NBA trade season got started in earnest when the Cleveland Cavaliers dealt for Kyle Korver, and now the rumors and speculation are in full force across the league. We're anticipating the next month to be very active as we move toward the Feb. 23 trade deadline, and below we're breaking down which teams should be buyers, which should be sellers, and which will likely be standing pat for both roster and contractual reasons.


Atlanta Hawks

SELL (but they will probably stand pat). With Paul Millsap potentially opting out of his contract to become a free agent, it seems strange that the middling Hawks are willing to chance it and not looking to trade him. Atlanta needs to figure out what direction its heading toward as staying in the middle of the East with your key players being Millsap and Dwight Howard isn't that great of a long term solution. -- Ananth Pandian

Boston Celtics

BUY. The Celtics have the best set of trade assets in the league and every reason to make the right deal. If they hold onto the Nets' pick, they'll likely have to use it on a point guard, which is the last thing they need. They're looking at huge new deals for both Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley next summer, plus Marcus Smart's first big contract. They still need another high-end weapon or a rim protector or ideally both if they want to seriously challenge the Cavs with this core. Their assets are so good you don't want to waste them but they do need to use them at some point. They need to buy aggressively, in trying to get the perfect deal done with urgency. -- Matt Moore

Brooklyn Nets

SELL. Anyone who wants anything they have should get it. Swap out whatever. Get a pick back for Trevor Booker? Do it. Someone wants to throw out a high second-rounder for Sean Kilpatrick? Make it happen. Someone offers a decent role player and a value draft pick for Brook Lopez? Do it. No reason not to swap out the pieces. The Nets are unencumbered by having to consider actual team building because they are restrained from being able to do so. They can swap out whatever materials because they don't have the tools to do anything with them anyway, despite really good coaching from Kenny Atkinson. Make some deals. -- Matt Moore

Charlotte Hornets

BUY. The Hornets need to add another scorer to pair alongside Kemba Walker, who is literally doing it all offensively for them. The problem for Charlotte is that it may not have too many players other teams may be interested in. -- Ananth Pandian

Chicago Bulls

SELL (but don't go crazy). The Jimmy Butler rumors are ridiculous because he's a top-10 player, entering his prime on an old-CBA contract. The Bulls should see what is out there for soon-to-be free agent Taj Gibson, and they shouldn't be too attached to anybody aside from Butler. After a soft reset last summer, Chicago needs to actually commit to getting younger and surrounding its superstar with shooters and passers. The Rajon Rondo experiment has failed, and they might as well waive him if they can't trade him. -- James Herbert

Cleveland Cavaliers

BUY. As long as LeBron James is around, the Cavs will always be looking to tweak the roster to increase their odds of winning a championship. The Kyle Korver move was important, especially in the context of J.R. Smith's injury, but general manager David Griffin has said that the front office wants to add another playmaker, perhaps using a trade exception. Cleveland's backup point guard is rookie Kay Felder, and James has said repeatedly that he wants a veteran to play that position. Griffin has a track record of finding ways to improve the team with limited financial flexibility. -- James Herbert

Detroit Pistons

STAND PAT. Of course, if Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy can acquire a core piece without giving up a first-round pick, the way he did with Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris at the past two trade deadlines, he should do it. Otherwise, though, it would be best not to overreact to everything that has gone wrong in the past six weeks. Detroit could trade backup center Aron Baynes before he leaves in free agency, but blowing up the team would be shortsighted. -- James Herbert

Indiana Pacers

SELL. Monta Ellis and Rodney Stuckey don't fit all that well with Jeff Teague, and both Stuckey and C.J. Miles could bolt in free agency in the summer. I'd be open to moving Al Jefferson, too, but it's unclear what the Pacers are planning on doing. They have been averse to full-on rebuilding, and despite barely being over .500, they're sixth in the East right now. It wouldn't surprise me if they did nothing. -- James Herbert

Miami Heat

SELL. The post-Dwyane Wade era has not been kind to the Miami Heat so far. They are one of the worst teams in the league and have been bit hard by the injury bug. Goran Dragic has been rumored to be on the trade block and that seems like a good move for them to make as they need to start rebuilding sooner rather than later. -- Ananth Pandian

Where will Goran Dragic be playing in the coming weeks? USATSI

Milwaukee Bucks

STAND PAT. While the Bucks should be open to addressing their shortage of rebounding and relative shortage of outside shooting, they don't have to do anything. When Khris Middleton returns to play alongside the vastly improved duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, they'll get a bigger boost than just about any realistic swap. Milwaukee is better than its 20-20 record, and the future looks bright. No need to rush the process. -- James Herbert

