Updated Trade Target Lists for Every NBA Team

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterFebruary 12, 2021

Updated Trade Target Lists for Every NBA Team

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    A lot can change in the NBA landscape in just a few weeks.

    With the ripples of the James Harden trade finally beginning to settle, now a Derrick Rose deal to the New York Knicks is the latest dose of player movement.

    We also can start to trust team stats, where new weaknesses are discovered or old ones can be confirmed.

    With the trade deadline drawing ever closer, NBA teams' needs are continually evolving as we begin to separate hot starts from true contenders. Because of this, it's time to update every team's trade target list.

Atlanta Hawks

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
    • Pascal Siakam
    • Bradley Beal
    • George Hill

    While Ben Simmons would have been a perfect backcourt fit for Trae Young and the Hawks, the 76ers' surge to the top of the East likely means he's off-limits.

    Siakam would still provide Atlanta with a safe long-term answer at power forward with John Collins entering restricted free agency, where his value could reach close to max levels. Siakam can't become a free agent until 2024 and has rebounded after a slow start, with averages now up to 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals.

    He's not the outside shooter Collins is, but he is the superior overall player and a willing ball mover.

    Atlanta should constantly be checking on Beal's availability with the amount of young talent it can offer in return, but making a play for Hill would be a more realistic option.

    Hill could start alongside Young, serve as his backup or really fit anywhere in the Hawks backcourt. He's a proven playoff vet, terrific outside shooter (47.5 percent of catch-and-shoot threes this season) and would be another mentor for Young to lean on.

Boston Celtics

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    John Raoux/Associated Press
    • Nikola Vucevic
    • Julius Randle
    • Kyle Anderson

    Assuming the Celtics aren't ready to hit the panic button on Kemba Walker (although maybe they should be), Boston's focus should be on the frontcourt.

    Vucevic would be an upgrade over Tristan Thompson, giving the Celtics a center who can shoot threes and create for others. He's having a career year (23.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 41.7 percent shooting from three) for a sinking Magic team, and Vucevic's $26 million salary fits into Boston's massive trade exception from the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade.

    Randle brings an offensive upgrade at power forward over Daniel Theis to the Celtics' starting lineup and is also enjoying his best season with 22.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists and a 38.2 percent mark from three. Like Vucevic, Randle's $18.9 million deal can be absorbed by Boston.

    Anderson would be a more affordable option, a pass-happy combo forward who would help Boston's 29th-ranked assist rate (54.0 percent) this season.

Brooklyn Nets

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    John Amis/Associated Press
    • P.J. Tucker
    • Nerlens Noel
    • JaVale McGee

    It's not difficult to identify Brooklyn's needs.

    Since trading for James Harden, the Nets possess the worst defense in the entire NBA (119.4 rating). Brooklyn needs to be targeting any and all role players on cheapish contracts who can come in and provide a pulse on the defensive end.

    Getting P.J. Tucker to reunite with Harden would be a dream target. The Nets can use Spencer Dinwiddie's deal to match up salaries and still possess a collection of second-round picks to use as collateral.

    Noel and McGee are two proven rim protectors each making $5 million or less this season. Both would be huge upgrades over DeAndre Jordan at center.

    Noel is holding opponents to 44.6 percent shooting at the basket, with McGee not far behind at 50 percent. Both rank ahead of two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert (51.8 percent), and well above Jordan's mark of 60.7 percent opponent success rate.

    All three would do wonders for Brooklyn's league-worst defense.

Charlotte Hornets

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press
    • Ivica Zubac
    • Jonas Valanciunas
    • Mo Bamba

    The Hornets' primary area of need hasn't changed from our last list, as finding a franchise center to pair with LaMelo Ball, P.J. Washington, Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges and others should be a priority.

    With Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo both set to become free agents this offseason, Charlotte needs someone who can step in and help make a playoff push this year while also keeping the job for years to come.

