B/R Staff Roundtable: Top Landing Spots for NBA's Trade Deadline Targets

Bleacher Report NBA StaffFebruary 4, 2023

B/R Staff Roundtable: Top Landing Spots for NBA's Trade Deadline Targets

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    Russell Westbrook
    Russell WestbrookJesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

    Less than a week from the NBA trade deadline, it's time to dive into the rumor mill and try to suss out where a number of potential moves could land stars like Russell Westbrook, Jae Crowder, O.G. Anunoby and more.

    In certain cases (like Anunoby's), there figures to be a number of suitors, so the breakdowns below will reveal which of those makes the most sense for the player in question.

    Whether it's fit alongside other stars, a bigger opportunity or simply a fresh start, here are the reasons each of the below should wind up in these designated spots.

O.G. Anunoby - Knicks

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    O.G. Anunoby
    O.G. AnunobyThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    With what seems like half the NBA after Anunoby, the 25-year-old defensive whiz who's averaging nearly 17 points per game this season, the team that ultimately wins is going to have to possess a lot of trade ammunition.

    The Knicks certainly check this box and have a need for a big, defensive wing who can knock down shots. New York owns four first-round picks from other teams over the next three years in addition to all of their own firsts moving forward. There's enough young talent on this roster to pique the interest of Toronto as well.

    After missing out on Donovan Mitchell last offseason, the Knicks could now trade multiple first-round picks to add Anunoby to a starting five that features Jalen Brunson, R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson.

    Greg Swartz

D'Angelo Russell - Clippers

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    D'Angelo Russell
    D'Angelo RussellDavid Berding/Getty Images

    The Wolves may not want to trade Russell, but his upcoming free agency could scare them into making a deal. A Russell-Kyle Lowry swap doesn't look like it will happen given the Miami Heat's improved play, meaning Minnesota should call up the Clippers instead.

    Russell would be a strong third scoring option in a return to Los Angeles, solidifying a point guard position that's been a revolving door between Reggie Jackson, John Wall and Terance Mann.

    The Clippers can also build a package (Jackson, Luke Kennard and draft picks?) that could intrigue the Wolves enough to agree to a deal.

    Greg Swartz

Jae Crowder - Milwaukee Bucks

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    Jae Crowder
    Jae CrowderMichael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

    One of the most bizarre trade requests/holdouts in recent memory should come to an end this deadline. And the Milwaukee Bucks are the team that can put all of us out of our misery.

    According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Milwaukee and the Phoenix Suns have been negotiating a Crowder deal for months, and the latest offer has the Bucks sending "Jordan Nwora, George Hill, Serge Ibaka and second-round draft compensation."

    Ibaka is entirely out of the rotation, Nwora is on the fringe of it, and Hill is a 36-year-old guard who hasn't posted an above-average box plus/minus since 2019-20.

    Assuming Crowder is the same multipositional defender and occasional three-point shooter he was when we last saw him with the Suns, he's worth all of the above.

    Lineups with Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Crowder, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez would be nightmare-inducing on defense.

    Andy Bailey

Bojan Bogdanović - Lakers

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    Bojan Bogdanovic
    Bojan Bogdanovic Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

    Despite the Pistons posturing like they won't trade the 33-year-old Bogdanović, it's hard to believe Detroit would refuse offers of a first-round pick (or more) for the sharpshooting forward. This is a team that projects to have max cap space this summer and can go out and sign more veteran help if Bogdanović is traded.

    The Lakers rank dead last in made three-pointers per game (10.5) and 26th overall in three-point accuracy (33.7 percent), making Bogdanović the perfect fit at forward between LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

    Los Angeles doesn't have the trade assets to land another star player and should have Bogdanović at the top of its wishlist. A deal based around the 2027 first-round pick would benefit both sides.

    Greg Swartz

John Collins - Utah Jazz

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    John Collins
    John Collins Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

    For the last several months, seemingly every John Collins rumor comes with a nugget about the Utah Jazz's interest in him.

    This week, it came from The Athletic's Shams Charania, who wrote, "The Jazz remain among the teams with strong interest in Collins."

    Though the 25-year-old forward may seem a tad old for a team that just started a rebuild, the emergence of fellow 25-year-old Lauri Markkanen as an All-Star (and his proving that he can play small forward) could change Utah's calculus.

    This team has already shown itself to be more competitive than most expected, and a frontcourt with Markkanen, Collins (who averaged 18.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 threes and 1.0 blocks over the four seasons prior to this one) and a rapidly improving Walker Kessler could be one of the better ones in the league as early as next season.

    If the price to land Collins is Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt (as reported by Charania), Utah should be enticed.

    Andy Bailey

Bulls' Big 3 - Stay in Chicago

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    Zach LaVine
    Zach LaVineJeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

    Chicago will certainly be one of the most interesting teams to watch at the deadline, an underperforming group that should be hesitant to blow things up.

