It is my honest belief that if I, a five foot, eight inch tall history major from a division-two school who has not played a minute of organized basketball since the seventh grade, were to have declared the NBA draft six months ago, it would be more likely that I were drafted than that I would ever have been able to predict the current National Basketball League standings as they sit now. My best guess is that several deals with the devil have finally come to pass. When the team that was the finals favorite only last year are sitting at rock-bottom in the west, and a Philadelphia team laden with talent three benches deep is slowly crashing and burning like some kind of patriotic Hindenburg, something must be wrong.
Above all else, what this chaos has done is throw the trade market for a loop. Teams that thought they would be in the middle of a long rebuilding phase suddenly find themselves active on the market, meanwhile organizations that could have sworn they would be contenders are now selling house to preserve what liquid assets they can towards an inevitable reconstruction. With the trade deadline less than a week away (Feb. 6), it’s time we took a look at what players are staying put, and who’s got some packing to do.
Kevin Love – Cleveland
The former UCLA center is one of the best pieces the 29th ranked Cavaliers squad has going for it. He’s versatile, strong in the paint and can shoot the three if he has to. However, after signing a four year, $120 million extension with the team in 2018, Cleveland has been simply unable to utilize him. Love harbors clear disdain for his teammates in Colin Sexton and Darius Garland, and would more than likely adore a chance to go somewhere that could properly apply his contributions. Portland could be a likely landing spot as the Trailblazers are slowly falling out of playoff contention and could use a piece like Love to pull themselves back to the glory of former years.
Bogdan Bogdanović – Sacramento
A desire for Bogdanović around the league isn’t just speculated, it’s known. In prior years, teams like the Lakers have made moves for him only to be turned down. However, that picture has now changed. The Kings currently sit six games out of a playoff spot with a budget too small to make any serious moves. On top of that, Bogdanović is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season and Sacramento could use the assets if they are looking to lock up the pieces they currently have for the future. Bogdan’s stout defense and history of foreign accolades could be recognized somewhere like Detroit or Phoenix where hopes are high but both sides of the ball are lacking.
Furkan Korkmaz – Philadelphia
This young guard from the city of brotherly love has made quite a name for himself in the last two months, slowly becoming a go-to long range shooter for the Sixers. But Philadelphia is one of the best defensive forces in the league, and despite a clear need for shooting, the team can’t afford him as a defensive liability. Odds are, while searching for their own hopeful additions, Korkmaz will be sent away for slightly more seasoned blood. There are several teams who, if they were willing to develop him more and trust him in a major offensive position, could make the Turkish shooter into something truly special. Orlando or Chicago both represent teams that have an already stout defense, but still lack the necessary shooting.
With less than a week to go the number of deals will continue to rise. All of these players could be leaving, or they could all stay. If the first half of the year is any indication, logical analysis is likely set to be thrown out the window. Like I said before, if I could have told you what was going to happen so far, I would be playing already. In the meantime, be on the lookout for your hometown to be making some major moves: either in or out.
Matthew Shimkonis is a first-year student majoring in history. MS925373@wcupa.edu.