Updated Trade-Target Lists for Every NBA Team
There's a reason the best NBA plans are sketched on whiteboards and not written in permanent marker.
Wish lists constantly evolve.
Needs change. Wants change. Injuries create voids. Players come and go from the trade market. Old problems get corrected, and new ones take their place.
So, even if you, say, mapped out every team's needs a few weeks ago—like we did here—you'll need to keep refreshing the trade-target list between now and the Feb. 10 deadline.
Which is why we're here—and why you're here—to find out what has changed and what has stayed the same since we last provided each club with a #TradeSZN shopping list.
Targets: Marcus Smart, Justin Holiday, Garrett Temple
Defense remains the focus for the Atlanta Hawks, who rank 22nd at that end—ahead of mostly rebuilders and whatever we're labeling the Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets as. That would be the main motivation for chasing any of these three players.
It's possible Marcus Smart is out of their price range, but the Hawks had interest last season, per The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania, and presumably understood the steep cost then. If Atlanta had something to interest the Boston Celtics, it could bolster the backcourt with Smart, a bulldog defender who doubles as a decent ball-mover and willing (if not always able) outside shooter.
Justin Holiday tops the "realistic" range, as he offers both modest flexibility on defense and a three-ball that has found its mark 38.5 percent of the time since 2019-20. Garrett Temple is a lower cost, lower reward alternative who adds just enough offensive value as a serviceable shooter and in-a-pinch shot-creator.
Targets: Cam Reddish, Bryn Forbes, Terrence Ross
The Boston Celtics could swing bigger than this, but it'd be a curious time to make such a major adjustment. Ime Udoka is only two months into his debut season from the best seat on the sideline, plus the Shamrocks probably can't net a needle-mover without breaking apart the Jayson Tatum-Jaylen Brown tandem, and it's still too early to pull the plug.
Boston's budget could be large enough to land Cam Reddish, though, and he could instantly sharpen the wing rotation around the All-Stars while also brightening the franchise's future. He can handle a three-and-D role, and there have been enough flashes of shot-creation to think he can grow beyond that label.
The Celtics need shooters, and Bryn Forbes should be one of the best available (2.1 threes per night at a 42.1 percent clip since the start of 2018-19). Terrence Ross isn't quite as accurate from range, but he can heat up in a hurry. Boston's bench would be a problem for opponents on the good nights for Ross and Dennis Schroder.
Targets: Ben Simmons, Christian Wood, Mike Muscala
The Brooklyn Nets' trade budget hinges on its approach with Kyrie Irving. The scoring guard, who hasn't suited up this season because of New York City's vaccine mandate, is a massive question mark.
The Nets have suddenly cleared his path to return as a part-time player, an option they had previously refused. But it's unclear what that means for his status with the franchise moving forward. To that end, B/R's Jake Fischer recently reported the Nets have been "open to discussing trades for Irving."
If Irving is up for grabs, the Nets can reach for the stars. More specifically, they could make a serious push for Ben Simmons, whose passing prowess would make Kevin Durant and James Harden even more lethal and whose defensive versatility would answer a lot of questions for this club.
If an Irving deal isn't in the works, Brooklyn would have to recalibrate its expectations. The Nets might be able to cobble together enough assets to pry Christian Wood from the rebuilding Houston Rockets—he is unsigned after next season—which could give the offense the firepower it needs to rejoin the elite ranks. If Brooklyn sticks to the bargain bin, a low-cost move for stretch big Mike Muscala seems worth exploring.
Targets: Myles Turner, Mo Bamba, Derrick Favors
Little has changed in Buzz City since the last time we did this exercise. The Charlotte Hornets' wish list continues to read: bigs, bigs and more bigs.
More specifically, defensive-minded centers should have the Hornets' attention, since the team's defense is as bad as it gets. A move from Mason Plumlee to Myles Turner might be the basketball equivalent of upgrading from an economy seat on an airplane to first class. Turner is a defensive menace around the restricted area, and his ability to stretch the floor means wider attack lanes would be available to LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges.
