NBA

Five trades that would shake up the NBA landscape

Jan 10, 2024, 3:45 PM | Updated: 3:48 pm

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 06: DeMar DeRozan #11 and Alex Caruso #6 of the Chicago Bulls celebrat...

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 06: DeMar DeRozan #11 and Alex Caruso #6 of the Chicago Bulls celebrate against the Utah Jazz during the second half at the United Center on November 06, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost at the halfway point of the 2023-24 NBA regular season, yet here we are!

With that comes the trade deadline, as teams look to improve their rosters before a push towards the postseason. This year promises to be no different, with many franchises expected to be active over the next few weeks, including the Sacramento Kings.

With that being said, here are five trades that would change the landscape of the NBA.

1. Mavericks win the Siakam Sweepstakes

Dallas Mavericks receive: Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr.

Toronto Raptors receive: Tim Hardaway Jr., Josh Green, Jaden Hardy, Maxi Kleber, Richaun Holmes, 2027 first-round pick (unprotected), 2025 second-round pick (Toronto’s original pick)

If there is one thing we know about the Raptors and Masai Ujiri, they typically get their price in a trade. Call this a compromise for both teams involved, with Dallas emerging as the dark horse suitor with assets.

For Dallas, this is a signal that Mark Cuban isn’t playing around after selling most of the franchise. He wants to win. And what better way to do that than adding a third horseman in Siakam.

The African big-man can be a do it all player for the Mavericks, similar to how the Miami Heat used Chris Bosh in the 2010s. In fact, think of this Dallas team as the Miami big 3. Luka Doncic is LeBron James, Kyrie Irving is the Dwayne Wade and Siakam is Bosh.

At least in terms of how the operation would function.

Siakam hasn’t had a running mate with the talent of Doncic and Irving since Kawhi Leonard. Making him the third option offensively would be the best thing to ever happen to him. And for Doncic, giving him a big-man that can run the offset out of the post and create his own shot in a pinch. 

He’s never had that!

Plus, Gary Trent Jr. is a valuable scorer off the bench, or as a starter in a pinch.

Dallas will lose rotation staples in Hardaway and Green, while also giving Toronto a young guard in Hardy. Holmes and Kleber are mostly there for salary-filler reasons, but can serve as rotation players from time to time. The Raptors also get an unprotected first in 2027, and their second-round pick in 2025 back to them.

It’s a win-win for both sides, especially Dallas, who are now in the western conference contenders’ mix.

 

2. Kings add veteran scoring & defense

Sacramento Kings receive: DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams 

Chicago Bulls receive: Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter, Davion Mitchell, Sasha Vezenkov, 2026 first-round pick (unprotected), 2028 first-round pick (Top-10 protected)

Yes, the Kings are 20-13 this season. But frankly, their recent play reflects a more subpar season. 

Losing to the Charlotte Hornets, and then the New Orleans Pelicans by 33 is one thing. But to allow almost 50 points to the Detroit Pistons in the first quarter? Yeah, something needs to change.

Monte McNair is afraid to shake things up, and this trade does that in spades.

The real prize for Sacramento is DeMar DeRozan, a veteran All-Star scorer to play off of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. While he’s not great from behind the three-point line, DeRozan’s ability to get a bucket is still a premium in the NBA, even at age 34. Additionally, the California native has been remarkable in the clutch, taking some pressure off Fox and Malik Monk. 

The most underrated piece here is Caruso, a no-nonsense perimeter defender with championship pedigree. 

The Kings need defensive help, and while this doesn’t help Sabonis, this helps Fox, Monk and the second unit. Caruso is also shooting 42.4% from three this season, second-highest of his career. Sacramento has to get better on that side of the ball, making Caruso a must-have in the deal. 

Maybe even Patrick Williams can be the that guy for the Kings, very much needing a change of pace in the NBA.

It’ll cost the Kings their depth to a degree, losing Barnes and Huerter. Davion Mitchell would also be in the deal as a young guard next to Coby White long-term. McNair also gives up on Vezenkov, especially with Mike Brown keeping him out of the rotation. And the two firsts are boiler plate stuff with the Kings now in the playoff mix moving forward. 

If the Kings are serious about being real contenders, big swings like this is what they need.

 

3. Thunder add All-Star, load up for playoff run

Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Lauri Markkanen, Kelly Olynyk

Utah Jazz receive: Josh Giddey, Davis Bertans, Aleksej Pokusevski, Ousmane Dieng, 2024 HOU first-round pick (1-4 protected), 2026 first-round pick (unprotected)

The OKC Thunder are on a tear right now, currently second in the western conference. Now more than ever, Sam Presti needs to make a move for a younger, All-Star caliber player. And that he does. 

