NBA trade deadline: 5 bold predictions, starring DeAndre Jordan and Isaiah Thomas
Will the Cavs cut bait with I.T. before Thursday's deadline in order to improve their roster?
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. ET and we've already seen teams make major moves to improve their roster way before the buzzer. The Bucks acquired Eric Bledsoe from the Suns in November, and just last week the Clippers sent shockwaves through the league last week by shipping five-time All-Star forward Blake Griffin to the Pistons.
As the deadline steadily approaches and the rumors pick up traction, our CBS Sports scribes prognosticate the future with five bold predictions:
1. Thunder will trade for shooter
Lou Williams would be the big prize, but his price is high, and the Celtics are in the market, too. Watch for the Jazz's Rodney Hood or the Magic's Jonathon Simmons. Losing Andre Roberson hurts OKC's defense big time, but the silver lining could be better spacing, particularly to close games, with an added shooter.
Talking to a Western Conference scout earlier this year, that was his concern with the Thunder: They don't have enough collective shooting around Westrbrook to really open up those driving lanes and keep defenses honest come playoff time. Add a Williams or a Hood to OKC's closing lineup, along with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, and you're going to have terrific spacing around Westbrook, with Steven Adams at the rim to at least somewhat counter the drop-off in wing defense.
If, on the other hand, you want to go for more of a two-way guy to replace some of Roberson's defense, Simmons would be a logical choice given his palatable $6 million salary and ability to shoot the ball (though he's only around 30 percent from 3 this season) on top of his tough perimeter defense. -- Brad Botkin
2. Magic will trade Aaron Gordon
Despite the numbers (career highs of 18.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists), Gordon may not be safe in Orlando. He will hit restricted free agency in July, and he has every right to demand a maximum contract. The Magic could decide they'd rather move him now for, say, a prospect and a pick, and avoid having to deal with an offer sheet they are not comfortable matching.
This would give their new front office more flexibility over the next few years, but it might drive their fans crazy -- they've already had to see Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris and a bunch of other players flourish after leaving Orlando. It wouldn't surprise me if Evan Fournier was traded, either. -- James Herbert
3. Cavaliers will trade Isaiah Thomas
Look, this isn't how anyone wanted the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas mega-trade to play out (aside from Danny Ainge, perhaps). Yes, Thomas has been back on the court for just a few weeks, but it's pretty clear this isn't working. Never a good defender, Thomas' lack of ability on that side of the ball is being completely exposed on a putrid defensive team. He's not looked nearly as explosive as last season and hasn't been able to find his shot. And he's already been involved in locker room controversy.
He'll also be a free agent next season, and will be looking for a big payday -- one the Cavs may not be eager to give him. Instead of potentially losing him for nothing, the Cavs may just decide to cut the cord before the deadline and get another point guard that could help them in the short term. -- Jack Maloney
4. Trail Blazers will trade CJ McCollum
We're in the third year of the full-time Damian Lillard-McCollum backcourt and, while they can be electric at times, you have to wonder whether the Blazers still think this is a potential championship combination. Lillard's meeting with Blazers owner Paul Allen was reportedly harmless, but that doesn't mean that the All-Star point guard isn't tired of being stuck toward the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race.
McCollum is owed a lot of money, but the time might be right to sell high on him for some more depth. Cleveland is so desperate for a shakeup that they might be willing to send an injured Kevin Love back to his native Pacific Northwest in exchange for the high-scoring guard. That would allow the Blazers to build around a core of Lillard, Love and (possibly) Jusuf Nurkic moving forward. -- Colin Ward-Henninger
5. Clippers WON'T trade DeAndre Jordan
It's felt like a certainty all season that the Clippers would trade DeAndre Jordan before the deadline. However, the Clippers just made their biggest move of the season by trading Blake Griffin to the Pistons. If they're not hitting the reset button and are interested in remaining competitive, they're going to have a difficult time finding reason to move on from Jordan. Los Angeles is still in the playoff race at the moment.
Jordan is one of the best pick-and-roll big men and an incredible rim protector. The Clippers aren't going to easily replace that kind of production and they know that. They might be willing to part with Jordan, but considering what he brings to table and what they've already lost, the asking price might be too high. -- Chris Barnewall
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