NBA Rumors: 5 left-field trades to blow up the NBA trade deadline

Let's get creative.

Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler
Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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The NBA trade deadline is just over a week away. From the looks of it, we probably shouldn't expect a major blockbuster. A quick scan of the rumor mill points to Dejounte Murray as the biggest name being earnestly discussed. There are stray mentions of Lauri Markkanen or Mikal Bridges, but only to reject the premise of their availability. The deadline could be busy, but it might not shake the league's foundation.

That said, you can never say never in the NBA. It can take mere minutes for GMs to strike up a conversation. One second, talks are dead in the water. The next, @wojespn notifications are sending your phone into a tizzy.

It's always fun to put some brainpower into figuring out how star trades might go down. The trade deadline is all about hypotheticals — putting real logic into entirely made-up scenarios. The thing is, sometimes those made-up scenarios aren't so made up. NBA front offices are privy to more data and inside information than we will ever see. But, at the end of the day, they watch the same games we do. If there's a logical pathway to a trade, there's a good chance your favorite team's GM is thinking the same thoughts as you. Whether he can act on those thoughts is another matter entirely, but it's worth throwing out a few possibilities.

So, let's put on our thinking caps, break out the trade machine, and make some magic happen. Here are five trade proposals to shift the balance of power in the NBA.

5. Wolves trade Karl-Anthony Towns to Grizzlies


The Minnesota Timberwolves recoup draft capital after breaking the bank for Rudy Gobert. That is the first motive here. This also increases Minnesota's rotational flexibility. Marcus Smart can still guard every position. Luke Kennard has legitimate gravity as a shooter on offense. Karl-Anthony Towns is great — and the twin towers experiment has been a rousing success this season — but Minnesota needs to start thinking about the playoffs.

It's going to be difficult to maintain their defensive success with KAT and Gobert sharing the court in certain postseason matchups. Smart is a proven weapon on that stage, giving the Wolves another switchable wing-guard hybrid to join the Minnesota's collection of perimeter stoppers — think Jaden McDaniels, Anthony Edwards, Kyle Anderson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

On the other hand, Minnesota can still use Naz Reid to go "big" against Denver, OKC, and other teams where that option plays to their advantage. Reid is fully prepared for an expanded role. This isn't addition by subtraction; KAT is too good for that phrase to get thrown around. But, adding two rotation guards and upping Reid's minutes is more than enough to offset KAT's departure.

For the Memphis Grizzlies, this is an opportunity to pair Ja Morant with the best shooting 7-footer in the NBA. Morant is a walking paint touch. Few point guards can more dependably collapse a defense. KAT can also toss his weight around in the middle and exploit post-up mismatches. Jaren Jackson Jr. gets a proper center to grow alongside. He, too, is a major volume shooting threat in the frontcourt. Desmond Bane gets 'em up as well. The Grizzlies' offense at full strength next season would overwhelm a lot of teams.