This week’s biggest busts: Mavericks -5, Pacers -3, Hornets -3, Trail Blazers -3
This week’s biggest successes: Timberwolves +5, Bucks +4, too many teams +2
1. Golden State Warriors (47-9, 1-1 this week) (last week: #1 [3-0] +0)
Ideally the Warriors would trade for a center who meets the following criteria: 1. can jump 2. can do something other than jump 3. is priced right 4. is light years ahead. If you the Warriors can’t find a player who checks all those things off, they should just stand pat with McGee and Pachulia, who are hilarious in different ways and will make for good joke material when the whole team gets their championship rings. Remember how everybody used to make fun of Adam Morrison when he won those rings? That will be Pachulia and McGee.
2. San Antonio Spurs (43-13, 2-1 this week) (last week: #2 [2-1] +0)
The Spurs can only make a trade if it’s obviously a win for them, because as far as I recall, they’ve never lost a trade. So let’s say that they really wanted a proper backup for Kawhi. Somebody like Danilo Gallinari. For the Spurs to trade for Danilo Gallinari they would have to give up such inconsequential pieces that the trade couldn’t go wrong, but they would also have to give up pieces that the Nuggets might think are actually worth something. So like a future first-round pick that will be in the 20’s and…Kyle Anderson? Yes. Make it happen.
3. Boston Celtics (37-20, 2-1 this week) (last week: #3 [3-1] +0)
It’s hard to predict trades for the Celtics because they have so many assets that they could easily trade with any team they wanted for any player they wanted. In fact, rather than trying to list which players the Celtics are likely to trade for, I’ve made a list of players that the Celtics could never, ever trade for: 1. LeBron James. Obvious. 2. Nikola Jokic. Not as obvious but he’s staying put. 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo. Boston is not a big smoothie destination so Giannis wouldn’t even report to the team. 4. Stephen Curry I guess. 5. Shaq.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (39-16, 2-0 this week) (last week: #5 [3-1] +1)
The Cavs should trade LeBron for Kevin Durant. Straight swap. No picks or anything else involved unless the salaries don’t match (do I look like the guy who’s going to work out the gritty details? no). Once you get done laughing at my dumb idea you should keep reading because I’m gonna justify this to you: LeBron’s not getting any younger. In fact, he’s actually getting older. And what better way to sabotage your main competitor for the NBA championship than take away their best player? Having LeBron and Draymond Green on the Warriors would cause them to implode. And then the Cavs easily walk to the ‘chip.
5. Houston Rockets (40-18, 0-1 this week) (last week: #4 [3-0] -1)
The Rockets need more shooters to pair with Harden. I don’t care how many shooters they allegedly have now – they need more. They always need more. And they especially need them at the center position; despite the seeming abundance of stretch fives in the league today, the Rockets don’t have any such players. Nene is the closest thing they have and his range makes a hard stop at twenty feet. Chinanu Onuaku isn’t going to be a stretch five unless he can shoot them underhanded, so the Rockets should be doing everything in their power to trade for…wait for it…Justin Hamilton. Boom.
6. Washington Wizards (34-21, 2-0 this week) (last week: #6 [2-1] +0)
DTB operates in what is known as the “politics-free zone” (PFZ), so, to conform to the requirements of the PFZ, I will not make any Donald Trump references in this power ranking. The Wizards front office doesn’t have the authority to trade the US President anyway. The best they can do is package up a collection of their garbage bench pieces in exchange for a single, less garbage bench piece. Marcus Thornton and Trey Burke and a pick to the Pistons for Stanley Johnson. Wait, that doesn’t make them any better. Oops.
7. Utah Jazz (35-22, 1-1 this week) (last week: #7 [2-2] +0)
The Jazz should trade Derrick Favors and Alec Burks to the first person who approaches them with a working time-travel device. Then the Jazz can use that newly-acquired device to go back in time 25 years and kidnap Prime Karl Malone and bring him back to the future. When they step out of the time-travel capsule and find a hole in the ground where the arena is supposed to be and a brochure drifts by that has an advertisement for the “Kansas City Jazz”, at least the fans in Kansas City will get to watch Malone dominate.
8. Atlanta Hawks (32-24, 1-1 this week) (last week: #10 [1-2] +2)
Let’s be honest here: the Hawks wish more than anything that they didn’t have to start Kent Bazemore at small forward, but their only other options are Mike Dunleavy (old LOL) and Thabo Sefolosha (old LOL). Unfortunately, Bazemore’s contract means a lot of long-term salary conditions for any team that’s looking at him, so he doesn’t seem like a realistic target of my speculation. Sefolosha, however, is the perfect Shane Battier-type that contenders are convinced is necessary to win a title. Call up the Spurs and see if you can get Bryn Forbes and a second round pick. Maybe even a first-rounder! If they want I can make the call myself.
