by | Dec 6, 2021

Every year there are players across the league that aren’t contempt with their situation justified or not. About 24 games into the season, many teams are slowly starting to figure out what direction they want to move in. Rebuilding teams trade veterans for picks and young players while buyers look to strengthen their roster.

Some situations have been stirring for a while *whispers Ben Simmons* and others are a little new.

Here are four stars I think should request a trade.

Damian Lillard

After nine years of dedication and loyalty, no one will ridicule Damian Lillard for running from this grind.

Along with the recent firing of former general manager and president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, the Trailblazers just haven’t been good this season. Portland has constantly seen success in the regular season which, gives them a false hope of contention. A trade has been made here and there in recent years but they were either questionable or marginal gains. The Blazers sit at 10th in the western conference which isn’t the end of the world but this is just long overdue. A rebuild in Portland won’t be easy but getting young guys they can develop with picks is there only option. In their given market free agency isn’t an option for enhancement. Every single contributor on the current roster has come from the draft or a trade.

Overall, Portland has to hit on their future picks to improve and that starts with the trade package they receive for Dame. 

De’Aaron Fox

It’s rare when a rebuild needs to take place during a rebuild but the Kings need every bit of one. Questionable move after questionable move has led the Sacramento Kings to the longest current playoff drought in the NBA. Here are some of the most puzzling moves made by former general manager Vlade Divac. *Kings fans look away*

One good move they did make though, was drafting DeAaron Fox fifth in 2017. Fox has improved every single year he’s been in the league except the current one. After averaging a career best 25.2 pts on 48% shooting last year, Fox has dropped to 20 pts on 43.2% while also averaging 5.5 asts per game. This assist total is the lowest for Fox since his rookie season. Although statistically he’s having a down year, I don’t think for a second that he is a shell of himself.

The speed Fox possesses is generational and I’m just not too worried about the drop in shooting splits. Stars like Jayson Tatum and Damian Lillard are also shooting career lows from the field. To go a step further, the league average for field goal percentage this year is 45 percent. This is the lowest mark since the 2014-2015 season.

In wake of a down year I believe Fox will be a game changer on a playoff team and the Kings will get a chance to add assets through trade while giving more responsibility to Tyrese Halliburton and rookie Davion Mitchell

Karl-Anthony Towns

I really do like what the TWolves are building but one more non-post season appearance year for Karl-Anthony Towns and that might be it.

Good news first, the Timberwolves have actually been on the up lately. The 2020 NBA Draft was a good one for the franchise. They came out with two very good picks in budding star Anthony Edwards (1st) and promising wing Jaden McDaniels (28th). The D’Angelo Russell trade took away their chance of a top 10 pick in the 2021 draft, but he has been solid for them. The team has essentially filled out its roster with enough talent to compete for a play-in spot. They sit 9th in the Western Conference at the moment but, it might not matter.

While the roster has talent indeed, there’s still some uncertainty. While D’Angelo Russell is solid, he is surely not worth the 31 million he’s due over the next two seasons. I truly believe the franchise has no intention for DLo to be the future Pg and are just waiting for a team like Philly to bite on him. Russell isn’t the answer and we don’t know who is.

Along with the uncertain future at point guard, there just aren’t any building blocks worth waiting on besides Anthony Edwards. To maintain a star in a small market you have to make stubborn moves for the now. The only time KAT has felt this was in 2017. The Wolves traded Zach Lavine and the 7th pick (Lauri Markkanen) for Jimmy Butler. The team was 3rd in the west until Butler suffered a knee injury. They ended up getting gentlemen swept by the Houston Rockets in round one. Shortly after, the Butler vs TWolves drama ensued and he was traded to Philly.

Like Fox, KAT would be a game changer to any playoff team given a trade, but to a greater extent. He can get you 25 and 10 easily every night and is a top 3 passing big man in the game. He has a career average of 39% from 3 on four attempts which statistically, makes him the most accurate beyond the art big shooter of all time on that many attempts.

If KAT genuinely believes in the duo of him and Ant-man, then this conversation means nothing but I’m just not there. A Ben Simmons move in my eyes can really buy the Wolves an extra year or two on KAT.

Domantas Sabonis

Even though Domantas Sabonis got an All-Star nod last year, I still feel like he goes unnoticed.

Sabonis is averaging 17.5pts, 12reb and 4ast per contests. Sabonis is one of the best rebounders in the league while in my opinion, being the second best passing big only after Nikola Jokic. Even though these are impressive numbers, the decline in touches has led to his numbers dropping. Last year he totaled 20.3 points per game and 6.7 assists and his usage rate was 24.1%. This year his field goal percentage has improved but his points, assists and usage rate have all dropped by 3. His lack of touches is a direct correlation to his drop in numbers so there is no concern for me.

The Pacers to me are like the Trailblazers of the east. They are both teams that usually finish 4-8 in the regular season but never make a convincing run in the post-season. Also, they are two teams that seem to be underachieving at the moment. Indiana is a surprising 9-16 given all the talent they have on their team. I am a firm believer that being stuck in the middle is the worst thing a franchise can do and the Pacers didn’t make the playoffs last year losing in the play-in, but their last 5 playoff appearances have ended in first round losses. It’s worse when you realize that all of these exits were consecutive years.

If the Pacers decide to blow up this roster, they can really change the landscape of this current season. Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner, Caris Levert, T.J. Warren, and T.J. McConnell are all veterans that can start or play key roles on every playoff team.

If 5 straight first round exits don’t make you start a rebuild it’s clear ownership is having trouble starting it.

Sabonis can definitely get that ball rolling.

Check out more of my content! https://thepeachbasket.net/author/nikland/

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