Trade Candidate

Thunder Notes: SGA, Giddey, Hayward, Wiggins, Joe

The young Thunder may not quite be ready to win a tough playoff series, but there’s little doubt that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is, writes Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman. SGA was at his best in Saturday’s Game 6, scoring a series-high 36 points and hitting numerous clutch shots down the stretch. He also handed out eight assists, the biggest of which was an alley-oop that Chet Holmgren slammed home to give OKC a one-point lead with 20 seconds remaining.

But Gilgeous-Alexander made a critical mistake, committing a foul that sent P.J. Washington to the line for three free throws to decide the series. Washington made his first two shots to give Dallas the lead, then missed the third on purpose to take time off the clock and force Oklahoma City into a long heave on its final possession.

“We talk about it all year, the little things that go into winning games. And being disciplined. It sucks,” Gilgeous-Alexander said of his foul on Washington. “Obviously if I had the moment back I wouldn’t have fouled him and just let him make or miss the shot.” 

At the post-game press conference, Gilgeous-Alexander told reporters that he isn’t interested in watching a replay of the foul. Thunder coach Mark Daigneault challenged the play, which cost him his final time out, but officials determined that SGA’s contact warranted a foul.

Even if it’s part of the learning process for a teach that appears to have an incredibly bright future, the loss was painful in the moment as the players feel like they let an opportunity slip away.

“It’s hard to tell what you remember more, the wins or the losses, but this definitely stings,” Holmgren said. “It doesn’t feel great. Nobody wins 12 straight championships, so the chances I’m gonna feel this at some point again is definitely there. But I’m gonna do everything in my power to avoid this feeling again.”

There’s more on the Thunder:

  • The series highlighted the decision that OKC will eventually have to make about Josh Giddey‘s fit with the rest of the team, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Gilgeous-Alexander’s rise to an MVP candidate and the addition of Jalen Williams have significantly cut into Giddey’s usage rate, and he doesn’t shoot well enough from long distance to be an effective complementary player. Slater notes that Giddey was replaced in the starting lineup for Games 5 and 6 and didn’t start the second half in Games 2 and 4. Giddey will make $8.3MM next season in the final year of his rookie contract, but he’s extension eligible this summer and Slater suggests he may be a trade candidate if the Thunder go shopping for veteran help.
  • There may not be a future in Oklahoma City for Gordon Hayward, whose $33.3MM salary will come off the books this summer, Slater adds. The team sent unwanted contracts to Charlotte to acquire Hayward at the trade deadline, but he wasn’t a factor in the playoffs, going scoreless in 46 total minutes.
  • The Thunder have a two-year window to upgrade their roster before future extensions start to kick in for their stars, Bobby Marks of ESPN states in his offseason overview of the team. Marks suggests that general manager Sam Presti might decline modest team options for Aaron Wiggins and Isaiah Joe and try to reach long-term deals with both players.

Scotto’s Latest: Mavs, Washington, Grimes, Pacers, Hornets, Hyland, More

The Mavericks and Hornets have discussed various P.J. Washington trade concepts that include a future first-round pick from Dallas, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

According to Scotto, if Charlotte is going to agree to take back Richaun Holmes, who holds a $12.9MM player option for next season, in exchange for Washington, the Hornets want that Dallas first-rounder to be unprotected. The Mavs have resisted that idea so far, Scotto writes, adding that Seth Curry has also been part of those trade discussions between the two teams.

While Scotto doesn’t say that Grant Williams has come up in the trade talks between the Mavs and Hornets, he suggests it wouldn’t be a surprise if that’s the case, since Dallas has talked about Williams with multiple teams already.

In addition to Washington, the Mavs have expressed interest in Raptors wing Bruce Brown and Knicks wing Quentin Grimes, among others, Scotto reports. League sources tell HoopsHype that Dallas explored acquiring Grimes in exchange for a package headlined by Josh Green, but New York turned down the proposal.

Here’s more from Scotto, with just hours to go until Thursday’s trade deadline:

  • Although Buddy Hield is considered Indiana’s top trade candidate, rival executives think the Pacers might move some of their frontcourt depth, with Obi Toppin and Jalen Smith among the players believed to be available, Scotto writes. Lottery pick Jarace Walker, on the other hand, remains off limits based on what the Pacers are telling other clubs, league sources tell HoopsHype.
  • The Hornets have expressed interest in Bones Hyland, according to Scotto, who says the Clippers are seeking a pair of second-round picks in exchange for the third-year guard.
  • Despite some speculation that the Nets are interested in D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn hasn’t had any “substantive” talks with the Lakers and/or Hawks about getting involved in a potential Dejounte Murray trade to acquire Russell, Scotto reports.
  • The Pistons and Grizzlies continue to talk about a possible Killian Hayes trade, with second-round draft compensation serving as the sticking point, per Scotto.

