeter scorer and defender who can help close out games. Beal isn’t a superstar but having him, Lou, Tobias, and Gallinari together gives them 4 potential 20+ PPG guys, and the way Montrezl Harrell has been playing this would be a very dangerous closing lineup Doc Rivers could deploy.
Wizards Receive: Avery Bradley, Patrick Beverly, Jerome Robinson, 2019 2nd RD Pick (Portland, Orlando, Cleveland, or Houston depending on pick swaps)
Clippers Receive: Bradley Beal
Both teams would benefit from this trade. Obviously, the Clippers get a potential All-Star in the backcourt with Beal, while Washington gets a head start on a rebuild. Bradley could benefit from a change of scenery and Beverly can help them defensively, an area they’ve struggled in this season. Along with that, Jerome Robinson was a lottery pick just this past year so having him and a 2nd round pick (or even 2) could definitely help Washington get a head start on their future while still getting playable pieces for the season.
Other Possible Destinations: Lakers, Magic, Hornets
2. Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker has been playing out of his mind and the Hornets don’t even have an above .500 record to show for it. Charlotte has had years to find the right pieces to surround him with and has failed. Although Michael Jordan has stated he’d like to extend Kemba this season both parties would benefit from moving on.
Ideal Landing Spot: Orlando Magic
Orlando has arguably played better than expected this season and it’s primarily due to their frontcourt, especially Nikola Vucevic. Nikola is currently averaging 20.4 PPG and 8.6 RPG while shooting 40% from behind the arc and bringing in 1.1 steals and blocks each per game. All career numbers for the 7 year Center. Kemba, on the other hand, is also having an insane season currently ranking 3rd in PPG at 28.1 (tied with Durant) to go along with 6.6 APG in 35 MPG. Kemba this season is making a case for not only being a top 5 point guard in the league but also a top 10-12 player as well. Orlando currently ranks 26th in OFFRTG and part of that is that besides Aaron Gordon they struggle to create opportunities, an area Walker would greatly help them in.
Hornets Receive: Nikola Vucevic, 2019 2nd round pick (Brooklyn), and 2020 1st round pick (Oklahoma)
Magic Receive: Kemba Walker
While this trade isn’t perfect, both teams get relatively equal assets especially if a player or two were to be added and negotiated about. The gist of the trade makes sense for both sides though. Charlotte gets a chance to finally have a solid big man while also potentially being able to move their bad contracts using draft picks, or they could just decide to let Nikola walk for salary purposes. Orlando, on the other hand, gets to open up space in their frontcourt while finally acquiring a star on the perimeter and another shot creator. Vucevic and Kemba came into the league the same season and both are in contract years. Kemba however, will most likely attract more suitors and therefore get paid more. Unless Charlotte can unload Nicolas Batum and his $24m per year salary paying Kemba near max money seems like a waste and would really just be asking for more of the same. This trade would give them an underrated big man along more draft picks they could use to trade away unwanted salaries or draft young talent.
Other potential destinations: Lakers, Sixers, Suns
3. Markelle Fultz
One of the strangest stories in recent basketball memory has been the disappearance, or whatever you choose to call it, of Markelle Fultz’s jump shot. Recent reports have stated that Philadelphia no longer is including Fultz in their long-term plans as well as Markelle wanting to be moved. Both sides seem to agree that it’s time to move on.
Ideal Landing Spot: Phoenix Suns
One trade destination that could benefit both sides is the Phoenix Suns. While Markelle has been having trouble shooting his slashing has also taken a hit due to a lack of spacing on the Sixers roster. Philly currently averages just 11.1 made threes per game at a 34.9% clip, both numbers they’d like to improve. Markelle playing off the ball simply hasn’t worked and he’s best used as a slashing playmaker at this point, which is exactly what Phoenix needs. Devin Booker has played a lot more point guard this season and his assists have shot up from 4.7 last season to 7.1 so far this year. He’s been a great ball handler for them however when he’s out or defenses really focus in on him Phoenix struggles to have anyone really create for them. Fultz would give them a playmaker along with a young asset that could still potentially pan out with the right guidance. In return, Phoenix could offer shooters like TJ Warren or Trevor Ariza to help the Sixers with their lack of spacing on the perimeter.
Sixers Receive: TJ Warren
Suns Receive: Markelle Fultz, Zhaire Smith, 2019 2nd round pick (Sacramento)
This move clearly reflects a win now mentality from Philadelphia by giving up 2 young players with potential and a draft pick. The Sixers trading for Butler earlier this season shows their ready to win in the next few years so sacrificing the future seems like the only way to get better in the present. As for Phoenix they clearly aren’t where they want to be and though Warren is a solid player with a relatively fair contract if Fultz, Smith, or their future draft pick were to pan out this would be a great trade for them in hindsight. Clearly, this trade is contingent on what the Suns think about Fultz but if they do believe that he can become a potential All-Star or even a high-end starter in this league and that Smith can be a valuable rotational piece then they should pull the trigger. Phoenix has been bad for a long time and at this point, they’ve got to go for some upside, which is exactly what this move would give them.
Other Destinations: Cavaliers, Hawks