Fresh Trade Target List for Every NBA Team

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2022

Fresh Trade Target List for Every NBA Team

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    Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby, right, drives past Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

    The NBA trade market is open for business.

    While teams weren't restricted from wheeling and dealing before, the arrival of Dec. 15 carries significance on multiple fronts. It not only means that most players who signed deals this offseason are now trade-eligible, but it also means enough time has passed for franchises to be able to assess what their teams can accomplish.

    As clubs continue to fall clearly into the buckets of buyers and sellers, trade activity could roar to life sooner than later.

    Before that happens, though, teams need to carefully plot their shopping lists and determine who or what exactly they need to add—both for this season and beyond. We've taken the liberty of drafting those lists for them by identifying clear areas of need and spotlighting a few players (or assets) who can check those boxes.

Atlanta Hawks

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    CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 23: Delon Wright #55 of the Washington Wizards brings the ball up court against the Cleveland Cavaliers on October23, 2022 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Delon Wright, Jordan McLaughlin, Kyle Anderson

    It feels like the Hawks could take a massive swing this trade season, particularly since they've basically played .500 ball since their surprise run to the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals. The eye test shows the vibes are less than immaculate in Atlanta, and maybe this will finally be the season for a John Collins blockbuster.

    On a smaller scale, though, the Hawks still need more playmaking behind Trae Young. Their point-of-attack defense could use a lift, too.

    Wright offers a chance to check both boxes in a single swap. Anderson does, too, though he's more of a secondary playmaker than an offensive hub. McLaughlin is the worst defender of the lot, but he's the best creator, and Atlanta could decide that matters most since its attack is essentially non-functional when Young takes a seat.

Boston Celtics

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    SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on November 17, 2022 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Jakob Poeltl, Mo Bamba, Bismack Biyombo

    Despite recent turbulence, the Celtics remain this season's best team—by winning percentage (.759) and net rating (plus-7.0). Their likeliest course of action at basketball's biggest swap meet is sitting out the proceedings and maybe sifting through the buyout market after the trade deadline.

    Should the Shamrocks opt to shop, though, interior depth will top their wish list or comprise it entirely. Obviously, their frontcourt would look better if it had Robert Williams III (knee) and Al Horford (personal), but that's kind of the point. Williams has a lengthy injury history, and Horford turned 36 in June. Boston can count on that combo only so much.

    A Poeltl pursuit could prove too rich for this front office, but his paint protection, rebounding and low-maintenance offense would be awesome for this club. Otherwise, this hinges on what the organization wants from a backup big. Bamba stands out for his floor-spacing and athleticism, while Biyombo offers limited range but loads of energy and activity around the basket.

Brooklyn Nets

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    Atlanta Hawks' John Collins (20) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
    AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

    Possible Targets: John Collins, Mo Bamba, Jae Crowder

    There was a time in the not-so-distant past in which it seemed the Nets could rank among this season's biggest sellers, but Brooklyn has found its stride under coach Jacque Vaughn. Since he took over for the ousted Steve Nash, the Nets are 15-7 with the Association's fourth-best net rating (plus-4.4).

    Just like that, Brooklyn might be among the most aggressive buyers. The club has interest in Collins, per The Athletic's Shams Charania, though Atlanta isn't keen on accepting a package built around Joe Harris. It's possible the bouncy big man is out of Brooklyn's trade budget, but Collins would be a perfect combo big for the Nets since he can function as a rim-runner but also hit threes and shoulder a not-insignificant amount of the scoring load.

    If the Nets don't feel the need to swing that big, then frontcourt depth will be the target. They have nothing behind Nic Claxton at center—Day'Ron Sharpe isn't a rotation regular—and the forward spots could use someone such as Crowder, who would supply defense, toughness, experience and some degree of shot-making.

Charlotte Hornets

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    SANTA CRUZ, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  James Wiseman #33 talks with Seth Cooper, Head Coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors before playing against the Stockton Kings during the NBA G-League game on November 26, 2022 at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Draft picks, James Wiseman, Mo Bamba

    Intentionally or not, the Hornets have tanked as well as anyone this season. They should keep embracing life at the bottom and ship out as many veterans as they can for long-term assets to develop alongside LaMelo Ball.

