It’s December 15 and around the NBA this season, it ought to be known as D’Angelo Russell Day. That’s because it’s the first day that players acquired in free agency last season can be traded and no player involved in last year’s free-agent frenzy has had as much trade buzz since he changed teams as the Warriors’ Russell.
As we reported this week, though, the Warriors have been in no hurry to flip Russell as an asset, though the impression has been left since July that the Warriors might do so as soon as possible. But the team’s implosion, with the loss of Stephen Curry in addition to the loss of Klay Thompson, has thrown the team’s plans into question.
“It’s just going to come down to when they want to do it,” one exec told Heavy.com. “It’s not necessarily a matter of, ‘If,’ they want to do it.”
Russell headlines the group of trade-eligibles here on December 15. But there are others who figure to be on the block between now and the deadline, which will come on February 7. Here’s a look at some of the bigger names who could hit the trade market in the next seven-plus weeks.
D’Angelo Russell, Warriors
Russell’s contract starts at $27 million, a big number to match in a trade. There will be teams interested, first among them the Timberwolves, who tried to land Russell in free agency in the summer. But the Warriors might do well to wait and let a market for Russell develop—or hang onto him until next season.
Thaddeus Young, Bulls
Young has a three-year contract starting at $13 million for this season (Year 3 is not guaranteed), which, along with the fact that he is 31, makes him a bit tougher to trade. He hasn’t meshed well in Chicago and is rumored to be unhappy with his new home, but the Bulls tend to be stubborn about quick-trigger deals. He’d be a good fit for a contender but the expectation is he’ll stick around.
Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis, Knicks
With the front-office duo of Scott Perry and Steve Mills on uncertain footing following a poor start and the firing of David Fizdale, the Knicks are said to be holding off on conducting a fire sale of their recently signed veterans. That would be a major mistake. The Knicks should move some combination of Morris ($15 million), Gibson ($9 million) or Portis ($15 million) while they can and collect whatever assets can be had.
J.J. Redick, Pelicans
Redick addressed the possibility of being traded this week, saying he is “all-in” on the Pelicans. Though Redick has value as an experienced shooter, a league source said there’s almost no chance that Redick gets moved ahead of the deadline because team VP David Griffin wants to keep Redick as a floor-spacer and a locker-room pro. “Griff likes him for a lot of reasons no matter the record,” the source said. “He gives space to their big guys and he is an example to the young guys. That’s too valuable for that team right now.”
Jabari Parker, Hawks
Parker has a two-year deal worth $6.5 million each year, with a player option for next season. He’s played well for the Hawks and is establishing himself as a good offensive bench option—a role he has played for a good Milwaukee team and, over the last season-and-a-half, for bad teams in Atlanta and Washington. He still sorta misses Milwaukee, though. He’s also still a poor defender and not much of a perimeter shooter (28.1 percent on 3s) but his contract is reasonable if a contender in need of depth wanted to cough up a future first-round pick in a trade for him.