The NBA season reached its midpoint and three names have been mentioned in trade rumors: point guards Jeremy Lin (Atlanta Hawks), forward Noah Vonleh (New York Knicks), and guard Dennis Smith, Jr. (Dallas Mavericks).
The NBA’s trade deadline is three weeks away and set for February 7, 2019. The Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia Sixers, and Phoenix Suns were mentioned as possible future homes for Lin, Vonleh, and Smith.
In the Eastern Conference, 11 teams are jockeying for eight playoff spots with the Hawks, Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and Cleveland Cavs essentially in tank mode.
In the Western Conference, 10 teams are competing for the top eight spots, but everyone except the Phoenix Suns have a legit shot at a postseason berth. The Grizzlies are #14 in the West, but only five games behind the Jazz in the #8 slot.
Linsanity to Sacramento?
The Sacramento Kings (23-21) are one of the youngest teams in the NBA. The young Kings are only two game separate them and the #5 Houston Rockets.
Lin is averaging 10.8 points and 3.6 assists in 19.5 minutes per game off the bench. A trade for Line would give the Kings a veteran presence, while allowing the team to shred the bloated contract for Zach Randolph.
By shipping Lin out West, the trade will free up more playing time for rookie Trae Young, who is second in scoring for the Hawks with 16.0 points per game.
Vonleh to Philly?
The Knicks are in a weird spot. Head coach David Fizdale is trying to establish a new mindset at Madison Square Garden, but when you lose most of your games, it’s difficult to instill a winning culture.
The Knicks are waiting to find out whether or not they are going to have a legitimate shot at landing Kevin Durant in the offseason.
In the meantime, the Fizdale has been trying to sooth disgruntled veterans who saw their playing time dwindle while younger players receive the bulk of the playing time. Center Enes Kanter is one of those players that wants to play and win now. By dealing Vonleh, Kanter would see his minutes increase. At the same time, some teams have expressed interest in Kanter, who has a bulky contract ($18.6 million per season)that would fit in with teams looking to swap salaries.
The Sixers are interested in Vonleh to shore up their frontline. The 6-foot-9 forward is hitting a career best 41.1 percent from three-point range. He’s averaging 8.6 points and 8.5 points in only 26.3 minutes per game.
The Sixers, particularly Ben Simmons and Joel Emiid, have struggled to gel as a team since they acquired Jimmy Butler in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwovles.
Smith to PHX?
The Dallas Mavericks selected Dennis Smith, Jr. with the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. After a standout rookie year averaging 15.2 points per game, Smith struggled in his sophomore season. He’s only averaging 12.6 points per game even though he’s shooting better from long range. Smith is hitting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc versus 31.1 percent last season.
The Mavericks have become the Luka Doncic Show right now. The Rookie from Slovenia has been turning heads from hist first game. He’s got the inside track to Rookie of the Year and he’s arguably the best player on the Mavs. Donic leads the Mavs in scoring with 20.3 points per game. The metrics prove that the Mavs are a more efficient team when Smith and Doncic do not play together. With analytics guru and ex-gambler Haralabob now on the Mavs payroll, you could expect the team to make more stats-derived decisions.
The Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic expressed interest in Smith.