Who could be on the move? Who is even eligible to be traded? Boardroom dives into what to expect between now and the NBA trade deadline.
For many fans, it’s the game within the game — coming up with hypothetical scenarios that will drive discussion, debate, and general brouhaha on social media, which is where the NBA thrives.
Of course for teams, this is almost a year-round effort, even if this just happens to be when it all heats up. Franchises can make trades between the start of the regular season up to the NBA’s trade deadline on Feb. 9 (3 p.m. ET), and teams that don’t make the playoffs can start making trades the day after their last regular season games.
NBA Trade Deadline Season
The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement states that a free agent who signs with an NBA team cannot be traded until Dec. 15. This year, that accounts for 74 total players who just became trade-eligible. Some teams are sellers, some are buyers, and, heck, some just want to move disgruntled players and/or shed their salary to clear out cap space.
Mind you, just because the window opens doesn’t mean that suddenly there’s a flurry. Take a look at last season. The schedule was back to normal after dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but the first in-season trade didn’t happen until Jan. 3 — a three-team deal that sent Rajon Rondo to the Cavaliers.
On the flip side, there are still several players that cannot be traded if their contracts have not been officially finalized. Then, you have players with no-trade clauses as part of their contracts or exhibit 10 players who can be waived — but not traded — unless their contract is converted.
Names to Watch
We’re not in the business of speculating, but here are a few big names that became eligible on Thursday and might be on the move.
- Bradley Beal (5 years, $251 million)
- The Wizards just signed Beal to a supermax deal, but they haven’t made it past the first round since 2017. They’re currently bottom-feeders in the Eastern Conference, and can technically trade Beal and tank for Victor Wembanyama. Just sayin’.
- Zach LaVine (5 years, $215 million)
- The Bulls are spiraling and Lonzo Ball hasn’t played a game this season. LaVine signed a max deal this past summer, and he’s only one of three players on the books for the next three seasons (including this one). If Chicago is looking to cut costs and accumulate picks, he might be shopped.
- Russell Westbrook (1 year, $47 million)
- Yeah, we’re tired of hearing about Russ trade scenarios, too. But Westbrook’s value is higher than it was all of last season, coming off the bench and averaging 14.3 points, 7.5 assists, and six rebounds per game. He exercised his one-year player option this summer, thus he is finally eligible.
Don’t get your hopes up too much — again, most trades don’t happen until January, if not February as the deadline approaches. But at the very least, we know that teams are talking.
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