    Zubac has been demoted to a bench role behind Serge Ibaka this season, but he's still been extremely productive (14.7 points, 12.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 67.0 percent shooting per 36 minutes). Putting together a trade base with Devonte' Graham and Zubac makes too much sense not to happen.

    Valanciunas is the best win-now option at age 28, and the nine-year vet is putting up a career-best 15.9 points to go along with 10.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in his 27.1 minutes per game. He'd bring some toughness to Charlotte along with the experience of five previous playoff runs.

    Bamba is more of a project, but at 22, he has the highest upside of this list. Orlando refuses to give him proper time to develop, a mistake that could pay off for Charlotte.

Chicago Bulls

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press
    • Lonzo Ball
    • Patrick Beverley
    • Frank Ntilikina

    While the Bulls defense has improved mightily over the past few weeks, getting another guard to come in and complement Coby White and Zach LaVine in the rotation would be a welcomed boost.

    Ball makes sense next to White and/or LaVine, as both are scorers at heart who could continue to develop their offensive games playing next to a pass-first point guard. Following a slow start, Ball has been terrific lately, averaging 16.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals while hitting 50.0 percent of his three-pointers over his last seven games.

    Beverley is a Chicago native who can still defend at a high level and is shooting a career-best 41.4 percent of his threes. He'd serve as a terrific defensive mentor for White and bring the energy in practice every day.

    Ntilikina would be a buy-low option, now buried on a surprisingly deep Knicks guard rotation. He's still just 22 with elite defensive potential, a project that Billy Donovan and his coaching staff should be glad to take on.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press
    • John Collins
    • Lauri Markkanen
    • Any compensation of value for Andre Drummond

    The Cavaliers now have their cornerstones at four different positions, with Darius Garland (point guard), Collin Sexton (shooting guard), Isaac Okoro (small forward) and Jarrett Allen (center) all 22 years or younger.

    The next step is to find a young power forward to fit the team's core, all while looking for trade partners for Kevin Love.

    Collins is an explosive athlete who brings the necessary floor-spacing next to Allen. He's had to take a step back in usage and shot attempts this season for a Hawks team that spent big money in free agency yet was unable to come to terms on a contract extension for Collins himself.

    Markkanen is another interesting young power forward who didn't sign a new deal with the Chicago Bulls after a negotiation period. He doesn't bring the bag of tricks on offense like Collins but is averaging a career-best 19.1 points and shooting 51.4 percent overall and 39.6 percent from three.

    Finding a trade partner for Drummond is important as well. He's no longer in the franchise's future plans with Allen on board, so getting anything before the 27-year-old hits free agency is a plus.

Dallas Mavericks

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press
    • Buddy Hield
    • Otto Porter Jr.
    • Andre Drummond

    A 12-14 record actually seems generous for the Mavericks, who have struggled in numerous areas all season.

    Dallas currently ranks dead last in team three-point shooting (33.8 percent), an area Hield could immediately step in and help fix.

    The 28-year-old is nailing 42.0 percent of his pull-up threes this season and should only improve his catch-and-shoot numbers while playing alongside a passing talent like Luka Doncic.

    Porter and Drummond each carry expiring contracts of $28 million or more, giving Dallas the opportunity to add talent now and wipe away some future money before free agency hits.

    Porter (11.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 40.0 percent from three) helps improve the Mavs' outside attack, while Drummond digs Dallas out of its 27th-ranked rebounding slot (48.0 percent).

Denver Nuggets

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Just like in our previous list, Lowry remains a premier target for a Nuggets team still trying to find its footing in the Western Conference.

    A 13-11 record is a disappointment coming off a strong bubble performance, but a trusted veteran like Lowry could help turn things around.

    At 34, Lowry is still playing at a high level with averages of 17.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.0 steals. His stamina remains high (34.8 minutes per game), even after eight previous playoff runs. A Lowry-Jamal Murray backcourt would be one of the NBA's best.

    If the Nuggets can't make a big splash with Lowry, finding a defense-minded big man behind Nikola Jokic would help. Jokic remains a poor rim protector despite his incredible offensive game, and a veteran like McGee or Davis would make for a well-rounded center position.

