NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Top Veteran Targets

With the March 25 trade deadline fast approaching, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players around the NBA who are candidates to be moved this month, breaking them down into several categories based on their age, contracts, on-court value, and other categories. Today, we’ll zero in on the top veteran trade targets on the market.

The January blockbuster trade that saw James Harden, Victor Oladipo, and Caris LeVert change teams is unlikely to be topped in the next six days. No player in Harden’s class are believed to be available, and it’s possible that the best player to be dealt by March 25 will be… well, Oladipo himself, who is back on the block just a couple months after being acquired by Houston.

Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, and Karl-Anthony Towns have been the subject of some trade speculation, but that appears to be wishful thinking. The Bulls are in the playoff hunt, and Beal and Towns will likely only be moved if they push for it — so far, there’s no indication that they are.

Still, even if no All-NBA type players are on the move in the next few days, there are plenty of intriguing veteran players who could be had. The final installment of our Trade Candidate series today will focus on those players.

Let’s dive in…

Probably off-limits, but you never know:

Vucevic has said he’s happy where he is, but he has drawn significant interest from several teams. It would take a huge package to convince the Magic to move their lone All-Star, especially since he’s under contract for two more years after 2020/21.

Lowry’s $30.5MM expiring contract would make salary-matching tricky, and the Raptors won’t simply move him for the best offer — if the veteran point guard wants a change of scenery and Toronto can get something worthwhile in return, he could be on the move. But it seems more likely that he’ll stay put through the deadline and the Raptors will figure out his future in the offseason.

Young would help just about every contender and looked at one point like a prime trade candidate. But the Bulls are playing pretty well under head coach Billy Donovan and seem far more likely to push for the postseason than to essentially throw in the towel by selling off Young and their other veterans.

Turner was discussed in trade talks during the offseason, but he’s been tremendous for the Pacers this season, leading the NBA in blocked shots and anchoring Indiana’s defense. He’s not necessarily untouchable, but the price will be higher now than it was back in November.

As for DeRozan, there have been rumblings that he could be on the trade block if he and the Spurs don’t agree to an extension, but San Antonio typically doesn’t do anything too big during the season, so I’d be surprised if he’s dealt.

Intriguing targets who could realistically be available:

While Vucevic may be off the table, the Magic have a trio of other key contributors whose price tags should be more reasonable. Fournier is on an expiring contract, so there may be a little more urgency to address his situation than to do anything with Gordon or Ross. But of the three, Gordon is the most valuable and would command the biggest return. If Orlando can get a bidding war going, it could lead to a pretty tempting offer for the forward.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kings wait until the offseason to increase their efforts to move Hield and/or Barnes, since both players are on long-term deals. But the right offer could get it done by next Thursday.

Houston is in sell mode, making Oladipo available. Still, it’s worth remembering that the Rockets didn’t have to expand the Harden deal to acquire Oladipo — they went out of their way to do so because they like him. So if they’re being low-balled at the deadline in Oladipo negotiations, they may well hang onto him.

Powell and Nance are two of the most interesting names out there and could be difference-makers for a contender. There has been no real indication that the Raptors are shopping Powell, but he can opt out this offseason and is in line for a big raise on the heels of a career year. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, have reportedly passed on offers for Nance that feature multiple late first-round picks, signaling it’ll take a lot to get him. The price for Osman would be more modest.

Their contracts complicate matters:

If Love, Drummond, and Aldridge were to hit waivers tomorrow, their agents’ phones would be inundated with calls from interested teams, and it wouldn’t take long for them to land with a contender, like Blake Griffin did with Brooklyn after he was bought out by Detroit.

However, the cap hits for Love ($31.3MM), Drummond ($28.75MM), and Aldridge ($24MM) probably outweigh their value at this point in their careers, so it will be a challenge for the Cavaliers and Spurs to extract assets in a trade without taking on some bad money.

Drummond and Aldridge, both on expiring contracts, are away from their respective clubs as they await resolution, so it’s a safe bet that they’ll be either traded or bought out. I think the Spurs probably have a slightly better chance to get a trade done, but both are toss-ups. As for Love, he still has two guaranteed seasons on his deal after 2020/21, so a buyout isn’t a realistic option for him — he’s a safe bet to stay put.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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