Just because the Pelicans traded for DeMarcus Cousins earlier this week doesn’t mean we’re due for a quiet NBA trade deadline.
As Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET cut-off point approaches, you’re going to hear a ton of rumors, innuendo and whispers surrounding some of the biggest names in the NBA.
So we’re here to cut through all of that noise and give you the things you need to know headed into Thursday. Here are seven things we expect to happen as we close in on the 2017 trade deadline.
The Wolves will trade Ricky Rubio
The latest rumors have Rubio linked to a potential swap for the Knicks’ Derrick Rose. It’s a move that doesn’t make a ton of sense for Minnesota, other than Rose’s connection to coach Tom Thibodeau, which shows just how much the Wolves want to move Rubio at this point for another point guard.
Be it to the Bucks, Knicks, Sixers, or some other team that enters the running over the next 24 hours, Rubio will be on his way out of Minnesota by Thursday.
The Celtics and Bulls will keep talking Jimmy Butler deals … and talking … and talking …
We don’t expect an actual trade to come out of those discussions, of course, as the Bulls’ front office reportedly can’t agree on whether to move Butler to start a rebuild.
Still, Boston has all of the assets necessary to make a move for the Chicago wing, and the Celtics have a clear need for Butler’s services. With the Cavaliers reeling due to injury, Boston could conceivably reach the NBA Finals with Butler joining Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. This is a move that makes all the sense in the world … and it’s not going to happen.
(Note: If and when this trade does go down, we’re going to call this a reverse jinx. Note it.)
Carmelo Anthony will stay in New York City (for now)
Phil Jackson will keep making phone calls to any and every NBA team that will listen to potential Melo trades, so expect to hear Anthony’s name popping up in countless rumors ahead of Thursday’s deadline. Could he end up with the Clippers? Maybe! Are the Celtics interested? Probably not, but who knows?! Kevin Love for Melo? Sure!
In the end, though, Anthony’s no-trade clause trumps all. Short of another huge, dramatic flareup between now and the deadline, he’s not going anywhere.
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The Pistons will part ways with their franchise player
This one is a bit of a stretch, we’ll admit. Yes, the Pistons are listening to offers for Andre Drummond, but all reports indicate an actual trade is an “extreme long shot.”
Yet we’re expecting some team to get desperate around midday on Thursday and decide that Drummond is the answer to what ails them. (We’re looking at you, Phoenix.) And honestly, it doesn’t seem like Stan Van Gundy is that enamored of his cornerstone player.
Now that DeMarcus Cousins is off the market, Drummond could be the biggest name to be traded on Thursday unless …
The Lakers will try to acquire Paul George
What, did you think Magic Johnson turned Lou Williams into a late first-round pick to try to draft a player in June? That’s just silly.
Instead, the Lakers are stockpiling as many assets over 48 hours as possible to make a big, blockbuster deal for a superstar. That’s our read, anyway, after they missed out on Boogie for such a low asking price.
So right about now, Magic is probably calling up his old friend Larry Bird to see what it would take to trade for Paul George. We can’t imagine Bird would listen to many overtures for his star player, but a package centered around Brandon Ingram and multiple first-round picks might get the job done.
Of course, it would be a lot easier for the Lakers to acquire a star if they owned their 2017 first-round pick, rather than it belonging to the Sixers (with a top-three protection).
But hey, that was the previous regime’s trade! You can’t blame Magic for that.
The Sixers will move a big man (and it’ll be Jahlil Okafor)
They have to, right? We know Sam Hinkie’s not in the front office anymore, but trading Jahlil Okafor offers Philly a prime opportunity to turn a player with no real NBA future into a draft pick or two. And with teams like the Pacers reportedly interested in the big man, there’s apparently even a market for his services.
As long as the Sixers don’t trade Nerlens Noel, it’d be hard for them to mess up this trade deadline. Just get whatever you can for Okafor and call it a day.
One GM will try to mess everything up with a last-second deal
Remember, the 3 p.m. trade deadline is the cut-off point for teams to submit trades to the NBA offices for league approval, not necessarily when the trading frenzy stops. More often than not, we get word of a trade at around 3:40 p.m. ET, sending everyone into one last tizzy.
So don’t let your guard down when the deadline hits. There could be action left to come.