NBA Trade Deadline Preview: Central Division

Mike Fanelli | January 30th, 2019

The NBA trade deadline is just around the corner and the rumor machine is on fire. While most teams won’t make a deal, each will consider many options between now and the February 7th deadline. In a six-part series, I will provide one trade each NBA team should consider making between now and the trade deadline. The Central division is up next and here is trade each team should make. Be sure to check out the previous part on the Atlantic division.

Chicago Bulls

Bulls trade Jabari Parker

Knicks trade Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, a future second-round pick

When the Bulls signed Parker in the offseason it came with mixed results. Unfortunately for the Bulls, the move fell flat on its face. The Bulls are in the running for the number one draft pick and are listening to offers for most of their players. Parker has a $20 million dollar team option for next season that will be declined regardless of where he is, come July. However, that kind of contract could be an asset to some teams.

The Knicks are all in on free agency this summer, hoping to add two stars to pair with Kristaps Porzingis (who is a restricted free agent himself). The problem for the Knicks is Lee and Thomas combine for about $13.8 million dollars guaranteed next season. If the Knicks can unload them in exchange for Parker’s team friendly deal, they can have enough cap space to sign two max players before resigning Porzingis using his bird rights this summer.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavaliers trade Rodney Hood

76ers trade Justin Patton, two future second round picks

Post LeBron James has made the Cavaliers one of the worst teams in the league and in the running for the number one draft pick. The Cavaliers already made a trade earlier this season in order to add future draft picks and this trade is very similar. Hood is a free agent this summer and likely won’t resign with the Cavaliers. Swapping him out for another expiring contract and two second-round picks will help jump-start the rebuilding process.

Speaking of the process, the 76ers are in a win now mode. With the trade earlier this season for Jimmy Butler, the 76ers are making a push for the NBA finals. Problem is when they traded away Robert Covington and Dario Saric they lost two of their better three-point shooters. With Butler and Ben Simmons needing floor spacing to create off the dribble, adding Hood, who is shooting 36% from three this season, would give the 76ers a cheap replacement for Covington.

Detroit Pistons

Pistons trade Jon Leuer, Stanley Johnson, Zaza Pachulia, first round pick (top 20 protected)

Grizzlies trade JaMychal Green, Garrett Temple

The Pistons have two very good big men in Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond but they lack an impact reserve. Green would give the Pistons a high energy guy who could play with either Griffin or Drummond as he can space the floor; shooting 39% from three this season. Temple would give the Pistons a defensive minded wing who can handle the ball some and provide veteran leadership in a locker room that needs some.

If the Grizzlies decide now is the time to blow up the team and rebuild, expect them to be active at the trade deadline. However, even if they try to make a playoff push, they should consider moving Green and Temple. Both are free agents after the season and the Grizzlies lack future draft picks thanks to poor trades in the past. With rookie Jaren Jackson having a great rookie season and starting, Green has been sent to the bench; opening up more minutes for the rookie would be a smart move.

Indiana Pacers

Pacers trade Thaddeus Young

Nets trade Jared Dudley, a future second-round pick

Prayers up for Victor Oladipo, but when he suffered that season-ending injury it shifted the focus of the Pacers season dramatically. The Pacers may still make the playoffs but won’t get past the first round. Instead of a first-round exit, the Pacers should tank the rest of the season and give minutes to their young big men, Domantas Sabonis, and T.J. Leaf. Problem is Young is starting and playing about 30 minutes per game despite being less effective than Sabonis. Swapping out Young for an expiring contract and a second round pick is a solid return for a player the Pacers won’t resign this summer.

Surprisingly the Nets are in the mix to make the playoffs for the first time in years. Much like their cross-town rival, the Knicks, the Nets are hopeful to be a player in the free agent class this summer. With that in mind, the Nets are unlikely to make any trade that takes back long term salary. Lucky for them both Dudley and Young are free agents this summer. Dudley is averaging just five points per game in about 22 minutes per game. Young could give the Nets a veteran scorer to pair next to rising center Jarrett Allen as they make a playoff push.

Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks trade Jason Smith, two future second round picks

Grizzlies trade JaMychal Green

One the surprises this season is how well the Bucks are playing. Currently, they have one of the best records in the league and seem determined to make a push for the finals this year. The Bucks are one of the best three-point shooting teams and have more length than any team in the league, so why not add to both? Swapping out the seldom-used Smith (he’s played in six games for the Bucks) for Green (shooting 39% from deep), would give the Bucks a veteran who can shoot, to depend on behind starter Brook Lopez.

Continuing on the theory that the Grizzlies are having a fire sale, Green is the perfect target for about half the league. With Jaren Jackson having a great rookie season, the Grizzlies should give him as many minutes as he can handle. Jackson might be the only player on the roster not available in trade talks. Ideally, the Grizzlies would like to get back a first round pick for Green but two seconds isn’t a fallback option, especially when Smith is a great locker room guy and has an expiring contract.

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