The 2022 NBA trade deadline is a couple of days away and Ben Simmons is still (technically) a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. Domantas Sabonis is no longer a member of the Indiana Pacers, though, and it turns out that the Sacramento Kings were not committed to building around the De'Aaron Fox-Tyrese Haliburton backcourt. Damian Lillard remains the Portland Trail Blazers' franchise player, but when he returns to the court, he'll have an almost entirely different supporting cast.
Will the Simmons saga be over by 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 10? Maybe! But there are all sorts of other situations to monitor: Teams looking for a shake-up, players about to hit free agency, positional logjams to sort out. Here are 75 players who could be traded before the deadline.
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The most prominent trade candidates
Not all of these players are certified stars, but, of the players who are reportedly being discussed, they're the biggest names.
Considering how many stories have been written about him, it's remarkable how little has changed since Simmons asked out. He and the Sixers have been at a standstill because they have refused to trade him for a bunch of non-stars. In a radio interview on Jan. 20, team president Daryl Morey said that they "are looking for a deal that makes us a championship contender" and they "absolutely need to get an impact player." In theory, James Harden or Bradley Beal could be the impact player Morey is seeking, but, unless one of them pushes for a trade, it is unclear if such a blockbuster is realistic.
Harden didn't sign a contract extension before the regular season started, leaving the door open for speculation about how committed he is to Brooklyn. Harden has had an uneven season, in part because of conditioning issues after a hamstring injury and in part because of the Nets' poor spacing. It's not his fault or the team's fault that Irving won't get vaccinated, Joe Harris got injured and then Kevin Durant got injured, but the reality is that these things have made Harden look worse. The whispers about him and the Sixers have gotten much louder, but Nets coach Steve Nash said on Feb. 6 that, despite all the "noise," nothing has changed: "I've talked to James, he wants to be here. He wants to be here long-term as well." If that is true, then Brooklyn will presumably keep Harden and re-sign him, rather than trading him for Simmons.
The Pistons don't have to trade Grant right now, but if they can get contenders bidding against each other, they'd be smart to do so. Grant is not a rental, and he'd plug obvious holes for teams like Chicago and Utah. The complicating factors: He wants a featured role on offense and a long-term extension wherever he winds up, per Bleacher Report. In other words, while he's not going to be the go-to guy on his next team, do not trade for Grant if you're going to use him the way Denver did.
Wood's situation is similar to Grant's, but he's a year younger, on a smaller contract and a different kind of player. The list of bigs who can both roll and pop like Wood is small. The Rockets have been awful this season, but they've actually had an elite offense in the minutes he's played at center. The other end is trickier, but perhaps a change of scenery would help. The Athletic reported that Miami has made numerous inquiries about Wood, and the Rockets are waiting for an offer that blows them away.
After years of trade rumors, the Pacers have finally broken up their big frontcourt. If Turner is still available, then he'd be appealing to any team that is in need of an elite rim protector and is willing to play him -- and, presumably, pay him -- like a star. Turner is eligible for an extension in the offseason, and he has been clear about the kind of role he wants. One complicating factor: He has been sidelined since mid-January with a stress reaction in his foot.
Barnes is a win-now player on a team that hasn't won like it hoped. If the Kings decide they don't care about chasing the last spot in the play-in or he doesn't fit with the new version of the team, they should move him to a contender. Barnes turns 30 in May, and he has quietly improved in Sacramento -- this season he's shooting better than 40 percent from deep and getting to the free throw line more than ever before.
Collins was a crucial part of the Hawks team that went to the 2021 Eastern Conference finals, and, in the first year of a five-year, $125 million contract, he has essentially picked up where he left off. On Jan. 10, though, The Athletic reported that Collins had grown frustrated with his role on offense, and on Jan. 25 Bleacher Report reported that Atlanta was actively shopping him. The noise has been much quieter since then, as an eight-wins-in-nine-games stretch might have signaled that the Hawks are about to go on the same kind of run that they did in the middle of last season. According to Marc Stein, Collins likely isn't going anywhere yet.
The idea is simple: Move Harris, along with his max contract, in a Simmons trade. Making it happen, however, is complicated. The Hawks are reportedly unwilling to take him, and, while the Kings were reportedly open to it, they'd also need to send the right combination of players and picks to Philadelphia, they'd probably need to get a third team involved and the Sabonis trade has all but certainly taken them out of the mix. (Another idea: Move Harris' contract, so the Sixers could theoretically sign Harden outright in free agency.)