Trade Rumors: Sixers, Pistons, Bulls, Bridges, Mavs, Kuzma, Brown, Knicks, More

Appearing on SportsCenter late on Wednesday night (Twitter video link), Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said the Sixers and Pistons have had recent trade discussions about players like Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic, but that those talks “largely broke down” on Wednesday.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Sixers and Pistons won’t reengage on Thursday, but Philadelphia is exploring several avenues in search of size and shooting. The 76ers have also talked to the Bulls about multiple players, including DeMar DeRozan, Wojnarowski stated on the latest episode of the Woj Pod.

The challenge in trading with the Bulls, Woj explains, is that they want to remain competitive this season, so they’re not looking to sell off starters or key rotation players for draft assets. Given that position, it may be difficult for a contender to make more than a minor deal with Chicago, but K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link) believes Philadelphia is the potential trade partner worth keeping the closest eye on for the Bulls.

Besides DeRozan, Andre Drummond is another Bulls player who has reportedly drawn interest from the Sixers. Chicago may take its Drummond talks down to the wire, according to Marc Stein, who says in his latest Substack story that the club could command multiple second-round picks for the veteran center.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • Wojnarowski also indicated during his SportsCenter appearances that forward Miles Bridges is “very, very likely” to remain in Charlotte beyond the trade deadline, with the Hornets hoping to re-sign him this offseason. Stein (Substack link) has also heard that Bridges may very well stay put, despite interest from the Suns and a handful of other clubs. The 25-year-old has the ability to veto a trade and would lose his Bird rights if he approves a move to a new team.
  • According to Wojnarowski (via the Woj Pod), the Mavericks‘ efforts to pry Kyle Kuzma away from the Wizards haven’t been successful, so Dallas is believed to be pivoting to P.J. Washington and will likely keep talking to the Hornets on Thursday. Stein suggests that Kuzma’s preference has been to stay in D.C. rather than seek a change of scenery, which has been a factor in Washington’s apparent reluctance to move him.
  • The Knicks have been willing to attach a first-round pick to Evan Fournier‘s expiring contract in a trade offer for Raptors wing Bruce Brown, but they want to include one of their 2024 first-rounders (their own or Dallas’), reports Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. Toronto, which already controls at least two first-rounders and a high second-rounder in a 2024 draft considered to be weak, has sought a future pick, but New York wants to preserve those selections for a potential deal for a star, Grange explains.
  • Some teams have kicked the tires on Raptors center Jakob Poeltl, Grange reports, though he looks like a long shot to be moved. Although Dennis Schröder is a more likely trade candidate, Grange hears from a league source that the return for the veteran point guard would probably just be second-round picks at best.

Trade Rumors: Bucks Targets, Payne, Allen, Suns, Hornets, Kuzma

The Bucks don’t have a ton of trade assets left after completing blockbuster deals in recent years for Jrue Holiday and then Damian Lillard, but they’re perusing the market in an effort to upgrade their perimeter defense, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

According to Fischer, the Bucks have contacted teams to gauge the value of Portland’s 2024 second-round pick, which Milwaukee controls — it currently projects to be 35th overall, making it more valuable than a typical second-rounder. The team is exploring deals that would package that pick with wing Pat Connaughton and guard Cameron Payne, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

As Fischer explains, Payne fell out of Adrian Griffin‘s rotation earlier this month, but it’s possible new head coach Doc Rivers will want to use him more. If not, the veteran point guard would be “amenable” to a change of scenery, Fischer writes.

While the Bucks would love to acquire a player like Hawks guard Dejounte Murray or Raptors wing Bruce Brown, Bobby Portis‘ $11.7MM cap hit would almost certainly need to be includd in order to match their salaries, Fischer notes. Additionally, Atlanta and Toronto are seeking the sort of packages – two first-round picks and a starter-level player for Murray and a first-round picks for Brown – which the Bucks may not be able to offer, given their lack of tradable first-rounders.

Chicago guard Alex Caruso is likely also out of Milwaukee’s reach, given that the Bulls aren’t inclined to move him and would seek multiple first-rounders if they did, says Fischer. Players like Trail Blazers wing Matisse Thybulle and Clippers forward P.J. Tucker may be more attainable, Fischer suggests. However, Tucker’s appeal is limited, and Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report points out (via Twitter) that Thybulle has veto rights and may not be eager to play for Rivers again.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Suns are no longer considering the possibility of trading Grayson Allen at the deadline, league sources tell Fischer. Fischer reported last week that Phoenix was gauging what a package of Allen and Nassir Little could bring back, but that seemed like it was more about due diligence, given how well the former Duke star has played this season.
  • Responding to reports from Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports and Trevor Booth of Clutch Points stating that the Suns have interest in Miles Bridges and Nick Richards of the Hornets, John Gambadoro of Arizons Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) throws cold water on the Richards speculation, but suggests Phoenix could be in the mix for Bridges if the price is right.
  • While Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma has been viewed as a potential in-season trade candidate, he’s under contract for several more years and Washington appears to be in no rush to move him, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on The Woj Pod. “Washington’s been very reticent with Kyle Kuzma,” Wojnarowski said (hat tip to RealGM). “… Teams tell me they call them and they’re not getting counters from Washington. If you want to register an offer for Kuzma, fine, you can do it. But they’re not at the point now where it seems like they’re really active in seriously trying to move him. It could change by the deadline, but I know (Wizards executives) Michael Winger and Will Dawkins like Kuzma, like having him there. I think they’ll be particular about what they might do.”