Detroit Pistons

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
    • Jarrett Culver
    • Gary Trent Jr.
    • Mavin Bagley III

    Despite their ability to terrorize some of the NBA's best teams, the Pistons are still lottery-bound and need to target young players with upside to come in and help boost the rebuild.

    Culver's minutes have been cut in Minnesota this season, a product of adding No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards and giving Malik Beasley a four-year, $60 million deal. Just 21 and in his second season, Culver carries strong potential as both a scorer and defender. At 6'6", he can become Detroit's shooting guard or small forward of the future.

    Trent is thriving as a starter in Portland with CJ McCollum sidelined, putting up 19.4 points on 43.6 percent shooting from three. At age 22, he'd fit in nicely beside Killian Hayes in the Pistons backcourt for the next decade.

    Bagley has started all 24 of his games for the Kings this season, finally showing the durability needed in Year 3 to help justify his draft position. He doesn't pass the ball or play high-level defense yet, but Bagley's size, scoring ability and age (21) should tempt a team like Detroit to trade for him, especially if they can somehow get rid of Blake Griffin's contract.

Golden State Warriors

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press
    • Bradley Beal
    • Buddy Hield
    • JaVale McGee

    At 13-12, the Warriors are at a crossroads between being patient by developing James Wiseman or flipping him for immediate help for a core now in their 30s.

    If Golden State is cool with shopping Wiseman, Beal would push Stephen Curry and company back up the West standings.

    A package of Wiseman and the Minnesota Timberwolves' 2021 first-round pick should be enough to at least get the Wizards to consider a Beal trade, giving Golden State the most potent offensive backcourt in the NBA once again.

    Hield is a cheaper option at shooting guard, one that wouldn't cost the Warriors Wiseman or the Wolves' pick. He'd more than keep the seat warm for Klay Thompson's return next year, with a unit of Curry, Hield and Thompson forming a three-headed monster from beyond the arc.

    Center is suddenly an area of need as well with injuries piling up among big men. McGee, a two-time champion with the Warriors, could find his way back to the Bay and fill the role of rim-running big man and paint protector in Golden State's rotation.

Houston Rockets

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
    • Julius Randle
    • Lauri Markkanen
    • Kyle Kuzma

    With P.J. Tucker likely getting traded or leaving Houston in free agency this offseason, the Rockets need to focus on finding his replacement at power forward.

    Randle is a playmaking 4 that would help boost the Rockets' 23rd-ranked assist rate (58.3 percent), and his rebounding (career-high 10.9 per game) brings life to a Houston squad that ranks next-to-last in glass cleaning (47.7 percent). A Texas native who's bounced around in the NBA for the past four years, Randle could finally find his basketball home close to where he grew up.

    Markkanen brings floor spacing for John Wall and Victor Oladipo, and the Rockets would have the right to match any offer he receives in restricted free agency this offseason.

    Kuzma deserves a crack at a full-time starting power forward job in the NBA at some point, with Houston serving as a potential home. The 25-year-old is shooting a career-high 37.1 percent from three this season.

Indiana Pacers

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    John Raoux/Associated Press
    • Evan Fournier
    • Kelly Oubre Jr.
    • Terrence Ross

    Caris LeVert has a bright future in Indiana, but we don't know when or if he'll be available to play this season. For this reason, the Pacers should be targeting wings on expiring deals, giving them a scoring punch while LeVert makes his way back to the court.

    With the Magic's season circling the drain, expect Fournier's name to pop up in trade talks. The 28-year-old is on an expiring $17 million deal and is pouring in 17.8 points and 3.6 assists per game. At 6'7", he can play either wing position, giving the Pacers flexibility with the hopeful returns of LeVert and T.J. Warren.

    Oubre is another scorer who fits the expiring deal criteria here. He's finally starting to play better with the Golden State Warriors (20.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 47.4 percent from three over his last six games), although his on/off rating for the reason (minus-15.0) is still dreadful. If the Warriors don't view him as a fit, the Pacers should make an offer.

