Trade conversations will always swirl in the NBA, and the 2023-24 season has not disappointed when it comes to getting the rumor mill going. Here’s a look at a few of the candidates who will likely be on the move at some point this year.
James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers
Harden requested a trade as he opted into his deal, and the organization simply hasn’t found a buyer. The guard wants to go to the Clippers, but the 76ers are not obliged to send him there and he doesn’t have a no-trade clause for leverage. Philadelphia is in a contending window and won’t deal Harden just to get rid of him, so this is a complicated situation. Harden can stew and cause problems for the team if he stays as a malcontent. Expect Philadelphia to eventually realize the situation is untenable.
Buddy Hield, Indiana Pacers
Hield failed to reach a long-term contract agreement with the Pacers and the sides decided to find a trade. There’s lot of teams willing to add shooting, something Hield is excellent at. He’s one of the most underrated marksmen in the league and should be able to give Indiana a solid return. The Heat, Celtics, Knicks and Mavericks are teams to look at in contention for Hield.
Jerami Grant, Portland Trail Blazers
Once Damian Lillard wanted out, Grant’s five-year, $160 million extension suddenly looked like a contract the Blazers don’t want to deal with during a rebuild. The combo forward will provide tremendous value for a contender but that salary number will be hard to fit into an existing cap sheet. Maybe the Warriors or Lakers try to aggregate some salaries to add Grant, who can provide a nice defensive boost.
More names to watch
- The Raptors have done the trade dance seemingly every season before ultimately deciding to stay put. Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby are all set to be on the market within the next two seasons, and it’s an opportunity for Toronto to reset if it wants to.
- If the Bulls start slow or struggle, the “Big 3” of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic would all be on the trade block. Chicago has tried to avoid a rebuild but it’s clear this core isn’t anything unless Lonzo Ball comes back healthy.
- If Kawhi Leonard and Paul George don’t sign long-term extensions with the Clippers, it could be time to blow up the core. It’ll be tough for the team to take drastic steps early but we’ll see what happens closer to the trade deadline.