The NBA trade deadline is over 24 hours away, and this season has already brought a lot of action on the trade front—Jimmy Butler to the Sixers, Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks, and now Tobias Harris to the Sixers among them. With LeBron James and Klutch Sports clearly wanting Anthony Davis in LA right now, and Eastern Conference teams potentially wanting to make big moves of their own after Philadelphia’s latest trade, there could be a lot of action before Thursday at 3 PM ET. These eight players are among the biggest names that could be on the move before the deadline.
Anthony Davis, Pelicans
Ever since agent Rich Paul asked the Pelicans to trade Anthony Davis, he’s obviously been the biggest name available and continues to be as the deadline approaches. The three-time All-NBA big man is still just 25 years old, and he’s arguably one of the best five players in basketball.
A couple of things complicate a potential trade for the Pelicans: a) they don’t sound happy to just abide by the clear wishes of LeBron to get AD on the Lakers, and b) the “Rose Rule” does not allow the Celtics to trade for Davis until the offseason unless they trade Kyrie Irving first (which isn’t going to happen). However, Davis is under contract for the rest of this season and through the 2019-2020 season, which could be enough for other teams to feel it’s worth acquiring him and getting one-and-a-half years to make a pitch for him to stay.
The Lakers probably don’t want to risk another team acquiring Davis and signing him long-term in the next two years, which is why they are reportedly making big offers to New Orleans. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times says the Lakers pulled out of trade talks because of “outrageous” requests from the Pelicans, but this could all just be posturing to ensure the best deal possible before the deadline. The Pelicans might just want to get this situation over with, so they might just take whatever the best deal is—but the Celtics are urging them to wait until they can make a deal this offseason, according to ESPN.
So Davis is the clear headliner of this trade deadline, but there are other star-caliber players available, too.
Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, Grizzlies
The Grizzlies have not been competitive this season, and it might be time to move franchise players Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune reports the Jazz and Pistons are both making the strongest push for Conley, but expect other teams to show interest in the two-way 31-year-old point guard before Thursday at 3 PM. Meanwhile, the Hornets are reportedly looking to acquire Gasol, as they intend to make the playoffs in the final year of Kemba Walker’s contract. There’s also talk of the Raptors making a push for both Conley and Gasol as they look to go all-in with scheduled free agent Kawhi Leonard.
Dario Saric, Timberwolves
Dario Saric was a big part of Minnesota dealing Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia, but things haven’t worked out to this point. In his last 11 games, Saric is averaging just 20.6 minutes and 5.3 points per game, and he can reportedly be had for a player and a first-round pick. Some might be calling for the Sixers to trade right back for him to add him back to the bench for a potential Eastern Conference run, but they are not allowed to re-acquire him from the team they just traded him to. Other teams should be interested in the six-foot-ten point forward, though.
Jrue Holiday, Pelicans
Just because Anthony Davis demanded a trade, it doesn’t mean the Pelicans are just going to blow things up and trade all their best players. Basically, a really good offer would likely have to be made for New Orleans to consider trading Jrue Holiday, one of the most underrated players in the league. Holiday might be having the best season of his career, with 21.0 points, 8.0 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.6 steals, which all set or match career-highs. He has three years left on his deal, and Western Conference teams looking for a lockdown defender for the likes of James Harden could give Holiday a long look.
Terrence Ross, Magic
Contending teams looking for an explosive, high-energy scorer off the bench could probably get a good value in Terrence Ross, who has an expiring contract that could make the Magic more willing to move him. Portland, Oklahoma City, and Houston could all be teams willing to give up a players and/or picks (likely second-rounders) in exchange for Ross as a bench catalyst.
Kevin Love, Cavaliers
A Kevin Love trade probably isn’t likely, but it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing in the world if the Cavaliers decide to move the stretch four. Love is close to a return from toe surgery and should return shortly after the All-Star break if not before it, so it’s not like a team that acquires him has to worry about uncertainty about his recovery timeline. The big thing preventing a potential Love trade is that his value might be as low as possible considering he’s played in just four games this season; the Cavs are not going to just give him away if other teams aren’t making fair offers.
Bradley Beal, Wizards
John Wall now being out for the season might make it more likely Bradley Beal is open to being dealt by the Wizards, who look unlikely to compete next season at this point. Aside from Davis and maybe Holiday, Beal would clearly get the highest return of any player potentially available at the deadline, so Washington might be able to take advantage of teams feeling they must make a move to contend this season. Beal is just 25 and under contract through 2021, so the Wizards don’t need to rush to trade him, but it might not be a bad idea to see if they can get a big chunk of that reported Lakers offer for AD to rebuild the roster.