While the Western Conference has been more dominant than the Eastern Conference over the last several NBA seasons in terms of record and possible playoff teams, the Eastern Conference is actually quite strong this year. While every team is still theoretically in the playoff picture, the only team you can probably write out are the Detroit Pistons.
Everyone else is still very much in play to be a playoff team this year and there are a lot of young teams making some noise early on. The Knicks, Hornets, Hawks and Bulls are four very young teams who are knocking on the door of the playoffs in the East this year and should be battling each other for the last few playoff spots down the stretch of the season.
However, the East really only has a few true championship contenders in the Nets, Bucks, 76ers, Celtics and Raptors. After trading for James Harden, creating one of the best trios of all-time in Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets are definitely the team everyone in the East is chasing.
If teams like the Bucks, Celtics, 76ers and Raptors are to have a chance to take down the Nets in the playoffs, then they are each going to have to make a significant move before the trade deadline. This will be something to monitor in NBA trade rumors as the time comes.
When it comes down to beat the Nets in a 7-game series, none of these other four contenders truly have enough firepower to beat Brooklyn, so who can each team add to catch up with the Nets?
Let’s take a look at one trade scenario for each of the Eastern Conference contenders to consider in order to have a real shot at beating the Brooklyn Nets in the playoffs.