The trade deadline is just days away and, while this year looks to be quieter than years past, there is still the potential of plenty of action. In a year where it is easier for teams to make the playoffs, some on the border of contention will have decisions to make about the makeup of their rosters. Let’s take a look at which players are the most discussed on the trade market this year.
1. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Lowry is the best player on the market this season in relation to his availability. Compensation might appear steep for a 35-year-old point guard on an expiring $30 million contract, but teams will be lining up for his services. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Miami HEAT, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers are the most interested teams.
Miami has the need for another scoring guard and they have the young pieces to make the move, while Philadelphia has the salary and the players that might entice Toronto, like Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle, at the ready. Los Angeles, per Charania, is less likely to make a deal due to lacking both the necessary salary and young pieces required of the move.
Despite his age, Lowry is still very capable of transitioning a team from a contender to a favorite. Just two years removed from winning the NBA Finals, Lowry is averaging 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game while shooting 39.4 percent from three-point range.
2. Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
It’s been a long time coming for the Magic, but it seems like the team might finally pivot into a seller. With veterans like Gordon, Terrence Ross, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier, the Magic have a lot to work with as it attempts to transition from a bottom-tier playoff team to a young and exciting group led by the likes of Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac and Cole Anthony.
Out of that group of vets, Gordon is the most likely to be shipped, as made clear by his formal trade request. Gordon is currently averaging 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game this season and is sure to give any team that trades for him a foundational piece for their future. Keep in mind that Gordon is still only 25-years-old, making him a logical piece for contenders and lottery teams alike.
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday pic.twitter.com/CD7jnuZJwp
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 22, 2021
So far, the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves are registering the most interest, with Houston seeming like the most logical landing spot.
3. John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
Collins is the least likely to be traded on this list, despite his days with the Hawks being seemingly numbered. For one, the Hawks boast an eight-game winning streak, all coming under interim head coach Nate McMillan. It’s hard to envision a situation where the Hawks, now fourth in the East, would want to blow up their foundation.
Furthermore, several factors make Collins nearly impossible to trade for. As a legitimate star on a rookie scale contract, matching compensation is hard enough, without factoring the small amount of money he’s making. On the books for just $4.1 million this season, there aren’t many players that can be swapped for a player of his talent at that minimal of a salary. Further, whichever team acquired Collins would also have to work out a significant extension with the forward or risk losing him for nothing.
Collins is averaging 18.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while connecting at a 53.8 percent clip from the floor this season. If he’s available, Collins instantly becomes the best player on the market. The Celtics and the Timberwolves are reportedly registering the most interest, with Minnesota rejecting an offer that would have shipped Malik Beasley and a first-round pick back to Atlanta.
4. Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets
It’s interesting to consider Dinwiddie one of the hottest commodities on the market given the fact that he’s out for the season. However, Dinwiddie represents one of the most valuable trading chips in recent years for the Nets, who could move the guard for one or two valuable rotation pieces that can contribute this year while Dinwiddie sits out. Furthermore, Dinwiddie is likely to reject his $12.3 million player option for next season, with the Nets unlikely to retain him given their stacked backcourt rotation.
That means any team that acquires Dinwiddie is acquiring him for his bird rights and using him as a building piece for their roster next season. Dinwiddie would be one of the hottest free agents to hit the once-stacked 2022 free-agent class. Last season, the guard out of Colorado averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game while leading Brooklyn to the playoffs.
According to Charania, the HEAT, Detroit Pistons and Raptors have all expressed interest in Dinwiddie. A Detroit reunion might make the most sense as a destination, as Dinwiddie could immediately step in and contribute while providing veteran guidance to Killian Hayes and Dennis Smith Jr. Mason Plumlee would make sense as an outgoing piece in that scenario. The HEAT and Raptors make a little less sense, especially the HEAT. If Miami is trying to contend this season, it doesn’t make much sense to bolster Brooklyn while sacrificing depth.
5. Victor Oladipo, Houston Rockets
Watching Oladipo play on the Rockets, owners of a league-worst 20 straight losses, shows what was already clear from the moment he joined Houston: Victor Oladipo wants out. Originally acquired in the blockbuster trade of James Harden, Oladipo went to the Rockets from the Indiana Pacers, who got Caris LeVert from the Nets.
It looked like the Rockets might have come away with one of the more exciting and scrappy cores in the league immediately following the trade. Houston was 11-10 and had a competitive rotation headlined by Oladipo, Christian Wood and John Wall, along with veterans Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker. Then, Wood got hurt and everything came undone, with Houston now set to undergo a firesale.
So far this season, Oladipo is averaging 20.8 points, 5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game but is shooting just 41.1 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from deep. Furthermore, the 28-year-old guard is making $21 million this season, making it hard for teams to match that salary in a trade. It sounds like the HEAT and Magic are two of the more reasonable destinations for the guard.
As some experts have pointed out, it remains a possibility that Houston just buys Oladipo out if there isn’t a reasonable trade that comes to fruition in the next few days. Oladipo already rejected an extension offer from the Rockets near what he’s expected to make on the open market, so Houston might find it fruitful to go ahead and move on and open the roster spot.
I don’t think he’ll be on the Rockets a week from now. If they can trade him, they will. If they can’t, he’ll be bought out. https://t.co/Mq7532WcbR
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) March 21, 2021
With several moves already taking place, be sure to stay tuned to Basketball Insiders with the deadline just mere days away!
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