2023 Mock Trades Hub

  • Below, you’ll find the trades that have already been executed in SportsEthos’ first annual mock trade deadline. Feel free to join the conversation and let us know you think won and lost each trade, and let us know what you do differently. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

     

    The following three trades were added as of 1/30/23

    Pacers finally get their power forward

    TRADE: Pacers trade Jalen Smith, Cavs 2023 1st round pick (lottery protected) to the Charlotte Hornets for PJ Washington and two 2023 2nds (least favorable of OKC and WAS and more favorable of DAL and MIA)

     

    It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the NBA this season that the Pacers are in pursuit of a legitimate starting power forward. While guys like John Collins are available on the trade market, the Pacers opted for PJ Washington. Washington is going to be a restricted free agent this summer, so Indiana may need to pay him in the $17 million per year range to keep him, but he fits their roster well. The Pacers also have three first-round picks in 2023, so giving up Cleveland’s 2023 1st is not a big deal, as that’s a pick in the 20s somewhere. PJ Washington can stretch the floor alongside, as can Myles Turner, which will allow Indiana to play a five-out system and space the floor well. He can also play the small-ball five in spurts as well, demonstrated from his time in Charlotte. 

    For Charlotte, they realistically will have a tough time paying PJ Washington what he expects to be paid this summer, as they’re approaching LaMelo Ball’s rookie extension and may need to pay Miles Bridges at some point. Here, they got not only the first round pick they coveted for Washington, but a cost-controlled stretch four that does a lot of things similar to PJ Washington with Jalen Smith. Smith is on the books for just over $5 million next year and then has a player option of $5.8 million in 2024-25, which is a lot more palpable for the Hornets to stomach rather than paying PJ Washington this summer.

     

    Bucks add depth

    TRADE: The Milwaukee Bucks trade Jordan Nwora and George Hill to the Charlotte Hornets for Cody Martin and Nick Richards

     

    This was a cheap way for the Bucks to add wing depth. As I’ve reiterated countless times on the Bird Rights Podcast, there is no such thing as too much wing depth in today’s NBA. Here, the Bucks gave up Nwora and George Hill for Cody Martin and took on Nick Richards. They were able to retain all of their draft capital and are trying to make a subsequent move involving Grayson Allen and some of those picks. Hill is not a rotation player for Milwaukee at this point, and Nwora always felt like he was bound to be traded once he signed that contract this summer. Cody Martin, meanwhile, has two more years on his deal after this year with a non-guaranteed season in 2025-26 at a very manageable $7-$8.6 million per year. As long as the Bucks are competitors, they seem willing to pay the tax, and if things change, Martin has a very tradeable contract. 

    For Charlotte, they get Cody Martin off their books. They also get a 1.5 year flier on Jordan Nwora, who fits in well with their core. This deal saved the Hornets at least over $16 million in long-term committed money. While Charlotte could’ve pushed for some sort of draft capital, they’ve already added multiple picks through other trades and were content getting off the money.

     

    Knicks and Bulls exchange former lottery picks

    TRADE: The New York Knicks trade Obi Toppin to the Chicago Bulls for Coby White

    For lack of a better term, this is one of those “my trash for your trash” trades. However, both of these players are far from “trash.” For Toppin, he’s stuck behind Julius Randle on a team with a coach who plays his starters significantly more minutes than he should, while White has fallen out of favor for the most part in Chicago. For the Knicks, they get a microwave scorer who’s best suited in a sixth-man role. However, unless the Knicks move Immanuel Quickley before this exercise is over, their skill-sets are pretty repetitive. Not to mention that White is hitting restricted free agency this summer and likely expects to be paid more than what the Knicks would be willing to pay. 

    For the Bulls, they get a flier on an athletic 3-and-D stretch four who can potentially be their power forward of the future if Patrick Williams is unable to put his tools together. There was plenty of trade interest for Toppin on the market, Miami being one of them. And with another year left on his rookie deal, Toppin is cheap labor and a great flier for the Bulls. Even if the Bulls decide to “blow it up” and trade some of their high caliber players, Toppin can fit that rebuild. If the Bulls decide to keep the core together, then Toppin fits a role on the current team as well. 

