Nearly 90 percent of NBA players will be approved for trading on Thursday, and the marketplace will open in full force ahead of the December 19-22 G League Showcase in Las Vegas. The Showcase offers team leaders the opportunity to meet in person, engage in conversations and potential trades throughout the year, and explore the G League’s elite Ignite roster, as well as other teams.
So far, according to team leaders across the NBA, there has been increased discussion and multiple check-ins regarding competing personnel. The parity of the league – with most teams vying for spots in postseason and play-in tournaments – means the real buyers and sellers will need time to reveal themselves before the February 9th trade deadline.
After a 2-10 start, the Los Angeles Lakers, now 11-15 and three games down from sixth, have turned their season around and are considered a key team in the trade market this season. The Lakers are prioritizing shooting in their talks with teams and have discussed packages including salaries and a protected first-round pick for Detroit’s Bojan Bogdanovic, say league sources who have been granted anonymity so they could speak freely the athlete. They have also discussed concepts involving New York’s Cam Reddish and Evan Fournier, sources said. With Anthony Davis having an MVP season and LeBron James having another strong season, it will be fascinating to watch how these Lakers tackle February 9th.
Bogdanovic, 33, is in the midst of a great season for the Pistons, averaging 21 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 43.7 percent from the 3-point game. Reach shot — including a 38-point exit in a loss to the Lakers Sunday night. While Bogdanovic is a target for the Lakers — They’re part of about a dozen teams inquiring about him, Offer first or second rounds — Detroit shows no urgency to move him. In fact, the Pistons have expressed significant reluctance to move from Bogdanovic to opposing teams, sources said.
As The Athletics James Edwards III wrote Bogdanovic has become a leader of this young Pistons group, a prolific catalyst on and off the floor, shows exactly why general manager Troy Weaver doesn’t want to move him.
For the Lakers, Russell Westbrook has found his stride as the sixth man and in 22 games off the bench, has averaged a staggering 15 point difference, eight assists and 5.4 rebounds on 42 percent field goal shooting and 32 percent from the 3- Points-range scores compared to 10.3 points, 4.3 assists and 6.7 rebounds on 28.9 percent field goal shooting and 8.3 percent from 3-point range in three games as a starter.
Westbrook’s move to the sixth man role has worked brilliantly for first-time head coach Darvin Ham. Additionally, the Lakers have made it clear that they are prioritizing championship-changing players for their two tradable first-round picks (2027, 2029). It remains to be seen who might become available as the season progresses.
Meanwhile, Phoenix’s Jae Crowder and Atlanta’s John Collins are certainly two notable names on the market and on the move.
Multiple league sources said the Suns have recently had talks with three teams who would send Crowder to Milwaukee, four Bucks second-round draft picks along with players to Houston and Eric Gordon and/or Kenyon Martin Jr. to Phoenix. The stumbling block with the potential team of three was that the Rockets, according to sources, want a first-round pick for Gordon and a very good first-rounder for Martin, not a bunch of second-rounders. The Rockets have had interest in Gordon from several competing teams, sources said, but appear less willing to discuss the Martin issue.
Martin had a breakthrough season in his third season, averaging 10.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 24.2 minutes while shooting 54 percent from the field. The 21-year-old is still on contract this season and in 2023-24 and should be offered a strong extension next summer or a free agency offer in 2024. The Rockets have compiled eight first-round picks through 2029 and have a talented young core of players in Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith II, Tari Eason, Jae’Sean Tate and Martin.
The Hawks and Heat are also interested in Crowder and Miami is expected to have a revived pursuit soon as there are a slew of players like Dewayne Dedmon and Victor Oladipo available to trade starting Thursday. The Bucks could continue to look for a third team to set up a trade for Crowder, which would be a homecoming of sorts for the Georgia native, who played his college ball in Marquette.
Meanwhile, the Hawks had several teams in the Collins market, such as Utah, Washington, Brooklyn and Dallas, sources said. Atlanta has so far shown no interest in a possible frame that would include Brooklyn’s Joe Harris, those sources said. Phoenix has a lust for Collins but seems reluctant to take on the forward, who is in the second season of a five-year, $125 million deal.
Washington has a play in Kyle Kuzma that would appeal to Atlanta, as reported in last week’s feature on the Breakout Wizards forward, but there doesn’t appear to be any traction there for a potential frame.
For their part, the Nets have been growing lately, having won seven of their last eight games and currently ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference 16-12, and could see Collins as a necessary jolt to their backcourt.
Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II is targeting his season debut in the next week or two, sources said. Payton, who signed a three-year, $28 million contract to join the Trail Blazers in July, was sidelined for off-season surgery for a core muscle injury. Payton was a key rotation player for the 2022 Warriors championship team and was set to fill a similar all-around role for the 14-12 Trail Blazers.
(Photo by Bojan Bogdanovic and Russell Westbrook: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)