Top Buyers and Sellers at the NBA Trade Deadline 2021

Biggest Buyers and Sellers at the NBA Trade Deadline

The All-Star Break is almost here, and teams start to get more of a sense of where their chances stand to reach the NBA post-season. While some teams have greatly outperformed expectations and are now looking for new weapons to expand their arsenal upon, others have just not been able to get it going and need to consider trading expiring contracts or possibly key players with the future in mind. As the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaches us, it’s time to look at which teams are in the best position to trade or sell assets as teams gear up for a playoff push. 

BUYERS

Phoenix Suns

Since trading for Chris Paul over the offseason, the Suns have been more than pleased with their return as he and Booker have led the Suns to a 21-11 start thus far. However, while this team has the talent to compete with anybody in the West, it’s hard to convince one’s self that this is truly a championship contender. I believe they should look to package youngster Cam johnson, Jae Crowder, and a 1st round pick to a team for a player that could round out the Sun’s squad.

One potential trade target that immediately comes to mind is Julius Randle, as his contract expires with the Knicks this year, and he’s been one of the most surprising players thus far this season. However, the Knicks are no longer struggling and are 4th in the East right now, so it might be too late for that move. Even if so, there are a plethora of good options on terrible teams that the Suns could trade for and not for all too much to be given up.

 Another target I like for this team is Lauri Markannen, as his days with the Bulls look to be numbered, and he returns from injury soon. If the team would be able to grab Markannen in exchange for Cam Johnson and a 1st, I believe it’s a win for both sides as the Bulls get a pick for the future while the Suns get a needed upgrade at the PF position.

Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic has been putting on an absolute clinic on opponents night in and night out, yet his team still only ranks 7th in the conference. Their team has been one of the best in the league on offense but still shows suspect showings on defense, so there is room for improvement on this young Denver squad. 

I believe this team needs to go after somebody who could lock down opponents and have the scoring ability to further the offense’s development thus far and expand on it. Victor Oladipo is the perfect player buy-on as the Rockets are not even close in the playoff race this season and has played really well since being traded. He has a defensive prowess that no other players on Denver have right now and could be a difference-maker when the team plays tough guards such a Curry, Lillard, etc., in the playoffs possibly. 

The team should consider trading either Barton or Gary Harris as they carry some value that a rebuilding team may want to take a chance on. Barton is a crazy athletic forward who provides scoring and a veteran presence for a young Rockets team that will likely be getting younger as their rebuild goes on. Harris is more of a three and d specialist who has taken a few steps back since he first came into the league and could still be an asset for the right team. I think if the Nuggets were able to package one of these players along with a first for Oladipo, it would have to be something the Rockets strongly consider.

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Sellers

Houston Rockets

What the Rockets tried to do in trading both disgruntled stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook was admirable as the team got decent hauls in both trades, but their replacements are just not playing the level of basketball the Rockets are used to. Tying into the Nuggets segment, it’s very clear that this Rockets team is not going anywhere this year and they should be trying to sell even more assets this season before heading into next season. 

Victor Oladipo is a very solid player with an expiring contract at the end of the year; he should be their main priority in this trading frenzy. At the very least, they should be able to get a 1st round pick and a decent young role-player, but if they could find a team with great young assets, the team should try to grab at least one player with high potential going forward. 

I think the ideal trade in this situation is to grab either Duncan Robinson or Kendrick Nunn and a first-round pick in a trade with the Heat for Victor Oladipo. This would provide the team with a young player who already has experience in the league and have room to grow. Gaining a player like this would be a better return than asking for another 1st rounder down the line as the Heat have a great core and should not be in the lottery any time soon. This would mean that rather than a Nunn or Robinson, it could very well just be another rookie who doesn’t pan out.

In addition to selling Oladipo, if the team could ship off P.J. Tucker, who’s also on an expiring contract, that would be ideal as well. Tucker has played a pivotal role in keeping the Rockets grounded over the past few years with Harden but is getting old and only has so much spark left to him. The rockets should look to at least get a 2nd round pick, and a youngster like Tucker on a championship team could be a very useful role player. There are a lot of teams in talks to get him, but the Rockets have not made any moves yet.

Sacramento Kings

It seems every year this is the case for the Kings, but they unfortunately never make the right move for their team. They traded a solid package to grab Harrison Barnes long ago, and he has been more of a burden on the team than the hero they were looking for. The Kings have some truly bad contracts like Barnes’ that are derailing their team’s plans going forward. Thankfully they also have a few players that would serve great value on a winning team. I think the Kings should get busy this month and try to provide a better future for the franchise.

Marvin Bagley has not returned his value as a 2nd overall pick in this league whatsoever, but he has shown flashes of greatness. If a team is even somewhat in on that potential, the Kings should consider trading him. After his contract expires next year, he is most likely not going to be re-signed, and the Kings should get ahead of the curve with getting the best value they can for him while they still can. 

Nemanja Bjelica is another player who has shown promise and spot-up Power Forward for the Kings over the years but simply isn’t enough to make a significant difference on this already struggling team. If traded to a contender, Bjelica could be a sneaky good shooter that defenses don’t take much note of. He’s not having a strong season this year, but years’ past indicates that he’s much better than he’s playing right now. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, it would be wise for the team to go ahead and move him before the season’s end. 

Teams that I think could be interested in either of these players include the Lakers and Nuggets, who both could use another big man to bolster their units. Jamychal Green has had some rough games for the Nuggets and could be packed with a pick to the Kings. The Lakers have Anthony Davis still recovering from an injury, and starting center Marc Gasol is only averaging 4 points and rebounds per game. Both Bagley and Bjelica would be better options for both teams’ situations and could be the ideal suitors for the Kings. 

Other teams could use a big trade at the deadline, but these four teams direly need to emphasize it and use it to their advantage in the future.