The next couple of weeks could be quite busy in the NBA.
With the NBA going back to a normal schedule, the last day teams will be able to make trades this season is Thursday, Feb. 10. The cutoff point is 3:00 p.m. ET, but it’s not unusual for some trades to be reported after the deadline.
Next up? Six questions that will shape this season’s trade deadline.
1. Ben Simmons trade rumors: Will 76ers make a move?
All eyes will be on Simmons at the trade deadline.
It’s well known at this point that Simmons is available. So what’s the holdup? Philadelphia’s asking price, which might be growing, not declining, despite him not having played a single game this season.
For all his faults, Simmons is still one of the league’s best young players — a three-time All-Star who finished runner-up in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season. He’s a highly disruptive and versatile defender, an elite passer and a dominant paint scorer when he wants to be. He’s under contract through the 2024-25 season, so it’s going to be a while before he’s a free agent again.
A Simmons trade has the potential to shake up the entire league. Not only could it strengthen Philadelphia’s championship odds depending on who it gets in return — James Harden, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal and Jaylen Brown are reportedly on the 76ers’ wish list — but it could create another contender depending on where Simmons is traded.
The 76ers have made it clear that they’re willing to hold onto Simmons as they pursue the best deal possible. While this stalemate could very well extend into the offseason, a lot can change between now and Feb. 10.
2. Will any major players actually get traded?
The answer will likely be Simmons if he’s traded. If he’s not, we might not see a star moved at the deadline.
Other than Simmons, some notable players reportedly available are Myles Turner, Harrison Barnes, Caris LeVert, Terrence Ross, John Collins and Eric Gordon. There’s been some chatter of Domantas Sabonis being available, but the latest from The Athletic’s Shams Charania is that the Pacers have an “extremely high value” on the two-time All-Star, making a trade “unlikelier” for him than Turner and LeVert.
No surprises there, especially given how well Sabonis has played as of late.
Right now, it looks like the best player likely to be traded is Jerami Grant, who is being talked about as the “grand prize of this deadline.” Though he’s not a star, Grant is a versatile player on both ends of the court who could make a big difference in the right situation. The kicker is that he wants a primary offensive option and expects to sign a lucrative extension in the offseason, per Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer.
Grant has also been sidelined since Dec. 17 with a thumb injury, so there are a few things interested teams would have to navigate.
There hasn’t been much on the Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal front lately, but best believe there will be no shortage of interest if that changes.
3. Can the Lakers upgrade their roster or trade Russell Westbrook?
The Lakers entered the season with big expectations but continue to hover around .500, putting them in Play-In territory. The amount of injuries they’ve dealt with sure hasn’t helped — both starters and key role players have missed extended time — but they haven’t exactly looked like a contender in the games their big three of Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis have played together.
The problem the Lakers face going into the trade deadline is they’re going to have a hard time upgrading their roster. Only five players are under contract beyond this season: James and Davis are almost certainly untouchable, Kendrick Nunn has yet to play a game this season, Talen Horton-Tucker is shooting career-lows from both the field (40.3 percent) and 3-point line (25.0 percent), and Westbrook’s salary is going to make him incredibly difficult to move given his level of play.
The only trade for Westbrook that appears to have gained any sort of momentum is a swap for John Wall, but it doesn’t seem likely unless the Lakers are willing to attach their 2027 first-round pick, which they reportedly aren’t.
There’s also this from NBA insider Marc Stein:
Yet there are also major optics concerns for the Lakers. Team officials, sources say, do not want to pay a premium to move on from Westbrook so soon after the Lakers gave up so much to get the Los Angeles native. Remember: They had to send Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 pick in last July’s draft to Washington after James and Davis encouraged the Lakers’ front office to go all-in for Westbrook rather than proceed with GM Rob Pelinka’s plans to trade for Sacramento’s Buddy Hield.
All of those obstacles haven’t prevented the Lakers from being linked to the likes of Grant and Turner, but Rob Pelinka is going to have to work some magic to acquire a player of their caliber.
4. Will the Warriors trade their young players for a proven star?
The Warriors are one of the most interesting teams ahead of this season’s trade deadline.
On one hand, the Warriors are clearly one of the best teams in the league, and they’re well-positioned to compete both this season and beyond. On the other, they’re in a unique position where they have the means to pursue another star without breaking up the core that has helped them win not one, not two, but three championships.
Important as he’s been, Andrew Wiggins, who is on the books for $31.6 million this season, would help Golden State match salary in a deal for another star. The Warriors could then sweeten it with some combination of Jonathan Kuminga, Jordan Poole and James Wiseman, three young players with an intriguing amount of upside, plus draft picks. Maybe that package doesn’t interest a team like the 76ers who are looking to compete right now, but it could whet the appetite of one that is either in a rebuild or is looking to rebuild.
The safe bet might be on the Warriors standing pat at the trade deadline, but the possibility of them going all-in makes them a fascinating team to watch.
5. Which teams are going to be sellers?
We know of a few teams that could be sellers.
It was reported early in the season that the Pacers were listening to offers on LeVert, Turner and Sabonis. More recently, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer mentioned that rival executives have “painted all of” Portland’s CJ McCollum, Norman Powell, Jusuf Nurkic and Robert Covington as potential trade candidates.
The Kings continue to pop up in trade rumors. They seem resistant to break up Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox, but NBA insider Marc Stein reported that there is a “rising belief” that both Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield will be traded.
The Rockets will likely be sellers as well. In addition to Wall being available, Fischer reports that Houston is confident it can receive a first-round pick for Gordon, Miami is a suitor for Christian Wood and Daniel Theis is drawing “significant interest” from teams looking for a big man.
6. Which teams are going to be buyers?
The Hawks look like they could be buyers at the trade deadline.
Coming off of a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hawks find themselves on the outside looking in on the Play-In race through the halfway point of the season. Trae Young isn’t going anywhere and Clint Capela can’t be traded before the deadline, so it’s not a huge surprise that Collins’ name is floating around even though he’s putting together another solid season.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, Collins might be available for a first-round pick and “starting-caliber player.” Fischer added that Collins, Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic have “been involved” in the team’s negotiations with Philadelphia to acquire Simmons.
A few other teams that could be buyers in some capacity: Utah, Miami, Chicago, Milwaukee, Washington, Phoenix and Minnesota.