A look at a scintillating three-team trade involving the Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets.
The Atlanta Hawks have a variety of strong veteran players that would aid the playoff push for any number of teams.
With the Houston Rockets getting the news earlier this week that franchise center Clint Capela will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a thumb injury and the Philadelphia 76ers in a constant state of near-disarray, the Atlanta Hawks should be willing to swoop in (as Hawks do) and pull off a fascinating three-team deal that allows both teams to upgrade their rosters ahead of a (hopefully) lengthy playoff run.
In the process, the Hawks would accrue multiple draft assets from both teams and also nab a free flyer on a couple of young players. Here’s the trade:
Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, Amir Johnson, Shake Milton, Unprotected 2019 HOU First Round Pick, Unprotected PHI 2020 First Round Pick
Jimmy Butler, Dewayne Dedmon
Kent Bazemore, Nene, James Ennis
As you can see, this is quite seismic. Let’s look at it from each team’s perspective. First the 76ers:
There has been some buzz recently that the 76ers should immediately trade Jimmy Butler, even though they shipped off two of their most beloved players in exchange for him (Robert Covington and Dario Saric). However, when watching the 76ers, Butler does indeed look less explosive than years past, and the prospect of paying him a mammoth max extension might put off the 76ers ahead of this upcoming offseason.
Why not offload him to the Rockets (where he was heavily rumored to go at the beginning of this season), thus paving the way for Kent Bazemore, James Ennis and Nene to make to Philly to help shore up the team’s massive depth issues?
Now, the Rockets’ perspective. Houston needs a big man now that Capela will miss significant time. Dewayne Dedmon will fill in ably for Capela, and he can even provide a stretch element to the team’s offense that Capela does not provide.
Though they would be lacking a backup big man with Nene going to Philly, it’s quite likely that a buyout candidate might emerge (Robin Lopez anyone?).
ESPN’s trade machine (which is rather loopy sometimes in this category), likes this deal for Houston and estimates a +2-win increase if the Rockets make this happen. There’s no way he re-signs in Houston, but this sure would make for a fun end-of-season rental ahead of a stacked Western Conference playoff field.
For the Atlanta Hawks, Both Brandon Knight and Amir Johnson would have to be cut as the team is already sitting with the maximum number of players signed to contracts. Both players would likely be useful for other teams looking to add some cheap talent for the back end of the roster.
Though a bit out there, these deals would benefit all three teams, and Atlanta Hawks fans should be happy with a return such as this for the team’s valuable veteran talent.