Every year in the NBA there are injuries, trades and players being waived. Often the best trades a team can make are when a player struggling on their current team is given a second chance on a new team.
Portland Trail Blazers sophomore Zach Collins is a prototypical NBA center. Seven feet tall with shooting and shot blocking ability, he was a worthy tenth pick in last years draft. Collins had a strong rookie year and looked to be the long term back up to Jusuf Nurkic.
This year it was expected Collins would play in more small ball lineups when Portland looked to stretch the floor. Contrary to this, Portland have played him less as the year went on. Playing 21 minutes a game at the start of the season this is down to 12 in February. Coach Stotts has also played Collins at the four this year. Though a versatile defender, he is not quick enough to defend small ball fours and cant attack off the dribble. With Enes Kanter being acquired on the buyout market, Collins has had nights where he didn’t suit up at all.
Improving in every area statistically while also bulking up, Collins still looks to be a starting center on a good team. It says a lot that Kanter was signed to play backup center ahead of him though. Moving him in the off-season with two years on his rookie deal looks to be the best option for both him and Portland.
Shooting guard Gary Harris is in his fifth year in the league with the Denver Nuggets. As a three and D wing he is of high value in the league. Drafted 19th in 2019, he has improved his game every year and is the Nuggets best guard defender. Switching often between guard and small forward, Harris has flashed improved play making in half court sets and in transition.
Harris was rewarded for his strong play and potential with a four year 84-million extension. With this in mind it looked likely that Harris would be the starting two guard for Denver.
Injuries to Harris and the development of point guard Monte Morris has meant the Nuggets now need a rethink. As Jamal Murray isn’t a true point guard, playing him with Morris has meant the Nuggets are more well rounded than when Harris and Murray play together. In addition, Denver has had its second best season since the 1976.
Jamal Murray has star potential so this may mean Harris is expendable. Denver fans may see trading Harris away as a negative, but the franchise can pride itself on its talent development. This off-season will be an interesting one for Denver as they shape their team for the coming years.
Bradley Beal is one of the best shooting guards in the league. Now a two-time All-Star, Beal has the all round skills and pedigree to be a future Hall of Famer. This year he has mastered using his off hand at the rim and can be now considered an elite scorer.
Though Beal is having the best season of his career, the Washington Wizards are going through their toughest year in recent memory. Superstar John Wall tragically slipped over at his home, rupturing his left Achilles. Wall is predicted to be out for all of next season, just as his 170 million extension is beginning. Washington then traded away young wings Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre at the trade deadline. These moves may signal that a full scale rebuild is imminent.
Beal’s trade value wont be any higher than this summer. At age 26 with two years still left on his deal, Washington are able to get maximum value for him.
Beal may decide he doesn’t want to spend his prime with a team who are in the draft lottery. While Washington may also see the value in moving their best asset for draft picks or young players.
Much has been made of Andrew Wiggins star potential. With the body and skills made for NBA stardom, the former number one pick’s first 3 years were very promising. Rookie of the year. 23.6 points a game in only his third season and a max deal to boot.
This was as good as it got for Wiggins though. The introduction of Jimmy Butler seemed to hurt him, but he only has himself to blame for his lackadaisical play. Butler’s criticism of Wiggins was on the money. Lack of effort and application on both ends has been the story of the last 2 years for him. At six foot eight with a seven foot wingspan, Wiggins has all the tools to be an All-Star.
A mammoth contract combined with regressing play might mean the Timberwolves try and move him. Ex-Coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t get the best out of Wiggins, but it would take a brave team to punt on him with 121 million salary owed for the next 4 years. The best move for all parties may be sending him to a new team where he can be the focal point on offense.
Jaylen Brown was drafted third by Boston in 2016. Taking a massive leap last year, Brown was one of Bostons best in their unlikely playoff run while Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were injured.
Showcasing a sweet shooting stroke from deep coupled with an improved handle, Brown was a main option in the playoffs. His play in the Conference Finals seems a distant memory now with Boston struggling to integrate Hayward and Irving back into the lineup.
Brown’s best position is small forward. Though able to play at shooting guard, Brown doesn’t have the play making ability to be a second ball handler. Jason Tatum’s ascension to NBA stardom has pushed Brown’s star potential out of the spotlight. Also, Hayward’s max deal means they need to find minutes for the 2017 All-Star.
Boston may think the time is right to free up the logjam on the roster before they have to give Brown a new contract.