The top trade candidate on each NBA team this season

The top trade candidate on each NBA team this season

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The top trade candidate on each NBA team this season

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Ben Simmons and Marvin Bagley are the early trade rumors leaders, and there will be plenty more to come this season.

The 2022 free agency market could be dry, as colleague Yossi Gozlan previously wrote on HoopsHype, meaning teams could look to improve via the trade market.

So with the regular season already underway,  HoopsHype spoke with four NBA executives to gauge potential trade candidates and listed the player(s) most likely to be traded on each team.

Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish

Cam Reddish was available on the trade market at the trade deadline and around the draft, multiple NBA executives told HoopsHype. Heading into the season, rival executives are monitoring his availability.

“They always say he’s the most talented player on their roster, it’s just that he doesn’t always put it together,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype. “I’m not sure if he ever will. I like him. I think if he gets in the right situation, he could turn out to be a starting-level player because he can defend multiple positions and he can create any shot he wants. It’s just a matter of his mental approach and getting to the right situation where they know how to get the most out of him.”

“He fits the mold that teams have a need for right now,” another NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’s a 6-foot-8 athletic and versatile player that can make shots. He can create with the ball. He’s got the skillset tools and size. Right now, he doesn’t have a good sample size of being consistent. It’s just been flashes. He’s definitely somebody I’d be going after.”

One of the executives who spoke with HoopsHype believes a team would be willing to give up a protected lottery pick for Reddish.

Reddish is owed $10.62 million combined into next season and is eligible for an $8.11 million qualifying offer in the summer of 2023 that would make him a restricted free agent.

Boston Celtics: Juancho Hernangomez

Juancho Hernangomez is buried on the bench in Boston and is owed a combined $14.3 million through the 2022-23 season, which could be used for salary matching purposes in a trade.

Brooklyn Nets: Nicolas Claxton

Nicolas Claxton, who Spencer Dinwiddie previously said was one of the most talented Nets players over the past two seasons, has moved into the starting lineup to begin the season.

“I think Claxton’s a guy that could get moved,” an NBA executive who spoke with HoopsHype predicted. “They’ve got a lot of veterans they can play over him that came there to play and win a championship. I think they end up moving him if they need a piece. I like him. He’s young and skilled. He just needs to go to a place where he’ll get a lot of opportunities. Brooklyn’s tax bill is going to be ridiculous coming up. If they figure they can get someone as productive as him, and I think they drafted Day’Ron Sharpe with that in mind, to fill his role at a lower salary number.”

Over the past two seasons, the Nets have received calls from a multitude of teams gauging Brooklyn’s interest in trading with Claxton, who has been viewed as the team’s potential center of the future.

“I think Claxton has a ton of value around the league, especially on the defensive end,” a second NBA executive told HoopsHype. “I think his ability to handle the ball is unique for someone his size. That’s the way Tom Crean used him at Georgia. I think he’s got more upside on the offensive end.”

The 22-year-old center is eligible for a $2.2 million qualifying offer and restricted free agency this summer.

“Claxton is somebody that’s versatile, athletic and has size with some upside to him,” a third NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’s going to look good, especially on that team. Maybe a top-15 protected first round-pick you could get for him.”

Charlotte Hornets: Mason Plumlee

The Hornets acquired Mason Plumlee to provide veteran leadership, be a roller on pick-and-roll sets with LaMelo Ball, and fortify the center position for a youthful frontcourt.

Charlotte has several young centers, including Kai Jones, Vernon Carey Jr. and Nick Richards. The Hornets believe the young trio will benefit from Plumlee’s professionalism and work ethic as they try to determine if any of them will become the team’s long-term starting center.

However, if Charlotte fails to compete for a playoff spot, multiple executives believe Plumlee could be traded.

“I think Plumlee could be moved depending how their season goes,” as one NBA executive told HoopsHype. “If they’re worse than they expect, they could move him. I think they’ll keep him if they’re competitive and have an opportunity to make the play-in tournament.”

Plumlee is owed $18.33 million through next season.

Chicago Bulls: Coby White

Coby White, who’s expected to return from shoulder surgery in November, will come off the bench when he returns behind Lonzo Ball after starting 54 of his 69 games played last season.

White, who was a draft pick under the Gar Forman regime, could join Lauri Markannen as the next player under the previous regime to be traded by current Bulls executive Arturas Karnisovas, multiple executives predicted.

Following the offseason additions of Ball, DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso, White could be expendable.