     

    The following three trades were added as of 1/28/23

    Kings and Hornets swap backup big men

    TRADE: Kings trade Richaun Holmes, Neemias Queta, and their 2024 second-round pick to the Hornets for Mason Plumlee

     

    When Domantas Sabonis is healthy, Richaun Holmes has been an afterthought in the Kings rotation. Here, they flip him with a second round pick for Plumlee. Holmes has a guaranteed season under contract next year as well as a player option in 2024-25, and at over $12 million per year, that’s an overpay for your backup center. Here, Sacramento gets off his money and gets what they perceive to be an upgrade with Plumlee. Additionally, Plumlee thrived when he was Nikola Jokic’s backup in Denver because the Nuggets were able to play a similar offense with either on the court because they had a passing big man on the court at all times. The Kings can do something similar with Sabonis and Plumlee. 

    For the Hornets, Holmes can be a part of their center rotation along with breakout rookie, Mark Williams. Our Hornets GM, William Harris, also highly valued Neemias Queta as a flier. However, with Holmes’ money on the books now, I anticipate the Hornets making a subsequent move or two to shed future money, as they are about to get expensive once LaMelo Ball’s rookie extension is signed and in effect. 

     

    Cavs add a wing

    TRADE: Cavaliers trade 2023 GSW 2nd to the Denver Nuggets for Davon Reed

     

    For the Cavaliers, they desperately need consistent wings on their roster that can shoot and defend. Davon Reed showed flashes for Denver last year and parlayed that into a multi-year deal. Reed’s money is also non-guaranteed next year so if he underwhelms in his time in Cleveland for the remainder of the season and the playoffs, then they can cut him loose with no financial repercussions. For the Nuggets, they had to clear a roster spot for Willy Hernangomez, and they essentially flipped Reed for Hernangomez and two seconds. Excellent work by Denver. 

     

    Raptors get their big men

    TRADE: 

    Magic receive: Gary Trent Jr., Juancho Hernangomez, Devonte’ Graham, and 2026 top-25 protected first (conveys to two seconds if it doesn’t convey)

    Raptors receive: Bol Bol, Mo Bamba, 2023 ORL 2nd, Terrence Ross, and Doug McDermott

    Spurs receive: Khem Birch, RJ Hampton, 2026 and 2028 TOR 2nd round picks

     

    The Raptors were shopping Gary Trent Jr. heavily, and a team finally bit. Toronto finally gets a big man that they covet in Mo Bamba, as well as taking a flier on a much-improved Bol Bol. Toronto also receives Orlando’s 2023 2nd, which should fall around the pick 35-36 range. While Toronto took on Doug McDermott’s money for next year, they got off Khem Birch, and Mo Bamba has a non-guaranteed year next year, which I’d imagine the Raptors planned on utilizing when executing this trade. Bamba instantly becomes the best center on this roster and stops the bleeding from the Chris Boucher trade. Toronto did an excellent job doing their best Masai Ujuri impression and adding a bunch of long, rangy 6’9”-plus guys to their roster, while getting off Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr., two guys that don’t exactly fit that project. I imagine Toronto flipping Terrence Ross somewhere else for another asset. 

    For Orlando, they get a legit shooter that they desperately need. Mo Bamba is not currently in the rotation and they re-signed him likely with the intention of flipping him for a first-round pick. While the first they got is highly protected and is likely to convey into two seconds, they get Trent with the expectation of being willing to pay him. I don’t love the fact that they took back Devonte’ Graham’s money, but his contract isn’t an albatross either so I think they could move him at some point before that contract is over. Orlando came into this exercise with potential to have up to $32.8 million in cap space (per Spotrac) and Graham cuts into that, as does Trent if they plan on re-signing him. 

    For the Spurs, they got two second-round picks and a flier on RJ Hampton for Doug McDermott. Meanwhile, San Antonio came into this exercise with a projected $47 million in cap space this summer, and while Birch eats into some of that, McDermott’s deal goes off their books and they further increase that cap space.

     

    The following three trades were added as of 1/26/23

    Jazz add stretch big

    TRADE: Raptors trade Chris Boucher and Otto Porter Jr. to the Jazz for Jaxson Hayes and Malik Beasley

     

    Toronto traded for Malik Beasley with the intention of trading Gary Trent Jr., as Beasley is a seamless replacement for Trent. Additionally, with Otto Porter Jr. out for the season, it’s a strong possibility that he would opt into next year’s player option. Toronto also wasn’t thrilled with having two more years of Chris Boucher on the books after this season. Collectively, Toronto opened up a ton of flexibility with their trades, and this was an extension of that. 

    For Utah, Boucher is a seamless Kelly Olynyk replacement and fits in well with the big man rotation of Naz Reid, Walker Kessler, and Jarred Vanderbilt. Similarly to the acquisition of Garrett Temple in the Olynyk deal, they valued Otto Porter’s veteran leadership and championship pedigree. While Temple is on an expiring deal, Porter can potentially be on next year’s Jazz roster and continue to provide that mentorship while also being a contributor when healthy. 

