Every NBA Team's Most Untouchable Player Ahead of the Trade Deadline

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterJanuary 18, 2020

Every NBA Team's Most Untouchable Player Ahead of the Trade Deadline

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    With the NBA trade deadline just weeks away, every team should have its players separated into three categories.

    The first is players it would be fine to part with, primarily those with inflated contracts or not producing up to expectations.

    The second is players the team likes but would be willing to offer in a trade so long as it gets a good player or draft pick(s) in return.

    The third is the players on this list: the untouchables. They are either the focal points of their respective franchises or project to become one in the near future. Some are already MVP candidates, while others are rookies just starting to break out.

    While there's sure to be a flurry of player movement before Feb. 6, the following stars are nearly guaranteed to stay put.

Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young

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    Ned Dishman/Getty Images

    Runner-Up: De'Andre Hunter

    While Atlanta has been among the most disappointing teams in the association, Trae Young is on his way to superstardom.

    Increasing his scoring by double digits from an impressive rookie season, Young is up to third in the NBA at 29.1 points a game. The 21-year-old is also fourth in assists (8.5) and has the league's fourth-highest usage rate (34.0 percent). Only James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic are asked to do more for their respective teams.

    Atlanta has to decide which members of its young core can complement Young and which may end up as trade bait.

    John Collins (17.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.2 blocks) looks like a building piece, and No. 4 overall pick De'Andre Hunter has the tools to make an impact in nearly every area of the game. Cam Reddish and Kevin Huerter should also be out of trade talks for now.

    The Hawks' universe revolves around Young, however, and his passing chops should be a major recruiting tool for an Atlanta team that leads the NBA in cap space this summer.

Boston Celtics: Kemba Walker

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    Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

    Runner-Up: Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown

    While it may seem like Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown would be Boston's most untouchable player, it's tough to list either given that they've been thrust into trade rumors in the past.

    With Anthony Davis off the trade market, a superstar would likely have to formally request out (Karl-Anthony Towns?) before Boston would make one of its young stars available.

    The one player who seems safe no matter what? Kemba Walker.

    He signed a four-year, $141 million max deal this past summer to be the new face of the franchise sans Kyrie Irving, so there's no reason to move Walker anytime soon. He leads the Celtics in scoring at 22.1 points per game and takes immense pressure off Boston's young core.

    After dumping former franchise hero Isaiah Thomas in a trade in 2017, the Celtics really wouldn't look good to players around the league if they shipped off Walker anytime soon.

    While it would take an incredible amount of return to move Tatum or Brown, Walker is the ultimate untouchable in Boston for now.

Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant

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    Runner-Up: Kyrie Irving

    The Nets should be in no hurry to execute a franchise-altering trade, even if Kyrie Irving already feels like the team needs help.

    He recently returned to the court following a shoulder injury that sidelined him for nearly two months, and the 27-year-old is looking to bump the Nets up the playoff standings. The postseason looks like a lock in a weak Eastern Conference even though Irving missed time and Kevin Durant is out for the year, meaning Brooklyn is playing with house money.

    Durant's and Irving's decisions to sign four-year deals with the Nets last summer should buy them a few seasons of time before any trade rumors pop up, even with Irving's bridge-burning tendencies.

    The Nets have the player assets (Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert) to execute a trade for a third star next to Durant and Irving, but they should wait until both can take the court before deciding if it's worth gutting the roster.

    Consider both untouchable, even with Dinwiddie's extremely strong play (23.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 7.1 assists as a starter) in Irving's absence.

Charlotte Hornets: Devonte' Graham

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    Runner-Up: P.J. Washington

    The Hornets have lost six games in a row and are 14 games below .500, yet they're not completely out of the Eastern Conference playoffs (five games behind the 8th place Brooklyn Nets).

    The temptation to sacrifice young talent to bring in a star and make a playoff push may be tempting, but the Hornets should instead focus on the core at hand.

    Leading this group is Devonte' Graham, who should be a finalist for the league's Most Improved Player award.