    The Bulls only get to keep their first-round pick this season if it falls in the top-four overall thanks to the 2021 Nikola Vučević deal, meaning even selling off the veterans and getting a selection that lands at No. 5 or later would see that pick go to the Orlando Magic.

    Vučević is the only member of Chicago's Big Three who will become a free agent this offseason, with DeMar DeRozan not eligible to hit the market until 2024 and Zach LaVine until 2026. Given that most of the teams projected to have cap space will be rebuilding, there's a good chance that Vučević will re-sign with the Bulls.

    Lonzo Ball's continued knee surgeries have derailed this season, but there should still be hope that the 25-year-old can return in 2023-24. The Bulls had a net rating of plus-6.8 with Ball, DeRozan, LaVine and Vučević all on the floor last season, proof that this group can succeed when healthy.

    Chicago should be open to shopping some of its role players (Coby White, Andre Drummond, Derrick Jones Jr., Goran Dragic) for some additional picks at the deadline. Breaking up the core of DeRozan, LaVine and Vučević seems too early, especially since two are still under contract for next year.

    We're guessing the Bulls keep their stars together, at least for now.

    Greg Swartz

Cam Reddish - Mavs

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    Cam Reddish
    Cam ReddishStephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

    Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes reported on the #thisleague Uncut podcast that the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers have interest in Reddish, who almost certainly won't be left to rot on the New York Knicks' bench after the trade deadline.

    The Mavs should absolutely take a swing as they search for players with star potential to place around Luka Dončić. Reddish could get a consistent role off the bench for Dallas, giving it a 30-game sample size of data before he becomes a restricted free agent this summer.

    A swap based around Reddish and former Knick forward Reggie Bullock would make sense, giving New York a veteran three-and-D rotation player while Reddish attempts to finally break out in a new home.

    Greg Swartz

Kyrie Irving - Dallas Mavericks

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    Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving
    Luka Dončić and Kyrie IrvingJesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

    Kyrie Irving rocked the rumor mill on Friday, when news of his trade request hit the internet, courtesy of The Athletic's Shams Charania and confirmed by Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes.

    Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

    Breaking: Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving has requested a trade, league sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/TheAthletic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheAthletic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Stadium?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Stadium</a>. The franchise has been informed that Irving prefers to move on ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline – or will leave in free agency in July.

    In the wake of that report, several possible suitors emerged, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.

    But the one that makes the most sense for both Kyrie and his next team is the Dallas Mavericks, who are reportedly interested.

    Luka Dončić is carrying the heaviest workload in the NBA. His usage percentage and assist percentage add up to 84.3, and no one else in the league even gets to 80.

    And recent ankle and heel injuries suggest he could use a little help in shouldering that burden.

    Of course, availability has never been Kyrie's calling card, but he's only missed three games since mid-November, when his suspension for sharing an antisemitic documentary on his social media accounts ended.

    And since his return, he's averaging 27.2 points, 5.3 assists and 3.4 threes, while shooting 39.9 percent from deep.

    With his experience playing alongside LeBron James and Kevin Durant, he should be able to adapt to Luka's high-usage game too. Think of this as a potentially supercharged version of the Dončić-Jalen Brunson duo from last season.

    Andy Bailey

Russell Westbrook - Indiana Pacers

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    Russell Westbrook
    Russell WestbrookMaddie Meyer/Getty Images

    This rumor just will not die. Not even Myles Turner's extension could kill it (according to ESPN's Bobby Marks, he's still eligible to be moved). Before the deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers need to finally consummate the long-discussed "Russell Westbrook and picks for Turner and Buddy Hield" deal.

    LeBron James is 38 years old and putting up numbers (30.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.1 assists) that would have him in the MVP discussion in most other seasons. There's no telling how much longer he'll be able to perform at this level, so L.A. needs to give him a competitive roster now.

    There simply isn't enough shooting around him (the Lakers are 30th in threes per 100 possessions and 26th in three-point percentage), and Hield and Turner both address that need. The former's career marks for threes per game (3.1) and three-point percentage (40.1) are matched only by Stephen Curry, and the latter is hitting 39.3 percent of his attempts this season.

    That alone would dramatically change the Lakers' outlook for the rest of this season and a potential playoff run, but Turner would also unlock something that helped L.A. win the championship in 2020.

    That particular Lakers team could surround LeBron with decent floor spacers, but it could also bully opponents inside with Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee. Turner brings back a similar element and moves Anthony Davis to his preferred position, while also being able to shoot.

    Yes, the two first-round picks Indiana is insisting on (2027 and 2029) would exhaust L.A.'s already barren cupboard of assets, but the West is wide open. Even below .500, the Lakers are in striking range of the play-in tournament.

    If they can escape that, a LeBron-led team with a healthy AD and fringe All-Star supporting players could be the one every high seed wants to avoid in the first round.

    Andy Bailey