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Trade rumors are heating up and there are a slew of big names that could be on the market, along with a handful of teams with high first-round picks who are reportedly willing to explore trading down. A single rumor round-up like Jake Fischer’s at Bleacher Report this morning offers numerous narrative threads that a creative mind could easily wrap together.
Seeing his rumors and analysis of the Hawks, Pacers and Hornets, I was able to pull together this five-team deal (with the Hornets and Trail Blazers) that offers plenty to chew on and (I think) actually pushes each team in a positive new direction.
Here’s what a five-team trade involving Rudy Gobert could look like:
Going out: Clint Capela (UTA), John Collins (UTA), Kevin Huerter (IND)
Coming in: Rudy Gobert, Buddy Hield
This is a big gamble for the Hawks, sending out several players who have been extremely productive on the current iteration of this roster. Collins and Capela have both been very valuable for Trae Young as pick-and-roll partners and Capela’s defense has helped stabilize the team. In addition, they’re losing the secondary shooting and creation Huerter provides. However, Gobert is a transformational defensive player who can give them a radical new identity. The Hawks have enough other good defenders, particularly Onyeka Okongwu and De’Andre Hunter that they don’t have to worry about falling into the same traps as the Utah Jazz. (And Young is a different class of offensive engine than Mitchell). Hield is a nice throw-in, an elite spot-up shooter who can help space the floor around middle pick-and-rolls.
Going out: Rudy Gobert (ATL)
Coming in: Clint Capela, John Collins, No. 36 pick
Like the Hawks, this is a huge identity shift for Utah. The gamble here is that Capela can provide enough as a defensive anchor that the Jazz don’t take too big a step back at that end of the floor, while Collins gives their offense an enormous boost and helps change the vibes. The Jazz would be a fundamentally different team but they’d still have the pieces to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference and lurk somewhere near championship contention.
Going out: P.J. Washington (POR), No. 15 pick (IND)
Coming in: Myles Turner
The Hornets could use the No. 15 pick on an interior defender to build around for the future, someone like Mark Williams or Jalen Duren. But here they get one who is already established and much more of a sure thing, one who can anchor their defense and space the floor around the on-ball antics of Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball. Giving up P.J. Washington is tough but they might not be able to afford his next contract anyway with a Miles Bridges extension looming and Turner’s skill set is much more valuable.
Going out: Myles Turner (CHA), Malcolm Brogdon (POR), Buddy Hield (ATL)
Coming in: Kevin Huerter, No. 7 pick, No. 15 pick
Here the Pacers are leaning all the way into their rebuild, shipping out the last three key veteran contributors in their rotation. In return, they get two more first-round picks and a 23-year-old wing who has already demonstrated the ability to contribute as a shooter and secondary creator. Their now three first-round picks could potentially let them add a rookie class like A.J. Griffin, Dyson Daniels and Jalen Duren, adding two-way talent to build around Huerter, Chris Duarte and Tyrese Haliburton.
Portland Trail Blazers
Going out: No. 7 pick, No. 36 pick
Coming in: Malcolm Brogdon, P.J. Washington
This might not be the Trail Blazers’ first choice for a reload around Damian Lillard, after rumors have highlighted their interest in Jerami Grant and OG Anunoby. But if Brogdon can stay healthy they’ve done a pretty nice job of turning their 2022 picks into win-now players who can help them compete in the Western Conference. Brogdon is an ideal complement for Lillard, someone who can play on- and off-the-ball and even work in three-guard lineups with Anfernee Simons, also offering a big defensive upgrade over CJ McCollum. Washington doesn’t offer much rim protection but he’s a flexible defender, a good floor spacer and excellent in the pick-and-roll. The Blazers would also still have a bit of cap space to flesh out the roster with some additional veterans.
Other NBA stories:
Coby White is reportedly on the trading block. Who are some squads that could use the Chicago Bulls combo guard?
For the first time in his career, Steph Curry played a postseason game without making a 3-pointer. But the Warriors picked up the win and for that, he can thank Andrew Wiggins and company.
Read Howard Beck on how the Warriors are where they expected to be after following a totally unexpected path to get there.