Trade Candidate Watch: Players On Rookie Scale Contracts

Leading up to the February 9 trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA. We’re continuing today with a handful of former first-round picks who are still on their rookie scale contracts.

This list does not include players in the last year of their rookie contract, as those players could become restricted free agents in the offseason. We covered some of those players here.


Bones Hyland, G, Nuggets

2022/23: $2.2MM
2023/24: $2.3MM
2024/25: $4.16MM team option

The No. 26 overall pick of the 2021 draft, Hyland is looking like perhaps the most likely player to be traded out of this group.

Hyland only makes a combined $4.5MM this season and next, with a $4.16MM club option for 2024/25. That’s really cheap for a talented shooter (37.8% on threes, 86.6% on free throws) who has a fairly substantial role (19.5 MPG, 10.3 FGA) on the West’s No. 1 seed.

On the other hand, he might be looking for more minutes, and has reportedly had “occasional clashes” with head coach Michael Malone. His decision-making and shot selection can be questionable, his net rating (-8.4) is kind of a disaster (Denver’s bench units haven’t been great), and some advanced stats say he’s one of the worst defenders in the league.

Denver is said to be looking for a two-way wing and/or draft compensation for Hyland.

Saddiq Bey, F, Pistons

2022/23: $2.96MM
2023/24: $4.56MM

The No. 19 pick of the 2020 draft, Bey was productive right away for Detroit, earning a spot on the All-Rookie First Team by averaging 12.2 PPG and 4.5 RPG while shooting 38% on threes.

He had a tough start to his sophomore year, averaging 11.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 2.3 APG on .345/.296/.735 shooting through 26 games (31.7 MPG). However, he was solid the rest of the way, averaging 18.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 3.1 APG on .417/.364/.849 shooting over his remaining 56 contests (33.6 MPG).

Bey, who turns 24 in April, can be wildly inconsistent from game-to-game offensively. For example, last March he scored a career-high 51 points (on 17-of-27 shooting) against Orlando, but in the five games preceding that victory, he posted a .321/.235/.737 shooting line.

One of Bey’s best attributes is that he has been quite durable, having played all 82 games in ‘21/22 and only missing six of a possible 206 games to this point in his career. The Knicks are reportedly among the teams that have shown interest in Bey, who is eligible for a rookie scale extension in the offseason.

Obi Toppin, F, Knicks

2022/23: $5.35MM
2023/24: $6.8MM

It’s hard to know what to make of Toppin, who was the No. 8 pick of the 2020 draft. On one hand, he averaged 20.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 3.0 APG on .571/.436/.818 shooting in 10 games as a starter last year. On the other, those numbers were somewhat inflated because most of them came in early April, when many teams aren’t exactly taking the games seriously.

Toppin is shooting – and making – more threes this season in an effort to expand his game, but it has come at the cost of his rim-running, which is a little strange (he shot 64.7% on twos over his first two seasons, but is only at 48.9% in ‘22/23). I’m not sure it’s wise for him to be attempting more threes than twos, and it hasn’t helped him get more playing time.

It’s a tough spot for both the player and team, as Julius Randle has been a better all-around player and head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn’t shown much interest in playing the two power forwards together. Toppin is a limited defensive player, but he tries.

Randle is under contract through at least ‘24/25, with a player option in ‘25/26. What’s the pathway for Toppin to become a starter in New York going forward? Does that matter to him?

The Pacers reportedly showed interest in Toppin earlier this season, though it’s unclear if they remain interested.

Payton Pritchard, G, Celtics

2022/23: $2.24MM
2023/24: $4.04MM

Pritchard, who just turned 25 over the weekend, was the No. 26 overall pick of the 2020 draft. The former Oregon standout is a career 39.8% three-point shooter who has seen his minutes reduced due to a backcourt logjam.

After averaging 19.2 minutes per game as a rookie in ‘20/21, he logged 14.1 MPG last season and is down to 12.5 MPG in ‘22/23. He has also been a healthy scratch several times this season.

The Celtics have the NBA’s best record, and having a cheap insurance policy like Pritchard capable of filling in when called upon is a reflection of the team’s depth. He has posted a positive net rating in each of his three seasons.

