This is an odd NBA trade deadline. It really is. For the most part, we are not going to see any superstars moved (other than Blake Griffin, who has already been traded) like we seem to see, or at least hear rumors about every year. Rather, we are going to see plenty of little, incredibly necessary trades that don’t seem like much, but will be crucial in due time.
Other than the DeAndre Jordan and Tyreke Evans talk that everyone and their grandmother has heard, there are plenty of trade scenarios that are flying way, way under the radar. They are trades involving young players, with loads of potential who are simply yet to find their home in the NBA.
I’ve also provided an informed prediction of a landing spot for each
The 21-year-old Nuggets guard had a decent start to his career. In fact, Denver believed he was their next franchise point guard. However, when the team drafted Jamal Murray in 2016 we began to see Mudiay’s minutes decrease. Now in 2017-18, he is averaging a career-low 17 minutes per game, off the bench.
The point guard position is funny. It may in fact be the hardest position to grow and develop in when playing off the bench. Mudiay needs a team to take a chance on him, much like the Bulls did with Kris Dunn. Being so young, possessing so much raw and physical talent means that the Nuggets can get an actual return for dealing him. Some team will be more than willing to deal assets for such a young player.
Prediction: Traded to Memphis Grizzlies
Now, this is a bit of a change of pace. Sure, Nerlens could be traded. However, it would make more sense if he is bought out of his contract. He has fallen off the face of the earth in Dallas. He went from future superstar to a guy on the outside of the rotation looking in. Nerlens is only 23 years old, still incredibly athletic, and can play defense til the cows come home.
One interesting thing to point out is that Nerlens is signed to the same agency as LeBron James. The Cavaliers are in desperate need for a big man. If they are unable to make a deal, it would make complete sense to sign Nerlens.
Again, he could get traded but the buyout and signing makes too much sense to overlook. Either way, Nerlens has value and is doing nothing for the Mavericks currently. I’d expect he find a new home. One where he can make a difference on the court.
Prediction: Signed, after buyout, by Cleveland Cavaliers
This is a very interesting player to consider being traded. Johnson is still 21 years old and have the perfect NBA body at 6-foot-7 and 245 pounds. He is athletic and quick enough to play the 3, while strong enough and big enough to play the 4, in the new style of the NBA that is. Johnson, the former 8th overall pick in the NBA draft, still shows plenty of potential.
It would make sense if Johnson is sent to Utah in return for Rodney Hood. Johnson could play the 4 in that system, as Rudy Gobert is big enough to clog the paint all on his own. Detroit, now in need of a wing scorer, would be a great frit for Hood as well.
Prediction: Traded to Utah Jazz
Harkless is a perfect 3-and-D type of player and he has shown he can be a starter on playoff teams. He is shooting near 40 percent from beyond the arc, but the issue is that he cannot find his own shot in Portland. Lillard and McCollum are the shot-takers of that team. As the Blazers realistically need to start dishing out some heavy cap hitters, Harkless would be their perfect place to start.
It seems teams are targeting wing-scoring players this deadline. You won’t find too many available guys that fit that M.O. but Harkless is a perfect fit. There are teams like Dallas, that could definitely find the positives in taking on this 24-year-old scorer.
Prediction: Traded to Dallas Mavericks
This is a guy that has shown he belongs in the NBA, at times. He has been in the league for seven seasons. He is still only 26 years old, with plenty of offensive game left in him. Burks is still under contract for another year. He is probably a guy that a team could buy for just a second-round pick and another player mixed in.
Burks is definitely a player that resembles bits and pieces of Tyreke Evans’ and Lou Williams’ game. So, as Evans is one of the hotter commodities out there right now and Williams of the table, we could see a team settle for Burks (if unable to get Evans).
Prediction: Traded to Washington Wizards
Now, those are just five of many possible trades that could happen. Point being, there are so many players out there that are still in, or yet to be in, their prime that just have not found the right fit. This could be their chance, another NBA trade deadline where things are sure to get shaken up.
Evan Singleton is an NBA and NFL Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media, as well as the founder of GuyBostonSports.com
Follow Evan on Twitter @EvGuyBoston