August 19, 2018
Cousins, NBA
DeMarcus Cousins was the biggest name to be dealt in BBALLBREAKDOWN’s mock NBA trade deadline. (Photo: Winslow Townson – USA TODAY Sports)

This year, BBALLBREAKDOWN decided to do something a little different to preview the NBA’s trade deadline. We gave 30 writers/podcasters/twitter personalities control of an NBA team for a week and let them negotiate deals with each other.

Some, unhappy with their team, set out to remake the roster entirely. Others made moves along the margins to bolster their team or collect future assets.

Hopefully, as intriguing as the mock trades are, the insights provided from the process are just as valuable.

Below are the teams listed with their GM and transactions. We will be updating this page throughout the week with links to independent trade analysis and insights from the GMs themselves. 

Atlanta Hawks | Kacy Sager

  • The Hawks send Mike Muscala and Mike Scott to the Chicago Bulls for Nikola Mirotic and two second round picks (Chicago’s 2018 and 2020).
  • The Hawks send Taurean Prince to the Portland Trail Blazers for Noah Vonleh, Pat Connaughton and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2017 first round pick.

Process Analysis

Boston Celtics | John Karalis

  • In a three-team deal, the Boston Celtics send Amir Johnson, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Demetrius Jackson, the 2017 Brooklyn Nets’ first round pick (the Boston pick will go to Brooklyn in the pick swap), the 2019 Memphis first round pick (lightly protected) and $1 million to the Sacramento. The Sacramento Kings send DeMarcus Cousins, Matt Barnes and Ben McLemore to Boston and waive Ty Lawson to open up the necessary roster spots. Boston sends James Young and Minnesota’s 2017 second round pick to Utah (required for roster spots) to facilitate the deal.
  • Boston trades Jonas Jerebko, 2017 Los Angeles Clippers’ second round pick and Detroit’s 2019 second round pick back to the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris.

Process Analysis

Brooklyn Nets | Jesse Blanchard

  • The Nets send Brook Lopez and Sean Kilpatrick to the Portland Trail Blazers for Al-Farouq Aminu, Festus Ezeli, Ed Davis and the Trail Blazers’ 2017 and 2019 first round picks with top 10 protections for two years—if picks not conveyed first year, will transfer to next available year for two years until the pick loses protections. Nets waive Quincy Acy.
  • Nets flip Al-Farouq Aminu, Randy Foye and cash to the Orlando Magic for Evan Fournier.

Process Analysis:

Taking the reins from Sean Marks for a week for the BBALLBREAKDOWN mock draft, my first course of action was to determine the franchise’s best assets. None stood out more than the coaching staff, led by Kenny Atkinson.

Atkinson was hired for his player development chops, hailed for his work with the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks. I felt it important to put him in a position to succeed. There isn’t a move available for the Nets to fix this mess in one trade deadline, so swinging for the fences was never an option. Instead, to continue the baseball analogies, the approach was to lay down some sacrifice bunts to move runners into scoring position.

That means starting to build the infrastructure now to accommodate chasing stars via the draft or free agency. That means putting a culture in place, creating some corporate knowledge and developing versatile, young players.

For more insight into the Brooklyn Nets mock trade deadline, click here.

Charlotte Hornets | Reinis Lacis

  • No trades made

Process Analysis

They’re locked in on a core of their own draftees—Kemba Walker, Cody Zeller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist—and a couple of veterans in Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams. Those five players eat up the most of the $87 million the Hornets are slated to pay in 2018-2019 (now with Miles Plumlee on their books that number is up to a bombastic 100 million).

With Kemba Walker developing into an All-Star level player and the rest of the gang contributing to coach Steve Clifford’s principles, Charlotte is also likely to be good enough not to pick in the lottery.

Being a perennial playoff candidate after the mishaps of the Charlotte Bobcats isn’t a bad place to be in. However, it’s probable that it’s a good team with little chance of improving into a very good one, sans a wise pick late in the draft or steal in the transaction world.

For more insight into the Charlotte Hornets mock trade deadline negotiations, click here.

Chicago Bulls | Morten Stig Jensen

  • The Bulls send Dwyane Wade, Michael Carter-Williams and Isaiah Canaan for Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas and Brandon Jennings.
  • The Bulls send Nikola Mirotic and their 2018 and 2020 second round picks for Mike Muscala and Mike Scott.

Process Analysis

Cleveland Cavaliers | Justin Rowan

  • The Cavaliers send Iman Shumpert, the rights to Cedi Osman and the right to swap 2019 second round picks for Alec Burks, Shelvin Mack, the second round pick from the Los Angeles Lakers or Minnesota Timberwolves. Shelvin Mack traded into a separate transaction to fit into a trade exception.

