The holiday season is upon us and deals are being made for more than just presents.
The NBA trade deadline is in our sights as a number of players become eligible this Thursday. While this past offseason gave us our fair share of blockbuster trades, there’s bound to be plenty of interest around the league.
Whether it’s teams trying to clear out cap space, shelling off players that are exceeding their tanking expectations or just trying to resolve any potential locker room conflict, expect the unexpected from the movers and shakers of the NBA.
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Here’s a look at the NBA trade deadline.
When is the NBA trade deadline?
The 2023 NBA trade deadline is Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, at 3 p.m. ET.
Why is Dec. 15 important for NBA trades?
Dec. 15, 2022 marks a special subsection of the trade market when 74 players who signed free agency deals in the offseason are once again eligible to be shopped around.
This group includes Patty Mills, John Wall, Jalen Brunson and James Harden.
When can NBA players be traded again?
Teams that don’t make the playoffs can resume trading players at the end of their regular season. Playoff teams have to wait until they are eliminated from the postseason.
From the end of the season to the next trade deadline is generally fair game to trade players, with a few notable exceptions.
For example, trading is very limited during the moratorium period -- typically a week-long break at the beginning of every salary cap year in which only a handful of contracts can be finalized. These include deals involving an offer sheet, a rookie scale contract for a first round draft pick and a contract of one or two seasons that only provides the two-way salary or applicable minimum salary.
When can NBA teams start trading in 2023?
For 14 unlucky teams that don’t make the playoffs, they can start trading players as soon as April 10 – following the conclusion of their regular season.
The rest of the league will be eligible to participate in the market over the course of the next two months as teams are eliminated from the NBA playoffs.
Who are some players that could be on the move before the NBA trade deadline?
Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers
Westbrook is in the home stretch of a five-year, $206 million contract he signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018. He’s now on his third team since the Thunder started rebuild mode and has struggled to earn minutes with the Lakers.
It’s no secret that Los Angeles has been shopping the 34-year-old for some time and it’s fair to assume he might end up on his fifth team in as many years by the end of the season. However, getting a deal done might cost the Lakers a few extra assets.
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Unlike Westbrook, Turner is playing a bit too well for the Pacers to keep him. The 26-year-old is averaging career high in points (17.5) and rebounds (8.0) to go along with 2.4 blocks per game on a team that’s supposed to be tanking but is somehow eighth in the Eastern Conference standings as of Dec. 14.
Mike Conley, Utah Jazz
Similarly, Mike Conley just doesn’t quite fit into the Jazz’s timeline. The veteran Conley starts alongside a slew of young players who are finally hitting their stride several years into their careers.
The Jazz, who acquired many of those young stars on blockbuster trades including Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, shocked the NBA out of the gate by winning 10 of their first 13 games. It seemed like general manager Danny Ainge and head coach Will Hardy were content riding the momentum -- led by Conley’s leadership -- but November struggles might have them rethinking things.
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving’s place on the trade block would be less about strategy and more about relieving Brooklyn of the rollercoaster that has been his career in New York. Between injuries, a refusal to get vaccinated and most recently a team-issued suspension for not renouncing an antisemetic social media post, Irving has appeared in an average of 34 games per year in his first three seasons with the Nets.
Heading into the regular season in October, Irving said he had turned down a four-year extension two seasons before, saying it felt like an “ultimatum” to get him to agree to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Instead, the seven-time NBA All-Star picked up his $36.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
The Bulls signed LaVine to a max contract of five years, $215 million this offseason, signaling that he is a franchise player. But where exactly is the franchise headed?
Chicago is outside of the Eastern Conference play-in picture at 11-15 on the year and only has one playoff appearance since LaVine arrived in 2017-18. LaVine’s scoring (21.8 PPG), rebounding (4.5 RPG) and assist numbers (4.1 APG) are all his lowest since that first season with the team.
The Bulls’ front office founded a core of LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic just 17 months ago. It may be too soon to blow it up, but the potential haul for LaVine could be enough to justify the start of another rebuild.