Some have argued that, generally speaking, the off-the-court action leading up to the NBA Trade Deadline is way more interesting than the on-the-court action during the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Okay, it’s possible that I’m the guy who made that argument. But I’m right.
What with the swirling rumors and the needle-moving transactions, the Trade Deadline is perfect as it is. But as iPhone nerds are well aware, sometimes industry smarty-pants feel it’s a fantastic idea to improve perfectly workable, perfectly enjoyable things that don’t really need improvement.
I’m going to be one of those smarty-pants. You’re welcome.
In order to improve what’s already been a fascinating Deadline—we’re looking at you, New York Knicks—here’s a trio of crazy trade suggestions that’ll make the first week of February almost as much fun as Game Seven of the Finals. Almost…
Note: All trades have been approved by ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.
NBA-ALTERING TRADE DEADLINE BLOCKBUSTER #1
ORLANDO MAGIC RECEIVE
- Josh Giddey
- Davis Bertans
- 2024 first round pick (via L.A. Clippers)
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER RECEIVE
- Jalen Suggs
- Markelle Fultz
Giddey might be perceived as the biggest name in this move, but…is he? That gets a solid maybe.
Listen, Josh has fallen off. As compared to his breakout 2022-23 season, the Aussie’s scoring is down 5 points per game, his assists are down over 1 per game, and—aside from a nifty 7.4% improvement at at the charity stripe—his shooting averages have dropped across the board. Yes, Giddey’s playing fewer minutes, but his per-36 numbers have also trended downwards, to the tune of minus-3 points and minus-.5 assists.
Suggs, on the other hand, is beginning to realize the potential that made him the #5 pick in the 2021 draft. Yes, his assists are down from last season, but he’s pouring in almost 3 more points per game, and, most enticingly for the Thunder, his Effective Field Goal Percentage is an impressive 55.3%, putting him ahead of Jaylen Brown, Jalen Brunson, Jason Tatum, Jamal Murray, and several other really good players whose first names begin with “J.”
Plugging Suggs into the starting backcourt next to MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could give OKC enough zhuhz to lock down a top-two or -three spot in the West. And who knows: A change of scenery could help Fultz become the player many thought he could be—the player who was chosen before Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adaebeyo, and Lauri Markkanen in the 2017 Draft.
For Orlando, Giddey could be a neat little reclamation project. Making him the unquestioned backcourt alpha—and bestowing upon Cole Anthony the eternal three-point green light so he can channel his inner Kyle Korver—gives the Magic a powerhouse guard tandem that, considering Giddey is 21 and Anthony is 23, could give the East nightmares for the next half-decade.
Sure, it might set them back a bit this season, but considering their 5-10 January put them out of the playoff discussion—and into the Play-In discussion—it’s a risk worth taking, especially in light of the fact that they’ll have one of OKC’s zillion or so draft picks in their back pocket. As for Bertans, he (and his absurd contract) could be useful as either a buyout candidate, or an expiring they can throw into a deal at the 2025 deadline.
NBA-ALTERING TRADE DEADLINE BLOCKBUSTER #2
CHARLOTTE HORNETS RECEIVE
- Grayson Allen
- 2024 first round pick or 2025 first round pick, depending on multiple conveying scenarios
PHOENIX SUNS RECEIVE
- Miles Bridges
For all of their notable young pieces—e.g., LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, and Brandon Miller—the Hornets, as of this writing, boast a record of 10-35, so it’s distinctly possible that these pieces simply don’t fit.
Thus, one of them might have to go. Thus, peace out Mr. Bridges.
Bridges has All-Star potential, but he’s an off-the-court, oh, let’s go with liability, and is thus a perfect candidate for a handshake, a plane ticket, and a don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out. For their part, the Suns could offer him a handshake, temporary housing, and a don’t-let-Kevin-Durant-push-you-around.
Allen has performed admirably, but the positional overlap with Devin Booker and Bradley Beal has the Suns fighting to stay about the Play-In line. Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, and Bridges would give the Suns one of the scariest scoring quartets in the West, if not the entire league.
As for Charlotte, Allen offers them some much-needed attitude, and the first round pick gives them a chance to land a piece who could successfully complete the puzzle.
NBA-ALTERING TRADE DEADLINE BLOCKBUSTER #3
MIAMI HEAT RECEIVE
- Draymond Green
- Chris Paul
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS RECEIVE
- Tyler Herro
- Duncan Robinson
- 2026 second round pick (via Atlanta)
In January, after a nice 9-4 stretch, the Heat dropped seven in a row for the first time in the Erik Spoelstra era. Today, they’re just one game above .500, tied with the aforementioned struggling Magic, so something’s gotta give. Maybe, just maybe it’s time for an infusion of veteran blood.
Draymond Green has earned multiple rings, and Chris Paul is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Pretty darn good infusion.
A starting lineup of Paul, Green, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Jaime Jaquez or Terry Rozier might not win them the East, but it’ll certainly put them in the mix. And if any team culture could nudge Draymond into a better headspace, It’s Miami’s.
Warrior-wise, this deal catapults them into their next phase, a phase that, much to the chagrin of Dubs fans who’ve enjoyed the hell out of the last decade, had to come eventually.
Coach Steve Kerr loves himself some small ball, so a lineup of Herro, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Jonathan Kuminga would simultaneously land them in the West conversation—it’s not like they’re in a position to win the Conference, so climbing into the covo is a positive step for a sub-.500 team—and prepare them for the future.