The One Trade Wish For Every Team

Photo credit: Render Creative NZ

From this Sunday night teams in the Sal’s NBL will have 66 hours to trade players in or out of their squad, if they wish to. Any player being traded to another team must fully agree, and of course players are also able to request to be traded, if they wish to.

Sky Sport commentators Casey Frank and Justin Nelson break down the one trade wish every team could be talking about over the coming few days. Trades don't have to make perfect sense for both teams or have a realistic chance of happening as this is a wish-list not a this-trade-makes-perfect-sense-and-is-for-sure-gonna-happen-very-realistic-list. But occasionally they make sense so read up and hit us on socials with your trade wish list. 


Justin Nelson: While we know the Tuatara will make a low-roster trade with the Bulls where two amateur players will switch, we are also led to believe the Tuatara have promised the accompanying salary cap bump (6.5%) to a current player or players. However, if the Tuatara had one wish right now it might be to trade their way into nabbing a genuine high-level sixth man. Charlie Dalton certainly helps, and experienced depth in Reuben Fitzgerald, Nick Barrow and Chris McIntosh makes this a solid team, but imagine if the Tuatara had some spare dollars to bring the likes of Taki Fahrensohn or Dontae Russo-Nance back home? However, a left-field wish might be to ask the Bulls to alter their pre-arranged trade deal and send Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape up the highway instead. Is that wishful thinking?

Casey Frank: What do you give the team that has everything? Depth. The starters carry the load and are well suited to capitalise off of each others strengths without a tremendous amount of crossover. They are strong in many skill sets even the Depth has a level of strength with Barrow and Josh Leger on the interior while Dalton, McIntosh and Fitzgerald offer enough to spell the starters adequately. If I'm being greedy, which is the point of the exercise so I won't mention this every time, I'd be looking for an insurance ball handler at pg that can also stroke it, this could lessen the load on C Web both in terms of minutes but also in role-wise, but also fit alongside a mix of the starters. I'm checking in on Jayden Bezzant and Campbell Scott, both can play as the initiator or off the ball on weak side as a catch and shoot threat. 


Casey Frank: This is a tough one to suss out, given they are already very deep and at times are already struggling to feed all the mouths at the table. But with the amount of perimeter focused wing talent already on hand and the rehab setback that will cost Jordan Hunt the remainder of the NBL season I'm going to look for a bigger body, preferably one that can stroke it a bit and run the floor. Brayden Inger and Liam Judd would be interesting, athletic rim runners who can stroke it a bit but still enough size to bang around outside the heavyweight class. But a better fit might be Phil Carr, good size, runs the lane and his pick and pop skills would counterweight the interior focus of Sam Timmins and Dom Kelman-Poto while not being a player that needs have the ball in his hands at all times.

Justin Nelson: The Bulls have a deep squad and you can imagine teams asking about the services of Dom Kelman-Poto and Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape who would both get more minutes elswhere, maybe even the Jets might enquire about the services of import PG Josh Scott, but when it comes to what the Bulls would be wishing for it might be a reliable and potent scorer to come off the bench, say the likes of an Alonzo Burton (Sharks) or Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (Saints), both of which I think will be completely off limits. But wish away, Bulls!


Justin Nelson: Maybe this is the easiest wish of all to predict! The Whai need size, and in a hurry please. Dom Kelman-Poto (Bulls) would be the perfect fit and might even get a salary bump in his contract, but with Jordan Hunt out for the season the Bulls will likely now be reluctant to consider losing DKP. Perhaps Josh Leger (Tuatara) could help? What about a yet-to-arrive Yuat Alok (Saints) – do the 12-times champs really need him? Whai wish, Whai wish, Whai wish … for a big man!   