However, you could also make the case that his presence is more of a luxury than a necessity, with Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon all ahead of him in the backcourt pecking order. If the Celtics want to upgrade their depth at another position (center?), Pritchard could be used as part of a return package.

The Warriors are among the teams that have reportedly expressed interest in Pritchard. As was the case with Bey and Toppin, the 6’1″ guard will be extension-eligible in the summer.


Note: This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just a brief overview. A number of other former first-rounders on their rookie scale deals could be traded ahead of next week’s deadline, including Cam Thomas, Day’Ron Sharpe, James Wiseman, Moses Moody, Jaden Springer, James Bouknight, Kai Jones and Shaedon Sharpe, among others.

Some of the aforementioned young players haven’t been involved in rumors to this point, but are worth keeping an eye on due to their roles and/or team situations. For example, in Sharpe’s case, the Blazers are reportedly a buyer, but their ability to trade a first-round pick is limited due to protections from a previous deal, making the 19-year-old a logical trade chip.

Trade Candidate Watch: Veteran Guards

Leading up to the February 9 trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA. We’re continuing today with a handful of veteran guards.


D’Angelo Russell, Timberwolves

2022/23: $31.4MM

2023/24: UFA

Like many players on Minnesota’s roster, Russell had a slow start to the season, averaging 14.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 6.7 APG and 1.3 SPG on a sub-optimal .425/.318/.759 shooting line (53.1 true shooting percentage) through the end of November (22 games, 31.3 MPG).

However, he has been on fire ever since, averaging 20.5 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 5.9 APG and 1.0 SPG on .496/.441/.931 shooting (65.7 TS%) over his past 27 games (34.4 MPG).

Overall, he is averaging 17.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 6.2 APG and 1.1 SPG. He’s posting career-best shooting splits from all over the court, including 54.2% on twos, 39.1% on threes (46.6% from the field), and 87.1% from the free throw line, for a career-high (by far) 60.5 TS%.

Part of the reason he’s had so much success scoring lately is because the Wolves been using him more off the ball – he’s shooting 39.3% on catch-and-shoot threes, per NBA.com. It will be difficult for the Wolves to replace the former All-Star’s production, as they rank just 18th in 3PT%, and he has been the team’s second-leading scorer with Karl-Anthony Towns injured.

That’s not to say he’s a perfect player by any means, as he has always been a below-average defender and rebounder who can frustrate with lack of effort. His decision-making can also be questionable at times, which is why he’s best utilized as more of a combo guard than a traditional point.

Russell, who turns 27 next month, is not making it an easy decision for the Wolves to move him in his contract year. They have been winning lately, and he’s had a big role in that. Do they want to pay him in free agency if they don’t extend him, especially after last year’s poor playoff performance?

Mike Conley, Jazz

2022/23: $22.7MM

2023/24: $24.4MM ($14.3MM guaranteed)

Conley, on the other hand, is more of a traditional pass-first floor general, with an elite 4.73-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. At 35 years old, he is on the downside of his career, but the Jazz have been better (+2.0 net rating) when he’s on the court, going 21-19 when he plays and 5-7 without him.

While he isn’t scoring much this season (10.3 PPG), Conley is dishing out a career-high 7.6 APG, and his 36.6% mark from deep is above league average. He’s fallen off a little more on the other end – Conley used to be one of the better point-of-attack defenders in the league, but isn’t as quick as he once was.

The big thing with Conley isn’t whether he provides an immediate positive impact (he does), it’s more about paying a small, aging point guard $24.4MM next season. His large partial guarantee makes it impractical to waive him, because whichever team he’s on would still be on the hook for a substantial amount.

Patrick Beverley, Lakers

2022/23: $13MM

2023/24: UFA

As is the case with Russell, it’s been a tale of two halves for Beverley. Through 20 games (26.9 MPG), he was averaging just 4.5 PPG on a miserable .298/.234/.760 shooting slash line.

Over the past 21 games (26.7 MPG), that has completely flipped, as he’s averaging 8.2 PPG on an excellent .473/.434/.875 shooting line. He’s up to 34.7% from deep on the season, which isn’t great, but it’s respectable (his career mark is 37.6%).

Beverley’s fit with the Lakers has been a little more awkward than anticipated, but it’s probably not a coincidence that he’s been playing some of his best basketball while two other guards (Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker) have been injured (Walker just returned on Saturday against Boston). That’s more a product of poor roster construction than anything against the players individually.

The 34-year-old is a natural trade candidate because he’s the only player on the roster who makes more than $7MM and less than $37MM, plus his deal expires at the end of the season. Beverley’s improved play of late makes him more than just a salary-matching piece – the Lakers will need a legitimate upgrade if they move him, even if it almost seems inevitable.

