The Player Every NBA Team Should Shop Ahead of 2022 Trade Deadline

Greg Swartz@@GregSwartzBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterDecember 17, 2021

The Player Every NBA Team Should Shop Ahead of 2022 Trade Deadline

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    Believe it or not, the NBA trade deadline is less than two months away, meaning we could begin to see some player movement in the not-so-distant future.

    While every squad is currently compiling its wish lists, it's also important to figure out which players to make available in certain deals.

    Whether it's shopping a young player in hopes of obtaining win-now help, selling high on a veteran for a rebuilding team, hoping to get off a bad contract or simply trying to find a better fit, these are the players all 30 teams should at least consider shopping before February 10.

Atlanta Hawks: PF Danilo Gallinari (with Cam Reddish)

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    The Hawks are reportedly shopping Cam Reddish per Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, and "have been searching around the league for a first-round pick."

    Despite this, Atlanta certainly doesn't need to trade Reddish, who has one year left on his rookie deal and is putting up career-best shooting numbers as an important reserve.

    He could be the key piece to a trade to bring in an additional star next to Trae Young and John Collins, however, but there would need to be a higher-priced player to salary-match with.

    This is where Gallinari becomes important, as the Hawks' backup power forward is still a lethal outside shooter (42.1 percent) who carries a unique contract.

    Only $5 million of his $21.5 million salary for 2022-23 is guaranteed per Spotrac, giving teams who trade for Gallinari plenty of flexibility. They can carve out some significant cap space by waiving him after this season, or they can let him play out the final season of his deal at the larger number.

    Gallinari would be the money base in any potential big trade, one in which Reddish could be used as the sweetener. Atlanta shouldn't dump Reddish just to dump him, but rather look for teams who would be interested in both players.

Boston Celtics: PG Dennis Schroder

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    Although he's been a valuable third scorer for the Celtics as both a starter and sixth man, there doesn't appear to be a future for Schroder in Boston if he hopes to cash in this summer.

    The 28-year-old point guard inked a one-year, $5.9 million deal with the Celtics after the market dried up this summer. Boston is already $6.3 million over the luxury tax this year, so giving Schroder a hefty new contract this offseason is probably unrealistic.

    The Athletic's Shams Charania reports that "rival teams expect the Celtics to be open to talks" given their future financial issues.

    Point-guard-needy teams will find it easy to match Schroder's contract, although Boston will be seeking win-now help in return.

Brooklyn Nets: PG Kyrie Irving

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The Nets will have a hard time trying to trade for another star-level player this season for a number of reasons, includes its lack of available big contracts for salary-matching purposes.

    Irving, who's making $34.9 million this year, is Brooklyn's best bet, and Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer writes that the team "has been open to discussing trades for Irving."

    Trading Irving will be extremely tricky, and moving him to a city with a vaccine mandate or stringent COVID-19 policies (New York, San Francisco or Toronto) is probably out of the question. Irving, who has opted not to be vaccinated against COVID-19, cannot play in Brooklyn's home games because of New York City's vaccine mandate and has been away from the team all season.

    Still, Irving was an All-NBA player last year and remains one of the most talented basketball players on the planet when he's on a court. He should be well rested, too.

    The seven-time All-Star would likely need to give his blessing for any team to agree to trade for him, with the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers serving as the most interesting options.

Charlotte Hornets: F Gordon Hayward

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    Matt Kelley/Associated Press

    Should the Hornets try to trade Hayward? No.

    Should they at least explore his market while looking to upgrade the center position? Yes.

    Charlotte has acquired a lot of perimeter talent with the additions of Kelly Oubre Jr. and rookie James Bouknight this offseason, with Oubre averaging 18.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals in his nine starts.

    Hayward is still the best playmaker of the trio, but is also the most expensive with a $29.9 million salary this year. If the Hornets can use his contract as a base to acquire a premier big man like Myles Turner, Christian Wood or Richaun Holmes, they should definitely consider it.

