By Logan Gooley ‘24
This article was written prior to the deadline.
As we rapidly approach the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline and the playoff picture has started to become more clear, it becomes more obvious which teams are looking to sell and which teams are looking to buy. Here are three trades that I think could take teams from pretenders to contenders.
Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Dennis Schröder
Boston Celtics receive: Rajon Rondo, 2023 Second Round Pick, 2025 Second Round Pick
First and foremost, the Boston Celtics must trade Dennis Schröder. Schröder always has and always will be an isolation guard. Despite some impressive performances during Tatum and Brown’s absences, another ball-dominant player is ruining the Celtics. The issue since the Isiah Thomas trade for the C’s has been having too many players playing hero basketball. For the Cavaliers, on the other hand, this trade makes perfect sense. Schröder can return to his sixth man role, where he will be able to play his isolation game more effectively. If the Cavs want to contend, they need a strong bench, and Schröder provides that.
Memphis Grizzlies receive: Kenrich Williams
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Los Angeles Lakers First Round Pick
Ja Morant has been playing at an MVP level and has transformed the Grizzlies from a play-in tournament team to a legit title contender. However, Ja can not take this team from a title contender to a title favorite by himself. What the Grizzlies need is defense. The Grizzlies have great perimeter defense, averaging over 10 steals per game, yet they allow the most points per game of any non-play-in playoff team in the West. Williams brings a great two-way game, and if he can develop his three-pointer, he could be an X-factor for the Grizzlies come playoff time. For the Thunder, on the other hand, this is the exact value they were looking for in dealing Williams. They add to their myriad of first-round picks and open up a roster to taking on a salary dump from another team for more draft capital. Long live the rebuild.
Atlanta Hawks receive: Jeremi Grant, 2025 First Round Pick, 2023 and 2024 Second Round Picks
Detroit Pistons receive: John Collins
This trade is by far the most unlikely, but to me, it works for both teams. For the Hawks, the trade looks questionable but is necessary. After being two games away from making it to the Finals last year, the Hawks are sitting at the ten seed, fearing missing the playoffs. However, if Grant can provide the spark the Hawks need to get the team rolling, they could go on another run and win the up-for-grabs East. For the Pistons, they have to move on from Grant. He’s an incredible player, but there’s no telling how long this rebuild will last and if Grant will still be playing at a high level come time. Collins on the other hand is 24 and still developing. This deal also sheds $3 million for the Pistons, who could look to take on a salary from a contender for draft capital.