Heading into the season, there were plenty of rumors about some big names on the move. As we are treading water towards the midway part of the season, we have already seen the biggest fish in the sea in James Harden moved out of Houston. Now NBA fanatics are glued to the rumor mill to see who could be moved next?
Harden was the biggest name on the trade market and we likely not see another name at his level be moved. There are a couple of strong contenders but that will depend on multiple variables. With that said, nobody should ever feel safe during the deadline. Here is the top candidate from each NBA franchise that could be dealt by the trade deadline.
Atlanta Hawks – Tony Snell
Snell has not provided much for the Hawks, so maybe the team tries to move him for a second-round pick or cash. Snell is averaging just 11.6 minutes per game but played a season-high 17 minutes in his recent outing. Snell doesn’t provide much on the offensive end but can be used as a wing defender. For a team looking to piece together the final touches of their bench, Snell could be a viable option.
Boston Celtics – Jeff Teague
The Celtics signed Teague in the offseason but he doesn’t seem to fit their offense. Each game it feels that Teague’s offensive production gets worse and worse. Teague’s 19.5 minutes per game are the lowest he has played since 2010. It would be different if Teague was producing, but his points and assists are some of his lowest numbers in his career. Teague averaged 13.2 points and 6.0 assists for Minnesota last year. This has to do with the fit with the team and Teague’s puzzle piece does not fit.
Brooklyn Nets – Landry Shamet
It should be noted that the Nets are likely not making any moves after the haul they gave up. The Nets would love to be able to flip Shamet into a core bench piece. Shamet’s points and field-goal percentage numbers are all career-lows. Again, the Nets are likely stuck with what they have.
Charlotte Hornets – Bismack Biyombo
In 14 games, Biyombo is averaging his best numbers since signing with the Hornets. His 7.6 points are a career-high, while his 7.3 rebounds are his best numbers since the 2015 season with the Toronto Raptors. There are contending teams that have to be looking at an energetic presence off the bench. Biyombo can bring the emotional energy and provide the bigs a break. This would be the right time to try and sell high on Biyombo.
Chicago Bulls – Zach LaVine
Bulls fans don’t want to hear this right now but LaVine could be out the door. The Bulls have been playing well this season with Billy Donovan’s new offense but is LaVine apart of the plan when the team competes? LaVine has one more year on his deal and is averaging a career-high 27.4 points He could get the Bulls at least a first-round pick, while his $19 million contracts are considerably cheap for the production. The Bulls won’t get a better haul than right now.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Andre Drummond
Drummond would be a rental at the bare minimum but the 27-year old is leading the league in rebounds and could help a contending team. Teams the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, or the Portland Trail Blazers are lacking an inside presence. Both teams have a limited window and the Los Angeles Lakers look pretty solid. Is a first-round pick worth the price for a rental?
Dallas Mavericks – Willie Cauley-Stein
Cauley-Stein could be apart of any package that brings the Mavericks are the more dynamic center. For contending teams, he costs just $4 million. He can provide a team a backup center that averages about six points and five rebounds per game. The Mavericks could stand pat with him as he has be been starting for the team, or try to upgrade at the position.
Denver Nuggets – Gary Harris
In 2017, Harris put out the best season of his career by averaging 17.5 points with a 39.5% shooting clip from three-point range. Since then, Harris has shot around 33% from deep and averaged close to 10 points per game. For now, Harris is the team’s starting shooting guard, but if there was a way to upgrade at shooting guard or small forward, then he could be moved. Will Barton could easily take over at shooting guard, or the Nuggets could reach out about Eric Gordon and bring his 15 points per game over to Denver. Harris and a future draft pick could get Gordon to the Nuggets.
Detroit Pistons – Blake Griffin
Griffin needs a change of scenery. His stats don’t reflect the kind of player he is. When he plays with superstar talent, he is considered in the All-Star discussion. Griffin recently played 39 minutes, proving that he is healthy. If a team can find cap space, look for Griffin to get out of Detroit.
Golden State Warriors – Kelly Oubre Jr.
The Warriors were once rumored to be looking to move Andrew Wiggins; however, he has played well with Stephen Curry. Since Klay Thompson is out for the year, Wiggins will likely stay for the rest of this season, which means Bradley Beal is not going to come to the Bay Area. The Warriors could look to make a minor deal and send Oubre out. The only way this would happen is if a third team got involved and some form of draft capital was involved. Oubre has given the Warriors about 12 points and five rebounds each night. Nothing is impossible but Golden State seems content with their team.
Houston Rockets – Eric Gordon
With James Harden gone, what’s the best asset Houston has left? John Wall, Christian Wood, and DeMarcus Cousins aren’t going anywhere. Gordon is averaging 15.9 points per game in a typical season for him. Teams like the Memphis Grizzlies or the Atlanta Hawks could look to make a deal to help complete their bench. The Rockets hit the jackpot with draft picks with the Harden trade, but Gordon could probably add to the stockpile.