    Who—or what—should be on Charlotte's radar? Well, draft picks for starters. The Hornets landed a megastar in Ball, the No. 3 pick in 2020, but that's pretty much it as far as their building blocks go, particularly if they don't plan on covering the cost of P.J. Washington's upcoming restricted free agency.

    That's why casting a wide net for hidden gems makes sense, too. Buying low on Wiseman or Bamba could prove a stroke of genius should either young big finally solve this franchise's longstanding issues at the center spot.

Chicago Bulls

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    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 02: P.J. Washington #25 of the Charlotte Hornets drives to the basket against Patrick Williams #44 of the Chicago Bulls during the first half at United Center on November 02, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Possible Targets: P.J. Washington, Jae Crowder, Deni Avdija

    The Bulls could—and arguably should—think long and hard about using this trade season to reset and try to save the top-four-protected pick they owe the Magic, but nothing coming out of Chicago suggests the organization is ready to take that plunge.

    "At this point of the season, it would be supremely difficult to pivot that dramatically and, with the lottery's new odds, secure a top-four pick," K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago wrote. "... Even if they finished with the league's worst record, there would be a 47.9 percent chance of [not getting a top-four pick]. It's one of many reasons why I don't see this path as realistic."

    Assuming Chicago keeps pressing forward with this nucleus, it should seek size, versatility and defense in the frontcourt. Washington could slot in at the 4 or 5, or Crowder could slide between the 3 and 4. Avdija, who's primarily a 3 but can move up or down a spot, offers an interesting blend of defense and playmaking, but he's the worst shooter of the bunch.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 12: Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns. looks on during the game against the Dallas Mavericks during Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 12, 2022 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Jae Crowder, Joe Harris, Kenrich Williams

    Cleveland spent the summer searching for answers at the small forward spot. Two months into the campaign, that search continues.

    The Cavaliers have tried a number of different options, but no one has struck a two-way balance. One of these three potential targets could, though.

    Crowder is a guaranteed supplier of toughness and defense, and he's a major asset when he heats up from range. Harris is an elite marksman when he's right, though he's still finding his form after an injury-marred campaign. Williams doesn't take a ton of threes (career 2.4 per game), but he makes them at a decent clip (34.8 percent), and his defensive versatility is top-notch.

Dallas Mavericks

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    TORONTO, CANADA - NOVEMBER 26: OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks after the game on November 26, 2022 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible targets: O.G. Anunoby, Zach LaVine, John Collins

    The Mavs have a generational talent in Luka Dončić—and a barely-above-.500 record that has them pegged for the play-in tournament. They're up against the clock to construct a contender around him, and they still haven't found a way to pair him with a top-shelf co-star.

    They aren't overloaded with assets, but they should cobble together their best and brightest and see whether that's enough for Anunoby. He'd be an incredible sidekick with perpetually improving offense (up to 19.0 points per game on 47.5 percent shooting now) and arguably the best defense in the business (league-leading defensive estimated plus-minus, per Dunks and Threes).

    If Anunoby is too expensive—or untouchable, which is possible—then Dallas can simply run down the list of possible co-stars. Should the Bulls blow it up, LaVine is a shot-creator and finisher unlike any with whom Dončić has shared the floor. Collins, who spends more time on the trade block than off it, could be a souped-up, more reliable version of Christian Wood, who is putting up numbers but not moving the bottom line during his first season with Dallas.

Denver Nuggets

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    CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 30:  Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 30, 2022 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by  Lauren Bacho/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Lauren Bacho/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Matisse Thybulle, Javonte Green, Josh Richardson

    You might have heard this a time or two (thousand), but Denver doesn't have enough defense. And that remains a bummer, since its second-ranked offense is clearly ready to contend for the crown.

    The problem is its 28th-ranked defense looks fatally flawed. The only teams that are similarly generous on that end are Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes participants.

    The Nuggets need to figure this out, and it'll start by finding more defensive-minded personnel. Thybulle is pesky on the ball and a chaos-creator away from it. Green is fearless and relentless on defense. Richardson isn't quite as stingy, but he uses his length and instincts to be disruptive. He's also the best offensive threat of the bunch, should Denver covet a two-way contributor more than a defensive specialist.

