New Year’s Resolutions for NBA’s Western Conference Teams

With the new year in full swing in the NBA, Western Conference teams are jockeying for playoff position. Here’s a quick look at each Western Conference team’s New Year’s Resolution.

Dallas Mavericks – Trade for Jrue Holiday

The Mavericks are ahead of schedule but clearly have something great in MVP candidate Luka Doncic. Despite Doncic’s injury and the team’s recent 5-5 stretch, Dallas should go all-in with this group. Trading for a versatile guard like Jrue Holiday could make the Mavs serious contenders out West.

Denver Nuggets – Trade for Blake Griffin or Kevin Love

The Nuggets are currently the No. 2 seed out West, but they’re only ahead of the No. 6seed by two games. They’re not a true title contender without adding another significant star to help Nikola Jokic. Finding a trade package that can land them stars like Blake Griffin or Kevin Love could do the trick. They’ll want to hang on to Michael Porter, Jr., though.

Golden State Warriors – Prep for the draft

This season is a lost one due to injury, but after so many Finals runs in recent years, the stars were breaking down. Despite being only 5.5 games out of the No. 8 seed, the Warriors shouldn’t rush anyone back or make a win-now move. Play it safe and prep for the lottery.

Houston Rockets – Stop playing down

The Rockets are rounding into form as of late after another slow start to the season. Although they play better without Russell Westbrook, they shouldn’t do anything rash, such as trading him. What they need to do is stop playing down to opponents like Golden State, New Orleans, and Detroit, all inferior teams that have beaten the Rockets recently.

Los Angeles Clippers – Prep for the playoffs

The Clippers are all-in on this season, and that’s been evident since the acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The team is 14-4 with those two together in the lineup, but resting each star from time to time is okay. The top seed would be nice, but it’s not necessary for this group. Health is paramount.

Los Angeles Lakers – Trade Kuzma for an offensive weapon

The Lakers sit atop the West with a comfortable four-game cushion, but LeBron James and Anthony Davis still need help on the offensive end. Despite an elite defense, Los Angeles needs to ease the offensive load on its two stars. Dealing Kyle Kuzma for an offensive weapon should get it done because counting on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso won’t.

Memphis Grizzlies – Trade Andre Iguodala

The Grizzlies are one game out of the No. 8 seed with an intriguing young core of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson, Jr., and Brandon Clarke. They have a veteran on the books in Andre Iguodala that should net them some future assets, and they need to deal him to make that happen. Buying out Iggy doesn’t help the young core at all.

Minnesota Timberwolves – Trade for D’Angelo Russell

With Karl-Anthony Towns under contract until 2024, there’s no threat of losing him in the near future, but it’s time to make their franchise cornerstone happy. Trading for Towns’s friend, D’Angelo Russell, could do just that. The Wolves have a number of contracts to flip, and should even consider dealing Andrew Wiggins, whose trade value hasn’t been higher in recent years. Trading for D-Lo might propel them to the playoffs, as well.

New Orleans Pelicans – See Zion Williamson play in a game

They’ve been better of late (6-2) after a franchise-long 13-game losing streak and despite that, at 12-24, the playoffs aren’t out of the realm of possibility for the Pelicans. But this season needs to be about Zion. The No. 1 overall pick hasn’t seen the floor since the preseason and he’s currently working his way back. It’s time to see how he meshes with the Pels’ young core of Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball.

Oklahoma City Thunder – Make a playoff push

The Thunder sit atop the jumbled lower tier of the West. At 20-15, they’re comfortably the No. 7 seed. Trading Chris Paul’s onerous contract is unlikely, but he can tutor budding star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The trade they need to consider is Danilo Gallinari, who is an impending free agent.

Phoenix Suns – Focus on the young core

The Suns surprised everyone with their 7-5 start to the season, but reality has since set in. The Suns’ regression shouldn’t trigger the front office to make a win-now move. This season is, and always has been, about the development of their young core, which includes Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Portland Trailblazers – Trade for Kevin Love

They made it to the Western Conference Finals last season but are now toiling at the bottom of the playoff bracket. The Blazers need a jolt, and adding disgruntled Oregon native Kevin Love would do just that. They definitely shouldn’t trade C.J. McCollum, though. Using Hassan Whiteside’s expiring contract and other assets and salary filler should do the trick to land Love.

Sacramento Kings – Figure out the future

The Kings nearly made the playoffs last season and could conceivably do so this season, but it’s time to figure out the future in California. The Kings boast an interesting young core of De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley, but it’s time to move on from other players like Dewayne Dedmon and perhaps even Trevor Ariza and Harrison Barnes.

San Antonio Spurs – Seriously consider a rebuild

Making the playoffs for a record 23rd-straight season would be amazing, but it’s time for the Spurs to truly consider a rebuild. DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Gay are not part of this franchise’s future, so it’s time to consider moving on from them. Focus on Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker IV.

Utah Jazz – Beef up the bench

The Jazz are 9-1 in their last 10 and are one game out of the No. 2 seed, but their roster could still use an upgrade. Trading for Jordan Clarkson helps the bench some, but it’s time to do more in that regard if the Jazz are going to make a legitimate push in the playoffs.

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