Indiana Pacers – Doug McDermott
The Pacers have to know they aren’t competing for an NBA title this year, especially after trading Victor Oladipo. McDermott is averaging a career-high 12.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. McDermott is a free agent after this season, so the Pacers need to capitalize on this move. Some teams would love McDermott as a member of their bench and would send draft capital in return.
Los Angeles Clippers – Patrick Patterson
The Clippers are another franchise that could make a deal to significantly improve their team or stay pat. There will be no middle ground trade. With that said, if they did, Patterson is their best option. Patterson is not known for his offense but can provide a solid defensive option off the bench. The Clippers aren’t using Patterson enough, averaging a career-low 12.5 minutes per game, so he could be made available to a team that wants to offer a second-round pick.
Los Angeles Lakers – Kyle Kuzma
Eventually, Kuzma is going to grow tired of coming off the bench. He brings starting-level talent but his production and minutes decrease because he is apart of a championship squad. The Lakers need to realize that Kuzma’s value is high right now despite averaging career lows in points. His three-point field goal percentage is a career-high. The best franchises know when it is the best time to flip a player to keep the franchise afloat for the long term. Kuzma’s value could likely bring a role player and future draft compensation.
Memphis Grizzlies – Kyle Anderson
Anderson is having a career season for the Grizzlies. He is averaging a career-high in points (12.5) and rebounds (7.2). There are contending teams that would love to have Anderson come off the bench and provide this type of production. Anderson has one year left on his deal where he is paid $9 million in salary. Not saying Anderson is a first-round pick; however, Anderson could get the Grizzlies something in return with his stock at an all-time high. Given that the Grizzlies are not in a position to win a title this year or next, selling Anderson high would be in the best interests of the franchise.
Miami Heat – Kendrick Nunn
Nunn is such an interesting player. Last year, he averaged 15.3 points in 29.3 minutes per game. As the playoffs rolled around, Nunn’s role with the team diminished. This year, his minutes are reduced by ten minutes but he is posting 9.9 points with a higher field goal percentage. If the Heat wanted to pry away a superstar like Bradley Beal, Nunn would give the Wizards something to think about. He wouldn’t be the headliner but Nunn’s production warrants conversation as a trade chip that could be bringing Miami future assets. If the Heat is going to maximize his play on the court, they should maximize his potential on the trade market.
Milwaukee Bucks – D.J. Wilson
Wilson hasn’t played since January 11. His best outing was a 12-point, three rebound game in 16 minutes against the Cavaliers on January 9th. The Bucks aren’t in a position to make a big trade, so Wilson could be dangled for cash. The Bucks have a great problem with lots of depth, so it would be a surprise if anybody gets traded from this team.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Malik Beasley
Beasley has all the components that make him first-round pick material. Beasley signed a four-year contract with the Timberwolves before this season. He is making just $13 million per season and averaging close to 20 points per game. He is only 24 years old. For a contending team, Beasley is the perfect amount of product for the right cost. The best part is that we haven’t seen his prime years yet. The Timberwolves are crowded at guard with D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards after this season. Beasley could be apart of their plans when they start contending; however, he could be moved for a decent return.
New Orleans Pelicans – Lonzo Ball
The Pelicans have a glaring question starting at them right in the face. Does the team resign from Ball after this season? The Pelicans can offer him a qualifying offer for around $14 million, which is higher than the $8 million he is making now. Could a team swoop in and offer more and he leaves for nothing? It’s quite the predicament because Ball’s numbers are down. His points per game (12.8) are career-high but his rebounds and assists are significantly lower. Some teams need a point guard that can play defense on the wing. The ball is only 22 years old, so there is hope that he could grow into an All-Star caliber player. His whole situation is one giant “what if?”
New York Knicks – Julius Randle
The next month is going to be huge for the direction of the Knicks. As of late, New York has been playing well and recently pulled to 8-8 on the season. The Knicks are surprising everybody with a playoff push and a lot of that has to do with the play from Randle. This has been an amazing start to Randle’s season, averaging a career-high in points (22.4), rebounds (11.4), and assists (6.3). He is under contract for one more season and is just 26 years old. If the Knicks sold Randle now, the team would not be in the playoff conversation anymore; however, Randle’s return could be worth it. He is playing like an All-Star and could be worth a first-round pick plus more. New York made the right decision during free agency, but can they make the right decision about Randle?
Oklahoma City Thunder – Al Horford
GM Sam Presti is the best at flipping players and knowing when their time is done. It’s only a matter of time before Presti tries to turn Horford into some type of compensation. Horford has played well in nine games this season, averaging 11.1 points and 7.1 rebounds. The issue is his contract. He is due $26-$27 million this season and the next two seasons. There are not going to be too many teams that want to take on that amount of money for an average postman that can play average defense at times. If anybody can make it work, it’s Presti though.
