[Trade Talk]: Change of Scenery for Lauri Markkanen and Ben Simmons

The beautiful chaos created by the convergence of the NBA Draft and free agency has come to an end for this year, but there are always still some trades left to consider with the guys that want (or need) a change of scenery, but did not get moved…yet. This year, that’s Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls and Ben Simmons of the Philly 76ers. Time to fire up the Fanspo trade machine.


To Make this Work:

Ben Simmons and his mom convince Klutch Sports that would like to negotiate with the Celtics.

Logic Behind the Trade:

Simmons wants out of Philly after a semi-disastrous playoff run, and President, Daryl Morey is asking for a huge package in return. After realizing that Damian Lillard isn’t going to bail on new Blazer coach, Chauncey Billups, for quite a while, Morey decides to reconsider the packages on the table to avoid a PR and team chemistry disaster during training camp. He’s not impressed by packages from the Warriors (Wiggins/Moody/Kuminga) and Blazers (McCollum and filler) and decides to go for a combination of three new starters plus two firs round picks, helping the team in the near term and the future. With Smart, Hield and Barnes, they’ll have veteran, win-now, players that they can rely on to take advantage of what may be a small window that Joel Embiid will have to play injury free at an MVP level. Lineups with Smart, Green, Thybulle and Embiid will be nasty on defense, and lineups with Curry, Hield, Barnes and Embiid will be dominant offensively.

Proposed starting lineup: Marcus Smart – Buddy Hield – Danny Green – Harrison Barnes – Joel Embiid

Bench: Tyrese Maxey – Seth Curry – Matisse Thybulle – Andre Drummond

For the Kings, they would ideally send out Marvin Bagley instead of Barnes, but won’t pass up on the opportunity to swap Hield for Tobias Harris who is a bigger, stronger, and more versatile player who can also provide better defense. Plus, they get Horford, who can be as good or better than Barnes, as a veteran leader who is rock solid on both ends of the court, can hit threes, and even do a bit of playmaking. Harris and Horford can fit in on any team and therefore are great complimentary pieces to the 3-headed monster that is Fox-Haliburton-Mitchell. If the Kings can then send out Bagley for something of value, they have finally shed the mal-contents of the team and, with a little bit of luck, may have a bit of organizational stability, along with a lineup that will have a much better chance of making the play-in game. Horford’s contract seems hefty, but he is only guaranteed $14.5 next year.

Proposed starting lineup: De’Aaron Fox – Tyrese Haliburton – Tobias Harris – Al Horford – Richaun Holmes

Bench: Davion Mitchell – Mo Harkless – Terrence Davis – (whoever they get back for Bagley)

This trade for the Celtics is easy to understand as they send out Smart, Horford and picks for an All-NBA defensive player and starting PG in Simmons who is similar in age with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, forming a Big 3-type lineup in Boston that is big, athletic, strong, and versatile. Simmons will still need to fix his offensive game, which may rely on him fixing his mental health, but in the meantime, the Celtics will be dangerous on both ends of the court and should be able to really get out and run. Celtics lose out on two firsts, but that still be a bargain, considering what Morey originally demanded.

Proposed starting lineup: Ben Simmons – Dennis Schroder – Jaylen Brown – Jayson Tatum – Robert Williams

Bench: Josh Richardson – Peyton Pritchard – Grant Williams – Aaron Nesmith – Enes Kanter


To Make this Work:

Bulls agree to a sign and trade deal Lauri Markkanen for 2 + 1 (player option on the 3rd year) for $39mm.

Logic Behind the Trade:

Markkenen doesn’t want to resign with the Bulls, yet the team has suddenly vaulted themselves into win-now mode with the DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Lonzo Ball. Losing Markkenen has to bring back some value or it’s going to be a very bad look for Bulls management, so they go after a veteran scorer like Bojan Bogdanovic who can be a weapon for them off the bench or even as a starter at times to let Patrick Williams have a night off. Bogdanovic has proven himself to be a 16-game player and can be relied upon come playoff time.