    Charlotte is also the worst defensive team in basketball, so any upgrades on that end using Hayward as bait need to be an option as well.

Chicago Bulls: G Coby White

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    Even though Nikola Vucevic is having a down year, the Bulls shouldn't seek to move their All-Star center just yet. DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso should all be untouchable as well.

    White is a name that could intrigue rebuilding teams, as the 21-year-old averaged 16.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists and made 37.4 percent of his threes in 54 games as a starter last season.

    He's struggled mightily while returning from offseason shoulder surgery and has missed the past two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19. Even when he returns to full strength, there's no more starting job available in Chicago with Ball and LaVine in the backcourt.

    If White can return to the court and look like his 2020-21 self, his trade value should increase enough to flip him for some win-now help.

Cleveland Cavaliers: PF Kevin Love

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    The surprisingly good Cavs are probably glad they didn't come to terms on a buyout with Love this offseason. The veteran forward is averaging 13.1 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting 46.7 percent from three in 19.4 minutes off the bench over 15 games since returning from a COVID-19 absence on November 17.

    As good as Love has been for a young, playoff-hopeful Cavs team, he's still not worth the $31.3 million contract he's on this season, nor the $28.9 million payday coming next year.

    The Cavaliers should at least sniff around the trade market and see if his recent strong play has created any new interest, especially for teams that need a floor-spacing big.

    Ricky Rubio is an option here as well if Cleveland feels like he won't return in free agency this summer, although he's been excellent as a creator and spark off the bench.

Dallas Mavericks: F/C Kristaps Porzingis

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    Brandon Dill/Associated Press

    Although the raw numbers have been good for Porzingis this season (19.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.6 blocks), he's still not making the positive impact Dallas should be hoping for next to Luka Doncic.

    The Mavs are 3.0 points per 100 possessions worse with Porzingis on the floor this season, per Cleaning the Glass—a step down from his minus-2.3 mark in 2020-21. He's making just 28.8 percent of his threes, which is easily the worst rate of his six professional seasons. Porzingis still has two years and nearly $70 million left on his contract, a deal that expires in 2024.

    Porzingis just hasn't been good in Dallas, but he should have at least a little bit of trade value left given his age (26) and ability to stay mostly healthy this season.

    It's not worth giving up any assets to get off Porzingis' contract, but the Mavs should constantly be on the lookout for a better second star.

Denver Nuggets: F/C Bol Bol

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    Despite getting MVP-level play from Nikola Jokic once again, the injury-riddled Nuggets are struggling to stay in the playoff picture.

    Bol still hasn't found a consistent rotation role in Year 3 and will be a free agent this summer. If the Nuggets and head coach Michael Malone aren't going to give him meaningful playing time and a true chance to develop, there's no reason not to trade him before he can leave this offseason.

    There should be plenty of teams who would be willing to take a flyer on the 7'2" forward/center, including the Oklahoma City Thunder, Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs. All have veteran big men to flip back in return that could help Denver win now.

    The Nuggets still have a chance to make a Finals run, especially if Jamal Murray can recover from a torn ACL before the postseason begins. Shopping Bol for some veteran help is the right thing to do for everyone.

Detroit Pistons: F Jerami Grant

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    In a perfect world, Grant would stay in Detroit and see the rebuild through, but a 4-23 start to the season and a thumb injury could spell the end of the relationship.

    According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Grant is "one of the most sought-after players in a potential trade, with the Lakers and Trail Blazers among the teams pursuing the Pistons' versatile forward."

    Grant would be an easy plug-and-play option for a number of contenders with his ability to play and defend either forward position. His contract is fairly friendly at $20 million this season and $21 million owed next year.

    With Cade Cunningham looking like the only elite prospect on the Pistons roster, flipping Grant for a young star (Talen Horton-Tucker, Anfernee Simons, etc.) and draft picks is probably the best course of action for him and the team.