9. Memphis Grizzlies (34-24, 1-1 this week) (last week: #8 [2-1] -1)
The Grizzlies are probably on the phone 24/7 calling anybody who they think might take Chandler Parsons off their hands. Barring a modeling agency buying out his contract so they can use him for photo shoots the entire year, Parsons is staying put for the time being, so who else might be on the block? I actually have no special insight into the Grizzlies’ front office, so I emailed John Hollinger who’s their VP of something or other but he hasn’t responded yet. I even tried to flatter him by saying PER was the best stat ever. Hey John, please reply to my email before I have to publish this.
10. Los Angeles Clippers (35-21, 2-0 this week) (last week: #12 [2-2] +2)
This one is so easy and obvious that I feel a little bit dumb writing it down because I’m sure everybody’s already thought of it, but: Tim Frazier. The Clippers are missing Chris Paul so why not get mini Chris Paul from the Pelicans? I’m sure he could be had for, say, Diamond Stone and a future second. He’s not getting any minutes on the Pelicans so his value is cratered despite his multiple 20/10 games this season (that’s right, MULTIPLE). This move also helps the Clippers because it solidifies Austin Rivers as a non-PG. Doc are you reading this?
11. Toronto Raptors (33-24, 1-2 this week) (last week: #9 [2-1] -2)
Trade DeRozan. He’s a chucker and ball-stopper. Trade Lowry. He’ll never lead this team to anywhere other than disappointment. Trade Valanciunas. His skills are irrelevant in today’s NBA. Trade Carroll. He’ll never be worth his contract. Trade Patterson. He’ll never be consistent enough to start. Trade Casey. His asinine coaching limits the ceiling of the team. Trade Sullinger. His man-boobs are 100% made out of chewed-up Big Macs. Trade Ibaka. He’s yet to help the Raptors win a single game. Trade Ross. Nobody can find him in Toronto anymore.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (32-25, 1-1 this week) (last week: #11 [2-2] -1)
Even with Cameron Payne’s return, the backup point guard situation in OKC is hilarious. The small forward situation, however, is not as hilarious. It’s actually more sad than anything. The Pistons have an extra small forward (either Harris or Morris) and they also have an extra backup point guard (Udrih) so it seems like a match made in heaven, but it’s actually a match made in hell because the Thunder have no players of interest for the Pistons. Maybe the Pistons would take Enes “The Chair Destroyer” Kanter and be done with it.
13. Detroit Pistons (27-30, 3-0 this week) (last week: #15 [2-1] +2)
Reggie Jackson is a malcontent. At least, that’s what it seems like from an outsider’s point of view: there’s perpetual trade rumors around him, he doesn’t look engaged on the court, his teammates hate his guts, and we all remember how he malcontented his way out of Oklahoma City. But what if the problem isn’t really Reggie? What if it’s THE REST OF HIS TEAMMATES? I don’t know if a trade involving a dozen players from a single team has ever been attempted, but now is as good a time as ever to see if it can work. Rebuild around Reggie and the seven or nine players you get from the other team. For added excitement and to make the dreams of every hardcore trade enthusiast come true, make it a six-team trade with players getting scattered everywhere.
14. Chicago Bulls (28-29, 2-1 this week) (last week: #16 [1-2] +2)
Anybody and everybody on the Bulls should be on the table. Jimmy Butler would obviously net the biggest return; without him the Bulls would have fewer wins than the Nets, and GM’s recognize that. His value is high, but, unfortunately for the Bulls, everybody else’s value is at an all-time low because everybody is sucking right now. The Bulls could get on their knees and beg for other teams to take away Rajon Rondo for literally ANYTHING and it still wouldn’t work. Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic they could still get something for, but not as much as they could have had they traded the same players at this time last year. DTB’S OFFICIAL TRADE PREDICTION: Michael Carter-Williams to the Bucks for Tony Snell.
15. Miami Heat (25-32, 1-1 this week) (last week: #13 [3-1] -2)
Goran Dragic for Dwyane Wade. Bam. This is so easy. Wade was supposed to be a Heat for life, but if he can’t be a Heat for life, he can at least be a Heat for life minus half a season that was a mistake that everybody regrets. And the Bulls would love to have a real point guard so they can stop trying to make MCW and Jerian Grant work. You know, with me coming up with all these great trades (and we’re only halfway through the OFFICIAL POWER RANKINGS, so there’s even more to come) it’s unbelievable that I don’t have some kind of official NBA position yet.