    At 24 and in his second season, Graham is leading the Hornets in scoring (18.7 points per game), assists (7.7) and made three-pointers (3.6). Only James Harden (5.0) and Davis Bertans (3.7) make more shots outside the arc per game.

    While Graham should be untouchable, rookie forward P.J. Washington (12.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 41.7 3P%) and second-year wing Miles Bridges (12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists) should be off the table as well.

Chicago Bulls: Wendell Carter Jr.

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Coby White

    While Zach LaVine is Chicago's only chance at an All-Star this season, even he may not be safe at the deadline.

    Going back to the draft, The Athletic's Darnell Mayberry wrote, "There's a growing belief around the league that the Bulls are open to trading anyone and anything not named Lauri Markkanen or Wendell Carter Jr.”.

    This two-man list may actually be cut in half given Markkanen's huge slip in his third season. Instead, consider Carter the only off-limits member of the Bulls.

    Before suffering an ankle injury that will keep him out past the deadline, Carter was putting up 11.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks and shooting 53.7 percent while serving as a defensive anchor. The Bulls are 7.0 points per 100 possessions better with him in the game this season, meaning any slim hopes they had at a playoff run are essentially over.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Darius Garland

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Kevin Porter Jr.

    The Utah Jazz are 10-1 since acquiring Jordan Clarkson from the Cavs, which Cleveland should advertise when talking trades of other veterans.

    Kevin Love's name will continue to dominate trade rumors, and Tristan Thompson would be a great pickup for contenders in need of a high-motor defensive center. John Henson and Brandon Knight are on expiring contracts and could be rotation pieces as well.

    While the organization is still high on second-year guard Collin Sexton (team-high 18.8 points per game), Darius Garland best represents the future of the franchise.

    The No. 5 overall pick in 2019, Garland is up to 16.0 points, 5.6 assists, 1.2 steals and splitting at .462/.349/.857 over his last 10 games.

    Fellow rookie Kevin Porter Jr., meanwhile, may carry a higher ceiling than Sexton. The 19-year-old showed the ability to score, create and defend with his 6'4", 203-pound frame before suffering a knee injury.

    Sexton's tunnel vision and shooting guard skills in a point guard's body may force the Cavs to choose between him and Garland. If this becomes the case, the choice is easy.

Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic

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    Richard W. Rodriguez/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Kristaps Porzingis

    There's no player in the NBA the Mavs should trade Luka Doncic for. He's already that good.

    A serious MVP contender who's not yet old enough to order a beer, Doncic has the potential to be the best player in Mavericks history and is arguably the most talented the league has seen since LeBron James at the same age.

    The second-year guard/forward/offensive powerhouse is fourth in the NBA in scoring (28.8 points), third in assists (9.0) and third in usage (36.0 percent).

    Along with Kristaps Porzingis and a steady array of role players, Doncic has the Mavericks 11 games over .500 and sixth in the West, far ahead of where many projected they'd finish this season.

    If there was ever an untouchable player in trade talks, Doncic is it.

Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Jamal Murray

    Following a sluggish start to the season, it's safe to say Nikola Jokic is back to form.

    The 24-year-old center is averaging 22.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists and splitting at .554/.418/.816 over the last 22 games, displaying the diverse offensive game and playmaking ability that made him an All-Star last year.

    Both Jokic and Jamal Murray (22) are on long-term contracts and should be considered off-limits. Denver has a major trade piece in 21-year-old forward Michael Porter Jr. should it want to bring in another star, and Gary Harris, Malik Beasley and Monte Morris could be attractive pieces in a package as well.

    Given their production over the last few years, it's easy to forget how young the core of Jokic and Murray are. They once again have Denver in position to grab home-court advantage in the West playoffs and should be planted in the Rocky Mountains for years to come.

Detroit Pistons: Sekou Doumbouya

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Runner-Up: none

    Detroit is reportedly actively shopping Andre Drummond. Blake Griffin's contract (two years, $75 million after this year) means he's not going anywhere, although the Pistons would probably love to be able to move his deal as well.

    Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris and Tony Snell could all be moved to a contender, so who does that leave for Detroit?

