Free agency is nearly upon us, and if the earlier portion of the offseason is any indication, we still have plenty of movement ahead of us. Chris Paul, Kristaps Porzingis, Marcus Smart and Jordan Poole have all already found new teams, and the bulk of the offseason’s player movement hasn’t even come yet.
On Friday, free agency will officially begin. From there, a flurry of signings will fill out the bulk of NBA rosters, but that doesn’t mean every team in the league will be satisfied with what it has. There is still plenty of trading left to be done, and while this list is incomplete, the following 65 players all make sense as trade candidates in the coming days, weeks and months.
- Jaylen Brown: The Celtics seemingly added Porzingis to pair him with Brown and Jayson Tatum, but the cost of keeping all three long-term is going to be tremendous. If Boston is at all queasy about a five-year, $295 million extension for Brown, there’s still a chance Boston moves him before inking him to a new deal. It’s unlikely, though, with reports indicating that an extension is coming.
- Mikal Bridges: Bridges was so coveted at the trade deadline that Memphis reportedly offered Brooklyn four first-round picks for him. The Nets wisely said no, and they could now easily get far more back for him after a breakout second half of the season. Brooklyn has given no indication that it plans to move him, but ever since trading Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets haven’t exactly offered a coherent vision of their future, either. If the Nets want to rebuild, the package Bridges could net would be a great start.
- Trae Young: Young rumors were rampant when Quin Snyder was hired as Atlanta’s head coach. They’ve cooled down considerably since his strong playoff series against Boston, but the Hawks have been a play-in team two years in a row now, and they are already on their third coach of the Young era. It wouldn’t be especially surprising to see the organization finally run out of patience for perhaps the worst defender in the NBA.
- Dejounte Murray: Murray got to Atlanta only a year ago, but he’s a near-lock to become a free agent in 2024 due to the CBA’s limitations on veteran extensions. The Hawks can’t pay him anywhere near his fair value due to the below-market deal he is currently playing on, so for him to earn the money he deserves, he’ll have to become a free agent next summer. If the Hawks fear losing him, they have to at least explore a deal now.
- Karl-Anthony Towns: Eventually, Minnesota is going to have to reckon with the flexibility it lost to land Rudy Gobert. Their only feasible path to regaining it would be a Towns trade, and after back-to-back poor playoff runs, Minnesota might not miss him all that much. The Timberwolves rebuilt around a defensive identity while Towns was injured this season, and could easily pivot into a similar approach if Towns is moved this summer. Now that Naz Reid has re-signed, the Wolves are now paying three different centers starter money. That isn’t sustainable.
- Damian Lillard: Another offseason, another few months of “will they or won’t they” speculation. The Blazers failed to turn the No. 3 overall pick into veteran help for Lillard, and if they have an uneventful free-agent period, that might finally be enough to push the face of the franchise out of Portland.
- Pascal Siakam: Siakam is extension-eligible this offseason, and he reportedly has told teams interested in trading for him that he would prefer to stay in Toronto. Of course, if the Raptors felt the same way, we’d likely know of an extension by now. Never rule anything out where Masai Ujiri is concerned.
- DeMar DeRozan: DeRozan will turn 34 next season and is on an expiring contract. The Bulls aren’t exactly known as lavish spenders. If they’re afraid of what his next contract might look like, they’ll listen to offers from better teams this summer. As badly as the Bulls might want to remain in the play-in hunt, there’s just no reason to keep a player you have no intention of re-signing.
- Paul George: Reports have indicated that the Clippers gauged his trade value, and doing so made sense. Both he and Kawhi Leonard are eligible for extensions, and given their durability concerns, the Clippers have little reason to commit four more years to either. The Clippers operate quietly. There won’t be extensive rumors here. But if extension negotiations go poorly, the Clippers will consider their other options.
Once upon a time, these players would have fallen under the star umbrella. Age and injuries have deprived them of that status. Now? Their teams appear ready to move on.
