The 2023 trade deadline is fast approaching, and January is the month in which the market action climaxes. It was James Harden and Ben Simmons who made headlines at this stage last year, who will it be this time around? We’ve looked at the Eastern Conference rumors and possible moves below…
The Kyle Kuzma saga
Kyle Kuzma has talked about his impending free agency so much, that he might just feel personally offended if we didn’t mention his name.
Indeed, the Washington Wizards man has made it very clear that he wants a move away come July, and there’s a litany of franchises that could benefit from his skills before that.
Whether you’re a ‘win now’ side or a team looking to build on future endeavors, Kuzma can work. He’s an exceptional transitional player and possesses a shooter’s reputation that could tempt even the best of sides.
The Warriors, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets might be looking to itch that particular scratch quickly as they try to nail down playoffs and play-in spots. All we do know is that come deadline day, Kuzma is guaranteed to part ways with the Wizards.
Bulls looking to bolster
The Chicago Bulls flexed their muscles in Paris last week, winning comfortably in the French Capital against the Detroit Pistons. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic led that charge, proving exactly why this team may have the wings to make it to the playoffs.
If that is the aim, they may want to fortify their existing unit in this month’s trade talk, especially with an aging attack. Fortunately, the Jazz are accepting offers for everyone bar Lauri Markannen and Walker Kessler.
Forwards Jarred Vanderbilt and Kelly Olynyk could be a good swap deal to make, especially with the former having been so successful in the Timberwolves’ playoff drive last season. The latter is a much-needed roster-filler and could capably step in for either Vucevic or DeRozan.
Fine-tuning needed in Atlanta
There’s no sense of urgency for the Hawks in this year’s market, what with a healthy Clint Capela back in the starting five alongside Trae Young. They do, however, have the opportunity to fine-tune what they do have.
For starters, they have to consider the fact that Dejounte Murray’s contract is running down, and soon he’ll be a free agent, with rival franchises looking to snap him up. That, alongside Bogdan Bogdanovic’s continued inconsistency with appearances on the court.
Perhaps Bogdanovic is one the Hawks might want to trade, much like Kuzma, he possesses the energy and vim to be a force on counterattacks. There are plenty of teams that could match his salary cap.
Murray is the far more interesting prospect here. The Hawks must rally to keep him if they are to continue their run of recent success.
All eyes on Anunoby
The Toronto Raptors would have to be really foolish to let the best perimeter defender in the league slip through their fingers, but going by the math, they will release someone. Let’s hope it isn’t him.
Indeed, Anunoby is fast becoming a popular pick in the NBA, in the race for Defensive Player of the Year, leading the league in blocks around the rim. It’s hard to ignore.
His pacey rise to stardom, coupled by the fact that he is underpaid and represented by a company that is known for rotating big shots, is a dangerous combination for interested parties.
Boston breaking the bank?
They’re already sitting pretty atop the Eastern Conference standings, but the injuries to Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams and, more worryingly, Marcus Smart, might just prompt them to make a move in the market.
Given that the Celtics have an open roster spot, coupled with the fact that they do have salary money to free up and spend, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if the back office brought in another man to deepen the roster.