Front office executives are always particularly active around the NBA Draft and this year is no different, as NBA insider Marc Stein reports that “pretty much every team above the [Indiana] Pacers that didn’t win the right to draft Victor Wembanyama with the No. 1 overall pick like San Antonio is already being mentioned as a candidate to shop its upper-echelon pick for win-now considerations.”
While the Pacers are rumored to be trying to move up in the draft, per Stein, “No. 2 Charlotte, No. 3 Portland, No. 4 Houston, No. 5 Detroit — all of those teams are generating such chatter before we make it out of May.”
The idea that several teams in the top-five of the 2023 NBA Draft are shopping their picks is unsurprising, particularly in the case of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers, led by 32-year-old Damian Lillard, feel internal and external pressure to put themselves in championship contention while Lillard is still playing at an elite level.
A team like the Houston Rockets may be in a rebuild but as a proud franchise that had their most recent playoff appearance in 2020, they're looking to accelerate that process this offseason. Relative to the Rockets, the Detroit Pistons haven't had as much recent success, but they're also an organization with a rich history.
Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets are still looking for their first taste of consistent playoff success since the early 2000s; back when the team was led by former stars Jamal Mashburn and Baron Davis.
There's no guarantee that any of the aforementioned teams will actually attempt to make a move. Nonetheless, with multiple stars expected to be available in trade talks this offseason, they would all be wise to put their chips on the table.