We are just weeks away from the start of NBA training camps, but several much-discussed trade targets are still stuck in limbo with their current teams—namely, those veterans set to labor for the Pacers and Jazz, both of which have downshifted into full rebuilding mode.
The Jazz have already completed two blockbusters, dumping All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, and added a minor deal when they shipped off Patrick Beverley to the Lakers. Still, they find themselves with a surplus of veterans left over from last year’s team (Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson) and from the crew they received from Minnesota (Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt).
The Pacers, meanwhile, have continued to hold out (fading) hope that they can squeeze two first-round picks from the Lakers for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, but they are likely to look to bring in young players in separate Turner and Hield deals.
That’s seven players on tanking teams in need of new homes. After talking with executives and coaches around the league for the last month or so, we’ve got some ideas on getting those guys to new, and competitive, teams.
Myles Turner Is a Net & the Lakers Finally Move
Nets get: Myles Turner
Pacers get: Joe Harris, Day’Ron Sharpe
Turner clearly needs to get out of Indiana, and putting him onto a contender like the Nets could do wonders all around. He is a shot-blocking big who can make a few 3s—he’s not a deadeye shooter, making only 33.4% from the arc in the past two seasons, but he is good enough to force defenses to cover him.
The Nets like Sharpe’s potential and a healthy Harris can be a big contributor, but Brooklyn needs size. The Pacers would keep Sharpe and look to move Harris on.
The Nets gave Nic Claxton a new contract this summer, but the team is not sold on him as an 82-game center. Bringing in Turner gives the Nets ample time to evaluate the position, with Turner hitting free agency next summer. If the Nets prefer Turner, they can re-sign him and look to deal Claxton.
One Eastern Conference assistant coach told Heavy Sports: “Claxton has some ability but he is thin and there have been questions about his durability. Can he handle the grind? That is what they are not sure about.”
Lakers get: Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley
Jazz get: Russell Westbrook, 2027 first-round draft pick
Conley would be the real prize here, a veteran set-up point guard who can run the team, score when he needs to and generally fit a role. The bonus: The Lakers would be free of the Westbrook experiment and get a remade bench with Beverley and Clarkson leading the charge. Also, it costs the Lakers just one first-rounder.
Teams talking with the Lakers about Westbrook have held out hope that they can force L.A. to give up both of its available picks, in 2027 and 2029. The thinking has been that one pick is for taking on Westbrook’s contract and buying him out, and the other is for the players the Lakers would receive in return.
The Lakers have resisted that notion and as training camp approaches, the Pacers or Jazz are weighing whether taking on Westbrook is worth just one of the Lakers picks, both of which figure to be valuable. If the Lakers hold firm, after all, the teams could wind up with none of L.A.’s future picks.
As one Western Conference exec told Heavy Sports, “The two Lakers picks are the most powerful thing as far as picks go in the league right now. Everyone expects them to be top picks and if you can get them unprotected, everybody wants those. … Danny (Ainge) might get more picks if he sells those off individually but he is not going to get better picks, and that is the thing the Lakers have as an advantage.”
Buddy Hield to the Mavericks & Big Moves in the East
Mavericks get: Buddy Hield
Pacers get: Davis Bertans, Josh Green
It’s tough to say how the Mavericks feel about Josh Green as a part of their rotation, but he is well-regarded around the league and if the Mavs are looking for win-now options, Hield would be a potential fit. Green would presumably get a chance to show his wares with Indiana’s rebuilding squad.
Dallas was just 19th in the NBA in 3-point percentage last year, at 35.0%, and while Hield will be costly on defense, he can be a top-notch option from the arc. The Mavericks have done much to juggle the pieces around Luka Doncic in the past year, but it’s clear that they need better shooting to open up the floor. Hield delivers that.
“Buddy has been his own worst enemy at times,” one Western Conference exec told Heavy Sports. “He has a temper, he does not want to work on defense, all the things we have heard. But he has never been in a winning situation. He’s never been on a playoff team. He’s never been in a place where you knew there was some stability. If you put him on a team like that, at this point in his career, it will go a long way toward straightening him out.”
