NBA Trade Deadline Watch
As we approach the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday at 3 p.m. EST, the deals have already kicked off with a big one.
Eight time All-Star and former NBA Champion Kyrie Irving was officially shipped off to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday evening, kicking off what is expected to be a busy trade deadline.
As teams scramble to put together trades in the coming days, here are some of the biggest questions and storylines to watch ahead of the deadline.
Raptors Selling on Stars?
Perhaps the biggest domino this deadline, the Toronto front office certainly has some decisions to make.
Despite having a roster full of good players, the Raptors are just 25-30 this season, leading to Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby being mentioned in rumors.
If the Raptors choose to rebuild, or even go through a smaller retool, it will shake up the entire trade deadline. Anunoby seems most likely to be traded, and has reportedly drawn interest from the Pelicans, Knicks and Grizzlies.
Whichever team lands Anunoby is expected to pay a heavy price, likely including multiple first-round picks.
If VanVleet and/or Siakam are also traded, the Raptors, in all likelihood, will have a ton of assets and young players to build around along with Scottie Barnes.
If they choose to stand pat, they still have a chance to make a run towards the playoffs. But in reality, this doesn’t seem to be a year that Toronto will be competing for a championship.
How Will Lakers Rebound After Missing Out on Irving?
Every time Irving was mentioned in trade rumors, the Lakers were at the top of the list of candidates to land him for obvious reasons.
It was no secret that LeBron James wanted to reunite with Irving, even publicly saying on Monday that he was disappointed his team didn’t land the star guard.
It has been another mediocre season for Los Angeles, going 25-29 despite James playing out of his mind at 38 years old and Anthony Davis playing well when healthy.
If the Lakers are serious about contending with that duo, then there’s no doubt they need to make a move. The question is, who can they land with their limited assets?
With Irving out of the picture, they won’t be getting any star players. If the Lakers make a move, it will probably involve Russell Westbrook and picks.
On Tuesday, ESPN reported that there are conversations between the Lakers and Utah about Westbrook and two firsts going to the Jazz and Mike Conley and Malik Beasley going to Los Angeles.
The Westbrook experiment seems to be coming to an end. Either way, the Lakers will be near the forefront of trade talks in the coming days, so keep an eye out.
Which Title Contenders Will go All-In?
This is always the time of year when teams must decide if they want to go buy-in on a title run.
Even if that means acquiring some smaller pieces, there are a few more teams to watch for as buyers this deadline.
Right now, the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers are at the top of the Eastern Conference and in “win now” mode. Those three teams making moves to push their roster over the top wouldn’t be shocking.
Out west, the conference is a lot closer, so things are harder to judge. The Nuggets, Grizzlies and Clippers seem like clear buyers. The Suns, Warriors, Mavericks and Kings are all in different, yet intriguing spots.
Outside of a few teams, there isn’t much clarity about who will move assets to go all-in on their roster. It will be interesting to see which teams make championship-type moves before Friday.
Daniel Mader is a junior majoring in digital/print journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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