Process Analysis

Dallas Mavericks | Eric Yeboah

  • The Mavericks send Andrew Bogut, Deron Williams, Justin Anderson, 2018 unprotected first round pick for Hassan Whiteside and Josh Richardson.
  • The Mavericks send Wes Matthews to the Portland Trail Blazers for Allen Crabbe.
  • The Mavericks send Seth Curry, J.J. Barea and a 2020 first round pick for Jahlil Okafor.

Process Analysis

Denver Nuggets | Brandon Jefferson

  • The Nuggets send Wilson Chandler to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and the Rockets’ 2017 first round pick.

Process Analysis

Detroit Pistons | Matthew Way

  • The Pistons send Marcus Morris to the Celtics for Jonas Jerebko, 2017 Clippers second round pick and their 2019 second round pick back.

Process Analysis

Golden State Warriors | Evan Zamir

  • No trades made

Process Analysis

Houston Rockets | Josh Eberley

  • The Houston Rockets send Corey Brewer and their 2017 first round pick for Wilson Chandler.

Process Analysis:

Taking over the Houston Rockets was a fun exercise, though, it required greater reservation.

Daryl Morey has put together a hell of a team that is humming along at a pace few thought they could achieve.

A lot of teams in this game were looking to make a major shakeup at the deadline, I didn’t feel that was the move for Houston. Although a number of things were discussed and offered, in the end, removing a weak link from the rotation (Corey Brewer) was the prudent choice.

Wilson Chandler gives a large upgrade over Brewer in those 15 minutes per game and also gives defensive versatility over Ryan Anderson and Sam Dekker at the four spot. While it’s never fun to give up a pick, it’s a pick that we know will be near the back end. I believe the Chandler move made the Rockets tougher heading into the playoffs and that was ultimately the goal.

Indiana Pacers | Shane Young

  • The Pacers send Rodney Stuckey, *a 2019 top 14 protected pick and a **conditional second round pick to the Phoenix Suns for P.J. Tucker.*The pick will turn into 2020 and 2021 second round pick if not conveyed by 2020.
    **If Rodney Stuckey opts in, the Suns will receive the Pacers’ next available second round pick (top 48 protected). If he opts out, no pick is conveyed.

Process Analysis

Los Angeles Clippers | Coach Nick

  • The Los Angeles Clippers send DeAndre Jordan to the Portland Trail Blazers for Brook Lopez (acquired from Brooklyn) and Rodney Hood (acquired from Utah).

Process Analysis:

When I first heard I was going to manage the Los Angeles Clippers, I was excited about the prospects of a blockbuster deal involving Blake Griffin. I felt the Clippers really needed a different type of player at the power forward spot – someone that could play great defense and also shoot the three. Little did I realize how difficult it is to trade someone that makes $20 million a year. To make salaries match, often times it would require receiving three players back, and the math became unbearable.

Then there was the whole “lack of a market” thing for him. No one seemed to want a superstar on the back half of his career who is already displaying signs of slowing down. Go figure.

I almost had a deal with Boston that would’ve been a complete and utter steal for me, Crowder, Olynyk, and Zeller, plus 2 picks, for Blake.

Imagine the Clippers going small ball to start with Crowder at the 4, and then you could bring in Olynyk off the bench as a productive big man. Or you could even start Speights and put Crowder at the small forward spot.

Unfortunately, the Celtics GM got smart pretty quickly and took the deal off the table, and that left me with very few options.

While the rest of the league jumped one shark after another, I was left to ponder a trade with the Jazz, which I ultimately took, almost for the sake of making a damn trade. And getting Brook Lopez improved the offensive side compared to DeAndre – while plugging in Rodney Hood – who I’d also play a little at small ball 4, really got me excited because, well, it’s Rodney Hood, momma.

Overall, I think I moved the needle for the Clippers, providing them some excitement they otherwise might not get in real life, as Chris Paul barely makes it back before the playoffs, and the Clippers possibly in the seventh seed by then.

Los Angeles Lakers | Darius Soriano

  • The Lakers send Lou Williams and Thomas Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Cam Payne, Josh Huestis and the rights to swap for the better of the Nuggets/Thunder 2018 second round pick.

Process Analysis

Memphis Grizzlies | Sharon Brown

  • No trades made

Process Analysis

Miami Heat | Dave Dufour

  • The Heat send Tyler Johnson, Udonis Haslem and James Johnson to the New York Knicks for Joakim Noah, Sasha Vujacic, Maurice Ndour, the Knicks’ 2018 first round pick and the Bulls’ 2017 second round pick.
  • The Heat send Hassan Whiteside and Josh Richardson to the Mavericks for Andrew Bogut, Deron Williams, Justin Anderson and the Mavericks’ 2018 first round pick.

