Back by the popular demand of pretty much only myself, it’s the second annual edition of Around the NBA in 15 Trades. We’re taking all 30 teams in the lead up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline and finding a happy middle ground for prosperous barterdom.
With the return of DeMarcus Cousins to the fold, Golden State, already a juggernaut, became one of those cartoon snowballs barreling downhill.
What could the Warriors trade for that would help them at this point? A 1996 Michael Jordan? Thanos with the full Infinity Gauntlet? Thinking of a fake trade for them is like handing Bill Gates a $25 gift card to Best Buy.
Something they could do though is start laying the track for the next iteration of this team.
Detroit seems perpetually stuck a few games out of the No. 8 spot with their postseason dreams just out of reach. They’re mired with a high payroll and players in their primes ready to win now — or at least make the playoffs.
PG, Shaun Livingston; F, Jonas Jerebko; SG, Jacob Evans
F, Stanley Johnson; PF, Jon Leuer
Why the Pistons do it:
Detroit most likely isn’t bringing back Stanley Johnson once the season wraps up. After three and a half years, they’ve been unable to tap into his talent and build him into a two-way force. Getting something of value for him now would at least salvage a mislaid situation.
Shaun Livingston would bring stability and a title-winning veteran’s guidance to the point guard position. He has the size to be able to play alongside Reggie Jackson so the boat would only be minimally rocked. While Johnson didn’t pan out, Jacob Evans would give the Pistons a do-over at developing a 3-and-D wing.
Why the Warriors do it:
Johnson has a world of opportunity to live up to that clearly isn’t coming to fruition in Detroit. His upside as a switchable, defensive wrecker is obvious, but consistency and a reliable jump shot elude him.
Given the upside, affording Johnson half a season under Bruce Fraser’s tutelage and immersing him in the Golden State ecosystem would be a high-reward proposition. He could be their heir to Andre Iguodala as the do-it-all and defend-it-all glue holding all the stars in place.