Who’s next: Five NBA stars most likely to be traded this season – NBC Sports

This summer, it was Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, but not Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. There are always NBA trades to talk about — even if some never come to fruition.
So who is next?
The only sure things this NBA season are Luka Doncic will excessively whine to referees and a star player’s name will come up in trade rumors. But which stars? Who could be on the block next? Here are five names to look out for.
Green’s name would not have made this list a couple of weeks ago. He probably still doesn’t get moved — several league sources told NBC Sports not to expect a trade, they think the Warriors will work it out — but nothing is off the table after the video of Green punching Jordan Poole in practice went viral.
Green is away from the Warriors right now by mutual decision. Kevon Looney was honest after the Warriors exhibition game Sunday saying Green has work to do to earn back the trust of the Golden State locker room.
“[Draymond’s] got some work to do to get that trust back from us, but I think he’s willing to do it.” – Loon on Draymond pic.twitter.com/vfv3R1pCJ2
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 10, 2022

If that trust cannot be repaired, and if the Warriors are serious about not extending his contract at the price he wants (instead inking Poole and Andrew Wiggins to new deals), they may have to consider this season as the chance to trade him. On the Lowe Post podcast, Bill Simmons threw out a three-way trade that sent Green to the Lakers and brought Myles Turner to the Warriors, which turned a few heads.
Green, however, may not have the market value people think. His ability to guard 1-5 and quarterback a defense is insanely valuable in the Warriors switching scheme, but it doesn’t fit with every team’s system. Plus, Green’s 3-point shooting has fallen way off, limiting his scoring largely to in the paint (he still makes great reads and passes). Green is a perfect fit and thrives in the Warriors eco-system, would he thrive the same way elsewhere? A lot of scouts and executives aren’t so sure.
Still, suddenly the idea of a Green trade is not crazy. It’s something to watch.
An obvious addition to the list as Lakers GM Rob Pelinka spent all summer trying to find a deal for Westbrook they found acceptable.
Throughout training camp, Westbrook has said and done all the right things: playing defense, setting picks, being in the corner to shoot 3s on some sets, and being a team player. Let’s say people — and by people, we mean both league officials and Lakers fans — are skeptical about how long this will continue. If things start to go sideways with the Lakers, a Westbrook trade will be back on the table (and we will be back to discussing what it would take to get just-extended Rob Pelinka to send out both Lakers first-round picks he can trade (2027 and 2029).
Another rumor that inevitably will come true, the only question is where Turner lands.
Turner has never been an All-Star and is underrated by fans, but he fits what teams are seeking in a modern big man — he is an elite shot blocker (2.8 per game last season, 3.4 per game two seasons ago), who is mobile enough to do a little switching. On offense, he shot 33.3% on four 3-pointers a game last season in Indiana. He is a stretch five that is easy to picture next to Anthony Davis in Los Angeles (the Lakers don’t want to give up two first-round picks for Turner and Buddy Hield), but also would fit next to any four who wants to score inside (Julius Randle, Zion Williamson, etc.). The Pacers are waiting for the right deal, but they also don’t want to start winning a lot of games in a rebuilding year and mess up their lottery odds, so there is pressure to find the right trade sooner rather than later.
He is another player who has been on the trade block for more than a year, but the Hawks haven’t found a deal they like so he is still in Atlanta. At Media Day both Collins and Atlanta GM Landry Fields talked about putting those rumors in the past and working on winning a lot of games, but as the trade deadline nears expect those rumors to pop up again (especially if the Hawks don’t live up to expectations).
Collins is a bouncy four who averaged 16.2 points and 7.8 rebounds a game last season — he could help a lot of teams. Expect those teams to call again as we move closer to the NBA trade deadline.
The Thunder are young and don’t want to win many games this season as they continue to stockpile young talent during their rebuild (put bluntly, they want to be in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes). Gilgeous-Alexander is an outstanding player and wins games. The Thunder will keep him around to start the season (even with him they are not going to win much) but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him sat down deeper into the season as the Thunder want to tank player their young guys. A team that needs a point guard and floor general could come calling, and if that team will surrender picks or young players the Thunder will listen.
Other names to watch on the ride market: Buddy Hield (Pacers), Mike Conley (Jazz), Lauri Markkanen (Jazz), Bojan Bogdanovic (Pistons), Alec Burks (Pistons), Julius Randle (Knicks).
(Note: Bradley Beal was listed in the original article, but because he signed a supermax deal he cannot be traded this year. In addition, he has a no-trade clause beyond that so Beal could control when and where he gets traded, if it ever comes to that.)
“I just want to be somewhere that wants me as a basketball player, and I want to be somewhere that likes my game.”
The Lakers like Rui Hachimura‘s game.
Hachimura said the above quote when asked about trade talks swirling around him, and now it looks like the Lakers are about to deal for him. Multiple reports have the Lakers near a trade to acquire the 6’8″ wing from the Wizards for Kendrick Nunn and multiple second-round picks. Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN were first.
The Lakers are in the final stages of completing a deal to acquire Hachimura for a package that includes three second-round picks, sources tell ESPN. No deal has been finalized, but talks are in the final stages, sources said. https://t.co/a6MOQ8lHIc
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 23, 2023

