Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk is not happy with his team’s 17-22 record just about halfway through the season. Especially since the team expected a big year coming off a surprise conference finals run during last season’s playoffs.
With the trade deadline a month away (Feb. 10), Schlenk hinted that a major move could be coming.
“Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to bring everyone back. We have two chances to make a move, the draft and trade deadline.”
Some intense comments made by GM, Travis Shlenk this morning…
“Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to bring everyone back”
“We have 2 chances to make a move, the draft and trade deadline”
Is this foreshadowing a block buster move before the deadline? You be the judge pic.twitter.com/B2UaYXODiP
— 🏀Hawks Fan TV (@HawksFanTV) January 4, 2022
The Hawks are committed long term to Trae Young and John Collins. They have a stockpile of wing talent in Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish. Danilo Gallinari and Clint Capela have one year remaining on their deals after this season, and Lou Williams is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
The Hawks have the contracts and young talent to shake up the roster around Young and Collins.
That got us thinking. Here are three trades we think could help NBA title contenders.
Jaylen Brown to the Memphis Grizzlies
Two teams headed in opposite directions this season. The Grizzlies are the hottest team in the league and winners of nine straight games. At 28-14 they are currently the No. 4 seed in the West, only a game behind the Utah Jazz.
The Boston Celtics are 19-21 and barely hanging on to the last play-in spot. A team with Jayson Tatum and Brown should be better than this. Maybe former front office executive Danny Ainge, now with Utah, and former head coach Brad Stevens — now in the front office — knew things were going to be bad this season.
Despite the Celtics saying they have no desire to split up Tatum and Brown, it may be best. The team needs a point guard and if they are going to build the offense around Tatum, surrounding him with shooting, playmaking and defense is the way to go.
Brown to Memphis for Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks and De’Anthony Melton works. The Grizzlies have three first round picks as well, one of which could be added to the deal.
Bane is 23 and has another year left on his rookie deal. Brooks has a year left on a cheap extension, and Melton at 23 has two years and $16 million left on his deal. All players the Celtics could keep and extend, or move for other players.
James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons
It is highly unlikely this trade happens for all the obvious reasons, but let’s go with it anyway.
The 76ers are at an impasse with Simmons. Daryl Morey will only trade him for a superstar. We know how much Morey covets his former Rockets MVP. He tried to trade Simmons for him last year.
The Nets, according to head coach Steve Nash, want to lean into this defensive identity. Simmons immediately upgrades this team defensively. Kevin Durant would no longer have the burden of guarding the opposing team’s best wing.
Harden and Simmons are the principals involved, with the Nets also acquiring Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle. If Morey really wants Harden, what else is he willing to give up?
A Joel Embiid-Harden offensive attack is a nightmare for opposing defenses, flanked by Seth Curry and Danny Green’s shooting.
Durant on the floor with Simmons, Thybulle, Maxey and Kyrie Irving for road games is a pretty stout defense that would thrive in transition.
Again, an intra-division trade is highly unlikely, but this would be fun.
Myles Turner to the Golden State Warriors
The Indiana Pacers are in full rebuild mode, and Turner, Domantas Sabonis, and Caris LeVert are all available.
The Warriors are the best team in the league, according to adjusted net rating, and are tied for the best record. The return of Klay Thompson has it looking like 2015 all over again.
But the Warriors are older, and there is a team in Phoenix that is right there with them for Western Conference favorites. In a potential playoff matchup, the Warriors are weak at center. When they go small, that lineup plays most centers off the floor. But not the Suns’ Deandre Ayton.
In a potential playoff matchup he will punish the Warriors, grabbing rebounds and dominating on the interior. Defensively, if he gets switched onto Stephen Curry it’s not the decided advantage for the two-time MVP as it would be against all other centers.
Myles Turner helps here. He would allow the Warriors to stay big and battle Ayton on the interior. On offense he can space the floor out to the three-point line, allowing the Warriors to run their offense smoothly.
Here’s the challenge. For this trade to work, the Warriors would have to give up 2020 No. 1 pick James Wiseman, the very talented and promising 2021 draft pick Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody.
That’s the future of the Warriors. Team governor Joe Lacob has been adamant about having what it takes to win now and in the future with these young pieces. Maybe he’s right.
But there are no guarantees in sports, and tomorrow isn’t promised. Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green are veterans that can win a title right now. If Turner increases those odds even by 5 percent, that’s worth it, right?
We are a month away from the NBA trade deadline. Hold on, it could get really exciting.
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