Simmons and Harden are the big names? No Dame, no Beal?
I couldn't justify putting any other recent All-Stars in the first section. It still feels like I should address those guys, though, and the same goes for the other guy in the Nets' backcourt and the point guard in Los Angeles.
On an ESPN podcast in January, Beal reiterated that he wants to win in Washington: "If I have the chance to create my own legacy and make it work here with the team that drafted me, then why not give it a shot? If it works, it works. If it doesn't, I can say, 'At least I tried.'" This followed Wizards president Tommy Sheppard telling The Athletic that their "goal is to continue to build a team around him." The max extension they offered him in October is still on the table, but Beal can make more money by re-signing as a free agent in the summer. While Beal, 28, has not committed to the franchise long-term, he has not indicated that he wants out, either. Leading up to the trade deadline, The Athletic reported that he is conflicted about his future -- his preference is to spend his whole career in D.C., but he's not sure if the front office can turn the team into a contender. Two days before the deadline, the Wizards announced that he would have season-ending surgery on his injured left wrist.
Lillard is out after having surgery to address his abdominal injury, and it's not clear if he'll be back on the court before 2022-23. The Blazers have used this as an opportunity to pivot; they moved Powell, Covington, McCollum and Larry Nance Jr. in the week preceding the deadline. There is no indication, however, that they are planning to trade Lillard and start over. Rather, they will reportedly try to build a different kind of team around him. In the offseason, Lillard will turn 32 and be eligible for a two-year, $107 million extension.
On a new team for the third straight season after spending his first 11 in Oklahoma City, Westbrook has been both a cause and victim of Los Angeles' shoddy spacing. If his salary were half as high as it is, I'd say that the Lakers need to recognize that this is a poor fit and send him to any team that can give them a couple of two-way players to complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The salary is what it is, though, so a deal seems highly unlikely, if not outright unthinkable. Imagine if he gets traded for John Wall again.
Who wants to trade for Irving? On one hand, the price shouldn't be as high as it normally would be -- the Nets can't play him in home games unless he gets vaccinated, and he maintains that he will not get vaccinated. On the other hand, though, now would be a pretty weird time to get into the Irving business. Even if you don't have to worry about him being ineligible to play in your city, you would have to be comfortable trading real stuff for a star who might not have any interest in playing for your team and can walk in a few months.
What about the rest of the Blazers, Rockets, Pacers and Kings?
The play-in tournament and adjusted lottery odds have softened the incentive to tank, but the incentive is still there. Portland, Indiana and Sacramento have already made big moves, and Houston is also widely considered a seller.
Was Sacramento committed to pairing Fox with Tyrese Haliburton for the long haul? No! That was the message it was sending, though, despite Fox's disappointing shooting and continued difficulties on defense. Fox is only 24, but he's already on his third coach and, after an encouraging 39-43 season in 2018-19, Sacramento has regressed a bit every year. It's not hard to figure out why his name surfaced in rumors about Sabonis and Simmons. Now that he's teammates with Sabonis, presumably the plan is to build around those two -- the Kings couldn't possibly trade both of their supposed cornerstones ... could they?
Bagley has shown some flashes in recent weeks, and he's in some ways an ideal second-draft candidate: burdened by expectations, perpetually stuck in a logjam, set back by numerous injuries and undeniably talented as a scorer. This is a former No. 2 pick who has spent big chunks of multiple seasons out of the rotation. I don't know if he's going to develop as a shooter or a defender, but I'm sure there are a few teams willing to give him a shot. The question is how much those teams will be willing to pay to get started with him immediately and have matching rights in the summer, as opposed to simply trying to sign him in free agency.
Holmes was on this list last year because it seemed like it would be difficult for the Kings to retain him. It is a credit to their front office that he ended up staying on a four-year, $55 million deal, but now they must ask themselves if they should trade him just a few months into it. Sacramento has reportedly made him available, and he should command a better return now that he's signed long-term. Charlotte has always seemed like a logical landing spot for Holmes, and he fits Toronto's vibe, too.
Nurkic is thriving after a slow start and his gut tells him that he's not going anywhere. It is possible, though, that he is playing himself out of Portland. For the Blazers, the rest of this season is not about winning, and if they can turn Nurkic into something that might help them more down the road, they will have to consider it.