Golden State Warriors: SG Moses Moody

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    With the return of James Wiseman drawing near, the Warriors will almost certainly want to see how he looks in Year 2 before seriously considering trading the 20-year-old center, even after his poor play as a rookie.

    Jonathan Kuminga is versatile enough to fill multiple roles and should continue to be developed, as his raw talent alone could turn him into an All-Star one day.

    This leaves Moody as the best young Warrior to potentially become trade bait, as he also faces the toughest road to meaningful playing time.

    With Jordan Poole thriving in a starting role and Klay Thompson set to return soon, Moody may not see the court for a while. Golden State should float his name out and see what veterans they could get in return.

Houston Rockets: F/C Christian Wood

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    Winners of seven of their past 11 games, the Rockets are dangerously playing themselves out of No. 1 pick contention, which should be the goal at this stage in their rebuild. If they were trying to be competitive now, John Wall would be on the floor.

    Since player development and collecting high picks is the goal, the Rockets should be making Wood available while he still has multiple years left on his deal and will fetch the highest return. He's the perfect offensive big for today's NBA, able to play power forward or center while putting the ball on the floor and driving or spotting up for three.

    Wood, 26, is averaging 16.5 points to go along with career highs in rebounds (11.1 per game) and assists (2.3). Teams like the Dallas Mavericks, Charlotte Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers could all use a center upgrade, and Wood's $13.7 million contract would be easy to salary match.

    Houston should get offers that include multiple first-round picks or at least one young player that carries star potential. Trading Wood would likely also mean a plunge back down the standings, which is the best long-term option for the franchise.

Indiana Pacers: C Myles Turner

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    We could see the end of Turner in Indiana, as the franchise looks like it needs a shakeup following a 13-18 start to the season.

    As The Athletic's Shams Charania writes, "a slew of teams will pursue Pacers center Myles Turner, but it will come down to the Pacers' price tag on both he and (Domantas) Sabonis being met. It’s believed to be more likely just one is moved."

    Keeping Sabonis is the obvious choice for Indiana, the only All-Star of the two who's the better scorer, rebounder and passer. Turner is the superior rim protector, of course, which is a skill teams like the Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks should covet.

    At age 25 with multiple years left on his deal and a 37.4 percent mark from three this season, Turner should net a big return for the Pacers if they decide to trade him before the deadline.

Los Angeles Clippers: G Eric Bledsoe

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    The Clippers are 5-2 since moving Bledose to the bench, but they absolutely should not stop there. The 32-year-old has fallen off a cliff the past two years at both ends and is actively hurting Los Angeles almost any time he's on the court.

    Bledsoe carries a swing rating of minus-14.6 points per 100 possessions this season, a figure that ranks in the 7th percentile in the NBA per Cleaning the Glass. Perhaps his highest value to the Clippers at this point lies in his contract, one that essentially serves as an expiring $18.1 million deal considering just $3.9 million of his $19.4 million 2022-23 salary is guaranteed according to Spotrac.

    Always a suspect outside shooter, Bledsoe is making just 31.8 percent of his threes and is no longer the elite defender he once was.

    No team will want to trade for Bledsoe outright, but the Clippers could use his salary as a baseline to try and acquire another star.

Los Angeles Lakers: G Talen Horton-Tucker

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    Horton-Tucker, 21, is the Lakers' best young player and also the team's best trade asset.

    His early results from playing alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook have been predictably ugly, however, given that he's a ball-dominant wing who can't knock down threes (27.8 percent on 3.6 attempts per game).

    Lineups featuring Horton-Tucker, James, Davis and Westbrook have resulted in a net rating of minus-9.9 thus far and have shot just 28.9 percent from three. There's very little spacing here, as James is the best outside shooter of the bunch yet also has the ball in his hands more than anyone.

    The Lakers should look to move Horton-Tucker to a rebuilding team for veteran help that fits the team better. Jerami Grant, Myles Turner and Doug McDermott (with filler) would all be ideal targets to chase using Horton-Tucker, who simply doesn't mesh well with this new Lakers roster.