Mo Bamba is kind of a Turner-lite, although Bamba's age (23) could add to his appeal given the timeline of Charlotte's core, provided the Hornets are ready to cover his upcoming cost in restricted free agency. Moving down a tier (or several) could yield the strength and veteran savvy of Derrick Favors, who is biding his time in Oklahoma City until a win-now shopper rescues him.
Targets: Harrison Barnes, Cam Reddish, Reggie Bullock
The Chicago Bulls have seen firsthand what the right amount of roster reshuffling can do. Chicago, which, if you recall, couldn't crack the play-in field last season, has stampeded out of the gate as if Benny the Bull successfully petitioned to transform the United Center into the streets of Pamplona.
If the Bulls want to keep riding this wave, they could go big at the deadline—provided they're willing to cut ties with one or both of Patrick Williams and Coby White. Package the two and insert any necessary filler, and that might be enough to bend the Sacramento Kings' ear on a Harrison Barnes swap. His sweet shooting, defensive versatility and glue-guy game should allow for a seamless midseason transition.
If Barnes costs too much, Chicago could shift its focus to Cam Reddish and Reggie Bullock, who both fit the same three-and-D mold. Reddish, who is splashing a career-best 37.7 percent of his threes, is extension-eligible after this season, and the Hawks might not have the funds to pay him.
Bullock, meanwhile, could be a prime change-of-scenery candidate after seeing his shooting rates flatline during his first go-around with the Dallas Mavericks.
Targets: Brandon Ingram, Cam Reddish, Terrence Ross
A word to the wise for anyone wanting to set the Cleveland Cavaliers' ceiling: Don't put too much effort into the project, because further elevation might be needed at any moment. Cleveland isn't simply shattering expectations, it is changing the possibilities for this campaign. The Cavs are young, fun and running one opponent out of the gym after the next.
Cleveland could play things patiently and see where this organic growth can take it, but why not chase a big upgrade on the wing to push the potential even higher. With key contributors Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro all collecting rookie-scale money, the time to splurge is arguably now.
An all-in pursuit of Brandon Ingram could be fascinating should the Pelicans ever decide to pull the plug. If not, the Cavs can take some of their expendable assets and convert them into Cam Reddish, a present upgrade and potential fit with the long-term core, or Terrence Ross, an ignitable fire-baller whose scoring surges would help cushion the blow of being without last season's scoring leader, Collin Sexton (torn meniscus).
Targets: Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Jerami Grant
The Dallas Mavericks are perpetually big swingers, so it's little surprise to hear they are connected to the likes of Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving. But since Kristaps Porzingis has already covered the walking-question-mark role in Dallas, the Mavs should focus on finding more of a sure thing—even if that means missing out on some star power.
Myles Turner would be tremendous, especially if the Mavs like putting Porzingis at power forward. (They must, since he keeps finding minutes there.) Turner's paint protection would be invaluable, and his trusty three-ball would give Luka Doncic even more room to operate.
Or Dallas could raid the Indiana Pacers' other frontcourt spot and free the unhappy Domantas Sabonis. He wouldn't help the defense, but he'd be a creative way of addressing the need for more non-Doncic creativity. Jerami Grant, whom the Detroit Pistons are taking calls on, per Fischer, could help both ends by upping the team's defensive versatility at the forward spots and adding a not insignificant dose of self-sufficient scoring.
Targets: Caris LeVert, Cam Reddish, Aaron Nesmith
The Denver Nuggets have two options at the deadline: search for upgrades to cover the team's many injury issues or punt on this season, pick up assets and hope the injury bug eventually tires of mountain views. Considering reigning MVP Nikola Jokic is smack dab in the middle of his prime, the Nuggets' first option should be trying to make something out of this season.
