The 2015-16 NBA season has been an exciting one, but it could get even crazier in the next few days as we inch closer to the league’s Thursday trade deadline. That’s also when real live NBA games finally get back into action, so it’s easy to imagine how tense things are getting around the league.
Some names supposedly have been pulled back off the block, as stars like DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Jeff Teague and others have been in trade rumors, but have since supposedly been declared as not being moved. That could change quickly, but some lesser talent is very much in the process of being shopped. Let’s take a look at 10 intermediate names that could be in new cities by Thursday afternoon:
Michael-Carter Williams, PG, Bucks
The Bucks dealt for MCW in a trade that sent then restricted free agent Brandon Knight to the Suns. MCW hasn’t developed as hoped, and Milwaukee has reportedly been interested in moving him pretty much ever since they got him. That puts MCW as a very “gettable” trade pawn, as the Bucks try to get head coach Jason Kidd a lead point guard he can actually work with. The big issue here is few teams buy MCW as a legit franchise point guard, so the Bucks may have to take a lesser deal to pull off the move.
Jose Calderon, PG, Knicks
Calderon is simply a spot-up shooter at this stage in his career, so the Knicks are badly wanting to cut ties with their aging point guard. A trade could open the door to a bigger role for rookie point guard Jerian Grant and/or set the wheels in motion to bring in a veteran upgrade at the position. Names like Ricky Rubio and Jeff Teague have been floated around as potential incoming point guards, but New York may have to buy out Calderon to get anything done.
Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic
Orlando is looking for a go-to scorer or at least some value in return for one or two of their young talents and early reports suggest Oladipo could be on the way out of town. Oladipo has displayed elite defensive ability but has otherwise been rather erratic throughout his career in terms of shooting and play-making. With Evan Fournier rising up as a solid perimeter scorer, the Magic could be gauging his value as they deem him expendable.
Iman Shumpert, SG, Cavaliers
Cleveland is looking to add some fire power via trade and it remains to be determined if the Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov trade rumors are legit or not. The Iman Shumpert trade winds are picking up, though, as the defensive-minded guard has regressed in his second season in Ohio and may no longer be a part of the Cavs’ championship plans. There isn’t a clear trade in mind just yet, but Shump appears to be on the chopping block if Cleveland nails down a deal that can make them better as a whole.
Ben McLemore, SG, Kings
Sacramento is about to get rid of a talented guard for the third year in a row, as they currently don’t have a spot for the disappointing McLemore in their rotation. McLemore can defend and hit the outside shot, but hasn’t developed as the Kings had hoped. The Heat have been one team to reportedly show interest, but a young talent with upside like McLemore could attract a ton of buyers if the price stays low.
Tobias Harris, SF, Magic
Scott Skiles and Tobias Harris have mended a once broken relationship and Harris has been one of Orlando’s better players the past two years, but he could still be on the way out of Florida come Thursday. The Magic are looking for a go-to veteran star and if they choose to chase down someone like Rudy Gay, they may have to give up their budding forward to get the deal done.
Ryan Anderson, PF, Pelicans
Rando’s name has been swirled up in NBA trade rumors for roughly two years now and it sounds like he’ll likely be on the move before Thursday’s deadline. The Rockets have been an attractive landing spot in rumors basically all year, while the Miami Heat just recently popped up as a team that could pull the trigger on a deal.
Thaddeus Young, PF, Nets
The Nets don’t seem dead set on making a trade before the deadline, but if they do it sounds like power forward Thaddeus Young is one of their top bargaining chips. The Raptors have been loosely tied to the stretch four and a number of teams looking for some versatility at power forward could express interest. He just signed a big deal to stay with the Nets this past summer, however, so nothing is imminent.
Brook Lopez, C, Nets
Lopez certainly qualifies as a star player, but he’s easily the biggest name on this list. Like teammate Young, he’s on the trading block despite signing a massive deal with the Nets this past summer. It’s unclear just how dedicated Brooklyn is to moving him, but Lopez could bring back a big haul due to his scoring ability and untapped upside. Teams like the Nuggets, Thunder and Kings have expressed interest in the past, while other teams needing help down low could come calling.