Memphis Grizzlies: F Kyle Anderson

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    After serving as a key starter for the Grizzlies last season, Anderson just hasn't been as effective coming off the bench this year.

    He's also in the final year of his contract, one that's easy to trade at $9.9 million. If Memphis is afraid he'll leave in free agency, or simply doesn't want to pay him this summer with new contracts on the horizon for Ja Morant and others, shopping around now makes sense.

    Anderson is versatile enough to play and defend both forward positions and is a reliable ball-handler in the second unit. He's also improved his outside shot over the past few years and is up to 35.7 percent this season.

    Drafting small forward Ziaire Williams 10th in the 2021 draft probably signaled Anderson's time in Memphis was coming to an end, so the Grizzlies should explore a trade before he hits free agency.

Miami Heat: F KZ Okpala

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    It's hard to picture the Heat making many moves at the deadline, as all of their core salary players (Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson and P.J. Tucker) are important and necessary to the current roster. Tyler Herro isn't going anywhere with the year he's having (20.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists primarily as a sixth man), either.

    This means potentially shopping a young player like Okpala to a rebuilding team for a veteran on a minimum or near-minimum deal.

    The 22-year-old Okpala is getting just 9.9 minutes of court time in his 15 games and hasn't been able to showcase much growth now in Year 3.

    Dumping him on a rebuilding team to try and acquire a future second-round pick is an option as well, as Miami doesn't own a second-rounder until 2028.

Milwaukee Bucks: F Jordan Nwora

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    Hakim Wright Sr./Associated Press

    The second-year forward has carved out a bigger role in Milwaukee's rotation (17.1 minutes), although his time could be cut once Donte DiVincenzo returns to the court soon. At 23, Nwora looks like he has the scoring ability to become a solid starter elsewhere if given the opportunity.

    The Bucks can try to develop him while trying to win back-to-back titles, but they should at least explore his trade market first.

    In 54 career games, he's averaging 17.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and shooting 38.5 percent on three-pointers per 36 minutes.

    Teams like the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder should want to take a flyer on Nwora and let him try to earn a big role while showcasing his potential. That opportunity may never come in Milwaukee behind Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Minnesota Timberwolves: SG Malik Beasley

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    While a 13-15 record is somewhat disappointing for a Timberwolves team looking to break through, the big three of Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell appear to be working.

    The trio carries a net rating of plus-13.6 in 446 minutes together. Add in Beasley, however, and the four-man lineup falls all the way down to plus-0.8.

    That's a staggering drop when adding in another supposed core piece who's making $14.4 million this year. Beasley hasn't performed well in his new bench role, averaging 11.0 points on 36.1 percent shooting in 25.6 minutes per game.

    The Wolves should stick with what's working in the starting unit and rearrange the bench, starting with a trade of Beasley.

New Orleans Pelicans: G/F Josh Hart

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    Teams will certainly inquire about the availability of Brandon Ingram, the Pelican's leading scorer with Zion Williamson sidelined thus far this season.

    With four years left on his deal, there's no reason to move the 24-year-old small forward, who has already made one All-Star team and would be in the running for a second if New Orleans wasn't 9-21 this year.

    Instead, the Pelicans should see what Hart would fetch from a contender. He's a bit older than the rest of the team's young core (turning 27 in March) and is putting together a career year with 11.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and a 50.8 field-goal percentage.

    Hart's always been a solid defender and is on a team-friendly three-year, $37.9 million deal—an annual figure that should be relatively easy to match in a trade. With the Pelicans going nowhere this year as they wait for Williamson's foot to heal, moving Hart for young players or picks is the right choice.

New York Knicks: PG Kemba Walker (and Evan Fournier and Kevin Knox)

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    Walker hasn't played since Nov. 26 after being moved from the starting point guard role to out of the rotation altogether. His body is wearing down and there's not much left defensively, but Walker could still help a contender as an offensive spark off the bench.

