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The NBA trade market has rapidly ramped up in recent days.
Middling veterans like Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore and Jeff Teague were all traded in January, but we’re starting to see splashier moves with the trade deadline rapidly approaching.
On Tuesday night, Houston Rockets center Clint Capela became the centerpiece of a four-team trade, moving to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal that also involved the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves, while Andre Iguodala finally got his wish Wednesday, leaving Memphis for Miami in exchange for forward Justise Winslow.
As trade season draws to a close, we present a primer of the most notable players who could be dealt before 3 p.m. ET.
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Arguably the most surprising team in the NBA this year, the Oklahoma City Thunder are currently the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Lead guards Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have been the chief driving forces of OKC’s success, but Danilo Gallinari is right there with them in terms of importance.
Gallinari, whom the Thunder acquired in the Paul George trade, is tied for the third-best net rating on the team while averaging 19.2 points per game on solid shooting efficiency (44.1 percent overall, 41.0 percent from three). He’s flown under the radar for most his career because of injuries, but he has always been a strong contributor when on the floor.
Per ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Miami Heat have shown interest in Gallinari. In fact, the two teams now appear to be on the precipice of a trade, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. If that trade were to happen, it would make a lot of sense. The Heat have been playing Bam Adebayo at power forward for much of this season, but the first-time All-Star would likely excel even more at center.
A starting five featuring Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Gallinari and Adebayo plus Miami’s strong bench would immediately put the Heat in pole position to challenge the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Keep an eye out for this intriguing player-team pairing.
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Although Al-Farouq Aminu and Jonathan Isaac suffered injuries that have temporarily cleared up the Orlando Magic’s crowded frontcourt, Aaron Gordon has struggled mightily this season.
After seeming to be on the verge of a breakout in each of the last two years, the Arizona product has regressed significantly in 2019-20. He’s shooting a career-low 42.1 percent overall and has the fourth-worst net rating among Magic rotation players.
Why the uber-athletic forward has been in such uncharacteristically poor form this year is up for debate, but there seems to be a growing sense that he might need a change of scenery to break out of the malaise.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this week that the Magic have had internal discussions about trading Gordon, though Woj did couch his statement by saying he doesn’t know if the big man has a notable trade market. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported earlier this year that the Timberwolves asked about Gordon, though those conversations haven’t led to a trade yet.
With the Magic currently occupying the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, they may be loathe to move one of their ostensibly best players. But Orlando’s net rating drops by nearly four points per 100 possessions when Gordon steps on the court, so in a way, moving him may help their chances.
Most teams in the NBA could use a forward with Gordon’s combination of playmaking and athleticism, so don’t be surprised if he’s in a new jersey by the end of the day.
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You’d be hard-pressed to blame the Lakers if they aren’t active at the trade deadline. Their GM’s best friend and goddaughter tragically died 10 days ago, and basketball may not be his main focus right now. However, if Rob Pelinka and Co. are ready to wheel and deal, the most obvious place to start is with Kyle Kuzma.
Despite a summer of hype and some recent strong performances, Kuzma has mostly struggled to fit into L.A.’s big-heavy rotation this season, averaging a career-worst effective field-goal percentage and the 10th-best net rating on the team.
Despite being a darling of the team’s front office, it may be time for the Lakers to move on from the third-year forward. Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, L.A. has been having “exploratory conversations” with the Knicks about a potential Kuzma trade (as if the Knicks needed forwards).
Given the Lakers’ potential interest in Derrick Rose and Kuzma being a Flint, Michigan, native, a trade with the Pistons could be on the table. Though he is a limited player, Kuzma’s microwave scoring ability has value in today’s NBA, and putting him on a team that plays him at power forward and makes his role a defined but limited one is probably the best way to use him.
Let’s see if a) some team makes a big play for Kuzma over the next few hours, or b) the Lakers keep him and figure out a way to unlock his ceiling more regularly.
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Marcus Morris has been of the few bright spots in yet another ugly New York Knicks season.
After reneging on a verbal commitment to sign with the San Antonio Spurs last summer, Morris has played the best basketball of his career in the Big Apple. He leads the team with 19.6 points per game and is shooting a career-high 43.9 percent from deep, which has caught the eye of suitors.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are interested in acquiring Morris. He would especially make sense for the Clippers, who’ve been searching for frontcourt depth in recent weeks.
Knicks President of Basketball Operations Steve Mills and Morris’ camp had been mutually interested in an extension to keep him in New York, but after the Knicks fired Mills on Tuesday morning, league sources told SNY’s Ian Begley that the bidding for Morris has reopened.
Morris is a bit of a controversial figure both on and off the court. He’s an extremely ball-dominant scorer who would probably work best as a sixth man dominating second units, and he has made some bold, problematic comments in the recent past. But get Mook in a good culture, alleviate him of most decision-making responsibilities, and watch him be a star in his role.
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This is now the second year in a row that Derrick Rose has been an elite bench scorer. Though MVP contention has long since passed him by, he remains an incredible talent that teams around the league are trying to acquire.
Two of the NBA’s most prominent title contenders—the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers—have registered interest in Rose, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The 31-year-old is averaging 18.5 points on 49.8 percent shooting and 5.8 assists per game, making him one of only four players (along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and Devin Booker) to be posting those numbers this season.
However, the Pistons are requesting a lottery-level first-round pick for the 2010-11 MVP, per Shams Charania of The Athletic, which may remove any contender from the mix. The Lakers may be hesitant to part with any first-rounder considering the draft haul they sent to New Orleans last summer for Anthony Davis.
Rose has maintained that he is happy in Detroit and will not request a trade. However, with the Pistons only 6.5 games away from the league’s worst record and both Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond seemingly on the outs in the Motor City for different reasons, Detroit general manager Ed Stefanski could decide to trade Rose and completely start over with Sekou Doumbouya, Bruce Brown and a host of draft picks.
Rose isn’t likely to be traded, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, but he isn’t a stone-cold lock to stay put, either. Monitor his status closely today.
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Although the Minnesota Timberwolves have been doggedly pursuing D’Angelo Russell for months, the Golden State Warriors are moving on from those conversations, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Warriors want to see how Russell fits with Stephen Curry after the two-time MVP returns from the hand injury that has sidelined him since before Halloween, per Wes Goldberg of the San Jose Mercury News. That makes sense, especially considering Russell has quietly been even better this season than he was during his All-Star campaign in Brooklyn last year.
The New York Knicks are also lurking on the periphery of Russell trade conversations, per Charania, although they have yet to offer “packages that would close [the] gap on Golden State’s price point.”
Russell is likely to stay put in the Bay Area, but don’t be stunned if the Knicks get desperate and lob a godfather offer at the Warriors. After firing team president Steve Mills on Tuesday, the Knicks may be especially rudderless at one of the most critical times of the season.
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Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
Kevin Love has been the big name on the trade block for the Cleveland Cavaliers all season, but the market for his services appears to have dissipated. But while Love becomes more and more likely to stay put, his frontcourt partner is quickly becoming a hot candidate to change jerseys.
Per The Athletic’s Joe Vardon, Tristan Thompson and his camp are requesting a trade by today’s deadline, calling it a “priority.” Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reported the Wizards have expressed interest in Thompson, while Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated added some members of the Los Angeles Clippers’ front office are likewise intrigued.
Thompson played a key role in each of Cleveland’s four NBA Finals runs from 2015 to 2018, including starting every game of the team’s improbable 2016 championship run. He’s also averaging a career-high 11.9 points and 10.4 rebounds this season.
The Cavaliers are requesting a first-round pick in return for the 28-year old, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. But a contending team desperate for frontcourt depth like the Boston Celtics, the aforementioned Clippers or the Houston Rockets may be desperate enough to oblige those demands.
Thompson might not be the flashiest name on the market, but his ferocious motor and elite rebounding skills could turn the tide of a playoff series in the right situation.
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When the Chicago Bulls signed Thaddeus Young this summer, it suggested they were officially trying to make the playoffs. Young was an ingenious veteran addition to a young frontcourt featuring Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., and he’d help them try to reach their respective ceilings.
Well, none of that has happened.
Both Markkanen and Carter are out indefinitely, and their struggles plus a lost season from Otto Porter Jr. have the Bulls at 19-33, nearly as close to the league’s worst record as they are to the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed. That likely has Young questioning why he went to Chicago in the first place, and Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported in mid-December that Young would like a trade if his role didn’t increase.
Young has been playing more in recent weeks with Carter and Markkanen sidelined. But the 31-year-old is wasting his time on a lottery-bound team, and the Clippers have already registered interest in him, per Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.
Though the Bulls are currently ravaged by injuries, they could stand to move on from Young for the right price regardless.