New York Knicks

Should SELL, will try to BUY. What they should do is convince Carmelo Anthony to waive his no-trade clause, thank him for his service and navigate a three-team deal that gets them multiple sub-25 role players with defensive aptitude. The Knicks would be better off with no-name guys who are more consistent than big-name players who don't defend. Moving Anthony and honestly, Derrick Rose, who has been good offensively this season, would be the best move for the franchise. So of course instead they'll look to try and swing something that could boost them into a playoff spot and try and drag this half-dead creature the rest of the way into the small desert town of Playoffs before getting run out by a superior gang. Just pray they don't deal a first-rounder. -- Matt Moore

Orlando Magic

SELL. Orlando's offseason moves to bring in Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo have not made an impact in the least bit. And with Ibaka becoming a free agent in the summer, perhaps the Magic should move him to get a player or asset back while they still can. Really, besides for Aaron Gordon, the Magic should be looking to overhaul their roster as they have remained near the bottom of the league for seemingly forever. -- Ananth Pandian

Philadelphia 76ers

SELL. No need to rush here. Yeah, moving Nerlens Noel would probably help things overall, and yeah, if someone did throw a good price out there for Jahlil Okafor, you take it. But really? This team has momentum and good vibes. Noel has played really well this season and is making the kind of defensive impact you want. His athleticism really does make you want to just forget about all the off-court concerns. And Okafor is, if nothing else, playable depth. Ersan Ilyasova brings something to the table, and this team is just scratching the surface. Things are good. No need to get bold here. If a good deal comes, take advantage, but the vibes are too good to needlessly screw with. -- Matt Moore

Toronto Raptors

BUY. Look, you're probably going to lose to the Cavaliers no matter what. They have LeBron James, and that card trumps everything you bring to the table. But you want to give yourself the best chance, just in case he sprains an ankle, or suffers dehydration and cramps up, or just has a really bad series. It's happened before. You don't want to say "LeBron didn't even play well but we couldn't get past Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love because we didn't have (X)." This team is good enough to meet expectations already. They can reach the ECF anyway. But if they want to make sure they have the best opportunity to take advantage if the Cavs do slip, they need to make a deal and move guys like Terrence Ross and Norman Powell for a veteran boost. It's OK if they don't, planning for a future without peak Kyle Lowry is going to be important, but if they want to try and shoot the gap now, they have to make a deal. -- Matt Moore

Washington Wizards

BUY. The Wizards have surged all the way back from a disappointing start to in the playoff hunt and currently sit as the 5th seed in the East. They have a decent team but adding a skilled player off the bench to provide them with more depth could help them out immensely. -- Ananth Pandian

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are great, but they'll need more help. Will they get it? USATSI


Dallas Mavericks

SELL. The Mavs got a bit younger last summer, but there are still veterans on this roster who don't have much of a purpose on the second-worst team in the West. Andrew Bogut and Deron Williams should be available, and there's nothing wrong with listening to offers for Wesley Matthews, too. Mark Cuban is on record saying he won't tank until 70 or 75 games into the season, and it would hurt to gut the team while Dirk Nowitzki is working so hard just to stay on the court, but it's pretty clear that Dallas needs to be focused on the future of the franchise above all else. -- James Herbert

Denver Nuggets

SELL. The Nuggets have a plethora of talent and assets with players like Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Jusuf Nurkic, which should help them make a trade. They're a mediocre team this season and a goal of making the playoffs won't help them in the long run. Denver needs to make a more or two so it can get on a clearer future path. -- Ananth Pandian

Golden State Warriors

STAND PAT. Yeah, I think they're good. Look, if here's an opportunity to pick up a value veteran for nothing, like the Cavaliers did with Korver? Sure. But who are they going to deal? Their rotation is set and it is amazing. Even the bench is playing great. Don't mess with this, this is the best team in the league, even if they have to prove it in the playoffs. -- Matt Moore

Houston Rockets

STAND PAT. There have been minor rumors about K.J. McDaniels and Corey Brewer, but, unlike last season, there isn't much buzz about the Rockets as the trade deadline approaches. This is for good reason: Houston's offense has been unbelievable, and its defense has made progress. There's no need to mess with a good thing, so unless Daryl Morey can work his magic and acquire a real defensive difference-maker, the Rockets can ride their killer offseason to home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. -- James Herbert