Detroit Pistons

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    BRIDGEPORT, CT - DECEMBER 3: Johnny Davis #1 of the Capital City Go-Go celebrates during the game against the Westchester Knicks on December 3, 2022 at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Luther Schlaifer/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Luther Schlaifer/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Draft picks, Johnny Davis, James Bouknight

    The tank is on in the Motor City. With Cade Cunningham headed under the knife for season-ending shin surgery, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Detroit can shift its focus fully toward the future—if it wasn't there already.

    The Pistons should pounce on this opportunity to add assets. Shipping out Bojan Bogdanović for the best draft picks available is a no-brainer, but everyone who isn't a clear-cut member of this long-term nucleus should be up for grabs. Even Saddiq Bey is reportedly "gettable at the right price," per The Athletic's James L. Edwards III.

    Beyond draft picks, Detroit should try kicking the tires on stalling, potentially undervalued prospects. Would the Wizards entertain a Davis trade after picking him 10th overall this year? Have the Hornets seen enough to wash their hands of Bouknight, last year's No. 11 pick? Those are the kinds of questions this front office should be asking.

Golden State Warriors

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    PORTLAND, OREGON - NOVEMBER 15: Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs and Drew Eubanks #24 of the Portland Trail Blazers in action during the fourth quarter at the Moda Center on November 15, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. The Portland Trail Blazers won 117-110. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
    Alika Jenner/Getty Images

    Possible argets: Jakob Poeltl, P.J. Washington, Eric Gordon

    Golden State's decision to give Draymond Green run with the second unit helped stabilize that group, but it's a Band-Aid solution for something that needs surgical attention. The Warriors are better since making the change, but really it turned a terrible bench unit (30th in efficiency before the switch) into merely a bad one (21st since).

    This group needs some external assistance. A center such as Poeltl who could plug the whole created by James Wiseman's lack of development would be massive. The question is whether Poeltl's cost is worth more than the Warriors can pay when they're already dominating with Green or Kevon Looney at center (plus-8.0 points per 100 possessions).

    Golden State could gain more versatility with Washington, who could fill Otto Porter Jr.'s old role as a switchable defender and floor-spacer. Or the Warriors could look for more scoring pep on the perimeter with Gordon, who should finally (and mercifully) be near the end of his tenure with the rebuilding Rockets.

Houston Rockets

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 25: Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans passes the ball during the game against the Dallas Mavericks on October 25, 2022 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
    Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Draft picks, Jaxson Hayes, R.J. Hampton

    Houston isn't even two seasons removed from the end of the James Harden era. The Rockets, in other words, have yet to leave the asset-accumulation mode of their rebuild.

    That should keep draft picks at the forefront of their deadline search. Nabbing a decent one for Eric Gordon feels doable. Getting another for Kenyon Martin Jr. could be an option depending on where (or if) the front office feels he fits with the franchise's future.

    Beyond draft assets, Houston should poke around for cheap, young talent. Hayes, 22, and Hampton, 21, have been squeezed out of their rotations, but they have excited with their size-skill-athleticism combinations before.

Indiana Pacers

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    DETROIT, MI - MARCH 4:  Saddiq Bey #41 of the Detroit Pistons drives to the basket during the game against the Indiana Pacers on March 4, 2022 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Saddiq Bey, Moses Moody, Cam Reddish

    The Pacers have hit a rough patch, and if that doesn't change over the next month, they might still become the sellers many expected them to be. For now, though, they've fared well enough to see themselves as buyers—for players who fit the young core's timeline, at least.

    If Bey rediscovers his shooting touch, he could lock himself in to Indy's long-term plans. He has been frigid from range for most of the season (29.9 percent), but he came into the campaign relatively established as a long-distance threat (2.5 threes per game on 36.1 percent shooting in his first two seasons).

    Moody and Reddish hold similar three-and-D potential, though each has been inconsistent long enough to have been denied a regular rotation role. Should they hit their stride in the Circle City, though, they'd be buy-low bargains in hindsight.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 7: Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 7, 2022 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Myles Turner, Alec Burks, Eric Gordon

    The Clippers have one of the NBA's deepest rosters. The challenge is that there's no way of telling when or for how long the group can actually enjoy a clean bill of health.