That seems to be the focus, as Fischer reported Denver is on the hunt for wing upgrades. Caris LeVert is probably outside the Nuggets' price range, but he'd be hugely helpful in replacing the scoring and shot-creating lost to the injuries of Jamal Murray (knee) and Michael Porter Jr. (back). Cam Reddish offers a cheaper alternative, and Denver could get decent mileage out of his three-and-D skills.
Should the Nuggets hit a rough patch between now and February and turn into sellers, they should sniff around for young players who could grow into rotation roles. Testing the Celtics' patience with Aaron Nesmith might be a sneaky-smart way of adding even more firepower to the offense.
Targets: Draft picks, Talen Horton-Tucker, Marvin Bagley III
The Detroit Pistons are going nowhere fast, and that's fine. Their most important player, Cade Cunningham, turned 20 in September. There's no rush to get better, but there should be a directive to brighten the future.
The easiest way to do that at the deadline is by turning current contributors into future draft picks. Jerami Grant might command a small stack of selections if teams aren't scared off by his recent thumb surgery and six-week timetable for a reevaluation. If Cory Joseph or, once he's healthy following an MCL sprain, Kelly Olynyk can bring back draft considerations, those trades are worth triggering too.
If the Pistons want a bit more certainty than a faceless draft pick, they could pursue any and all available prospects. Maybe the Lakers' desire to compete creates a chance to pry Talen Horton-Tucker away. The Kings and Marvin Bagley III can't be long for each other, and the Pistons have been fans of 2018's No. 2 pick for a while.
Golden State Warriors
Targets: Myles Turner, Kenrich Williams, Alex Len
The Golden State Warriors don't seem inclined to make a major move before the deadline. In fact, The Athletic's Tim Kawakami reported they are "absolutely" not trading 2020's No. 2 pick James Wiseman, which would effectively remove the Warriors from any pursuits of notable players.
Having said that, a lot can change before February. They have a ton riding on the return of Wiseman from a torn meniscus, and if he doesn't look ready (like he didn't last season), they might have to hit the trade market to try to capitalize on their championship chance. If that's where they land, it should be full speed ahead to the Myles Turner sweepstakes, who'd fit this system like a tailored suit at both ends.
If Golden State sticks to the clearance section, then niche role players such as Kenrich Williams and Alex Len should land on the radar. Williams is a multi-positional stopper who's shooting above 42 percent from deep for the second consecutive season. Len is a physical presence in the paint who could soak up double-digit minutes in the right defensive matchups.
Targets: Draft picks, Jaxson Hayes, Jalen Johnson
Since the last time we ran through this exercise, the Houston Rockets heated up over a two-week stretch and won seven consecutive contests. Guess what that means for the franchise's focus? Absolutely nothing.
The Rockets remain in the infancy of their post-James Harden rebuild. They need more young talent coming through the pipeline, and they should use this swap market to find it.
Draft picks should be the preferred currency, and if Houston really wants to chase a jackpot, it should deal Christian Wood to the highest bidder now and not next season when he'll only be a rental. Beyond accumulating picks, Houston should try sniffing out deeply discounted prospects. With Jaxson Hayes out of the New Orleans Pelicans rotation, and rookie Jalen Johnson having not entered the Hawks', both are worth phone calls made with fingers crossed for a bargain.
Targets: Ben Simmons, P.J. Washington, Cam Reddish
The Indiana Pacers are done being stuck in the middle. Or are they? This might be the biggest wild card in the trade market, since everyone expects some level of activity, but no one seems to know what Indiana will want in return. Taking it down to the studs would normally seem reasonable for a team trying to escape mediocrity, but the Pacers can't move Malcolm Brogdon and didn't bring in head coach Rick Carlisle to oversee an overhaul.
"Carlisle is not going to allow that to happen," an assistant general manager told Fischer. "They're going to 'middle build.' They're going to go with a sense of competing."
That mindset takes draft picks off the board, but the Pacers shouldn't neglect the future. The best option is exploring young-ish players who have established skills but also ample room for growth. Indiana remains in the market for Ben Simmons, per Charania, but if he's too pricey, then the tier including P.J. Washington and Cam Reddish should have the franchise's focus.