Seth Curry, Nets

2022/23: $8.5MM

2023/24: UFA

Fun fact: Curry is the NBA’s active leader with a career mark of 43.9% from three-point range, good for third-best all-time. In ’22/23, he’s shooting 43.8% from deep.

Curry, who turns 33 this summer, is an impending free agent with an affordable expiring contract. He got off to a slow start following offseason ankle surgery, but he is a very good offensive player due to his elite shooting (he’s also great on mid-range pull-ups).

The problem is he’s only 6’2” and is definitely more of a two guard than a lead ball-handler. He has always been a negative defensively.

Curry would provide value on a lot of teams – the main issue is the Nets have multiple small guards who can shoot and struggle defensively, making his skill set a little redundant. Adding frontcourt size and depth seems like it should be a priority.


Note: This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just a brief overview. There are a number of other guards that have been in the rumor mill, including Kyle Lowry (though he seems unlikely to be traded), Russell Westbrook (ditto), Bones Hyland, Derrick Rose, R.J. Hampton, Grayson Allen and Gary Harris, among others.

Trade Candidate Watch: Four Popular Wings

Leading up to the February 9 trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA. We’re continuing today with a handful of popular wing targets.


Gary Trent Jr., G, Raptors

Salary: $17.5MM in 2022/23, $18.8MM player option in ‘23/24

Trent is a legitimate 3-and-D player in a league constantly looking for players in that mold. I’ve read nothing but good things about his work ethic, and he was praised for his professionalism after being briefly demoted to a reserve role early in the season.

I’ve been a little surprised that his name keeps being floated as perhaps the most likely Raptor to be traded. He just turned 24 years old last week, is still improving, and is one of the only real threats from deep on a team that desperately needs floor spacing – Toronto is 28th in the league in three-point shooting (33.4%).

Perhaps money is the sticking point. Trent has a $18.8MM player option for ‘23/24 that he’s expected to decline in search of a long-term deal.

Alec Burks, G/F, Pistons

Salary: $10MM in ‘22/23, $10.5MM team option in ‘23/24

Burks’ career trajectory is unusual, as he struggled with injuries and inefficiency for several years with Utah before bouncing around the league — he’s now on his seventh team in the past five years.

A former lottery pick becoming a journeyman doesn’t sound that intriguing on the surface, but Burks has played the best basketball of his career over the past three years with the Knicks and Pistons. He has always been able to get downhill and draw fouls, but he has evolved into an excellent three-point shooter, converting at least 40% of his looks each of the past three seasons (including a career-high 44.4% in ’22/23).

Part of the reason why the Pistons’ asking price is seemingly high for Burks (I haven’t actually seen a report indicating what they’re after) is because he has outplayed his current contract and has a team option for $10.5MM, making him an affordable asset. He would theoretically be the easiest player to acquire on this list from a salary-matching perspective.

Malik Beasley, G/F, Jazz

Salary: $15.56MM in ‘22/23, $16.52MM team option in ‘23/24

Beasley is only 26 years old, so there’s plenty of time for him to develop other parts of his game, but to this point in his career he has mostly been a high-volume shooting specialist. Nearly 70% of his field goal attempts have come from behind the arc in ‘22/23, and while he has been in a major slump in January (30.7%) to drop his season-long average to 35.9%, he is still a player who must be accounted for at all times (his career mark is 38.1%).

Utah runs a lot of three-guard lineups, which sort of makes Beasley the small forward by default, but he’s on the smaller side even at the two, and he doesn’t defend either position particularly well. He’s a very bouncy athlete, though he doesn’t get to showcase it much, and rarely drives or makes plays for others.

The Jazz are reportedly looking for a first-round pick for him — I only see that happening if the pick is protected (lottery?) and Utah takes on a multiyear contract in return. Having said that, the team option for next year makes him a little more appealing, as an acquiring team would have the flexibility to either keep him an additional year or trade him down the line.

Josh Hart, G/F, Trail Blazers

Salary: $13MM in ‘23/24, non-guaranteed $13MM player option in ‘23/24

Hart is one of the top rebounders in the game on the wing, pulling down 8.1 boards per contest. He’s also an unselfish passer (4.0 assists per game) and hard-charging fast break player who hustles all over the court.

He isn’t a great outside shooter (34.6% career, 33% this year), but he is a relentless worker whose energy and enthusiasm is infectious. He certainly gets the most out of his skill set.

Hart’s contract is a little odd. His player option for next season is non-guaranteed, so if he picks it up a team could release him without having to pay him. While he’s too good for that to happen, there’s also basically no incentive to exercise that option when he can opt out and seek a long-term, guaranteed contract.


Note: This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just a brief overview. There are a number of other wings that have been in the rumor mill, including Eric Gordon, Kelly Oubre, Terrence Ross, Josh Richardson, Doug McDermott, Saddiq Bey, Tim Hardaway Jr., and several others.