The trade is expected to be finalized Monday afternoon (the sides reportedly agreed on the Wizards getting the Bulls’ 2023 pick that the Lakers controlled, the 2029 Lakers second-rounder, and the less favorable of the Lakers/Wizards 2028 second-rounders).
This is the kind of move around the margins that the Lakers have been looking at — they didn’t surrender any key players or picks, and they get a solid player who fills a position of need but doesn’t mess with their salary cap space next summer (although they will have to re-sign him if they want to keep him).
Hachimura has been a solid reserve in Washington, averaging 12.4 points per game (although shooting just 32.4% from 3 he is much better on catch-and-shoot 3s, shooting better than 40% over the past two seasons), and he is a plus defender. He is a restricted free agent this summer, but with the trade the Lakers have his Bird rights, so they can make whatever splashy moves they can with a potential $30 million in cap space and then re-sign Hachimura to go over the cap.
This isn’t a move that vaults the Lakers up the standings, but it should improve them. Hachimura provides some frontcourt depth behind LeBron James and next to Anthony Davis (who is nearing a return later this week), Thomas Bryant and Wenyen Gabriel.
The last time we saw Jonathan Isaac on an NBA court was in the bubble, August 2, 2020. He had missed much of that pandemic-ravaged season due to a knee injury but came back in the bubble, which is when Isaac tore his ACL. That following March, he had a setback and another surgery.
Monday night, after more than two-year absence from the NBA — 904 days total — Isaac is set to return to the court for the Magic, according to multiple reports, and his pastor said as much on Sunday. Isaac has been officially upgraded to questionable as of Sunday night, with a move to available expected on Monday. It has been a long road with a lot of work for Isaac to get here — including a stop in the G-League — but he persisted and made it back to this point.
The Magic have found their future franchise cornerstone in Paolo Banchero, but there was a time when it was thought Isaac might be that star in Orlando. Isaac was a raw offensive player whose game was developing but looked like a future defensive anchor averaging  2.3 blocks and 1.6 steals in the games he played in the 2019-20 season.
After two years off, expectations have to be tempered for Isaac, but if he can find some of that defensive form again over the coming years he could find a spot in the Magic’s frontcourt rotation with Banchero, Bol Bol, Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner.
The Magic host the Boston Celtics starting at 7 p.m. Eastern tonight.
The Grizzlies needed a spark.
Memphis played its worst half of basketball this season in the first half in Phoenix and trailed the Suns 62-37 at the break. Chris Paul was back after missing the last seven games (he finished with 22 points and 11 assists) and the Suns were rolling.
The Grizzlies found their groove in the second half, and the highlight was Ziaire Williams hitting the longest shot in Grizzlies history.
WATCH: https://t.co/1pomQZMAZK pic.twitter.com/0ooY4Y4I07
— NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2023

It wasn’t enough, the Suns held on for the 112-110 win. But Williams deserves his moment in the spotlight for that shot.
Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) Could Grizzlies’ road woes hold them back from contending?

In the FedEx Forum, the Memphis Grizzlies play like unquestioned title contenders — a 20-3 record, outscoring opponents by 11.2 points per game fueled by the league’s best defense.
However, take the Grizzlies out of the friendly confines and everything changes. They are 11-12 and have been outscored away from home after dropping back-to-back games on the current road trip to teams in the play-in mix (the Lakers and Suns).
Memphis is the only team in the Western Conference with a top-10 offense and defense — the traditional sign of a contender — but to make the Finals, a team will have to win big games on the road. Could the Grizzlies’ road woes keep them from contending?
“Got to look ourselves in the mirror. We gotta want to be better if we got to want change,” Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones said when asked about road woes after a come-from-ahead loss to the Lakers Friday night that snapped their 11-game winning streak. “You know, and if we don’t, it’ll be a long road trip for us.”
It might be a long trip. The Grizzlies came out after that loss and got their heads handed to them by the Suns in the first half, trailing 62-37 at the break. Part of the Suns’ energy was the return of Chris Paul after missing the last seven games, he finished the night with 22 points and 11 assists.
The Grizzlies came back in the second half, partly because Ziaire Williams hit the longest shot in Grizzlies history.
WATCH: https://t.co/1pomQZMAZK pic.twitter.com/0ooY4Y4I07
— NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2023