“I think Coby could get moved if they feel like they need a piece,” as one NBA executive predicted. “I like Coby. He’s a guy who needs to get to a situation where he can play.”

White is under team control for two seasons and is eligible for restricted free agency until the summer of 2023.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Cedi Osman

Cleveland has several trade candidates, including Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio if the team falls out of playoff contention, and Cedi Osman.

Osman is the prime candidate to be dangled in trade talks since Cleveland has a logjam at his position and will try to free up some cap space. He’s owed a combined $22.28 million through the 2023-24 season with a salary that declines each season.

After shooting career worsts from the field (.374) and three-point range (.306) last season, Osman has shot the ball well through the first few games of the season while carving out rotation minutes off the bench.

Dallas Mavericks: Dwight Powell

Dwight Powell, 30, has dealt with injuries the past two seasons but was an efficient shooter around the paint last season, shooting 73.7 percent from within three feet predominantly as a roller and a lob threat in pick-and-roll.

With Willie Cauley-Stein, Boban Marjanovic, and Moses Brown behind Powell, the Mavericks could look to include him in a trade to fill a need at another position, according to some executives around the league.

“I know he pops on a lot of the analytics models,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype. “Dallas likes him, but his injury history hasn’t been the best. I could definitely see Dallas moving him to try and get another piece.”

Powell is owed $11.08 million this season and next season each, according to our Mavericks salary page.

Denver Nuggets: Will Barton

Denver has kept its core intact while adding Aaron Gordon before the trade deadline last season and will likely keep it that way this season.

Will Barton’s name has surfaced in trade talks over the years, and he’ll be eligible to be traded after December 15.

However, the biggest acquisition the Nuggets can make by the deadline will likely be the return of their cornerstone guard.

“I don’t think they’ll move anybody,” one of the NBA executives predicted. “I think they like their team, and hopefully getting Jamal Murray back will be their pickup after the deadline.”

Detroit Pistons: Cory Joseph

Coming off a strong finish to last season with the Pistons, Cory Joseph is a potential trade candidate to monitor for playoff teams needing a backup point guard closer to the deadline.

Detroit is emphasizing the development of Killian Hayes and Cade Cunningham, who will handle the ball often. Similar to Derrick Rose last season, Joseph was brought back to provide veteran leadership and be a potential trade asset as the season progressed.

Joseph’s $7.3 million salary is suitable for a single or multi-player trade, and he also has a descending $5.12 million player option for next season.

The 30-year-old guard is eligible to be traded after December 15.

Golden State Warriors: Andrew Wiggins

If Golden State makes a blockbuster trade for a star player that hits the market, Andrew Wiggins and James Wiseman will likely be part of a package.

Last season, Wiggins shot career-bests from the field (.477) and beyond the arc (.380) while guarding the opponent’s top wing scorer.

While he’s not the franchise cornerstone he was projected to be when the Timberwolves took him No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, Wiggins is a solid third option on a playoff-caliber team.

Wiggins is owed $31.6 million this season and $33.6 million for the 2022-23 season, according to our Warriors salaries page.

Houston Rockets: Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon and Danuel House are the only remaining members from the Daryl Morey era, and both players don’t fit Houston’s rebuilding timeline.

When healthy, Gordon is one of the league’s best bench scorers as he approaches 34 years old at the end of December.

“I think Houston will definitely look to move Gordon,” an NBA executive said. “I think he can add a lot of value to a team trying to make a run. I just think his contract is a little rich.”

As the executive noted, Gordon is owed a combined $37.8 million through the 2022-23 season and has a $20.9 million team option for the 2023-24 season.

Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner

Multiple executives believe Indiana will try to play All-Star Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner together again as a final trial run under new coach Rick Carlisle.

“I think they’re trying this rebirth under Carlisle and thinking maybe they are good, and they just messed up last year,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “But, if things don’t look great, Carlisle will tell them very quickly what he thinks and sternly. They’ve been looking at blowing up the Sabonis and Turner frontcourt for two years.”

After leading the league in blocks per game two of the past three seasons, combined with a 35.4 career three-point percentage, the 25-year-old center could draw significant interest on the trade market.

Turner has a flat $18 million salary this season and next season.

LA Clippers: Serge Ibaka

Eric Bledsoe has been the top trade candidate on any team he’s been on over the years, but that distinction goes to Clippers center Serge Ibaka this season.

Owed $9.7 million in the final year of his contract, Ibaka has a movable salary and has remained a starting-caliber center when healthy.

At 32, the Clippers could decide to get something back for Ibaka at the trade deadline depending on where they rank in the Western Conference standings before he enters unrestricted free agency.