Casey Frank: This squad needs scoring and size, as they were 10th in the league in both scoring and, rebounding margin. But bigs are a rare commodity and teams are loathe to let them go if on the roster. DKP would be on the top of that list, with his quick hit offense in the post and screening prowess freeing up guards being a great fit. In the realm of realism I like Josh Leger he has starting experience from his time with the Jets and would possibly be pluckable if the right offer came along. But looking further a field maybe the Rams would be able to let go of Aiden Tonge with the return of Max Darling taking the limited minutes that he was getting. The burly forward would offer support on the glass and as a facilitator out of the high post for the Whai's cutters. But one that may work is Yuat Alok, hasn't suited up yet for Wellington but is under contract and might be a bit superfluous to the Saints now with Taane Samuel in the house.


Casey Frank: Depth anywhere would be a bonus, as the Hawks have yet to extend tons of trust to anyone currently on the bench, giving us a lot of options to follow up. On the perimeter I'd like to see Rangimarie Dougall-Mita get a bit more of run and his combo of ball handling and shooting should fit in well with the current backcourt. On the interior a big body that can soak up minutes would be of help, someone along the lines of Robbie Coman or Josh Leger would fit the bill and be of immense value on the interior if they could be pried away. Or perhaps the contract of Yuat Alok who has yet to suit up with the Saints but is expected to report at some stage with his Croatian season complete. 

Justin Nelson: If the Hwks could land one player during the trade window, they would wish it to be Alonzo Burton, no question. A former local and well known to many at the Hawks, it’s no secret Zo’s signature was hotly pursuit by the Hawks during free agency. The Hawks have a cracking starting unit and an experienced sixth man would help catapult them into finals contention. However, it’s very hard to see the Sharks giving up their captain without something in return, but we’re dealing in hypotheticals here and topping the Hawks wish list would be Zo.


Justin Nelson: In the space of 24 hours last week the Airs went from advising me they “absolutely” would be active during the trade window to claiming it was “completely false” and they would “never” make a trade. All fun and games at this point with the Airs, but this time around we’re discussing what they would wish for. It’s a tough question with this team as they have just about every base covered, but perhaps a lock-down defender in the second unit, maybe a bulldog like Scott Telfer might look good back in yellow & black? That said … please Airs, remember this is all hypothetical. Please stay calm.

Casey Frank: Another squad stacked with options to the point that it's tough to get everyone the playing time they most likely desire. They have great depth on the perimeter but may be just a little light up front with Sam Froling and Quintin Bailey the only true bigs on the squad while Carlin Davision, a natural 3, has been spending most of his time at the 4 albeit very effectively. Taane Samuel would be an interesting fit, a big enough body to play some 5 but with a skill set that could position down and fit with the pieces that they have elsewhere. 


Casey Frank: Options abound for a team still chasing a third import and awaiting some genuine size in the shape of a soonish to be expected James Moors.  Assuming Moors will fill the need for another big I'll go another way and say make some calls around Derone Raukawa to come in and take the bulk of the pg minutes. This would let Scott move to more of an off guard/backup pg role and also allow the Jets look to strengthen the wing with an import spot rather than the initial plan for a pg. 

Justin Nelson: Wow, where do you start with a wish list for coach Natu Taufale? The Jets need an import, pronto, and perhaps another local scoring threat would be nice. Despite just one win, the Jets are still in striking distance of the top 6, so they need to be active here, shutting up shop is not the right message. I have no idea if the Sharks (LaGerald Vick) or Whai (Vance Jackson Jnr) gave the Jets a call prior to parting with their respective imports, and who knows if there would have been any interest from the Jets anyway? I’m thinking the green coloured wish list might include Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (Saints), and maybe at a stretch imports Josh Scott (Bulls) and Demarcus Holland (Whai), but I think all three wishes would be met with a flat ‘no’. Sorry Jets, back to the drawing board.  


Justin Nelson: Unsurprisingly there’s not a lot the Saints need, so maybe in very faint pencil the wish list might contain the likes of dynamic young guns Liam Judd (Jets) and Carlin Davison (Airs), but there is no way those two are going anywhere. Sorry Saints fans, nothing to see here.

