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NBA trade deadline season opens: 10 players possibly on the move, including Zach Lavine

nba trade deadline
Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The build to the NBA trade deadline has officially started with all players that were signed in free agency now eligible to be moved in trades.

Thursday is a notable day on the 2022-2023 NBA calendar because it signifies the opening of the NBA trade season. To give players that signed contracts in the offseason some stability, the league’s CBA forbids teams from trading new free-agent additions early in the season. However, that ban threshold was crossed on Dec. 15, and every player around the league — except those few ineligible until Jan. 15 — is up for grabs.

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There has already been some trade speculation around several notable NBA stars, but with more players in the acquisition pool, and solid portions of contracts already paid off, trade discussions should begin to pick up as the league heads toward the NBA trade deadline 56 days from now, on February 9.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 players who will likely be on the move before the NBA trade deadline early next year.

10 players that could be moved at the NBA trade deadline

John Collins

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After seeming to be all in on John Collins as a long-term building block, the Atlanta Hawks have been rumored to be looking to move the young star for months. Despite inking him to a massive $125 million contract before last season, Collins does not seem to be a fit in Atlanta and has the potential to be a game-changer addition for several other teams. However, the big question is which organization will be willing to take on his huge salary that goes until ’25-’26?

Zach LaVine

The Chicago Bulls have been one of the biggest disappointments in the league so far this season. They are currently five games under .500 and are outside the NBA play-in tourney picture. Lonzo Ball’s injury has been a major hindrance, but there is still enough talent to be better than they have been.

Despite signing LaVine to a $215 million deal this summer, the various parts of the team just aren’t fitting right now, so he could certainly be expendable. At just 27, and putting up All-Star numbers, LaVine is a valuable chip on the market if the Bulls decide to switch their roster strategy in a major way heading into 2023.

Russell Westbrook

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Russell Westbrook has been rumored to be on the trade block all summer. However, his ridiculous contract and poor play as a Laker have made him untradeable. With him and the team playing better of late, there seems to be renewed interest in Los Angeles to make a big splash. with a portion of the former league MVPs $47 million deal paid off, more teams could likely jump into the market for him in the hopes of catching lightning in a bottle or freeing up cap space for 2023.

Kyle Kuzma

After a solid start to the season, the Washington Wizards have started to fall toward the back of the NBA standings over the last couple of weeks. Kyle Kuzma is one of the best trade chips on their roster, and if the season does continue to spiral out of control, the 27-year-old could fetch a great deal of interest as a rental since he is likely to opt-out of the $13 million in the final year of his contract before next season.

Draymond Green

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With the Golden State Warriors off to a rough start and a shoulder injury to Stephen Curry being a reason to believe things could get worse, the organization could look to make some major changes. The team’s salary hit ridiculous levels in the summer after re-signing Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins to new deals. To lower their current salary tax penalties, the team could look to ship off Draymond Green before he opts out of his deal next summer.

The four-time All-Star is certainly a handful for any lockerroom, but several contenders could see him as the missing piece for a run to a championship early next year.

Evan Fournier

Evan Fournier has been a huge disappointment for the New York Knicks after they signed him before last season. He was always an odd choice for head coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive-driven system, and now with Quentin Grimes usurping his spot in the starting lineup, it seems like an eventuality before he is shipped off. The 11-year veteran does have value as a solid three-point threat and only has one guaranteed year left on his contract.

Gordon Hayward

The Charlotte Hornets likely realized they regretted signing Gordon Hayward soon after giving him a $120 million deal two years ago. With only one year left on his deal after this season, his value could increase in the next two months.

Firstly, he must return from his shoulder injury, but there is value in his game for certain contenders in need of reliable veteran shooters for a postseason run.

Eric Gordon

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Fifteen-year veteran Eric Gordon has had his name in trade rumors since the summer because the Houston Rockets are in a serious long-term rebuild, and he does not fit that whatsoever. He has a non-guaranteed deal for next season, meaning he is a perfect rent-a-player option for a playoff-bound club looking for proven bench scorers with postseason experience.

Jae Crowder

Sooner or later, Jae Crowder is going to be traded. Now is likely the time with close two months of the season done and a larger amount of players in the trade pool. Recently, speculation around a Crowder trade has picked up. With the Phoenix Suns off to a very strong start without him this season, their asking price could decline and increase the chance of a deal very soon.

Kyle Lowry

Like the Bulls, the Miami Heat have been monumental disappointments in 2022-2023. Kyle Lowry is far removed from his prime at 36 and after nearly two decades in the league. However, he is still a valuable veteran, and if it becomes clear the Heat are definitely nowhere close to a contender this season, he would be a solid add for a playoff team and a needed salary dump for Miami.