The NBA’s trade deadline is only hours away, with Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET cutoff point inching closer and closer before teams take their best shot at making some big-time acquisitions before the window closes for good until free agency in July 1.
From buyers to sellers, the league will see plenty of player movement, whether it’s due to hopes for playoff contention, cap flexibility or reasons beyond teams’ control.
Here are 10 players (and one extra) that could be on the move by this year’s NBA trade deadline.
1. Anthony Davis
The star of the show and the biggest potential talent to add to any NBA roster. Davis is having his best all-around season to date, averaging career-highs in points (29.3), rebounds (13.3), assists (4.4), and steals (1.7) — all while blocking a formidable 2.6 shots per game — good for second-best in the league.
The Brow is clearly starting to reach his peak during his seventh year in the league, and at 25 years old, boasts the best upside of any of the players in this list, with still plenty of room to grow.
The Los Angeles Lakers have made the strongest push to acquire him, both hoping to get him for a playoff push and doing so in fear of the Boston Celtics joining the sweepstakes on July 1, which can only complicate matters due to their king’s ransom of assets.
There is no guarantee that the New Orleans Pelicans will move him by the deadline, but doing so would make the biggest splash before the All-Star break and send shockwaves to the rest of the league.
2. Marc Gasol
The Memphis Grizzlies have finally given in to a full rebuild, and that means parting ways with the Gasol family completely for the first time in 18 seasons. The 7-foot-1 center just turned 34 years old, but still boasts that grizzly frame and a refined skill set around the basket, along with the ability to spot up from deep.
Gasol isn’t a dominant rebounder (has never averaged double-digit rebounds in his entire 11-year career) nor a premiere shot-blocker (never reached two blocks per game in a season), but he is sneakily dishing out a career-high 4.7 dimes along with 1.1 steals per game.
His combo of 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per game should prove plenty serviceable for any team looking for a proven center with some versatility.
3. Mike Conley
Conley has been at steady presence at point guard, but just not enough to keep the Grit-N-Grind motto alive any longer at the FedEx Forum. He and Marc Gasol recently had a private conversation with majority owner Robert Pera, who informed the two that they would be placed on the trade block, as the franchise had opted for a change of direction.
The 6-foot-1 point man is due a beefy $34.5 million in the 2020-21 season (the last of his contract), which would be a lot to pay for a player that will turn 33 by then.
Yet averages of 20.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 1.4 steals are a solid benchmark for teams like the Utah Jazz and the Detroit Pistons, who are looking at Conley as a potential upgrade at point guard.
4. Kevin Love
The Cleveland Cavaliers frontman has been out for months now, having only played in the opening four games of the season before sustaining a toe injury that required surgery. Love expected to get back on the floor before the All-Star break, but recently backed off from that expectation, as the Cavs might have different plans.
There are a few issues with trading Love. The first is he signed a four-year, $120 million extension with Cleveland over the summer and paying $30 million a year for an injury-prone forward is a reason for proper caution from opposing NBA front offices. Love missed 64 games in 2012-13 with the Minnesota Timberwolves and while he bounced back to play 75 or more games in his next three seasons, he’s played 60 games in 2016-17, 59 last season, and only four this campaign.
The other is the Cavs still view him as a cornerstone for their franchise and while he’s not completely off the table, it’ll take a desperate offer for them to be willing to move him.
Love averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds before his injury and while he still has potential as a nightly double-double threat, his best days are likely behind him at 30 years old.
5. Lonzo Ball
The Lakers have proposed now two different packages for Anthony Davis, but the two have one things in common — Lonzo Ball. The point guard is the third straight and latest second-overall pick by the Lakers to fail to live up to the franchise’s expectations.
If a trade for Davis goes through in the next few days, the Lakers could have now traded all three of their top picks from 2015-17, having already sent out D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets two summers ago.
Ball has improved his shooting percentages slightly after a horrid rookie season shooting the basketball, but he’s still shooting a baffling 40.6 percent from the field, 32.9 percent from deep, and a phantasmagoric 41.7 percent from the foul line.
