The NBA trade deadline is at 3pm eastern time on Thursday. Rumours of a quiet deadline have faded. A four-team trade took place on Tuesday, the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers were both active on Wednesday night.
The Los Angeles teams are expected to do something before the deadline. Other contenders are searching for the roster upgrade that could change the course of their campaign.
Cap space is hard to come by, and teams are wary of long-term deals that will take them out of free agent contention in the summer of 2021. Plenty of teams are still in the playoff race, and the title is more open than it has been in several years. Last-minute activity is expected.
Here are three names who should be traded before the deadline…
The firing of Steve Mills changed Marcus Morris‘ situation drastically. The New York Knicks forward is available, on an expiring contract and playing for a non-competitive team. Anything other than a trade would be strange.
Morris can play the three or four and has been lights out from three this year. The Clippers pursued him in the offseason, and the Lakers have been linked recently. While the Knicks may harbour ambitions of an extension, they should quash any such desires and flip Morris for whatever they can get. A first-round selection will likely be on the table – that’s worth far more to the Knicks than having another half-season of Morris.
Who knows, maybe they could select a guard with that pick.
Derrick Rose picked up an injury this week, though he should still be on the market. The former MVP is a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, and the Detroit Pistons are not going anywhere fast. Moving Rose would be a good start to their rebuild, and make more sense than the mooted Luke Kennard deal.
Rose is owed $7 million this year and next, making salary matching relatively easy. The Sixers are likely out of contention after landing Alec Burks, but the Lakers could still be interested. Plenty of teams will be interested in adding another scorer.
Unlike Morris, Rose’s extra year puts less pressure on the Pistons to make a deal. His value will not be higher than it is now, however, and Detroit should cash in while they can, even if the return is no more than a handful of second-rounders.
Every team wants more shooting. The Sacramento Kings are missing out on the playoffs again. Nemanja Bjelica is hitting over 43% of his threes and can play either the four or five.
Those three factors make it probable Bjelica is on the move. The Kings moved Dewayne Dedmon on Wednesday, which might put them off trading frontcourt piece. Getting value from Bjelica is key, though, and that should be their priority in what is a lost season.
Bjelica has another year on his contract after this at just over $7 million. The salary matching situation is similar to Rose – Boban Marjanovic and Justin Jackson with picks would be enough to get Bjelica to the Dallas Mavericks as another floor spacer. Perhaps the Brooklyn Nets could be interested, too.