- Celtics move PF Jared Sullinger and SF Evan Turner to:
- Phoenix for SF Markieff Morris
- Portland for PF Noah Vonleh and a first round protected top 3 draft pick
- Philadelphia for SF Robert Covington and first round protected lottery draft pick/ future second rounder
The Celtics will benefit from the movement of Evan Turner and Sullinger immensely heading into the 2015-’16 season. Evan Turner offers leadership and handling abilities along with the confidence to make shots in big games. And Sullinger has apparently spent his summer slimming down his physique for a quicker more agile 2016 Jared. Unfortunately for the two of them the current Celtic roster is cloudy and crowded. One roster slot too crowded to be exact. They need to cut a player regardless, and getting strong return value for the necessary loss of a player is the smartest move.
Turner requires the ball in his hands to contribute to the team, which was permitted and successful in last year’s endeavors, but young buck Marcus Smart has really established himself as the PG of Celtic future. The C’s still have Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, and new recruits Terry Rozier, and RJ Hunter as well. All of these guards take playing time away from Turner, who won’t perform well with such a diminished role.
Although sparks are flickering at a potential newer, leaner, and encouraged Sullinger, he sits in a cloudy position. Sullinger has had issues with his motivation and drive to grow as a player, and coming into a contract year with the TV money to influence his desire for a higher offer, Ainge and the Celtics might want to get value out of him while they can. Veteran bigs David Lee and Amir Johnson arrived on the scene in the offseason, and you have to imagine they will be logging a bulk of minutes as a duo. Off the bench the C’s still have Zags star Olynyk, newly acquired Perry Jones, and signed rookie defender Jordan Mickey. If coach Brad Stevens hopes to bring a beast out of his youth like Mickey, Rozier, and Hunter, he needs to show confidence in their ability to perform well by rewarding them with playing time.
Bringing in a troubled Morris from the Suns could be a prototypical fit as a replacement. Yes, the C’s just resigned Jae Crowder to a lucrative deal, but the SF slot is relatively open other than handing out potential minutes to gunslinger James Young for developmental purposes. Markieff Morris has recently requested the immediate trading of himself after the Suns shipped his twin brother Marcus to the Pistons. With this boneheaded move, teams will be deterred from taking him under their roofs. Obviously Markieff would prefer to go join his brother in Detroit, but he will come to terms with the reality that this isn’t a perfect world where you can always play on the same team as your twin bro. Trader Danny is itching to make moves on players like Morris because he knows how desperate their teams’ are as the season draws closer and closer. Morris would add depth off the bench and potentially start several games during times of heavy injury and lineup experiments. He has defensive wherewithal and under Brad’s direction will give energy on both ends of the floor.
The move to trade Turner and Sullinger to Portland would draw interest from Danny Ainge more because of the picks at Portland’s disposal rather than the acquisition of a player like Vonleh. Although Vonleh is a young and budding athlete with gargantuan hands, he’s an unfinished product. Of course with the right progress Vonleh could transform into a successful rotation starter on an NBA roster. The reason the draft pick is so appealing is because of the potential it carries with it. Danny could easily wiggle away a first round pick with a weak protection. The Blazers have been a consistent playoff team these last years, but with the removal of superstar big LaMarcus Aldridge and several other crucial pieces (Batum, Matthews) the Blazers could drop exponentially. Rip City is likely to finish outside of the playoffs, and could fall low on the standings list with the competition in the west. Regardless if they gain a pick that results in the #14 or the #4 selection, it is another asset that Ainge and the Celtics front office can add to their collection.
The trade to Philly makes sense for similar reasons. One because the 76ers still have zero ball handlers and efficient play makers so Turner will fill part of their many empty voids. Two, because Sullinger will provide off the bench relief for young stars Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor so that they can avoid injury and over exhaustion. The 76ers are too bad to give away a pick without a strong clause, but maybe the Celtics could tear away a second rounder along with a top 10 protected. Third, bang a rang Robert Covington came out of his shell on occasion last season as a knockdown shooter, which is something that the Celtics remain in desperate need of.
