Hot on the heels of various predictions for a quiet NBA trade deadline came the bombshell that the Los Angeles Clippers had traded star Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons. Could that deal have ripple effects across the league ahead of the February 8 deadline? Will other teams take big swings of their own to revive their season? Here are a few names to keep an eye on:
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
With Griffin gone, the rebuild is on. There are a handful of teams looking for a reliable big man to prop up their defense (Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers etc.). It will likely take at least a first round pick to get the Clippers’ attention, even though the deal may amount to nothing more than a rental. As a rim protector and a pick and roll dunker, Jordan could elevate the right team to contender status this season.
Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
Like Jordan, Whiteside has value as a rim protector but it is unclear whether the Heat view him as a franchise cornerstone. He has had an up and down season while averaging a double-double. Kelly Olynyk and rookie Bam Adebayo could absorb Whiteside’s minutes if Miami choose to go in that direction. Just this week in Dallas, Whiteside earned praise from head coach Erik Spoelstra so it would likely take an impressive haul for the Heat to deal him.
Isaiah Thomas, Cleveland Cavaliers
With tensions still high in the Cavs locker room, Thomas (rather than the now-injured Kevin Love) could emerge as a trade candidate. His contract expires at the end of the season and he has struggled to rediscover his 2016/17 form after a serious hip injury. If Cleveland can acquire an athletic wing in return, it could signal the end of Thomas’ brief Cavs career.
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
McCollum’s partnership with Damian Lillard has fared better than some predicted. They have blossomed into one of the league’s most explosive backcourts. But Portland’s path to a more balanced roster may mean trading McCollum in search of a front court star. A player like Whiteside could be a good fit. That said, with the slew of injuries in the Western Conference, the Blazers (currently the number six seed) are already within striking distance of a top four finish and may prefer to stick rather than twist.
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Mike Conley is out for the rest of the season and the Grizzlies are staring at a bleak future. Gasol still has trade value and, as painful as it would be to deal away another piece of that Grit n Grind era, Memphis may look to cash in.