The 18 Players That Will Dictate the NBA Trade Season

WITH the 15th of December in the rear-vision mirror, the NBA trade season can officially begin! Trade restrictions on 119 players who signed deals over the summer have been lifted, meaning we may finally start to see some player movement. There hasn’t been a deal between two teams since Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul swapped postcodes over FIVE MONTHS AGO and to put that into perspective, over the same time span a year ago there were 20 trades completed with 51 players involved. While I don’t expect a flurry of moves to fall from the sky, there are a few popular names who have done multiple laps through the rumour mill who could now be on the move.

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Robert Covington, Minnesota Timberwolves

Potential Landing Spots – Mavericks, Rockets, Jazz

WITH Minnesota currently riding a seven-game losing streak we could see them be one of the most active teams before the deadline. Robert Covington is just one veteran that could be on the move, providing a contending team with a valuable 3-and-D type of player. A team out West who will have to combat the likes of Paul George, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden would be the best fit for Ro-Co and I’d be surprised if he was still on the T-Wolves’ roster by seasons end.

Chris Paul, OKC Thunder

Potential Landing Spots – Heat, Timberwolves, Bucks, Spurs

IF you believe the recent reports on the worldwide web, Chris Paul won’t be departing the Thunder anytime soon. The point guarding Yoda has been a steady source of production for OKC, helping to mentor some of the young talent on the roster, while averaging 16 points and half a dozen assists a game. In a perfect world, CP3 would have boosted his trade value in the first part of the season enticing a team to pounce on the savvy floor general. However, in a league where salary cap flexibility is a luxury, there aren’t as many buyers for Paul as the Thunder would probably like, so they will likely hold onto him and deal him at a later date from a position of strength.

Marcus Morris, New York Knicks

Potential Landing Spots – Pacers, Nuggets, Rockets, Kings, Spurs

MORRIS’ talents are being wasted on a stereotypical shitty Knicks team and he is one of the leading candidates to be moved away. Currently operating on a one-year $15mil expiring deal, Morris has played himself into trade contention, averaging a team-best 18.7 PPG and shooting an impressive 47.3% from downtown – good for the 4th best clip in the entire league. Boasting solid defensive skills as well, Morris looms as a solid role-player for a franchise chasing an extra versatile piece for their postseason push.

Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers

Potential Landing Spots – Trailblazers, Jazz, Suns, Timberwolves

THE most popular name in the NBA trade rumour cycle right now is that of 5x All-Star Kevin Love. Since LeBron James’ departure from Ohio, the Cavaliers have slowly been selling off pieces, with Kevin Love one of the last remaining attractive items. His four-year, $120mil contract has turned off a lot of buyers, but there are still a handful of scenarios that make sense for K-Love. Anyone willing to take on his salary and part with a first-round pick will likely be able to pry him away from Cleveland, but with Love wishing to join a contending team, there aren’t as many suitors out there as you would expect.

Malik Beasley, Denver Nuggets

Potential Landing Spots – Pelicans, 76ers

HAVING turned down a three-year, $30mil offer from the Nuggets over the summer, it’s becoming more and more likely that Malik Beasley will depart when the season comes to close. As injuries struck a year ago, Beasley carved out a nice role for Denver, but the emergence of a healthy Michael Porter Jr has seen Beasley’s minutes and production take a hit. The Nuggets experienced great success a year ago, so it’s unlikely they will make drastic changes to this outfit. Everyone has a price though and the Mile High club could still send their backup two-guard packing for the right offer.

Steven Adams, OKC Thunder

Potential Landing Spots – Wizards, Celtics, Spurs, Kings

INTO his seventh pro season now, Steven Adams has carved out a reputation as one of the strongest players in the entire NBA. His brute size has been an asset for OKC for years now and that size and ability to bang down low is set to make him an appealing target for a team in need of big man help. He is still owed $25mil for this season and the next, but that’s a price worth matching for someone of Adams’ calibre if you have the contracts/players available to negotiate.

D’Angelo Russell, Golden State Warriors

Potential Landing Spots – Timberwolves, Magic

D-LO departing from Dub Nation appears to be losing steam as the year progresses. There’s no reason why the Warriors won’t trade him later on in the frame, but for now, outside bidders are going to have to seriously wow Golden State in a potential trade. Russell isn’t exactly blowing up on his third team but is still in fringe All-Star contention posting 21.5 PPG for the lowly Warriors. I can’t see him co-existing with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson beyond this season and that may lead to him departing before 2019-20 draws to a close.

D'Angelo RussellImage from

Danilo Gallinari, OKC Thunder

Potential Landing Spots – Heat, Mavericks, Raptors, Timberwolves, Pacers

ANOTHER Thunder veteran on the block, Danilo Gallinari is an enticing trade piece now that he’s shown the ability to string games together. The oft-injured stretch forward had arguably the best season of his career for the Clippers last year and he is still producing in his 11th go-around for OKC. His expiring deal, worth a tick over $22.5 million isn’t too hard a number to match and there is a slew of teams that could use Gallinari’s skillset while allowing the Thunder to add to their already impressive stack of future assets.

Jordan Clarkson, Cleveland Cavaliers

Potential Landing Spots – Pistons, Jazz, Rockets, 76ers

SCORING off the bench is a coveted skill in the NBA and its one that Jordan Clarkson has in spades. In three seasons with the Cavs, Clarkson hasn’t started a single game, however, he has been a score-first spark plug when the starters need a spell, averaging over 15 points throughout his Cleveland tenure. There are plenty of teams that are chasing some instant offense for their second unit and as the trade season unfolds, Clarkson could be a serviceable role player who finds a new home.

Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

Potential Landing Spots – Wizards, Thunder, Spurs

PLAYING Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner alongside one another isn’t working. Domas’ play so far this season has him in All-Star contention while the same can’t be said for Turner, who, aside from shot-blocking, has failed to advance his game in the last few seasons. A fresh start could be just what the doctor ordered with plenty of time for Turner to find his niche in the NBA at just 23 years old. If a move is to come to fruition it won’t likely be until Victor Oladipo returns to the court so Indiana can assess their team at full strength. Either way, Turner appears to be on his last legs as a Pacer.

Domantas Sabonis/Myles Turner

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Jeff Teague, Minnesota Timberwolves

Potential Landing Spots – Pistons, Magic

IN the final year of his three-year, $57mil deal, Jeff Teague is a hard player to move away. Minnesota would love to add some star power to the PG position and Teague has shown for years that he can be a starting calibre floor general averaging over 6.5 assists in six of his last seven seasons. However, at 31-years old, there won’t be a lot of squads lining up for his services and unless they swing for the fences and try land a Chris Paul/Jrue Holiday type, Teague appears destined to play out his contract before hitting free agency.

Dennis Schroder, OKC Thunder

Potential Landing Spots – Mavericks, Timberwolves, Pistons

DENNIS Schroder is the fourth and final Thunder player to appear on this list and much like his other peers, his future will depend on how OKC proceeds in season 2019-20. There is appeal in selling off the bulk of their ageing players/expiring contracts, but as it stands right now, the Thunder are stuck in the middle of the competitive West. Given the talent on their roster there’s no reason why they can’t stay competitive and fight for a final playoff seed, but trading away players like Schroder appears to be the smarter route if they can find a trade partner. At just 26 years old, there is a scenario where someone pounces on Schroder and gives him half a season to assess his fit before negotiating a new deal.

Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans

Potential Landing Spots – 76ers, Heat, Timberwolves, Magic, Nuggets

AS the season continues Jrue Holiday’s name is being mentioned more and more, with New Orleans finally conceding to the fact they are listening to offers for the versatile guard. Holiday is bound to be one of the most tantalising trade chips up for grabs right now, with his two-way talents potentially pushing a fringe contender over the edge. On a flailing Pelicans team, Holiday’s 19.5 PPG, 6.8 APG and 1.7 SPG aren’t being utilised to the fullest and if someone wants to make a splash, he could be the biggest name moved before February 6th.

Andre Iguodala, Memphis Grizzlies

Potential Landing Spots – Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks, Nuggets

ANDRE Iguodala’s trade away from Memphis is a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’. Having remained steadfast in their stance on the 3x champion, the Grizzlies aren’t considering a buyout for Iggy unless a trade fails to materialise. That leaves a few clubs who covet his services set to compete in a bidding war, with the L.A. franchises believed to be leading the pack. Both the Lakers and Clippers aren’t exactly oozing with draft capital though, which could pave the way for another West contender to swoop on the former Finals MVP.

DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs

Potential Landing Spots – Magic, Raptors, Pistons

THE 10-16 San Antonio Spurs are aiming to qualify for playoff action for the 23rd time this season. However, with their glorious streak perhaps coming to an end we could see San Antonio get ahead of the curve and move on from someone like DeMar DeRozan and kickstart an inevitable rebuild. Having been a picture of consistency for the last two decades makes me believe the Spurs will be buyers before they become sellers at the trade deadline, but trading DeRozan is a rumour that only continues to gather steam as their campaign progresses. Having averaged 20+ points for seven straight years, DeRozan still has plenty in the tank and his scoring prowess could be coveted by a number of teams.

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

Potential Landing Spots – Pacers, Trailblazers

IF the Spurs do opt to keep DeRozan, it’ll likely spell the end of the LaMarcus Aldridge era in San Antonio. Still owed $24 million in 2020-21, moving Aldridge’s contract isn’t an easy trade to orchestrate, but the veteran forward is still contributing close to 19 points and seven rebounds a night – averages that are nothing to be sneezed at coming from a 34-year old. It’s unlikely that a suitor will emerge for Aldridge’s services but if a team starts to panic over the next 6-7 weeks, they might inquire about his price tag.

Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers

Potential Landing Spots – Celtics, Raptors

RELENTLESS pursuit on the glass has seen Tristan Thompson make a lot of money already in his nine pro seasons. His ability to chew up rebounds has the former top-5 selection on the verge of being moved, however, his future hinges somewhat on what happens to fellow frontcourt buddy Kevin Love. Thompson’s expiring contract ($18.5 mil) is much easier to shuffle, which may lead to him departing before his 2016 championship teammate. Either way, it seems like Thompson’s talents are bound to be utilised by a non-Ohio based team by the time the deadline comes and goes, with a buyout a realistic possibility if no one comes calling.

J.J. Redick, New Orleans Pelicans

Potential Landing Spots – Nuggets, Bucks, Rockets, Heat

SHOOTING 45% on over seven three-point attempts a game is bound to make J.J. Redick an intriguing trade chip. Having qualified for the playoffs in all 13 seasons of his career, Redick won’t be eager to spend his days rotting away on the Pelicans, which could lead to his departure from NOLA. There are a ton of potential destinations for the longtime sharpshooter and if New Orleans does make him available it won’t take long for a trade partner to eventuate for Redick.

Peace ✌️

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