10 NBA Trades So Crazy They Just Might Work

All trades were completed using ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.

1. The Knicks End The Carmelo Saga

Knicks get: Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, and Brice Johnson
Clippers get: Carmelo Anthony

Why it’s crazy: The Knicks have a delusional outlook on Carmelo’s trade value, and won’t accept names like Rivers and an over the hill Crawford for their star forward. With Chris Paul nursing an injury, the Clippers are likely to hold off on any roster changes ensuring a smooth transition when he returns.

Why it might work: New York has to cash in on Melo’s trade value before it tumbles even lower. Austin Rivers has improved every year since he has been with the Clippers, and is actually looking like a solid 3rd guard in a team’s rotation. The Knicks would almost certainly prefer to get Redick in the deal, but it just doesn’t make much sense for the Clippers to deal him away. Paul-Redick-Melo-Blake-DeAndre can compete with any starting lineup.

What will probably happen: The Knicks are going to keep Melo, realizing that the trade market didn’t buzz like they had expected. And the Clippers will be sad, as they get bounced out of the first round, again.

Likelihood: 7/10

2. San Antonio Lands Their Perfect Point Guard

Heat get: Tony Parker, David Lee, Kyle Anderson, and Dejounte Murray
Spurs get: Goran Dragic

Why it’s crazy: It would be uncharacteristic of the Spurs to give up that many assets for one player. The Heat have been surging recently, but are unlikely to garner enough wins to push them into a playoff spot. Popovich wouldn’t be too keen on sending an old friend like Parker to a situation like that.

Why it might work: The Spurs originally drafted Dragic, so they’re plenty familiar with his skillset and what he can bring to the table. On paper, he is seemingly a perfect fit alongside Leonard and Aldridge with his ability to score off the dribble and set up teammates off of drive-and-kicks. Parker has undoubtedly lost a step, and David Lee has been playing his best basketball in years giving the Heat some sort of legitimacy in the trade.

What will probably happen: The Spurs have never been a team that makes a trade for the sake of making a trade. They generally stay fairly quiet around the trade deadline, and that doesn’t seem likely to change.

Likelihood: 3/10

3. Three-team Deal; Holiday To The 76ers, Rubio and Okafor To The Pelicans

Pelicans get: Ricky Rubio, Jahlil Okafor
76ers get: Jrue Holiday, Langston Galloway, and Brandon Rush
Timberwolves get: Tyreke Evans, Alexis Ajinca, and Sergio Rodriguez

Why it’s crazy: Evans is a shell of his former self. The T’Wovles get shortchanged in the overall talent of their haul. Although he doesn’t exactly fit today’s prototypical mold of a center, Jahlil Okafor is still just one year removed from being the 3rd overall pick in the draft and is only 21 years old. Holiday could potentially be a one-year rental with his expiring contract.

Why it might work: The Pelicans finally get talent around Anthony Davis. Rubio and Buddy Hield complement each other well in the backcourt. Davis can mask Okafor’s deficiencies on the defensive end. Jrue Holiday goes back to Philadelphia where they desperately need backcourt help. The T’Wolves get the expiring contracts of Evans and Rodriguez, and can squeeze Ajinca in a back-up big role.

What will probably happen: The 76ers hold off on any trade involving Holiday, with hopes that he chooses to join the team in the offseason. The Pelicans believe Anthony Davis is the long-term solution center as he’s best suited playing as close to the basket as possible on the defensive end.

Likelihood: 8/10

4. The Thunder Get Westbrook Some Reinforcements

Nuggets get: Enes Kanter, Donatas Sabonis, and Alex Abrines
Thunder get: Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, and Johnny O’Bryant

Why it’s crazy: The Nuggets are like the Boston Celtics of the West. They have a nice blend of young, talented prospects and established, “in-their-prime” assets. In an ideal world, they would like to package any combination of those pieces together for a star, making this trade seem a bit questionable on their part. It’s not a bad trade by any means for either side, but the Nuggets at best would be moving laterally. Enes Kanter fracturing his forearm in a fight with a chair couldn’t have possibly helped his trade value.

