All this NBA trade speculation might have you thinking we are in for a treat this transfer window, but truth is only a handful of teams will actually nail down deals before the deadline. Nevertheless, experience has taught me that when we least expect it, a surprise trade can always go down.
Either your team is at the top or at the bottom, there’s no doubt that every organization in the league is constantly eyeing up for opportunities to improve, wether it’s selling and cleaning up the squad, or strengthening positional weaknesses. Just the other week, the Celtics surprised as they traded Noah Vonleh to Spurs for cash and a future conditional second-round pick.
We are a month away from the transfer deadline and we’ve decided to pull up a Top 5 trades we expect to happen before February 9th finally arrives:
5. Caris LaVert
Will we see Caris LaVert’s unique shooting ability outside of Cleveland? Just last week, Ohio sports broadcaster Chris Fedor stirred up the NBA trade speculation as he made sure that Caris LaVert is the Cav’s best trade asset for this transfer window. Soon after, veteran reporter Jake Fischer announced the Cavaliers are open to trading the shooting guard.
Fischer went on to say: ”LeVert, for example, never had true extension conversations this summer, sources said, after injury limited his availability to just 19 games following last February’s trade. The Cavaliers do appear open to discussing LeVert, but moving him now would come at far lower value than the first-round pick and multiple second-rounders Indiana netted for his services a season ago.”
LeVert is still young and would most likely improve any team’s offensive arsenal. Problem in Ohio is the 28 year he has become the odd man out considering the rise of Darius Garland and this season’s inclusion of Donovan Mitchell. If we analyze with a clear head, the Cav’s could make a great trading deal with the 28 year old.
4. Zach LaVine
The Zach LaVine saga lives on. Even though the Bulls’ shooting guard is back on his feet with great performances and team’s spirit is on the rise, rumors of his transfer are not fading away. If Chicago make him available before the trade deadline, rival teams such as The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat seem keen on trading in the 27 year old.
In the Knicks’ case, they have plenty of draft picks they can joggle around to reach LaVine’s salary. Dallas is known for being on the constant move on improving their roster around star Luka Dončić, and signing LaVine could take off the Slovenian’s pressure of scoring most of the points. As for Miami, their best asset to contend for this trade race would be to offer Tyler Herro in a potential trade package.
With LaVine in action, the Bulls have won seven of their last 10 games, gradually showing he is starting to live up to his potential as the team’s best player. Although the 27 year old has reportedly expressed doubts on his role in the Chicago squad, if he keeps his numbers up we seriously doubt the Bulls would make him available for transfer.
3. Christian Wood
It’s been weeks already since Christian Wood has been rumored to leave Dallas. But as of usual, as soon as the transfer talks start to threaten, players find the inspiration to bring back their best basketball. And it hasn’t been the exceptionn for the Maverick’s center and power foward, who’s been back to his best version of him lately.
Mavericks have won 8 out of their last 10 games, and Wood has not only improved significantly in defense, his offensive numbers have grown up to some of the highest stats in his career. Just in his last game last night, which unfortunately finished in defeat for Dallas, the 27 year old scored the most points for his team (27) and achieved an incredible 16 rebounds and 2 assists.
Here’s the thing, it’s his contract situation that has everyone on their toes. Wood’s recent improvement has pushed the team to offer him an contract extension, but if Dallas won’t reach an agreement soon they would definitely consider making him available for transfer. The Mav’s big man is on the final year of his contract and would definitely attract a lot of interest on the trade market.
2. Bradley Beal
Seems like Bradley Beal isn’t too happy in Washington. Expectations at the beginning of the season can be dangerous, as the Wizards were expected to have a better season so far, and Beal not finding the best version of himself in the process. Rumors are still around suggesting it’s only a matter of time for Beal to ask for a trade.
Wizards President Tommy Sheppard has been persistent in not giving into speculation and positive the team’s star is committed. He goes on to say that Washington plans to build a team around Beal, not only maintaining Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma for long-term, but also finding a fourth player to complement the squad dynamic.
Frustrating as it is, the 29 year old has been carrying a hamstring injury for the past weeks. Initially, they thought he was in good condition to return to court last week, but he was quickly sidelined again since his injury blew up during the game. It’s clear the Wizards will do anything to keep the shooting guard on their side, but in regards to Beal’s future, if the team’s performance doesn’t improve then both parties might come to realize that winning a title together is unrealistic.
Bradley Beal injury update pic.twitter.com/bdvfbYEozi
— Josh Lloyd (@redrock_bball) January 5, 2023
1. Jae Crowder
Has anyone seen Jae Crowder this season? Incredible enough, the veteran hasn’t played a single second for the Suns during the first 13 weeks of the tournament. The 32 year old is the likeliest player to be traded in the NBA, as he still has quality to deliver but seems unavoidable he won’t fit in Phoenix’s starting lineup.
It’s been more than a month since the Milwaukee Bucks and the Houston Rockets showed interested in the foward, but rumor has it that Phoenix won’t trade him just for any player. The Suns have been hard negotiators on their side of the bargain, expecting a high caliber player in return. The Heat are reported being the closest to signing him, but only if Miami agrees to buy him out entirely.
We have no doubt Crowder can still be a huge asset for any team in the league, but perhaps the Suns are fantasizing too much about how high is market value truly is. Just last season he played 80 games (67 in regular season and 13 in playoffs) and averaged 9.4 points per game.