    Going back to Orlando, Ross has a contract that runs until 2023 but decreases by $1 million each year. With three years and $37.5 million remaining, Ross is a solid value as a scorer on the wing.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Derick Hingle/Associated Press
    • Eric Bledsoe
    • Lonzo Ball
    • Devonte' Graham

    Finding another ball-handler and playmaker to make life easier for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George should be the goal here, as the Clippers are down to 22nd in assist rate (58.6 percent) this season.

    While Derrick Rose topped the Clippers' trade target list a few weeks ago, his move to the New York Knicks means pivoting to Ball or Bledsoe instead.

    Ball gets to go back to L.A. here if the Clips can strike a deal with the Pelicans, although his recent surge in play may have priced him out of what they can afford to offer in return.

    Bledsoe, a former Clipper and talented defender who discovered his three-point shot this season (40.3 percent success rate on 5.6 attempts per game), should be more attainable.

    If matching salaries is a problem, Graham and his $1.7 million contract will be easy to move. The 25-year-old is averaging 14.3 points and 5.9 assists for the Hornets, although his role is slowly being taken over by LaMelo Ball.

    Again, a Graham-Ivica Zubac trade base makes too much sense not to happen here.

Los Angeles Lakers

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    Brandon Dill/Associated Press
    • Kyle Anderson
    • Hassan Whiteside
    • Wayne Ellington

    With no major needs, the Lakers should instead be searching for rotation veterans who can come in and provide depth.

    Anderson, 27, is an extremely versatile combo forward who's averaging 12.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists as a starter with the Grizzlies this season. With seemingly every Lakers game going into overtime now, L.A. could use his ball-handling to help limit LeBron James' usage before the playoffs.

    Whiteside plays the 2019-20 Dwight Howard role for the Lakers as a big body who can come into the game and rebound at a high level.

    Ellington has hit 52 of his first 106 three-point attempts this season (49.1 percent), tied with Joe Harris for third overall in the NBA. Some contender will surely pry Ellington out of Detroit, especially with him playing on a $2.6 million deal.

Memphis Grizzlies

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press
    • Miles Bridges
    • Kevin Huerter
    • Kevin Knox II

    We're sticking with Bridges at No. 1 for the Grizzlies here, as the thought of a starting job next to Ja Morant is too tantalizing to move away from yet.

    Since Bridges has become a lob favorite of LaMelo Ball in Charlotte, this dream may soon die, unless the Hornets don't want to commit long-term money to someone who plays the same positions as Gordon Hayward and P.J. Washington.

    Huerter has thrived as a part-time starter in Atlanta, putting up 12.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists and shooting 45.5 percent from three in 12 games next to Trae Young.

    With Cam Reddish and Bogdan Bogdanovic also in the mix at shooting guard, the Grizzlies should try to steal Huerter out of Atlanta if they can.

    Knox would be a project for Memphis' player development program, one that's since produced positive results from essentially every other player on the roster. The ninth overall pick in 2018, Knox has fallen out of the Knicks rotation but is still just 21.

Miami Heat

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    Marta Lavandier/Associated Press
    • Bradley Beal
    • Victor Oladipo
    • DeMar DeRozan

    While the Heat are slowly creeping back into the playoff picture thanks to the strong play of Jimmy Butler, Miami still needs to target a third star if it can get one.

    Beal is still the main prize here if the Wizards ever make him available, as sending back a package based around Tyler Herro could interest Washington as well.

    Oladipo has looked good this season following years of injuries, averaging 19.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals. Miami likely won't want to give up too much for the free-agent-to-be, although getting Oladipo for a playoff run this year would certainly help.

    DeRozan is another big-time scorer and playmaker on an expiring deal, and he's putting up 20.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists.

    For a Heat squad that ranks just 26th in total offense, all three would help push Miami back toward the Finals.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Nell Redmond/Associated Press
    • David Nwaba
    • Alec Burks
    • Nerlens Noel

    Like the Los Angeles Lakers, the Bucks should be looking for talent on near-minimum deals who can come in and fill a rotation role.

