With the NBA free agency period getting set to kick off at midnight tonight, what better time to play matchmaker. Let’s take a look at 5 moves that would be great to see and help balance the power throughout the NBA.
- Paul Gasol to the Spurs- This move would not only be good for Gasol but for the Spurs as well. All reports indicate that Kevin Durant will be returning to Oklahoma City barring an incredible sales pitch from another team. While I wouldn’t put it past Popovich and R.C. Buford to pull that off, it seems like Durant is content to stay in OKC. With that being said, the Spurs are still in need of a roster upgrade. 40 year old Tim Duncan opted into his contract for next season but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be returning for his 20th NBA season. With LaMarcus Aldridge preferring to play the power forward as opposed to the center position, that opens the door for Pau Gasol. Gasol has been an absolutely phenomenal player throughout his career and has really gotten better with age. He would be a perfect fit for the Spurs system and a lethal combination down low next to Aldridge. This move would benefit all parties involved and I for one would love to see it.
- Al Horford to the Celtics- The Celtics are a rising power in the Eastern Conference and it’s a little selfish of me to wish for this but I want to see what this team can do with a legitimate All-Star caliber player on the roster. Don’t get me wrong, Isaiah Thomas had a great year for the C’s last season but it was just one year. Horford is a perennial All-Star center and would make the Celtics a top-4 team in the East. Watching LeBron dominate the Eastern Conference year after year has gotten somewhat nauseating. It was nice to see LeBron get his ring for Cleveland but now the world wants to see a team in the East that can realistically compete with Cleveland. Horford to the Celtics might make that happen.
- Hassan Whiteside to the Lakers- Not really sure why but it just seems like this would be fun. The Lakers are a young, up and coming team and Whiteside is still relatively young himself. Whiteside is just 27 years old and the Lakers need a center. Seems like a match made in heaven. Whiteside has a flair for the dramatic, snatching balls out of mid air rather than simply blocking them. He definitely likes the bright lights and attention and what better place to get those things than Los Angeles. With a starting lineup of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson (if the Lakers retain him), Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Hassan Whiteside, you could argue that the Lakers have as bright a future as any team in the NBA. The Lakers have a TON of cap space this summer and are looking to spend. Whiteside might just go to the highest bidder. My gut tells me this ends up actually happening which would be really exciting for Laker fans.
- Paul Pierce to the Celtics (contingent on Horford going as well)- If Horford doesn’t end up going to Boston, this move isn’t as fun. Paul Pierce is way past his prime and that’s no secret. However, seeing Pierce in the green and white for one final season to play side by side with a young Celtics team could be really fun. I can’t see him playing much more than 15 minutes per game but it would still be nice to see him wearing #34 and being the veteran leader of that young Celtics team. Again, it’s not as fun if Horford isn’t there too because then the Celtics probably aren’t legitimate contenders but having Pierce back in the Boston Garden on a contending Celtics team would be a story book ending to his career.
- Demarcus Cousins to the Raptors- This one is an absolute fairy tale that will probably never happen but just hear me out. The Raptors have some intriguing pieces that could be moved in a trade for Cousins. No matter what Cousins says, his draft day tweet which read, “Lord give me the strength (praying hands)”, was not about a yoga class. Cousins is getting fed up with the moves the Kings are making and nobody can blame him. Cousins might just be the best center in the NBA and he’s been on an awful Kings team each and every year. Is part of that Cousins fault? Maybe, if you want to point to his issues with coaches and some of his ex teammates. But a large majority of the blame should be placed on the front office and ownership. A trade of Jonas Valanciunas, Norman Powell, Bruno Caboclo (who’s been compared to a very raw Kevin Durant), and their 2016 1st round pick Jakob Poeltl could possibly be enough to pry Cousins from the grasp of the Sacramento Kings. Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has been known to be very crafty when it comes to making big splashes in the trade market. A “Big 3” of Demarcus Cousins, Demar Derozan, and Kyle Lowry could definitely compete for an Eastern Conference title. Lowry and Cousins both have a bulldog’s mentality and it seems like they could play well together. Again, this is most definitely not going to happen, but it would be very exciting to see.
The NBA free agency period kicks off in 2 hours and the madness will begin shortly there after. Will the salary cap now at $94 million, players will be cashing out like never before. There are going to be some deals that make everybody do a double take and that’s what’s so exciting about this summer. Gear up and get ready. The NBA summer of 2016 is upon us.
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