Bledsoe has already been traded once in the days preceding the deadline, and it's possible he'll be on the move again. After playing in every game for the Clippers this season, he was immediately listed as out with an Achilles injury upon arriving in Portland. Does he think he'll still be there after 3 p.m. ET on Thursday? "It's up in the air," Bledsoe said.
Satoransky, acquired in the McCollum deal, likely isn't part of Portland's future plans, and he's a few months from free agency. This means he might not stay a Blazer for long.
Indiana just traded for Hield, and it will not be surprising if he's sent somewhere else soon -- between Malcolm Brogdon, Tyrese Haliburton and Chris Duarte, there isn't much room for him there. Hield is not a particularly well-rounded player, but he has shot around 40 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s his entire career and takes them on the move. You can run offense for a player like that.
He's out for the season, sadly, but the Pacers could potentially flip Rubio's expiring contract to a team looking to shed salary. (Remember how much fun he was having in Cleveland before he tore his ACL? Sigh.)
Craig keeps bouncing around, but he's still the same dude: Tough, multipositional defender; ball mover; shaky shooter. If Indiana plans on being back in the playoffs next season, it shouldn't feel any pressure to trade him. But teams thinking about this year's playoffs should inquire.
Warren hasn't played since December of 2020 because of a stress fracture in his left foot, so I can't tell you much about how much he can help a team win basketball games in the short term. He's on an expiring contract, though, and you remember how amazing he was in the bubble. As of early February, Warren is finally playing 1-on-1 again, but it remains unclear when he might be ready to make his season debut.
In terms of rehabilitating his trade value, it's hard to imagine this season going any better for Gordon. He has missed a negligible amount of time, made about 43 percent of his 3s and shown that he can still defend across multiple positions and bowling-ball his way to the basket. The contract isn't ideal, but he can help teams win now and it effectively expires after next season.
Well, this is uncomfortable. Wall hasn't played at all this season, doesn't want a buyout and could not reach an agreement with the Rockets on a return to the lineup. There is not an obvious solution here, unless the Westbrook stuff actually gets serious.
Theis has not fit with the Rockets, and in retrospect it's confusing that a rebuilding team was so enthusiastic about signing him. Playoff teams seeking a bench big -- and not content to wait for the buyout market -- should inquire.
What other vets could be up for grabs?
Looking for a proven player to be the missing piece or at least strengthen your playoff rotation? Here are some potential options.
In Brooklyn, Dinwiddie was one of the league's most efficient pick-and-roll and isolation players. That hasn't been the case with the Wizards, and they have reportedly made him available. The contract is perfectly fine if he can produce the way he used to and is given the kind of role he used to have. Big ifs, though.
Richardson is on his fourth team in four years, but he has never been more efficient. In related news: He has essentially returned to the 3-and-D role he played as a rookie in Miami. Given that he has always been a good defender and is now making more than 40 percent of his 3s, the Celtics' decision to sign him to a one-year extension last offseason looks savvy. They can either keep him as they try to make a playoff run, or, if the offers are good enough, move him for more than they would've been able to get if he were a rental.
The Celtics have been surging lately, and their defense is awesome. Would they really trade an all-world defender like Smart? Only if they get a whole lot in return. (This is his eighth year in Boston, and his name has been in trade rumors for most of that time.)
Kenny Hustle is your nerdiest friend's favorite plus-minus monster. He says he wants to retire with the Thunder, and there's a good argument that, at 27, he's young enough that they should keep him beyond this contract, not just this deadline. A couple of questions to ponder here: If Sam Presti does envision Williams being on the roster when they next make the playoffs, what would a win-now team have to offer for him to change its mind? And given how many future picks Oklahoma City has stockpiled, how much does it value additional ones?
It has been jarring to see Young reduced to a third-stringer so soon after playing some of the best basketball of his career. It just hasn't worked out in San Antonio, but in a different situation he might be able to recapture the magic he had as a point-center in Chicago. (A note to contenders, particularly those in the Eastern Conference: Young has historically defended Giannis Antetokounmpo well.)
Harrell had a scorching start in D.C., and he's still doing all his normal Harrell stuff as the Wizards fall down the Eastern Conference standings. He was always a trade candidate because he's on an expiring contract and Washington has a crowded frontcourt, and there's even less incentive to keep him around now that Beal is out for the season.