    If the Pistons go full fire sale, Sekou Doumbouya should be the only player off-limits. The 15th overall pick in June, Doumbouya is locked in as a starter despite having just turned 19 in December.

    Over his past eight games, he is putting up 14.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals and shooting 41.4 percent from three. His 6'8", 230-pound frame carries an impressive 6'11" wingspan, resulting in dunks like this.

    In what's become a lost season for the Pistons, Doumbouya looks like a star in the making.

Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Klay Thompson

    D'Angelo Russell is likely safe on a league-worst 9-33 Warriors squad, but would anyone be shocked if he were traded?

    Instead, it's who's not playing for the Warriors now, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who can truly be considered safe.

    Both have secured lifetime passes in Golden State for as long as they desire with the contracts to prove it. Curry is still owed $88.7 million over the next two years, with Thompson scheduled to bring in $155 million in the next four.

    Can the same be said for Draymond Green? After agreeing to a four-year, $100 million extension, the 29-year-old has been far from his usual self. Not only are the raw numbers down (8.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 38.1 percent shooting), but the Warriors have been no better (plus-0.0 points per 100 possessions) with Green in the game.

    Consider only Curry and Thompson completely safe in Golden State.

Houston Rockets: James Harden

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    Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

    Runner-Up: Russell Westbrook (this season, at least)

    Is anyone really ever safe in Houston?

    It wasn't long ago that Chris Paul signed a four-year, $160 million extension and Carmelo Anthony was brought in to complete a big three with James Harden.

    While Harden isn't going anywhere, how comfortable can the other 14 players feel?

    The Russell Westbrook experiment will last at least one postseason, and Houston should hang on to PJ Tucker and Clint Capela for a playoff run (especially since there will be no Golden State Warriors to force the latter off the floor).

    Per usual, this team will go as far as Harden will carry it. The former MVP is averaging a league-high 37.2 points while also leading the association in usage rate (37.8 percent), value over replacement player (4.5), offensive win shares (6.9), win shares (8.5) and offensive box plus/minus (10.5).

    With no signs of slowing down and three years and $132 million left on his deal, Harden isn't leaving Houston.

Indiana Pacers

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Domantas Sabonis

    A number of players appear safe in Indiana.

    Victor Oladipo, expected back soon following a yearlong leg injury, isn't going to be traded. Domantas Sabonis was included in talks before agreeing to a four-year, $77 million extension before the season.

    Malcolm Brogdon (17.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 7.4 assists) has been great in the first season of a four-year deal.

    Myles Turner could become the centerpiece of a trade should Indiana make him available, as the 23-year-old center has seen drops in his scoring, rebounding, blocks and shooting percentage this season. The long-term frontcourt pairing of him and Sabonis doesn't seem like a good fit, with Turner the less productive of the two.

Los Angeles Clippers: Kawhi Leonard

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    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Paul George

    Any phone call to inquire about the services of Kawhi Leonard or Paul George should be treated as a prank at this point.

    Just getting settled in for what should become an annual championship run, both superstars are natives of the L.A. area and orchestrated their pairing together. Given the massive haul of assets the Clippers had to give up to bring the two on board (five first-round picks, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari), the team is heavily invested in this partnership for the foreseeable future.

    Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell are both averaging over 19.0 points per game off the bench and should be deemed too valuable to part with as well, unless Harrell makes it known he's planning to leave in free agency this summer.

    Should the Clippers make any deals before the deadline, look for Maurice Harkless, Ivica Zubac or Jerome Robinson to headline the outgoing talent.

Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Anthony Davis

    The only way LeBron James gets traded is if he storms into Jeanie Buss' office and demands one, and that's not going to happen.

    Any questions about his on-court chemistry with Anthony Davis should be dead, as the 26-year-old star forward ranks seventh in the NBA in scoring with 27.1 points per game.

    Unlike previous James-led teams, this Lakers squad shouldn't feel the need to add any significant talent before the deadline. Danny Green, Dwight Howard and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are executing their roles while letting the two superstars shine.

