Friday, March 31 2023
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We’re right in the middle of NBA trade rumor season, where every team in the league begins assessing their roster and deciding if they’re going to be buyers or sellers. With only four games separating the 10th spot and the 13th spot in the East, and an even smaller margin of 1.5 games between those two spots in the West, there’s sure to be far more buyers than sellers as we approach the Feb. 9 trade deadline. 

Although there isn’t a huge trade many are expecting to happen like the Ben Simmons-for-James Harden swap between the 76ers and the Nets last season, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be surprises. As we get closer, we’ll keep you in the loop on all the rumors leading up to the deadline, starting with this fresh crop of whisperings around the league.

The Clippers sit sixth in the West, and while they’re remaining in the thick of the playoff race, they’re still looking for reinforcements. With John Wall sidelined with an abdominal strain for at least two weeks, the Clippers are reportedly looking at Jazz guard Mike Conley, per Marc Stein. In addition to Conley, the Clippers want to reinforce their frontcourt behind Ivica Zubac, who is playing a career high 30 minutes a game. The only other true center on the Clippers is two-way player Moses Brown, who has had some positive moments, but isn’t enough if L.A. wants to make a run in the postseason.

For the Timberwolves, the interest in Conley, per The Athletic, stems from the reported trade rumors surrounding D’Angelo Russell who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. If the Wolves trade Russell, bringing in Conley would at least maintain the quality of point guard for the remainder of the season.

The Jazz have been the “most engaged” in a deal for Collins, per The Athletic, but other teams who have reported interest are the Wizards, Nets and Indiana, all to “varying degrees of interest” per Stein.

This may be the most interesting rumor right now, given Utah sits eighth in the West and has plummeted down the standings after a surprisingly positive start. There’s also the fact that the Jazz already have Lauri Markkanen, who plays the same position as Collins and is playing like an All-Star this season. Many people would probably say that Utah should be sellers ahead of the trade deadline, not buyers, but given the unlikeliness that the Jazz will lose enough games at this point to enter the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, perhaps the front office would rather make a real run at the playoffs.

The Athletic reports both Phoenix and Orlando are suitors for the Raptors guard if Toronto makes VanVleet available.

Phoenix has been in a free fall since Devin Booker went down with a groin strain. That’s in addition to the absence of Cam Johnson and the subpar production from Chris Paul. As a result, the Suns sit 12th in the West after being near the top of the conference prior to Booker’s injury. So it’s not surprising that Phoenix is looking to upgrade its backcourt in Booker’s absence. VanVleet would certainly provide a boost to Phoenix’s roster, both with Booker out and when he comes back. However, it’s unclear what the Suns would have to part with in order to acquire the All-Star guard.

The Magic being interested in VanVleet is surprising, given their likeliness to end up in the lottery this summer. VanVleet would certainly upgrade their roster, but with such a young core of players the need for him right now doesn’t make a ton of sense.

When the Pistons landed Bogdanovic there was shock around the league given Detroit’s currently in a rebuild and its use for Bogdanovic wasn’t really clear. It was also confusing when the team signed him to an extension during the season, as many people expected him to be a prime trade candidate at the deadline. The Pistons are maintaining that they’d rather keep Bogdanovic, per The Athletic, but the lengthy list of teams interested in him may change their tune. The Lakers, Bucks, Pelicans, Cavaliers and Mavericks are all taking the temperature on Bogdanovic’s availability, and the Pistons are reportedly asking for an unprotected first-round pick in return for him. 

Heat have expressed interest in D’Angelo Russell

Russell will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and The Athletic reports that there’s “no sign of an extension” with the Timberwolves. If that’s the case, then it makes sense why the Wolves are interested in Conley, and why Russell is available for trade, too. The Heat are trying to upgrade their point guard position, but Stein reports that if Miami trades Russell it may mean that Minnesota would have to take Kyle Lowry in the swap, a deal the team doesn’t want. 



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