Caldwell-Pope is having a down year in terms of efficiency, but he's a 3-and-D-and-more guy who can help a win-now team and is on a team-friendly contract. Washington is not a win-now team.
For a two-month stretch, beginning on Dec. 6, Harris averaged 14.5 points on 46-42-86 shooting splits. On a per-minute basis, this isn't far from what he did in Denver in 2016-17 and 2017-18. Are prospective trade partners confident that he has found his form again? Hmm!
Millsap, who turns 37 on deadline day hasn't played in 2022 -- the Nets have too many bigs, and he ended up being the odd man out. Steve Nash called it "an unfortunate situation," and the front office is trying to find him a new home. Chicago is a logical destination, if Brooklyn doesn't mind moving him to another team near the top of the East.
Williams has been banged up lately, but before that was part of a Hawks second unit that was finally coming together. It seemed more likely that he'd be traded when Atlanta was in a tailspin; if he gets moved now, it'll be because this team has more than enough playmaking and has room for improvement on defense.
Just like last season, it is not a coincidence that, when Bogdanovic was out of the lineup or clearly limited physically, the Hawks struggled. Now that he's looking more like himself as their sixth man, they are starting to look more like the team that went to last year's conference finals. He's on the kind of contract, though, that could be included in a big trade, if Atlanta is looking to make one.
The Celtics signed Schroder to a below-market contract, but since it was only for one year, they don't have his Bird rights and can only offer him a new deal starting at about $7 million in the offseason. If they're likely going to lose him anyway, they might decide a second-round pick is enough to move on. He is one of their few sources of rim pressure, though.
Finney-Smith is having the best season of his career despite the fact that his 3-point percentage has dipped. The Mavericks have empowered him to push the ball in transition and step outside of his 3-and-D role in the halfcourt. He's a huge part of Dallas' surprisingly stingy defense, and the flashes he's shown on the other end have him in line for a significant raise. The team that signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2016 now has to decide between giving him that raise or selling high.
Anderson isn't taking or making as many 3s and free throws (even on a per-minute basis) as he did last season, and he's not quite as important to the Grizzlies now that Jaren Jackson Jr. is healthy. If they don't think they will be willing to pay Anderson what he wants in free agency, they could try to get something back for him before the deadline. Memphis has gotten so good, though, that these decisions have become more complicated. Including Anderson in a deal for an impact player still makes sense; dumping him for a pick might not.
Derrick Rose will be back at some point, and the Knicks hoped that Walker's homecoming story would be much more heartwarming than it has been. Walker had a few scoring explosions after he was shelved, but he hasn't put his knee issues behind him and he's no longer a featured part of the offense. If there's a team that wants to bet on its training staff and makes a reasonable offer, New York should probably move him.
Fournier has been fine as a 3-point shooter this season, but the Knicks have gotten almost nothing from him as a playmaker and he's played a role in their defensive decline. Moving him would open up minutes for Reddish and Quentin Grimes, and it might help them regain the identity they had last season.
If the Jazz were going to make an upgrade on the wing, Ingles' expiring contract always made him a natural trade target. Now that he's out for the season with a torn ACL, they need to try to do what Cleveland just did with Ricky Rubio's expiring deal.
If one player personifies Utah's gradual shift into an offensive powerhouse with questions to answer about its defense, it's Bogdanovic. He's right at home in the Jazz's system and one of the main reasons it works so well, but their roster construction dictates that he often finds himself defending star scorers. I'd be surprised if he goes anywhere, but if there's a move that could balance things out, they should at least consider it.
Gallinari is effectively on an expiring contract because of his partial guarantee next season, and, while he is far from the only person to blame for the Hawks' difficulties on defense, he's one of the main culprits. If they're going to pursue Simmons or any other kind of blockbuster, he could be a part of it.
Beverley reportedly wants an extension, and there's an argument that the Wolves should oblige: He's played an important role in their defensive improvement this season, and everybody around the team has been raving about him since the beginning of training camp. If they're concerned about losing him in free agency, though, they need to at least see what's out there now.
Beasley has been erratic this season, and while he's playing less of a featured role, he's actually jacking up 3s far more frequently than ever before. Anyone trading for him would have to believe that his inefficiency is an aberration. (Beasley is shooting about 37 percent from the field and about 34 percent from deep.
Harris is precisely the kind of role player every superteam wants, but he's been out since mid-November with an ankle injury and might need a second surgery. Brooklyn is primarily concerned with winning a title this season, so it is gauging the market for the sharpshooter, per ESPN.
