With the trade deadline three days away, HoopsHype’s salary cap expert, Yossi Gozlan, came up with several trades he’d like to share.
Aaron Gordon to Denver
Trade idea: Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier for Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, RJ Hampton, Bol Bol, Denver’s 2021 first-round pick (top 10 protected), and Denver’s 2026 first-round pick swap
Last week we went over six teams that were linked to Aaron Gordon to see what kind of packages they can offer for him right now. Hoopshype’s Michael Scotto reported that the price for Gordon would require a first-round pick and a young player. Some say it’s steep, but it’s very doable for several teams, including Denver.
The Nuggets accomplish several things in this deal. First, they get Gordon, who fills the void left by Jerami Grant. He fills that role perfectly as an athletic big who can guard wings and roll to the basket. The Magic’s price is met through Denver’s 2021 first-round pick and RJ Hampton. Paul Millsap would need to approve the trade since doing so would decrease his Bird rights to Non-Bird, but they should be enough as he’s currently earning $10 million. He may not even have those if traded to Orlando because he immediately becomes a buy-out candidate.
The Nuggets also get a familiar face in Evan Fournier for Gary Harris, whose potential gave Denver the confidence to trade Fournier in the first place. In exchange they get Bol Bol, whose attributes and skillset combination profiles as the type of player the Magic front office like. For taking on an additional year of Harris at $20.9 million, the Magic get a future first-round swap from the Nuggets. Both teams remain under the luxury tax, but Orlando would need to clear two roster spots prior to making this trade.
This package may seem like a bit much on Denver’s end, but they may have to get aggressive and make a splash like this to improve their championship odds. Harris has been unavailable and ineffective when he does play, and Millsap continues to slowly decline. Turning both into two really good starters while keeping great contributors such as Will Barton and JaMychal Green off the bench significantly improves them.
Another thing that could hold them back from doing this are the inevitable massive luxury tax payments it would take to re-sign Fournier and Gordon as well as potentially extending Michael Porter Jr. All three of those players could command north of $20 million annually. That is going to result in a very expensive core on top of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray already on maximum contracts.
In this deal, Orlando takes a step back in what is looking like a lost season due to injuries. They get two young players to develop as well as an additional pick to give them a head start for 2021-22. Having Harris’ salary for one year isn’t so bad considering the Magic weren’t going to have cap space in 2021 anyways.
Spencer Dinwiddie to LA Clippers
Trade idea: Spencer Dinwiddie for Lou Williams, Patrick Patterson, and Detroit’s 2024 second-round pick
This trade is a long-term play by the Clippers that would set them back a bit this season but pay dividends for the next five or so years. Spencer Dinwiddie’s 2019-20 season garnered All-Star consideration and he’s proved that he can be the starting point guard of a contender. According to Michael Scotto, the price to acquire Dinwiddie from the Nets is a role player and a second-round pick. Every single team that isn’t expected to have cap space this offseason should take advantage of that price.
The Clippers in particular should seriously consider it despite it contradicting their title pursuit because this might be their best chance at getting a point guard as good as Dinwiddie. They are limited on assets they can offer to acquire an All-Star such as Kyle Lowry, and their hard cap limitations make such a deal impractical since it would gut their roster. Dinwiddie is only in his age-28 season and would be an awesome fit next to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
What would the Clippers do to replace Lou Williams? After a slow start to the season, he has been more consistent as of late. Reggie Jackson and Terance Mann have emerged to become regular rotation players off the bench but there’s no guarantee their performance translates to the playoffs. Maybe if Luke Kennard was playing like the $56 million player they projected him to be then they’d have more confidence to trade for an injured player. They can’t just hope another good guard becomes available on the buy-out market, especially with Patrick Beverley routinely missing time with a knee injury. While the idea of Dinwiddie on the Clippers would be nice, they’re more likely to trade that package for a healthy guard such as George Hill or Tomas Satoransky.
Despite his injury, Dinwiddie is going to command a very high salary this offseason. While this upcoming offseason is losing its luster by the day, it should be a lucrative market for point guards with players such as Lowry, Jrue Holiday, Mike Conley, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Schroder, and Goran Dragic. All those guys should garner high salaries and just one of them can set the market for Dinwiddie. It’s understandable if the Nets don’t want to pay him what he’ll command to come off the bench and play in a role that limits his full skillset. Also, Bruce Brown has emerged playing the role that the Nets originally intended for Dinwiddie this season. It’s unfortunate that if they do trade Dinwiddie this week it’ll be for pennies on the dollar, but they do need healthy bodies for their championship run. If Williams and Patrick Patterson is the best offer they have, might as well accept it.
Andre Drummond to Charlotte
Trade idea: Hornets acquire Patrick McCaw with their cap space, then trade McCaw with Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, and Nets 2021 second-round pick for Andre Drummond
(The league might have a problem with the Hornets trading for Patrick McCaw just to aggregate him in a bigger trade in quick succession. For the sake of fun, let’s get into it anyway.)
If the Hornets are interested in Andre Drummond they have to trade for him. If he’s bought-out, it sounds like it’s down to the Lakers and Nets for his services. One common framework that has been floated in Drummond trade articles is Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, and Malik Monk for Drummond. A lot of people come up with this framework since it matches salaries without requiring Charlotte to trade anyone too important, such as Terry Rozier.
However, Monk has played very well for the Hornets as of late and they might not want to part with him either in a Drummond trade. That would be understandable because if a team is trading for a player on the brink of a buy-out, they would want to give up as little value as possible. Still, Charlotte is roughly $4 million short of matching salaries with Zeller and Biyombo, and it gets tricky to make it up without including too many of their young players on minimum contracts, or another core player such as PJ Washington or Miles Bridges.
So how else can Charlotte come up with the additional $4 million? They trade for one.
First, they acquire McCaw from Toronto for a Top 55 protected second-round pick, also known as a fake second-rounder since it will likely never convey. The Hornets currently have $4.07 million in cap space so they can simply absorb his salary. For the Raptors, getting off of a player who isn’t in the rotation and creating a $4 million trade exception is a no-brainer. Good chance it goes unused since they’re projected to have cap space this summer, but if they end up re-signing Kyle Lowry and/or Norman Powell, they’ll probably operate over the cap, and that TPE would have utility next season.
Because the Hornets would have acquired McCaw with cap space, they can aggregate his salary in a bigger trade without waiting sixty days. Now they can trade him with Zeller and Biyombo, and perhaps a second-round pick, for Drummond (unless the league has any objections). This framework can also be used for Al Horford.