BY HENRY ABBOTT, JAROD HECTOR, TRAVIS MORAN, and DAVID THORPE
Today, Thursday December 15, is an important date on the NBA calendar. Arcane collective-bargaining rules keep many of the league’s players from being traded in the first couple of months of the season. That’s over now, so we have entered the league’s trading season, which extends from now until the trade deadline on February 9.
Who will go where? We have taken turns making trade proposals. We got creative, maybe even a little crazy, and then we let Coach Thorpe judge our work, which he did harshly and enthusiastically.
Henry: “A kingdom for my center?”
This season has begun with, roughly speaking, a 78-way tie among many teams that are almost contenders. Out of that thicket of really-good teams, I am certain most will recede from genuine contention as a few emerge. Making sure you’re one of those few makes sense as a driving motivation to make a trade.
The Suns very much fit that description. In July 2021, they were up 2-0 in the NBA Finals. They KNOW they can win a title with Chris Paul. Now they have lost five straight and are fourth in the crowded West—just three games from missing the play-in entirely. They also have Jae Crowder on ice, Deandre Ayton fresh off signing a free-agent offer from the Pacers, and probably a real antsy feeling all over.
Meanwhile, the Raptors are similarly close to contention—and we know they have ideas about adding a big-deal center. So, here’s my idea:
Suns get OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, Malachi Flynn
Raptors get Deandre Ayton
There may be an argument for including Precious Achiuwa or Christian Koloko, but my hunch is—as they’re both high potential and low-salaried—the Raptors won’t let them go easily.
What do you think, David?
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