Who are the Buyers and Sellers at the NBA Trade Deadline
With the deadline two weeks away, trade rumours around the NBA are starting to swirl. What’s fascinating about this season is that so many teams are alive in the playoff race, which should mean that a lot of teams will be looking to improve. With that said, let’s take a look at which teams are going to be buyers, sellers and which teams are still on the fence.
Indiana Pacers: You have to feel devastated for the Pacers and Victor Oladipo, who at 32-15, were in prime position to challenge for a top 4 seed in the East. Remember though Oladipo did miss time earlier this season and as good as he is, the Pacers still managed to win games. Look for them to seek a replacement for Oladipo and go for it.
Philadelphia 76ers: The 76ers are building momentum at the right time, playing their best basketball of the season. With the way this team is currently constructed -elite starting 5 but lacking bench production – you get the sense that if they could add one or two complementary pieces to come off the bench, the 76ers are real NBA title contenders.
Houston Rockets: No one is better at wheeling-and-dealing than Rockets GM Daryl Morey. With James Harden looking like the most dominant offensive player since Michael Jordan, you need to get the guy some help; D-league call-ups just aren’t going to cut it.
Utah Jazz: Like the 76ers, the Jazz are playing their best basketball of the season and with the Western Conference wide open after Golden State, you get the sense that they could take the opportunity to make a real run at it. If they could upgrade the point guard position and add another shooter, they could make a run to the conference finals.
Los Angeles Lakers: Don’t look now but if the playoffs started today, the Lakers would be on the outside, looking in. Sure, it may be too early to worry, especially considering that LeBron James should be returning from injury from very soon, but this Lakers team needs help.
Memphis Grizzlies: The ‘Grit and Grind’ era has come to an end and it is time for the Grizzlies to move on. They are listening to offers for long-time franchise cornerstones, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley.
New York Knicks: The Knicks have made it clear that their focus is on the future and on clearing as much cap space as possible to open up two maximum-salary spots this offseason. They are actively seeking trades for Tim Hardaway Jr, Courtney Lee and Enes Kanter.
Atlanta Hawks: With some promising young pieces, the Hawks may actually be competitive sooner than expected. To add to their young core, they will be seeking cap relief or draft picks and have made it clear they are willing to deal Kent Bazamore, Dewayne Dedmon and Jeremy Lin.
Cleveland Cavaliers: At 9-40 and in prime position for the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, the Cavs only option is to sell. They can officially trade Kevin Love, as six months have gone by since he signed his contract. They may also entertain offers for Tristan Thompson.
On The Fence
Washington Wizards: The Wizards shouldbe sellers, but it’s complicated. On one hand, they are 10thin the East, John Wall is out for the year and this franchise isn’t going anywhere with this current team. On the other, the bottom of the Eastern conference is well within their reach, they’ve played better without Wall, they already acquired Ariza and even if they wanted to tank it would be difficult to find buyers for Wall and to a lesser extent, Otto Porter, due to their horrible contracts.
Miami Heat: Like the Wizards, the Heat should be sellers given their record and roster but there is just one problem: They have the HIGHEST TEAM PAYROLL in the NBA this season! No that is not a typo, the 22-24 Miami Heat have the highest team payroll in 2018-19. Talk about brutal management.
New Orleans Pelicans: This all hinges on whether or not they believe they can resign Anthony Davis. The last thing they want is to lose him without getting any compensation in return. If they suspect he’s done all he can in New Orleans and is ready to move on, then now would be the time to cash in.
Brooklyn Nets: I am 100% sure that not even the Brooklyn Nets thought they would be 26-23 midway through the season. Now that they are in this position, do the Nets decide to make a move at the deadline and improve their chances of a playoff run or wait for the off-season where they will have an opportunity to select two 1stround picks and potentially sign two max salary players?
Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks have a really interesting decision to make down to stretch. In the Doncic trade, the Mavericks gave up Trae Young and a top 5 protected pick in this year’s draft. Do they push for a playoff spot or shut down their starters early on to ensure they keep their pick and potentially pair another young star with Doncic?