LA Lakers: Kendrick Nunn

The Lakers have 10 players on minimum contracts, so either Talen Horton-Tucker or Kendrick Nunn is the top trade piece.

Nunn will be re-evaluated in another 2-3 weeks, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Thursday.

He’s eligible to be traded after December 15.

Memphis Grizzlies: Tyus Jones

Tyus Jones has proven to be a solid backup point guard throughout his career. Entering unrestricted free agency this summer, Jones could look for more playing time elsewhere. With that in mind, Memphis could look to get something in return for Jones, who’s owed $8.4 million this season, and give De’Anthony Melton more playing time. 

Miami Heat: Tyler Herro

Tyler Herro’s trade stock has fluctuated since entering the league. At one point, Miami didn’t want to include him in trade discussions for James Harden.

With Miami in championship contention mode following the addition of Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler recently turning 32 years old, Herro could be dangled on the trade market for a veteran upgrade.

“I’d move him for more than just a lottery pick, depending on what the protections were. I think he’s a good player,” another NBA executive told HoopsHype. “I know he regressed a little last year compared to his play in the bubble, but I still think he’s got a lot of value.”

Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo

Donte DiVincenzo was nearly traded in the botched Bogdan Bogdanovic sign-and-trade agreement and could be on the move again before he earns a significant pay raise this summer in restricted free agency.

“I think the only reason they’d trade DiVincenzo is they can’t afford to pay him (in restricted free agency),” one NBA executive told HoopsHype. “The Grayson Allen extension might have been a little bit of a protection.”

If DiVincenzo builds off his career highs in points (10.4), rebounds (5.8), and three-point percentage (.379), he could draw a significant offer sheet in a weak 2022 free agency class.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Taurean Prince

The Timberwolves have several attractive trade chips in Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley and Taurean Prince. 

Beasley is shifting to a sixth man role, and Beverley could be a coveted asset for contenders if the Timberwolves fall out of playoff contention by the trade deadline. However, the nod for Minnesota went to Prince, who’s in the final year of his deal and will earn $13 million.

Last season, Prince shot 40 percent from beyond the arc for the first time in his career and carved out a niche as a small forward or small-ball power forward who can stretch the floor while providing solid defense.

New Orleans Pelicans: Josh Hart

Multiple NBA executives told HoopsHype they believe the Pelicans structured Josh Hart’s three-year deal this offseason with the intent of trading him.

“I think they signed him to that deal just so they could trade him,” as one executive told HoopsHype, noting Hart’s deal is non-guaranteed next season. “His three-year deal with the non-guaranteed years after the first year could add value because it gives whatever team flexibility if he’s traded.”

The 26-year-old swingman is eligible to be traded after January 15.

One other executive had a blockbuster dark horse prediction.

“I know a lot of teams like Hart, and they’ve been hesitant to trade him,” the executive said. “I think they’d move Brandon Ingram if Damian Lillard ever became available.”

New York Knicks: Kevin Knox

Kevin Knox has regressed each season with less playing time since his rookie campaign in New York. Entering his fourth season at only 22 years old, some executives around the league believe a change of scenery and playing time could unlock Knox’s untapped potential to this point.

“He’s got a specific skill set, and he has enough size,” one executive said. “He just needs to be in the right situation. He doesn’t fit the Tom Thibodeau type of player.”

The former ninth overall pick of the 2018 NBA draft shot 39.3 percent from beyond the arc last season in limited action. He remains at the end of the bench in New York, with the team expected to be a playoff contender in the East and Obi Toppin earning a bigger role this season.

Knox is owed $5.8 million this season and is eligible for a $7.9 million qualifying offer this summer, which would make him a restricted free agent.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Derrick Favors

Derrick Favors and Mike Muscala are essentially the only adults in the room for an extremely young Thunder squad.

With Oklahoma City in a full rebuild mode and focused on the development of its young core, Favors will likely be available ahead of the trade deadline later this season.

“A team that could use a backup center or needs some size could find him valuable at the deadline,” one executive said.

Orlando Magic: Terrence Ross

Terrence Ross is a player many executives around the league believe will be traded. The prevailing thinking is he’ll be traded to a playoff team that can utilize his scoring off the bench and athleticism.

“He’ll be moved,” as one NBA executive told HoopsHype confidently. “They were trying to move him at the draft. They wanted to put him in a place where he could win. I think he’s worth a couple of second-round picks.”

According to another executive who spoke with HoopsHype, Orlando previously hoped to acquire at least one first-round pick in trade discussions for Ross last season.

Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons

Disgruntled Sixers guard Ben Simmons is owed $147 million through the 2024-25 season.

Sixers president Daryl Morey recently said the standoff between Simmons and the team could last four years and to “buckle in.”

“These are Joel Embiid’s prime years, so they can’t say they got draft picks for their second-best player,” another executive noted. “They’re holding out hope he’ll become happy again, or one of the guys like Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard becomes available.”

While some have suggested Portland CJ McCollum would be more likely to be traded for Simmons, that wouldn’t be enough for Philadelphia to trade its disgruntled star.

Some executives still believe the Warriors could make sense if they decided to pursue Simmons.

“If Golden State went after him, I think he’d fit in there really well,” one executive told HoopsHype. “Can you imagine him with those shooters out there, and he’s playing defense, rebounding and pushing the ball, running, gunning, and finishing? He’d flourish in their style of play.”

Phoenix Suns: Jalen Smith

As previously reported on the HoopsHype podcast, the Suns made Jalen Smith available in trade talks over the summer.

The former No. 10 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft saw the Suns sign JaVale McGee this offseason, leaving Smith little playing time behind Deandre Ayton and McGee.

Phoenix also has stretch-five Frank Kaminsky.

With the Suns in title contention, expect Phoenix to consider dangling Smith in trade talks as part of any package to acquire a win-now veteran.

Portland Trail Blazers: Jusuf Nurkic

At the end of the playoffs, Jusuf Nurkic expressed frustration with his role. So far, it appears new coach Chauncey Billups has given Nurkic an expanded role and more playing time to start the new season.

However, with Nurkic and Robert Covington in the final years of their contracts, each player is worth monitoring, according to NBA executives, should the Blazers struggle at the beginning of the season.

“I think something’s going to happen there,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype. “Things aren’t great right now. I think it’s probably Robert Covington or Jusuf Nurkic first. I think there’s a non-zero chance they go and reset without trading Damian Lillard and try to trade CJ McCollum and the other guys and get a new cast of vets.”

Sacramento Kings: Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley

Buddy Hield recently broke Peja Stojakovic’s franchise record for three-pointers, but it remains to be seen how many more threes he’ll make for the Kings.

“Buddy’s going to be gone,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype bluntly. “They already traded him and had a done deal.”

Another executive noted Hield’s descending contract could make it more likely for him to be traded.

Hield is owed $23.09 million this season, $21.21 million during the 2022-23 season and $19.32 million for the 2023-24 season.

Marvin Bagley is the other Kings player equally expected to be traded, which colleague Yossi Gozlan and I expanded on during a previous HoopsHype podcast following agent Jeff Schwartz’s criticism of Sacramento’s organization.

San Antonio Spurs: Thaddeus Young

Thaddeus Young, who’s entering the final year of his contract, was one of the most mentioned trade candidates, according to NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype. He’s considered a good veteran locker room presence who shot a career-high 55.9 percent last season.

“I could see a team giving up multiple second-round picks for him,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’s a great guy and player who contributes in so many ways.”

With the Spurs in a transition phase of developing their young players, Young is expected to provide veteran leadership before finding a new home before the trade deadline on a contender.

“San Antonio is going to try to win games until Gregg Popovich breaks the coaching wins record, and then I think after that they’ll be done and realize they’re out of it,” another NBA executive told HoopsHype.

Toronto Raptors: Goran Dragic

With Toronto in a transition mode of developing its young core while trying to win, the Raptors have hung onto Goran Dragic longer than some around the league suspected after he was acquired in the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade.

The 35-year-old Slovenian guard is owed $19.4 million in the final year of his contract and showed he can still play meaningful minutes last season in Miami.

Expect playoff teams to circle the wagon on Dragic leading up to the trade deadline.

Utah Jazz: Joe Ingles

Utah values continuity seemingly more than any team in the league, so picking a player to likely be traded is a bit tricky.

However, for this exercise, Joe Ingles is a player highly coveted around the league, and some rumors previously linked the Warriors as a team interested in acquiring him.

“I think playoff teams value Joe and could use him,” one NBA executive said. “His passing is phenomenal. He can shoot the ball well and handle the ball too.”

Washington Wizards: Montrezl Harrell

Following Daniel Gafford’s contract extension and the eventual return of last year’s starting center Thomas Bryant, Montrezl Harrell could potentially be the odd man out in Washington by the trade deadline.

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You can follow Michael Scotto on Twitter: @MikeAScotto

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