- Chris Paul: Paul has already been dealt twice this offseason, and if a third deal comes, it’s likelier during the season. However: it’s notable that the Warriors have seemingly abandoned their two-timeline approach as Golden State just exchanged a four-year deal in Poole for an effectively expiring contract in Paul. Once the 60-day aggregation window passes, don’t be surprised if the Warriors keep an open mind when it comes to packaging Paul and either their remaining youngsters or future draft capital for an easier fit on their roster.
- Kyle Lowry: Lowry emerged as a key rotation player during Miami’s playoff run, but his regular season was far less encouraging and at 37 years old, his primary value is now as a hefty expiring contract. If the Heat do manage to make a major splash as many have predicted, Lowry will likely be in the deal for cap purposes.
- Gordon Hayward: Plenty of contenders would love to have even this older, less durable version of Hayward — but probably not at $31.5 million. Hayward could be dealt for a worse long-term salary, or he could be dealt as part of a bigger deal and then waived.
Almost every player in this group has meaningful on-court value, but for one reason or another, their team seems to have soured on them as long-term pieces.
- Deandre Ayton: The Suns were looking into Ayton trades even before their Beal blockbuster, but now, the need for depth is even more significant. If there is a move out there that could land them two or three playable role players in exchange for their max contract center, they’d be wise to consider it. For now, no such deal appears to have materialized, and the Suns are reportedly planning to keep him. If the right offer does come along? They’ll trade him in a heartbeat.
- Zach LaVine: Reports have already indicated that the Bulls are sniffing around LaVine’s market, though they’ve set a high price. He could easily be in the “stars” category, but his market will illustrate a broader trend: the days of giving max deals to any low-end All-Star are likely gone in this new CBA environment. LaVine has four years of max money left on his deal and a lengthy history of knee injuries. There aren’t going to be many teams eager to pay him all of that money, and for now, the Bulls don’t appear to be among them.
- Ben Simmons: Simmons may never again be healthy, physically or mentally. If Simmons is traded this offseason, it will likely be as either a matching salary in a star trade or, perhaps more likely, as a straight cap dump. But Simmons made an All-NBA team three years ago. He’s still only 26. He must have something left in the tank. … Right?
The player-option bunch
These players may choose to change teams through free agency, and as such, have the leverage to try to seek a trade with their player option if they want to.
- Draymond Green: Green has already opted out of his contract, but if he wants to get a contender, he might need Golden State’s help on a sign-and-trade. Of course, Sacramento’s recent cap dumps have made the Kings a viable landing spot in free agency without help from the Warriors, and after Golden State dumped Poole, a new Green deal became likelier. For now, a trade seems unlikely.
- Gary Trent Jr.: Nick Nurse seemed to sour on Trent last season, but Nick Nurse is no longer the coach of the Raptors. Toronto’s glut of high-end salaries for non-star players suggests that someone needs to move, and Trent has already opted into the last year of his deal, so he’s moveable if the Raptors want to clear some space before potentially re-signing Fred VanVleet.
- Jordan Clarkson: Clarkson had a great year for the Jazz last season, but with Collin Sexton in place in a similar role, odds are the Jazz are ready to move on. His value is theoretically low enough for him to sign for the mid-level exception. Still, if some team is particularly interested, they could try to grab Clarkson at his option number in a trade.
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“We’d hate to trade him, but we need matching salary”
These players aren’t exactly on the trading block, but their teams likely have ambitions that their contracts will be needed for.
- Tyler Herro: Miami might have been able to land Bradley Beal without including Herro, but if they’re swinging for Lillard, he’s almost certainly going to be in the deal. The real question is where he’d ultimately land, as the guard-heavy Blazers probably don’t have much use for him.
- Anfernee Simons: Simons is a necessary cap filler if the Blazers do add a big-name veteran, but he’s also the least important player in a positional glut. If the Blazers want to keep Lillard, he warrants 35 minutes per game in the backcourt. Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe are higher organizational priorities. Therefore, if Lillard sticks around, Simons almost has to be traded for the roster to make sense.
- Julius Randle: Randle’s two-time All-NBA status would seemingly make him a valuable trade asset, but back-to-back poor playoff showings may limit his appeal. The Knicks want to land a star, and the matching salary they send out will likely depend on what kind of player they get back. If they acquire a top big man? Randle almost has to be in the trade, as he makes little sense alongside a better power forward or center.
