This is my second part of a 10 part series, where I will be talking about moves that 3 NBA teams must make this offseason. Like in my last article, all of the teams that I am going to be talking about today are just one move away from championship contention.
Note: all of the proposed trades have matching salary cap implications according to ESPN Trade Machine.
1. Boston Celtics
The Celtics are currently the 3 seed in the East. This past off-season they acquired star point guard Kemba Walker. The Celtics also have two excellent young players in Jaylen Brown (age 23), and Jayson Tatum (age 22). The Celtics also have a strong defensive player in Marcus Smart, and a very good role player in Gordon Hayward. The one thing the Celtics lack is a center. Their current starting center is Enes Kanter, who is just not very good. He put up an unimpressive 8 ppg and 7 rpg this season. Worse, he gets destroyed when getting matched up with good centers. The guy Boston should target is Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic. Vucevic has been an all-star caliber center these past few years. He put up 19.5 points, 11 boards, and 3.7 assists this year. The Magic are not by any means a championship contender, so they need to do something to get out of the middle of the pack and the weak draft picks that come with that position. Vucevic is 29 years old and makes $28 million, so moving him out opens up cap space and options for Orlando. To get a star like Vucevic, the Celtics would have to pay a price. Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis, and Romeo Langford should do the trick. This is a very high price and the Celtics may not be willing to pay it. But Vucevic is a very good center and would help the Celtics team tremendously. With Vucevic alongside Kemba, Brown and Tatum, the Celtics would be a feared team in the East and a top title contender for years to come.
2. Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are a very good team. They are currently 4th in the East, but I think they are better than the Celtics. Like Boston, the Heat have a group of very talented young players. They have Kendrick Nunn, who came in at the 7 spot in my Top 10 Rising Stars list. They also have Tyler Hero, who they selected 13th overall in the 2019 NBA draft. They also have Duncan Robinson, who proved that he is a very good player this year. They Heat also have some great role players in Andre Iguodala and Goran Dragic. Lastly, the Heat feature Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, who are undoubtedly the stars on this team. Overall the Heat have a very good and fairly deep roster. Unlike the Celtics and all three teams discussed in my last article, I don't think the Heat need a star to be a championship caliber team. The Heat just need a solid player who can put up around 16 points a night, and they would be set for a championship. The two players their front office should target are Buddy Hield or Caris LeVert. Hield and LeVert are both just coming into their primes as players. Both provide around 18 points a night and do not demand the ball. The trade that I propose is the same for both of these players. The Heat would give up Tyler Hero and a first rounder in order to get either of these players. This would be a great deal for both sides. Hield is the oldest part of the dynamic three on the Kings (along with Marvin Bagley III and De'Aaron Fox), and Tyler Hero's upside is potentially higher than Hield, and Hero is younger. Not to mention the fact that they would also get a first round pick. I think Tyler Hero would also be a great addition to that Nets team. With a player like Buddy Hield or Caris Levert on top of an already very good team, I wouldn't be surprised if the Heat reach the finals next year.
3. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets are a very underrated team. They are 3rd in the very stacked West. They have arguably the best Center in the league in Nikola Jokic, and they have a very underrated point guard in Canadian, Jamal Murray. Denver also has very solid players in Gary Harris and Paul Millsap, along with a very young Michael Porter Jr. and recently drafted Bol Bol. Denver is a very good defensive team, ranking 5th in the points allowed per game category with 107.4. Denver just needs more scoring. They are currently rated 20th in points per game. The player that they should target is DeMar DeRozan. DeMar has slowed down since being traded from the Raptors, but he is still very solid and has put up 22.2 points, 5.6 boards and 5.6 assists a game this year. DeMar is not known for defense. But he brings scoring and a terrific attitude every night, which is exactly what Denver needs from him. Denver would have to give up Will Barton, Gary Harris and Bol Bol in order to receive Demar Derozan and a second round pick. I think losing their starting shooting guard and small forward would definitely hurt Denver. But they are getting an offensive upgrade in Derozan who can help space the floor with his inside scoring and two-point jump shots. With this deal Denver becomes a championship threat in no time.
Make sure to stay tuned for the next part in this series!
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