The NBA trade deadline is on February 8. Several players have already appeared in countless trade rumors all over the internet. Trade talks are rapidly heating up as we are learning who is available. Teams are deciding whether they want to be buyers or sellers at the deadline. Being a buyer means you’re trying to win, going all in on this season, and trying to acquire players. Sellers is the opposite; it says your preparing for the future and trying to get rid of players in exchange for younger players or draft picks. Here are three teams that will be buyers at the deadline and three teams that will be sellers.
Right now, the Detroit Pistons are 21-18 and No. 7 in the east. They have slipped a bit since their strong start due to the injury of starting point guard Reggie Jackson. Head coach Stan Van Gundy still believes this is a good team that can do damage in the playoffs, and he always has a win-now mentality. They have already been linked to trying to acquire Evan Fournier of the Orlando Magic, according to ESPN. That is their area of need, and they are looking for another wing who can shoot. Detroit doesn’t have a ton of assets to give up, so expect them to move picks or a young player who has some potential like Stanley Johnson.
Washington is 23-17 and No. 4 in the east. Still, it feels like they have underachieved a bit. They can still use some more depth. The pressure is on in D.C. Washington has been rumored to Deandre Jordan, or they can make a smaller trade for a bench playmaker like J.J Barea. They are also thin on assets so that they may move picks, but keep an eye on Marcus Morris, Martin Gortat, and Tomas Satoransky. All can be had for the right trade.
The three-time defending eastern conference champions are coming off their worst loss of the season. Even with the return of Isaiah Thomas Cleveland has looked shaky especially on defense. They know they need to make a move if they want to beat the Warriors in the finals this year. Cleveland has Brooklyn’s first-round pick to dangle and could use it to try to get a defensive center like Marc Gasol and Deandre Jordan. They also have their first-round pick and rotation players like Iman Shumpert and Tristan Thompson. Cleveland can get them to get some more defense in smaller deals.
The Atlanta Hawks are the worst team in league with a record of 10-30. They are preparing for the future. Atlanta already has three first-round draft picks next year, but they are looking for younger players. Right now, they have several veterans that contenders will be interested in. Keep an eye on Dewayne Dedmon, Ersan Ilyasova, Kent Bazemore and Marco Belinelli. All three have a good chance of being moved, and all three can yield a substantial return. Expect the Hawks to look for young players primarily at shooting guard and power forward.
The Magic got off to a surprising start this season but since have cratered back to earth. Now they are 12-28 and going nowhere fast. Injuries have been a big part of the collapse. Veterans like Nic Vucevic and Evan Fournier may be on the block. Vuceciv being out another six weeks hurts his trade value, and Fournier’s contract is not the easiest to move. Don’t be surprised if the Magic also try to move Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja. Both could use a fresh start. The only untouchables on Orlando are Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac. Orlando is looking for more picks and young players, especially at point guard. They desperately need more shooting. Lastly, they will try desperately to move Bismack Biyombo, but with his contract, it will be near impossible unless they attach a first-round pick, which they likely won’t do.
As usual, the Kings are terrible. Right now, they are 13-26 and going nowhere fast. They are a weird mix of old veterans and young players. Sacramento isn’t going anywhere soon. They need to build around young players like De’Aron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Willey Cauley-Stein. Veterans like George Hill, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter and Kosta Koufos should all be on the move. Getting rid of them will help the Kings get some cap relief, and give more playing time to their young guys. Sacramento will be looking for picks and young players, particularly wings, in return.
These are the teams most likely to be active. This should be a busy a trade deadline, with most teams looking to make a move one way or another. The only teams likely to be quiet are Golden State, San Antonio, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. Everyone else is expected to at least attempt to make a move. Then again, there is always a surprise deal that comes out of nowhere. Enjoy trade season!