Kevin Durant no longer wants a trade out of Brooklyn. Donovan Mitchell has a new home in Cleveland. While much of the major offseason drama has now been settled, there could still be a few smaller-scale deals to be made before NBA training camps open later this month.
The Utah Jazz still have a few veteran pieces to move, while fellow rebuilding teams like the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs have some attractive vets ready to help contenders as well.
We shouldn’t see any more All-Stars switching teams before the season begins, although the following players could be key pieces in their new team’s rotations for 2022-23.
Utah Jazz Receive: 2029 second-round pick (top-55 protected), $6.1 million trade exception
The Celtics should be on the lookout for backup forwards now that Danilo Gallinari could miss the entire season with a torn ACL. Finding one without parting with any rotation players or first-round picks should be the priority, keeping the team’s present and future intact.
Gay would be a low-cost option, as the 36-year-old forward fits into a $6.9 million trade exception the Celtics possess from a previous Juancho Hernangomez trade. Utah shouldn’t ask for much in return, as they’d likely be happy just to dump his remaining two-year, $12.6 million contract from their rebuilding roster.
The veteran forward averaged 8.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 18.9 minutes primarily as a reserve, hitting 34.5 percent of his threes. Utah was 3.6 points per 100 possessions better with Gay on the floor, a sign he can still make a positive impact in limited minutes.
Utah gets a future protected second-round pick, but primarily does the deal to save money, open a roster spot and create a new $6.1 million trade exception it can use some time over the next calendar year.
Houston Rockets Receive: 2023 first-round pick (via Washington Wizards), G/F Evan Fournier
This is an addition by addition, but also an addition by subtraction move by the Knicks.
Signing Fournier and Kemba Walker last season turned out to be huge mistakes, as the defensive deficiencies by both simply didn’t warrant the offensive production both brought to the floor. When removing all lineups that included Walker and/or Fournier from last season, the Knicks net rating jumped
After trading Walker to the Detroit Pistons, it’s time the Knicks moved Fournier as well.
Gordon would be a nice replacement, someone who can join the starting lineup in Fournier’s place or be a key rotation piece off the bench. He averaged 13.4 points, 2.7 assists and shot 41.2 percent from three last season while playing good defense.
For Houston to agree to take on Fournier’s remaining contract (two years and $36.9 million guaranteed), the Rockets get Washington’s first-round pick in 2023, originally acquired by the team in the John Wall-Russell Westbrook swap. The pick is lottery protected next summer, 1-12 in 2024, 1-10 in 2025 and 1-8 in 2026 before becoming 2026 and 2027 second-round picks if not previously conveyed.
The Rockets can actually use Fournier’s three-point shooting around their young core and can look to flip him at the trade deadline or next summer when he’s on an expiring deal.
Charlotte Hornets Receive: F Lauri Markkanen
Utah Jazz Receive: C Mason Plumlee, C Kai Jones
The Jazz should keep Collin Sexton (who agreed to a four-year, $72 million deal) and rookie Ochai Agbaji from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Donovan Mitchell trade, although Markkanen (25) may be too old to fit into their rebuild plans.
If he’s available, the Hornets should have interest in the versatile forward with Miles Bridges’ future with the team in question.
Markkanen can start at power forward for Charlotte or rotate between the 3, 4 and even 5 off the bench. He moves well for a 7-footer and averaged 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and hit 35.8 percent of his threes as the Cavs starting small forward last season, improving the team by 4.1 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor.
In an East that’s rapidly getting better, the Hornets can’t afford to sit around and do nothing. A frontcourt of Markkanen, P.J. Washington and first-round pick Mark Williams is a nice blend of outside shooting, scoring and defense and gives Charlotte play-in hope.
Utah gets off Markkanen’s remaining three-year, $51.8 million contract (the final season is partially-guaranteed at $6 million), can re-route Plumlee’s expiring $9 million deal to a contender and use Jones, 21, as a developmental center to plug into this young core.
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: G/F Josh Richardson
San Antonio Spurs Receive: F Cedi Osman, F Dylan Windler, 2025 second-round pick
Following the trade for Donovan Mitchell, the Cavs now have two All-Stars in their backcourt with Darius Garland and a frontcourt which features an All-Star in Jarrett Allen and a sure-fire future star in Evan Mobley.
The Cavaliers’ focus now should shift to the wing, as both Caris LeVert and Isaac Okoro aren’t perfect fits as a starting small forward.
Richardson is a strong blend of outside shooting and defense, as he connected on 41.5 percent of three-pointers last season and can cover multiple positions with his 6’5″, 200-pound frame. The 28-year-old wing would be a good connecting piece between the stars in Cleveland’s lineup, spacing the floor but not dominating the ball.
Osman, 27, isn’t quite young enough to fit the Spurs’ rebuild but he’s on a good contract (two years, $14.1 million with a team option) and can be flipped at the trade deadline. Windler has battled injuries in his three seasons but has terrific three-point shooting potential San Antonio can attempt to extract.
Getting a future second-rounder in addition to Osman and Windler should help the Spurs call this trade in.
Phoenix Suns Receive: F Bojan Bogdanovic, SG Jordan Clarkson
Utah Jazz Receive: 2023 first-round pick (top-5 protected), 2023 second-round pick, F Jae Crowder, SG Landry Shamet, F/C Dario Saric
Can the Suns rely on internal improvements to make it out of the second round this year, especially with Chris Paul set to turn 38 in May? They shouldn’t wait to find out.
Both Bogdanovic (starting power forward) and Clarkson (sixth man) would be terrific additions to this Phoenix core, one that should still have championship aspirations.
Bogdanovic (18.1 points, 38.7 percent from three) was the second-leading scorer for a Utah Jazz team that finished first in total offense last season and is a talented shot-maker from all over the court. With Deandre Ayton not yet becoming a reliable (or willing) three-point shooter, Bogdanovic gives this Suns offense the spacing it needs to thrive.
Clarkson was the NBA’s 2020-21 Sixth Man of the Year and averaged 15.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists off the bench for Utah last season. He’s a big upgrade over Shamet as an offensive threat behind Devin Booker who gives the Suns some extra juice.
Utah does this deal primarily for the picks, but can also flip Crowder’s and Saric’s expiring contracts to contenders at some point. Shamet, 25, could thrive in a bigger role with the Jazz should they decide to keep the 6’4″ shooting guard.
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