The NBA trade deadline is closing in and there are quite a few players up for grabs that could make a major impact on playoff contenders around the Association.
There are several key points during the 82-game grind that is the NBA season. Obviously, opening night and the final week of the season are important for different reasons, but the trade deadline and the days leading up to it can be highly influential on championship contenders.
While this season’s trade market is not flush with quite as many superstar talents as years past, there are still nearly a dozen All-Star-level competitors that have garnered a great deal of interest over the last few weeks and could be on the move before Feb. 9.
Let’s take a look at 10 players to watch heading into this month’s NBA trade deadline.
The Chicago Bulls have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA this season. The team is several games under .500 and barely holding on to the final spot in the Play-in Tournament. There is hope within the organization that point guard, and defensive ace, Lonzo Ball could return from injury and help save the season. However, his comeback is far from guaranteed.
While two-time All-Star Zach LaVine is a more desirable target, the Bulls are likely to hold on to him until at least the summer. Meaning multi-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan could be up for grabs and would be an impact addition for many contending teams. Chicago is likely to want a serious return for DeRozan, however, several teams could be willing to risk high-value draft picks for the 33-year-old.
Possible destinations: Heat, Lakers, Suns,
No player has had their name involved in NBA trade deadline speculation more than young Toronto Raptors star OG Anunoby. In an era where talented defenders are at a premium, the native of England is valuable as a reliable defensive stopper who has continually progressed on the offensive side of the ball each season.
What will make a trade difficult are consistent reports that the Raptors are looking for at least three first-round NBA Draft picks in a potential deal. Few teams can meet that price, but for the teams that can, Anunoby would be a serious difference-maker in the playoffs.
Possible destinations: Knicks, Suns, Grizzlies
Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Clippers, the John Wall project has not worked out for the team in 2022-2023. And it was reported last week that the former Wizards star is on the trade block after having difficulty recapturing his former greatness this season following missing nearly two seasons.
It’s tough to say what Wall will land the Clippers on the market, however, certain contenders with weaknesses at point guard or on the bench could take a flier hoping to catch lightning in a bottle over the final months of the season with the five-time All-Star.
Possible destinations: Heat, Nets, Suns
Despite recent reports that the team might actually try to re-sign him this summer, Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma is a very interesting talent that could be moved before the NBA trade deadline.
The 27-year-old is having a career year and has evolved into a borderline All-Star talent. For teams looking for more front-court scoring for the NBA Playoffs, Kuzma and his 21.8 points per game average could be a huge addition.
Possible destinations: Mavericks, Grizzlies, Suns
For months the Los Angeles Lakers attempted to trade Russell Westbrook to no avail. His massive salary and terrible performance last season made him untradeable. However, with more than half of his salary paid, his impending free agency, and better play in 2022-2023, Westbrook’s value around the league has increased.
If sent to a team that would allow the nine-time All-Star to play to his strengths, he could up his value even more with a strong finish to the season before jumping into NBA free agency this summer.
Possible destinations: Jazz, Nets, Pacers
One of the most sought-after players ahead of the 2023 NBA trade deadline is nine-year veteran Bojan Bogdanovic. The 33-year-old is having a career year in Detroit and has become the Pistons’ primary scorer with young star Cade Cunningham out for the season.
Teams like the Dallas Mavericks, Lakers, and Brooklyn Nets would benefit in a major way from adding him for the stretch run. However, there have been rumblings that the Pistons may try to re-sign the impending free agent. Meaning they will want at least one first-round pick in a possible trade.
Possible destinations: Mavericks, Lakers, Nets
In an era where centers have lost their value, that has reportedly changed ahead of this year’s NBA trade deadline. And it seems that San Antonio Spurs veteran Jakob Poeltl is the cream of the crop in this market.
The Austrian big man’s stats don’t jump off the page, however, the impending free agent is a rock-solid player and a consistent double-double threat. With several teams having elite big men in this year’s playoffs, Poeltl is seen as a player that could balance the scales for postseason contenders in need of size.
Possible destinations: Celtics, Nets, Mavericks
Sixteen-season veteran Mike Conley is past his prime, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a difference-maker during the playoffs. Plus, proven floor generals are still at a premium in the league, especially during the postseason.
Conley is just two seasons removed from his lone trip to the All-Star game and still averaging over 10 points and seven assists at 35 years old. He will likely be pursued by teams that have not been able to address their need for a traditional offense running point guard on their roster.
Possible destinations: Clippers, Pelicans, Lakers
Jerami Grant was the biggest move the Portland Trail Blazers made in the offseason, and despite a good season from the former Pistons star, it hasn’t changed much about the team’s hope to make noise in the Western Conference this season. With them sitting outside of the playoff picture ahead of the NBA trade deadline, and Grant being an impending free agent, moving him while his value is strong before he leaves in free agency is a real possibility for Portland.
Possible destinations: Clippers, Suns
Jae Crowder has been on the trade market all season long. With the NBA trade deadline just days away, it is high time the Suns finally pull the trigger and move the 10-year veteran. While he may not be as impactful as other talents on this list, he is still a valuable and versatile player that could fill several key needs for multiple contending squads.
Possible destinations: Bucks, Heat