- Anthony Davis made a trade request but he isn't the only star in need of a change of scenery. The Crossover staff canvases the league to find other stranded stars.
Anthony Davis is the most high-profile player to demand a trade with the deadline approaching, but he isn't the only stranded star in the NBA landscape. With Davis in mind, The Crossover staff canvased the league and selected players not named Anthony Davis who should demand a trade and be freed of their current situation.
Bradley Beal, Wizards
Beal has been the best player in Washington for years now, and his ostensible running mate just suffered a more serious injury while already being seriously injured. The Wizards have somehow, even amid everything else, been one of the biggest clown shows in our nation’s capital the last couple years, and Beal deserves an opportunity to showcase his game elsewhere. Beal’s shooting stroke would look so good on competent teams. Imagine him clearing up driving lanes for LeBron, or somehow opening up the lane even wider for the Greek Freak. Beal carries some of the blame for why things have gone wrong in D.C., but he’s far down the list. Washington doesn’t look like it will be good any time soon, so a trade here could actually be mutually beneficial. The Wizards need to start figuring out a rebuild, and Beal could bring back some attractive assets. In the Superteam Era, we as NBA fans want to see the game’s best playing on rosters of consequence. Beal is already one of the top players at his position. His career will only reach new heights when he’s no longer saddled with the Wizards’s extra-depressing brand of dysfunction. — Rohan Nadkarni
Blake Griffin, Pistons
I don’t think Blake Griffin actually can demand a trade, given how much he’s getting paid over the next eternity, but the guy is only 29 years old, has something left in the tank and doesn’t deserve to waste away on this particular iteration of the Pistons. Did you know he’s averaging a career-high 26 points per game right now? Honestly, me neither. There is no parachute out of Detroit for Blake, but if we had to drop someone else on a more competitive team, or if anyone had legitimate grounds for a trade request, well, here’s your guy. — Jeremy Woo
Kevin Love, Cavaliers
Remember Kevin Love? The five-time All-Star and NBA champion? The elite rebounder and stretch big man? Who is still only 30 years old? OK, good, I’ll stop asking questions with obvious answers. But it’s easy to forget about Love now that LeBron has vacated Cleveland and taken the media spotlight with him. Love has played in just four games this season and has been out since late October after undergoing surgery on his left foot. With him sidelined, and LeBron no longer employed by the team, the Cavs have gone 11-42, leaving them at the bottom of the East and leaving Love with no real reason to return. It’s unlikely Love gets moved before Thursday’s trade deadline and the team did just re-sign Love to a four-year, $120 million contract extension last summer. But it’s clear now that Cleveland isn’t going to be able to save face in the wake of LeBron’s exit—they’re going to need a full-scale teardown (and some lottery luck). That means there’s no point in keeping Love on the roster. Both parties would be better off if the Cavs pursued a trade. There are plenty of teams in contention that could use a frontcourt upgrade and Love is too talented to wilt away in Cleveland’s slow rebuild. — Matt Dollinger
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves
Can we start with the weather? Or is that too obvious? Whatever, let’s kick this off by pointing out that Karl-Anthony Towns is a young millionaire who is cooped inside for most of the year as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Now, unlike most who look at the NBA landscape, I don’t think geography should be everything but in this case… And then, to hit a few more obvious topics, there are serious ownership and on-court issues. Towns plays for one of the most mistake-ridden franchises in all of basketball, and the blame for a lot of those issues come from the very top of the organization with Wolves owner Glen Taylor. Mismanagement is a hallmark of his NBA tenure. This is a team that couldn’t win with Kevin Garnett, a team that loaded up the last few years, adding Tom Thibodeau and Jimmy Butler before watching the entire experiment burn to the ground. And now that Butler is gone, Towns is stuck with Andrew Wiggins and a rejuvenated Derrick Rose as his backup? The facts are that Towns very recently agreed to a five-year, $190 million extension and is likely locked in for the long haul. But if he did want out, the phones would definitely start ringing in Minnesota. And he wouldn’t be the first superstar to work his way out of that frostbitten city. — DeAntae Prince
Kemba Walker, Hornets
Walker’s trade request wouldn’t come to Charlotte’s brass out of anger or frustration, but rather compassion for the Hornets’ organization. An extra $40 million is quite the carrot for Walker to stay with his current franchise in July’s free agency, but it would be a treat to see the UConn product spread his wings and sign with a potential contender. There are no shortage of options, with Walker entering free agency as a potential consolation prize for either New York or Los Angeles if they miss out on Kyrie Irving. If Kemba wants to explore the free-agent market, he could signal to Michael Jordan and Co. it’s time to recoup value for soon-to-be-gone star.
Adding Walker to the trade market before Thursday afternoon could create a flurry of activity. Perhaps Utah eschews its Mike Conley conversations and snags a different point guard. The Clippers and Knicks could land a max salary player before July. Would Orlando deal part of its crowded frontcourt for a half-season of Walker? A buzzing market could become chaotic. Walker has signaled he’ll stick with the Hornets long term and agree to a new deal. But the path to postseason success presently lies outside of Charlotte. — Michael Shapiro