NBA Atlantic Division Trade Machine: Part One

By Tomer Langer

Few things in life are more addicting than playing with the ESPN NBA trade machine. With the trade deadline less than a month away, I decided to sit down and look at each team in the Atlantic and think up one intriguing move the team can make before the deadline:

Toronto Raptors

(http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=nl6c3ot)

With this trade, Toronto gets a skilled center to backup Jonas Valanciunas. The Raptors have been struggling to rebound the ball all season, and have no other true big men on the team other then Valanciunas. Koufos is a skilled center that would instantly upgrade the Raptors bench. Toronto would have to be willing to part with its 1st round pick from this past year, Bruno Cabcolo.

Memphis has been mediocre at best from the three-point line this season. They struggle even more when Mike Conley goes to the bench, as Beno Udrih simply is not a good enough shooter from beyond the arc. By trading for Mo Williams, the Grizzles get a backup PG who can actually shoot the three, and can create offense for himself and for his teammates. Losing Koufos hurts, but they make up for his loss by adding two other big bodies in Ed Davis and Robert Sacre.

Not much to talk about from the Los Angles Lakers point of view. They get another big expiring contract in Chuck Hayes to give them more cap relief this summer.

Minnesota isn’t going anywhere this season. There have been rumors that they want a first round pick for Mo Williams, but I don’t see that happening. This might be the next best thing. Udrih would backup point Rubio returns from his injury. Cabcolo and Adams were both first round picks in this year’s draft. Adams was a pure scorer in college and could be a valuable scorer off the bench down the road for the Timberwolves. Cabcolo is the “project”, a raw player with a freakish 7-foot-7 wingspan. Williams isn’t part of the future in Minnesota, so they might as well get what they can for him.

Boston Celtics

(http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=pa95kzv)

This trade is a fairly simply one. Now that Brandon Jennings is out for the year, the Detroit Pistons need another player who can handle running an offense. Evan Turner has been playing some de facto point guard minutes for the Celtics, averaging 4.4 assists per game. The Pistons give Boston their 2nd round pick and the Celtics front office continues its quest to break the record for most draft picks owned over a five-year period.

Philadelphia 76ers

(http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=nmcg85w)

Reports have been surfacing that Philly wants to unload Michael Carter-Williams. The 76ers would ideally like a few first round picks for the reigning rookie of the year, but considering how deep the point-guard position is in the NBA that’s unlikely to happen. Their best bet would be to try and get a young player with upside who was recently drafted. Anthony Bennett fits the bill, and would be an intriguing addition to Philly’s roster. Yes Bennett has had a disappointing start to his career but he’s only halfway through his second season, and there is potential there. (Note: This trade would also work with the ultra-athletic Zach Lavine, but considering how many minutes he’s already been playing, I don’t think Minnesota wants to give him up. If the T-Wolves are willing to trade Lavine, Philly should go for it)

Michael-Carter Williams would fit right into the Bucks scheme. The team’s lineup features a lot of length and athleticism, headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo, a walking mismatch. Carter-Williams would create even more matchup problems for opponents. Head coach Jason Kidd loves playing long and funky lineups, as evidenced with how he utilized Shaun Livingston with the Nets last year. Giving Kidd both Antetokounmpo and Carter-Williams would really open up the floodgates for all kinds of sick combinations.

Minnesota gets back John Henson, a nice young player who could improve the Timberwolves frontcourt along with Gorgui Dieng. Henson might need to build up some more muscle, but he has a more traditional power-forward game than Anthony Bennett, who the Timberwolves don’t really play much anyway.

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