The NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching.
Feb. 23 marks the last chance for teams to bolster their rosters in the hopes of making, or strengthening, a playoff push.
For some squads, like the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, the trade deadline will more than likely come and go, as their rosters are well-equipped for a title run. For others, a trade could be just what the doctor ordered.
Here are five contending teams that need to make a move by the deadline.
The Pacers are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference standings, and many are torn as to what the team will do moving forward. Some reports have Paul George on the trading block, while others indicate the All-Star forward likely will stay put. The team has some bright complementary players in Jeff Teague and Myles Turner, but another high-end talent could take Indiana to the next level. George has been vocal about his frustrations this season, so adding a marquee player could not only improve Indiana’s playoff hopes but also make PG13 more inclined to stick around.
The Jazz have been a pleasant surprise this season, currently fifth in the Western Conference standings. After a long run of mediocrity, Utah is now a legitimate playoff contender, but could still use some improvement. Strengthening the backcourt could benefit the team immensely. George Hill and Rodney Hood have played well for the Jazz this season, but the team would have trouble against Western Conference teams with strong guard play, such as the Warriors, Spurs, Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. The Jazz will want to pay impending free agent Gordon Hayward in the offseason, so going for broke at the deadline would not make sense long-term. But adding a solid, veteran guard could improve Utah’s playoff aspirations.
The Wizards are arguably the hottest team in the NBA, going 17-3 in their last 20 games. Their recent surge has taken them to third place in the East, behind only the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. Washington’s dynamic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal have carried the team thus far, but as we’ve seen over the course of NBA history, a supporting cast is critical. The Wizards’ bench has been suspect all season, and their lack of depth could prove costly come playoff time. Adding a quality role player by the deadline could bolster Washington’s bench, and in turn, take some pressure off of the starting lineup.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland is currently on the outside looking in of the Western Conference playoffs, but a trade could improve its chances greatly. The Trail Blazers have one of the NBA’s best guard tandems with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but their front court is mediocre at best. The addition of a scoring big man could work wonders for Portland, as it could open up the floor for its guards. Not to mention, the Trail Blazers will be competing with New Orleans for one of the last playoff spots in the West, and the Pelicans just got a whole lot better with the addition of DeMarcus Cousins. If Portland has any hopes of playing in the postseason, a move needs to be made.
The Celtics have been tied to trade rumors for quite some time. As the team is loaded with assets and bright young players, many have expected Boston to cash in for a superstar player. While this very well would take place by the Feb. 23 deadline, it is not a necessity for the C’s. However, the team could improve mightily with the addition of a legitimate interior presence. As the NBA has shifted into a shooter’s league, a rebounding big man could come to the Celtics for relatively cheap. Boston is in good shape at present, but a move to aid the front court would be a significant addition.
Thumbnail photo via Jaime Valdez/USA TODAY Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP