NBA Power Rankings: From Bucks down to Cavs, every team's player most likely to be moved before trade deadline
With the trade deadline just ahead, let's take a look at some players who could be on the move
These are, as they say, the dog days of the NBA season. The period following Christmas and before the All-Star Break is when the slog gets a little more difficult to traverse, with sickness and injuries making their way into every locker room. With that in mind, we decided to change things up a bit this week. We still have the teams in order for the Power Rankings, but instead of talking about the past week, let's talk about the future.
We've listed the player on each team who is most likely to be traded ahead of the rapidly approaching Feb. 6 deadline. For some teams, the prospect of a deal is much more imminent, and in others it's more of a "if anyone gets traded, it'll be this guy" type of scenario. We'vehere and there, but there will likely be a lot more activity in the next couple of weeks.
|1||Bucks||Dragan Bender: It's a testament to the solid Bucks roster that you can look up and down and scratch your head trying to find a movable piece. Eric Bledsoe could probably fetch a decent return, but general manager John Horst vehemently denied trade rumors surrounding his point guard. That leaves Bender, who's only played in six games this season, but still has top-four pick pedigree that could interest a team willing to take a chance on him. We're reaching, we know.||--||53-12|
|2||Lakers||Kyle Kuzma: Listen, we're not saying he WILL get traded, but if the Lakers are going to pull off a deal before the trade deadline, it would have to be for a difference-maker. The only way they're getting one of those is if Kuzma is in the deal, not only because he's one of the few Lakers who might be attractive to another team, but also to make the salary work.||--||49-14|
|3||Clippers||Moe Harkless: There's increasing sentiment that the Clippers will make a roster tweak or two before the deadline, and Harkless just makes sense as a trade chip given his $11M expiring contract. Harkless has been a valuable member of the Clippers so far, but hasn't made a big enough impact to be considered essential to the roster. The Clippers are reportedly targeting more size and/or wing depth.||--||44-20|
|4||Jazz||Jordan Clarkson: Wait, didn't they just get him? Clarkson fills a need as a bench scorer for the Jazz, but as soon as he was acquired there was speculation that Utah might end up flipping him for another piece or two. With Mike Conley easing his way back, that might eventually mean fewer minutes for Clarkson off the bench.||--||41-23|
|5||Pacers||Jeremy Lamb: He's filled in admirably for Victor Oladipo this season, but with the Pacers' franchise centerpiece nearing a return there will be less need for Lamb, who is on a team-friendly contract through 2022. He'll likely convert nicely to a bench role once Oladipo is back to full strength, but if the Pacers do make a deal, Lamb is probably the most likely player to be involved.||--||39-26|
|6||Raptors||Marc Gasol/Serge Ibaka: Take your pick of either veteran big man, both of whom are on expiring deals for around the same salary (roughly $25M). Personally I don't think the Raptors will part with either of them, but if Masai Ujiri sees a deal he likes, including Ibaka or Gasol makes the most sense given their contract situations.||2||46-18|
|7||Nuggets||Malik Beasley: If the Nuggets were in the market for a star, Gary Harris is probably the most likely name to be dealt, but that doesn't seem to be where Denver is at this point, so making a minor move for Beasley seems more realistic. After a breakout season last year, Beasley has fallen almost completely out of the rotation. He's been pressed into duty recently due to injuries, which could serve as a nice showcase for the 6-4 combo guard's scoring ability.||1||43-22|
|8||Heat||Justise Winslow: The Heat would love to trade the contracts of James Johnson and/or Dion Waiters, but there's no reason to believe that's going to happen any time soon. Instead they might look to deal Winslow, who's under contract through 2022 on an affordable deal. Winslow hasn't played much of a role in the Heat's breakout season due to injuries, and might be their most attractive young player outside of Bam Adebayo.||1||41-24|
|9||Celtics||Enes Kanter: If the Celtics are going to make a move, it's likely going to be for a big man. They won't trade any of their core players to get one, so Kanter just makes the most sense as a potential trade chip. Daniel Theis has been too valuable, and Kanter's production, plus his strong run with the Blazers last postseason, could entice some teams at a reasonable $4.8M price tag.||3||43-21|
|10||76ers||Mike Scott: Nothing against Scott, but he's basically the only non-starter with any sort of significant salary to be included in a deal ($4.8M). Philly is in desperate need of shooting and playmaking, so perhaps it could trade Scott (and assets) for someone who fills that role.||3||39-26|
|11||Mavericks||Courtney Lee: By virtue of his expiring $12M deal, Lee is the Maverick most likely to be moved before the deadline. He'll obviously have to be attached to assets in order to get anything significant in return, but Lee has played a minimal role on the court since coming over from the Knicks last season.||1||40-27|
|12||Rockets||Nene Hilario: The Rockets tried to finagle the system to essentially get Nene's contract to count for more than its actual value (due to unlikely bonuses and incentives), but the league shut that down. But still, at just over $2.5 million he's one of the few movable contracts on an extremely top-heavy roster financially. Houston would obviously have to attach assets to Nene in any deal, and he'd likely be bought out by whatever team acquired him.||1||40-24|
|13||Thunder||Dennis Schroder: In the midst of a breakout season, Schroder has made himself an attractive trade asset with his recent play. Danilo Gallinari is expiring, but the Thunder need him much more than Schroder given their strong backcourt of Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The extra year on Schroder's contract makes him more than a rental, which could allow the Thunder to get more back in return.||1||40-24|
|14||Grizzlies||Jae Crowder: Andre Iguodala gets all the talk as a Memphis veteran who will eventually be on the move, but at this point he looks more like a buyout candidate. Instead the Grizzlies may look to deal Crowder, a versatile forward on a $7M expiring contract. If the Grizz stay in the playoff race, perhaps they'll look to hold onto players like Crowder, but otherwise it makes sense to try to cash in now.||1||32-33|
|15||Spurs||Marco Belinelli: Everyone loves a hired gun, and that's pretty much the definition of Belinelli's career. Plenty of contenders would welcome his shooting, and he's on a very movable $5.8M expiring contract. Some NBA fans want to see the Spurs go big and try to deal DeMar DeRozan or LaMarcus Aldridge, but Belinelli moving seems more likely.||3||27-36|
|16||Pelicans||Derrick Favors: Favors has been great for the Pelicans, but as they slip further away from the final Western Conference playoff seed, they'll have to consider shopping his expiring $17M deal. There are plenty of contenders who would be interested if they can make the money work, and the return of Zion Williamson, plus the emergence of fellow rookie Jaxson Hayes, leaves the Pels with decent depth up front.||1||28-36|
|17||Magic||Aaron Gordon: Though he's played better recently, Gordon is having a disappointing season as the Magic continue to sputter below .500. Gordon's signed through next season at under $20M, a reasonable price for a team who thinks he still has unlocked potential on both ends of the court.||1||30-35|
|18||Suns||Tyler Johnson: You probably didn't realize that Johnson was on a $19M expiring contract, but the Suns sure do. They'll do their best to see if they can find a deal for a high-priced player in return, and could attach draft assets and/or young talent to sweeten the deal. Phoenix is in the midst of a culture change, so another year with a mid-lottery pick might not be too appealing.||1||26-39|
|19||Nets||Garrett Temple: The Nets don't really seem to be on the precipice of any major moves, but Temple is a veteran 3-and-D wing capable of helping a contender, so they might look to see what they can get for him. He's making $4.8M this season with a club option for next year, so whichever team gets him could treat him as a rental if they wish.||--||30-34|
|20||Trail Blazers||Hassan Whiteside: The Blazers already dealt their most likely player to be traded -- Kent Bazemore -- so that leaves Whiteside and his $27M expiring contract. Assuming Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins are on track to come back healthy, the Blazers should at least explore what kind of return they could get for Whiteside, who has put up huge numbers despite the team's struggles.||--||29-37|
|21||Kings||Dewayne Dedmon: Dedmon has already publicly asked out of Sacramento despite signing there this past offseason. He's basically fallen out of Luke Walton's rotation unless the team is decimated by injuries, so you can't blame Dedmon for wanting a change. His shooting and shot-blocking ability make him an intriguing option for a team looking for a big.||1||28-36|
|22||Bulls||Thaddeus Young: Young was a bit more superflous before the injury to Lauri Markkanen pressed him into the starting lineup. Even so, the Bulls aren't going anywhere this year, so if a suitor wants to offer them a nice package for Young, a veteran wing who can play both forward positions and even a little center, they should be all ears.||1||22-43|
|23||Pistons||Derrick Rose: This is a lost season for the Pistons, but Rose has played brilliantly. There are lots of teams that could use his incredible scoring and playmaking ability off the bench, and he's at a very reasonable $7.3M through next season. It's not hard to envision Rose being out of Detroit come Feb. 7.||--||20-46|
|24||Wizards||Davis Bertans: The Wizards probably aren't going to trade Bertans, but he's one of the few remotely attractive assets on the Wizards roster, particularly since Bradley Beal can't be traded until this summer. While many teams would love to have Bertans, who has taken his game to a new level this season, Washington won't give him up without a serious haul in return.||2||24-40|
|25||Hawks||Evan Turner: Truth be told, nobody who's available on the Hawks roster will be very attractive to buyers at the deadline, but if we have to pick somebody I suppose it's Turner, who's on an $18.6M expiring deal. If Atlanta can find a taker, it would likely be in exchange for longer-term bad money with an asset attached.||2||20-47|
|26||Hornets||Marvin Williams: Williams has been a solid veteran presence for the Hornets this season, and he's on a $15M expiring contract. It's hard to imagine a contender wanting to pick him up for the stretch run, but his salary could be filler in a deal involving a Hornets draft pick or prospect if they see someone they really want.||2||23-42|
|27||Timberwolves||Robert Covington: This guy's name is seemingly linked to every contender, and with good reason. He has the size, shooting and defensive capability to fit into almost any roster. Which team ends up with his services will depend on what the Wolves are looking for, and whether a team is willing to offer it.||2||19-45|
|28||Knicks||Marcus Morris: Morris checks all the boxes for a trade deadline candidate -- he's on an expiring deal, is a knock-down 3-point shooter and has positional versatility. His name has been attached to many different contenders, but he says he wants to stay in New York. We'll see what the Knicks do as the deadline approaches.||2||21-45|
|29||Warriors||Alec Burks: The Warriors have already unloaded Willie Cauley-Stein, and their veteran fire sale could continue with Burks, who's had a nice year in increased minutes. He's shown a knack for scoring from the wing, and has also handled the ball quite a bit for Golden State this season, perhaps making him a more attractive trade chip.||1||15-50|
|30||Cavaliers||Kevin Love: Is it likely that Love gets traded before the deadline? Probably not. Is he the MOST likely Cav to be traded? Probably. Tristan Thompson would likely draw offers were it not for his $18.5M expiring salary that would be difficult to match, so he sounds more like a buyout candidate. As for Love, he's been on the market all year, so if nothing has materialized by now, he may just have to come to grips with the fact that he could be in Cleveland for the foreseeable future.||1||19-46|
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