    That makes it tricky to tell what, if anything, L.A. will be after this trade season, but it has had interest in Turner before, per B/R's Eric Pincus. Ivica Zubac has been rock-solid on the interior, but pairing him with Turner would instantly create one of the Association's top interior tandems. Not to mention, adding the two-time blocks champion might make the Clippers' fifth-ranked defense impenetrable.

    L.A. might opt to upgrade its 28th-ranked offense instead, and that's how Burks and Gordon get on the radar. Both can initiate offense or fill catch-and-shoot roles off the ball, and neither is a sieve defensively, so the Clippers could address a pressing weakness without damaging their greatest strength.

Los Angeles Lakers

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    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 19: DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls drives past LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the United Center on December 19, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 115-110. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Possible targets: DeMar DeRozan, Bojan Bogdanović, Buddy Hield

    It hasn't always been clear how big the Lakers could (or should) buy this trade season, but Anthony Davis' return to the superstar ranks has changed everything. If he's back to being a top-five player—and estimated plus-minus and FiveThirtyEight's RAPTOR slot him second overall—then L.A. can aggressively attack the trade market in pursuit of the longest postseason run possible.

    The Lakers might already be doing that, by the way. B/R's Eric Pincus reported they have interest in DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević should Chicago decide it's time to start over. DeRozan, in particular, intrigues as another high-level shot-creator and late-game option.

    Moving down a tier, Bogdanović and Hield loom as the long-distance weapons this offense so badly needs. The Lakers' perimeter attack is every bit as brutal as you've heard, ranking last in makes (9.7 per game) and 29th in accuracy (32.0 percent).

Memphis Grizzlies

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    ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 9: OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors looks on during the game against the Orlando Magic on December 9, 2022 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: O.G. Anunoby, Jae Crowder, Cam Reddish

    The Grizzlies seem content on growing a contender organically, and it's hard to question the approach given the results. They're tied for the best record in the Western Conference and rank sixth in net efficiency rating, and they've yet to enjoy even a single second with their three cornerstones—Ja Morant, Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr.—on the floor together.

    Memphis could certainly snooze through trade season, but it has the asset capital (picks and prospects) to chase a notable name. Adding Anunoby and turning this core into a Big Four might make the Grizzlies unbeatable. It's a long shot, but since Memphis doesn't need to do a deal, it can chase big dreams and feel content if nothing materializes.

    Jumping down a few tiers into the Crowder and Reddish range might get this forward rotation into slightly better shape for the playoff battles ahead. The Grizzlies have gotten good minutes out of role players such as David Roddy and Santi Aldama, but it's fair to wonder whether these youngsters have what it takes to perform under the bright postseason lights.

Miami Heat

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    SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Josh Richardson #7 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on November 17, 2022 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Josh Richardson, Jae Crowder, Saddiq Bey

    The Heat are hard to figure out. Well, that or they just aren't very good. Considering they've been conference finalists in two of the last three seasons, though, we'll still give them the benefit of the doubt that they will be more competitive than they have been.

    They have to fix the offense, though, and do it without sabotaging their defense. That's why two-way wings should top the wish list.

    Richardson, who spent his first four seasons in South Beach, would be hugely helpful if he returned. Same goes for Crowder, who played a prominent role in Miami's push to the 2020 Finals. Bey, meanwhile, could thrive in the Heat's developmental program and get back to ranking among the league's better young wings.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 9: Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz dribbles the ball during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 9, 2022 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Jordan Clarkson, Jae Crowder, Eric Gordon

    The Bucks could sit out trade season if they wanted. They're a juggernaut already, even though Giannis Antetokounmpo has shared the court with Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton for only 69 minutes. Oh, and Joe Ingles is nearing his Milwaukee debut, so one of the best teams in basketball is about to get better.

    Then again, Middleton's injury during last season's playoffs highlighted the need for as much depth as possible, so maybe Milwaukee wants more reinforcements.