Orlando Magic – Aaron Gordon
It’s plain and simple with Aaron Gordon and the Orlando Magic. Both need a fresh start. The idea of meshing Gordon’s athleticism with Nikola Vucevic has not worked. The Magic are stuck in purgatory and it’s time to sell their former lottery pick. Gordon has one year remaining on his deal and has averaged 14.8 points and 7.1 rebounds this season. For $16 million, that is not a bad bargain, knowing that he could produce more with a new team. Is Gordon first-round pick worthy? Now, that’s debatable.
Philadelphia 76ers – Matisse Thybulle
The 76ers missed out on James Harden because they didn’t want to trade Tyrese Maxey. Thybulle was on the table and could continue to be on the table. The 76ers are potentially one piece away from making a run in the Eastern Conference. Surely, the team is not watching Harden play in Brooklyn and thinking this roster is just as good. Whatever that move is, teams will be asking about Thybulle, who is an exceptional defender.
Phoenix Suns – Dario Saric
Saric has played okay but he is the most expendable piece on the Suns’ roster. At the center position, the Suns are pretty set. Deandre Ayton is not going anywhere anytime soon. The Suns just used their first-round pick on Jalen Smith this past draft. The Suns could easily bump up the rookie’s minutes to try and swing trade and bring in a better shooter. Jevon Carter and Cameron Johnson are okay but not great. The Suns are missing a lethal unit off the bench.
Portland Trail Blazers – Rodney Hood
Speaking of shooters, Hood would be a perfect addition for the Suns. Will that happen? It’s unlikely that the Trail Blazers will swing trade at the deadline but Hood brings an interesting proposition. He has been out with an ailing injury but he just came back and scored 21 points in 25 minutes. The Trail Blazers could look to sell Hood and package him for an upgrade off the bench, or ride the hot hand and hope he stays healthy. Either way, the Trail Blazers win this scenario.
Sacramento Kings – Buddy Hield
Of all the players that need a fresh start, it’s Buddy Hield. Luke Walton and Hield aren’t a match. It seems that Walton has mismanaged his use since taking over and we are really seeing it this season. Hield is averaging his lowest point total (15.2) in two seasons. Is that a coincidence? Absolutely not. Hield brings a similar style to Lou Williams. For a team that is contending, Hield could be their Lou Williams. Somebody that brings 20 points off the bench, shoots nearly 40% from three-point land and wants to win. The Kings are not ever going to win with Hield on the roster, so it’s time to cash in on his value before he leaves for nothing.
San Antonio Spurs – DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan is one of the best rentals on the market. He is finishing up a contract that pays him $27 million in salary and he is averaging 20.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 6.8 assists on the season. As of today, the Spurs would qualify for the playoffs as the No. 8 seed with an 8-7 record. Let’s be honest for a moment. DeRozan is not sticking around in San Antonio after this season. The Spurs are not going to win an NBA title this year either. Wouldn’t it make sense to cash in on a great season from DeRozan? The only person that might be hard to sell on not competing is Gregg Popovich, but selling is the best way to go if you are in the Spurs franchise. Making the playoffs does nothing for the team in the future and it hampers San Antonio if DeRozan leaves for nothing.
Toronto Raptors – Norman Powell
Toronto will always be grateful for Powell’s contributions during the team’s championship run in 2019. The issue is not with Powell. It’s with the fact that the Raptors aren’t competing. Powell is averaging 11.7 points per game and shooting 40.3% from three-point range. He is owed $10 million after this season. For teams looking for a three-point option off the bench, they should be calling the Raptors and asking what do they want. Powell averaged 16.0 points last season, so he can shoot at a high level when called upon. He’s by far the best trade chip the Raptors have to offer.
Utah Jazz – Derrick Favors
The Jazz is unlikely to make a move. This unit has been playing well and it would have to be a massive upgrade like Kevin Love or DeMar DeRozan for this team to move major pieces. DeRozan is an interesting name that could fit right with the Jazz as a rental. However, the Spurs would want compensation in return, so instead of draft capital, they could move Favors and other small pieces in return. LaMarcus Aldridge could also be moved due to his expiring contract. Favors signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Jazz this past offseason, so that is a cheap replacement. Favor has averaged 11.3 points and 7.4 rebounds in his career. His numbers are down this year as he backs up Rudy Gobert, but he could be a placeholder as the Spurs rebuild over the next couple of seasons.
Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal
Beal is the white whale of the trade deadline. He is in the final year of a contract that pays him $28 million and he is leading the league in scoring (34.4 PPG). The Wizards are in second to the last place, so they are not going to contend for anything this season. Beal is a prime-time, highlight-reel player that is in the prime of his career at 27 years old. The Miami Heat can offer the Wizards the best package on the market. With Beal, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo, the Heat could not only make the Eastern Conference Finals again but potentially dethrone whoever comes out of the Western Conference. Washington has to know that Beal is not going to come back, especially after this season, so the right move is to maximize the return.