The NBA offseason is heating up with the draft and subsequent trade talks around the corner.
With a weak draft class and less money for teams to spend in free agency, NBA talent evaluators who spoke with HoopsHype expect the trade market to be active. Some agents also said they are going to explore sign-and-trade scenarios for their clients this offseason, given the lack of teams currently with significant cap space.
As trade talks around the league intensify, HoopsHype listed the player(s) most likely to be traded on each team.
Atlanta Hawks: Dewayne Dedmon
In August, Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce joined the HoopsHype podcast and forecasted a big offseason for the organization in the hopes of improving drastically. “You’re looking at the Raptors, Bucks, LA Clippers, and the Nuggets, who have tremendous depth. We want to be in that same category. We want to make a huge jump next year.”
Atlanta has been active in trade talks heading into the draft with the sixth overall pick exploring scenarios to move the pick for veteran help. As discussed on the HoopsHype podcast, free-agent guard Joe Harris is among the targets on Atlanta’s free-agent radar this season.
Dedmon is on the books for $13.3 million next season. His $13.3 million salary for the 2021-22 season is only guaranteed for $1 million, making Dedmon an attractive trade target for a team in cost-cutting mode. After trading for Clint Capela, Dedmon will move to the bench for Atlanta next season as an expensive backup.
John Collins is another player opposing teams will monitor closely. After averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds in consecutive seasons, Collins is eligible for an extension this offseason. Collins and his agents, Jeff Schwartz and Sean Kennedy of Excel Sports Management, will seek a maximum contract extension ideally.
“I’m all in,” Collins said regarding a potential extension on the HoopsHype podcast. “I’m true to Atlanta. There’s nothing else I’ve got to say. I’m ready to extend.”
If the Hawks and Collins’ camp are far apart on an extension, it could open the door for Atlanta to gauge his value on the trade market.
Boston Celtics: Gordon Hayward
When Hayward arrived in Boston with Kyrie Irving in 2017, they were expected to lead the Celtics to a championship. Since then, Irving has moved on to the Nets, and Hayward has been relegated to Boston’s fourth option on offense behind Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker.
“Does he want to stay in Boston?” The Athletic’s Jay King asked on the HoopsHype podcast. “I know he had big dreams for his career. He didn’t sign in Boston to be a fourth option.”
“I think he feels betrayed with his role there, but he’s not leaving money on the table,” one Eastern Conference executive opined.
As noted in a recent episode of the HoopsHype podcast, Boston is looking to upgrade at center either via the draft by trying to move up to select James Wiseman or Onyeka Okongwu. Some executives around the league could see a swap of Hayward for Pacers center Myles Turner making sense as well.
Another trade candidate to keep an eye on is Enes Kanter if he opts into his $5 million player option, according to HoopsHype colleague Yossi Gozlan, who is our salary cap expert.
Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie
Dinwiddie raised eyebrows around the league when he parted ways with Roc Nation and agent Raymond Brothers, given Brooklyn’s strong organizational ties to the agency, which also represents Irving and Caris LeVert.
Dinwiddie has a guaranteed deal for the upcoming season. He has a $12.3 million player option for the following year. Dinwiddie is opting out of his player option, barring any injury, to try and get more money, survey the market and be a potential starting point guard, as previously noted in September on the HoopsHype podcast.
“I think they chose LeVert as their third guy,” one Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “I think Dinwiddie can get $15-20 million a year as a free agent (next offseason). He’s good. He’s proven. He’s got size and versatility.”
LeVert is locked into a manageable contract for the next three years and could be the team’s third star. Trading LeVert would only be worth it for an All-Star caliber player such as Bradley Beal or Holiday as noted by executives, scouts and former Nets teammates.
Looking ahead, Brooklyn will have several decisions to make on other rotation players, including center Jarrett Allen, who’s eligible for restricted free agency next offseason. Our salary cap expert Yossi Gozlan also notes Taurean Prince’s $12.25 million salary can be used for salary-matching if the right deal comes along.
Charlotte Hornets: Nicolas Batum
It was a coin flip between Batum, who has a $27.1 million player option, which he’s widely expected to opt into, and Cody Zeller, who is owed $15.4 million in the final year of his contract.
As colleague Frank Urbina wrote on HoopsHype, Charlotte is one potential destination that could make sense for Westbrook on the trade market, and Batum’s contract would likely need to be included to facilitate such a trade.