- RJ Barrett: And if the Knicks go for a wing or a guard? Then keeping Randle becomes a bit more palatable, and Barrett, the more valuable of the two despite his inconsistency, probably turns into the matching salary.
- Tobias Harris: Harris has been among the NBA’s worst long-term contracts for years, but now? He’s a $40 million expiring salary, and if the 76ers do lose James Harden, that contract is their ticket to 2024 cap space and the chance to rebuild through free agency. If they can use the Harris deal to find a Harden replacement, they’ll do it, but otherwise? They’re not going to be eager to surrender their pathway to flexibility.
“We wouldn’t mind trading him, and we need matching salary”
These are players whose teams want to be active this offseason and will freely use them as trade chips, if necessary.
- Evan Fournier: He fell out of the Knicks’ rotation, but he has a team option for the 2024-25 season. That’s a perfect recipe for matching trade salary.
- Duncan Robinson: Robinson is owed around $47 million guaranteed over the next three seasons and Miami is already well above the luxury tax line for next season. Despite his strong playoff performance, Robinson almost has to be moved for the Heat to remain financially viable.
- Tim Hardaway Jr.: The last thing the Mavericks need right now is another all-offense guard. Dallas would love to turn Hardaway’s expensive contract into a defensive upgrade.
- Victor Oladipo: Oladipo has picked up his player option for next season, but like Robinson, he’ll likely be a cap casualty. The Heat looked just fine without him in the playoffs.
- Marcus Morris: Morris seemingly fell out of favor as last season progressed, and his defense has fallen off of a cliff lately. The Clippers have more wings than they know what to do with — quite literally, as we’re about to cover — but would probably love to use one or two of their salaries for an upgrade at guard or center. They tried to trade Morris for Malcolm Brogdon, but the deal fell through due to Brogdon’s medical issues.
- Robert Covington: Covington fell out of the rotation entirely for long stretches last season because Ty Lue didn’t trust him on offense. There are still plenty of coaches who would love Covington’s defense and accept his streakiness as a shooter.
Team options, partial guarantees and non-guarantees
These players could all be back with their old teams this offseason, and they could all be waived due to their limited guarantees, but if their team needs a matching salary for a move, they are sensible candidates.
- Malik Beasley: The Lakers have so little guaranteed money on their books that if they want to make a significant trade, it almost has to involve one or both of their non-guaranteed contracts. Beasley is likelier with a higher cap figure and a more replaceable skill set.
- Mo Bamba: The Lakers might want to keep Bamba. He has the theoretical shot-blocking-plus-shooting skill set they’ve been looking for alongside Anthony Davis, but at $10 million, he’s probably a bit overpaid given how little he played last season.
- Alec Burks: Still a worthwhile shooter who can dribble and defend a bit. Detroit will get Cade Cunningham back this summer, so trading Burks for some second-round picks after they picked up his option makes sense.
- Jonathan Isaac: When healthy, Isaac is a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber defender. “When healthy” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. His contract includes several exits, and he is only partially guaranteed for next season. The Magic are extremely deep up front, but he might be a risk worth taking for someone else.
- Cedi Osman: Osman is so cheap that it probably makes more sense for Cleveland to just keep him, but on the other hand, playable wings at sub-mid-level money are valuable. If the Cavs need to replenish their picks pool, they could probably get some second-rounders for Osman.
- Garrett Temple: The Pelicans have picked up Temple’s team option despite there being no obvious rotation role for him on next year’s team. That could mean they value his locker room presence, or more likely, it means they want to able to use him as salary in a trade.
- Gary Harris: The Magic have had several opportunities to trade Harris in the past, but haven’t. He’s a valuable veteran with an in-demand skill set, but if they choose to maximize cap space this summer, they could potentially waive him. If that’s the plan, there should be teams calling to see if they can get him beforehand.
- Cameron Payne: The Suns are looking into every conceivable way of improving their depth, and if that means including Payne’s salary? So be it.
- Kelly Olynyk: There is nobody that Danny Ainge wouldn’t trade, and that includes his former Celtics. With Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler establishing themselves as the frontcourt of the future, the Jazz are likely open to just about anything else on the trade market.
