The NBA trade deadline is right around the corner. The Eastern and Western Conferences have the top three spots locked up with high-powered teams as the deadline approaches and look for some very significant moves coming from both conferences.
In the East, the Boston Celtics hold the top spot over the Milwaukee Bucks by only five games. The Celtics are in a flow rolling into the all-star break, led by all-stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Boston being the top of the mountain they are in no need to mess up their team chemistry, especially after they made great additions in the off-season with Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis.
This Celtics team does not need to make any trades but, they will need to maintain their high-paced, intense play style in the second half of the season.
As for the Milwaukee Bucks, they have fallen apart since their title run in 2021. After getting bounced in the first round to the Miami Heat in the 2023 playoffs, they have made a significant amount of changes.
From hiring Adrian Griffin last offseason (whom they later fired) to eventually having Doc Rivers take his place, and trading for Damian Lillard in the off-season. Even with Dame-Time in Milwaukee, the Bucks should still look to make more changes this upcoming deadline.
Perhaps a move to strengthen the depth of the bench. The Bucks rank last in bench points this season. Some vets to come off the bench and give quality minutes can be beneficial.
Rounding out the Eastern Conference are two successful organizations. The New York Knicks and the Miami Heat. The Knicks made a big splash earlier in the season by acquiring OG Anunoby from the Raptors. They now sit at number three in the east after that trade. Even with the Knicks playing well this year, they are missing another valuable star.
The All-Star duo of Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson have been carrying much of the offensive load, a trade to get another star would be ideal for New York. Attractive scenarios for this team would be for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell would fit right into the Tom Thibodeau system. Brunson and Mitchell together can make an exciting backcourt. What the Knicks need is completely different from what the Miami Heat needs.
After being hit with the injury bug and lack of scoring, the Heat should look to make moves. With other teams looking to blow up their current roster. The Heat looks to be on the receiving end of that.
The Heat rank last in points in the paint, so a move to get another interior scorer wouldn’t be all that bad. Another big man down low and Bam Adebayo can flourish at the forward spot.
However, if the Heat don’t take that route, they can acquire another scorer to take the ball out of Jimmy Butler's hands. Someone like Demar DeRozan or Zach Lavine.
Both DeRozan and Lavine are players who are on expiring contracts and are owed a bunch of money in the next 3 years. The real question is do the Chicago Bulls want to give their best players away for little to nothing? With Lavine having recently done surgery on his foot he won’t be able to be traded.
The Wild West is filled with top teams. The only two teams that should make some noise during the deadline are the Oklahoma City Thunder and the LA Lakers.
The Thunder sit at the top of the west, tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, there is still room to acquire better talent. Through the rebuild, Sam Presti has accumulated a bunch of lottery picks.
But with the team they have now, they are one person away from making the jump from pretenders to contenders. Notable, this team is undersized at the power forward position. Up-and-coming star Jaylen Williams “J Dub” can be an attractive asset in trade talks. The Thunder can also free up some room for a big star, by trading away Josh Giddey. Giddey is a young dazzling playmaker who can certainly help a contending team.
An NBA trade deadline wouldn’t be right, without a trade from a LeBron James team. The Lakers are struggling this year and have fallen back to eighth in the West. This Laker team needs scoring, defense, and steady and consistent playmaking. Going out and getting a true point guard would be the start of fixing the Laker's troubles with Anthony Davis playing mostly center this season as well as a two-way swingman with Jarred Vanderbilt going to miss some time with a foot injury.
However, that is different from his natural position. To get back to the finals the Lakers need to get another big to play center and move Davis back to the four just like in the bubble. Javale Mcgee and Dwight Howard were the two bigs on the championship team. A reunion with those two wouldn’t be so bad.
This is the time when teams start to make their playoff push. The second half of the season can make or break a team's chances. Be on the lookout for big names moving to big places.