The 2016-2017 NBA trade deadline is February 23 at 3 p.m. ET, and rumors are heating up regarding some of the league’s biggest names. As certain teams find themselves out of the playoff picture in their respective conference, deals for star players that may not have made sense earlier in the season may now be more appealing. While these are only rumors and speculations, CBS Sports‘ James Herbert recently broke down a list of 25 players who could be on the move. Here are a few of the more notable names.
DeMarcus Cousins — Sacramento Kings
Averaging 28.5 points, 10 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks, Kings power forward DeMarcus Cousins is one of the best big men in the league. While no one can deny Cousins’ talent, his attitude has been called into question on numerous occasions. In addition to the attitude issues, Cousins has just not led to many wins for the Kings. While much of that can be attributed to the inept Kings front office, it may just be time for both parties to move on.
While the Kings are unlikely to make much noise in the playoffs this year, they do have a record of 15-21, which is good for the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference. The Portland Trail Blazers hold the No. 8 seed with their record of 16-22, and the Kings have a realistic chance of making the playoffs. Whether or not the Kings consider making the playoffs with Cousins and losing in the first round as a success remains to be seen, but they are just not going anywhere this year.
As Herbert notes, Cousins has been involved in numerous trade rumors and scenarios over the past few years, and the chatter is unlikely to stop during this year’s deadline.
“It’s still unclear if the Kings will be ready to move their best player anytime soon, but the speculation won’t stop. Trading him would set the franchise back in the short term, but if it’s only a matter of time until he’s gone, it might be best to end this era and start something new. If Sacramento could get one of the Brooklyn Nets picks owed to the Boston Celtics, for example, it could find its next franchise player in the draft.”
Time will tell if the Kings finally decide to move on from their star.
Nerlens Noel — Philadelphia 76ers
At only 22 years old, 76ers center Nerlens Noel is actually the longest-tenured player on the roster. As RealGM reports, Noel will become a restricted free agent after this season. While the 76ers will have every opportunity to hold onto their young center, the organization already has an abundance of big men. Joel Embiid is the team’s franchise player, and he is not going anywhere. Jahlil Okafor has promise, but he is not exactly a perfect fit with Embiid. Okafor is strong on the offensive end of the floor, but his defense leaves a lot to be desired.
Noel is a great rim protector, but he is unlikely to ever be a great offensive player. While Embiid and Noel may ultimately be a better fit together, the 76ers may be reluctant to give up on Okafor already. Both Noel and Okafor have been involved in numerous trade rumors, but Noel has been more vocal in his displeasure with the current situation. Both players have been linked to the Boston Celtics, but nothing ever came of the talks. The Celtics are still looking for a big man, and Noel would be a solid fit with their young core.
As Herbert notes, Noel should have no shortage of suitors, and the 76ers should take anything that could be considered reasonable.
“Rather than dealing with his restricted free agency, the Sixers should probably trade him if they get anything close to a reasonable offer. His defense, rebounding and ability to roll hard to the basket mean that he should have more value in the modern NBA than the next guy on this list.”
The 76ers are not going to be in contention this year, but they are going to have to move one of their big men in the very near future.
Nerlens Noel looking to up his trade value, and murder Kelly Olynyk in the process with that slam???? pic.twitter.com/TYk3xN55rS— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 7, 2017
Jimmy Butler — Chicago Bulls
Bleacher Report recently reported that the Bulls are shopping Jimmy Butler, but ESPN says they are not. While ESPN is generally a reliable source, their denial does not mean that Butler will not be moved. As one of the premiere players in the league, Butler will have no shortage of suitors if the Bulls officially make him available.
As Fansided notes, the Philadelphia 76ers could be an attractive trade partner with the Chicago Bulls in a potential deal for Butler.
“The Sixers are the right partner to deal with if the Bulls really do want to do a facelift, as they have been a rebuilding team for years that have a lot of pieces that can help a team looking to start rebuilding get going on the right foot. Over the last three years, the Sixers have brought in a ton of draft picks, and have also made trades to ensure that they have future draft picks as well.”
With a record of 18-18, the Bulls are a mediocre team this year. While they may qualify for the playoffs, they are unlikely to make much noise. Instead of remaining in “NBA purgatory,” the Bulls could opt to trade Butler and begin their rebuild.
Other Players Who Could Be Traded
In addition to the names listed above, Herbert also says the following players could potentially be on the move.
- Paul Millsap
- Rudy Gay
- Brandon Knight
- Jahlil Okafor
- Brook Lopez
- Nikola Vucevic
- Goran Dragic
- Ricky Rubio
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]