The NBA can be a brutal business someday because at the end of the day it is just that; a business. Teams are in the business of selling tickets which means every franchise is always looking to see if making any changes brings them closer to their goal.
Player’s are commodities to some GM’s eyes and can be dealt away with just a snap of their fingers.
Every season there are always big names who are traded because the situation wasn’t right. Players need new landscapes to help invigorate them once more, teams need to start their rosters anew to back on their path to success. Here are my top ten players who are likely to be traded this season.
10. Marcus Morris
The Celtics had a great season last year and were only 1 game away from making their first trip back to the Finals for the first time since 2018. If the team they were facing didn’t have LeBron James on then it would have been them battling against the star-studded Warriors for the championship.
Boston will be even better this season as both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are returning from injuries and their young core of Rozier, Brown and Tatum will only get better. However, should all not go quite to plan, they may need to make some small changes to ensure they keep their championship aspirations in sight.
Morris was a decent player for them last season averaging nearly 14 points an outing and he is right in his prime at 28. His trade value will have increased significantly and he is a free agent next summer. He will be looking for a big pay increase and the Celtics will probably want to move him so they can extend Jaylen Brown.
9. Reggie Jackson
The Pistons now have 2 quality big men in Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Those 2 are more than capable of providing the interior presence for Detroit. We all know what works well with a strong inside presence; a strong outside presence.
Good shooting spreads the floor allowing centers and power-forwards the space needed to operate down low. That means that Detroit needs 3 quality shooters to start alongside Blake and Drummond and Reggie Jackson just isn’t up to the task.
He shot just 30.8% from 3 last season and has a career 3P% of 32%. Jackson is still a quality player who has a decent trade value so the Pistons could move elsewhere should the Pistons require more outside shooting this season
8. Robin Lopez
The Chicago Bulls are in full rebuilding mode after the experiment of Rondo, Butler and Wade didn’t work out. They will want to tank and give their young players as much experience as possible so they can find out who to build around and begin moving forward again.
Robin Lopez is 30 already and owed nearly $15 million next season. He is still a quality big though who can score, defend and run the floor so the Bulls could try and trade him to a team in need of a big for some draft picks or some young talent.
7. Danilo Gallinari
Another team which will tank this year is the LA Clippers. Sadly “Lob City” never amounted to more than a few highlight dunks now that CP3, Blake and DeAndre Jordan have all left town. This means getting as much cap space as possible and losing old players to give young legs a good runaround.
Gallinari shot less than 40% last season and will be 30 before the season starts. He is also owed more than $44 million over the next 2 seasons, and he definitely won’t be backing that up on the court. The Clippers should trade him for some draft picks and to free up some cap space to try and sign someone next summer.
6. Enes Kanter
Kanter has been quality for the Knicks since he arrived in New York. He averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds a contest whilst shooting 59.2% from the field and 84.8% from the foul line. He is also young at 25 and is in his last year of his contract. He will be worth a lot of money next summer, maybe more than the Knicks can offer if they want to sign a true superstar.
Kanter’s trade value is very high right now so the Knicks might want to trade him now so they can sign someone big next summer when Porzingis has hopefully recovered fully from his ACL injury.
5. Marc Gasol
Last season was rough for the Grizzlies as they finished the year with just 22 wins and have no clear path to getting better. The best that Memphis could do this year would be to just scrape into the 7th or 8th seed and get bounced out in the first round. It’s time to bite the bullet and head down a different path.
Marc Gasol has a player option after next year and is owed nearly $50 million in that time. He’s also 33 and in the twilight of his career. Memphis needs to trade him soon whilst he still has some trade value left.
4. Nikola Vucevic
Vucevic is a quality center who has averaged nearly a double-double throughout his career. He is right in his prime at 27 and is worth probably double what he is getting paid now at $14 million. He is also a free agent next summer and I doubt he will want to stay in the small-market, underperforming Magic side.
Orlando will know this and so if they are to get anything back in return they need to trade him for whatever they can get their hands on.
3. Hassan Whiteside
Miami Heat are another team which should probably start to rebuild given their aging roster and lack of star talent. They also have a center who has a player option next year and has shown to be a bit volatile this season in his behavior.
Maybe Whiteside is frustrated at the Miami front office for not having a clear plan to get Miami back to the top, but it’s clear he isn’t happy right now. He is still one of the best bigs in the NBA on both ends of the floor. He is long as hell and very athletic and could anchor any team’s defense in the league.
He is worth a lot right now and franchises always want a quality big so now is the time to cash in on his value before Miami risk losing in for what could potentially be a subpar season.
2. Kemba Walker
The Charlotte Hornets just can’t seem to get any momentum and are stuck in mediocrity. Even when they made the playoffs a few years ago they couldn’t build on that and move forward. If they are having another average season then the Hornets may want to send Walker off elsewhere before he demands $30 million plus a season for his next contract.
Walker is a two-time All-Star and averaged 22.7 points a game over the last 2 seasons, he is worth a huge amount in today’s NBA and the Hornets should think twice before paying him.
1. Jimmy Butler
According to some reports, Butler is not happy with the Timberwolves and doesn’t plan on signing an extension with them. It that is the case then Minnesota needs to move him now whilst his trade value is still sky high.
Butler is one of the best two-way players in the NBA who is right at the start of his prime. He has the ability to dominate a series both offensively and defensively. He is a guy you want when you need a stop or a shot made. If the Wolves don’t realize this and do something then Butler will leave for nothing and all Minnesota’s hard work to become relevant again will be for nothing.