The NBA trade deadline is just around the corner and rumors are starting to heat up. Will the Raptors part ways with OG Anunoby? Will a team sacrifice three first-round picks to get him? Will the Utah Jazz cash in on some of their role players, or will they stand pat? Where will Jae Crowder land?
Today, I’m going to play the trade or save game. Who should be traded and who should be held on to? Here are my thoughts for some of the prominent names on the market.
The Toronto Raptors are reportedly looking to move on from OG Anunoby to avoid paying him the big bucks he’s earned. The sixth-year forward has established himself as one of the league’s premier role players by consistently improving offensively and shutting down basketball’s biggest stars on the other end. While he is available, he has a significant price tag attached to him (rightfully so).
Teams on the brink of contention (the Cavaliers and the Kings, for example) should absolutely be making offers for Anunoby. However, Toronto’s front office shouldn’t pull the trigger unless they’re absolutely blown away. They’ve underperformed this season and are trending in the direction of a rebuild around 2022 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes and Anunoby could be a part of it. He’s only 25 years old and constantly getting better, and by the time the revamp is complete, he would be entering his prime ready to help them win. Unless they can actually land three first-rounders (or an equivalent) there’s no reason for the Raptors to ship out a player of Anunoby’s caliber.
With Bradley Beal in and out of the lineup, Kyle Kuzma has been the rock for Wes Unseld Jr.’s Washington squad this year. The flashy forward has blossomed during his time in the nation’s capital, confidently getting buckets and crashing the glass on his way to piecing together back-to-back career campaigns. This summer, Kuzma possesses a $13 million player option which he is guaranteed to decline in order to ink a larger deal. With his free agency looming, it would be wise for the Wizards to receive compensation for him now instead of risking losing him for nothing.
Nikola Jokic is on track to win his third straight MVP and he’s put the Denver Nuggets in position to go all the way come April. He has a well-constructed roster designed to maximize his strengths around him including Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, and Bones Hyland.
Hyland, who secured an All-Rookie spot in 2022, brings street ball to the big stage. He’s a ball of energy in the backcourt with parking lot range and a nifty handle. Unfortunately, he’s a poor defender and a sporadic scorer which isn’t optimal for a championship hopeful, especially one like Denver who isn’t lacking in the youth department. Therefore, they should be looking to flip Hyland into a better win-now fit.
After reliably contributing to three years of regular season success in Utah, Bojan Bogdanovic was moved to Detroit in September where he has brought his game to another level. The veteran stretch four is torching the net from behind the arc and posting a hyper-efficient 20+ points a night for the Pistons, having a career year at age 33.
Because their franchise guard Cade Cunningham is sidelined indefinitely, it would make sense for Troy Weaver to capitalize on Bogdanovic’s play and trade him for draft compensation, fueling the tank for all-time prospect Victor Wembanyama. On the contrary, it would be more beneficial to hold on to him. With a core of healthy Cunningham, year two Jaden Ivey, and their 2023 lottery pick, Detroit could follow the path teams like Oklahoma City and Orlando are paving and competitively rebuild rather than completely bottoming out. Bogdanovic is a seamless fit next to their backcourt of the future and could help them grow if he remained in Motor City.
Coach Thibodeau has finally let the youngsters play and Knick supporters and NBA fanatics alike are thankful for it. New York is firmly in the playoff hunt and their young core has been a major factor. Guys like R.J. Barrett, Quentin Grimes, and Mitchell Robinson are all having good seasons, but as of late it’s been the Immanuel Quickley show in Madison Square Garden. The crafty guard has been balling in January and displaying star potential, leaving many scratching their heads reading his name in trade talks when he should be a long-term piece for this team.
The Utah Jazz have been a pleasant surprise this year and have received meaningful contributions from many members of their plethora of role players. One of those players is Malik Beasley, a certified three-point sniper and crunch-time performer. The flame-throwing wing will likely draw interest from contenders, and even if they want to continue to compete, the Jazz should not hesitate to part ways with him for a fair package.