Averages of 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game are hardly what’s expected of a second overall pick, hence why New Orleans does not see him as a core piece of a deal.
The Pelicans envision him as a starting point guard, given how Jrue Holiday prefers to stay at the shooting guard position, but Ball’s camp has no interest in winding up in The Big Easy, hoping instead he could end up with the Phoenix Suns.
6. Jrue Holiday
The Pelicans could choose to move Holiday whether Davis has been traded or not, as the disbanding of the current roster is only a matter of time.
Holiday recently went on the record admitting Davis was 90 percent of the reason he chose to sign a long-term deal with New Orleans, and now neither the team nor the player has any reason to stretch this partnership.
New Orleans has been firm that they’re not looking to trade Holiday, but they will want to reconsider that approach with more than $100 million coming his way within this season and the next three.
The 6-foot-4 versatile wing found a new calling in the shooting guard position last season and has been playing at both backcourt slots this season due to the constant injuries to Elfrid Payton.
Career-high averages of 21 points, 5.1 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game make him a sell-high candidate, whether Davis is on the roster or not.
7. Nikola Vucevic
The Orlando Magic have been exploring the waters in the last few weeks, gauging whether they will be a buyer or a seller coming into the NBA trade deadline. After a 3-7 record in the last 10 games, a two-game win streak won’t help the Magic much, considering they’re in 11th place in the East.
Vucevic himself said the team’s play could determine if players would stay or go during the trade deadline, and despite wanting to stay with Orlando, the franchise would be wise to capitalize on a career-best season from the 7-footer.
Recently named to the All-Star Game with averages of 20.7 points, 12 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, the big man has made huge strides as a capable outside shooter and a versatile defender that makes for a perfect plug-and-play as the modern stretch-five.
8. DeAndre Jordan and Enes Kanter
New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale admitted he could envision his newly-acquired big man as part of this team, but those words ring counteractive to what he said a month ago when he firmly told the press he’s looking to give young players like Luke Kornet and Mitchell Robinson sizable playing time.
The Knickerbockers currently have a logjam at center with Jordan, Kornet, Robinson and Enes Kanter — and the young pieces are going nowhere.
It’ll be between Jordan and Kanter to see which one is shipped out of The Big Apple first.
Jordan has the toughest contract to move, as the Dallas Mavericks gave him the same balloon player-option he could have taken with the L.A. Clippers by opting in this season ($22.9 million).
Both players are on an expiring contracts, but Kanter is only owed $18.6 million this season, which makes for the cheaper buy.
9. Ricky Rubio
The Utah Jazz have been eyeing Mike Conley, which could put an end to the short reign of Ricky Rubio as the team’s starting point guard. While he could wind up in Memphis if the teams chose to make a point guard swap, he is also in a contract year and could benefit from joining a team with playoff aspirations.
Rubio is only owed $14.8 million this season, but he’s likely a rental at this point rather than a building stone. His days as a passing maestro and a defensive point guard look to be behind him after leaving the Minnesota Timberwolves for the Jazz, who have operated by putting the ball in young Donovan Mitchell’s hands.
The 28-year-old is not an effective scorer (career 38.7 percent shooter), but will bring enough intangibles and basketball IQ to equate to winning for a team willing to take a chance at the trade deadline.
10. Harrison Barnes
The Mavericks recently shocked the NBA world by trading for Kristaps Porzingis and by doing so, committed to a long-term extension in the near future. To pay it and open up cap space for support players to play alongside Luka Doncic and Porzingis, they must first shed additional salary to make that happen.
Enter Harrison Barnes — a capable scorer, but without any unique feature that would make him vital to the Mavericks’ future plans.
Barnes is making $24.1 million this season and would make $25.1 million the next if he picks up his option, making it a livable contract for someone neighboring 20 points per game (17.8 this season).
Barnes has recently tuned into an outside specialist, shooting a stout 39 percent from long-range in 6.4 attempts per outing. Teams looking for a scorer could benefit from rostering him in the near future.