The NBA’s trade market has officially heated up with the league’s Feb. 9 deadline next week, and conversations between team executives are expected to get more serious over the coming days.
Across the NBA, it’s no secret that the Toronto Raptors are considered a dynamic team in this year’s trade market. Raptors vice president and president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster have what is considered a talented core of attractive plays in Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr.
Due to the Raptors’ disappointing season so far (they are currently 23-28 and in 12th place in the East), rival teams have been advised that the franchise will make a decision regarding whether to be a buyer or seller – or standing – near the deadline. day, according to league sources who, like all other sources for this story, were granted anonymity so they could speak freely. The Raptors are currently 2-1 on their six-game road trip that ends Feb. 5.
Surely the Raptors have high prices on their main plays, such as VanVleet and Anunoby. Will Toronto hold its own with the talent it has amassed – or will it come into the draw and increasingly revolve around Scottie Barnes?
Additionally, Nick Nurse’s future as Raptors head coach is expected to be finalized this summer, when sources say he will enter the final year of his contract for next season. Following the 2019-20 season, Nurse — who guided the Raptors to the 2019 NBA Championship, won Coach of the Year in 2020 and is considered one of the league’s best coaches — signed a contract extension until 2023-24 worth $8 million per year. The length of the deal was not previously disclosed by the team. There has been frustration in the roster and personnel with the team’s play at times this season, and that has sometimes been directed at Nurse, sources say.
Meanwhile, the two players whose names have been part of trade talks since the start of the season are Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder and Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins. Both teams are expected to continue a solid dialogue as February 9 approaches.
In a new development, the Suns allowed the Bucks to meet Crowder and they met this weekend, league sources say Athleticism. The Bucks are believed to be the only team cleared to go one-on-one with Crowder, those sources also said. Several teams, including the Miami Heat and Hawks, remain interested in Crowder, who is seen by championship contending teams as a strengthening acquisition at the deadline.
The Suns and Bucks have been engaged in serious trade talks for months, with current proposals involving Jordan Nwora, George Hill, Serge Ibaka and second-round compensation to Phoenix for Crowder, sources say. The Bucks and Suns have been looking for a third team to provide a forward for Phoenix – so what outcome will emerge by next Thursday?
For their part, the Hawks, under new chief basketball operations officer Landry Fields, have won six of their last nine games since Jan. 13 and have taken a patient approach to trade negotiations. Fields has made it clear to rival executives that the team sees Collins as a valuable asset, not something the franchise will just throw away in whatever form, sources say. The new approach could lead to more market traction for Collins over the next two weeks.
The Jazz remain among the teams with a strong interest in Collins, and Athleticism‘s Kelly Iko reported last week that the Rockets are also pursuing Collins. When the Jazz and Hawks discussed a deal with Collins early in the season, Atlanta asked for Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt, sources say. The Jazz retaliated by asking for a first-round pick in return, and when the Hawks refused, talks stalled.
It remains to be seen where conversations take place between Fields and the Jazz front office led by CEO Danny Ainge and general manager Justin Zanik.
The NBA is less than two weeks away from one of the biggest days on the league schedule. Buyers and sellers will reveal themselves and the moves will start coming. Team executives believe a championship opportunity is wide open this season, increasing the urgency for some while providing an extended market situation. We’ll have a lot more to come as the talks develop across the league.
More NBA news and notes…
The Hornets are discussing center Mason Plumlee and forward Kelly Oubre Jr. in trade conversations, sources say.
Forward Jalen McDaniels continues to be a name that several teams like the Suns, Raptors, Jazz, Pacers and Spurs are watching closely, but the Hornets value the 6-foot-9 forward they’ve developed over the past four recent seasons. Teams interested and capping space this offseason, such as the Jazz, Pacers and Spurs, may choose to wait for free agency to woo McDaniels, who will be unrestricted, instead of trading an asset for the acquire now while having to indemnify it in July. .
The Jazz are expressing a strong interest in Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith as teams got the impression Dallas would be willing to move the 29-year-old in the right deal for a star-caliber player, sources say. . The Mavericks have an incredibly high price threshold for teams that talk Finney-Smith, rival executives say.
In seven seasons with the Mavericks, Finney-Smith has established himself as an essential two-way winger, a valued teammate and important to the team’s culture, including as a frontrunner for MVP candidate Luka Doncic. But it’s clear that Finney-Smith has also become one of Dallas’ mainstays if the organization is to secure a blockbuster deal for an All-Star player before the deadline or in the offseason.
Finney-Smith signed a four-year, $55 million extension last season, signing him through 2024-25 with a player option for 2025-26.
The Nuggets are in active trade talks around guard Bones Hyland, with teams such as Minnesota expressing interest, sources say.
Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell is inclined to leave the team this offseason through free agency, sources say. Nowell — a 23-year-old guard who is posting a career-high 10.9 points in 19.7 minutes per game — will be a sought-after unrestricted free agent in July. While Nowell has had some dynamic scoring moments this season, he’s shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 27.6 percent from 3-point range.
Nowell, who is earning $1.9 million in the final season of his rookie contract, is currently eligible for a maximum four-year, $58 million extension.
San Antonio Spurs
Several teams are stepping up their pursuit of Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, and it looks like a move to the Eastern Conference could be possible before the deadline. The Raptors and Celtics are among the teams expressing interest in Poeltl, sources say. The 27-year-old will arguably be the top unrestricted free agent in July.
The Knicks and Suns are among suitors interested in Raptors forward OG Anunoby, sources say. New York has shown a willingness to offer multiple first-round picks for Anunoby, the sources say. The Suns, meanwhile, control all of their first-round picks — eight in total — through 2030. SNY first reported interest from the Knicks last week.
(Top photo by OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet: Cole Burston/Getty Images)