    Clarkson, who teamed with Ingles in Utah, could scratch an itch for self-sufficient scoring in the half court. Gordon can sort of do that, too, though he'd add the most value as a three-point threat who holds his own defensively. Crowder, who was recently discussed in a three-team deal that would have sent him to Milwaukee, per The Athletic's Shams Charania, would give the Bucks another multipositional defender who can hit spot-up threes.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 11: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors handles the ball during the game against the Orlando Magic on December 11, 2022 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Gary Trent Jr., Josh Richardson, Kelly Oubre Jr.

    In normal circumstances, it'd be hard to advocate for the Timberwolves to buy since they're a below-average team on both ends with no obvious path to improvement. Given the close proximity to their major investment in Rudy Gobert, though, Minnesota decision-makers must give it the old college try in attempting to make this work.

    Upgrading on the wings, or at least adding depth there, could be the best way to go about it.

    Trent would be phenomenal as an ignitable scorer who disrupts things defensively. Richardson and Oubre are lesser versions of the same model, with the former being the superior shooter and the latter being the more explosive athlete.

New Orleans Pelicans

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    ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Mo Bamba #11 of the Orlando Magic looks to pass the ball during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 27, 2022 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Mo Bamba, Doug McDermott, Nerlens Noel

    Improvement was expected in the Crescent City, but even the Pels' most bullish backers didn't see this coming. New Orleans isn't merely winning; it's sitting atop the Western Conference—and winning big with defense. Well, with defense (third in efficiency) and offense (fifth), striking a balance seen only in top-flight title contenders.

    Maybe that's reason for this front office to sit out trade season. Then again, the Pelicans still have a mountain of draft assets at their disposal—including unprotected swap rights with the Lakers for their top pick in 2023—so they could make a targeted addition or two in preparation for a potentially lengthy playoff push.

    An athletic stretch 5 such as Bamba would give this shape-shifting frontcourt yet another dimension, as would the rim-running Noel. A three-point gunner such as McDermott would help raise the volume of this perimeter attack, which sits just 24th in made threes and 29th in attempts per game.

New York Knicks

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    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 12: Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards dribbles the ball during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on December 12, 2022 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Kyle Kuzma, Kelly Oubre Jr., Robert Covington

    Buoyed by some of their best basketball of the season, the Knicks could be ready to take a huge swing on the trade market. Kuzma, who is pumping in a personal-best 21.3 points per game, might already be on the Bockers' radar, according to B/R's Eric Pincus:

    Another team to keep a close eye on with Kuzma is the New York Knicks. Kuzma is represented by Austin Brown of CAA, who worked closely with colleague Leon Rose before Rose left the agency to join the Knicks as president. New York has several CAA clients, including Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, Isaiah Hartenstein and Obi Toppin.

    Kuzma almost assuredly will need a new deal next summer ($13 million player option for 2023-24), but he's young enough (27) and good enough for New York to deem him a keeper. Oubre, meanwhile, would up the athleticism of the wing tandem, while Covington would unlock more small-ball possibilities and endear himself to Tom Thibodeau through his disruptive defense.

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 30: Cam Reddish #0 of the New York Knicks in action against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on November 30, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Milwaukee Bucks defeated the New York Knicks 109-103. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Cam Reddish, James Wiseman, Patrick Baldwin Jr.

    The Thunder are as frisky as they've been during their lengthy rebuilding project, but they aren't quite ready to splurge on a timeline accelerator. Instead, they can stay on the slow-and-steady path to contention by focusing on player development and probing for any distressed assets.

    The Knicks might treat Reddish like a lost cause, but that doesn't mean he actually is one. He's a 23-year-old who was taken 10th overall in 2019. It'd be great if he was more consistent, sure, but maybe he still needs more seasoning. OKC's timeline allows for ample patience, and that could be the key to unlocking his potential.

    Same goes for Wiseman and Baldwin, recent first-round picks by the win-now Warriors. Golden State has determined their growing pains are deal-breakers, but OKC can live with some subpar results in the pursuit of a better process. There aren't many players who can match Wiseman's size-skill-athleticism combo, and Baldwin stands out as a 6'9" forward with handles and a smooth shooting stroke.

