Yesterday, the executives of the NBA’s worst teams clutched their pearls a little bit tighter, as they hoped to receive the blessing of Zion in this year’s NBA Draft Lottery.
The Suns hoped to get the X-Factor they need to activate their litany of young guys.
The Cavs dreamed of a new LeBron in Cleveland.
The Grizzles hoped to land the biggest star in their history.
The Knicks hoped to get their modern Ewing moment.
But in the end, the blessing of David Griffin shined kindly on the Pelicans of Bourbon Street, as the New Orleans basketball franchise scored the first overall pick in the 2019
Zion NBA draft.
Now that the dust has finally began to settle, we can immediately start trade machining every pick in the lottery and fantasy booking what we can make happen over the next few months.
1st Overall Pick – New Orleans Cash in on Davis
Pelicans Receive: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, Ivaca Zubac, 2020 1st Round Pick, Philadelphia’s 2020 1st Round Pick
Clippers Receive: Anthony Davis
This is the best deal on the table for New Orleans right now.
I find it unlikely that the Celtics are going to put Tatum and Brown in a deal for Davis, particularly as it appears that Kyrie is out of town and Davis’ interest in playing in Boston is centred around him.
The Knicks package has a lot of young guys I have no idea are A) worthy of being exchanged for AD or B) will work with Zion Williamson.
The Lakers package likely will not feature Brandon Ingram due to his blood clot situation and the 4th pick is definitively less impressive than the player you can get with the 2nd or 3rd pick.
Thus the Clippers have the best package to offer.
First, get your hands on Lou Williams, who is one of the best pick and roll players in the entire league and has made the most of Montrez Harrell in an impressive 2019 Clipper playoff run. Bringing that bench fire power, as well as being able to pair Lou with Zion would instantly be a marvel to behold. Zion would benefit from the experience of playing with a real professional guard, while SGA continues to learn from Lou.
With this deal, Pels suddenly become a great space for young players to learn how to manipulate the pick and roll under the tutelage of master Lou, and the two 1st rounders (likely mid-late 1sts) are a nice sweetener as well.
For the Clippers, you get your hands on Davis and have room to sign another big time free agent (*cough* Kawhi *cough*). Even if you don’t get the second guy this off-season, Davis is an awesome starting point for a franchise, particularly one in Los Angeles.
2nd Overall Pick – Memphis becomes Simmons’ Team
Grizzlies Receive: Ben Simmons
76ers Receive: Mike Conley
It’s time to #FreeMikeConley.
It’s also time to #FreeBenSimmons.
So let’s do both. It makes sense.
For the 76ers, you abandon the failed Simmons-Embiid experiment that looks doomed to fail because the styles of each star doesn’t mesh. You acquire a dynamic point guard with the ability to score from the perimeter, knock down a three point shot and be a playmaker in the pick and roll.
Conley is a great point guard fit for Embiid, even coming with the benefit of having played with Marc Gasol all those years in Memphis. The Sixers need to compete now, and the possible resigning of Butler or Harris would give the Sixers a big three that makes sense centred around Embiid.
For Memphis, you hand this team over to a fast paced duo in Ben Simmons and either Ja Morant or RJ Barrett. That team is instantly one of the most entertaining young backcourts the NBA has had in some time, playing along side Jaren Jackson Jr at the power forward or stretch five spot.
An athletic team that can run the floor and spread the court for a slashing playmaker like Simmons could be dangerous. The concern about not being able to resign him (while fair), is a worthwhile risk to take if you’re giving up a 31 year old point guard.
Probably one of the most fair trades for both teams out there given the risks involved for both sides.
3rd Overall Pick – The Knicks get The Brow
Knicks Receive: Anthony Davis
Pelicans Receive: Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson, Alonzo Trier, 3rd Overall Pick 2019, 2021 1st Round pick (Dallas)
Poor one out for the Knicks who were heart set on Zion this year.
Now stop feeling bad because they could win the AD sweepstakes.
The Knicks can offer a good package of players who are on similar timelines to Zion and the 3rd pick. Knox projects to be a nice player in the NBA, Dennis Smith is the kind of explosive offensive guard that would complement Zion nicely, Robinson could be an elite interior defender one day and Trier has proven to be a capable three point shooter, likely off the bench for a competitive team.
Plus, you get a really solid 3rd overall pick, which would either be RJ Barrett (Zion’s teammate at Duke this year) or Ja Morant (the excellent Murray State point guard). If the Pels feel like they need to deal AD this offseason, then this one might make the most sense. Throwing in the Dallas first in 2021 may also make this deal too good to miss.
