NBA Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA Minnesota Timberwolves Robert Covington (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Taking a closer look at five non-star trade targets that could change the NBA playoff race

The NBA trade deadline is approaching fast, with February 6th being the final day that teams can make moves and gear up for the postseason. Many fans want the splashy trade. They want to go buy the jersey of the star player who is now wearing their colors but those moves are rare, especially in season.

The more realistic trades, the ones that add subtle versatility or quietly fill a need, are the ones that really put contenders over the top.

Take last year’s Toronto Raptors as an example. On February 7, 2018, they traded Toronto favorite Jonas Valanciunas along with Delon Wright and C.J. Miles for longtime Memphis Grizzlies center, Marc Gasol.

The Raptors knew what they were getting. Gasol was no longer the guy who could get 20-7-5 playing 35 minutes a night while anchoring the defense. Too many miles on the odometer to expect that from him. In fact, if you just look at his raw numbers with the Raptors (9-6-4 in 25 mpg) it would look like his impact was minimal. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

What Gasol gave the Raptors was spacing (44% from 3), a skilled passer at the center position (4 APG), and playoff experience (59 career playoff starts from 2011-17). The end result in the playoffs showed that the addition of Gasol gave them the personnel to be unguardable. The Raptors always had five players on the floor who could make a shot, make the extra pass, and get a stop on defense. It sounds simple, but it’s rare to see a team constructed this well, and it’s what ultimately put them over the top and brought the championship to Toronto for the first time ever.

So who could this year’s Marc Gasol be? Who are the players that aren’t splashy but could be huge pieces for a playoff contender?

I’ve picked out five guys who have had some rumors swirling lately and could very well be on the move before the February 6th deadline. Guys who, if they go to the right teams, could put that team over the top – The All-Gasol Team.



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