Chicago Bulls: Tomas Satoransky
Satoransky, 29, has a $10 million salary for the upcoming season. He’s guaranteed only $5 million the following year, making him a potential trade piece to match salaries.
While Satoransky started all but one game he played in last season, Coby White is the point guard of the future for Chicago, and the new front office regime will want to know what they have in the recent lottery pick sooner than later. The Bulls have a decision to make on Kris Dunn, who finished second in the league in steals per game (2.0) and is eligible for restricted free agency. Ryan Arcidiacano is also on the books for $3 million as a backup point guard.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Andre Drummond
Drummond has a $28.8 million player option for the upcoming season. With the value of centers declining across the league, he’s expected to exercise that option.
Cleveland will be able to gauge Drummond in talks about a future long-term contract while he’s in the building. When the Cavaliers acquired Drummond, they always prepared for the possibility he’d opt into his contract and wanted to see how he’d fit in with the rest of their young core. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, Drummond could be flipped at the deadline for the second season in a row.
Kevin Love is also available on the trade market according to rival executives, but he’s owed $91.5 million over the next three seasons.
Dallas Mavericks: Dwight Powell
According to rival executives, the Mavericks are looking to upgrade on the wing via the trade market. There’s also a strong belief around the league that Dallas has eyes for Giannis Antetokounmpo in the summer of 2021.
Powell has proven to be a serviceable starting center at a reasonable price tag before rupturing his Achilles in January. Tim Hardaway Jr. could also be available if he decides to opt into his $18.9 million player option.
Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris and Will Barton
As noted on the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast, the Nuggets dangled Harris and Barton ahead of the trade deadline in an attempt to acquire Holiday.
With Michael Porter Jr. not for sale after showing flashes of star potential, Denver’s best chance at acquiring another high-level starter is to dangle Harris and Barton.
Denver is also trying to retain Jerami Grant, who could command a contract similar to Davis Bertans and Joe Harris in free agency, according to our HoopsHype capologist Yossi Gozlan.
Detroit Pistons: Derrick Rose
Following a front office makeover, the Pistons are in a rebuild mode. At 32, Rose isn’t part of the long-term solution for Detroit but is still an attractive asset.
“Either he or the pick Detroit has are their most valuable assets right now,” an Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype.
Over the past two seasons, Rose has averaged 18 points on 48.6 percent shooting and 4.9 assists while coming off the bench. That type of production for a modest $7.7 million cost could be valuable to a playoff team.
Golden State Warriors: Kevon Looney
The Warriors are shopping the second overall pick in the draft for an impact player who can contribute now as the team looks to reload for the upcoming season. If the Warriors keep the pick and select with James Wiseman, Looney, who was available ahead of the trade deadline last season, would be shopped again.
Houston Rockets: Russell Westbrook
Despite Houston’s original preference to retain the same core, rival executives said a breakup was likely in September.
Westbrook is owed $132.6 million over the next three seasons, including his player option for the 2022-23 season. Despite coming off an All-Star season, most teams around the league aren’t willing to give up their best assets for him. Houston’s trade leverage also took a hit once it was reported that Westbrook wanted out.
Westbrook was at his individual best with the Oklahoma City Thunder as the primary playmaker, but the team failed to advance past the first round in three straight seasons following Kevin Durant’s departure with Victor Oladipo and Paul George as his co-stars at different points. Westbrook advanced to the second round alongside James Harden before the Lakers trounced the Rockets 4-1 in the series.
Indiana Pacers: Victor Oladipo
Oladipo publicly denied wanting out of Indiana in an interview on The Athletic, but the rumblings have been loud for far too long for the Pacers not to explore the trade market on the two-time All-Star.
Some executives around the league question whether the Pacers want to keep Myles Turner after Domantas Sabonis became an All-Star, the team drafted Goga Bitadze 18th overall in 2019, and the Pacers hired new coach Nate Bjorkgren, who’s looking to change the team’s style of play. Turner’s ability to block shots and spread the court are attractive traits to opposing teams looking for help at center such as the Celtics.
Los Angeles Clippers: Ivica Zubac
Zubac, 23, is a player opposing talent evaluators value. He’s owed $22 million over the next three seasons.