Proposed starting lineup: Lonzo Ball – DeMar DeRozan – Zach LaVine – Patrick Williams – Nik Vucevic

Bench: Bojan Bogdanovic – Coby White – Alex Caruso

For the Jazz, they are shuffling the deck a bit, hoping to get further in the playoffs and are doing so by getting a bit more athletic (drafted Jared Butler), younger (Markkanen) and versatile (Rudy Gay and Eric Paschall), while still maintaining strong perimeter shooting from everyone on the floor besides Rudy Gobert. By adding Markkanen, they add to, what could become, a new core that could emerge once Mike Conley and Joe Ingles take a back seat or retire. And in the meantime Markkanen provides a solid stretch-4 that compliments Gobert’s inside play.

Proposed starting lineup: Mike Conley – Donovan Mitchell – Royce O’Neale – Lauri Markannen – Rudy Gobert

Bench: Joe Ingles – Jared Butler – Jordan Clarkson – Rudy Gay – Eric Paschall

[Trade Talk]: A Spectacularly Rare ‘Triple S&T’ 3-Team Trade

With free agency officially beginning on Monday at 6 p.m. ET, and rumors starting to swirl on NBA Twitter, it’s perfect timing to cook up some hand-crafted, artisanal trades via the Fanspo trade machine.

The Ingredients:
In the last few days, most of us have seen the following rumors:

The Idea:

It then occurred to my GM-mind that all three teams could be satisfied via the incredibly rare, ‘triple sign-and-trade’ 3-way trade!

Note: this deal will not work at this moment because Kris Dunn can’t be re-traded yet.

The New Deals:

Celtics extend and trade Marcus Smart for 5 years and $105.8m (which = $13.8 this year, and then a 4 year deal starting at $20m)

Heat sign and trade Duncan Robinson for 4-year, $92m contract (contract starts at $20m per).

Pelicans sign and trade Lonzo Ball to a 4-year, $108m contract (contract starts at $24m per)

The Logic Behind the Trade:

I’m not sure any of these teams feel comfortable resigning their players to these deals based on how they are building their rosters moving forward, but by shuffling the deck with this 3-way deal, the fit improves greatly.

Celtics: After trading away Kemba Walker to OKC, the Celtics are now in semi-desperate need for a starting point guard. As the roster stands now, Smart would be the guy. But as Boston fans well know, that is a not an ideal proposition, We all know that Smart excels at defense, has improved his shooting and is even a solid playmaker, but the Celtics would benefit greatly for a better passer and shooter on the offensive end. Plus, his leadership skills don’t necessarily seem to mesh with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Enter Lonzo Ball, who fits very nicely as third pillar of the roster.

Proposed starting lineup: Lonzo Ball – Jaylen Brown – Jayson Tatum – Al Horford – Robert Williams

Heat: Although the Heat would love to get their hands on Kyle Lowry, they may see Smart as longer-term fit that is perfect for Heat Culture with his tough-nosed, defensive-minded play. Robinson, who is a phenomenal shooter, was debatably their weak link at time on D, last season and in the bubble. Smart will more than plug that hole and as mentioned, is an improved shooter himself.

Proposed starting lineup: Jimmy Butler – Tyler Herro – Marcus Smart – Trevor Ariza – Bam Adebayo

Pelicans: This trade is the biggest no-brainer for New Orleans who wants to win now and surround Ingram and Zion with lots of shooting. The downside is that they would be choosing Robinson over one of the point guards on the market that were so widely rumored. This may not go over well with Pelicans fans, but overpaying Kyle Lowry to beat out incoming bids from Philly and Dallas may not look good in a couple of years based on his age and injury history, not to mention the Pelicans salary cap. They also receive Kris Dunn as a backup point guard to bring some much-needed defense, and Grant Williams who is a solid utility guy for bench depth.

Proposed starting lineup: Kira Lewis – Duncan Robinson – Brandon Ingram – Zion Williamson – Jonas Valanciunas

Needless to say, this type of deal would take a lot of work by all three front offices to coordinate the new deals for each player and then the subsequent trade, but at the very least, it’s good food for thought on the type of mega-deals that could take place starting Monday. Enjoy!

[Trade Talk]: A Lesson Learned From the Hayward/Bagley Conundrum

Gordon Hayward. Marvin Bagley. Boston Celtics. Sacramento Kings. 4 things that don’t have too much in common at first glance. But if we take a closer look we see that Bagley and the Kings may be facing a similarly challenging situation to the one Hayward and the Celtics had to confront.