- Timberwolves shift C Nikola Pekovic to the Pistons for SG Kentavius Caldwell-Pope
This is just a logical move for both teams. Ideally, the Twolves should move Rubio as well, but his injury uncertainty and his laissez-faire defense don’t make him an ideal trade candidate. Pekovic is a hard nosed work horse who formally fit well in Minnesota’s scheme, but as the Twolves develop into one of the most promising young teams in the league his belonging to the team seems less and less certain. Gordui Dieng is arising as a strong defensive center with the capability to grow on the offensive end. Kevin Garnett maintains his role as the team leader and motivator with his new (and most likely final) contract. Garnett also poses as the perfect tutor to mentor number one overall pick Karl Anthony Towns into a future champion in the league. The busy frontcourt paired with Pekovic’s injury history confirms his remaining time on the wolves is finite.
Detroit, who recently lost big man Greg Monroe this offseason to the Bucks have a void at big man to support Andre Drummond. They are likely to start flex four Ersan Ilyasova besides Drummond in the frontcourt, which will create the right spacing to allow Drummond’s continued development. Unfortunately their options at back up center and power forward are extremely bleak. Aron Baynes and Joel Anthony are some low caliber NBA players, and teams will drool against the Pistons when Drummond isn’t in the game. Pekovic will give them the added depth they need as well as a defensive presence to match Drummond. The movement of Caldwell-Pope is a necessary evil for the Pistons. He showed signs of becoming the player they had envisioned when they drafted him, but he doesn’t fit into an offense with both Brandon Jennings and Reggie Jackson who just restructured into an $80 Million deal with the team. Caldwell-Pope has talent and playmaking ability as a shot creator, but is inconsistent and big headed. Moving him out allows the Pistons to shift Jennings into a 2 guard alongside Jackson, and allow for more looks and minutes to toss promising rookie Stanley Johnson. In Minnesota KCP will add needed shooting ability to a roster that outside of Kevin Martin and potentially Wiggins has next to no shooting ability. He won’t start, but he will get heavy minutes especially with the likelihood of a Rubio injury.
- Nets trade SG veteran Joe Johnson to the Suns, Suns trade G Eric Bledsoe to the Knicks, Knicks trade two future draft picks and rookie PG Jerian Grant to the Nets.
This three-team deal is a move for the future for all squads involved. Joe Johnsons large contract and inability to bring the Nets to the next level has placed him as subject in numerous trade talks in the recent months. The Nets also need to come to terms with how bad they are, and start thinking on building for a future. Brook Lopez’ skill set isn’t one that depends on youth but rather health, and keeping him happy, paid, and playing will do him well until his team is ready to make a push for a meaningful performance. By ridding their team of a large contract and absorbing draft selections with a raw rookie they give themselves wiggle room and the capability to make an array of moves and develop quicker and more efficiently.
Phoenix has been trying to ship the apparently displeased Eric Bledsoe all summer. A draft day deal was almost laid in stone, but the Knicks reneged at the last second as they refused to pass on the potential that came with No. 4 pick Kristaps Porzingis. This trade is more likely to occur deeper in the season near to the trade deadline, as Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough and Knicks’ Phil Jackson will likely want to feel out their current situations before realizing a move such as this is needed. For the Suns, they bring back former Phoenix shooter Joe Johnson, who has family and friends in the area. Johnson isn’t the ball handler that Bledsoe is, putting more weight on to Brandon Knight’s shoulders. Fortunately for the Suns this is good weight, and having a more pure 2 guard that can stretch to the 3 alongside Knight will allow the PG to develop in an attempt to live up to his new $70 Million contract.
The Knicks get the best of both worlds by bringing in the desired Bledsoe and keeping prospect Porzingis. Bledsoe brings in a desperately needed ball handler and another playmaker to pair with Melo. With a healthy Melo and Bledsoe, the Knicks could make a playoff push in a weaker Eastern conference, making up for the loss of traded draft picks. Bledsoe’s IQ and athleticism make him a strong guard to help in the growth of rookie Porzingis as well.