Why it might work: Because the world needs the Thunder to be better. Think of all the juicy playoff matchups. Westbrook and the Westbrook-ettes versus James Harden and some other guys that happen to also be wearing Rockets jerseys. The possibilities are endless.

What will probably happen: The Nuggets will hold on to everybody and somehow draft or trade for several more B-/C+ players. The Thunder will be content with Westbrook doing literally everything. Thus is life.

Likelihood: 2/10

5. Paul Millsap and Joe Johnson Go Back Home

Hawks get: Derrick Favors, Joe Johnson, and Shelvin Mack
Jazz get: Paul Millsap

Why it’s crazy: The Jazz have been touted for their great depth over the past couple of years, and have played exceptionally well when the entire rotation has been healthy. Favors is six years younger than Millsap. Mack gives the Jazz insurance for injury-riddled guards George Hill and Dante Exum. Joe Johnson provides veteran leadership and could be exceptionally useful if the Jazz make a deep playoff run.

Why it might work: For starters, Johnson and Millsap would both be going back home. Johnson was a six-time All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks and posted his best numbers as a pro during his tenure with the team. Millsap was originally drafted by the Jazz and played well for them before bolting for Atlanta at the end of the 2013 season. For basketball purposes, Millsap is simply a better fit than Favors in the Jazz starting lineup. Favors and center Rudy Gobert occupy similar spots on the floor, and Gobert is the superior player. To Favors’ credit, he’s been trying to make the adjustment by playing further away from the basket and utilizing a lot of misdirection with his off-the-ball work, but Millsap is better suited for those responsibilities. Millsap is an excellent outside shooter, one of the better passing big men, and can switch on a majority of pick and rolls on the perimeter. Utah is better built to win now while Atlanta gets a younger replacement in Favors and two savvy former Hawks.

What will probably happen: A team like the Raptors aggressively pursues Millsap, thinking that he has a few more years left in the tank. Utah plays it cool, and steps aside as other suitors give up more than he’s worth.

Likelihood: 6/10

6. Bucks Form Mega-Death Lineup

Suns get: Greg Monroe, Rashad Vaughn, and 2 First round picks
Bucks get: Eric Bledsoe, Alan Williams

Why it’s crazy: We aren’t really sure what Eric Bledsoe’s value is. He came off the bench for a deep Clippers squad for a number of years, and then was shipped to Phoenix where they haven’t made the playoffs since he got there. He has all the talent and athleticism in the world, but his value could intensely vary from team to team. The Suns also don’t necessarily need Greg Monroe. It’s the worst time in NBA history to be a big man that doesn’t shoot threes or block shots.

Why it might work: A Bledsoe-Middleton-Giannis-Jabari-Henson death lineup is downright terrifying. Size, athleticism, shooting and defensive intensity matching up against the best of the East (literally just the Cavs) would get anyone excited. The Suns aren’t stoked about getting Monroe, but will live with a couple of first rounders as they cash in on Bledsoe at the peak of his trade value. Williams gives the Bucks a bit of toughness down low while the 20-year old former first-round pick Rashad Vaughn is a decent prospect at the wing.

What will probably happen: The Suns will hold on to Bledsoe. And as the 2018 trade deadline approaches, they’ll realize they made the same mistake they made with Brandon Knight, holding onto a player too long as his trade value drops.

Likelihood: 3/10

7. Lakers Trade For A Star Center, Again

Pistons get: Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams, Julius Randle, and Ivica Zubac
Lakers get: Andre Drummond, Stanley Johnson

Why it’s crazy: It’d be foolish for the Pistons to give up on Drummond already. He’s suffering from a bit of a down year, as Detroit has been statistically better this year on the defensive end when Drummond sits.

Why it might work: Detroit would be hard pressed to find a team willing to deal more young assets than the Lakers. Mitch Kupchak and company have been direly searching for a franchise cornerstone. Building around Drummond, D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram sounds like a nice start to something special brewing in Lakerland. Lou Williams gives the Pistons much needed outside shooting. Randle and Clarkson are versatile, unselfish pieces that would mesh well around the Pistons’ bevy of scorers. Stanley Johnson has yet to live up to the hype of being a lottery pick, and a change of scenery might be just what the native Californian needs. Zubac is actually one of the more interesting pieces in the deal, and has shown flashes in the limited amount of time he’s had thus far.