    Nwaba is a feisty and versatile defender that could help a Milwaukee team that's taken a huge step back defensively this season. If and when the Bucks meet the Brooklyn Nets in the playoffs, they'll need wing defenders like Nwaba to stick on players like James Harden and Kyrie Irving for stretches.

    Burks is more offensive-minded as a 6'6" wing who's averaging 13.1 points on 45.2 percent shooting from three this season. He'd be an excellent sixth man and spark plug off the bench.

    Noel gives the Bucks a rim protector behind Brook Lopez, one that's a change-of-pace big from Bobby Portis.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
    • Lauri Markkanen
    • Pascal Siakam
    • P.J. Tucker

    The good news? Karl-Anthony Towns is finally back and healthy for the Wolves.

    The bad news? At 6-19 overall, Minnesota has been the worst team in basketball and is already seven games out of the playoffs.

    Finding a young power forward to put next to Towns should be the goal, with Markkanen serving as a fascinating option. Aged 23 and about to become a restricted free agent, he's got a chance to become a floor-spacing big next to Towns for a long time.

    Siakam, 26, isn't quite as young but is far more established. An All-Star starter last year, Siakam is a talented defender who can help make up for a lot of Towns' shortcomings if Minnesota can convince Toronto to let him go.

    Trading for Tucker seems questionable given his age (35), but he'd go a long way in establishing a culture in Minnesota. If the Wolves can re-sign him, Tucker would be the perfect defensive-minded three-point shooting power forward next to Towns.

New Orleans Pelicans

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press
    • Gary Trent Jr.
    • P.J. Tucker
    • Boston's trade exception

    The Pelicans backcourt could look quite different after the trade deadline, with one or a combination of Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe and J.J. Redick possibly on the move.

    Keeping Ball and moving the other two would be the right call for a young Pelicans team, especially if David Griffin and company can get Trent to come in and take Bledsoe's place in the starting lineup.

    Averaging 14.0 points and knocking down 43.0 percent of his threes this season, Trent is the floor-spacer the Pelicans need after ranking 21st in three-point accuracy thus far.

    Tucker helps fix New Orleans' 25th-ranked defense and could serve as a mentor to Zion Williamson off the bench.

    The Pelicans can grab a chunk of Boston's trade exception ($13 million) by trading Redick to the Celtics, which would be a value asset that can be used later down the line.

New York Knicks

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press
    • Matisse Thybulle
    • Jarrett Culver
    • Troy Brown Jr.

    Tom Thibodeau plus Thybulle equals future DPOY.

    That should be the goal if the Knicks can get the 23-year-old out of Philly, anyways.

    After a strong rookie season, Thybulle has gotten his minutes cut with the additions of all the new wings on the Sixers, losing whatever offensive improvements he had made. The Knicks should be able to offer a bigger role and guidance from one of the league's best defensive coaches.

    Culver is another young wing who has watched his role decrease, this time in Minnesota. Putting him between R.J. Barrett and Obi Toppin would be a fun, young trio to build around for the Knicks.

    The same idea applies to Brown, although his ceiling isn't quite as high. The 21-year-old is barely getting any run on a dreadful Wizards team and should be looking for anyone to give him a bigger role.

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press
    • Jaxson Hayes
    • Mo Bamba
    • Robert Williams III

    With young talent in the backcourt and on the wings, the Thunder should focus on finding their center of the future. Al Horford is in place as the perfect mentor for guys that need another year or two of seasoning.

    Hayes, 20, has mostly looked lost in his brief NBA career, but the 2019 No. 8 overall pick has barely eclipsed a full season of play (83 career games). The raw talent and athleticism is there in his 6'11" frame, although he still needs to figure out how best to use it.

    With Steven Adams under contract until 2023, the Pelicans may be willing to move Hayes for a pick.

    Bamba has elite shot-blocking potential with his 7'10" wingspan, yet the Magic are dead set on playing their vets in what's become a lost season. The 22-year-old has the tools to become an effective three-point shooter along with his defensive ceiling.