Los Angeles Clippers
Targets: Domantas Sabonis, Caris LeVert, Tyus Jones
The Los Angeles Clippers need more stability around Paul George. Once they settle on the area where they crave the most consistency, then they can zero in on specific targets.
The dream acquisition would be Domantas Sabonis, as he could take sizable chunks of scoring and distributing duties off of George's plate. If Indiana does prefer capable contributors over draft considerations, that would increase the Clippers' chances of reaching the handshake stage.
If scoring is more the aim, that should move Caris LeVert up the wish list. If the Clippers prefer to upgrade their passing in hopes that a ball-mover would elevate everyone else, then Tyus Jones, whose contract expires after this season, could be the target.
Los Angeles Lakers
Targets: Jerami Grant, Justin Holiday, Kenrich Williams
The Los Angeles Lakers have effectively handcuffed themselves for trade season with a top-heavy payroll that makes money-matching almost impossible for household names. While they have reportedly kicked around the idea of dealing Russell Westbrook, per Fischer, it's hard to imagine anyone wanting him and his colossal contract ($44.2 million this season with a $47.1 million player option for the next).
Even lining up the salaries to match Jerami Grant's $20.1 million rate is tricky, but the Lakers are exploring the possibility, per Charania. If a package built around Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and a future first-round pick would pique the Pistons' interest—it might if Grant's surgery trims his market—then Grant would immediately address some of this club's shortcomings on the wing-defense and support-scoring fronts.
If Grant is too rich for their blood, pivoting to Justin Holiday or Kenrich Williams isn't a bad alternative. Both pair modest defensive versatility with above-average outside shooting.
Targets: Miles Bridges, Cam Reddish, Malik Beasley
While the Memphis Grizzlies made some future-focused moves this offseason, a few developments could have the franchise thinking more about the present. First, Ja Morant appeared en route to the All-Star Game before a knee sprain put him on the sidelines. Then, the roster rose up without him, posting a 9-1 record (and counting) and gargantuan plus-18.6 net rating since he went down in late November.
If Memphis is in the market for win-now additions, then the wing spots are the most obvious areas to upgrade. While it seems unlikely the Hornets would let Miles Bridges out of their sights, perhaps his impending payday would make them think twice. Either way, Memphis should let Charlotte make that decision, not assume the worst without the effort.
Moving a tier down from Bridges could put Cam Reddish or Malik Beasley in the crosshairs. Reddish is an easy fit on almost any roster thanks to his rising three-and-D skills, while Beasley, a career 38.2 percent shooter from distance, could help increase the three-point volume.
Targets: Brad Wanamaker, Ben McLemore, Alex Len
What's the going rate for KZ Okpala on the open market? Answer that question, and you've likely set the Miami Heat's trade budget, since he might be as close to a movable asset as they have.
As long as the answer isn't nothing, Miami is in business. It's the business of bargain-hunting, of course, but this franchise has a knack for uncovering values from unexpected players. (Looking at you, anonymous-players-turned-rotation-regulars, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent.)
The clearance bin is pretty blah, but blah might be enough to cover up minor, niche roles. Think Brad Wanamaker for veteran point guard depth, Ben McLemore for occasional streak shooting and Alex Len for extra interior oomph.
Targets: Garrett Temple, Cory Joseph, Terence Davis
Both the injury bug and the NBA's health and safety protocols have done a number on this roster, so the Milwaukee Bucks' top priority might be a good-luck charm.
As for actual on-court contributors, that depends how the Bucks want to play this. Would they be willing to discuss Donte DiVincenzo in a deal, or will they wind up trying to convince clubs that Jordan Nwora is a serviceable trade sweetener?
