The NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching. General managers, agents, team presidents, and reporters are calling and texting feverishly ahead of 3 p.m. Feb. 9 deadline.
Names like Russell Westbrook, Myles Turner, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and John Collins have been rumored to be on the move.
The Los Angeles Lakers opened up trade season by acquiring Rui Hachimura. Who else is looking to be buyers at the deadline, and who is looking to sell so they can tank for Victor Wembanyama?
Los Angeles Clippers — Fred VanVleet
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are healthy and playing good basketball. It’s now or never for L.A.’s other team. Both George and Leonard can be free agents in 2024, this is the time.
They need a backup center and a point guard. Do they have enough to acquire VanVleet from the Raptors? He and Leonard won a championship together in 2019, so he’d be an excellent fit. You’d send away John Wall and Luke Kennard’s contracts so salaries match and add an unprotected future first round pick.
Los Angeles Lakers — They’re not getting Myles Turner…
The Indiana Pacers are competent and want to get their young guys some experience with a play-in and possible playoff run. Turner just signed a two-year $60 million extension, which actually makes him more tradable as he’s under contract through the extension. He’s just not going to the Lakers.
But the Lakers still need shooting. Bojan Bogdanović, Gary Trent Jr., Seth Curry and/or Joe Harris are available. The Lakers will have to part ways with that 2027 first-round pick if they want to add any or more than one of these players. Maybe Thomas Bryant gets sent somewhere as part of a deal as well.
Memphis Grizzlies — OG Anunoby
The Grizzlies need wing shooting and to shore up their bench. They let De’Anthony Melton go to the Philadelphia 76ers, and he’s having a good year. The Grizzlies have an electric backcourt with Ja Morant and Desmond Bane. They have the league’s best defense anchored by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jaren Jackson Jr. They can get to a conference final this year.
They’d have to send Dillon Brooks’ expiring contract, a young player like David Roddy or Ziaire Williams and a first round pick to Toronto for Anunoby, but it would be worth it.
Anunoby is a better version of Brooks without the volatility. Now, some of that volatility fuels the Grizzlies and Anunoby plays with a quiet confidence. Will that alter the team’s internal chemistry?
Pay attention to the Chicago Bulls …
They are 23-26 and continue to be a Jekyll and Hyde team. It doesn’t look like Lonzo Ball will play at all this season, and we don’t know about next season. Zach LaVine has an injury history.
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DeMar DeRozan has one year left on his deal, and Nikola Vucevic is on the last year of his deal. Alex Caruso who is making under $10 million a season could help a lot of playoff teams.
Move Vucevic, Caruso and if you can DeRozan for some draft capital and young talent and start the rebuild in Chi-town.