TODAY marks three weeks exactly until we reach this year’s NBA trade deadline, with rumours and reports starting to surface every other hour speculating over the future for a handful of NBA talents. While almost anyone is tradable, there are some players who have more doubts surrounding their future than others. As the crazy season kicks into overdrive, here are the 16 names you can expect to churn through the rumour mill right up until the February 7th deadline.
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Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets
Contract: 1-year, $12mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Knicks, Lakers, Spurs
IF Kemba Walker was dealt before the deadline I would be speechless. Of all the players in this article, seeing him in new colours before seasons end appears the most unlikely, however, it’s not impossible. Sitting at just 20-23 the Charlotte Hornets aren’t exactly setting the world on fire this season and it could cost them the best player in franchise history when the offseason rolls around if they aren’t careful. While he has cooled off since a scorching start to the season, Kemba is still putting up over 25 points a night, good for career-best figures which could entice someone to snap him up, with just one year remaining on his deal. I don’t think his Hornets future will be in jeopardy……that is until we reach the end of the season.
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
Contract: 1-year, $12.7mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Lakers, Spurs, Rockets
PERHAPS the biggest name that will be moved before the deadline is Nikola Vucevic, who chose a good time to play the best ball of his NBA career. Putting up close to a 20/12 line each night, one could argue that he is being wasted on a sub .500 Magic team and a contending team would happily plug him into their lineup. The Lakers are the team most linked to Vuc over the past month or two, but with Clint Capela going down, the Rockets are another championship calibre squad that may make a play at him. Either way, it seems his seven-year tenure in Orlando is nearing to an end.
Image from orlandomagicdaily.com
Dewayne Dedmon, Atlanta Hawks
Contract: 1-year, $7.2mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Warriors, Celtics, 76ers
THERE is a fire sale going on in Atlanta right now and Dewayne Dedmon could be the pick of the bunch if the Hawks really do sell off multiple players. Having played a back up big man role for multiple seasons as a Hawk, Dedmon has respectably put up near a double-double in around 24 minutes of action, which makes a move for him likely. The question is who will trade for him? With just over $7 million owed on his current deal for this season, Dedmon then comes off the books and I have a hunch he’ll be chased down right before the deadline to boost a contender’s frontcourt.
Rodney Hood, Cleveland Cavaliers
Contract: 1-year, $3.4mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Pelicans, Clippers
RODNEY Hood has not worked as a Cavalier. Simply put, he has struggled to find his groove and recapture the vibe that saw him become a reasonable scorer in Utah. Complicating Hood’s future is the fact that he can decline any trade should a team covet him and his cheap contract. He has boosted his value somewhat in recent times stringing together some decent performances, but at the end of the day, Hood’s future is in his own hands and at this stage, he seems ‘happy’ to stay a Cav. Time will tell if he has a change of heart.
Otto Porter, Washington Wizards
Contract: 3-years, $81.7mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Mavs, Kings
ANOTHER one of the most talked about players in the past few months is Otto Porter and his albatross of a contract. With John Wall (too expensive) and Bradley Beal (too good) set to stay in Wizards colours, Porter could be the odd one out who finds himself shipped away in the next few weeks. His huge contract is thanks to the Brooklyn Nets who offered him a four-year/$105+mil deal back in the summer of 2017, which of course, the Wizards matched. With still two years on that deal after this season some teams might be hesitant to pay him that much money, but I don’t think that’ll stop him from finding a new home before the deadline.
Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks
Contract: 2-years (2020 player option), $37.3mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Rockets, Nuggets, Pistons, T-Wolves
WHILE there is still no timetable on a return to the court for Kent Bazemore, his name will be subject to trade rumours right up until the deadline. One of the more discussed players in the rumour mill has a handful of potential landing spots and Bazemore’s future could be solely dictated by whoever wants to pay him. With a $19+ million dollar player option on the cards for next season, some teams with interest could be scared off, however, it might be worth the risk if the addition of Bazemore helps push a team up the standings and legitimizes their title aspirations.
Dennis Smith Jr, Dallas Mavericks
Contract: 3-years (2021 team option), $13.9mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Suns, Magic, Pistons
WHY the Dallas Mavericks want to ship Dennis Smith Jr away just 18 months into his career somewhat baffles me. Sure, I understand they want to find a less ball-dominant fit next to Luka Doncic, but there’s no reason why Smith can’t develop into that guy. Their loss could be someone else’s gain and there are teams out there that will overpay to secure his services. He is year two of his four-year rookie contract, which is a very cheap gamble for a team like Orlando or Phoenix to take in an effort to find their floor general of the future. With every day that passes it feels like Smith gets closer and closer to being dealt. Don’t believe me? Just ask Woj.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Contract: 3-years (2021 player option), $81.2mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Lakers, 76ers, Celtics
HERE’S the big one, will Anthony Davis be on the Pelicans after the deadline? Right now, I’m sitting at about a 90% yes, but it’s worth exploring a deal. Clearly, things aren’t going according to plan with NOLA this season and if Davis really does have one foot out the door then why not try and get the Lakers to send you a plethora of assets to usher in a new era of ball in New Orleans? Ben Simmons is another name who has been tagged to AD rumours, but it seems unlikely Philly will make another blockbuster deal, having previously secured Jimmy Butler just two months ago. The Pelicans will more likely chase rotation pieces to strengthen their roster and in turn their chances of keeping Davis beyond his current contract, but the clock is ticking on Alvin Gentry and Co to give him a real reason to stay.