After a rough start, Boucher has completely turned his season around in Toronto. On a team that has recently used a six-to-seven-man rotation, he is providing real production off the bench. This does not, however, necessarily mean that the 29-year-old Boucher has played his way into the front office's long-term plans.
Dragic, 35, can make plays and will be well-rested, and many teams would jump at the chance to get him on the buyout market. Trading for him on this salary is a different story, but the Raptors will surely try to turn his expiring contract -- plus a pick or another player -- into another piece.
Olynyk missed more than two months with a knee injury and entered health and safety protocols shortly after returning. He had a 22-9-5 line in just 22 minutes in his first game back, though, and his 27-game stint in Houston last season was kind of incredible. Despite shooting terribly after clearing protocols, Olynyk's ability to facilitate and space the floor has value in Detroit, and he might be worth more to a better team.
The longest-tenured Magic man has dealt with a knee injury this season and has not shot well from deep. He would look better, though, if he were on a better offensive team. Ross has been on this list for years.
Did you know Muscala is making about 43 percent of his 3s this season? Did you know that, per 36 minutes, he's averaging about 21 points, eight boards and three stocks (i.e. steals + blocks)? I bet you didn't, and that's only because he plays for the Thunder. Any playoff team in need of a stretch 5, however, is surely aware of this.
Ibaka made perfect sense for the Clippers, but a back injury derailed the partnership before it really got going. It's unclear if the Clippers want to take on even more salary before this deadline, but, if they do, they could try to package his expiring contract with second-round picks.
McGruder played his three best games as a Piston directly after the rescinded trade that was supposed to send him to Denver. If Detroit has traded him once …
You know what you're getting with Lopez: rim protection, hook shots and goofy stuff. He has provided exactly that in Orlando, but the frontcourt also has Wendell Carter Jr., Mo Bamba and Moe Wagner in it, so opportunities have been limited.
Why would anyone trade for a big man who tore his ACL last July? Because he has another year left on his contract, and if he plays as well as he did for Phoenix last season, he'll be a bargain. And why wouldn't the Suns just keep him then? Because Mikal Bridges' extension kicks in next year and Deandre Ayton will presumably be back on a new contract, which means they have to shed salary or pay a lot of luxury tax.
What about younger guys?
Here are some players 26 and younger who are potentially available. Some of them are on this list precisely because they've established themselves and are about to get paid; others, not so much.
When you find a guy like this in the second round, you typically don't trade him. Brunson has always been a crafty playmaker, and he has gradually developed into one of the Mavericks' most important players. As he approaches free agency, though, Dallas' front office must ask itself if it's willing to be the team that signs Brunson to his first big, long-term deal. Offensively he pairs well with Luka Doncic, but on defense you'd like to surround Doncic with as much length, athleticism and versatility as possible.
Want a 23-year-old guard who wreaks havoc on defense, rebounds like he's six inches taller, pushes the pace, moves the ball and rarely turns it over? You might actually be able to get Melton, if only because there aren't that many backcourt minutes to go around as long as Ja Morantf, Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones are on the team. Since he is signed for two more seasons after this one on a team-friendly contract, he's a good trade chip for the Grizzlies.
Jones is making more than 40 percent of his spot-up 3s this season, and he is a steadying presence on the Grizzlies' second unit. These are reasons not to trade Jones, but they are also reasons why he'll have trade value even as a rental. How much does Memphis want to pay another point guard? Could he be moved in a deal that brings back another core player on the same timeline as Morant, Jackson and Bane?
There's no reason for the Spurs to just give away one of the best defensive centers in the NBA. Poeltl is also a skilled passer and finisher, and he's signed to one of the best contracts in the league. San Antonio is open to dealing him, though, if it can get a good player plus a first-round pick, per Stein. It has reportedly rejected an offer from Chicago that included a first-rounder.
Robinson is an elite lob threat and offensive rebounder. You've seen his highlight blocks and you know that he has the potential to be a defensive anchor. He turns 24 in April, and, since he and the Knicks couldn't work out a contract extension before the season started, he could walk in July. It remains unclear whether or not New York sees him as part of its core.
Individually, it has been an important season for Bamba -- he has been starting next to Carter on a giant Magic frontline, and, now that he has a bigger role, he has played with more energy. The two-center look has not been effective offensively, though, and trading Bamba before he hits restricted free agency would open up minutes for Chuma Okeke and the Wagners (and, eventually Jonathan Isaac).