The latter seems more likely, meaning the possible trade returns are underwhelming. Still, the Bucks could do worse than rummaging through the clearance section and stumbling into a Garrett Temple (veteran defender who is decent from three), Cory Joseph (a point-of-attack stopper with offensive limitations) or Terence Davis (a 24-year-old off to a slow start but with a recent three-and-D history).
Targets: Ben Simmons, Thaddeus Young, Chris Boucher
Ben Simmons remains the top target for the Minnesota Timberwolves, as his defense and distributing would both check critical boxes for this club. The question is whether Minnesota makes sense as a trade partner for the Philadelphia 76ers, since D'Angelo Russell is the top trade chip (if Minnesota would even move him) and probably doesn't land on the "wish list of some two-dozen dream partners for Joel Embiid" that Fischer described.
Moving on from Simmons means ditching the idea of a difference-maker, but a versatile veteran such as Thaddeus Young could clear up some of the frontcourt issues. Karl-Anthony Towns being a spacer covers up the fact that Young isn't anymore—he's hit 12 three-pointers since the start of last season—so Young could play alongside the big fella or back him up in certain small-ball sets.
Chris Boucher is little more than a dart throw, but his price tag would reflect that. He's in the middle of a year to forget, but he is just a single season removed from averaging 1.9 blocks and 1.5 triples per game.
New Orleans Pelicans
Targets: Draft picks, Marvin Bagley III, Bol Bol
Sorry, New Orleans Pelicans fans, but your dreams have officially been dashed for this season with Zion Williamson suffering yet another setback in his agonizingly long battle with ongoing foot issues.
Before this latest update, Fischer reported New Orleans still planned to buy during this trade season "with an eye toward competing for the play-in tournament." That's a tragic goal to begin with, but even that seems above the Williamson-less Pelicans' weight class.
New Orleans won't go the fire-sale route, but it should shop arguably anyone not named Williamson or Brandon Ingram with an eye on adding to its pile of draft picks. Beyond that, the Pelicans should sniff around for young, distressed prospects. If the price is right, low-cost fliers on Marvin Bagley III or Bol Bol would be fine uses of roster spots.
New York Knicks
Targets: Damian Lillard, De'Aaron Fox, Caris LeVert
Protect your head and secure your valuables, folks, as we might be entering pipe-dream territory.
The consistent word out of Portland is that Damian Lillard is untouchable. But the fact that the rest of the roster is reportedly up for grabs, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst, is an open concession that this core isn't cutting it. Losing Lillard would be the biggest kind of bummer for Trail Blazers fans, but if a rebuild is inevitable, then he shouldn't have a part in it.
It feels relevant that every time a Dame deal is discussed, New York surfaces as a preferred destination. The Knicks, of course, would still need to cobble together the assets to acquire him, but his apparent interest and elite ability makes it worth the effort. Land Lillard, and the offensive hierarchy immediately adjusts with Julius Randle sliding into a more natural No. 2 role, and the rest of the roster trickling down into place behind him.
Pry De'Aaron Fox from the Kings, and he could co-headline the Knicks' attack with Randle, forming a potent one-two punch. If the Knicks don't have the resources to get him, they could do worse than Caris LeVert, a slippery scorer and secondary playmaker whose injury history should keep his trade cost in the reasonable range.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Targets: Draft picks, Mo Bamba, Bol Bol
Is it possible for a long-term rebuilder to have too many draft picks? In a word: Nope. Whatever the Oklahoma City Thunder do this trade season—at the least, shop Derrick Favors hard and shoulder bloated contracts to extract assets and reach the salary floor—it shouldn't deviate from Sam Presti's plans of snatching up picks like they're trendy NFTs.
Beyond the picks, though, the Thunder should be on the hunt for young players with upside. They have the rotation room to give them the freedom to grow, plus there are zero pressures for winning this season.
If OKC envisions Mo Bamba as a potential keeper, it would make sense to ring up the Orlando Magic and check his going rate with restricted free agency awaiting him after this season. If the Thunder don't want to pay Bamba—or don't want to deal the pieces needed to land him—then why not bring Bol Bol to town and see what he could do with consistent minutes?
