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Eight NBA trades that should happen before the deadline

The trade deadline is less than three weeks away, which makes it a perfect time to cook up some hypothetical deals.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Pascal Siakam trades was originally at the top of this article, but life moves fast when the deadline approaches on February on 8. Masai Ujiri just couldn’t wait until this column dropped before dealing him, huh?

So, before any more trades take place, it’s time to look at some other deals that could go down in the coming weeks. If anything resembles the proposals below, feel free to give me all the credit. And if not, well, toss my ideas into the ether — they’ll probably land beside those lost Siakam trades.

Let’s start with the Lakers since they never get enough attention.

To LAL: Dejounte Murray

To Atlanta: D’Angelo Russell, Max Christie, a 2024 or 2025 first-round pick (depending on NOP’s deferral), and a 2024 second-round pick (LAC)

Dejounte to the Lakers has been rumored for some time now, and while he isn’t the perfect fit, it’ll still upgrade an underperforming roster. Russell has to be included for salary-matching purposes, and the same goes for Christie — although he has some value given his age and limited potential. The biggest question here is how Atlanta views Russell. He’s one of the most polarizing players in the league, and there are definitely plenty of teams who believe he has positive value, and others who think the exact opposite. If we assume that he’s a net neutral, then the other pieces should be enough to get this deal done.

To LAL: DeMar DeRozan

To Chicago: D’Angelo Russell, Gabe Vincent, a 2024 or 2025 first-round pick (depending on NOP’s deferral), and a 2024 second-round pick (LAC)

Similar to the previous proposal, Russell and Vincent are included here mostly to match salary. Again, DeMar isn’t a perfect fit, but he at least gives the Lakers another ball-handler and creator. Chicago seems like they want to trade LaVine more, but that’ll be a much tougher task given his enormous contract. DeRozan, meanwhile, will be a free agent at the end of this season, so the Bulls are more incentivized to get some value in return before he potentially walks for nothing.

To OKC: Royce O’Neale

To Brooklyn: Aleksej Pokusevski, 2025 second-round pick (more favorable of BOS and MEM), 2026 second-round pick (most favorable of OKC, DAL and PHL)

A simple trade, OKC needs to start using their treasure trove of picks since they have a roster that’s good enough to win now. With that said, Sam Presti probably won’t have an appetite to acquire players with contracts that extend past this season given that they’ll need to pay Chet and wing Jalen Williams very soon. O’Neale’s expiring salary, veteran presence, and 3&D ability thus make him a perfect target, and hey, maybe my beloved Poku will be freed in Brooklyn too.

To Boston: Jae’Sean Tate

To Houston: Oshae Brissett, Svi Mykhailiuk, Sam Hauser, 2024 second-round pick (from Dallas’), 2025 second-round pick (more favorable of CHI and NOP)

The Celtics have the best top-six league-wide, but anything beyond that is questionable come playoff time. Tate, who’s largely fallen out of Houston’s rotation, could give Boston another reliable wing defender off the bench. He’s not much of a scorer or shooter but that shouldn’t be much of a problem given the Cs’ plethora of perimeter creators. As long as Tate provides good defense and makes smart cuts on offense, he should see some decent minutes as a bench option for the rest of the season.

To Orlando: Alec Burks

To Detroit: Gary Harris, 2025 second-round pick (less favorable of BOS and MEM)

Even though the Magic are still young, they’re a lock to make the play-in and have a plethora of extra picks that can be used to upgrade the roster. Harris has been a good veteran presence, but his lack of shooting ability exacerbates what is already the biggest issue with Orlando’s roster. He’d be included in this deal to match salary in exchange for a very good shooter in Burks, and Detroit would get an extra second to compensate. Both players are on expiring deals too so the deal doesn’t have any lingering effects past this season.

To Milwaukee: Delon Wright

To Washington: Pat Connaughton, 2024 second-round pick (POR), 2027 second-round pick (MIL)

Milwaukee’s guard play behind Dame has been atrocious this season, and much of that can be attributed to Pat Connaughton’s decline. With three years remaining on his contract, the Bucks will likely need to attach a second-round pick to just get off of his money alone, and the additional second is akin to what Washington could get back for Delon Wright. It’s not a big move, but Milwaukee will be somewhat shoring up their backup guard play while having a bit more cap flexibility moving forward as well.

To Philadelphia: Gordon Hayward

To Charlotte: Marcus Morris Sr., Robert Covington, 2024 second-round pick (middle pick of CLE, IND and UTA), 2029 second-round pick (LAC)

To Philadelphia: Tyus Jones

To Washington: Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House Jr., Patrick Beverley, Mo Bamba, 2024 second-round pick (NYK), and 2029 second-round pick (Portland)

Philly would ideally like to acquire a third star, but no one on the trade market is an ideal fit with this Sixers roster. Given that Embiid’s in the midst of his best season, though, Philly still needs to make moves so that his historic campaign isn’t wasted. Getting both Hayward and Jones would be substantial upgrades for the team: a theoretical starting five of Maxey-Melton-Hayward-Harris-Embiid would be one of the best in the league, and the Sixers would also be much deeper with Jones, Batum, and Oubre Jr. all coming off the bench. More importantly, both Hayward and Jones are on expiring contracts, which still gives Philly the ability to sign a max player, and not giving up a first-rounder means that the Sixers will be able to trade up to 5(!!) firsts this offseason.