Orlando Magic

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 5: Moses Moody #4 of the Golden State Warriors moves the ball during the game against the Indiana Pacers on December 5, 2022 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Moses Moody, Saddiq Bey, draft picks

    Good things are happening in Orlando. Paolo Banchero already looks like a star. Franz Wagner isn't far behind. Bol Bol might have the early edge in the Most Improved Player award race. Wendell Carter Jr. is a masterful connector on both ends.

    The rebuild is heading in the right direction. It just needs a bigger talent base to reach the finish line.

    This trade season could be the time to expand it. Non-essentials like Terrence Ross and Gary Harris should be shopped around for draft picks. Meanwhile, the front office should be on the lookout for cheap keepers, like Moody or Bey, either of whom could blossom alongside Wagner on the wings.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 28: Gary Harris #14 of the Orlando Magic in action against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on November 28, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Brooklyn Nets defeated the Orlando Magic 109-102. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Gary Harris, Jae Crowder, Eric Gordon

    The Sixers entered this season ranked favorably among heavyweight contenders, and there's been no reason to knock them down a notch. The 13th-ranked offense could be a tad better, but give this group a clean bill of health, and it probably would be.

    Still, it makes sense for the franchise to seek out more two-way wings, because that final spot in the closing lineup could still be up for grabs.

    Harris could make a strong push for it, since he's a tenacious defender who has converted 38.8 percent of his long-range looks since the start of last season. Crowder offers more size and toughness, though he's not as consistent of a shooter. Gordon might be the best shooter of the bunch (and the worst defender), plus he has a shared history with James Harden—and P.J. Tucker, Danuel House Jr. and Daryl Morey, too—in Houston.

Phoenix Suns

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 28: John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots a three point basket during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 28, 2022 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
    David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: John Collins, Kyle Kuzma, Eric Gordon

    Something doesn't seem quite right with the suns, and it's not just Devin Booker's nagging hamstring injury. Chris Paul hasn't been himself all season, and the forward spots have two glaring holes with Jae Crowder awaiting his trade out of town and Cam Johnson working his way back from a torn meniscus.

    The Suns can't do much with Paul other than wait and hopes he straightens himself out, but they can attack the trade market to beef up at forward. They've been connected to the Collins sweepstakes, per The Athletic's Shams Charania, and they could get in the bidding for Kuzma, per B/R's Eric Pincus.

    They also have an interest in Gordon, per Pincus, who could help stabilize a reserve perimeter group that has run hot and cold with Cameron Payne and Landry Shamet.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 07: O.G. Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors dunks against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of their NBA game at Scotiabank Arena on December 7, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
    Cole Burston/Getty Images

    Possible Targets: O.G. Anunoby, Cam Reddish, Mo Bamba

    After tanking through the second half of last season, Portland has planted itself right back in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. The Blazers might need some external assistance to make the last leap to title contention during the remainder of Damian Lillard's prime, though.

    They'd need to nab a difference-maker to justify paying an exorbitant trade cost, but Anunoby could be that player—if Toronto actually makes him available. He's the big, two-way forward this roster needed for so long, and his ability to mix-and-match with Jerami Grant could give the Blazers one of the best forward tandems in the league.

    If Portland doesn't want to spend that much, it could try kicking the tires on Reddish and seeing if this scenery change is the one where it finally clicks. Or it could go searching for another backup center behind Jusuf Nurkić to compete with or supplant Drew Eubanks.

Sacramento Kings

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    ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 9: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors dribbles the ball against the Orlando Magic on December 9, 2022 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Pascal Siakam, O.G. Anunoby, Kyle Kuzma

    The Kings are objectively fun. They play fast (sixth in pace) and overpower opponents with offense (sixth in efficiency). They're also a little too generous on defense (16th) and might be one difference-maker shy of really making noise in the Western Conference.

    They are, however, on the hunt for said difference-maker. As B/R's Eric Pincus said, Sacramento is likely in the running for Siakam, Anunoby and Kuzma. It's unclear if any—let alone all—of the three will be made available, but with both Washington and Toronto struggling to gain traction in the Eastern Conference, it's at least feasible those clubs would entertain offers.