    Getting Williams out of Boston may be trickier, as he's carved out a strong role off the bench behind Tristan Thompson. If the Celtics go all-in for a premier big man at the deadline (Nikola Vucevic?), Williams could become available. The 23-year-old is averaging 14.4 points, 13.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per 36 minutes while shooting 72.3 percent overall.

Orlando Magic

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    Brandon Dill/Associated Press
    • Cam Reddish
    • Anfernee Simons
    • Cedi Osman

    With injuries consuming their season, the Magic need to embrace resetting the roster while eyeing younger guards and wings.

    Reddish has struggled during his sophomore season in Atlanta (36.3 percent shooting overall, 25.5 percent from three), but the 21-year-old has the talent to blossom in a consistent role. He has terrific size on the wing at 6'8" and could evolve into an All-Defense team member to go along with his scoring potential.

    Simons has become a walking bucket off the Blazers' bench, even if the ball sticks in his hands at times. The 21-year-old is shooting a career-high 40.0 percent from three, and the Magic have some wings (Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross) whom should interest Portland in return.

    Osman got off to a strong start this season for Cleveland (13.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his first 17 games), but he has fallen off as Cavs get players back from injuries.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press
    • George Hill
    • Lou Williams
    • JJ Redick

    While the original trade target list had the Sixers aiming for Bradley Beal, an East-leading 18-7 record means Philly should keep its core intact.

    Hill could serve as a secondary ball-handler and push Ben Simmons off the ball for stretches, giving the Sixers a new dimension to their offense. He's playoff-tested and still one of the better three-point shooting guards in the league.

    Williams is a former 76er that would give the current bench a jolt of energy. The 34-year-old has turned his play around as of late (15.3 points and 4.4 assists while shooting 47.8 percent from three over his last eight games) and would give Philly's title chances a major boost.

    Philadelphia should have never let Redick leave in the first place, as the veteran sharpshooter averaged 17.6 points on 40.7 percent from three during his two seasons as a Sixer. Spacing the floor has been the key to unlocking Joel Embiid this season, and getting another vet off the bench should only help his continued rise to MVP status.

Phoenix Suns

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press
    • Justin Holiday
    • Alec Burks
    • Reggie Bullock

    At 15-9 overall, the Suns don't have a ton of needs, but adding a few shooters to the rotation would help their 18th-ranked accuracy rate from deep (36.0 percent).

    Holiday has flown under the radar in Indiana, but he's putting together the best season of his career. The 31-year-old wing is averaging 11.3 points while shooting a career-high 43.1 percent from three and can defend multiple positions.

    Burks has been one of the top-shooting sixth men in the league, giving the Knicks 13.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists while hitting 50.0 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes.

    Bullock is another Knicks guard whom the Suns could use. The 6'6" veteran has started all 21 of his games for New York this season and is knocking down 39.5 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes.

    On a still mostly young Suns core, all three would be welcome additions.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press
    • Will Barton
    • P.J. Tucker
    • JaVale McGee

    The Trail Blazers attempted to bolster their defense this offseason, but injuries have caused them to fall to 28th leaguewide on that end of the floor (115.7 rating). They should aim to find wings that can guard multiple positions or a defensive anchor who can rotate with Enes Kanter until Jusuf Nurkic returns.

    Barton could become available if the Nuggets want to carve out a bigger role for Michael Porter Jr. The 30-year-old is averaging 11.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and hitting a career-best 39.6 percent of his threes.

    Tucker can start at power forward or play small-ball center, bringing a toughness to a Blazers defense that desperately needs it.

    McGee is a low-priced ($4.2 million) option as a rim-protecting center, one that now has three championship rings to his name.

Sacramento Kings

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press
    • Aaron Gordon
    • Mo Bamba
    • Matisse Thybulle

    While the Kings have been a pleasant surprise at 12-12, their league-worst defense (116.6 rating) is holding them back from becoming a serious playoff contender.

