The NBA Trade deadline is upon us. February 6th at 3:00 PM EST is the last chance for an NBA franchise to trade a player on their team in exchange for a player under contract on another team. There are ways to acquire players before the end of the month after this through buyouts, but we can get into that later. I’ll breakdown the top 3 current stories going on and what I predict will happen. As of writing this the Rockets/Nuggets/Wolves/Hawks 12-player trade has happened, as well as Andre Iguodala traded to the Miami Heat for an undisclosed return.
- Where will Jrue Holiday end up, if anywhere?
Jrue Holiday is the prized player available in this market. He’s a guard for the Pelicans averaging 19 ppg, shooting 35% from 3 and providing “A” defense. He’s a borderline all-star and could really propel a team to a championship, if they were close already. He’s signed through 2022 at a respectable ~$26M per year so he’s beyond a one-year rental, thus increasing his value. He’s currently on the Pelicans who’re 4+ games out of an eighth seed in the West and it’s time for them to make a big decision. They have to decide if they are pushing for the playoffs to give Zion Williamson more reps or fine with not making it. My guess is that it depends on the offer they receive. Zach Lowe, of ESPN, has reported that the Nuggets might provide the best offer with some combination of Gary Harris/Malik Beasley/1st round picks. If I am in the Pelicans front office I’m not accepting any deal for Holiday from them unless it involves Michael Porter Jr, who I don’t think the Nuggets will part with.
My prediction: Jrue Holiday stays put as the Pelicans try for the 8th seed in the Western Conference
What I’m rooting for: Denver Nuggets acquire Jrue Holiday
- Will D’Angelo Russell get traded?
The Warriors all-star guard might be the second most notable name available on the market. After being acquired in a sign-and-trade over the offseason, Russell has fit in nicely with the Warriors lineup, but it hasn’t resulted in many wins. The Warriors are 12-39, worst in the NBA, but Russell is averaging 24 ppg and 40% from 3. He’s a guard who can play on or off the ball, and provide range to an offense in need of spacing. He’ll be an instant upgrade to any offense. Reports are initially suggesting Russell may get moved to the Timberwolves, another struggling team dying for a star to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns. The Timberwolves are second worst in the West to the Warriors, so this trade won’t have a big impact on the standings, but will have a big impact on the Warriors rebuild. If the Warriors are able to get back another first round pick, their rebuild could be accelerated when Steph Curry and Klay Thompson come back next year.
My Prediction: D’Angelo Russell stays put with the Warriors
What I’m rooting for: Warriors stay put and D’Angelo Russell plays with Curry/Klay next year as the team makes a push for a championship
- Which contender will make a big move?
There are rumored talks about every team right now. Reports are suggesting the Lakers are dangling Kyle Kuzma in hopes of getting some guard help. I doubt the Lakers will make a move due to the fact they have so few first-round picks and flexible contracts to trade. The Clippers have been rumored in a few small deals, so I don’t think they will do anything. They are candidates for a buyout player later in the month. The Raptors, winners of 11 straight and 2nd place in the Eastern Conference could be one move away from really challenging the Bucks. I don’t see them giving up the young talent needed to make a move like that. The team I suspect ready to make a big move is the 76ers. I believe GM Elton Brand sees this team has gone stale and is ready to push a few more buttons. The team is currently 6th place in the Eastern Conference and a far cry from the title aspirations they had at the beginning of the year. I expect them to try and move Al Horford for a guard who can space the floor.
Whatever happens, it will surely shape the race for an NBA title come June.
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