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Four Increasingly Unlikely NBA Trade Deadline Fake Trades Teams Should Consider

The Warriors are in desperate need of an upgrade and the 76ers will need help while Joel Embiid recovers from knee surgery.

It’s finally trade deadline week in the NBA, which means it’s time for my, yours and everyone else’s favorite pastime: fake trades!

Are any of these based in reality? Honestly, who is to say what’s real and what’s posturing this time of year. All I know is that these trades a) have been vetted by an online trade machine service and b) would definitely add a hefty amount of spice to the last couple of months of the regular season. So let’s get into them. I’m sure everyone will react in a completely reasonable manner to these trades.

[NBA Trade Deadline Tracker: Stay on top of the latest moves] 

Golden State Warriors receive: Grant Williams, Richaun Holmes

Dallas Mavericks receive: Andrew Wiggins, Gui Santos

It’s no secret the Warriors are in desperate need of an upgrade while the Mavericks covet a player on the perimeter. I think this is a genuine win-win for each side in the short and long term. Williams can play next to Draymond Green for the Dubs and add defense and shooting while finally opening up a spot on the wing for Jonathan Kuminga. A Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kuminga, Green and Williams lineup is very intriguing on paper.

Meanwhile, Dallas needs perimeter defense as well as a player who can play up a position. Wiggins has struggled this season, but maybe he can regain his form playing off Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving, who will reduce his offensive burden quite a bit. Wiggins can play the three or the four and provide the Mavs a great defensive option against the top scorers in the league.

Philadelphia 76ers receive: Dejounte Murray

Atlanta Hawks receive: Marcus Morris, 2026 first-round pick, ’28 first-round pick

The Sixers have to find a way to stay afloat while Joel Embiid recovers from knee surgery. Murray is perhaps not the cleanest fit, but he’s arguably the best talent available right now. He gives Philly another scoring and ball-handling option with Embiid gone and especially someone who can run the offense when Tyrese Maxey sits. His contract is incredibly reasonable, which keeps the Sixers flexible in the offseason. And Philly is protected pick-wise because it has picks from other teams coming in 2026 and ’28.

Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards in the second quarter at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, on Jan 13, 2024.

Murray has been the subject of NBA trade rumors for weeks.

Is this enough for Atlanta? It’s a fair question. Morris is on an expiring contract. Two picks are fewer than what the Hawks gave up for Murray, but it at least allows them to recoup some of what they gave up in that deal. Ultimately, the Murray–Trae Young pairing hasn’t really worked. Getting a couple of firsts back would help Atlanta go hunting for that next player to try to pair with Young.

Miami Heat receive: Jerami Grant

Portland Trail Blazers receive: Tyler Herro, Nikola Jović

Are Portland and Miami actually open to doing business? If so, the Heat should consider calling a few times a day about this deal. Grant—who, it should be noted, has not asked to be moved—would give the Heat a cleaner fit in the starting lineup than Herro, as well as a boost in size needed to face some of their conference rivals.

Do the Blazers value Herro at all, though? He wasn’t coveted during the Damian Lillard talks. But Herro is still a young, effective scorer who has excelled on good teams for basically his entire career. He could reclaim his sixth-man role in Portland or pick up starts as Scoot Henderson rounds into form. At worst, he’s another trade chip for the future. Jović could also start to realize some of his potential if he finally gets some consistent playing time.

Cleveland Cavaliers receive: LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers receive: Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert

O.K., let’s get very weird! James has been sending cryptic messages to the Lakers of late, hasn’t publicly committed to being in Los Angeles long term and is likely fed up of not contending at this stage in his career. Even if Rich Paul says James won’t be traded, James doesn’t seem thrilled at the moment. The Cavs, on the other hand, have been absolutely rolling despite injuries. They have no reason to blow it up or trade Mitchell … but his contract status does leave the door a crack open for a harebrained scheme such as this one.

Cleveland would be going all-in with this move, and you could argue James is a better fit next to Darius Garland than Mitchell is. The frontcourt would be a little crowded, but the Cavs would probably have enough flexibility to figure it out. At the end of the day, if they had to bet, would Cleveland feel more comfortable about James finishing next season with its team or Mitchell? I think the Cavs would lean the former, as absurd as it may be to ask.

As for the Lakers, Mitchell isn’t a terrible consolation prize. They can immediately pivot to building around him and Davis as the franchise pillars. With a bunch of other movable contracts over the next couple of seasons, Los Angeles could retool pretty quickly as opposed to having to rebuild.