- Kevin Porter Jr.: Houston has made no secret of its interest in James Harden and other veteran guards, and if the Rockets land one, Porter is likely the odd man out of a crowded backcourt. Porter, who has a spotty history within locker rooms, has one of the most unique contracts in basketball: only one of the next four seasons is guaranteed, and he can be waived without penalty after the 2023-24 season. If someone wants to take a low-risk flier on him, that opportunity is likely available.
“Second-draft” candidates are players who were previously selected relatively high in the NBA Draft, but for one reason or another, haven’t succeeded with their original team. However, they still have talent and could flourish in the right situation. Think Rui Hachimura with the Lakers last season.
- Jalen Green: Houston is surely in no rush to move Green even if Harden does return. But if they want to add another high-level veteran, he is their best remaining trade asset, and the presence of both Porter and Amen Thompson just drafted with No. 4 overall pick gives Houston a somewhat bloated backcourt. Green would only move for something very valuable, but his upside remains extremely high, and now might be the time for another team to take a stab at him.
- Jonathan Kuminga: Golden State’s tax problems eased when Poole was traded, but remember, the relief that came with trading him might only last one year. Two seasons from now, theoretical extensions for Kuminga and Moses Moody kick in. Reports have already indicated that the Warriors explored trading Kuminga for a top draft pick with the idea of resetting that extension clock. They didn’t find a deal, and so, for now, Kuminga remains a Warrior.
- Jalen Suggs: Orlando has a bit of a guard glut with Suggs, Anthony, Markelle Fultz in place and Anthony Black and Jett Howard incoming. Someone is going to get squeezed there, and who it is will come down to what skill sets the Magic prioritize. Suggs is the best defender of the group, but he hasn’t yet maximized the offensive upside he showed at Gonzaga.
- Cole Anthony: Anthony is the opposite of Suggs. He’s been Orlando’s gunner for the past several years, and now that he’s extension-eligible, the Magic will have to make a decision on his future shortly.
- Chris Duarte: The Pacers have absolutely nothing at forward besides rookie Jarace Walker, but are juggling minutes between Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Andrew Nembhard, T.J. McConnell, Aaron Nesmith and Chris Duarte at the guard spots. Duarte is probably the odd man out here. He had a great rookie season but struggled as a sophomore. Plenty of teams were interested when he was a draft prospect, including the Lakers and Warriors.
- Isaac Okoro: Okoro has never developed offensively as the Cavs hoped when they picked him No. 6 overall in 2020, and when they played the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, they barely used him after it became clear that New York would not guard him. Okoro still has value defensively, but if the Cavs don’t want to pay him, the time to move him is now.
- Obi Toppin: The Knicks pretty consistently win Toppin’s minutes, which would be a much bigger deal if he got more of them. Tom Thibodeau’s steadfast commitment to playing his starters 40 minutes every night has limited Toppin’s playing time, and now that he is eligible for an extension, someone else deserves a chance to showcase him properly.
- Killian Hayes: We saw signs of life offensively from Hayes in the middle of the season, when he managed to post league-average shooting numbers across a full month, but those stretches are few and far between. Hayes is a strong defender that does plenty of little things well, but he’s now extension-eligible on a team committed to Cunningham and Jaden Ivey in the backcourt. Someone will take a flier on him if Detroit is ready to move on.
These players probably wouldn’t be on the market under normal circumstances, but their teams are so deep at their positions that they have to consider moves at least.
- Buddy Hield: We covered Indiana’s guard glut with Duarte, but Hield’s future probably needs to be settled now because he is on an expiring contract. If the Pacers don’t plan to re-sign him, there are plenty of teams that would love to have a shooter of his caliber.
- Every Pistons center. James Wiseman, Marvin Bagley, Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren are all on this team. None of them can shoot. All of them need minutes to develop. I don’t care who they keep — though Duren is the best of the group — but someone has to go. You can’t play four centers.
Good veterans on reasonable contracts
None of these players are guaranteed to move, but all are possibilities for the right offer. There are no stars in this group, but there are plenty of players that could help a winning team.