    His two-year, $17.9 million contract is something the Knicks should try to move on from, especially if they can find a team willing to take Walker on using a trade exception.

    Speaking of offseason signing mistakes, New York should be looking for someone to take Evan Fournier as well. Both have flopped as starters with the Knicks, helping to destroy what was one of the NBA's best defenses a season ago.

    There's also no reason for Kevin Knox to be on the roster, as his minutes have decreased for a fourth-consecutive season, down to 8.9 in his eight games this year. Heading into restricted free agency and an inevitable split from the Knicks, the team should see if they can get anything for the 2018 No. 9 pick.

Oklahoma City Thunder: F Kenrich Williams

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    Williams may not be a household name, but the 27-year-old will be one of the most sought-after targets at the deadline thanks to his play on both ends and incredible contract.

    A terrific defender who's shot 43.8 percent from three over the past two years, Williams has somehow turned the 8-19 Thunder into a winning team when he's on the floor.

    Through the team's first 26 games, OKC has been outscored by a total of 250 points overall. With Williams in the game, however, the Thunder are actually beating opponents by three points in his 473 total minutes.

    This kind of impact on winning will certainly draw the eye of contenders, especially since Williams only makes $2 million each of the next two years. The Thunder should keep their asking price high and accept nothing less than multiple second-round picks or promising young talent.

Orlando Magic: F Terrence Ross

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Ross should be one of the most available players at the deadline, a veteran wing scorer who deserves to be a sixth man for a team with playoff hopes.

    According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, "the Magic have sought draft capital—such as a first-round pick" for Ross, who has two years and $24 million left on his contract.

    A late first-round pick would be a best–case scenario for Orlando, however, as Ross' efficiency has dipped so far this season. He's averaging 11.1 points on 39.4 percent shooting overall and 29.0 percent from three.

    If the Magic can get a pair of seconds or a young player with some upside (Marvin Bagley III's contract is a near-perfect match), they should move Ross.

Philadelphia 76ers: PG Ben Simmons

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Were you expecting anyone else?

    Simmons is still technically a Sixer, even if there's a better chance Allen Iverson will suit up for the team again before the 25-year-old point guard ever does.

    Philly doesn't appear ready to settle for any mediocre package, however, even if the current roster looks far from a playoff lock.

    According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, "the Sixers have made it clear that any Simmons trade will still require an All-Star-caliber player from their wish list of some two-dozen dream partners for Joel Embiid during the prime of his career."

    While Simmons' value isn't increasing by any means, 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and company have to hope another team's star becomes disgruntled before the deadline, which is entirely feasible.

    With the Dec. 15 deadline now passed and most of this summer's free-agent signings now eligible to be traded, perhaps we actually see Simmons traded out of Philly before Feb. 10.

Phoenix Suns: F/C Jalen Smith

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    The Suns chose not to pick up Smith's third-year option of just $4.7 million, a nearly unheard of move for a healthy top-10 pick. Clearly, they have no intention of bringing the 21-year-old back next year, so shopping him is the only move now.

    Smith is averaging 17.1 points, 15.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes over eight games this season, yet hasn't shown the same floor-stretching ability he did as a sophomore at Maryland when connecting on 36.8 percent of his threes.

    A future second-round pick is probably worth a flyer for a team like the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets or New Orleans Pelicans, especially if Zion Williamson remains out for an extended period of time.

    The Suns could also try to package some contracts together including Smith and try to add a veteran like Thaddeus Young or Kelly Olynyk.

Portland Trail Blazers: SG CJ McCollum

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    The Damian Lillard-McCollum backcourt era has mostly been a success up to this season, but playing three guards (along with Norman Powell) just isn't working.

    Lillard, McCollum and Powell lineups have a defensive rating of 115.1 and a net rating of minus-1.3. No lineup featuring Lillard should ever have a negative rating attached to it, meaning there needs to be significant roster changes around him.

