NBA preseason games are underway, but that hasn’t stopped the steady flow of NBA trade rumors circulating in cyberspace. There is a fresh scenario being discussed online that would see some big names playing for new teams in 2016-17.
According to the website NBA Trade Rumors, there could be a deal in the making between the Lakers, Bulls, and Pelicans. The Lakers would welcome shooting guard Jimmy Butler to Tinseltown, while power forward Anthony Davis would head to Chicago. New Orleans would bring in five new players as a result of this trade: small forward Brandon Ingram, point guard D’Angelo Russell, power forward Nikola Mirotic, power forward Bobby Portis, and point guard Jose Calderon.
This rumored seven-player swap is a legal trade under NBA guidelines, so that hurdle has been cleared. Some NBA trade rumors sound good on the surface, but fail when it comes to their actual viability per NBA trade and salary cap restrictions. This potential deal that is being reported via the internet would get a thumbs-up from the league office if all three teams agreed to this transaction.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) September 27, 2016
The Los Angeles Lakers are in search of a new identity after the retirement of long-time superstar Kobe Bryant. There are some potential stars on the current Lakers roster, but no one who is established as a marquee player. Jimmy Butler would fill Los Angeles’ need for a big-name star to carry the torch for the departed Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers would have to send out Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, and Jose Calderon to acquire Jimmy Butler, according to this trade proposal. This would be a lot for Los Angeles to give up, considering that both Ingram and Russell could be NBA All-Stars down the road.
However, if this deal went through, Los Angeles would appear to be a better team in the short-term. Jordan Clarkson would move over to point guard so Butler could play the shooting guard position. Ingram probably would have backed up Luol Deng initially, so in terms of the starting lineup, this would essentially be a swap of D’Angelo Russell for Jimmy Butler — and that’s a win for the Lakers.
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It is more difficult to project the long-term impact of this trade, but if Butler becomes the face of the Lakers for the next 6-8 years, it almost won’t matter how good Ingram and Russell eventually become — and neither is guaranteed success, whereas Butler is a proven superstar.
The Chicago Bulls would be dealing one star for another in this trade scenario, so while the exact value of Jimmy Butler and Anthony Davis can be debated, it likely comes down to fit. Now that the Bulls have signed Dwyane Wade as a free agent, Butler will be moved to small forward this coming season if he remains in Chicago. If Butler is dealt for Davis, Doug McDermott would be penciled in as the new starter at small forward, although rookie Denzel Valentine might be able to compete for the spot as well.
No matter who wins the starting small forward role, the team is weaker without Jimmy Butler. Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic have made a solid tandem at power forward for the Bulls, but Anthony Davis (also known as “The Brow”) would elevate that position to new heights. This rumored deal is a very intriguing possibility for Chicago. As good as Jimmy Butler is, if the Bulls could land Anthony Davis for him straight-up, they would likely pull the trigger on that offer.
— Lakers Fans (@LakersViews) September 7, 2016
The New Orleans Pelicans would be reloading their roster with five new players if they agreed to this trade proposal, but none of them are anywhere near the player Anthony Davis is. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t an offer worth considering. The Pelicans were 30-52 during the 2015-16 regular season, so they are in rebuilding mode. Since the team isn’t likely to be a true contender anytime soon, trading for some exceptional young talent might be the right move to make.
Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell would be the cornerstones of this trade for the Pelicans. Ingram is thought to have superstar potential in the mold of Golden State’s Kevin Durant. Russell is also projected to be an All-Star, although he suffered through an uneven rookie season and had some maturity issues during his first year in the NBA.
Dealing The Brow would leave a gaping hole at power forward for the Pelicans, but the rumored trade would bring to New Orleans both Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis, who would make a good (although unspectacular) combination at power forward. The Pelicans aren’t strong at small forward, so Ingram would have a chance to play big minutes right away. Russell would be a starter as well, particularly since Jrue Holiday will not be with the team to begin the season due to his wife’s unfortunate illness (as reported by the Times-Picayune).
The latest NBA trade rumors are indicating that a significant deal between the Lakers, Bulls and Pelicans could be on the horizon. The structure of this trade seems quite plausible, as each team gets something they need out of this seven-player swap. NBA teams are often hesitant to trade stars or even potential stars, but if this deal is actually being discussed among these teams, it could move from the rumor mill to the front page of the sports section very quickly.
[Featured Image by Stacy Revere/Getty Images]