The NBA trade deadline is closing in and there are quite a few players up for grabs that could make a major impact on playoff contenders around the Association.
There are several key points during the 82-game grind that is the NBA season. Obviously, opening night and the final week of the season are important for different reasons, but the trade deadline and the days leading up to it can be highly influential on championship contenders.
While this season’s trade market is not flush with quite as many superstar talents as years past, there are still nearly a dozen All-Star-level competitors that have garnered a great deal of interest over the last few weeks and could be on the move before Feb. 9.
Let’s take a look at 10 players to watch heading into this month’s NBA trade deadline.
The Chicago Bulls have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA this season. The team is several games under .500 and barely holding on to the final spot in the Play-in Tournament. There is hope within the organization that point guard, and defensive ace, Lonzo Ball could return from injury and help save the season. However, his comeback is far from guaranteed.
While two-time All-Star Zach LaVine is a more desirable target, the Bulls are likely to hold on to him until at least the summer. Meaning multi-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan could be up for grabs and would be an impact addition for many contending teams. Chicago is likely to want a serious return for DeRozan, however, several teams could be willing to risk high-value draft picks for the 33-year-old.
Possible destinations: Heat, Lakers, Suns,
No player has had their name involved in NBA trade deadline speculation more than young Toronto Raptors star OG Anunoby. In an era where talented defenders are at a premium, the native of England is valuable as a reliable defensive stopper who has continually progressed on the offensive side of the ball each season.
What will make a trade difficult are consistent reports that the Raptors are looking for at least three first-round NBA Draft picks in a potential deal. Few teams can meet that price, but for the teams that can, Anunoby would be a serious difference-maker in the playoffs.
Possible destinations: Knicks, Suns, Grizzlies