We’re now at the halfway point of the NBA season, and the trade deadline is approaching faster than you can say “How come the Lakers haven’t made a move yet?” In the spirit of all things trades, here are five players who, while they may not necessarily be leading all rumor mills, will hopefully be on the move by Feb. 9.
This a tough one. Even after winning two games in a row, the Raptors were still five games under .500 entering Jan. 11. Is this struggling season, marred by injuries, enough to move Siakam, their best player? The argument for the move is the seven-year age difference between Siakam and Scottie Barnes. If the Raptors move Siakam for players and picks, they can stay competitive while fully turning the team over to Barnes and the future. (If you want to build around Scottie, wouldn’t it make more sense to keep OG Anunoby, who is only 25?) Siakam also has only one year left on his deal after this one.
Siakam would also net a monster return, probably something closer to the Donovan Mitchell end of the spectrum. Could Denver build something enticing around Michael Porter Jr.? Would OKC consider moving some firsts to get SGA a running mate? The possibilities can get chaotic with Siakam on the table, in a way that’s enriching for both sides of the equation. He’s a player who could swing the title race this season, while also setting Toronto up for future success.
While the Bulls have gone a respectable 8–4 since a four-game losing streak in December (amid several calls for the team to blow it up and questions about their chemistry), they still seem likely to make some moves by the deadline. The ceiling on the current group—which has been unfortunately brought down in part due to Lonzo Ball’s health—seems low. Moving Caruso could be a first step into finding players or picks for the next build, and he should be a coveted player on the market. Caruso is an ultimate glue guy who will help any contender, and he’s kind of underpaid. He offers very good perimeter defense, he’s a solid connector on offense and he’ll hit enough threes to make defenses pay for sagging off. The Warriors would be a fantastic fit. A Lakers return would be very fun. Denver could always use another perimeter option. He would be an intriguing fit in Cleveland. Everyone could use Caruso, which means he could also net a nice little return for the Bulls.
After never shooting worse than 52.6% from the field or 34% from three in his career, Collins is shooting career worsts in both categories this season: 49.8% on field goals, 22.9% on three. He’s also seemingly been available in trades for years, and yet no one has pulled the trigger. I don’t get it. Teams should be clamoring to buy low on Collins, in my opinion. Something is off in Atlanta, where Trae Young is also shooting poorly, and constant drama is surrounding Young and coach Nate McMillan. Collins, with his athleticism and shooting touch, could thrive with a change of scenery. He has all the tools to be a very effective player, and I wonder whether playing off such high-usage guards has zapped some of his potential. A new team more willing to feature Collins’s talent could unlock some potential. And it’s hard to believe he will continue to shoot so poorly. Collins may not flip a title race this season. As more of a long-term play, I’m convinced he will succeed wherever he ends up next.
Please get this sharpshooter out of Houston and onto a team with other players his age. I don’t need to explain much here. Career snipers who aren’t a defensive disaster have a place on every team trying to win. Gordon is stuck with one that isn’t.
As a longtime, laminated card-carrying member of the Gary Harris fan club, I would like to take this moment to urge every contender in the NBA to inquire about trading for this man. Harris is an under-the-radar vet who can make a playoff team very happy this spring. He’s always been a dogged defender, and his outside shooting has seemed to recover after a mid-career slump that was likely injury inflicted. (Harris is at 39.6% from three after shooting 38.4% last year.)
He also has serious playoff experience, making multiple runs with the Nuggets back in the day. (Denver wouldn’t have made either of its 3–1 comebacks in the Bubble without Harris.) Harris is also on an easy contract to absorb in a trade, making only $13 million this year. Though frisky, the Magic do not need Harris as part of their rebuild. This is someone who can legitimately close playoff games for good teams. That’s the kind of player everyone should be talking about come deadline time.