    Trading McCollum for frontcourt help and moving Powell back as a starting shooting guard would make Portland bigger and better defensively, which is what this team needs to truly be a threat in the Western Conference.

    Currently averaging over 20 points-per-game for the seventh consecutive season, McCollum could help a number of teams (Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers) that need some added backcourt scoring and playmaking.

Sacramento Kings: PF Marvin Bagley III (and Buddy Hield)

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    The Kings are one of the few teams that desperately need a roster shakeup, with Bagley and Hield topping the list of players to be shopped around.

    The good news? That's apparently the plan, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

    "One source said the Kings are still shopping a package including Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III in hopes of getting a good player in return. Sources told The Bee over the summer the Kings had expressed interest in the Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons and Toronto Raptors' Pascal Siakam."

    While a package of Hield and Bagley may in fact fetch a "good" player, it's probably not enough to bring back either Simmons or Siakam. Maybe Tobias Harris, but even that may be a stretch.

    A 12-17 record still has Sacramento in the play-in picture (currently 10th in the West), so the Kings could end up being buyers or sellers by the deadline. With Bagley approaching restricted free agency, however, time is running out to find a trade.

San Antonio Spurs: F/C Thaddeus Young

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    While the Spurs are typically quiet at the deadline, they should break tradition and move Young for future assets.

    The 33-year-old power forward/center is on an expiring $14.2 million contract and is averaging just 14.1 minutes off the Spurs bench. This could be first time in his 15-year-career that Young hasn't started at least one game.

    Teams needing a veteran big man who can defend and move the ball should have interest, including the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Hornets.

    If the Spurs aren't planning on giving Young a bigger role—his current role could even decrease when Zach Collins makes his return to the court—they should shop him before the deadline.

Toronto Raptors: PG Goran Dragic

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    Dragic is currently away from the Raptors to attend to a personal matter, although he wasn't playing much anyway.

    The veteran point guard is making $19.4 million, so a trade will be tricky from a salary-matching standpoint. Still, Toronto should continue to shop him around to teams who may become desperate for playmaking before the deadline.

    "The last I heard is there's no trade chatter really for him at all," Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer said on the HoopsHype podcast. "I think that is the clear goal that the Raptors have, but ultimately, like, it's very similar to the Andre Drummond situation in Cleveland last year where the salary number is just really high, so for a team to match that number, they're going to have to give up some player of substance.”

    The Cavaliers shut Drummond down last season and eventually bought him out when no trade came to fruition.

    While Dragic is making roughly $10 million less, we'll still likely see a buyout if the Raptors can't find a trade partner.

Utah Jazz: F Joe Ingles

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    The Jazz may be the only team that shouldn't be looking to shop anyone ahead of the trade deadline, as all of their core pieces are making meaningful contributions while lifting Utah to a 20-7 record.

    With Utah already $18 million over the tax line and massive extensions for Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell only growing larger each year, the Jazz may explore trading Ingles now if they feel they won't have the money to re-sign him this offseason.

    Ingles, 34, is averaging 7.8 points and 3.5 assists in his 24.6 minutes a game, all his lowest figures since the 2016-17 season.

    He's been a crucial part to Utah's bench and a fantastic mentor to have in the locker room, so financial motivations would likely be the main driver of any trade.

Washington Wizards: PF Davis Bertans

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    Well, good luck with this one.

    Bertans is owed $65 million over the next four years and is currently undergoing the worst season of his career.

    The 29-year-old sniper is averaging just 6.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in 16.5 minutes off the bench. He's making a career-low 29.8 percent of his threes, with 80.0 percent of his total shot attempts coming from outside the arc.

    The Wizards added more frontcourt depth with Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell, and the eventual return of Rui Hachimura could bump Bertans from the rotation entirely.

    Washington's best bet is to flip Bertans for another bad contract somewhere, preferably a position that would better fit the team's needs.