What will probably happen: Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak will stick to their guns and (unsuccessfully) attempt to lure another big name through free agency. Drummond fits in too well with coach Stan Van Gundy’s system, and they aren’t letting him go anytime soon.

Likelihood: 3/10

8. Warriors Bolster The Front Court

76ers get: Andre Iguodala, Ian Clark
Warriors get: Nerlens Noel, Nik Stauskas

Why it’s crazy: Iguodala has been a key cog in this Warriors team that has ran rampant on the league over the past four years. He’s one of the few guys that gives LeBron trouble on the defensive end and is a great, unselfish complement to the scoring minded players on the Dubs. On the Sixers’ end, why would anybody want to help the Warriors?

Why it might work: For all the reasons Iguodala is great for the Warriors, he would be equally as useful to this young 76ers team. Iguodala is clearly regressing, and could serve better as a veteran presence than a major contributor on a championship team. Plus, Andre would be going back to the team that drafted him in 2004. Noel’s contribution to the Warriors is evident. Getting younger never hurts, and his mobility fits in well with the fast-paced Warriors. It’s time to see if Ian Clark is actually a solid NBA player or if his production is due to the juggernaut of a team he’s on. Stauskas was touted as one of the best shooters in the draft a few years back, maybe seeing his teammates knock down long ball after long ball will get his confidence back up.

What will probably happen: Iguodala isn’t going anywhere. And the Warriors will wonder what they were thinking when he’s chucking up bricks from the corner as opponents leave him wide open.

Likelihood: 5/10

9. LeBron Gets His Playmaker

Bulls get: Iman Shumpert, Jordan McRae, and DeAndre Liggins
Cavs get: Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Canaan

Why it’s crazy: Rondo’s value is at an all-time low after an Instagram post calling out his Bulls teammates (Butler and Wade) for their lack of leadership. It wouldn’t be as big of a deal if he was playing well, but he’s clearly regressed as a player. The Cavs, a team that already suffers from a lack of depth, would be sending away three wings that all see playing time. The Bulls actually seem to like Canaan, but the Cavs need something back if they are trading away that many rotation guys.

Why it might work: If anybody can keep Rondo in check on and off the court, it’s the King. LeBron is known for bringing the best out of his teammates, and there won’t be any arguments about leadership on a team led by James. Rondo would be surrounded by shooters and finishers, the perfect set-up for him. The one position that the Cavs have a surplus of are wings, with an impending return from J.R. Smith to go along with Kyle Korver and Richard Jefferson. Sure, they’d get older, but LeBron gets his “playmaker”.

What will probably happen: The Cavs can’t gut their whole bench for an aging Rondo. Unfortunately, they just don’t have the right pieces to make the contracts work, even with the trade exceptions from Mike Dunleavy and Anderson Varejao. Cleveland will end up finding their back-up guard through free agency.

Likelihood: 6/10

10. Raptors Play It Safe

Magic get: Terrence Ross, Patrick Patterson
Raptors get: Serge Ibaka, Jodie Meeks

Why it’s crazy: It really isn’t all that crazy. This deal could totally happen within the next couple of weeks. But for argument’s sake, the Raptors may be apprehensive about trading a 25-year old Ross that is still oozing with potential for Ibaka who is a free agent this summer.

Why it might work: The name that has been circulating around Raptors’ trade rumors for months has been Paul Millsap. Millsap has a player option at the end of the season, and he intends to opt-out in search of a long-term deal. Raptors star guard Kyle Lowry intends to do the same, putting the Raptors in a tough spot. Ibaka should come at a more reasonable price if the Raptors want to extend his contract past this season, and he brings a similar skill set to Millsap. He isn’t quite the passer or scorer, but Ibaka protects the paint and has developed into a deadly outside shooter. Patrick Patterson gives the Magic a poor-man’s Ibaka, while Meeks gives the Raptors much needed three-point shooting from the wing.

What will probably happen: The Raptors will bite on Millsap instead, and after losing to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals, they will be dumbfounded when Millsap and Lowry ask for their money.

Likelihood: 8/10

Sources: ESPN, Quickmeme, USA Today