Trade Candidate Watch: Impending Free Agent Centers

Leading up to the February 9 trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA. We’re continuing that series today with a closer look at a group of centers who could be on the market.


Jakob Poeltl, Spurs

Salary: $9.4MM

Now in his seventh season, Poeltl has developed into a quality starting center during his tenure with the Spurs. Notably, he has become a more confident and reliable scorer, and a much-improved passer, while cutting back on his fouls and maintaining his typical above-average rebounding and interior defense.

The scoring and passing were really important additions to the Austrian’s game. The scoring allows him to punish switches, and the play-making means he can still have an impact away from the basket — critical for a non-shooter like Poeltl.

The Spurs are reportedly looking for at least one first-round pick – and preferably two – for the 27-year-old. If a team trades for him, it needs to be both reasonably sure it can re-sign him and willing to pay him — he’s expected to command around $20MM per year as a free agent, which is what Jarrett Allen received from the Cavs in 2021.

Myles Turner, Pacers

Salary: $18MM

Turner is having a career year at the perfect time, as he is certainly boosting his stock ahead of free agency. He’s averaging career highs in points (17.0), rebounds (7.8), and free throw attempts (4.3) per game, as well as field goal percentage (55.1%) and three-point percentage (39.6%).

A renowned shot blocker who has led the league in that category twice, Turner’s game has blossomed with the arrival of Tyrese Haliburton. If the Pacers are unable to find common ground with Turner’s representatives on an extension, they would be wise to recoup value for him rather than lose him for nothing.

One potential red flag for would-be suitors: The 26-year-old has had extended injury absences each of the past two seasons, though he has been relatively healthy in 2022/23, having missed nine of 49 games to this point.

Christian Wood, Mavericks

Salary: $14.32MM

Wood’s situation is somewhat similar to Turner’s, as both big men are having strong seasons and are reportedly discussing extensions with their respective teams. A very talented offensive player, Wood has shot at least 50% from the field and 37% from three each of the past four seasons.

The 27-year-old has bounced around, having played for seven teams in as many NBA seasons. Wood was quite skinny entering the league, isn’t a great decision-maker, and has defensive concerns. There were also some question marks about his attitude, though those seem to have gone away as he’s gotten more minutes in recent years.

While Wood theoretically can play both frontcourt spots, he has clearly been more effective as a center, especially on defense. He’s currently dealing with a fractured left thumb, but that shouldn’t impact his value much unless he needs surgery, and there’s been no indication that’s necessary to this point.

Given what happened last year with losing Jalen Brunson for nothing in free agency, and the fact that Dallas is over the cap and can’t easily replace him, you would expect the front office to keep Wood around. Still, if an extension isn’t reached, he could very well be traded.

Serge Ibaka, Bucks

Salary: Veteran’s minimum

Ibaka was a good player for a long time, leading the NBA in blocks per game twice early in his career with Oklahoma City and then transforming into a solid outside shooter. He was a key rotation player for the Raptors when they won the title in 2019.

Unfortunately, Ibaka underwent back surgery in June 2021 while with the Clippers and hasn’t looked the same since. At 33 years old and in his 14th season, he certainly has a wealth of experience, but it’s unclear how much he can contribute at this point in his career.

The Bucks reportedly agreed to seek a trade for the veteran big man, who has only made 16 appearances in ‘22/23. The Nets, Heat and Hawks are among the teams said to have interest in Ibaka.

Mason Plumlee, Hornets

Salary: $9.08MM

An energetic big man, Plumlee is surprisingly having a career year for a 13-35 Hornets team that currently has the third-worst record in the NBA. Considering he turns 33 in a couple months, is an impending free agent, and the Hornets are going nowhere this season, it’s fair to wonder why Plumlee is playing a career-high 28.3 minutes per game, but he has provided solid production.

Through 48 games, all starts, the veteran center is averaging career highs in points (12.0), rebounds (9.8) and FG% (66.8). He’s also tied for a career-high in assists per game with 3.6.

All of those things are positives, but Plumlee is a subpar defensive player who isn’t a threat to shoot, though the right-handed center has busted out a one-handed lefty jump shot on occasion, and it is a sight to behold; he’s actually shooting above his career mark from the free throw line with it. He’s ideally more of a decent backup than a starter, but maybe the Hornets can get a second-round pick or two for him if they take on some money beyond this season.

Naz Reid, Timberwolves

Salary: $1.93MM

The Wolves have reportedly discussed an extension with Reid, with a maximum offer worth about $58MM over four years. I don’t expect him to get that much as a free agent, but considering an extension hasn’t been reached yet, obviously there’s a gap between what the Wolves have offered and what Reid is seeking.

The Clippers, Nuggets and Nets have all reportedly expressed interest in the 23-year-old, who has shown some interesting flashes when given minutes. However, his addition to this list is more cursory than anything, because it’s hard to envision the Wolves trading him unless they’re absolutely certain he will walk in free agency.