- The Jazz trade PF/C Derrick Favors to Indiana for G Rodney Stuckey and a future first round draft pick
Favors has been rumor of trade talk for over a year now, just nothing ever comes into fruition. The Jazz were in hot pursuit of bringing in Paul Millsap during free agency, but the inability to attract proper suitors for Favors prevented the signing from a final seal. With the young Frenchman Rudy Gobert flashing his defensive repertoire in the end of 2015, hopes are high for his continued progression. In a clearly growing team situation, it helps to have assets and veteran guard play. Favors is an essentially polished product, and moving him to a team attempting to compete immediately will allow rookie Trey Lyles to slide into a starting role where he can learns the ins and outs of maturing in the NBA. The acquisition of a draft pick will most likely be flipped with a starter for a better pick in the future or for a more proven player in the league already. The only player on the Jazz roster to seem to have a clear permanent spot is forward Gordon Hayward, so improving PG Trey Burke, scorer Alec Burks, and all others could be moved at any time. Bringing in a more consistent contributor to their offense with veteran Stuckey will push the young guard on the roster to improve and will improve the overall morale of the squad.
Although Indiana has claimed to target playing the “small ball” scheme in 2015-’16 by placing recovered superstar Paul George at the 4 slot rather than his usual home at the 2 or 3, it is good for a roster to have a dependable traditional lineup at their disposal. When playing George at the 4 doesn’t work (and it wont), moving him back to the SF slot will open up a perfect role for a frontcourt tandem of newly acquired Jordan Hill and Derrick Favors to flourish. With complimentary playing styles in rebounding, energy, and shooting ability, the bigs will struggle not to get along with a shoot happy offense that features George Hill, Monta Ellis, and PG13. Myles Turner is one of the more raw rookie projects, and establishing a role as a sixth man will bode him well in the long run, where he could easily overtake Hill for a starting position.
- The Bulls move PG Derrick Rose (I know) to Philly, the 76ers trade C Joel Embiid to the Heat, and the Heat send PG Mario Chalmers and protected first rounder to the Bulls
This may not seem like it makes sense, but it does trust me. It depends on one pretty large conditional and that is that Derrick Rose gets hurt again. I’m not suggesting another knee buckle; it could be just a rolled ankle. The point is another injury shows how dismal Derrick Rose’s future outlook is. With this diminished value paired with the void between him and the new face-of-franchise Jimmy Butler (signed $90 Million extension in offseason), it makes sense for the Bulls to move him before it is too late. Right now he still has value, and if they predict he won’t be healthy for a playoff push, it will be smart to move him ASAP rocky. Now what team can take a cap hit and wait for an injury prone player to heal one more time and contribute veteran experience when healthy? Enter Philadelphia.
With the needed cap room and desire for a real point guard Philly poses as the perfect spot. It will be hard to get third party interest in a trade where they aren’t the squad getting Derrick Rose; so moving the also injured potential asset of Joel Embiid to the Heat makes sense. Embiid will enter and end his second year in the league playing zero games. Although it may seem a risk to trade a potential future star, the 76ers have two young promising studs in Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Even if they keep Embiid he won’t have a strong enough role when he becomes healthy to develop anyway. The 76ers will speed up their long term development, and the growth of their big men will draw more public attraction. Instead of being 4 years away from a playoff berth, they are looking at an immediate invitation to the postseason party. All they need is that one veteran to keep the young talent in line with a winning mentality.
The Heat have a strong playoff team established already and make out best in this deal. With Dragic consuming the starting role, and young back up guard options such as Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson, to fulfill minutes while Goran rests, losing Chalmers isn’t a large hit. He does pose as a good defender off the bench, and could help in a playoff series. But he has never gotten to that next level. When Embiid returned from injury, he would have to compete with Hassan Whiteside for playing time. Despite Whiteside’s surprisingly leap into the limelight, he has had half of one productive season in his career. If Embiid is as good as they say, he will give Whiteside a strong bout for a starting spot. Playing each center a 50-50 split in games could be a good look for the Heat, as it would avoid re-injury. Mario Chalmers would likely start coming off the bench to Bull veteran Kirk Hinrich. Chalmers is aggressive and likes being a leader, and although there is no place for his leadership on the Bulls, this drive could push him to self-improvement so that he could reclaim a starting position. Put on a back burner on the Heat under Dragic made sense because of Dragic’s ability, but playing behind Hinrich could trigger something inside Mario. With a more laid-back locker room environment Jimmy Butler could develop into a superstar with nothing holding him back.