Process Analysis

Milwaukee Bucks | Duncan Smith

  • The Bucks send Malcolm Brogdon, Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton, Thon Maker and John Henson for Damian Lillard, Mason Plumlee, Evan Turner and Shabazz Napier.

Process Analysis:

I hadn’t planned on doing much other than facilitating other deals as a third team playing a small role, but I jumped at the chance to get Damian Lillard when offered. In order to make the numbers work, I was a bit too willing to take on Evan Turner’s contract and I left myself depleted at power forward.

While I was pleased to have addressed two of what I considered to be the Bucks biggest needs (shooting and another ball handler), I was immediately planning to use Lillard as a trade chip in order to flesh out the four spot. I tried to work something out with Sacramento in order to get Boogie (playing him primarily at the four, where 40 percent of his minutes have been this season), but nothing worked there. I also tried my luck with the Pistons, my hometown team, in order to get some combination of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jon Leuer, but while the allure of Damian Lillard running the point in Detroit initially swayed Matt Way, we didn’t work anything out there either.

Since nothing panned out in the way of secondary trades, I’ll be satisfied with a Lillard, Tony Snell, Giannis, Mirza Teletovic (yikes), Greg Monroe starting lineup.

I intend to go after Ty Lawson, who was waived by the Kings.

Minnesota Timberwolves | J.M. Poulard

  • No trades made

Process Analysis

New Orleans Pelicans | Jake Madison

  • No trades made

Process Analysis

New York Knicks | Rob Perez

  • The Knicks send Joakim Noah, Sasha Vujacic, Maurice Ndour, 2018 first round pick and the Bulls’ 2017 second round pick to the Heat for Tyler Johnson, Udonis Haslem and James Johnson. Knicks buyout Haslem, who retires and joins Heat front office.
  • The Knicks send Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas and Brandon Jennings to the Bulls for Dwyane Wade, Michael Carter-Williams and Isaiah Canaan.

Process Analysis:

The Knicks have one goal: assemble the banana boat in The Mecca of Basketball. This trade deadline, we have paved the way to do just that. By acquiring Dwyane Wade and Tyler Johnson while shedding the albatross contract of Joakim Noah (!!!) and the multi-year deal of Courtney Lee, the Knicks, after Derrick Rose’s contract expires at the end of the season, will have cap room to attract almost two full max contracts — one of which we hope to use on the Point God of Gods, Chris Paul, this Summer.

Chris Paul led the toast at Melo’s wedding for the four of them to play together and win a championship one day as teammates. It wasn’t Melo, it wasn’t LeBron, it wasn’t Wade. It was Chris Paul. It is time for him to make good on his promise.

The banana boat is happening, get on board or be left in our wake.

– Rob Perez


Oklahoma City Thunder | Adam Joseph

  • The Thunder send Cam Payne, Josh Huestis and give the Lakers the right to swap their 2018 second round pick for the better of the Nuggets/Thunder second round pick to Los Angeles for Lou Williams and Thomas Robinson.

Process Analysis

Knowing I’d need to throw caution to the wind to help the team get better, I had to tread carefully. The thing about the trade market is this; for teams like the Thunder, the trade deadline is sexy as hell. Pick up a bargain, win every trade, that’s what fans want. It rarely works out that way, despite what Danny Ainge might have you believe. Trading when you’re a team of the Thunder’s ability means making a trade to fill one void ultimately creates another that might be worse than the original.

For more insight into the Oklahoma City Thunder’s mock trade deadline, click here.

Orlando Magic | Cole Zwicker

  • In a three-team trade, the Magic send Serge Ibaka and Mario Hezonja to the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors send Norman Powell to Orlando and Cory Joseph and Patrick Patterson to the Jazz. Utah sends Derrick Favors to Orlando and Raul Neto to Toronto.
  • The Magic send Nikola Vucevic and Jodie Meeks to the Wizards for Otto Porter Jr., Trey Burke and Andrew Nicholson. Orlando waives Anthony Brown.
  • The Magic send Evan Fournier to the Nets for Al-Farouq Aminu, Randy Foye, Portland’s 2017 top 10 protected pick (acquired in Brook Lopez trade) and cash. Magic waive Damjan Rudez.

Process Analysis:

My two main goals in the process were 1) to align the core of the team age-wise around Gordon’s timeline and acquire pieces that both freed up minutes and fit around Gordon at the 4, and 2) increase the “asset cupboard” to make a play to move up in the 2017 draft, as the Magic had the fifth best odds in the lottery at the time the exercise began, specifically to target Markelle Fultz (thus part of my team-building was based on creating an roster conducive for a primary initiating guard to step into, which you can really only get in the draft). I tried to remain multiple: meaning, having steps laid out in advance.

For more insight into the Orlando Magic mock trade deadline, click here.

Philadelphia 76ers | Bryan Toporek

  • The 76ers send Jahlil Okafor to the Mavericks for Seth Curry, J.J. Barea and a 2020 first round pick.

Process Analysis:

Heading into the week, I had one goal in mind: Get Jahlil Okafor the hell off my team. After immediately declaring his availability to the league, I was pleasantly surprised with how much interest he generated.

For more insight into the Philadelphia 76ers’ mock trade deadline, click here. 

Phoenix Suns | Adam Spinella

  • The Suns send P.J. Tucker to the Indiana Pacers for Rodney Stuckey, a 2019 top 14 protected first round pick (first round pick carries over one year and turns into two second round picks if not conveyed after 2020) and a conditional second round pick.

Process Analysis:

I think the Tucker trade helps out the franchise in the long run by adding an additional first rounder and will help us have a greater chance at getting a high pick this season. I learned a lot about market volatility with this project, and certainly had much greater conversations with those GM’s that I knew better than others. It helps to have friends or acquaintances in this line of work so nobody feels screwed over.

For more insight into the Phoenix Suns’ mock trade deadline, click here.

Portland Trail Blazers | Oliver Maroney

  • The Trail Blazers send Allen Crabbe to the Mavericks for Wes Matthews.
  • The Trail Blazers send Al-Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis, Festus Ezeli and two top-10 protected first round picks (2017 and 2019) to the Nets for Brook Lopez and Sean Kilpatrick.
  • The Trail Blazers sent Damian Lillard, Evan Turner, Mason Plumlee and Shabazz Napier to Milwaukee for Malcolm Brogdon, Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton, Thon Maker and John Henson. Waive Tim Quarterman.
  • The Trail Blazers flip Middleton to the Jazz for Rodney Hood and Iman Shumpert and send Hood and Brook Lopez to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan.
  • The Trail Blazers trade Noah Vonleh, Pat Connaughton and the Cavaliers’ 2017 first round pick for Taurean Prince.

Process Analysis

Sacramento Kings | Leo Beas

  • The Kings send DeMarcus Cousins, Matt Barnes and Ben McLemore to the Celtics for the better of the Nets/Celtics’ 2017 first round pick, Amir Johnson, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Demetrius Jackson, Boston’s 2018 first round pick and the 2019 Memphis pick, plus $1 million.

Process Analysis: 

They knew my only way of justifying trading Cousins was to get a high draft pick in the upcoming draft and a young player with upside. I knew that as well, but wanted more and my greed was spotted right away by the Celtics’ general manager. That’s when Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier were thrown into the mix as replacements for Bradley.

The offer began to make more sense for my franchise, but I needed at least two other draft picks to replace the 2018 Nets first round pick. I wouldn’t budge without the 2018 Celtics and 2019 Grizzlies pick as replacements.

For more insight into the Kings’ mock trade deadline negotiations, click here.

San Antonio Spurs | Matthew Tynan

  • No trades made

Process Analysis:

Toronto Raptors | Vivek Jacob

  • The Raptors send Norman Powell to the Magic and Cory Joseph and Patrick Patterson to the Jazz, receive Serge Ibaka, Mario Hezonja and Raul Nieto.

Process Analysis

Utah Jazz | Dan Clayton

  • The Jazz send Alec Burks and Shelvin Mack to the Cavaliers in separate deals (to fit Mack into the trade exception) for Iman Shumpert, the rights to Cedi Osman and rights to swap 2019 second round picks for the second from the Timberwolves or Lakers.
  • The Jazz send Rodney Hood and Iman Shumpert to the Trail Blazers for Khris Middleton (via Portland’s deal with the Bucks).
  • The Jazz send Derrick Favors to the Magic and Raul Neto to the Raptors in a three-team trade that nets them Patrick Patterson and Cory Joseph.
  • The Jazz receive James Young and a second round pick in a three-team trade with the Celtics and Kings.

Process Analysis:

This is Utah’s last chance to operate as a cap-space team. By July, they’ll be limited to exceptions, which means free agency is no longer going to be an avenue to add impact talent. From here on out, Utah will refine its roster through trades, the draft and bargain signings. That actually puts a decent amount of pressure on this trade deadline. What the Jazz can’t do is make Portland’s mistake: the Blazers decided they had to use their last bit of cap space on something, and now appear handcuffed to a middling roster. This might be the Jazz’s last chance to use their cap sheet as an asset, but they still have to careful about how they leverage it.

For more insight into the Utah Jazz trade deadline, click here.

Washington Wizards | John Townsend

  • The Wizards send Otto Porter Jr., Trey Burke and Andrew Nicholson to the Magic for Nikola Vucevic and Jodie Meeks.

Process Analysis

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