NBA Calendar Dec. Turning to 15, the start of the NBA trade season begins in earnest.
Why is December 15 so important? Many players who agreed to free-agent deals over the summer are eligible to move, opening up a large number of opportunities for trades. As my colleague John Hollinger often says, in the NBA, you trade contracts, not players. The December 15 date thus creates greater contractual flexibility.
Another reason why December 15 is such an important date is that it will lead to the G League Showcase scheduled for December 19 to 22 this season. It’s the first time this season that a significant number of league power brokers are in one place, allowing them to sit down — maybe have a few drinks — and chat about the state of their rosters. Armed with a model nearly two months into the season, managers will feel they have a better handle on projecting the future of their teams this season.
With that in mind, it’s time to start the NBA Trade Deadline Big Board, an annual list of potential trade targets across the league ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline.
This first version is somewhat conservative. As you’ll notice, it’s multi-player with some combination of the following attributes:
- Their names have already been raised in trade talks between the teams.
- They play for teams that are already out of the playoff picture.
- They have contracts that expire after this season.
- They are not currently in their team’s playing rotation.
As you can see, it doesn’t have many All-Star level players outside of a few exceptions. For example, Lauri Markkanen isn’t here because despite the Utah Jazz’s poor record, there’s no reason (yet) for them to actually move him considering he’s locked into a bargain-basement contract for the next two years. One can easily make a jazz case want Look to move Markkanen, with the idea that his trade value won’t be much higher than it is now. Ultimately, if Markkanen continues to improve, he’s going to sign a contract worth twice as much as this one. But even if the Jazz lose, there’s no real need to move him now, and they still have time to figure out his long-term situation. Beyond Markkanen, however, Utah has several options at its disposal, from moving under-contract players like John Collins and Collin Sexton to moving expiring contracts.
On the other hand, a team like the Toronto Raptors doesn’t have time with Pascal Siakam and OJ Anunoby, as both are free agents at the end of the year (Anunoby has a player option for 2024-25, but will certainly opt out). Those two players headline our starting board because the Raptors want See what’s out there and understand their preferences moving forward.
This board of trade will be fluid in the next couple of months. The names featured now could change based on further reporting or signed extensions, which could take the player off the trade market. But for now let’s start here.
Shums: I’m hearing about potential trades for Siakam, LaVine and more