January 17, 2023, 10:54 pm
GM: Trey Hill, @finalfinally
Salary Cap: $148,577,259
Luxury Tax: $1,709,741
• Given they are right under the luxury tax, it’ll be tough to take back much salary in a trade unless they salary dump a player
GOAL: Decide if you want to be sellers at the deadline or not. Remember you owe a top-four protected first to Orlando so even if you bottom out and have the worst record in NBA, only 48% chance you keep the pick.
• Do you want to trade Nikola Vucevic?
o Expiring contract, consider trading him if you don’t plan on extending him
• Field offers on DeMar DeRozan and assess his value
o If you decide to go the “blow it up” route, you can probably get some real value for DeRozan
• Don’t be afraid to take trade calls on Zach LaVine
o Would the Lakers be willing to trade for any of the three of LaVine, DeRozan, and Vucevic?
• Listen on Alex Caruso
o If Robert Covington went for two firsts a couple seasons ago, what would Caruso go for?
• Trade Coby White if possible
Players to Dangle
Zach LaVine (5/$215.2 w/ PO in 2026-27)
o Salary: $37,096,500
o Could salary match up to $46,470,625
Nikola Vucevic (1/$22)
o Salary: $22,000,000
o Could salary match up to $27,600,000
o Trade him if you aren’t going to extend him
o Potential teams:
• Brooklyn Nets
• Dallas Mavericks
• LA Clippers
• LA Lakers
• New Orleans Pelicans
• New York Knicks
• Toronto Raptors
DeMar DeRozan (2/$55.9)
o If you decide to blow it up, he’s first to go between himself and LaVine
o Salary: $27,300,000
o Can match up to $34,225,000 in salary
Lonzo Ball (3/$61.4 w/ PO in 2024-25)
o Salary: $19,534,883
o Would the Clippers make an offer for him?
o Suggested trade: Lonzo to Clippers for Robert Covington, Amir Coffey, and a second-round pick
Alex Caruso (3/$28.4 w/ partial guarantee on 2024-25)
o Salary: $9,030,000
o Can salary match up to $11,387,500 if in the tax
o Can take $14,030,000 if can stay below the tax
o Wouldn’t move him unless you got at least a first for him
Coby White (1/$7.4)
o Salary: $7,413,955
o If not going to re-sign, you should move him
o But because you have restricted rights, can always sign-and-trade this summer too
Derrick Jones Jr. (2/$6.6 w PO in 2023-24)
o Salary: $3,200,000
o Teams that are sorely lacking athleticism could use him
Andre Drummond (2/$6.6 w PO in 2023-24)
o Salary: $3,200,000
• 2023 POR 1st (lotto protected)
• 2023 1st (top four protected; otherwise to ORL)
• 2024 1st (top 3 protected to ORL if 2023 doesn’t convey)
• 2025 1st (top 10 protected; otherwise to SAS if 2024 first not conveyed)
• 2026 1st (top 8 protected to SAS if 2025 not conveyed)
• 2027 1st (top 8 protected to SAS if 2025, 2026 1st not conveyed)
• 2028 1st (top 8 protected to SAS if 2025-2027 1st not conveyed)
• 2029 1st
• 2028 2nd (to SAS if 2025-2028 1st not conveyed)
• 2026 2nd (to ORL if ‘23 or ‘24 first not conveyed)
• 2027 2nd (to ORL if ‘23 or ‘24 first not conveyed)
• 2029 2nd
Mock Trades to Date (Feb 2 Deadline)
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.
Bulls blow it up
Bulls receive: Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Nick Richards, MarJon Beauchamp, 2027 Lakers 1st, 2029 Lakers 1st, 2029 Bucks 1st, 2028 Bucks 1st-round swap, and Trailblazers 2024 2nd
Bucks receive: DeMar DeRozan, Cody Martin, Damian Jones, Goran Dragic, Javonte Green
Hornets receive: George Hill and Jordan Nwora
Lakers receive: Zach LaVine, Joe Ingles, Grayson Allen, Wesley Matthews
SportsEthos has already posted a trade involving the Hornets and Bucks where the Bucks received Cody Martin and Nick Richards for George Hill and Jordan Nwora. For financial reasons, this trade had to be expanded to a four team deal to make it work.
The last day of our mock trade deadline and the Bulls decided to blow it up. They traded LaVine and DeRozan for major cap flexibility, a former first-round pick, three unprotected firsts and a swap. However, the firsts are in 2027, 2028, and 2029, so this could potentially be a long rebuild for Chicago. Unfortunately, Chicago will likely lose their 2023 first round pick, as Orlando owns it top-four protected so the Bulls don’t exactly have incentive to lose this year. However, with DeRozan aging and LaVine’s knees not getting younger, they executed on a deal that helps their future, financial flexibility and they got decent value. Russell Westbrook’s $47 million deal is expiring after this season, so the Bulls could theoretically become a cap space team this summer and add pieces around guys like Ayo Dosunmu, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams, and the newly acquired Obi Toppin. Additionally, they still have Nikola Vucevic and his expiring deal on the books and can let him walk or sign-and-trade him this summer to a contender. Either way, the Bulls have major financial flexibility now with newly found draft compensation.
For the Bucks, they saw they struck out on finding a third team in their pursuit for Jae Crowder, and they were dangling Grayson Allen to everybody. When Chicago said they were willing to move both DeRozan and LaVine in one fell swoop, Milwaukee pounced. Their 2029 first is their only first they were able to trade, and of course they added the swap in 2028. They acquired DeRozan to pair with Giannis, Middleton, and Holiday and in addition to Brook Lopez, that’s a very formidable starting lineup. However, Milwaukee does not have much wing or guard depth outside of Cody Martin and Connaughton. Bobby Portis will be the first big off the bench to spell either Lopez or Giannis, and Dragic will be the backup ball-handler. However, Milwaukee has two open roster spots after this move, so they can always acquire a buyout guy before March 1st.
For the Lakers, first of all, Zach LaVine is a Klutch client. Secondly, he played his college ball at UCLA. Third of all, when LaVine was first a restricted free agent after he was traded to Chicago, he signed an offer sheet with Sacramento that was subsequently matched. This summer, the Bulls were the only team that were really able to pay LaVine. I mention this because things may not be as peaches and cream in Chicago for LaVine as they appear, and LA is a place he can call home between his connections to Klutch and his previous experience playing college ball in LA. The Lakers also did not want to give up those highly coveted 2027 and 2029 unprotected firsts for just LaVine, so they demanded role players back as well. In total, they netted LaVine, Grayson Allen, Joe Ingles, and Wesley Matthews. The Lakers suddenly are a force to be reckoned with.