     

    Grizzlies add depth

    TRADE: Grizzlies trade Danny Green, Xavier Tillman, 2024 TOR 2nd, and 2025 NOP 2nd to the Knicks for Isaiah Hartenstein and Cam Reddish

     

    On the Bird Rights Podcast, I told the Grizzlies GM, David Williams, that I was underwhelmed with this deal, but I think that’s because we value Cam Reddish differently. The Grizzlies are one of the more intriguing teams on the trade market because they are a legitimate contender and have plenty of assets to move in order to improve. However, David felt that Reddish was a great flier because the Grizzlies’ player development program is elite and he felt they could get the most out of the former lottery pick. In addition, with Steven Adams getting played off the court in last year’s playoffs, Isaiah Hartenstein gives the Grizzlies extra insurance as a big man who won’t get eaten alive in pick-and-rolls like Adams or Brandon Clarke. While I felt the Grizzlies could’ve made a splashier move, they are adding even more depth to a very deep team. 

    For the Knicks, it’s been reported they want two second round picks for Reddish, and they got that with this deal. However, it came at the expense of flipping Hartenstein for Xavier Tillman and Danny Green’s expiring deal. While the Knicks just signed Hartenstein this offseason, they get Tillman on a very team-friendly deal this year and next, as he makes just $1.9 million next year. Keep in mind that this trade was completed pre-Mitch Robinson injury, so i’m not sure if Hartenstein would’ve been moved if they knew Robinson would be missing at least the next three weeks. 

     

    Rockets and Knicks swap role players

    TRADE: Rockets trade Garrison Mathews and their 2024 2nd round pick to the Knicks for Miles McBride

    Our Rockets GM, Cooper Klein, is not a Garrison Mathews fan and for that reason, he was ecstatic to get value for him. While McBride is not playing much for the Knicks, he can provide valuable guard depth to the Rockets. The Knicks get a player who’s perceived as a good shooter with gravity, plus an expectation that the Rockets second-round pick will be in the 30s or low 40s in 2024 in exchange for McBride.

     

    The following three trades were added as of 1/25/23

    Jazz and Pacers swap former lottery picks

    TRADE: Pacers trade Chris Duarte to the Jazz for Ochai Agbaji

     

    For Utah, this trade was all about being competitive sooner rather than later. Despite being in just his second NBA season, Duarte is already turning 26 years old, and Utah felt his age fit the timeline of their roster well. Utah also felt that Duarte can contribute more than Agbaji can this season and next. Keep in mind, while Agbaji was included in the Donovan Mitchell trade post-NBA draft, Utah did not draft Agbaji. As a result, they flip him for a guy they think can contribute more in the short-term. 

    Similar to Utah’s rationale, Indiana’s reasoning is the preference of fit on the roster. Indiana’s GM, Mark Schindler, was looking for a more stout point of attack defender who can hit shots off movement and continue plays without needing to create. Furthermore, Duarte has struggled to fit into the Pacers’ high-paced movement offense this year. For these reasons, Agbaji fits the bill for what Indiana was looking for. 

     

    Pelicans get a stretch big

    TRADE: Pelicans trade Garrett Temple, Jaxson Hayes, and a 2024 1st round pick (most favorable between MIL and NOP) to the Jazz for Kelly Olynyk

     

    For the Pelicans, the Olynyk trade was a no-brainer. Barring something catastrophic, the Pelicans or Bucks 2024 first-rounder won’t be a high pick, and Temple and Hayes were salary fillers that the Pelicans didn’t value very highly. Olynyk also provides the Pelicans with a stretch big to play alongside Zion for stints. Olynyk can be a legitimate contributor for the Pelicans and is under contract beyond this year, so the price of a late 2024 first was an easy choice. The Pelicans have an ample amount of draft capital after the Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday trades, so they were willing to move a pick to push their chips in to try to make a run at a championship, and Olynyk is a piece of that puzzle.

    For the Jazz, they wanted to clear playing time for newly-acquired Naz Reid and rookie Walker Kessler. In reality, Olynyk’s value will be in the late-first round pick range, and the Jazz recouped just that after they traded one away to Minnesota for Naz Reid. The Jazz also valued Garrett Temple as a veteran presence in their locker room for the rest of the season and for a potential playoff run. 