Targets: First-round pick, Cam Reddish, Talen Horton-Tucker
While most rebuilders should chase general draft considerations, the target is more defined for the Orlando Magic. If they do nothing else this trade season, they should scour the basketball world and find a first-round pick in exchange for Terrence Ross. His sluggish start might make that trickier than most years, but hopefully suitors place more weight on his track record.
Get that settled, and Orlando can focus on finding young players who fit this core. Given the Magic's glut of guards and bigs, wings are the obvious position to chase.
Add them to the perpetually growing list of logical Cam Reddish suitors and don't rule out a run at Talen Horton-Tucker. He could help fill in the cracks as a capable shot-creator and intriguing on-ball defender, and the Lakers might be so starved for support scorers that they'd dangle THT for a package built around Ross.
Targets: Damian Lillard, Jaylen Brown, Tyrese Haliburton
The Philadelphia 76ers have balked at taking a lesser offer for Ben Simmons. Why change course now?
"This is a very good player, and to give ourselves the best chance to win the title, you need difference-makers," 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey told 97.5 The Fanatic's The Mike Missanelli Show in October (h/t NBC Sports Philadelphia's Noah Levick). "You don't need role players. Right now any sort of trade—which obviously Ben Simmons wants—the best thing we can do is get role players back. That makes no sense."
If Philadelphia remains married to that approach, it should aim as high as possible. Damian Lillard tops the wish list for the jolt of shot-creation he'd give the offense and the two-man magic he'd create with Joel Embiid. Jaylen Brown might be the 1B to Lillard's 1A, as Brown could power the offense with scoring and a pinch of table-setting while strengthening the perimeter defense.
Having said that, those deals may never be available, and at some point, the Sixers might decide they can't waste a year of Embiid's prime. If they lower their asking price, sending Simmons to the Kings for a package featuring Tyrese Haliburton and Harrison Barnes might be as good as it gets. Both play their own brand of glue-guy basketball, and each wouldn't have trouble carving out a significant role.
Targets: Thaddeus Young, Robert Covington, Reggie Bullock
There's a reason the talk of Thaddeus Young heading to the Phoenix Suns won't die. It not only makes sense for the Suns—they could use one more forward and a small-ball center, and Young could handle both roles—but they also have a trade chip to entice the San Antonio Spurs.
"The Phoenix Suns are attempting to move Jalen Smith, and the San Antonio Spurs have been frequently linked as a suitor," Fischer reported. "Phoenix is rumored to have strong interest in acquiring Thaddeus Young from the Spurs."
The same rationale could work in a deal sending Robert Covington to the desert. It's just a matter of preference: Young's passing and post scoring or Covington's three-point shooting? Phoenix could flip a coin to decide. Reggie Bullock sits a half-tier behind, since he can't man the center spot, but he'd join Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Cam Johnson in a lethal group of interchangeable, three-and-D forwards.
Portland Trail Blazers
Targets: Ben Simmons, Harrison Barnes, Domantas Sabonis
The Portland Trail Blazers should be giving serious consideration to a top-to-bottom rebuild, but it doesn't appear to be the plan in the Pacific Northwest. As long as they're planning on a future with Damian Lillard, they need to brighten it as much as possible—i.e., dismantle the supporting cast that simply isn't cutting it.
The wish list has to start with Ben Simmons, because The Athletic's Charania and Sam Amick reported that's who Lillard wants to suit up with. Not to mention, the appeal of an all-galaxy defender should be obvious for a team that is perpetually held back by its leaky defense.
If Philadelphia won't accept a non-Lillard offer for Simmons, then Portland could turn its focus to Harrison Barnes and Domantas Sabonis. Barnes would help plug one of the always iffy forward spots in this rotation, or Sabonis could shine with his ability to ease the scoring and playmaking burden shouldered by the 31-year-old Lillard.