The Thunder consolidate some assets to acquire Markkanen, a 26-year-old sharpshooting offensive weapon that can play three positions. The Finnish-born playr has taken a huge jump in Utah, making his first All-Star team last season. In 2023-24, he’s averaging 23.5 PPG and 8.6 RPG on 48.9% shooting. His ability to stretch the floor, and guard bigger wings, is exactly what the Thunder would love to have more of.

OKC’s only weakness is that they are undersized. So what do they do, add seven-foot Markkanen and center Kelly Olynyk, who can also shoot it from outside. 

Danny Ainge is in charge of Utah now, so you know he’ll ask for a haul. But that’s no problem for OKC, owning 36  draft picks until 2030. 36! The Jazz also get a young player to build around, with Giddey being the sacrifice. Other young players like Poku and Dieng will be in the deal, along with Bertans for salary filler. Two firsts should suffice as well, especially if it’s Houston’s first this year.

The Thunder and young and good, a rare combo in the NBA. Time to maximize their potential, while keeping most of the future intact.

 

4. Lakers add Lavine, lose Reaves

Los Angeles Lakers receive: Zach Lavine, Alex Caruso, Jevon Carter, 2024 POR first-round pick (1-14 protected)

Chicago Bulls receive: D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Max Christie

LeBron’s not gonna like this, and maybe not even most Laker fans. But big trades come with sacrifices, and unfortunately, that means Austin Reaves.

The Lakers are in a tailspin currently, stuck at .500 at 19-19. This is coming despite LeBron James and Anthony Davis having a great season. 

So what’s the problem? The coach? The depth?

How about the offense, ranked 23rd in the NBA. In fact, LA with LeBron have historically ranked low on offense, using the elite defense to get the job done in the postseason. Now that may work then, but it won’t help them make the playoffs unless they add a real offensive weapon.

Enter Zach Lavine.

The UCLA alum is an elite scorer and an excellent three-point shooter. Not only that, but he can also create his own offense. And, he creates for others thanks to his athleticism. He’s the ideal scoring fit next to James as a third banana, able to use him as a cutter as well.

The underrated prize though is Caruso going back to LA. 

Still under contract for another year, the versatile guard would give the Lakers a steady defensive presence, along with quality shooting from the outside. James trusts him as well, which is probably the most important thing. 

And with Gabe Vincent out for the next two months, LA adds another defensive PG in Jevon Carter. Having more of an auxiliary piece at guard next to LeBron is ideal, someone who can help him defensively but not demand the ball in the offense. 

To make this work though, they have to give up Reaves. Or maybe they don’t. If Vincent can be included instead, they do that deal right now. 

However, LA would get a first-round pick back in this scenario, while also getting better in the short-term. And as good as Reaves is, Lavine has a higher scoring prowess currently, which LA desperately needs. 

 

5. Dejounte Murray heads to Brooklyn

Brooklyn Nets receive: Dejounte Murray, De’Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovic, A.J. Griffin

Atlanta Hawks receive: Ben Simmons, Spencer Dinwiddie, Cam Thomas, Royce O’Neale, 2025 PHX first-round pick (unprotected)

Hear me out. 

Should Brooklyn be tearing it down? Or, adding to a young-ish core? That tis the question.

I’m picking the latter. And to optimize Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Nic Claxton, you need a point guard.

How about Dejounte Murray.

The Hawks just don’t work with a backcourt of Tray Young and Murray, sitting at 14-21 on the year. Quin Snyder was suppose to figure out the combo, but it seems doomed to fail sadly. So, time to move on. 

The Nets should be a candidate, not looking to bottom out at the moment. 

This trade only works if Atlanta is willing to take Ben Simmons and his contract. Thankfully, he only has one year left after this season. Plus, when he does return to the court (hopefully soon), he’d be an elite pick-&-pop guy next to Young. We forgot: Simmons is only 27 years old.

That’s not all they get however, with Spencer Dinwiddie, Royce O’Neale and Cam Thomas going with Simmons. ATL would also net a first-rounder in 2025 from Phoenix, which could be in the teens. 

On the flip side, Murray joins Bridges as an excellent 1-2 punch on both ends of the floor. The Nets under Jacque Vaughn have struggled defensively this year; Maybe adding on of the best guard defenders in basketball will help with that.

Brooklyn would also be getting great role players/starters in Bogdanovic and Hunter, two change-of-scenery guys on the market. Griffin can be a young piece to develop as well. 

While the Hawks get Cam Thomas, who’s in the mist of a breakout third year. He’s averaging 20.3 PPG, but is also super inefficient. H has some stuff to clean up, but no-one can deny the talent of the 22-year-old. 

Additionally, this frees up money for ATL in the near future, looking to the upcoming offseason to add a big free agent (Siakam?). 

A fresh start for both organizations who don’t want to bottom out.

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