With the trade deadline approaching, I think this would be an awesome trade for Portland that would make us more well-rounded and clear the way for Simons as our starting two-guard, while also finding homes for two of the hottest names on the trade block in Turner and Simmons. I also really like the idea of Simmons on the Cavs, especially given their success this season. Let me know what you guys think.
Blazers Get: Lauri Markkanen, Myles Turner, Justin Holiday, Spurs 2022 2nd (Via Cleveland)
76ers Get: Kevin Love, C.J. McCollum, Lamar Stevens, 2023 Cavs 2nd
Cavaliers Get: Ben Simmons, Danny Green, Torrey Craig, Georges Niang
Pacers Get: Jusuf Nurkic, Cedi Osman, Furkan Korkmaz, Cavs 2022 1st, Blazers 2024 1st
Why the Blazers do it?
With the emergence of Anfernee Simons, it is now officially time to trade C.J. In the past 10 games Simons has averaged 23.5 points on shooting splits of 48.5/43.6/91.7 while cashing in on a cool 7 assists per game. Last game, 8 of his eleven assists resulted in a layup or dunk, which speaks volumes to the refinement of his court vision. He is a much better backcourt running mate to Dame than C.J. and deserves to be a starter from here on out. On the other hand, the 27-year-old Nurkic has not been offered an extension and it seems very likely that either him or Covington will be moved at the deadline. I think that Covington is a much better fit, almost assuredly coming at a cheaper price, and has been thriving on defense averaging 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks a contest. In Turner, the Blazers will get a younger player entering a contract year next season. He has been less of a factor on offense than Jusuf, with less assists, points, offensive rebounds (as well as total rebounds), and screen assists. Nurkic is currently tied with Steven Adams for fifth in screen assists at 5 a game. That being said, he would be an instant upgrade on defense, being top 10 in the league in both contested 2’s and shots in general. Turner has a better 3-ball than Nurkic, which would help space the floor, giving the blazers some 5-man units that cash in on over 1/3 of their threes attempted. In Markkanen, the Blazers would get another big man that could stretch the floor and has a knack for limiting the turnovers he commits (combined he and Turner commit less turnovers than Nurkic, while both have averaged more minutes per game). Markkanen, only 24 years old and on a reasonable 4-year deal, is already one of the more efficient 4’s in the league and is a solid defender, although he does not rack up the blocks or steals. And lastly, the veteran journeyman Justin Holiday has greatly improved his shooting over the past few years, and has been knockdown in the corner (averaging 40.6 from the left and 39.1 from the right). Further, he has been shooting a very solid on 38.1 on pullup jump shots. He is a long and willing defender that has averaged over a steal a game since 2017. He is great at fighting through screens and possess great lateral quickness. He and Covington would serve as the Blazers best team defenders. With a successful late-season tank, and some luck in the lottery, the Blazers will have a much more well-rounded team with a bright future. By shedding C.J.’s salary in the process, Portland only adds 7.4 million more in commitments next season for the three players they receive (not including the likely 14-18 million a year deal Nurk will likely demand).
Why the Sixers do it?
Ben Simmons has not played an NBA game since June 20th of last year. The Sixers are demanding a star-caliber player in return. Personally, I think C.J. is as close as they will come to that well-known request made by Morey. Also adding Love into the mix would give Philly some potentially elite scoring units with Embiid, Maxey, Curry, and Harris all very good 3-point shooters. With this increased spacing, Embiid could very well establish himself as the best center in the league these next few seasons. C.J. would add an element that is much more conducive to Embiid’s game and would likely serve as the primary ball handler, potentially unlocking a part of his game that he has deferred to Dame his entire tenure in the NBA. He is a nightly 20-point threat, that could flourish with a coach like Doc and great shooters surrounding him. Further, Philly has recently had good luck with former Blazer’s guards, with Seth Curry, whom C.J. already has some chemistry with is averaging career-highs across the board this season. On the other hand, Kevin Love has not shot lower than 36% from downtown the past 9 seasons and has become a more willing passer, averaging 2.5 assists in that same period. Although he is not the rebounder he was in the early half of his career with Minnesota, he would certainly improve a Philly team that is dead last in the league in rebounds per game. He would likely have, at worst, a similar season to 2011 Ryan Anderson who cashed in on a huge pay day from Houston off of catch and shoot jumpers from Dwight Howard in the post. Rounding out the trade is a young Lamar Stevens whose floor is a versatile scorer, albeit with a below average jumper. He would bring decent rebounding, very good athleticism, and solid playmaking to the sixers as a combo forward. With how spread the court would be, there is a potential he could thrive as a cutting back-up forward on a solid veteran team. Only half a game back from home-court advantage and a franchise big, Philly may be feeling the pressure to offload a massive dead salary for a pair of win-now players.
Why the Cavaliers do it?
The Cavaliers have a young team, that barring any more substantial injuries will make the playoffs for the first time since LeBron’s departure for the City of Angels in 2018. With the injuries to Ricky Rubio and Rajon Rondo, the Cavaliers may be looking for some help at the point guard position. However, with two of the league’s brightest young guards already on the roster (Sexton and Garland), adding a point guard that can match up defensively with guards and forwards alike could set Cleveland up to contend in the very near future. Simmons would join a starting lineup with four other players averaging 15 or more points per game. These totals would only stand to increase with Simmons in the fold. Also, in adding Danny Green, a veteran 3-and-D specialist, along with smart and intelligent role-playing defenders in Niang and Craig, Cleveland’s bench with the young defensive stud Okoro, would be significantly improved. I believe that there is a chance that with his 3-point shooting woes, and Simmons’ well-known struggle in this area, that Sexton would get relegated to the bench in favor of Green this season and the next. With Simmons likely putting up near triple doubles, and having a knack for finding open three-point shooters, he could thrive next to Garland and Green as his backcourt mates.
Why the Pacers do it?
The Pacers are seeking two first round picks for Myles Turner. In this package they receive that and a bit more. They would be able to give Sabonis and Nurkic a trial run together before the latter’s impeding free agency this offseason. Sabonis and Nurkic would certainly be in contention for the best passing pair of big men in the league and are 6th and 32nd in the league in made two-point field goals, respectively. Furthermore, they are both top ten in rebounds and could very well be a much better pairing than Sabonis and Turner were, giving the team a pair of firsts in the process. The team also would have enough money to re-up Nurkic if this marriage is a successful one. In Osman and Korkmaz, the Pacers would add a pair of young Turkish wings on reasonable deals that could be stalwarts of the team’s second unit for years to come. Osman has great length and size for the three position and is shooting 44% from the field and 38.3 from downtown. He’s at his best when coming off of screens and could very well be named the Pacer’s starting small forward, allowing him to use the big bodies of Nurkic and Sabonis to maximize his potential. For Korkmaz, in the past three seasons he is averaging 9.3 points per game on 40.7% from the field and 35.8% from 3. He has also upped his assist totals every year to 2.2 per game, which it currently stands as of now. Due to his 6-7 height, he also has also been able to snag 4.3 rebounds per 36 minutes over his entire NBA career. While still only 24, and never receiving more than 23.3 minutes per game, he stands to improve for the next several years especially with the offensive mind of head coach Rick Carlisle.