Cool offseason trade ideas for NBA contenders

Most of the NBA’s offseason chaos is already over, but it feels relatively safe to assume that a few more trades are on the way before training camps open this fall.

The obvious candidates are Damian Lillard and James Harden, but the potential deals have been analyzed ad nauseam.

Instead of rehashing what the Miami Heat would have to give up for Lillard or what the Los Angeles Clippers would have to give up for Harden, let’s explore some options with other players and contenders (or fringe contenders).

Clint Capela and Luka Doncic Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The agreement: Clint Capela and Garrison Mathews for Tim Hardaway Jr., Christian Wood (sign-and-trade) and a 2026 lottery-protected first-round pick

The Dallas Mavericks have already added Richaun Holmes, Seth Curry and Grant Williams this offseason. Those moves, in concert with a full season with Kyrie Irving, should make the Mavs an early favorite for “lottery team that will make the playoffs in 2024.”

But in mid-July — well after the Williams move — longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein wrote that Dallas could be interested in helping the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors facilitate a Pascal Siakam trade by taking on Clint Capela.

The Mavericks may have an even simpler path to land Capela. Stein also reported that “Dallas has not ruled out entering into a sign-and-trade deal that lands Christian Wood with a new team if presented with such a scenario.”

If Wood signs a deal with a starting salary of around $12 million — which is far better than the veteran’s minimum contract he’s likely considering signing with another suitor as an unrestricted free agent — the above two-for-two trade works.

For the Hawks, this deal would open a path to start Onyeka Okongwu. It would also give them a floor-spacing backup 5 in Wood, whose shooting could widen driving lanes for Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Having another catch-and-shoot option to flank those drives in Tim Hardaway Jr. would also be helpful.

Meanwhile, Capela would give the Mavericks the bona fide starting 5 and rim-runner they’ve been after. He has plenty of experience playing with a high-volume pick-and-roll creator like Luka Dončić and is a far more formidable defensive anchor than what they had last season.

Garrison Mathews doesn’t offer the same shooting range as Hardaway, but he has hit 36.7 percent of his career triples. Having a wing and big on both sides of this trade doesn’t throw the balance out of either group like a Capela-for-Hardaway trade could.

Evan Fournier Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

The agreement: Evan Fournier and a 2024 second-round pick (via Detroit) to Doug McDermott

The New York Knicks finished fifth in the Eastern Conference last season, but they won their first round against the Cleveland Cavaliers and bring back several young and potentially developing rotation players. There’s a good chance they’ll be better, but the tier above them is full of candidates.

Veteran swingman Evan Fournier wasn’t a major reason for the Knicks’ success last year. He appeared in just 27 regular season games before falling out of head coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation entirely.

IN a recent interview with French L’Équipe, Fournier said he would be surprised to be back in New York in 2023-24. He also entertained the possibility of joining compatriot Victor Wembanyama at the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs have another shooter who is more consistent than Fournier in Doug McDermott. He has hit 41.0 percent of his career three-point attempts and could provide a boost to a Knicks team that finished 19th in three-point percentage last season.

For San Antonio, this deal would give Wembanyama a French teammate to help him transition to life in the NBA, and a second-round pick to command a higher salary than McDermott’s. Fournier should also still be able to play. He is younger than McDermott and averaged 14.1 points per game. game while shooting 38.9 percent from three in 2021-22.

Pascal, I’m sorry Brian Fluharty/Getty Images

The agreement: Pascal Siakam for De’Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanović, a 2024 lottery-protected first-round pick (via Sacramento) and a 2029 top-five protected first-round pick

Even if the previously detailed Clint Capela trade fell through, the Atlanta Hawks would still have enough to go after Pascal Siakam. They have been linked to him in rumours for the past several weeks, and the above agreement would make sense for both sides.

The Raptors had been clinging to some hope in the post-Kawhi Leonard era with Siakam, OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet. It never led to real contention, and VanVleet signed with the Houston Rockets in the offseason. It’s time for the Raptors to move on from this era in general.

De’Andre Hunter is four years younger than Siakam and still has at least some upside. He could be an interesting component in a largely positionless lineup with Anunoby (still only 26) and Scottie Barnes.

30-year-old Bogdan Bogdanović does not fit that timeline and his contract runs until 2027 and cannot be moved until mid-September. But he is potentially good enough to move again for another asset later on.

However, this trade is mostly about the picks for Toronto. Getting two first-timers for Siakam’s expiring contract is good value. He turns 30 this season and hasn’t had a true above-average shooting percentage since 2018-19.

So why would the Hawks give up all of that for Siakam? He’s an excellent playmaker for his position (he averaged 5.8 assists last season) and wouldn’t be higher than second in Atlanta’s offensive pecking order. He might even be third behind both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

Siakam struggled with his efficiency over the last few years because Toronto misjudged him as a No. 1 scoring option. He is far better suited to play off a star, as he did with Kawhi Leonard in 2018-19. That’s what he wanted to do in Atlanta.

Coby White and Zach LaVine Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

The agreement: Tobias Harris, a 2029 first-round pick and a 2030 first-round pick for Zach LaVine

James Harden wants to be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, but it doesn’t make much sense for them to trade Paul George or Kawhi Leonard. But Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey recently said“If we don’t get either a very good player or something we can turn into a very good player, then we just don’t want to [trade Harden].”

If the Sixers don’t trade Harden, they might want to use one of the league’s most interesting trade chips elsewhere.

Tobias Harris, who recently said “casual Sixers fans” want to trade him for a Crumbl cookie has an expiring $39.3 million contract that could be attractive to any team looking to get out of a long-term deal or kick-start a rebuild. The Chicago Bulls should be interested in doing just that.

Zach LaVine is a phenomenal offensive player who has averaged 25.4 points and 4.5 assists on a 56.8 effective field-goal percentage over the past three years, but Chicago has been thoroughly mediocre with a core of him, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević.

The Bulls can either continue to stall without a discernible path to contention through the length of LaVine’s deal (which expires in 2027), or they can take some draft assets and a contract that comes off the books in less than 12 months.

This deal might lower the Sixers’ ceiling a bit defensively, and an offense-enhancing move might seem unnecessary for a team that was third in points per 100 possessions last season. But the playoffs proved again that Joel Embiid and Harden’s foul play isn’t quite as effective outside of the regular season.

Having another option who can get buckets without relying too much on trips to the line would have helped the Sixers in the second round against the Boston Celtics.

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