Robin Lopez, Chicago Bulls
Contract: 1-year, $13.3mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Celtics, Warriors
WHILE I don’t think Robin Lopez will be playing for the Bulls by seasons end, I also don’t think he’ll be dealt before the deadline. The team with the most perceived interest in Lopez right now is the Golden State Warriors, who are currently hamstrung by their inflated salary cap. If a deal can’t be negotiated for a trade, then it’s likely Lopez will have his contract bought out by Chicago, opening the door for a move to Golden State. The Bulls are bound to play hardball and try to manufacture a trade, but he appears destined to be a buyout candidate in around a month’s time.
Wesley Matthews, Dallas Mavericks
Contract: 1-year, $18.6mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Magic, Knicks, Cavs
IN a similar position to Lopez, Wesley Matthews has seen his name churn through the rumour mill for months. Unless he becomes part of a Dennis Smith Jr trade for salary purposes (which could very well happen), Wes seems destined to be a buyout candidate in a few weeks time. His expiring deal makes him a viable candidate to be moved and Matthews doesn’t appear to be part of Dallas’ future, which makes his exit more a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’. Should he be bought out then look for Oklahoma City to throw their hat in the ring as a potential landing spot.
Image from sportsday.dallasnews.com
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Contract: 2-years (2020 player option), $49.7mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Celtics, Raptors
FOR Memphis the time to deal Marc Gasol is now and if they can find a buyer then it will only fast forward their rebuild. While Gasol has been a great servant of the club for his 11-year career, he isn’t going to be a prominent figure in their future and moving his huge player option next season gives the Grizzlies plenty of breathing room. His hefty contract makes a move difficult for a championship calibre team, but not impossible with Boston rumoured to be one team with interest in the 3x All-Star. There is, of course, the possibility that Gasol turns down his player option for next season, which could force Memphis to try and get some form of compensation before he bolts for nothing. This also throws a cloud over his future for a team that may be interested in dealing for him, scaring them off chasing him if they can’t guarantee he’ll be on their roster past the 2018-19 campaign. Watch this space.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Los Angeles Lakers
Contract: 1-year, $12mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Spurs, Rockets, 76ers
WITH KCP somewhat struggling in L.A. there’s every chance he’ll find himself moved in an effort to audition for a longer contract next offseason. The Lakers guard has been plagued by inconsistency this year and he can offer upside as a rotation piece for another contender. While there are a few fellow West playoff teams that would like to secure his services, Los Angeles might be against trading him in the conference, unless those teams are happy to attach a future first-rounder. Not out of the question.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Contract: 5-years, $144.5mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Hornets, Thunder, Mavs
POTENTIALLY the only All-Star who will relocate in this lacklustre trade season is Kevin Love. His ginormous contract makes things complicated and there isn’t a high likelihood he’ll be dealt if you ask the Cavaliers front office. Koby Altman appears determined to keep him for the remainder of this year at least, with a potential draft night deal on the cards with Love’s fit questionable on this rock bottom rebuilding team. However, there are teams out there with interest in Love, who currently can’t be traded until the 24th of January and hasn’t played a game since October. With a history of injuries and a big, long-term contract it would certainly be a risk trading for him, but it could be one that moves the needle significantly for one squad (do it Portland).
Jeremy Lin, Atlanta Hawks
Contract: 1-year, $13.7mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Pistons, Kings, Pelicans
YET another Atlanta Hawk who will probably find himself moved before the deadline is Jeremy Lin. Playing on the 7th team in his career, that number seems set to rise to eight with the Sacramento Kings the latest club rumoured to be chasing Lin. With Atlanta handing Trae Young the keys to the franchise, Lin’s talents are being somewhat wasted as his backup and if Atlanta can net a future-first rounder for him, you would think they’ll call the trade in ASAP.
Enes Kanter, New York Knicks
Contract: 1-year, $18.6mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Bulls, Kings
WITH Enes Kanter making a bunch of headlines off the court it appears he is set for a change of scenery in the coming weeks. Amid speculation that Turkey wants him extradited, there are two teams reportedly keen on making a move for the Knicks center; the Bulls and the Kings. Sacramento has apparently talked through a swap centered (pun not intended) around Kanter and Zach Randolph’s expiring contract, a move that could benefit both sides. Failing that we could see Kanter shipped to Chicago with and in the return the Knicks would receive…
Jabari Parker, Chicago Bulls
Contract: 2-years (2020 team option), $40mil
Rumoured Landing Spots: Knicks, Jazz
THE Jabari Parker experiment hasn’t come to fruition in Chicago and even though there is a team option on his contract for next season, it appears unlikely that the Bulls will be the ones who pay it. However, don’t rule out a midseason trade freeing up Parker, who, if he gets his body right, can still be a viable contributor. Viewed as an expiring deal his name has been floated around for the majority of the season as a trade candidate and it seems like he’ll be shipped away in the next three weeks with the New York Knicks and Utah Jazz two possible destinations.
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