    While there's been talk of Kyle Kuzma in deals, the 24-year-old is important as a fill-in to the starting lineup when Davis needs a rest and is the Lakers' best remaining trade asset.

    Unless a team offers a player like Bogdan Bogdanovic or better, L.A. would be wise not to part with Kuzma or any other core member.

Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Jaren Jackson Jr.

    The playoff-bound Grizzlies (as of publication) are way ahead of schedule thanks to the play of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.

    Both are untouchable for good reason.

    Morant seems like a lock for Rookie of the Year. He is posting averages of 20.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 8.9 assists and splitting at .609/.444/.880 over his last seven games. His vision and athleticism are on par with a young Russell Westbrook, perhaps even more advanced at the same age.

    Jackson teases with what he can do vs. what his ceiling appears to be. Despite being in his second year, Jackson is about a month younger than Morant, and he is turning into an elite three-point shooter and rim protector. Only he, Karl-Anthony Towns and LaMarcus Aldridge are shooting better than 40.0 percent from three this season while blocking at least one shot per game.

    With Morant and Jackson off-limits, the Grizzlies should hold on to power forward Brandon Clarke (12.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 40.0 percent three-point shooting) and shooting guard Dillon Brooks (15.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.0 steals) as well.

    Memphis should be in no hurry to disrupt its young core.

Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Bam Adebayo

    As good as Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn and Justise Winslow are and can be, the Heat should only have two untouchables right now.

    The first, naturally, is Jimmy Butler.

    After he signed a four-year, $141 million max deal, Miami is his city. He's giving the Heat 20.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.9 steals per game, leading the team in both scoring and assists.

    The second player Miami should refuse to part with is Bam Adebayo. The 22-year-old center is one of only three players in the NBA this season (along with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Karl-Anthony Towns) to average at least 15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and one block per game.

    His skill set is far from a traditional center, as Adebayo can put the ball on the floor and run an offense like a guard.

    On a roster full of talent, it's Butler, Adebayo and then everyone else.

Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo

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    Sarah Stier/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Khris Middleton

    The NBA's reigning MVP has gotten even better.

    Giannis Antetokounmpo is arguably the league's best player, ranking second in NBA in scoring (30.1 points), sixth in rebounding (12.8) and first in plus/minus (plus-10.0 per game).

    On a 37-6 Bucks team with serious championship aspirations, he's the only untouchable player.

    That's no disrespect to Khris Middleton, who's having another All-Star-caliber year, but Antetokounmpo is in a tier of his own.

    That said, if Antetokounmpo refuses to sign a supermax extension this summer, do the Bucks consider trading him next year before his unrestricted free agency in 2021?

    For now, surrounding him with the best talent possible and going all-in for a title is all that matters.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns

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    Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Jarrett Culver

    Outside of Karl-Anthony Towns, anyone and everyone on the Wolves should be available.

    Andrew Wiggins is enjoying the best season of his career (22.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.0 blocks), but he has cooled off after a hot start and comes with a hefty contract.

    No. 6 overall pick Jarrett Culver has shown strong two-way potential but has struggled with his shot at times.

    Following a 10-8 start to the season, Minnesota has tumbled to 5-17 since, a combination of missing Towns because of a knee sprain and a 22nd-ranked offense.

    While there was talk that Towns is unhappy on the Timberwolves, having him under contract until 2024 means Minnesota should feel no pressure to part with its star center.

New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson

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    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    Runner-Up: Brandon Ingram

    Despite not yet playing an NBA game (although, soon!), Zion Williamson remains the most valuable piece of the Pelicans puzzle.

    We've seen Brandon Ingram greatly increase his trade value (25.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 40.6 3P%). Lonzo Ball (17.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.1 steals in his last 10 games before Thursday) has been really good as well.

    A max contract is likely coming to Ingram this summer with little reason for the Pelicans to trade the upcoming restricted free agent now. Ball's trade value is probably at an all-time high, and it would take a significant offer for New Orleans to move him with a major lob target set to make his debut.

    While Ingram and Ball are great, Williamson should soon remind everyone why he went No. 1.