Memphis still fell short. Players still felt like they didn’t play Grizzlies basketball.
“If we just follow principles, follow our principles he would have won the game by 15,” Dillon Brooks said after losing to the Lakers. “Shifting, loading up to the ball in transition, making them take tough shots. And then rebounding.”
The one positive is this: The losing really bothers these young Grizzlies.
Not that any team in the NBA enjoys losing, but it seemed to eat at this team more than most. After the loss in Los Angeles, a group of 10 or so reporters were huddled in the corner of the visitor’s locker room waiting to talk to Brooks about his words with Shannon Sharpe courtside that became a thing. Usually after a team loses in Los Angeles (especially on a Friday night), players are moving fast to shower and get out the door to the club or their dinner reservations — even the best teams lose a fair amount in the NBA and let it roll off them. These Grizzlies stewed in it. A core of the group sat at their lockers, bothered by the loss, talking about officiating and what they felt they should have done differently. They were not racing to get out the door. They didn’t like the feeling.
It’s a good sign, although they followed that up with maybe their worst half of basketball of the season two days later. But at least they recognize the problem. That’s a good start. Still, if the Grizzlies are going to win the West, they must fix it. They will need big wins on the road.
Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving have a long-running rivalry and history with games against each other on the NBA’s biggest stages, and they put on a show Sunday night — Irving scored 38, Curry 26.
So much for the Warriors flipping the switch. After a hard-fought loss to the Celtics last Thursday, the Warriors did win in Cleveland, but in a game Steve Kerr rested his core players except for Jordan Poole — it was a one-off win. Then they came home and lost to a Nets team without Kevin Durant, where Brooklyn won the second half 60-44 to secure the victory.
Kerr stuck with his new small-ball starting lineup — Jordan Poole starts at guard and Kevon Looney comes off the bench — and the result was Nets center Nic Claxton having a career night.
A career night for Nic Claxton in the Nets W:
24 PTS (career-high)
15 REB (career-high)
💪 pic.twitter.com/Sf5m1QHcY1
— NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2023

That’s four straight losses at home for the Warriors, where they had been juggernauts. On the flip side, that’s two quality road wins for the shorthanded Nets in a row, they beat Utah a couple of nights before. Brooklyn is starting to find its offense.
The first game home after a road trip is a traditional trap game in the NBA, the Warriors can explain away this loss that way. But they continue to explain away too many losses this season for a team that fancies itself a title contender.
Portland is in a tailspin. The Trail Blazers won the second quarter against the Lakers Sunday 45-13 and led by 25 at the half — close this game out, beat the Spurs coming up, and they could have snapped out of their recent funk. Instead, the Lakers roared back to get the win behind 37 from LeBron James, and in a defining part of their season the Trail Blazers have now gone 2-8.
The Lakers, on the other hand, are suddenly looking up. They beat the Grizzlies on Friday night to snap that team’s 11-game winning streak, and now they have an epic comeback against the Trail Blazers led by LeBron’s 37 and 11.
37 PTS
11 REB
LeBron in the @Lakers comeback win 😤 pic.twitter.com/XdasYemjOg
— NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2023

That’s two quality wins in a row for the Lakers, who likely will get Anthony Davis back this week. With the win, the Lakers moved past the Trail Blazers in the standings (although only to 12th), and a path to the playoffs seems possible. Next up for the Lakers are the Clippers back at home.
Another note from this game: Thomas Bryant scored 31 for the Lakers.
31 PTS
13 REB
Lakers lead by 6 with 1:07 to play.
WATCH: https://t.co/1pomQZMAZK pic.twitter.com/9YZrxC2Itd
— NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2023

It is a sign of an ongoing problem for the Trail Blazers — they are too small, and opposing bigs are feasting. Bryant, a true stretch five, is a problem for Jusuf Nurkic and the Portland defensive system.
The Lakers need this Bryant when Davis returns if they are going to climb up into the postseason.
By the way, LeBron is now 244 points away from passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time passing record.


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