16. Denver Nuggets (25-31, 1-1 this week) (last week: #18 [2-2] +2)
The Nuggets already made the obvious decision to trade Jusuf Nurkic, who had spent the better part of the season concocting nefarious plans to unseat Nikola Jokic from his position as starting center. Their acquisition of Mason Plumlee from the Blazers (and the fact that they gave up a pick) makes it seem like they’re definitely trying for that eighth playoff spot, so that has to be taken into account when formulating possible trades. How about this: Emmanuel Mudiay (net negative), Wilson Chandler (redundant with Gallinari), and a pick bundle for Eric Bledsoe and Alex Len! Woop woop!
17. Indiana Pacers (29-28, 0-3 this week) (last week: #14 [1-3] -3)
What the Pacers should do is trade away their analyst-commentator-colorman guy Quinn Buckner to a nursing home in exchange for a cute nurse who works at the nursing home. The nurse can easily be trained to be a sideline reporter or just part of the medical staff in the reporter thing doesn’t work out. Meanwhile, Buckner has been losing his mind for years now (half of the words he says seem to be random) and I’m not entirely sure he’s capable of living on his own anymore. At the nursing home he’ll get three square meals a day, a comfy room all to himself, and they can even roll him in front of the TV to watch Pacers games and he can pretend he’s still the commentator. In fact, nobody has to tell him that he’s not the commentator anymore. It would be better that way.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (22-35, 2-1 this week) (last week: #23 [1-2] +5)
It’s a bit too late in the season for the Wolves to trade their diminished stockpiles of pristine Minnesota snow for some of the Suns’ grade-A sand, so it’s back to the drawing board for these guys. Ricky Rubio was rumored as a possible trade chip some time ago, but Kris Dunn has been so bad that Rubio will have to stay in place for now. You know, I bet Jordan Hill wouldn’t mind a trade. He’s only appeared in five games this season and probably wants a change of scenery. Not very many teams want their scenery to be despoiled by the addition of a Jordan Hill, so he’ll have to be packaged with a sweetener. A sweetener like ANDREW WIGGINS.
19. New Orleans Pelicans (23-34, 2-1 this week) (last week: #19 [2-1] +0)
It seemed like an Okafor to the Pelicans deal was gonna happen for sure, but then it didn’t. Part of me is sad that my Alexis Ajinca videos won’t get any more views any time soon (he was the player going back to Philly) but a different part of my is happy that the Pelicans didn’t screw themselves by getting a player who seems like a poor fit. Now I can propose my real NOLA-Philly trade: a shrimp poboy sandwich for a Philly cheesesteak with provolone (cheese whiz proponents please discontinue browsing my site). Don’t get me wrong, poboys are good and all but cheesesteaks are the clearly superior sandwich. DTB Internetip of the day: don’t write power rankings while hungry.
20. Sacramento Kings (24-33, 2-1 this week) (last week: #21 [2-1] +1)
The Kings are so consistently unable to accurately assess the value of players (either their own or those of other teams) that it’s almost impossible to predict anything that they might to do as the trade deadline approaches. They might unload project players for peanuts, or they might get rid of Arron Afflalo while somehow taking on a worse fit on a worse contract. Whatever they do, it’s unlikely to be something positive for them, since the Kings have essentially not come out ahead in any transaction for the past decade.
21. Milwaukee Bucks (25-30, 2-0 this week) (last week: #25 [1-2] +4)
Knowing how the Bucks have made a habit of getting fleeced in trades, I half expect them to do something insane like Greg Monroe for Rajon Rondo. Or trading a first-rounder to Brooklyn for Greivis Vasquez only to find out he was cut a long time ago and they could have just signed him. What they SHOULD do is find a real starting point guard (sorry Delly you suck this year). The only catch is the price can’t be higher than a John Henson + Mirza Teletovic package. D.J. Augustin? Ricky Rubio? Kevin Hart? (I don’t know who Kevin Hart is but I feel like most of my readers do)
22. Dallas Mavericks (22-34, 0-2 this week) (last week: #17 [2-2] -5)
I won’t bring up Dirk in this one because you just aren’t allowed to talk about trading Dirk, even if it’s a joke. That’s like one of the rules of the universe. First rule: protons are important. Second rule: gravity; it just happens. Third rule: Dirk will be a Mav forever and if you insinuate otherwise you deserve every bad thing that will ever happen to you. Discussing potential Andrew Bogut trades, however, is perfectly acceptable and is even expected. Trade him to the Timberwolves for Shabazz + Pekovic.
23. Charlotte Hornets (24-32, 0-2 this week) (last week: #20 [1-2] -3)
The Hornets’ ship is sinking fast so this is a perfect time for Rick Cho at the behest of MJ to make a panic trade. Their previous trade of Hawes + Hibbert for Miles Plumlee was not a panic trade so they’ve still got a lot of unused panic waiting to be unleashed in a hilariously lopsided transaction with another team. Assuming that they’re trying to “win now” but don’t exactly know what that entails, and given that Cody Zeller hasn’t moved or talked in months, I wouldn’t rule out a Joakim Noah for Nic Batum deal going down in the next few days.
