The 2021-22 NBA season continues to roll along as we approach the upcoming trade deadline on Thursday, February 10. It’ll be the last chance for teams looking to add significant pieces to go on a playoff run, making it one of the most anticipated dates on the league’s calendar.
The trade deadline festivities began a bit earlier this week, with a pair of blockbuster deals going down on Tuesday. The Indiana Pacers traded Domontas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday and draft compensation to the Sacramento Kings for Tyrese Haliburton, Tristan Thompson and Buddy Hield.
Meanwhile, The Portland Trail Blazers sent C.J. McCollum, Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell to the New Orleans Pelicans for Josh Hart, a handful of other players and future first-round draft picks.
Needless to say, if these two deals are any indication of what we’ll see at the trade deadline, the NBA Championship and playoff picture could be significantly impacted.
Here’s a look at three potential trade deadline deals that could shake up this season’s NBA future odds.
76ers and Nets Swap Simmons and Harden
One of the bigger stories this NBA season has been Ben Simmons’ refusal to play for the Philadelphia 76ers, leading to them trying to move him since the offseason. Since then, it’s been reported that James Harden is unhappy about his experience with the Brooklyn Nets.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on Tuesday that a potential trade deadline swap between the 76ers and Nets for Simmons and Harden isn’t out of the question. If a deal can get done, it would certainly change the NBA odds picture.
For Philadelphia, the team’s goal since the offseason was to trade Simmons for a guard who can score and mesh well with superstar center Joel Embiid. Harden definitely fits the bill there. While playing with Kyrie Irving and Durant has led to him scoring less than he normally does, he’s still averaging 22.5 points per game this season.
Not only that but Harden is also averaging 10.2 assists and could certainly set Embiid up whenever he needs the ball. Considering how the 76ers are 32-22 (5th in East) without Simmons playing a single minute, it’s easy to see how their NBA Championship odds (+1200 on BetMGM) could improve with Harden.
Meanwhile, the Nets have lost nine games in a row and clearly need to change something. Simmons could serve as Brooklyn’s primary facilitator while adding a serious defensive boost to the lineup. It may take some time to get back into game shape, but he’s definitely a better fit on the Nets where he’d be the tertiary option.
Brooklyn is still the NBA Championship favorite on BetMGM, but that could change if this losing streak doesn’t end. Bringing in Simmons would ensure that the Nets remain as top contenders.
Suns Acquire Thaddeus Young to Solidify NBA Finals Contender Status
While he doesn’t carry the same name value as Harden or Simmons, San Antonio Spurs veteran big man Thaddeus Young is another name that could be moved at the trade deadline.
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported on Tuesday that the Phoenix Suns are one team rumored to be interested in Young, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Young is averaging 6.1 PTS/3.6 REB/2.3 AST in 26 games with the Spurs. While his stats seem unimpressed, his per 36 numbers are more consistent with his career averages. He also brings the versatility to play both center and power forward, which will strengthen Phoenix’s bench. After all, he’d be a likely improvement over backups like Ish Wainright and Bismack Biyombo. Plus he has 51 games of playoff experience under his belt.
Despite being the top team in the NBA, the Suns only sit third (+500) on BetMGM’s NBA Championship odds list. Rounding out their roster with Young could help them make the jump over the Nets and Golden State Warriors (+450).
The Spurs will likely miss the playoffs, so they’ll be looking to get draft compensation or a young player back from the Suns.
Lakers Interested in Celtics’ Josh Richardson
According to multiple sources, several teams have been calling to Boston Celtics to inquire about veteran guard Josh Richardson. The 28-year-old is averaging 9.7 points and a .397 three-point percentage, making him an attractive option for teams looking to expand their supporting cast.
Well, one of the teams that are allegedly been calling is none other than the Los Angeles Lakers. At 26-30, the Lakers have failed to meet expectations and management will do everything they can to try and make a strong push for the playoffs.
Adding Richardson would make Los Angeles a lot better. He’s the type of ‘3 and D’ player that the organization loves and would fill out the wing position in the process. He also has 30 games of playoff experience, which will come in handy as the season nears its end.
With that being, the Lakers would likely have to move Talen Horton-Tucker for the salaries to match. The 21-year-old has failed to take a major leap this season and is one of the only tradable assets that Los Angeles has. Boston is in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, so it all depends on if they believe that a change of scenery will bring out the best in Horton-Tucker.
The Lakers are +1800 on BetMGM to win the 2021-22 NBA Championship and acquiring Richardson could help solidify those odds. Otherwise, it’s tough to see a play-in team staying that high on the odds list. Meanwhile, the Celtics sit at +5000 odds, as well as 4.5 games back of first in the East. Perhaps a reinvigorated Horton-Tucker could not only help boost their championship odds but also their position in the standings.