4th Overall Pick – The Lakers become Klutch
Lakers Receive: Anthony Davis and Solomon Hill
Pelicans Receive: Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, 4th Pick 2019, 2021 unprotected first
This deal really depends on how much you value Lonzo Ball.
Ingram’s blood clots make it hard to believe he will be involved in any deal for Davis, but if you believe that Lonzo and Zion will be way better than something like Shai and Zion or Knox and Zion long term, then this is the deal you prefer. Kuzma and Hart are also good prospects, as well as the chance of landing a solid lottery player with the 4th pick (probably a choice between Jarrett Culver, DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish).
This one may not make you as competitive right away like the Clippers deal and it may not give you a top-3 rookie with a clean slate like the Knicks deal, but it’s still a great deal.
Lonzo and Zion on paper could be a lethal combination and help foster a great culture in New Orleans in a Alvin Gentry system.
5th Overall Pick – Cleveland Tank I: Utah Love
Cavaliers Receive: Derrick Favours, Dante Exum, 23rd Pick Overall
Jazz Receive: Kevin Love
This one is a bit out there but I like it.
If you’re not heart set on losing Rubio in the upcoming free agency period, you can make this deal work financially if your Utah by losing his salary.
You take on K-Love’s four more years and put him with an elite shot blocker in Gobert and a dynamic ball handler like Mitchell. It’s like getting a better version of Favours who spread the floor and his been to an NBA Finals.
If you’re the Cavs, you take on two contracts that will both be gone in three years and a late first to take a shot with in the upcoming draft. It’s entirely likely that the Cavs will be continuing their tank next season, so you could even explore moving Favours again or buying his contract out.
Exum gets some court time as a main ball handler off the bench and the 23rd Overall Pick might turn out to be something.
6th Overall Pick: Phoenix Facilitate Davis to LA Deal
Suns Receive: Lonzo Ball
Pelicans Recieve: Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Mikal Bridges, LAL’s 4th Overall 2019 Pick, PHX’s 6th Overall Pick and LAL’s 2021 1st Round Pick
Lakers Recieve: Anthony Davis and Solomon Hill
If trade machine is Frankenstein’s monster, then call me Victor Henry.
Let’s say that the Lakers can’t quite get the Davis deal done. Let’s say that New Orleans don’t want Lonzo, or they aren’t impressed with him or that Lonzo is refusing to play there, whatever the case.
Perhaps the Suns can sweeten the pot for the Pels to send him to the Lakers, by getting themselves cut into the deal.
Lonzo heads to Phoenix to complete a dynamic backcourt with Booker and hopefully get more out of Ayton and Jackson. The price is a nice prospect in Mikal Bridges and the 6th pick this year (probably one of DeAndre Hunter, Cam Reddish or Jarrett Culver).
The Pelicans get two picks in the top 6 in 2019, making a Duke reunion of Reddish-Barrett-Zion a possibility (ESPN might explode) and the Lakers get the guy they want whilst taking on the Solomon Hill contract.
Kuzma and Hart can also pad out a Pelicans team that suddenly becomes one of the youngest teams in league history, full of intriguing prospects that you could move later (kind of like a Covington-Saric to the Wolves situation).
7th Overall Pick: Chicago Cut Costs on Rebuild
Bulls Receive: Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, Nicholas Batum, Marvin Williams, the 12 Overall Pick, the 36th Overall Pick and the 52nd Overall Pick
Hornets Receive: Zach LaVine and Otto Porter Jr.
Ok a lot going on here but let’s have a deeper look. The trade is based on the following observations.
- If you try to describe an effective rebuild and the names ‘Zach LaVine’ and ‘Otto Porter’ are in the first two sentences of your explanation, I’m instantly skeptical.
- I like Zach LaVine, but his defence is entirely absent and he seems like a quintessential good stats, bad team guy.
- I haven’t given up on Malik Monk and he would complement Lauri and Wendell very nicely (doesn’t need the ball that much, good spot up guy, heaps of upside).
- I would rather have Monk, three shots at getting a diamond in the rough, an expiring contract in Williams and two years of Batum than an expensive LaVine and Porter Jr tandem.
With that said, this deal seems the most unlikely on this list. However I think that anything the Bulls can flip LaVine and Porter for that is of use to you would be fantastic, particularly at a lower price.
If you’re the Hornets and you want to bring Kemba back as well (you should), pairing him with LaVine would make for a deadly offensive backcourt (no defence would be played by either guy) and Porter Jr. could finally provide some good consistent play at the 3 for Charlotte.
8th and 10th Overall Picks: Atlanta invests in Turner
Hawks Receive: Miles Turner
Pacers Receive: 2020 Cleveland 1st Round Pick
If you think that the Pacers need to pick between Sabonis and Turner, then this might be a great deal.
