The trade deadline is only a couple of weeks away, and though there have already been some (un)expected trades, there are definitely more trades on the horizon. One of them would be Philadelphia’s Markelle Fultz, but as there are so many issues with injuries, there’s only a small change any team is willing to trade for him, so he’s not included on this list.
Frank Kaminsky / Nicolas Batum
Possible destination: Sacramento Kings (Kaminsky & Batum), San Antonio Spurs (Batum)
Nicolas Batum is quite a burden for the Hornets. Batum is already 30, and his best, difference making, years are behind him. That alone would make it difficult to trade Batum, but on top of that, he’s got $52 million left on the last two years of his contract. That’s part of the reason why the Hornets are willing to include Kaminksy in any trade deal that comes their way. Kamisky has been out of the Hornets’ rotation for most of the season, and only managed to average 11 minutes in 22 games. Furthermore, Kaminsky will be a free agent after this season, so this is the last opportunity for the Hornets to get some value out of him.
If the Hornets can get rid of some of their expensive contracts, there will be a bigger chance this off-season that they’ll be able to keep Kemba Walker in Charlotte.
Enes Kanter / Courtney Lee
Possible destinations: Sacramento Kings (Kanter), Chicago Bulls (Kanter & Lee)
Kanter just announced he wasn’t going to join the New York Knicks in London, as the Turkish player has voiced his criticism against president Erdoğan on multiple occasions, and is afraid of repercussions. Although that’s a smart decision, it’s a big question whether Kanter will still be in New York when the Knicks travel to London.
The Knicks have given in to tanking this season, and that always means that a team is going to give the young players a chance to prove themselves. In this case, that meant that Kanter, is out of the starting five, and have gotten a very small role. Kanter has made it clear he’s happy in New York, even though he’s not satisfied with his new role, but it would be no surprise if the Knicks decided to trade him before the deadline arrives. So far, there have been some inquiries about Kanter, but there’s no real lead yet.
Courtney Lee is in a similar situation as Kanter, only have the Knicks been trying to trade him since the summer. Lee is now totally out of the rotation, but he doesn’t complain about it, as he knows it can all change in an instance (or just with a trade). So the Knicks will definitely try and include him in the trade with Kanter, but either way, Lee can be a good addition for every team that’s not tanking. On top of Kanter and Lee, there’s also a sizeable change that the Knicks will try and trade Hardaway Jr, but trading all three of them won’t be an easy task as the Knicks don’t want to give away their draft picks.
Possible destination: Toronto Raptors
There’s been talk about a trade with the Washington Wizards for a while now, and Beal seems the most likely candidate to actually get traded. The question is whether there will be a lot of offers for Beal, as the Wizards have set quite a high price for him. Though the price isn’t made public, it’s expected that the demand includes several first round picks. It’s no surprise that the Wizards want to get a lot in return, as Beal is now the most valuable player on their roster, especially now that Wall is out for the season.
Possible destination: Milwaukee Bucks
Though the Cavaliers have said on several occasions that they’re not actively trading Love, they’re open to offers. In other words, it’s just a matter of time. The Cavaliers will only have a small window of time to trade him, as Love only becomes available on January 24th, which means the Cavs only have about two weeks to find him a new home.
Of course, Love is still a valuable player, and if the Cavs don’t get any good offers for him, they will definitely keep him in Cleveland. In that case, the Cavs will try to get a good deal for him in the summer.
Dennis Smith Jr.
Possible destinations: Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks
Luka Doncic is now on his way to become the new franchise player for the Mavericks, and that makes Smith Jr. expandable. Though Smith Jr. had a surprisingly good rookie season, there were soon doubts whether he could play alongside Doncic. As Smith Jr. is used to playing with the ball in his hands, and he couldn’t really adapt to playing off the ball, it was only a matter of time before a trade was on the table. So far, the Mavericks have made clear that they’re not actively shopping him with other teams, but there’s no opposition to trading him if there’s a possibility.
Of course, we’re only at the halfway point of the season, and there’s still plenty of time for Smith Jr. to adapt to this new playing style, if the Mavericks decide to keep him.
Brandon Ingram/Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Possible destination: Houston Rockets (Caldwell-Pope), New Orleans Pelicans (Ingram)
Last year, LeBron James convinced the front office of the Cavaliers to trade half his team during the season to create a team that could be a playoff contender, and history might repeat itself this year with the Lakers. The Lakers are now on a losing streak after losing LeBron to a groin injury, and they’ve also looked quite bad while doing so.
Ingram would be an obvious choice to be put on the trading block, as it hasn’t been a good season for him. It seems like he’s unable to play together with LeBron James and Kuzma, as he’s preferring to take (bad) shots himself instead of getting the ball to an open player, though one of his qualities used to be his good passing. Overall, Ingram lacks overall effort and passion on the court. But, as Ingram does still have a lot of potential, the Lakers could get a good deal out of it.
The other choice would be Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, as that would be useful for both the Lakers and Caldwell-Pope. The Lakers would still get some value out of him even though his contract expires after this year, while KCP gets the chance to show a different team that he can still be of value. So far, the Rockets have shown interest in getting him to Houston.