NBA trades rarely happen once all the free agent signing is complete, but the activity resumes during the season, obviously reaching fever pitch in late February. Two trades to look out for this season, which actually make sense for all those involved: The Atlanta Hawks and the Houston Rockets exchanging Paul Millsap and Omer Asik; and the Chicago Bulls and the New Orleans Pelicans switching between Luol Deng and Eric Gordon.
Hawks & Rockets – Paul Millsap for Omer Asik
The Houston Rockets needed a power forward more than anything, but you don’t pass up on Dwight Howard when he becomes available and wants to play for you. The Atlanta Hawks needed a center, but eventually signed Millsap on a two-year deal worth $19 million, which means Al Horford is still playing out of position, and the Hawks signed players like Elton Brand to help him carry the load. Asik, eventually, might not be very happy to continue playing as the backup to Dwight Howard, or in limited minutes of time next to him on the floor. The Rockets might not be too happy about the result either, which might open the door for a very logical trade that will help both teams, especially if Houston don’t get enough from Asik coming off the bench.
Bulls & Pelicans – Luol Deng for Eric Gordon
For now, the Chicago Bulls aren’t looking to re-sign Luol Deng. Well, it’s not completely true, but they’re waiting to see what happens. Deng is due to make over $14 million next season, which the Bulls tried to move to the Washington Wizards and the Portland Trail Blazers, but no one took a bite. Deng is looking to make more than $10 million a season on his next deal, but it probably won’t happen on the Bulls, who have Jimmy Butler to put in the small forward role, unless he has a huge, injury free season and helps the Bulls win the East.
Eric Gordon has been happy, injured, unhappy and pretty much every color of the rainbow since joining the Pelicans. Coming back from a long injury in the middle of last season, he averaged 20.3 points per game but incredibly inefficient, barely shooting over 40% from the field and hitting only 32.4% of his three point shots.
The Bulls are starting Jimmy Butler at shooting guard this season because they don’t have anyone at the position, while Butler is too good to continue wasting away on the bench. Meanwhile, Tyreke Evans is going to play small forward for the Pelicans, even though he’ll probably do better in the backcourt. If the dominoes fall in the right way this season, the two teams might start pushing to get this deal done, even though the Bulls will be taking on two more years and $30 million on Gordon’s contract, while Deng becomes a free agent.