Columnists, Sports

The 2-3 Zone, an NBA Trade Deadline Special

The NBA trade deadline is just a couple days away, and the league is … quiet. Unfortunately, like many past years, the trade market in the 2019-20 NBA season is especially uneventful. There have been a mere five trades so far this season, and most reports indicate that the deadline won’t bring too many more.

With that in mind, let’s get into a trade deadline breakdown because the prospect of any number of Adrian Wojnarowski breaking news tweets is enough to drive my excitement for this Thursday.

The “3”

First and foremost, the Boston Celtics need to stand pat. There have been a lot of different rumors surrounding the Celtics and various centers. Earlier in the season, they were linked with Andre Drummond and even Steven Adams. More recently, they have been linked with Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets.

Despite the constant discussion of what rim-running, prolific-rebounding center the Celtics should try to trade for, there really isn’t a trade out there that makes much sense for this Celtics team.

Their trio of Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter and Robert Williams III are making less than $12 million combined this season, and frankly, they get the job done.

The Celtics have the third-best defensive rating in the league this season, and they’ve proven that they can handle the East’s best bigs this season. In their last game against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics held Joel Embiid to 1-11 shooting from the floor.

The Celtics should be just fine with their current roster moving forward.

One trade that definitely needs to happen though is for the Minnesota Timberwolves to move Robert Covington.

When discussing possible Covington trades, it’s easy to get caught up in the other teams that might potentially be involved. Yes, the Houston Rockets could really benefit from having Covington, but so could almost any team in the NBA. It’s also easy to get caught up in the haul that the Timberwolves could bring in. 

Yes, an extra first-round pick for the Wolves would be great. What people should be talking about, however,  is how important a move is for the Timberwolves. They’ve plunged toward the bottom of the Western Conference standings, as they’ve lost 12 straight games. Karl-Anthony Towns hasn’t won a game since November and the team is becoming unbearable to watch.

The Timberwolves need to pick out the best offer for Covington and accept it as quickly as they can because this team needs any change possible to inject some life into them.

Perhaps that new life can come in the form of one of the deadline’s most intriguing pieces: D’Angelo Russell.

This is a lost season for the Golden State Warriors. They currently have the worst record in the league, even with Russell having a quietly impressive season in his limited games.

If the Warriors play their cards right, they can emerge as title contenders again next season. They can bring back a healthy Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to go along with a top five draft pick and whatever haul Russell can bring in. 

With the right trade for Russell, the Warriors could be the envy of the league once again.

The “2”

There are a whole ton of quiet subplots this trade season that I could discuss here, but two in particular really stand out to me.

The first comes in the form of a 6-foot-8-inch tweener from the University of Kansas named Morris. And no, it’s not Markieff Morris. I mean the New York Knicks’ Marcus Morris Sr., Markieff’s identical twin. The Knicks’ Morris was a highly-coveted free agent because of his abilities as a stretch four and his manageable contract.

Now, he’s the leading scorer on a terrible team with no direction. The Knicks’ clearly have bigger plans with their sights mostly set on 2021 free agency, and they aren’t doing themselves many favors by just sitting on Morris for the next year and a half.

There will be a lot of strong offers for the bruising Morris, and the Knicks should do their best to foster a bidding war for Morris among the NBA’s current contenders.

The Denver Nuggets are the final trade deadline wrinkle I’m intrigued by as we head into Thursday. They’re currently third in the Western Conference standings and sit just four games back of the Los Angeles Lakers, but many don’t see them as serious championship contenders. 

Still, the Nuggets have a deep roster and tons of young talent, and if they could pull off a trade for Jrue Holiday, it could transform them into serious competition for the duo of teams occupying Staples Center.

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