Knicks get: Bojan Bogdanovic
Grizzlies get: Derrick Rose
Jazz get: Danny Green, Jake LaRavia, Obi Toppin
This would be a complicated deal for a number of reasons. It would require that the Jazz and Knicks, after butting heads on Donovan Mitchell all summer, get back to the bargaining table. It requires that the Knicks separate coach Tom Thibodeau from favorite son Derrick Rose. It also requires the Grizzlies to give up on this year’s first-round pick, and to see Rose (who played college ball in Memphis, of course) as the kind of veteran combo guard who could raise the young Grizzlies’ postseason game.
But the Knicks could use a frontcourt perimeter scorer, and Bogandovic is of interest to the team. Everyone could come away a winner here.
“The most tradeable guy (the Knicks) have is hands-down Derrick Rose,” an Eastern Conference exec told Heavy last month. “He’s older now obviously and whatever happened off the floor with him, on the floor he has been such a pro everywhere he has gone. His contract is good ($14.5 million for 2022-23, player options at $15.6 million for 2023-24), he has become a very good 3-point shooter, he brings energy, he likes coming off the bench. There are 29 teams that would be willing to take him—I mean, if you’re a team trying to win.”
Celtics get: Jarred Vanderbilt
Jazz get: Payton Pritchard, rights to Yam Madar
There is some question whether Vanderbilt should be among the players available in the Jazz fire sale—he is only 23 years old and Utah sees some value in keeping him going forward. But hey, this is a rebuild, so everything must go.
The Jazz figure to give a look at Collin Sexton, acquired in the Mitchell deal, as the team’s point guard, but we’ve seen enough of Sexton to know he’s not much of a natural playmaker. The feeling around the league is that Utah will, eventually, look to move Sexton, too. But the team will need to bulk up on point-guard prospects.
Why not tempt Danny Ainge with two of his former Celtics draftees? Pritchard was a favorite of Ainge after he took him in 2020, but he has not meshed well with coach Ime Udoka. And with Malcolm Brogdon on board, the Celtics don’t have much need for point-guard depth.
The Celtics could use Pritchard and fellow Ainge draftee Yam Madar to get Vanderbilt—a potential long-term replacement for Al Horford—on board.
“I think there is some concern about how (Pritchard) fits in,” the East exec said. “You’ve got three ballhandlers now who are ahead of him in the rotation, all of them are very good defenders and Pritchard just is not. He can get on the floor because of his shooting but he did not seem to have that trust factor with (Ime) Udoka. They were willing to include him in deals this summer, though obviously it was not their first choice.”
Heat get: Malik Beasley
Jazz get: Duncan Robinson, Omer Yurtseven
The Heat’s first preference should they deal away Robinson would be to bolster the frontcourt, which took a hit after losing P.J. Tucker in free agency to Philadelphia. The Jazz’s first preference in sending off Beasley would be to get back a first-round pick. It’s unlikely either team will get what it wants, but this scenario allows for some measure of victory on all sides.
Beasley is not the shooter that Robinson is, but he is a very good 3-point threat, and has shot 38.6% from the arc in his career. He is also a much better defensive player, which means that the Heat won’t have to remove him from the rotation if his shot is not falling the way the team did with Robinson.
The Jazz might hold out for a first-rounder for Beasley, but that is not likely to happen. Bringing in Robinson and Yurtseven is not a bad consolation prize. Robinson is in the second of a five-year, $90 million contract, which is a weighty deal, and can be flipped down the line, especially if he recovers his shooting stroke. Yurtseven is 24 and has shown the potential to be a starting-caliber center, averaging 12.1 point and 12.7 rebounds in 12 starts last season.
An added benefit for Miami: The move saves $3 million off the salary cap which gives the Heat much-needed wiggle room under the luxury tax threshold. The Heat could sign a free agent or a veteran who comes available after training-camp cuts are finalized.