Targets: Jerami Grant, Caris LeVert, De'Andre Hunter
The Sacramento Kings' targets are tough to pin down without knowing how many players they are willing to shop. Action Network's Matt Moore reported Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield "are expected to be on the market," and both could fetch a fairly significant return. Saying that, the target tier would change quickly should Sacramento be willing to discuss either De'Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton.
Working under the assumption the Kings aren't interested in a changing of the guards, they aren't getting a star. Their focus, then, should shift to either someone who can significantly improve this defense or someone who can help the offense move closer to the elite tier and halfway compensate for all of the defensive leaks.
Jerami Grant could help at both ends, and the Kings could see him as a slight upgrade over Barnes or, even better, find a way to have both forwards on the roster. Caris LeVert won't fix the defense, but his shot-creation would add another weapon to the attack. De'Andre Hunter would be a longer term two-way play, but maybe his injury history (most recently, wrist surgery) will scare off the Hawks from extending his contract.
San Antonio Spurs
Targets: Brandon Ingram, Ben Simmons, Draft picks
While the San Antonio Spurs have assembled a solid core of interesting prospects, there still isn't an obvious can't-miss star in the mix. Maybe that will finally nudge the Spurs toward a consolidation trade.
Brandon Ingram would be the offensive focal point as soon as he entered the locker room. Ben Simmons could take the defense to new heights and help rev the offense's motor with his dynamic play in the open floor.
Given the uncertainty of when this core can improve and to what degree, the Spurs shouldn't shy away from increasing their draft capital. That's particularly true regarding veteran Thaddeus Young, who told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes he is itching to join a contender and could have a robust market thanks to his experience and versatility.
Targets: Christian Wood, Mo Bamba, Jaxson Hayes
The Toronto Raptors are close enough to the playoff picture to justify a win-now move but far enough from championship contention to not neglect the future. The ideal deadline addition, then, is someone who can help now but also maintain a future role.
Christian Wood might exist at the most aggressive end of Toronto's budget, but he'd help lengthen what's already a deep offensive arsenal (five players averaging 15-plus points). It might take Raptors skipper Nick Nurse a minute to find the right frontcourt fit with Wood, Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes, but there's enough versatility to think the right amount of staggered minutes could make it work.
If Toronto wants defense, it could get plenty of it from the shot-blocking Mo Bamba. If the Raptors are more interested in a developmental project, perhaps they could squeeze more out of Jaxson Hayes than the Pelicans ever have.
Targets: Jerami Grant, Cam Reddish, Garrett Temple
It feels funny to say this about a team anchored by three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, but the Utah Jazz could use a little lift on the defensive end.
They need a big-wing defender to take on the matchups 6'5" Royce O'Neale can't handle, and Jerami Grant would be just about perfect. That's assuming, of course, Utah has the trade cache to win what should be a highly contested sweepstakes, odds that theoretically increased with Grant's thumb issue.
If the Jazz can't (or don't want to) blow the budget on Grant, then Cam Reddish could fill the same wing-stopper role. Garrett Temple doesn't quite check that box, but he could beef up the point-of-attack defense while adding modest shooting and a pinch of playmaking to the second unit.
Targets: Cam Reddish, Josh Hart, Kenrich Williams
The Washington Wizards might not want to push too hard at the trade deadline, because their underlying metrics (namely, their 23rd-ranked net rating) aren't nearly as flattering as their .500 record. At the same time, they probably can't sit out trade season, since they still likely need to convince Bradley Beal to put pen to paper on a new deal next summer (player option for 2022-23).
Operating in this middle ground restricts Washington to mid-tier targets. Cam Reddish might be the best of that bunch, since he's someone Beal might want to play with, and the 22-year-old Reddish is young enough to fit a rebuild should Beal depart over the summer.
Josh Hart, 26, and Kenrich Williams, 27, could fit in the same three-and-D basket, but they just aren't as young and don't offer as much upside.
Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @ZachBuckleyNBA.