Karl-Anthony Towns is still injured, so Reid still has a big pretty spot in the rotation. The Wolves would want to get a player who can contribute right away in return if they moved him.

That’s complicated by the fact that the former undrafted free agent is earning less than $2MM this season – you can’t find many rotation-ready players at that price. If Reid does get traded, it seems more likely that he would be part of a multiplayer trade that sends out – and brings back – more salary than his alone.

Trade Candidate Watch: Potential Restricted Free Agents

Leading up to the February 9 trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA. We’re continuing today with a handful of players who can become restricted free agents in the offseason if they are extended qualifying offers. The full list of 2023 restricted free agents can be found right here.


Cam Reddish, F, Knicks

Like the rest of the players on this list, Reddish was a first-round pick in 2019, selected 10th overall out of Duke. He was a highly-touted prospect who has shown brief flashes of intriguing potential, but has struggled mightily with consistency, and his game hasn’t translated all that well to the pros.

The 23-year-old is earning $5.95MM in the final year of his rookie contract. The Knicks have reportedly “redoubled” their efforts to trade Reddish, and are said to be seeking second-round draft compensation for him.

Considering his modest averages in 2022/23 (8.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG and 1.0 APG on .449/.304/.879 shooting in 21.9 MPG through 20 games), the fact that he’s fallen out of New York’s rotation, hasn’t played a game in six weeks, and is essentially on an expiring contract, it’s hard to envision Reddish having positive value at this point.

I understand why the Knicks are hoping to get assets back after giving up a protected first-rounder to acquire Reddish from Atlanta last season, I just don’t view him as a rotational upgrade for the teams that are said to be interested in him, which includes the Lakers, Bucks and Mavericks.

Perhaps the Lakers will offer Kendrick Nunn and a second-rounder if they aren’t able to package Nunn for something more appealing, but that just seems like making a trade for the sake of doing something. Regardless, Reddish is likely to be on the move ahead of the deadline.

Coby White, G, Bulls

White was the seventh overall pick in 2019 out of North Carolina. Like Reddish and many other young players who enter the NBA after one college season, the combo guard has struggled with consistency in his first four seasons.

However, White’s circumstances differ from Reddish’s in other respects. He seemingly fell out of favor when the new front office regime took over in Chicago, as he was drafted by the previous lead basketball executive, Gar Forman.

White’s counting stats, minutes and production have declined since his sophomore season, which might give the impression that he hasn’t improved. But he has become a better ball-handler, a more willing passer and efficient scorer, and puts in a lot more effort on defense.

A report last week indicated White, who makes $7.4MM this season, could be shipped out of Chicago if the Bulls look for a roster upgrade.

Matisse Thybulle, G/F, Sixers

Thybulle is one of the more unique players in the NBA. He’s among the top defensive players in the league, earning All-Defensive nods each of the past two seasons, but it’s challenging to keep him on the court at times due to his very limited offensive skills.

Specialists like Thybulle used to be much more common. They have fallen out of favor in recent years because players are more well-rounded than ever before, and opposing teams have gotten better at exploiting weaknesses.

That said, if the Sixers do end up trading Thybulle, I highly doubt it will be to just dump his salary to dodge the luxury tax. His strengths are so striking that he should still have positive value, perhaps to a young team that believes it can develop his offense.

Rui Hachimura, F, Wizards

On the other end of the spectrum you have Hachimura, a talented scorer whose game is aesthetically pleasing because he can score in a variety of ways and plays with a physical edge offensively. However, he looks lost at times defensively.

When he’s on, Hachimura can look like a future star – there isn’t much you can do to stop him. The problem is, his jump shot runs hot and cold, he doesn’t get to the free throw line as much as you would expect, he isn’t much interested in passing, and he’s just an OK rebounder.

The Wizards have reportedly discussed Hachimura, who turns 25 next month, in potential deals, with some teams out West said to be interested. I get the sense that the Wizards are open to moving him more because they want to re-sign Kyle Kuzma in free agency rather than get rid of the former lottery pick. He could help a team in need of bench scoring.

P.J. Washington, F/C, Hornets

Washington is one of those jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none types who would appeal to many teams around the league. The Hornets are pretty tight-lipped and there haven’t been any concrete rumors that they’re shopping Washington, just a couple of reports that there was a difference of opinion on the value of his next contract.

The thing is, I think he would still have positive trade value even if he was making close to the $20MM per year he was reportedly seeking instead of $5.8MM, which is his current salary. That’s more than I would personally want to pay him if I were a GM, but players that roughly fit the 3-and-D archetype are always in demand.

Washington met the starter criteria earlier this month, so his qualifying offer was bumped up to $8.5MM. I would be mildly surprised if he’s moved.

Trade Candidate Watch: Popular Forward Targets

Leading up to the February 9 trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA. We’re starting today with a handful of popular targets who share positional overlap.


John Collins, F, Hawks

Collins is only 25 years old, but he’s been in trade rumors for at least three years now. He’s a good player, he just doesn’t fit very well on Atlanta’s roster anymore.

The reason his scoring has declined so precipitously – from 21.6 PPG in 2019/20 to 13.1 PPG in ’22/23 – is because the team no longer caters to his strengths. The Hawks rarely run plays for him, which makes it seem like he’s less effective. I don’t believe that’s the case.

Collins’ best attribute as a player is that he’s an excellent dive man on pick-and-rolls, where he’s adept at both setting and slipping screens and is a terrific lob finisher. The problem is that’s basically all centers Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu do on offense besides getting offensive rebounds, so their strengths are somewhat redundant on that end, and Collins doesn’t have the size or strength to play center full time on defense.

He has been a solid shooter in the past – 37.6% from deep on 2.5 attempts per night over his first five seasons – but is only converting 22.8% this season. That seems more like an anomaly than a worrisome trend.

It’s clear that it would be in both parties’ best interests if he was moved to a new team. There are two main complications.

Including his player option in ‘25/26, Collins will earn $102MM over the next four years – not unreasonable, but not exactly easy to move either. His best fit would be alongside a center who can protect the paint and shoot from outside, but that’s a small list. Keep an eye on the Pacers and Jazz, two teams that don’t have long-term cap concerns.

Bojan Bogdanovic, F, Pistons

Most players find their efficiency diminished with an increased offensive role — being targeted by opposing teams’ game plans makes scoring more difficult. Not so with Bogdanovic, who is averaging career highs in points (21.2), assists (2.8), and free throw attempts (5.2) per game, as well as true shooting percentage (.629), in his first year with Detroit.

Bogdanovic can score from all over the court and his contract is reasonable ($39MM over two years following this season), but he turns 34 in April, is a below-average rebounder (3.6 per game), and is best suited to defending bigger forwards. The Pistons are said to be looking for an unprotected first-round pick for the veteran, and he has a long list of teams interested in his services.

I highly doubt that asking price will be met unless it’s from a team outside the lottery or a pick years down the line. I understand why they’re maintaining that position right now – not many sellers have emerged yet and he’s one of the top players available. But I think that will change ahead of the deadline, and the Pistons will have to decide whether to take the best offer available or just hold onto him.

Jae Crowder, F, Suns

Crowder has been a solid role player for a long time, mostly due to his toughness, defense and ability to make quick reads on offense. He’s 32 now and definitely best suited to play power forward, as he struggles staying in front of quicker players, but there’s a reason his teams consistently make the playoffs.

His ability to space the floor is a bit overrated – he’s more of a willing shooter than a good one, converting 34.6% of his career looks behind the arc, including 33.9% in the playoffs. That said, he’s good enough that you can’t just leave him open, especially if he gets hot.

Crowder’s season-long holdout with the Suns is one of the strangest NBA situations I’ve seen in my years following the league. He’s on a $10.2MM expiring contract, so you’d think he would be incentivized to play to maximize his future earnings, yet he’s done the opposite.

There has to be more to the story here, but whatever the reason is, it hasn’t helped his value or the Suns’ ability to move him. Who knows what type of shape he’ll be in when he returns? Whichever team acquires him will be taking a risk if it gives up assets.

The Suns’ ownership situation also complicates matters — outgoing suspended owner Robert Sarver reportedly has to sign off on a potential deal, even though the team is being bought by Mat Ishbia. The Bucks and Hawks have been the two teams most consistently linked to Crowder.

Jarred Vanderbilt, F, Jazz

The No. 41 overall pick of the 2018 draft, Vanderbilt has worked his way up from the bottom – he barely played at all his first two seasons (28 total games and 115 minutes), but he’s turned himself into a valuable role player on competitive teams.

Vanderbilt’s playing style is the most unique out of the players on this list. He’s the closest to what some might call a “traditional” power forward — an energizer who is a very strong rebounder, but is still rounding out his game in other areas.

He has expanded his game with Utah, attempting more threes (1.0 per game at 32.6%), more than doubling his assists (from 1.3 to 2.8) and improving his free throw percentage (a career-high 69.8%). Interestingly, although his offensive game has improved, I think his defense has actually declined a little – he was always prone to some over-aggressive fouls, and the team’s defense is certainly worse, but he hasn’t looked as solid on that end to my eyes.

That said, Vanderbilt won’t turn 24 until April, is still improving, and he’s on a very team-friendly contract ($4.3MM this season, and his $4.6MM deal for next season is only guaranteed for $300K). The Jazz are said to be looking for a first-round pick for Vanderbilt. There haven’t been any rumors regarding protections on the potential pick, but I think there’s a good chance he gets moved in the next few weeks.