Casey Frank: Not a ton of needs for a team that probably has more depth talent than the current minute allotment would indicate but that doesn't mean a wish can't be made. I'll assume Alok eventually reports to strengthen the frontcourt leaving not much more to chase. Whoever they get would have to fit in with the running and spacing mentality that the Saints have used so successfully up to this point which makes it slightly tougher. Liam Judd as Hyrum insurance at the 3/4 would be a bonus that would be welcome. 


Casey Frank: The G-men are strong throughout with a full contingent of imports but perhaps lack a  bit of size upfront behind Theo Akwuba and Dan Fotu which forces Sam Dempster into that role with regularity. Some names that have been mentioned already could fit such as Leger, Tonge or pehaps DKP. But I'll go a different way and say Nick Barrow who can bring his physical brand of basketball to sunny Nelson and possibly transfer the day job to walk the beat in a different locale. 

Justin Nelson: The Giants are in the mix for the final 6, but it’s going to be a real battle. The trade window actually presents this team with an opportunity to do something creative and put themselves up in lights as a genuine contender – for me, the wish list has another forward on it, especially with Theo Akwuba trying to stay out of foul trouble on a weekly basis right now. One name that makes complete sense here is the very underrated Aidan Tonge. Again, it’s a wish list so calm the farm in Christchurch, but Tonge has a great IQ and would be a great fit for Mike Fitchett’s system.


Justin Nelson: Like the Saints and Airs, there’s not much the Rams need so it’s hard to see too many names being on Judd Flavell’s wish list. Maybe, and it’s a huge maybe, Rangimarie Dougall-Mita (Saints) in a straight swap for Taki Fahrensohn might free up some dollars given it’s likely there would be a disparity in contract levels. Bringing Ben Hall home could be an option, too, but the Sharks would need something in return. Overall, another reasonably empty wish list for a team that seemingly already has everything it needs.

Casey Frank: Another squad that will have to juggle to get the talent they already have the desired minutes, as was proven with the successful first 7 games of the season as they won 5 without every displaying a full roster contingent. They mash the glass play good d and have lots of physicality, but the 3 point shooting is in the bottom half of the league in a virtual tie with 4 teams that slot in from 7th to 10th worse in the league. Alonzo Burton could fill that need as he's currently shooting 46% from deep himself. Maybe package up some of the young depth to help the Sharks fill out a wider talent base.


Casey Frank: They have a bevy of experience coming off the bench but a loss to the Whai this week shows that a player to light a fire under the team could be of use. Would the Saints take a call on Taane Samuel? his strength would bolster the front line, a throw it down low post presence is always helpful and he has the shooting touch to pull bigs out of the paint to open up the passing lanes for Ben Henshall and Tai Webster.  

Justin Nelson: The Nuggets look like they will finally be at full strength this week so it is unlikely there will be any trade activity in Otago, but if we’re talking wish lists then imagine if they could pull in Aidan Tonge (Rams) or even Yuat Alok (Saints)? Some more height could be the final ingredient needed by the Nuggets for their quest to snatch some more silverware.


Justin Nelson: I don’t think even the Sharks would argue their wish list might be the longest one of all. This first ever trade window is the perfect opportunity for the Sharks to dive deeply into, especially if they proactively want to retool themselves for the second half of the season. Players like Kaia Isaac (Rams), Taki Fahrensohn (Rams) and Campbell Scott (Jets) would all see big roles in orange if they headed south, and even the return of Dom Kelman-Poto (Bulls) to Invercargill might be on the wish list. Sorry Sharks, hard to see an influx of players coming, but it’s ok to wish!

Casey Frank: Well, wish lists can get long when still chasing the first win nearly halfway through the season. They are pulling up the rear in a multitude of categories and we most likely still won't see a full roster this weekend as they await the arrival of a final import replacement. I'm going to emphasise scoring that's only averaging 71.88ppg coming into round 7. Who do I like? Plenty of the perimeter based names that have already been mentioned would be welcome and Justin has some of my favourite candidates listed above but let me focus on some other names. Lemme go Te Tuhi Lewis, on the back of a career high in an upset win over the Nuggets this week he has the potential to be a flamethrower that can ignite an offense. 


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