Hayward, after being a prize free agent signing by the Boston Celtics in 2017, was set up to be the 2nd option behind PG Kyrie Irving on a revamped roster that was destined for a Championship run. Five minutes into his first game as a Celtics, he broke his foot landing on a failed alley-oop attempt and was out for the rest of the season. By the time he came back, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum had moved up in the pecking order, and Hayward still had to ease back into form. At the start of the 2019 season, Hayward finally was playing like his old self and with Kemba Walker in the fold, Kyrie and Al Horford out, and Tatum and Brown continuing to improve. Fast forward a few months Hayward suffers a broken hand and misses six weeks, derailing any momentum he had, only to return and sprain his ankle in the 1st round of the playoffs versus Philadelphia. Coming back from each those injuries, he suddenly became the Celtic’s fourth or fifth offensive option–even behind Marcus Smart in many games, whose production had improved post-World Championships.

Similarly, Bagley has had an injury-riddled first 2 years in the league, only having played 75 games, and never quite been able to stay on the court long enough to get into a rhythm on what was looked like an up-an-coming Sacramento Kings squad along with De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. In Bagley’s rookie year he started 65 games and was normally 2nd option on offense behind Hield. But fast forward two years and a lot of underachieving, roster churn in typical Kings fashion, and the emergence of Fox offensively–plus lucking into Tyrese Haliburton in the draft, and Bagley is now 5th option all of a sudden, playing only about 25 minutes a game and little to none in crunch time. Needless to say he is quite displeased. And so is his father.

What is the lesson to be learned from these parallel stories of highly skilled players who suffered from so many injuries and were unable to fulfill the lofty expectations that their franchises and fans had for them: *Sometimes a change of scenery is necessary for all*. Exhibit A: Hayward who signed a huge deal with the Charlotte Hornets this offseason, even with the Celtics offering to pick up his player option for $34.1 million in 2020-2021, immediately went back to looking like Gordon Hayward of old, back as 1st option on a young Hornets squad desperately needing leadership and playmaking, and in the first 12 games is averaging 22/5/4. And his usage rate is back up to where it was when he left Utah (see usage splits below from NBA.com).

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So what will the Kings do? Have they learned this lesson from having watched it with Hayward and move Bagley while he still has some value? Will they stubbornly keep him and hope he accepts his role knowing the backlash they will receive if he is jettisoned after having chosen him over Hall-of-Famer Luka Doncic? Will teams want to trade for Bagley with the baggage he may bring in addition to knowing his rookie deal will be up soon?

Bagley has a lot of talent and may just need a change of scenery to reemerge as a high quality starter in the league, and teams like Charlotte, Washington, Dallas, San Antonio and Oklahoma City all look like candidates who have the trade capital and incentive to make a deal for the young PF/C.

What trade would you like to see? Here’s a couple I liked via TradeNBA:

[Trade Talk]: If Beal Wants Out, Pels Should Be First in Line

For the time being, everyone is intrigued by the thought of seeing newly acquired Russell Westbrook playing alongside Bradley Beal and the underachieving Wiz. You can count me as one of those people, but….let’s be honest, the odds of them doing any better than a first round exit in the playoffs is extremely low. And in contrast, the odds of the team chemistry not meshing and/or injuries happening to either of the aforementioned All-NBA level stars, and things could get ugly fast in terms of racking up L’s AND Beal’s patience level for a franchise that has rarely not been dysfunctional (cap tip to Ernie Grunfeld!).

There’s already been surface level speculation about where Beal could end up if he demands a trade and that list includes some of the same franchises who, sadly, lost the Giannis sweepstakes this past week when he signed the Bucks super max offer–namely, the Heat, Nets, Warriors….and maybe the Sixers (if Doc can’t turn around the ship). All of this makes sense, but I would bet on the Pelicans to be the most likely landing spot, since instead of the Wiz accepting spare change on the dollar (i.e. packages including [Tyler Herro, Meyers Leonard, Kendrick Nunn, KZ Okpala, Andre Iguodala] [Caris LaVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen] [Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, 2021 1st from Minny]), they could grab 23-year old Brandon Ingram, who just re-signed to a 5 year/$158m max contract last month + 1st round picks + a rotation player(s).

It goes without saying that losing Beal would be horrific, but to get a proven, young, all-star level player would trump any other offer out there, and if the bidding gets heated, Pel’s head honcho, David Griffin has a lot more sweeteners to throw in the deal thanks to the bounty of assets from the Anthony Davis trade with the Lakers.

Here’s an example of how the trade could go down: