3 Big NBA Stars Who Could Be Traded After DeMarcus Cousins Deal

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The DeMarcus Cousins trade between the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans was a whopper.

The Pelicans now have two of the best big men in the league in Cousins and Anthony Davis, and the Kings still have no clue how to build a winning roster after getting very little in return for their All-Star center.

Will the Cousins trade set off a chain reaction that leads to more major moves? Will contending teams be aggressive and make a trade with an eye towards the NBA Finals?

Here are three big stars who could be dealt before Thursday’s trade deadline.

Jimmy Butler
Position: Small forward
Age: 27
Contract: Two years left, $18,467,976 average annual salary, 2019-20 player option
Stats: 24.5 ppg, 5 apg, 6.3 rpg

Butler is a top 15 player in the league and a two-way force capable of playing very good defense and taking over games offensively. He attacks the basket and finishes well at the rim, has 3-point range and is one of the league’s best foul shooters.

Butler is a superstar player in his prime on a team-friendly contract, therefore it’ll take a lot to pry him from Chicago. The Boston Celtics should at least try, though. The C’s have what the Bulls need for a rebuild, and adding Butler to a team with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford would be able to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for the East crown.

Paul George
Position: Small forward
Age: 26
Contract: One year left, $18,314,532 average annual salary, 2018-19 player option
Stats: 22.3 ppg, 3.3 apg, 6.2 rpg

George is a legit superstar and a top 15 player. He’s a very good scorer who can make shots from anywhere on the floor. While his defense isn’t first team All-NBA caliber, he’s not a liability on that end of the floor thanks to his Scottie Pippen-like build. George is a fairly good rebounder, too, and his 91.4 shooting percentage from the foul line ranks among the league’s best.

He isn’t a rental — he has one more year left on his current deal — but would a team give up several quality trade assets for only one guaranteed year of his services?

The problem for teams interested in acquiring George is Indiana has no reason to rush this process. He’s not an upcoming free agent, and the offers for him might be better at the draft. It’s probably going to take a massive overpay to acquire him before Thursday. Besides, the Pacers shouldn’t try to move George at all. Re-signing him and building a championship roster around him is the best option for them.

Carmelo Anthony
Position: Small forward
Age: 32
Contract: One year left, $24,812,936 average annual salary, 2018-19 player option
Stats: 23.4 ppg, 2.9 apg, 6.1 rpg

Anthony isn’t a No. 1 option on a legit title contender, but he’s certainly not a bad secondary option. He won’t play much defense and isn’t a willing or talented passer, but his scoring prowess still is impressive. Anthony can score from midrange or beyond the arc, and when he’s hot, few players in the league are more difficult to defend.

The problem with acquiring Anthony is his massive contract, and the fact he’s owed more than $25 million for at least one more season as a declining player. He also has a no-trade clause in his contract, which gives him full control over the entire process.

Second-Tier Targets
Andrew Bogut, C, Dallas Mavericks: A solid interior defender with championship experience.
Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando Magic: A gifted offensive-minded center who could provide a scoring punch as a starter or off the bench.
Brook Lopez, C, Brooklyn Nets: An experienced center who can score between 15 and 20 points per game and rebound well.
Kenneth Faried, PF, Denver Nuggets: A double-double machine and one of the league’s best rebounders. A high-energy player who gives maximum effort every game.
Goran Dragic, PG, Miami Heat: Miami’s surprising surge up the standings has made the playoffs a realistic target, but if Pat Riley wants to go the other way, trading Dragic could bring back quality assets for the Heat.
Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons: One of the league’s top rebounders and a consistent double-digit scorer. His free throw shooting is terrible, though.

Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images. Salary information via Spotrac

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