    Gordon would be the kind of switchable, athletic defender Sacramento needs when he returns from an ankle sprain. He's still young enough (25) to fit the timeline of De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III and Tyrese Haliburton.

    Meanwhile, Bamba could give them a premier shot-blocking threat in the paint and provide insurance at center if Richaun Holmes walks in free agency.

    Thybulle's offensive game is non-existent at this point, but he's already a defensive menace and could one day turn into a Mikal Bridges type of talent.

San Antonio Spurs

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press
    • Andre Drummond
    • John Collins
    • Julius Randle

    With an 8.4 rebound percentage (almost half of his career peak), LaMarcus Aldridge is going downhill fast at age 35. The Spurs rank 22nd in rebound percentage this season and could use a younger center that can dominate the boards to complement the team's guard and wing collection.

    Drummond is putting up 17.9 points, 13.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks in only 29.4 minutes per game for the Cavaliers this season. The 27-year-old remains one of the league's premier forces on the glass.

    The Cavs should be willing to part with the free-agent-to-be after trading for Jarrett Allen, and Drummond would serve as an upgrade over Aldridge.

    Collins would cost more in a deal, but he's a superior outside shooter who's four years younger than Drummond. He'd also help balance out a Spurs team that's loaded with perimeter talent.

    Randle is the best passer of the bunch and perhaps the best combination of rebounder and outside shooter. San Antonio should be pursuing younger frontcourt talent and look to move on from Aldridge.

Toronto Raptors

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press
    • Robin Lopez
    • Ivica Zubac
    • Andre Drummond

    The Aron Baynes experiment in Toronto should officially be considered a bust. The Raptors should instead be looking for someone to come in and split minutes with Chris Boucher.

    Lopez could become available if (when?) the 6-16 Washington Wizards officially punt on the season, as he continues to be a solid defender who's finishing a career-high 60.5 percent of his shots this season.

    Zubac is on a terrific contract (three years, $21 million) and is a high-efficiency shooter who can defend and set good screens. The 23-year-old would have room to grow next to Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet.

    It would be trickier to match salary for Drummond, but he's by far the best rebounder and passer of the group, one who raises Toronto's ceiling the highest.

Utah Jazz

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press
    • Devonte' Graham
    • David Nwaba
    • Danuel House Jr.

    Mike Conley has been terrific for Utah this season, but his upcoming free agency means the Jazz should look to add a young backup behind him just in case. It would also help to reduce the load on Donovan Mitchell, who had to go nuclear in the postseason only for the Jazz to still lose in the first road.

    Graham, 25, has a sparkling on/off rating of plus-11.1 this season for the Charlotte Hornets and should thrive with shooters all around him in Utah.

    Getting another wing defender for a possible playoff matchup against the likes of LeBron James, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard or Luka Doncic would be important as well.

    Nwaba and House can both help force opposing stars into tough shots and make them work for their points, which would help to relieve Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic of such duties.

Washington Wizards

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    Hector Amezcua/Associated Press

    The Wizards continue to need healthy bodies at center, especially if they hold on to Bradley Beal and try to make the most of a miserable season to this point.

    Whiteside is on an expiring $2.3 million contract, so he's an easy salary match for Washington. Despite playing a reduced role with the Kings, his per-36 numbers are still solid (18.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.0 blocks). Getting a starting job back could serve as motivation, especially for a guy chasing his next deal.

    McGee is another affordable option, a former Wizard who could finish off lobs from Beal and Russell Westbrook while serving as more of a vertical threat than Robin Lopez on both ends.

    The Wizards should point to Westbrook's strong play as reason for some team to come trade for him before he inevitably falls back into another shooting slump. The 32-year-old is averaging 4.9 turnovers per game, and Washington is 9.2 points per 100 possessions worse with Westbrook in the game this season.

    If the Wizards can get off Westbrook's contract by (nearly) any means, they should.


    Stats via Basketball Reference and NBA.com and up to date through Tuesday's games unless otherwise noted.