- OG Anunoby: Several teams made compelling offers for Anunoby at the trade deadline, but nobody managed to pry him out of Masai Ujiri’s grip. Now Anunoby is only a year away from free agency, and reports have indicated he wants a role that will allow him to handle the ball more. If Toronto is prepared to give it to him, they might be able to keep him. If not, after losing Kyle Lowry for pennies on the dollar and potentially Fred VanVleet for nothing, the Raptors might finally need to relent and trade a key player preemptively.
- Bojan Bogdanovic: The Pistons seemed perfectly comfortable keeping Bogdanovic at the deadline, and he’s the only high-end shooter on their entire roster, so he does serve a developmental purpose even if the Pistons aren’t ready to win right now. But he’s a 34-year-old on an otherwise young team, and such players are almost always at least somewhat available if you offer enough.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic: Bogdanovic made plenty of sense in Atlanta as a secondary ball-handler, but with Murray in place, there just isn’t a compelling reason for Atlanta to pay a third guard with injury issues $18 million. If they can flip him for defensive help or to replenish their draft coffers, they’d surely love to do so.
- Royce O’Neale: Brooklyn has as many wings as the Clippers but with far less individual shot creation. In a perfect world, they’d turn some of the former into some of the latter, or at least the draft capital to find more of it. O’Neale will make only $9.5 million this season, so just about any team could reasonably acquire him.
- Dorian Finney-Smith: Finney-Smith is the more valuable of Brooklyn’s available wings, but after showing significant improvement as a shooter in recent years, he declined to 30.6% from 3-point range in Brooklyn. His trade value comes down to how reliable teams believe his jump shot will be because he remains a stellar perimeter defender.
- Doug McDermott: McDermott’s shooting will always be the headline, but he’s evolved into a much more complete player in recent years. He can put the ball on the deck a bit, and while he’s hardly a good defender, he’s big and smart enough to survive under most circumstances. The Spurs likely aren’t eager to move him, but considering the overhaul their roster is likely to undergo with Victor Wembanyama incoming, they’d probably listen.
- Maxi Kleber: Every Maverick not named Luka Doncic is seemingly available this offseason, but Kleber is the best of their role players. Tall shooters who have defended Kawhi Leonard in a playoff series are rare, but Kleber’s durability issues make him a tough fit on a Mavericks team that needs to raise its floor.
- Alex Caruso: Chicago reportedly wanted a haul for Caruso at the deadline, but has that changed with the news that LaVine is available? There isn’t a more versatile defensive guard in all of basketball, and while Caruso’s shooting is iffy, he can fit onto just about any offense as a cutter and connective passer.
- Grayson Allen: There’s likely only room for one expensive reserve wing in Milwaukee as the Bucks stare down the second apron. Allen’s shooting was prized under Mike Budenholzer, but will Adrian Griffin feel the same way about a player with several other weaknesses?
- Pat Connaughton: Connaughton isn’t Allen as a shooter, but he’s a far more versatile player overall. He’s three years older, though, and Milwaukee has such an old roster in general that any youth it has needs to be valued.
- Malcolm Brogdon: The Celtics already tried to trade Brogdon once, but medical concerns are going to severely limit his market. They’ll explore other deals, but with Marcus Smart gone, they can’t afford to give him away for nothing. More likely, if he’s moved, it’s as salary ballast alongside draft capital.
Look, they’re probably not moving, but we have to mention them
There’s no easy category for these two players, so let’s just stick them under this umbrella.
- Klay Thompson: Thompson outlasted Poole in Golden State, but a long-term extension for now seems unlikely given his age and defensive struggles last season. With Poole gone, the urgency to make a major move has lessened, but the Warriors are still well over the tax line and have Moody waiting as a replacement if they see a move they like. Stephen Curry is their only untouchable player.
- Tyrese Maxey: Daryl Morey is one of the NBA’s most notorious star-hunters, and with little draft capital left to move, if he wants to land either a Harden replacement or a third big name to pair with him and Joel Embiid, Maxey is his pathway to doing so. It’s not likely, as the Sixers probably expect Maxey to grow into that sort of role himself, but never rule out a Morey blockbuster.