New York Knicks: RJ Barrett

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    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    Runner-Up: Mitchell Robinson

    It may take some digging, but there are a few untouchables even on this Knicks roster.

    RJ Barrett is the future of the franchise and has become a far more efficient scorer of late. He'll need to develop his playmaking skills and fight off tunnel vision, but at 19 years old, he has plenty of time. He put up 19.0 points and 42.1 percent shooting from three over a recent six-game stretch.

    Mitchell Robinson should also be off-limits, as he's shown elite defensive potential and is averaging 15.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per 36 minutes while sporting a league-best 71.3 percent field-goal percentage.

    Outside of these two, the rest of the young core wouldn't fetch much in a trade anyway.

    Dennis Smith Jr. has been awful, Frank Ntilikina's lack of offensive improvement is worrisome and Kevin Knox II wavers between promising and completely lost.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

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    Runner-Up: Darius Bazley

    The deadline will be fascinating for OKC, as the Thunder could become buyers, sellers or both.

    Chris Paul is owed too much money ($85.6 million over the next two years) to be moved, and Steven Adams is once again playing a valuable role for a 23-18 team that seems playoff-bound.

    This kind of record screams buyer, but OKC has been in draft pick collection mode since the summer and could get more by trading impending free agent Danilo Gallinari.

    With so much uncertainty, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the only player who can turn his phone off on deadline day.

    The highlight of the Paul George trade, Gilgeous-Alexander is leading the Thunder with 20.0 points per game to go along with 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals.

    At 21, he represents the new face of a franchise far ahead of schedule.

Orlando Magic: Jonathan Isaac

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Markelle Fultz

    Although currently sidelined with a knee injury and taking just the sixth-most shots on the team, Jonathan Isaac is the future in Orlando.

    A power forward who's only a few steak dinners away from being able to play center full-time, Isaac averages 2.4 blocks per game, fourth in the NBA. At 22 and in his third year, he keeps improving his overall game and deserves a bigger role.

    If anything, Orlando should consider trading starting center and All-Star Nikola Vucevic for wing help and handing the keys over to Isaac if it wants to be more than the seventh or eighth seed in the playoffs every year.

    Fultz has also been awesome as of late, triple-doubling his way to a road win over the Los Angeles Lakers and looking more and more like a No. 1 overall pick.

    The Magic should treat Isaac and Fultz as the future and be willing to take calls on everyone else.

Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Ben Simmons

    The day may come when the Sixers have to choose between the playing styles of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to reach a championship level. For now, both are safe in Philly.

    Tobias Harris and his five-year, $180 million contract aren't going anywhere, and Josh Richardson has been a valuable wing following his trade from the Miami Heat.

    Al Horford has already popped up in trade rumors after he signed a four-year, $109 million pact this summer, and the Sixers would probably be better with a dynamic shooting guard instead should they end up pursuing a new home for the 33-year-old big man.

    Simmons is already an All-Star and has so much room to still improve, meaning any trade now could look terrible for Philly in a few years. The same could be said for Embiid, who has an MVP ceiling.

    Expect the Sixers to keep both, at least for another year.

Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Deandre Ayton

    Phoenix's hot start seems like a memory, and at 17-24, it seems lottery-bound once again.

    While the Suns could be a home for Kevin Love given his relationship with former teammate and current Phoenix general manager James Jones, they need to keep their two young stars out of trade talks.

    Devin Booker, somehow still 23 yet in his fifth season, continues to get better. His true shooting mark of 62.6 percent is a career best, as is his 20.7 player efficiency rating. Playing alongside Ricky Rubio has improved his shot selection, leading to a 26.2 points-per-game average even though he is taking the fewest shots since his rookie year.

    Deandre Ayton is a walking double-double at age 21 with room to grow as an outside shooter, passer and defender. While Phoenix messed up its 2018 No. 1 overall pick by taking Ayton over Luka Doncic, the former Arizona center can still become an annual All-Star.

Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard

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    Steve Dykes/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: CJ McCollum

    An 18-24 start to the season should mean the Blazers are willing to execute a franchise-altering trade—so long as Damian Lillard isn't involved.

