Make no mistake, the top teams in the league are looking to improve their rosters by targeting star players who can come in and help immediately before the trade deadline in February. Players that were signed at the start of the season have been available for trade as of December 15, so there have already been some quiet moves by teams across the league.
But there are also specific players surrounded by trade chatter who can make a significant difference if they are to be moved. These ten guys are impact players who can produce on either end of the floor and boost any team’s playoff or championship aspirations.
Here are the ten best players on the trade market right now.
10. Steven Adams
Steven Adams is still easily a starting center in this league and can do it all on the court defensively. He is active on the boards, strong, and can dominate the paint against teams that employ smaller lineups. He is also agile enough to run with guards and finish on the fastbreak.
Even though the OKC Thunder are looking like a pretty good team that will be in the playoffs this year, it is highly unlikely that they will progress past the first round and certainly not past the second round. Moving Adams right now might be the best way to receive trade returns.
The most realistic destinations: Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks
9. Julius Randle
Many Knicks fans disregarded the signing of Julius Randle since they failed to acquire either Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving in the offseason. But make no mistake, Randle is developing into a nice player.
He has a power game and can really be a force down low when he attacks the basket and grabs offensive rebounds. He is also developing his shooting range and that is the key to him reaching an All-Star level. Teams with strong coaching and a solid system will look to acquire Randle to help him reach his potential.
The most realistic destinations: Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets
8. Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday is one of the best two-way guards in the NBA, as he can lock up the opposing team’s guards and also score on the other end. Quite simply, Jrue Holiday is a very good player.
The Pelicans are out of the playoff picture at the moment, and it might be best to move Holiday to allow their young players to mature and have more playing time. While Holiday certainly helps teams win games, it might be best to move him now for maximum return before he gets older.
The most realistic destinations: Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets
7. LaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge was a bonafide All-Star in Portland, but his tenure with the Spurs has not been as successful or as promising as he had hoped. In fact, it has been a bit disappointing.
Aldridge has been in trade talks for a while now, and no one is sure why the Spurs haven’t actually moved him yet. He is getting older, but can still be a 20-8 guy on a good team. Teams looking for size, shooting, and experience should give Aldridge a shot.
The most realistic destinations: Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers
6. Derrick Rose
Rose is having his best year since his MVP season, and many are looking at him as a potential “final piece to the puzzle” for championship teams like the Lakers and Bucks. Rose can handle the ball, find the open guy, and attack the basket and score on a consistent basis.
Rose also has playoff experience, something that is often invaluable in this league. Watch out for Rose trade talk as this will likely not slow down.
The most realistic destinations: Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers
5. Kevin Love
Love is an NBA champion and a very good shooter from deep. Not to mention, he is a big body who can bang down low and come up with 10 rebounds on a nightly basis. He is the perfect stretch four in today’s NBA and will slot right into almost every NBA team at the forward spot.
The Cavs are tanking, and it is a shame to leave Love in this losing situation without receiving some young players and picks. Love will likely be on another team by the end of the season.
The most realistic destinations: Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers
4. Andre Drummond
Drummond is one of the best defensive players in the NBA, and his rebounding and shot-blocking skills are something to marvel at.
Drummond can consistently average over 10 RPG and can change a team’s defense as soon as he steps on the floor. The Pistons have made it clear that everyone is available for a trade, so Drummond will likely be traded to a good team very soon.
The most realistic destinations: Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets
3. DeMar DeRozan
Even though DeRozan was never able to win in Toronto or in San Antonio, he is still a very good player and one of the top shooting guards in the entire league. DeRozan is a 20-PPG scorer who can score inside the paint and from mid-range. The only knock on his game is his poor three-point shooting, and he is, in fact, an old-school scoring guard.
The Spurs can still squeak by in the playoffs, but DeRozan will not be able to lead them to victory. Moving him to a team like Miami would be best for both the Spurs and DeMar.
The most realistic destinations: Miami Heat, Orlando Magic
2. D’Angelo Russell
Russell has had an up and down season, but it is only because he is stuck on a team with no real talent at the moment. Curry and Klay are out for a while, and Russell has had to carry the load. He has shown glimpses of why he is an All-Star talent, and it is only a matter of time before he is a consistent All-Star every season.
He can do it all offensively, so teams like the Timberwolves will certainly be interested in him revamping the offense. Since the Warriors are tanking this season, Russell will likely be moved.
The most realistic destinations: Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers
1. Chris Paul
Chris Paul has been one of the best stories of the season and is looking like the L.A. Clippers version of himself this season. Even though he looked slow and old last year, he is playing at a very high level by leading his team into the playoffs.
Paul is playing like the All-Star player that he is, and teams like the Bucks will be licking their chops at the prospect of adding a first-ballot Hall of Fame point guard to their squad. Paul is the best player available for a trade right now.
The most realistic destinations: Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers