31 players most likely to be moved at the NBA trade deadline

With the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline less than a week away, there seemed like no better time than to hop around the SB Nation NBA network and ask our local writers which player(s) they think each of the teams they cover and/or root for is most likely to trade.

What follows is a roundup of those exact conversations, along with a few picks and bits of analysis from yours truly. So without further ado, let’s get into who is most likely to get shipped out by each team in the association.

Atlanta Hawks — Dejounte Murray

Who else? Dejounte Murray might be the single most rumored-about player of this NBA trade deadline cycle (Editor’s Note: It’s true). After years of John Collins owning residence on the trade block, reports have come out about Murray’s unhappiness in Atlanta despite him inking a four-year, $120 million contract extension in the 2023 offseason.

As of today, the Hawks sit at 20-27 and the Young-Murray pairing looks like a major disappointment just a season and a half after joining together. The Hawks would be best served this deadline by pivoting towards playing young players, recouping future assets for Murray, and resetting the organizational culture. — Wesley Morton, Peachtree Hoops

Boston Celtics — No One

Back in the 80’s there was a movie called Brewster’s Millions where Richard Pryor’s character ran for political office under the campaign of “None of the above.” Consider that my choice for the question of who the Boston Celtics are most likely to trade at the deadline.

More to the point, the Celtics won’t be trading any of their top six players, and I don’t see them trading Payton Pritchard or Sam Hauser, either. They do have a Traded Player Exception worth about $6.2M from the offseason Grant Williams sign-and-trade, and they could dangle that to a team looking to offload a smaller salary in exchange for draft compensation. But if that doesn’t fetch the team some bench depth, expect them to monitor the buyout market or stand pat. — Jeff Clark, CelticsBlog

Brooklyn Nets — Royce O’Neale

This was not an easy call. Don’t get me wrong, Royce O’Neale and his expiring contract are very likely to get moved before the deadline, whether as part of a larger deal, or for some modest draft compensation. The reason it wasn’t an easy call is because Spencer Dinwiddie, who’s looked less-than-motivated the past few weeks, is also an expiring contract that the Nets are keen to move. Not to mention Dorian Finney-Smith, an easy plug-and-play guy whose contract ends with a player option for the 2025-’26 season.

So while I haven’t responded to the prompt very well, the point is that the Brooklyn Nets are comprised of many a desirable role player, and have put together a 19-28 record so far. They’re not going to tear it down, but they’re going to sell.

O’Neale still remains my pick for the most likely Net to be traded. Clear your mind of the reluctant shooter you saw in the 2022 Western Conference playoffs. Through his year-plus Nets tenure, Rolls Royce is taking over NINE 3-point attempts per 100 possessions, spotting up well beyond the arc, and cashing just under 38% of them. He remains a great connective passer, with an assist:usage ratio in the 94th percentile league-wide, per Cleaning the Glass. He’s physical and in the right spots on defense without being an intimidating individual defender, and can’t make a two-point shot. But, that’s a good player and a good vet who’s going to help a playoff team in a couple months. Who that is remains to be seen, but it won’t be the Nets. — Lucas Kaplan, Nets Daily

Charlotte Hornets — Miles Bridges

The vibes are atrocious in Charlotte right now. The team is inconsistent, the play has been poor, and it’s difficult to feel good about anything with this team while Miles Bridges is still on the roster. The Hornets’ biggest trade piece is also the one they desperately need to get rid of to restore some fan confidence, while also opening up more opportunities for Brandon Miller to take over as the team’s primary scorer.

It’s time for the Hornets to turn a page and fully embrace building around LaMelo Ball and Miller, ridding themselves of the Bridges era. It doesn’t even matter what Charlotte gets in return, because they need literally everything. — James Dator, SB Nation

Utah Jazz v Chicago Bulls

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls — Zach LaVine

Does anyone actually want Zach LaVine and the three years, $138 million remaining on his contract after this season? If so, you can have him! LaVine told the Bulls he wanted out shortly after the season began, but his underwhelming play and nagging injuries have contributed to a reportedly “barren” market.

LaVine has been a fantastic scorer throughout his career. His combination of volume scoring and efficiency places him alongside the biggest stars of this generation. Unfortunately, he has also been miscast as a leading man rather than a stud secondary option because he’s always been stuck on bad teams. That’s led to questions about LaVine’s impact on winning, but pair LaVine with a true A1 star and he could ascend again with a rare blend of rim pressure and volume three-point shooting. His massive contract and lingering injury issues just make it a hard bet to place.

It feels like the Bulls will give up LaVine for even a single first-round pick and matching salary, but there’s no guarantee anyone will even offer that. Rolling the dice on LaVine could mean a big reward in the right environment, but there’s sizable risk, too. It’s easy to see both sides, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he remains in Chicago beyond this deadline because of it. — Ricky O’Donnell, SB Nation

Cleveland Cavaliers — Caris LeVert

There are cases for other players — looking at you, Dean Wade — but LeVert has overlapping skills with Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland and is in the right salary range to match in a deal for possible difference-makers. This is about logic more than anything else. If it’s not LeVert, or perhaps Wade, then the Cavs are likely to stand pat and roll forward with what has been working so well the last several weeks. — Chris Manning, Fear the Sword

Dallas Mavericks — No One (because they don’t have anyone your team wants edition)

I don’t think the Mavericks end up trading anyone. When you work through the roster, it becomes a question of “who could the Mavericks afford to give up?” vs. “who would any other team possibly want?”

They can’t give up Tim Hardaway Jr., his role is too important to the offense despite the occasional erratic shooting. Josh Green and Jaden Hardy are the only other two younger assets that the Mavericks have, and they’re undersized so I don’t see teams being interested in either one of them. Grant Williams has underperformed, so why would any team want to take on a guy who struggling when given an expanded role; especially when he’s on a brand new contract, too.

Maybe they do something small, but I just don’t see it. — Kirk Henderson, Mavs Moneyball

Denver Nuggets — Zeke Nnaji

The defending champs don’t seem likely to be particularly active at the deadline, but if they are going to make a move, Nnaji seems like a decent candidate. The fourth-year forward is playing a career-low 9.4 minutes per game, hasn’t gotten more than 10 in a month, and received 12 DNPs so far despite inking a four-year extension in October (for context, 35-year-old DeAndre Jordan is playing 12.2 mpg for Denver).

As a result, he could be a candidate to be moved if the Nuggets are willing to move off of him to avoid paying that salary down the line and another team wants to lock in a cost-controlled big man who, at 23, still has some theoretical upside despite apparently falling out of favor in Denver. Nnaji’s relatively small $4.3 million salary this year could be an obstacle to matching salaries in trade, but with seemingly very little motivation for a big shakeup at the deadline, he still seems like the most probable trade candidate on a roster without a ton of likely ones. — Harrison Faigen, SB Nation

Detroit Pistons — Possibly no one, but maybe Bojan Bogdanovic and/or Alec Burks

For a team that had their owner conduct a media session vowing change, I don’t actually expect much to happen at the deadline for the Detroit Pistons. Their big move might be trading Marvin Bagley and Isaiah Livers for Mike Muscala and Danilo Galinnari. Now, if I were in charge, I would be looking to move on from contributing veterans Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks. While that’s a tough pill to swallow for a team with so few shooters, they need to think about collecting assets, and I think they might also be better off sacrificing a little offense for some more competent defense.

The return for either player would be centered on a younger, cost-controlled asset, and hopefully one that is at least a neutral-to-plus defender. They don’t have to be particularly great, just a competent role player who can help steady a ship while the young players learn on the job. Otherwise, you’re looking for an additional young asset (read: Max Christie from the Lakers, Quentin Grimes from the Knicks) and some marginal draft picks.

If the Pistons truly want to be bold they could also try to work their way as a third team in a Lakers-Hawks deal for Dejounte Murray by being willing to take on D’Angelo Russell. I find that avenue much more appealing than spending more for the much more expensive and potentially much less healthy Zach LaVine from the Bulls. — Sean Corp, Detroit Bad Boys

Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Golden State Warriors — Andrew Wiggins

There are two questions surrounding Andrew Wiggins and the trade deadline: does he have any value, and are the Warriors ready to move on? Wiggins was one of the worst players in the NBA for the first half of the season, ranking near the very bottom of the league in both EPM and true-shooting percentage, while playing defense that wasn’t even a shell of what drew him praise in the 2022 NBA Finals. Combined with the emergence of Jonathan Kuminga — and the atrocious numbers those two put up when sharing the court — and Wiggins became the clear-cut odd man out with the deadline approaching.

The only problem is if anyone even wants to take his large deal, as he’s in the first season of a four-year, $109 million contract. And now a new problem has emerged: Wiggins is starting to look like his old self, and the pairing with Kuminga is shifting from a liability to an asset. Is that enough for the Warriors to pump the brakes on trade talk? Or will they pounce on his rising stock? — Brady Klopfer, Golden State of Mind

Houston Rockets — Jae’Sean Tate

The logical choice here was Victor Oladipo, and well wouldn’t you know it, he’s now part of the Memphis Grizzlies. With that in mind, Jae’Sean Tate is the next guy on the hot seat. He’s already garnered some interest from contenders such as the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics, and he’s capable of filling in adequately for a team needing extra wing depth.

Although the Rockets acquired Steven Adams in the Oladipo trade, we must remember that Adams serves no benefit to Houston this season, as he’s still recovering from knee surgery. In the interim, Houston will likely need to pivot to a cheaper backup option at center, perhaps someone like Andre Drummond in a three-way deal. For Tate, a deal to a contender would give him the opportunity to pursue a title and not have to worry about the increasingly crowded depth of the Rockets.

With Houston now wheeling and dealing, don’t be surprised if you see Tate in a new uniform soon. — Justin Smith, The Dream Shake

Indianapolis Pacers — T.J. McConnell

The Pacers are likely done making big moves after their blockbuster acquisition of Pascal Siakam, but if they were going to try and get one more impact player — or recoup some picks — T.J. McConnell would appear to be the likeliest player for them to move. McConnell, 31, is making $8.7 million this season and $9.3 million next year (but only $5 million is guaranteed), and has been reported by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype as a player opposing executives are “monitoring” as potentially available.

The reasons why make sense. Not only has 24 year old fellow point guard Andrew Nembhard mostly surpassed him in Indiana’s rotation behind All-Star Tyrese Halliburton, but McConnell could be relatively cheap reinforcements for a contender looking to shed salary or trade the Pacers a player at a position of bigger need. Now, even before Halliburton’s latest injury, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported that the Pacers had rebuffed all offers for McConnell so far. They may double down on that stance with their star PG in and out, but it also wouldn’t be surprising if they get enticed to move their pesky defensive vet for the right offer. — Harrison Faigen, SB Nation

Los Angeles Clippers — PJ Tucker

This one is fairly obvious. Tucker has all but publicly demanded a trade, and the Clippers are reportedly shopping him. The 38-year-old is due $11 million this season and $11.5 million next year, and while some contenders like the Bucks are reportedly interested, that seems more likely to be as a buyout player than as a trade piece. Still, if the Clippers opt to attach any of their available draft picks to a player for one more upgrade as they pursue their first title in franchise history, Tucker seems by far to be the most likely candidate for such a move. — Harrison Faigen, SB Nation

Los Angeles Lakers — D’Angelo Russell

What a month of January it was for D’Angelo Russell. After starting the month on the injured, on the trading block and out of the starting lineup, D’Lo finished it playing some of the best basketball of his career.

Even still, he remains the Lakers most likely to be traded, even if those are odds are rapidly decreasing. Most of that is due to his contract and him having a player option for next season, which could leave the Lakers either needing to offer him another contract or watching him leave for nothing if he does opt out.

Ultimately, they may determine that risk is worth taking and hang on to him, especially if he continues his red-hot shooting. If they choose to be a bit more risk-averse, a trade is very much on the table.

Memphis Grizzlies — Luke Kennard

The Grizzlies appear to have firmly entered asset acquisition mode with their trade of Steven Adams for second-round picks, and given that Kennard is shooting 43% from three and has a team option for $14 million next year, he could be someone a contender gives up a pick for that would allow them to add cost-controlled shooting or maintain salary flexibility for next year. Kennard is only 27, so maybe the Grizzlies keep him for a hoped-for healthy season next year, but other teams are reportedly eyeing him as a name who could be available. — Harrison Faigen, SB Nation

Miami Heat — Nikola Jovic

After trading away their previous most likely trade candidate in Kyle Lowry, the next guy up is Jovic. After being drafted in the first round, Jovic hasn’t been able to break into the rotation full-time until this year. However, his youth and tools make him an exciting piece to a team that can give him minutes. — J.P. Acosta, SB Nation

New Orleans Pelicans v Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks — MarJon Beauchamp

Since Adrian Griffin was fired, Milwaukee’s 2022 first-rounder has seen only garbage time minutes amid a few DNP-CDs, and he had fallen to the fringes of the rotation before then, too. In fact, Beauchamp appeared in just six games in January after seeing many of his minutes go to Andre Jackson Jr. as December wore on.

Coming out of G League Ignite, the Yakima, WA native appeared to have the size and athleticism to play quality NBA defense at some point, but he hasn’t shown much on-ball ability and struggles to navigate screens. His offense was seen as a work in progress, but that’s actually been his strength this year (he’s shooting 40.8% from deep).

Rivers seems unlikely to rely on any of the young Bucks at all as this season concludes, let alone the playoffs, and with needs in the backcourt and on the wing, Beauchamp is their best trade asset. Since Milwaukee’s first-round picks are all owed elsewhere thanks to the Jrue Holiday and Damian Lillard trades, their cupboard is almost completely bare aside from two future seconds. A combination of Beauchamp and the 2024 second-rounder they acquired from Portland—which should fall in the mid-thirties—is as close an approximation they can get to a (late) first-rounder, which is what sellers will be seeking for some of the better names on the market. — Van Fayaz, Brew Hoop

Minnesota Timberwolves — Shake Milton

Ironically, one of the Timberwolves’ needs heading into the trade deadline is exactly what Shake Milton gave the Sixers during his five years in Philly: capable scoring and shooting off the bench, with the ability to spot start in the backcourt next to a star. Unfortunately for the Wolves, Milton has been a shell of his 76ers self in his first (and likely only) season in Minnesota. The former SMU standout is averaging just 4.8 points on 39.6% shooting and 25.0% from deep, 1.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.5 steals in 13.3 minutes per game across 35 appearances. All of those numbers are either career lows, or the lowest since his rookie season in 2018-19.

Milton is in the first season of a two-year, $10 million contract with a team option for next year. That is a very movable salary figure, which President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly and his front office will look to package with some combination of the Wolves’ five tradable second-round picks, expiring contracts (Kyle Anderson, Troy Brown Jr.) and young talent (Josh Minott, Wendell Moore Jr.) to land more production off the bench, whether that is a bucket-getter or movement shooter.

The Wolves have one open roster spot and $2.36 million in luxury tax space, per Spotrac, so they could still be a player in the buyout market, too, especially if players who make more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.4 million) get bought out. Teams over the first luxury tax apron (GSW, LAC, PHX, MIL, BOS, CLE, DEN, MIA) cannot sign those players in the buyout market, which puts Minnesota in an interesting spot. — Jack Borman, Canis Hoopus

New Orleans Pelicans — Herbert Jones

This is maybe the blurb that I feel least confident about, but Matt Moore of The Action Network reported a little over a week ago that “the Pelicans are thought to be open to moving Herbert Jones. They’re high on Jones, but it’ll be difficult for the team to pay their stars, Jones and Trey Murphy III.” No one has ever accused Pelicans ownership of being happy to spend money, so that tracks.

Now, veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein soon pushed back on that report, writing that “it was relayed to me in rather strong terms over the weekend that the Pelicans, contrary to one recent report, are not open to fielding offers on defensive ace Herb Jones.” That may be true, but given that the Pelicans seem poised to do something at the deadline and Jones is the name there has been the most smoke about, file him down as a guy who could be moved if New Orleans cheaps out and/or decides to make some sort of consolidation trade featuring multiple of their contributors to tighten up their rotation. — Harrison Faigen, SB Nation

New York Knicks — No one

I don’t foresee the front office making a move by the deadline. This team is too special. As of this writing, New York sits third in the East. They are 15-2 since the OG Anunoby trade that sent RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to Toronto. Anunoby has been a clear upgrade, and although we worried about replacing Quickley’s bench points, reserve guys have stepped up. Deuce McBride has become a bonafide shooter from deep, and Quentin Grimes is quietly regaining his form with less spotlight upon him.

The Nova Knicks are harmonizing beautifully: Jalen Brunson is an MVP candidate, Donte DiVincenzo just hit a career-high of nine threes, and Josh Hart is the heartbeat the propels the squad. Julius Randle will be out for a few weeks, possibly months, due to a dislocated shoulder, but this team is built to weather the storm. Even Precious Achiuwa, who struggled through his first few games as a Knick, has blossomed in Tom Thibodeau’s system over the last five games. And I haven’t even mentioned Isaiah Hartenstein yet.

Trade? Nahhh. I bet the front office waits to see how far their beautiful creation can go. (Unless Alec Burks becomes available for, like, a draft pick.) — Russell Richardson, Posting and Toasting

Oklahoma City Thunder — Dāvis Bertāns

If the Thunder are going to get spicy and try to add one more veteran contributor for their postseason push, Bertāns is the most likely player for them to move. Oklahoma City has approximately 11 billion draft picks, and Bertans only has $5 million of his $16 million salary guaranteed for next year, so packaging him with picks could be a way for the Thunder to make upgrades and let another team save some cash. — Harrison Faigen, SB Nation

Orlando Magic — Gary Harris

Harris has been a mainstay in the rumor mill for the last couple of years when the Magic were in seller mode, and unfortunately for him, he’s now been hurt when they’re actually trying to win games. He’s missed the last 14 contests with a calf strain for Orlando, and with a $13 million expiring contract, could logically be a player the Magic move if they want to reinforce their Play-In push. — Harrison Faigen, SB Nation

Toronto Raptors v Philadelphia 76ers

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers — Robert Covington

To be honest, it’s kind of sad to say that Robert Covington is the most likely Sixer to be traded. The veteran wing broke out as an NBA player during the Process years and returned to Philly six years later in the trade that sent James Harden to the Clippers.

Covington, along with North Philly native Marcus Morris, Sr., have both been banged up. They also both have expiring contracts and cap figures that should aid in Daryl Morey’s attempt to improve the team around Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. Furkan Korkmaz and KJ Martin also seem like prime trade candidates to use as salary filler. — Paul Hudrick, Liberty Ballers

Phoenix Suns — Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu or Nassir Little

I would say anyone with some value and a tradeable contract will be on the block. That includes the likes of Okogie, Metu and Little.

Grayson Allen is a name that immediately comes to mind, but I do not believe the Suns will (or should) move him as he has been too dominant as a shooter and a very viable fourth option when the offense is stagnant with the Big Three. Contract extension talks should be in the works before Allen hits unrestricted free agency this summer, and the Suns would be wise to utilize his bird rights to offer a larger multi-term deal. — Cole Tuorto, Bright Side of the Sun

Portland Trail Blazers — Malcolm Brogdon

The Portland Trail Blazers won’t be in a hurry to make deals at the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline, but they won’t turn down a good offer either. The best word to describe them will be “non-anxious”. Their window to improve spans the next four years, not the next four months. They’ll make moves, or not, accordingly.

That will make the designation “Most Likely to Be Traded” anemic. But the label, such as it is, belongs to guard Malcolm Brogdon. He’s been one of the best players for Portland this season, a real game-changer on a team that lacks them. But he’s 31 years old. That’s unsuitable for a rebuilding team.

The same value shown to the Blazers this year will make Brogdon attractive to playoff contenders. His contract runs through 2025. Portland has the option of dealing him now, in the summer, or at next year’s trade deadline. They’ll wait for an attractive offer, then make the move. — Dave Deckard, Blazer’s Edge

Sacramento Kings — Harrison Barnes

The Kings just re-signed Barnes to a three-year, $54 million deal over the summer, but as they’ve lit The Beam less often this year, he has reportedly been among the players Sacramento has made available. The Kings own their picks in the next six NBA Drafts, and so packaging them with Barnes’ $17 million salary for this season could be a way for them to seek an upgrade and get back closer to the level they played at last season. — Harrison Faigen, SB Nation

San Antonio Spurs — Doug McDermott

The Spurs were expected to trade McDermott last season, but reportedly held off despite having offers. Keeping the veteran made sense then, as San Antonio went young and the locker room needed guidance. Now that McBuckets is in the last year of his contract, it’s time to move on.

McDermott won’t likely be a key rotation guy for whichever team gets him, but he can still hit shots on the move and is a smart cutter. It will likely take one — or at most two — second-rounders to pry him away from San Antonio, so he’s a good, cheap option for teams that need spacing and forward depth. — Jeje Gomez, Pounding the Rock

Toronto Raptors — Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown is getting a ton of interest from contending teams looking to add a steady piece to their playoff rotation. And said interest makes sense, as Brown has the ability to be impactful in a game no matter if he’s scoring a lot or not, and even with the small sample size of play we’ve seen from him in Toronto he seems like a good addition to any roster.

The Raptors may try to get some good return for him, but they also may try to keep him and see how he can impact their young roster. — Chelsea Leite, Raptors HQ

Utah Jazz v Brooklyn Nets

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Utah Jazz — Kelly Olynyk

Utah is in an interesting spot this season because of some contradictory goals. First, they want to make sure the first-round pick they owe Oklahoma City, which is top ten protected, conveys. If it doesn’t, it gives them issues during the next few years, where they could potentially miss out on a pick in better drafts and possibly not get to utilize some of their pick swaps with Minnesota and Cleveland from the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell trades.

That’s where Kelly Olynyk comes in. The veteran big man helps them win games, which could help them have a good enough record to get rid of that pick obligation this season.

So why would they trade him? Because, while Utah wants to be as good as they can this year, they also would like to develop their young players for the future. Keyonte George has shown a lot of promise, but the player picked before him, Taylor Hendricks, has had very little time on the floor. The Jazz are looking big picture, and if they want to get Hendricks more minutes, they need to move Olynyk. From what little we’ve seen, Hendricks has shown some game-changing talent on the defensive end that could help a Jazz defense that has been mostly bad all season.

On top of that, Olynyk has a lot of value to a lot of contenders. He’s a versatile big who can do whatever you need him to on the offensive end, one of those players that could make a huge difference for a championship contender looking to shore up their roster.

The question is, how much is Danny Ainge asking for him? We may find out in the next week.

Washington Wizards — Tyus Jones

Tyus Jones seems like the most likely candidate to move on from the Wizards at the trade deadline. Given his expiring contract and the number of teams who could benefit from a productive guard who can complement their existing lineups, the Wizards should look to get something in return for him now. The real question is what they could realistically get back.

I would think a first-round pick of any sort gets the job done right away, but I don’t see many teams being willing to offer that up. Jones has been very productive for Washington this year, but he’s potentially a rental who would be ideally suited to come off the bench long-term. And most teams probably assume the Wizards want to move him, which limits their leverage.

So as much as he’s been an improvement over Monte Morris, I would expect his return to be closer to the two second-round picks the Wizards got for Morris. If one of those seconds is somewhere in the top-40, that may just have to be enough for Washington. If they can get a player to backfill for Jones and eat up some minutes at point guard to get through the remainder of the season, even better. — Matt Moderno, Bullets Forever

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