24. New York Knicks (23-34, 1-1 this week) (last week: #26 [0-3] +2)
The Knicks should trade NYC’s crappy flat cardboard pizza to the Bulls for Chicago’s superior culinary masterpiece deep-dish pizza. Since this trade is so lopsided for the Knicks they’ll have to throw in exactly one (1) Phil Jackson to make things even. Phil Jackson would immediately get the chance to fix all the Bulls’ problems, and no matter how underwhelming his record as an executive is, anything is better than what’s going on in Chicago right now. The best part about this trade is that when NYC residents declared their pizza to be the best in the world, they wouldn’t be telling absolute blatant lies like they are now.
25. Portland Trail Blazers (23-33, 0-2 this week) (last week: #22 [1-2] -3)
Portland (the city) is filled to the brim with bearded hipsters who won’t shut up about fair-trade coffee and craft breweries and flannel shirts. The Blazers should grab one of these hipsters off the street, put him in a crate, and mail him to the Lakers in exchange for Luol Deng. Deng gives the Blazers exactly the punch they need at small forward (sorry Aminu and Harkless, but, yeah, no) and the Lakers get a dude to counteract all the rich Hollywood types who attend Lakers games while wearing sunglasses indoors.
26. Philadelphia 76ers (21-35, 1-1 this week) (last week: #24 [2-2] -2)
The 76ers are posturing like Embiid’s “minor MCL tear” isn’t career ending so they can get the maximum return for him. Technically, trading a player while not being honest about their medical issues is against the rules, so there’s a campaign of mass delusion going on in the Sixers’ front office, and only Bryan Colangelo knows the real truth. Embiid in a healthy state probably brings back an All-Star-caliber player and a pick, but WHICH All-Star-caliber player? Sources tell me Klay Thompson. If that trade went down this trade deadline would immediately become top three most exciting trade deadlines in NBA history.
27. Phoenix Suns (18-39, 1-1 this week) (last week: #28 [1-3] +1)
P.J. Tucker has no future on the Suns, but he’s desirable to playoff teams as a plug-and-play backup small forward. So he’s an obvious candidate for trade. But what if the Suns got more creative? WHAT IF THEY SUNS TRADED DEVIN BOOKER? Think about it. T.J. Warren can be just as good as Booker as long as he recovers from his mysterious undisclosed head injury. There are AT LEAST fifteen front offices in the NBA that view Devin Booker as one of the next great shooting guards and any one of those teams would give up some really great stuff for him. If the Suns aren’t in trade talks with the Celtics RIGHT NOW I’ll call up the Celtics myself and pretend to be the Suns. So there.
28. Los Angeles Lakers (19-39, 0-2 this week) (last week: #27 [2-1] -1)
The Lakers should trade Timofey Mozgov to Russia. You might be under the false impression that trades can only happen between NBA franchises, but that’s incorrect. Here’s how it would go down: the Lakers put Timofey on a private jet back “home” to his “family”. Then, when they’re flying over the desolate south-Russian steppe, Ivica Zubac pops out from under the seat, opens the emergency exit, and pushes Timofey out of the plane. Then, when nobody can figure out where Timofey went, the Lakers get to void his contract. It’s not really a trade but you know, it actually sort of is. They’re trading his life for cap flexibility.
29. Orlando Magic (21-37, 1-1 this week) (last week: #29 [0-3] +0)
I just looked it up and the Magic still totally have the draft rights to Fran Vazquez. Since it has now been over a decade and Vazquez has yet to don a Magic jersey except as an ironic prank at a birthday party, it might be time for the Magic to cut ties. They could find another team that holds the NBA rights for some Euro who will never ever make the switch to the other side of the Atlantic and make a symbolic trade of that Euro for their Euro. Only then can Magic fans know true peace. Oh yeah, and Dwight Howard has to retire too.
30. Brooklyn Nets (9-47, 0-2 this week) (last week: #30 [0-4] +0)
MAYBE THE NETS SHOULD TRADE FOR SOME DRAFT PICKS!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Okay, with that obvious joke out of the way, should the Nets trade Brook Lopez or should they not trade Brook Lopez? On one hand, Lopez is the single reason the Nets aren’t the worst team in NBA history. If he were traded for young players and picks, the Nets would lose every remaining game by twenty or more. On the other hand, trading Lopez for rebuilding pieces (of which the Nets have surprisingly few) might be the only chance for the Nets to become a decent team within the next five years. My proposal: trade him to the Kings because they always do stupid stuff and they’ll probably give up Labissiere and McLemore and Gay a bunch of picks.