    Lillard has the chance to be the best Blazer of all time and is under contract for the next five years. Trading him is out of the question, unless the thought of paying a 34-year-old Lillard $54.3 million in 2024-25 is too frightening.

    CJ McCollum is probably safe, as is Jusuf Nurkic while he works his way back from a broken leg.

    If the Blazers want to make a trade for Kevin Love, Danilo Gallinari or another big-name forward, they'd still have Zach Collins, Nassir Little and a collection of first-round picks to part with—assuming they want to keep Anfernee Simons on board.

Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley III

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    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: De'Aaron Fox

    Marvin Bagley III and De'Aaron Fox should be considered 1A and 1B in terms of importance to the Kings' future since they're top-five picks younger than 22.

    Each has missed time with injuries this season, and Sacramento is 15-26.

    Buddy Hield is likely sticking around after signing a four-year deal guaranteed for at least $86 million, and teams won't be lining up to trade for Harrison Barnes and his new $85 million contract.

    The most likely piece to be traded is small forward Bogdan Bogdanovic, an upcoming restricted free agent who could start for a number of NBA teams.

    With a sizable extension likely coming for Fox this summer, Sacramento may make some financial moves to clear future cap space.

San Antonio Spurs: Dejounte Murray

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Derrick White

    Do the Spurs have an untouchable player? Or should all 15 members be considered as such, given San Antonio's lack of in-season trades?

    At 17-22, the Spurs are in danger of missing the postseason—and could be in "blow it up" mode if Gregg Popovich wasn't still roaming the sideline.

    DeMar DeRozan can leave in free agency this summer, and the Spurs may want to get some value for him now before losing the main piece in the Kawhi Leonard trade for nothing.

    Dejounte Murray and Derrick White are the two most talented young players on the roster, and Murray can't be traded yet after agreeing to a four-year, $64 million extension before the start of the season.

    That makes Murray the only safe player on the roster, one that bears few resemblances to the powerhouses of yesteryear.

Toronto Raptors: Pascal Siakam

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    Runner-Up: Fred VanVleet

    After Pascal Siakam signed a four-year, $130 million max extension in October, it's safe to say he will stay in Toronto.

    Putting up a monster season with 24.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and shooting 39.1 percent from three, Siakam is reaching his potential at age 25.

    Outside of Siakam, no Raptor should be considered safe.

    Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet are all on expiring deals, and OG Anunoby is perhaps the team's best young trade asset.

    With the Raptors battling for home-court advantage in the East playoffs and looking to upgrade their roster to make it title repeat-worthy, only Siakam is guaranteed to stay in Toronto.

Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

    Runner-Up: Rudy Gobert

    Utah already kicked off trade season by dealing Dante Exum and two second-round picks to Cleveland for Jordan Clarkson—and has gone 10-1 since.

    That kind of surge may take the pressure off the Jazz to execute any more deals, especially for core pieces.

    Donovan Mitchell is the face of the franchise and is putting up career bests in points (24.8), rebounds (4.3) and assists per game (4.4) plus field-goal percentage (46.0 percent) and player efficiency rating (20.4).

    Utah won't dare part with Rudy Gobert either, as the 27-year-old center is going for a three-peat in Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal

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    Runner-Up: Rui Hachimura

    Bradley Beal's two-year, $72 million extension signed Oct. 17 makes him ineligible to be traded for six months, meaning he's untouchable until after the regular season ends.

    If not for the extension, Beal would be the biggest name on the trade market. He's scoring nearly twice as much as any other Wizard (27.6 points per game, fifth-highest in the NBA) while averaging a career-high 6.5 assists.

    With Beal out of talks, Washington should also look to keep rookie Rui Hachimura (13.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 48.2 FG%) and 22-year-old center Thomas Bryant (13.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.9 blocks).

    Teams will inevitably try to poach elite outside shooter Davis Bertans, who's second only to James Harden with 3.7 three-point makes per game on 43.4 percent shooting.


    All statistics accurate through Thursday.