Things are getting serious in the NBA. Coming up on February 8, we’ll reach the NBA Trade Deadline, to be followed shortly by the All-Star Break, which marks the unofficial halfway point of the NBA season.
With the trade deadline approaching, many fanbases across the league are waiting to see if their team will make a move. Some teams will be looking to solidify their status as contenders, while others will be hoping to hang on to their star players.
The 2023-24 NBA Trade Deadline will be Thursday, February 8th at 3:00 p.m. EST. In this article, we’ll take a look at ten players to keep an eye on. Plus, we’ll talk through some of the crucial odds at Bet365 Sportsbook.
Top 10 Players to Watch
Zach LaVine (G, Chicago Bulls)
Recently, rumours that the Chicago Bulls could trade away their cornerstone player, Zach LaVine, have been heating up. Previously, LaVine’s injury status, his contract, and the Bulls’ asking price had kept this filed under “unlikely,” but it appears things may have changed. Potential talks have heated up again, with the Detroit Pistons mentioned as an interested suitor. Still, the Bulls asking price may be too high for Detroit’s liking. After all, the Bulls are already +250 to make the playoffs at Bet365, and losing LaVine could be the death knell for any postseason hopes. We wouldn’t expect LaVine to be moved, and certainly not to a contender, because of his hefty contract and struggles to stay healthy.
Dejounte Murray (G, Atlanta Hawks)
The Hawks aren’t where they thought they’d be this season, at a distant +3300 to win their division, and +400 to make the playoffs. Indeed, the Hawks appear to be ready to admit that the Trae Young/Dejounte Murray experiment hasn’t worked out. The Hawks have been trying to trade Murray for weeks now, and the team most closely linked to him for most of that time has been the Los Angeles Lakers. This one has a real chance of getting over the line, and Murray, perhaps more than any player on this list, can make a real impact for any potential contender. He brings defence, scoring, and playmaking, and has garnered interest from multiple teams including the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, and his former squad, the San Antonio Spurs.
Milwaukee Bucks to win NBA Championship
D’Angelo Russell (G, Los Angeles Lakers)
The man most often linked to a trade for Dejounte Muray is Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll be traded for each other. The latest reports say the Hawks are actively looking for a third team to take on Russell in any Murray trade to Los Angeles. To muddle things up even more, Russell has been playing very well as of late which has some speculating the Lakers will hold onto him, as they look to acquire the next player on this list.
Bruce Brown Jr. (F, Toronto Raptors)
The Lakers — currently ninth-favourites for the NBA Championship at +3000 — are reportedly in for Toronto’s own Bruce Brown Jr. Brown was traded to the Raptors on January 17, and instantly became the subject of trade rumours. Many teams have reportedly expressed interest in the defence-first guard who can shoot from outside. Brown was an integral member of the 2023 Nuggets championship team and his postseason experience is also widely coveted. As Toronto likely doesn’t see him in their future plans, look out for Brown to be traded to a contender, with the Bucks, Mavericks, and Knicks a few of his other potential destinations.
Andrew Wiggins (F, Golden State Warriors)
At the risk of making a pretty serious understatement, Golden State has struggled this year. Currently in 12th place in the West and an appalling +10,000 to win their division, the rumour mill has lots to say about Golden State. Indeed, it’s been suggested that the Warriors could be open to trading anyone not named Curry to salvage this season. The player getting the most buzz is former #1-pick overall, Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has had a rough year by his standards, and the Warriors have been better with him out of the lineup. Teams may be wary of taking on his contract for three more years, but recent rumours seem to suggest that the Mavericks are seriously interested.
Jordan Clarkson (G, Utah Jazz)
Utah has put Jordan Clarkson, along with Collin Sexton and Talen Horton-Tucker, on the trading block. The former Sixth Man of the Year is still a scoring machine, averaging 18.1 points and 5.1 assists per game, mostly as a backup. Any contender looking for instant offence off the bench will be checking in with Utah to at least see what it will take. He’d be a perfect replacement for someone like Immanuel Quickley, who the Knicks will be missing after his trade to Toronto. He’s also been linked to the Nuggets and Rockets earlier this season, but his destiny is far from settled.
Malcolm Brogdon (G, Portland Trail Blazers)
Like Clarkson, Brogdon is a former Sixth Man of the Year (having won the award last year) who provides a real spark off the bench. Several teams are interested, including the team with whom he won Rookie of the Year in 2016-17, the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are putting together a championship bid, currently +425 to win it all this year at Bet365, and some added depth wouldn’t go amiss. It’s not known whether they’ve shown any interest yet in their former player, but the Trail Blazers have reportedly received inquiries from the Lakers, Knicks, and Philadelphia 76ers.
Harrison Barnes (F, Sacramento Kings)
The Kings made waves earlier this month when it was reported they had made Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter, and Davion Mitchell available for trade. Besides Huerter’s shooting and Mitchell’s youth, Barnes may be the most intriguing of this group. He’s a veteran and former champion with the Warriors and though his numbers have dipped, he is shooting a career-high 41% from long distance this season. Now, with Julius Randle suffering a dislocated shoulder that should keep him out for at least a month, it’s been suggested that the New York Knicks (who are currently +1400 to win the Eastern Conference at bet365) will make a surprise play for Barnes as a versatile, veteran forward that can shoot.
Denver Nuggets to win NBA Championship
Alex Caruso (G, Chicago Bulls)
Alex Caruso embodies the exact type of player contenders tend to covet at the trade deadline. A hard-nosed, defensive specialist with a knack for making the right crunchtime plays — plus the ability to shoot from long range. Along with most Bulls players, Caruso has been the subject of trade rumours all year and the Bulls maintain they want at least two first-round picks for him. It will be interesting to see if a contender, most of whom have already sacrificed future first-round picks, will sacrifice even more for this former champion. One thing is for sure, any team looking to win a title would be thrilled to have him.
Andrew Drummond (C, Detroit Pistons)
One of the only true big men mentioned in the current flurry of trade rumours is Andre Drummond, who could become a key bench asset for many teams. He offers rebounds and plenty of energy on offence against the team. The Lakers, who seem to be linked to just about everyone, have reportedly expressed interest in the big man to help match up against Nikola Jokic (currently +220 to be Regular Season MVP at bet365). With the potential for injury always present with Anthony Davis, L.A. may be his most likely destination, though other teams are rumoured to be interested as well.
The NBA rumour mill can be almost overwhelming to navigate. There’s an exhausting mix of teams putting out misdirection, agents strategizing for their players, and legions of content creators trying to make a name for themselves. In other words, it’s a jungle out there.
Still, there are undoubtedly teams who feel like the addition of one or two key pieces could make them a contender. On top of that, there always seems to be at least one surprise non-contender that comes out of nowhere to make a major move. This year, we expect teams like the Milwaukee Bucks (+425 to be NBA Champions), Philadelphia 76ers (+1,200), and Los Angeles Lakers (+3,000) to be the most active.
The New York Knicks might also look to keep reshaping their roster, especially after Julius Randle’s recent injury. The Phoenix Suns put together their super team in the off-season, but it’s possible they could dip back into the market as well. The cream-of-the-crop contenders like the Denver Nuggets (+425) and Boston Celtics (+300) will most likely stay quiet. If they do make moves, they’re likely to be small acquisitions for the end of their respective benches.
It will be interesting to see if the upstarts in the Oklahoma City Thunder (+1,800) and Minnesota Timberwolves (+2,000) try to consolidate their rosters and turn themselves into genuine contenders this year. It’s almost impossible to predict, but whatever happens, it will have a major impact on the playoff race heating up in the second half of the season.
Boston Celtics to win NBA Championship