    The question, of course, is trade compensation, and things could be sticky if a trade would demand the inclusion of Keegan Murray, this year's No. 4 pick. Still, Sacramento could potentially cobble together an interesting package without him or deem at least one of those players a big enough prize to justify parting with Murray, much like it did with Tyrese Haliburton to nab Domantas Sabonis at least year's deadline.

San Antonio Spurs

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    SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 4: Patrick Williams #44 of the Chicago Bulls looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on December 4, 2022 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Draft picks, Patrick Williams, Jaden Springer

    After jettisoning nearly all of their notable veterans in recent seasons, the Spurs are clearly preparing for the future. Their deadline activities should reflect as much.

    Jakob Poeltl, Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott all loom as natural trade candidates, since none is a super clean fit for a long-term rebuild. Plus, all three players have enough win-now qualities to offer contenders to think San Antonio could net some valuable draft picks in exchange for them.

    Beyond draft picks, the Spurs should be scouring for young talent. If the Bulls grow impatient and seek more plug-and-play help, that might put Williams up for grabs. If not, Springer shouldn't be too hard to pry out of Philadelphia since he's logged just 17 minutes there since being chosen as the 28th pick of the 2021 draft.

Toronto Raptors

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 10: Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers is seen during the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on December 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Myles Turner, Jakob Poeltl, Jordan Clarkson

    The Raptors were a 48-win team last season and appeared as a team that could take another step forward this year with the right amount of internal development, but so far it's trending in the wrong direction. That's why there are so many eyeballs north of the border, hoping the Raptors pull the plug on any win-now plans and try building around reigning Rookie of the Year, Scottie Barnes.

    "The timeline of their players don't match," one NBA source told B/R's Eric Pincus. "They have good players, but it will be interesting to see how they navigate with OG [Anunoby] and Fred [VanVleet]."

    This might be too early to abandon ship, though, in which case the Raptors could spend the next two months seeking an interior upgrade and more depth on the perimeter. Toronto has yielded the third-highest conversion rate in the restricted area, so an interior anchor like Turner or Poeltl (a former Raptor) could help stop the bleeding down low.

    The Raptors also rank 17th in bench scoring, so a spark plug like Clarkson could help keep things rolling when the starters need a breather.

Utah Jazz

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    PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 7: Payton Pritchard #11 of the Boston Celtics dribbles the ball during the game against the Phoenix Suns on December 7, 2022 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

    Possible Targets: Payton Pritchard, Jaxson Hayes, Nikola Jović

    Utah's motto for trade season should be: Proceed with caution. It would deflate the locker room to ship out the veteran players who have contributed to the club's surprisingly strong start, but it could set back the franchise even further if it aggressively seeks out upgrades for a team with a ceiling that stops well short of championship contention.

    It might behoove the Jazz, then, to make targeted additions who can help the current club but also grow with this young core.

    Pritchard, a career supplier of 15.2 points per 36 minutes and 40.7 percent three-point shooting, could be a regular rotation role away from a real breakthrough. The same could ring true for Hayes, a 22-year-old rim-runner, and Jović, who offers intriguing ball skills and shot-making for a 6'10" 19-year-old.

Washington Wizards

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 11: DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls shoots a free throw during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on December 11, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    Possible Targets: DeMar DeRozan, John Collins, Alex Caruso

    It's possible that Washington's quarter-billion dollar commitment to Bradley Beal this summer committed the franchise to a lifetime of mediocrity, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. The Wizards have been plenty formidable when they've had Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porziņģis together, posting a plus-5.1 net rating across 397 minutes.

    Adding another shot-creator like DeRozan could really open up this attack by putting opponents into a series of pick-your-poison scenarios. Collins isn't a shot-creator, but he is a high-level finisher, posting consecutive seasons of 19-plus points per night back when he was a more featured part of Atlanta's offense.

    If the Wizards simply want help on the margins, Caruso could fit like a tailored suit. He's an on-court energizer who makes plays defensively and complements stars on offense as a cutter, spot-up shooter and secondary playmaker.


    Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference, NBA.com and Cleaning the Glass and accurate through Tuesday.

    Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @ZachBuckleyNBA.

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