Los Angeles Clippers

STAND PAT. The bench has been good enough. Their problems only have to do with their starters being hurt. You have to deal with the injuries and ceiling of this team in the offseason, but for now, no reason to make any sort of panic move. If you can find some real upgrade (like a Wilson Chandler) for a discount, sure, make the move, but this team has no real need to make a major deal. It's unlikely any deal they can make actually shifts their odds vs. Golden State. -- Matt Moore

Los Angeles Lakers

STAND PAT. It's too soon to make decisions about the core. Yes, it's worrisome that none of them seem like can't-miss prospects, and yes, their defense is a rotted wooden barrel slowly sinking into tar pits that are on fire, but there's still optimism. It's really Year One of the true rebuild, and guys have had flashes of good play. If someone wants Luol Deng, field the offers, but there's no reason for extended talks about major changes. Yet. -- Matt Moore

Memphis Grizzlies

BUY (low, if possible). For the millionth year in a row, the Grizzlies could use some extra shooting. Their spacing is much better now, but they're still 24th in offensive rating and 29th in effective field-goal percentage. I don't see an obvious trade for them to make, though, and a healthy Chandler Parsons could solve many of their problems. If they can get someone like C.J. Miles or Omri Casspi on the cheap, they should do it, but there's no guarantee that will be possible. -- James Herbert

Minnesota Timberwolves

BUY. The Timberwolves have reportedly put Ricky Rubio on the trade block, which is an annual tradition. But even if they don't trade the guard, Minnesota should look to add some veteran experience to help the young players on the roster through their growing process. -- Ananth Pandian

It doesn't appear Ricky Rubio will be with the Wolves much longer. USATSI

New Orleans Pelicans

SELL. They should be desperate to move the contracts of Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca, and they know that Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas could all leave for nothing in free agency. At 16-26, the Pelicans aren't that far out of the playoffs, but their main goal should be putting themselves in a position to retool the roster in the offseason. That might even mean trading Holiday if there are indications that he's less than 100 percent committed to re-signing. -- James Herbert

Oklahoma City Thunder

BUY. Russell Westbrook is having a MVP-level season yet the rest of the Thunder have largely been so-so as Oklahoma City currently sits 7th in the West. They could use some shooters to help space the floor for Westbrook, so making a move to add a proven three-point shooter will definitely help. There have been rumors in the past about a possible Rudy Gay-for-Cameron Payne swap, which could at the very least add some more firepower to the Thunder. -- Ananth Pandian

Phoenix Suns

SELL. Eric Bledsoe could help a team. They should move him for young players and picks. Same with Tyson Chandler. Same with P.J. Tucker. I'd say same with Brandon Knight but he literally has the worst plus-minus in the NBA. The Suns should be clearing the books and trying to shake things up while building around Marquese Chriss and Devin Booker. Embrace the tank. -- Matt Moore

Portland Trail Blazers

BUY. Portland has been a big disappointment and its defense is a big reason why. Adding a capable big man, who can protect the rim, is in the team's best interest. The only question is if there is a big man out there that the Blazers are willing to take a gamble on. Right now, it seems like they are content with improving from within. -- Ananth Pandian

Sacramento Kings

Need to SELL, they'll try and BUY. They're never giving up DeMarcus Cousins, and he's going to make sure he gets his $200 million before inevitably demanding out. They have a smorgasbord of guys on the block who are valuable: Omri Casspi, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufos, and they still need to move Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore. They'll try and find something that reshuffles the deck chairs when they should be leveraging everything for a total reconfiguration. But they are way too close to the 8th seed not to go for it. I'd say they will probably wind up overpaying to acquire a mediocre veteran, but they already did the Rudy Gay trade. -- Matt Moore

San Antonio Spurs

STAND PAT. There's always a possibility of a midseason upgrade with the Spurs, especially when buyouts start happening, but they have played far too well for the front office to do something drastic. The LaMarcus Aldridge trade rumors have essentially been forgotten, and it's difficult to imagine them trading Patty Mills or Jonathan Simmons before they hit free agency -- they are too valuable to them now. San Antonio can stay the course. -- James Herbert

Utah Jazz

STAND PAT. The Jazz had a busy offseason, which has benefited them greatly. The Jazz are fifth in the West and have two potential first-time All-Stars in Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert. No reason to mess with the success they are having by making a trade. -- Ananth Pandian