     

    Pelicans trade for All-Star point guard

    TRADE: 

    Pelicans receive: Fred VanVleet, Dalano Banton, Toronto 2029 2nd

    Raptors receive: Devonte’ Graham, Dyson Daniels, Naji Marshall, 2024 LAL 1st round pick (top-3 protected) and Pelicans 2026 1st (most favorable of MIL and NOP), Bulls 2024 2nd

    Nuggets receive: Willy Hernangómez and Raptors 2027 2nd

     

    This trade has been the most controversial among those that were announced on Twitter or on Bird Rights Podcast and has definitely received the most pushback. However, Pelicans GM, Anil Gogna’s rationale was sound. This trade was very reminiscent of the Jrue Holiday to the Bucks trade. At the time, it seemed like there was a massive overpay from Milwaukee and a desperate ploy to keep Giannis with the Bucks. But then they ultimately re-signed Giannis to a long-term deal and won the championship with the help of Holiday, so nobody will remember that trade as an overpay. Anil felt that in order to get off Devonte’ Graham’s guaranteed money beyond this year, it would take a first-round pick. Keep in mind, the Pelicans have never paid the luxury tax in franchise history. As a result, he felt that this deal was essentially Daniels, Marshall, and one first-round pick for VanVleet. Daniels has the potential to be great, but according to Anil, it’s unpredictable to know whether that potential comes to fruition. 

    For the Raptors, their asking price was high for VanVleet. After turning down a $112 million extension, the Raptors were almost required to hear offers on VanVleet. Getting two first-round picks, Dyson Daniels, and Naji Marshall was a massive haul for a re-tooling team. In reality, it is unlikely that the Pelicans will be willing to part ways with Daniels, but it isn’t the craziest thing to think it’s time to push in some of their assets to try to make a run at an NBA finals appearance with how wide open the Western Conference is this year. 

    For the Nuggets, they got a second-round pick to take on Hernangómez, who instantly becomes the best backup center option behind Nikola Jokić on this roster. 

     

    The following three trades were added as of 1/23/23

    Timberwolves-Raptors swap guards

    TRADE: Raptors trade Malachi Flynn to the Timberwolves for Jaylen Nowell

     

    Our Raptors GM, Es Baraheni, did not find Malachi Flynn as a valuable part of how the Raptors roster is constructed. When he came on the Bird Rights Podcast, he discussed that he was always planning to move Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet because he did not feel comfortable paying each of them the amount of money they expected to receive in free agency. While Nowell will likely be paid in the $7-$9 million range annually this summer in unrestricted free agency, Toronto figured they’d have plenty of flexibility to re-sign Nowell. 

    For Minnesota, they do not have a consistent reliable playmaker on the roster beyond this year. Malachi Flynn gave them a point guard that is still under contract on a rookie deal next year and the hope is that he can be a reliable contributor next year. Minnesota also didn’t feel comfortable paying Nowell in free agency this summer. While Toronto feels that they got the superior player in this deal, Minnesota valued these players equally and took the one that is more cost-controlled for an extra year. 

     

    Timberwolves-Jazz trade

    TRADE: Timberwolves trade Naz Reid and the 2023 NYK 2nd to the Utah Jazz for Utah’s 2023 1st (least favorable of HOU/BKN/PHI)

     

    With Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns as two of the franchise cornerstones, our Minnesota GM, Logan Alten, felt that it was best to move Reid, who is about to hit unrestricted free agency. He traded Reid with a mid-second round pick for a first round pick, which is very reminiscent of what the San Antonio Spurs did with the Toronto Raptors last year when they traded Thaddeus Young with similar pick compensation for Toronto’s first-round pick last year. Minnesota basically moves up roughly 20 spots in the draft to move off a guy they likely were not going to retain beyond this year. 

    For the Jazz, GM Josh Url felt that Reid’s ability to rebound, shoot threes, block shots, and pass will complement their roster well. Reid is also 23 years old and fits the timeline of the rest of the Jazz’s young core. As he explained on the Bird Rights Podcast, it was a “bird in the hand” situation where he preferred the player who can thrive in their system over the unknown of a late first-round pick. 

     

    Jazz clear roster spots

    TRADE: Jazz trade Udoka Azubuike to the Rockets, Rockets trade Bruno Fernando to the Bulls, and Tony Bradley is traded to the Rockets and subsequently cut to make room for Azubuike

     

    This was a very minor move for all three teams, but Utah was required to clear a roster spot for Naz Reid. Procedurally, Houston essentially swaps Fernando for Tony Bradley and then subsequently cuts Bradley. Chicago felt Fernando is an upgrade to Bradley as a third center and he’s a bit cheaper. Houston takes the flier on a former first-round pick in Azubuike in their traded player exception created from the Christian Wood to Dallas trade.

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