DiVincenzo didn't sign a contract extension before the season, and when the Bucks traded for -- and extended -- Grayson Allen, it wasn't a good sign for his long-term future with the franchise. Milwaukee shouldn't do anything that hurts its chances to win this year's title, so, if DiVincenzo is traded before the deadline, it'll be because the front office thinks it is making some sort of upgrade. The Bucks typically try to add reinforcements, and DiVincenzo is their best trade chip.
It's not just that the Cavaliers have thrived without Sexton this season. It's that he averaged 24.3 points last season on 57 percent true shooting, and, now that Darius Garland has broken out and Caris LeVert is in the picture, it's hard to see how there would be room for Sexton to build on that. Cleveland can wait and see how restricted free agency goes, but Sexton suitors should go after him now. (Sexton had season-ending knee surgery in November.)
Why in the world would the Hornets trade a 23-year-old stretch big? Washington is a versatile -- and valuable! -- player, but the front office has to consider what it might pay Miles Bridges and Cody Martin this summer, plus all the money it has already committed to Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier. Washington will be extension-eligible in July, and this team has been searching for a long-term starting center for years.
Martin's 3-point percentage jumped from the 20s to the 40s this season, and he's still bringing all the same stuff to the table defensively. This is an incredible development for the Hornets, and they absolutely do not need to shop him around. If the right offer comes along, though, they might have to consider it -- Martin has played so well that he could be too expensive for Charlotte to re-sign him comfortably.
If you catch Walker on the right night, you might come away thinking he's a potential star. He can make spectacular plays on both ends, and, every once in a while, he'll drop 20-something on good efficiency. Walker is near the end of his rookie contract, though, and he has a sub-50 percent true shooting percentage. San Antonio rarely makes in-season trades, but, if Walker isn't in its plans, it could make an exception.
The Warriors' messaging has been pretty consistent: Wiseman isn't going anywhere, unless they can get a transformative player in return, and the same is true of rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. Most teams in the Warriors' position would try to cash in their 20-year-old project big, but the market for him might not be all that compelling, especially after he had a second knee surgery.
It's not Horton-Tucker's fault that he is at the center of an increasingly desperate situation in Los Angeles. He's a 21-year-old former second-round pick who showed enough promise in his first couple of seasons to get a three-year, $30.8 million contract from the Lakers, and it just so happened that they decided to make a high-risk trade for Westbrook and let Alex Caruso walk around the same time. Now they have a roster of ill-fitting parts, and in an effort to salvage the season, they're stuck shopping Horton-Tucker, the next guy on this list and a 2027 first-round pick. Not sure how far that is going to go.
Nunn still hasn't played this season because of a knee injury. His salary dictates that he'll be in trade talks, as the Lakers will have a difficult time acquiring anyone making much more than the mid-level exception without including him.
Holiday has been in and out of the Wizards' rotation, so it's not much of a leap to assume he's not necessarily in their long-term plans. He has always been a creative finisher, but this season he has been much more efficient in and around the paint.
Bryant is the Wizards' starting center, for now at least, but as soon as they made the change there was speculation that they were showcasing him for a potential trade. There's upside here if he can ever become a decent pick-and-roll defender.
Flynn had a nice game against the Hornets on Jan. 25, but that followed about a month in which he didn't get extended playing time. He has barely played in the weeks since, so: Is there any chance at all that he can become the Raptors' every-night backup point guard? Is he just not suited for their chaotic style of play? It sure feels like he'd welcome a fresh start.
Out of nowhere, Smith stepped into the shorthanded Suns' lineup in December and gave them good minutes. Now they're in a weird spot, since they declined his third-year option in November. Not only will he be an unrestricted free agent in July, Phoenix will not be allowed to pay him more than the $4.7 million it would have owed him had it picked up the option. He's out of the rotation again now, and it would make sense for the Suns to move him … but there isn't much incentive for another team to help them: Any team acquiring Smith would be unable to offer any more than that same starting salary in the offseason.
Culver turns 23 in February and was the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft, but it feels as if he's completely vanished. In reality, he's had a couple of solid games for the Grizzlies, but he has spent most of the season out of the rotation because they're insanely deep. Teams that want to spend a few months with Culver before he hits free agency might want to throw a second-round pick their way.