For the Pacers, you get to take a shot at a high draft pick in 2020 when the Cavs inevitably suck again. That pick could very realistically be in the top 5 next year.
The Hawks meanwhile get their hands on another quality young player in Turner, who could turn out to be the perfect complement to the array of young talent already gathering in Atlanta.
9th Overall Pick: Washington break free of Wall
Wizards receive: J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson
Cavaliers receive: John Wall, 9th Overall Pick 2019 and WIZ 2021 1st Round Pick
To move Wall, you’re going to have to really do another team in need a massive favour.
This is one of the only trades that approaches sense.
The Cavaliers are going to be a dumpster fire, and bringing in John Wall would only infuriate those flames, helping the Cavs sink lower and lower over the next few years. The 9th pick in this years draft and the 2021 first rounder from Washington alone wouldn’t make it entirely worthwhile.
But if you can give up the last year of J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, you might be able to find some value in the deal.
This is as close as I could get to getting Wall out of Washington.
Sorry Wizards fans.
11th Overall Pick: Minnesota becomes a Contender
Timberwolves Receive: Mike Conley
Grizzlies Receive: Andrew Wiggins, Dario Saric and the 11th Overall Pick 2019
This solves a lot of problems for both teams.
For Memphis, the market for a 31 year old point guard like Conley isn’t sparse but it’s also somewhat limited to teams who are contending now or at least feel like they can contend now.
Minnesota could sell themselves as a playoff team if they brought in Conley to play with Karl Anthony-Towns, Robert Covington and a collection of pickups in free agency.
Meanwhile, the Griz get some young guys to take a swing on and another shot at a prospect later on in the lottery with the 11th pick. Memphis could also reasonable request another 1st from Minnesota, but I fear that may be an overpay.
12th Overall Pick: Cleveland Tank II: Carolina Love
Hornets Receive: Kevin Love
Cavaliers Receive: Nicholas Batum and 12th, 36th and 52nd Overall Picks in the 2019 Draft
This is assuming Kemba Walker comes back next season, which is in no way certain or perhaps likely.
But if he does come back, you best take a swing at something new.
The Hornets can dangle the 12th pick in this years draft, some shots at second round gems and the fact that Batum’s contract expires two years before Love’s to help wrestle Kevin away from the Land.
In doing so, Charlotte try to make a push with Love and Kemba as the two main stars, Monk and Bridges as the other starters and try to dip their toes into the B-list free agent pool to try cook up a playoff team.
If Kemba resigns, Charlotte will need to take some risks with their personnel and this is a good risk.
13th Overall Pick: The Miami Trade Pat Riley is Certain to Hate
Heat Receive: John Wall, the 9th Overall Pick 2019 and WIZ 1st Rounder 2021
Wizards Receive: Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside
That Wall contract is a nuclear bomb that is very hard to trade.
The Heat are also a really tough team to come up with deals for.
But here’s one that fixes both teams problems.
The Heat are too good, with a bunch of uninspiring young talent and veterans who are just capable enough to keep them out of the high lottery. They’re stuck in the cycle of mediocrity for some time to come.
But by dealing away their two expiring capable players, they can expect to receive back the 9th overall pick this year and a first from Washington after the players they handed over are likely out off the Wizards roster.
Wall plays or maybe he doesn’t, it’s not entirely the point. Miami are in rebuild mode and don’t have the talent to attract marquee free agents unless they start entering the tanking world.
14th Overall Pick: Boston Sell the Future for the Brow
Celtics Receive: Anthony Davis and Solomon Hill
Pelicans Receive: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams 14th Overall Pick, 20th Overall Pick, 22nd Overall Pick, Grizzlies Pick (2020 top-6 protected or 2021 unprotected)
Let it be said that the Celtics would only make a deal for Davis if they thought he would stay in Boston past next season. It’s hard to project whether or not this will be the case if Kyrie leaves, which seems all but certain at this point. However, let’s say that Davis is open to staying or Boston think they can convince him to stay à la Paul George.
This is the god-father Celtics offer, and they would likely hesitate to throw Brown and Tatum in the deal for Davis. But let’s say that they do, it makes their deal extraordinarily valuable.
While the C’s get Davis, the Pels get to build the next 5-10 years around Zion, Tatum, Brown and Smart, as well as whoever they can get with the Grizzlies pick in 2020 or 2021. If Boston are willing to push all their chips into the middle of the table and offer up both Tatum and Brown, the Pels should jump at the chance.
Potentially, the Pels would also consider a deal without Brown, but including him guarantees that Davis will be a Celtic next season.