“I think he’s got a lot of value,” an NBA scout told HoopsHype. “I think everyone wonders why the Lakers did what they did. He’s on a great deal. Teams don’t want to overpay centers.”
If the Clippers pay Montrezl Harrell big money in free agency, several teams will call the Clippers trying to pry Zubac away.
Colleague Yossi Gozlan also noted Harrell is a potential sign-and-trade candidate on the latest HoopsHype podcast.
Los Angeles Lakers: Kyle Kuzma
Kuzma, 25, is the team’s best trade asset since he’s only on the books for $3.56 million this upcoming season, and he’s then eligible for restricted free agency. Any team trading for Kuzma would be able to have the right of first refusal when he’s eligible to hit the market next offseason.
Some around the league believe he can be a starter and cause mismatches on offense. Others view Kuzma as a scorer off the bench who can change the dynamic of a game on a playoff team.
“I see him as a backup, probably your seventh guy,” one executive said. “He’s somebody who can come in off the bench and spot start here and there to change the lineup.”
Kuzma’s name already surfaced in talks for DeMar DeRozan, according to The Ringer.
Memphis Grizzlies: Gorgui Dieng
When Dieng was acquired at the deadline, it was to flip him in a trade in the offseason to a team looking to shed long-term salary. Dieng’s $17.3 million salary works well for a team looking to shed the long-term contract of a player who’s fallen out of favor with an organization.
Miami Heat: Andre Iguodala
If Antetokounmpo doesn’t sign an extension with the Bucks, the Miami Heat will be one of several teams lining up to sign the back-to-back MVP. It’s worth noting Antetokounmpo and Heat All-Star center Bam Adebayo share the same agent, Alex Saratsis.
Miami has several free agents this summer, including Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder, Derrick Jones and Meyers Leonard. The Heat would like to retain Dragic and Crowder. Jones and Leonard are not locks to return.
Depending on what Miami does with those free agents, trading Iguodala’s $15 million salary off the books would give them more salary cap space as Adebayo enters restricted free agency.
Milwaukee Bucks: Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe’s name has popped up in several trade rumors in trade talks with the Lakers and the Rockets, according to The Ringer.
Over the past two combined playoffs for the Bucks, Bledsoe has struggled. He’s shot a combined 40.3 percent from the field and 24 percent from beyond the arc. With the pressure on Milwaukee to advance to the Finals, the Bucks are looking to upgrade and find a better third option behind Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
Minnesota Timberwolves: James Johnson
Many around the league expect Johnson to opt into his $16 million player option. As the Timberwolves search for a third star to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, Johnson’s expiring contract could be part of a trade piece puzzle.
New Orleans Pelicans: Jrue Holiday
Holiday, 30, is the most sought after player on the trade market. Some executives believe teams are trying to land a high lottery pick in a trade to flip to the Pelicans in an attempt to land Holiday.
The Nets are among many teams looking at Holiday, according to Sports Illustrated. The Nuggets are also in the mix and could field a competitive package starting with Harris and Barton, as noted above, Monte Morris and a draft pick.
“I think he’s worth a first-round pick and a rotation player,” as one NBA scout told HoopsHype.
New York Knicks: Kevin Knox
With the Knicks viewing R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson as part of their core, Knox is the type of young asset that could potentially be pried in a trade.
“Knox is on the rookie scale, and if you can get him in another situation, maybe you can change him,” an Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “He fits the way the game is played today. Someone could take a chance on him.”
Some executives like the one above believe Knox is closer to the player he was as a rookie when he averaged nearly 13 points and shot 34.3 percent from downtown. He spent the start of his second season in former coach David Fizdale’s doghouse and never seemed to regain his confidence.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Chris Paul
Paul has been linked to the Bucks, Lakers, Knicks and Suns as trade partners.
New York is open to acquiring a star guard such as Paul or Westbrook, but doesn’t want to give up their young assets to do so and would prefer a salary dump type of acquisition. The Suns also remain interested in signing Fred VanVleet, the top point guard in our HoopsHype free agent rankings.
With Dennis Schroeder reportedly on the move, rival executives believe the Thunder will continue to explore the trade market on their veterans, including Steven Adams.
Paul’s future will also affect Danilo Gallinari’s desire to re-sign with the Thunder.
Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon
This category was a toss-up between Gordon and Nikola Vucevic. Orlando has drafted Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac since Jeff Weltman and John Hammond came aboard the front office. With the value of centers declining, Gordon’s declining salary over the next two seasons gave him the nod.
“I think everyone is fair game there minus Isaac,” as one Eastern Conference scout noted.
After losing in the first round in consecutive seasons by 4-1 margins each time, a shakeup could be in play.
Some around the league always believed a Gordon for Dinwiddie trade with the Nets would make sense for both sides, but it has yet to come to fruition.
Philadelphia 76ers: Al Horford
Horford has fit next to Joel Embiid like a square peg in a round hole. Philadelphia would need to include multiple future first-round picks and possibly Josh Richardson to make it worthwhile for another team to absorb his $27.5 million salary for next season.
Trading Horford on paper is a daunting task for the 76ers, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try.
Phoenix Suns: Kelly Oubre
The Magic previously made a run to acquire Oubre, who turns 25 in December, at the trade deadline. Oubre could be a trade chip for Phoenix as he prepares to enter unrestricted free agency next summer.
“You might want to get a good look at him and see if he adds something to your team,” one executive said of trading for Oubre. “You can see if he’ll stay instead of chasing money. Maybe try and convince him to take a short-term deal if he plays well and then cashes in again.”
If they trade for Paul or try to sign Fred VanVleet in free agency, Ricky Rubio would likely be on the move as well.
Phoenix is also high on Mikal Bridges, who is waiting in the wings.
Portland Trail Blazers: Anfernee Simons
Portland’s high scoring guard tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum is unlikely to be broken up, leaving backcourt players like Simons and Gary Trent Jr. expendable. Both players could help Portland land an impact veteran player to help the Trail Blazers get over the hump while Lillard and McCollum are in their primes.
“Simons and (Zach) Collins, those two would definitely be the guys,” one executive said regarding which players he’d target on the Blazers.
HoopsHype’s salary cap expert Yossi Gozlan also notes Trevor Ariza and Rodney Hood, assuming he opts into his $6 million player option, could be used for salary matching in trades.
Sacramento Kings: Buddy Hield
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Hield has been unhappy with his role as a sixth man off the bench and has butted heads with coach Luke Walton.
“That’s broken there,” one executive said of the situation from afar.
If the Kings come to a sign-and-trade agreement with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Hield could return to the starting lineup, but it’s unlikely the Kings would give up Bogdanovic as an asset.
With four years and up to $94 million on his extension, the Kings may have a tough time moving their disgruntled guard.
San Antonio Spurs: DeMar DeRozan
This section was a coin flip between DeRozan, 31, and Aldridge, 35. If DeRozan opts into his $27.7 million player option for next season, he and Aldridge will both be in the final year of their contracts.
DeRozan’s inability to stretch the floor lessens his value as a wing player in today’s game, but his improved shot selection and passing could give a playoff team reason to take a flier on him for one season.
Toronto Raptors: Norman Powell
Powell enjoyed the best year of his career with career highs in points (16) and field goal percentage (28.4). If the Raptors want to make a package to acquire another star player on the trade market, Powell could be included.
“He had such a good year that I wouldn’t want to do it to him, but you’d get maximum value for him,” one NBA scout said.
Powell is owed $10.87 million this upcoming season and has an $11.6 million player option for the 2021-22 season.
Toronto will be among the teams with an eye towards Antetokounmpo if he doesn’t sign an extension this offseason. Powell could be traded depending on how much the Raptors try to re-sign VanVleet for and if they retain Serge Ibaka.
Utah Jazz: Ed Davis
Davis’ $5 million salary next season makes him a candidate to be included in a trade for salary matching. Injuries limited Davis to only 28 games played last season, and Tony Bradley has been groomed to be the team’s backup center. A change of scenery could be in play for Davis to another playoff team looking to add rebounding and a positive locker room influence.
Washington Wizards: Troy Brown
The Wizards view themselves as a playoff team next season with the return of a healthy John Wall and Bradley Beal, and if they re-sign free agent Davis Bertans.
Brown is the type of young asset the Wizards can dangle in trade talks if they want to add immediate veteran help while Wall and Beal are in their primes to try and contend in the East now.
“Brown can get back a second-round pick or maybe two second-round picks,” one NBA scout estimated.
You can follow Michael Scotto on Twitter: @MikeAScotto