December 15 marks the unofficial start of the NBA business season.
Why? It is the date that most players who signed contracts in the offseason become eligible to be traded.
There were a decent number of players who were already eligible for the trade, of course, but the pool is now much larger. That means more business goals and pathways for teams to create business packages.
Now that teams face fewer restrictions, here are 10 players who could be traded this season, in no particular order.
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1. Ben Simmons, 76ers
It’s no secret that the 76ers have been exploring trades for Ben Simmons for several months. Your sale price? An All-Star caliber player and / or multiple first-round picks, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. There seems to be no shortage of teams interested in Simmons; It might be easier to list which teams haven’t expressed an interest in Simmons at this point, but we’re still waiting to see if someone will give the 76ers what they’re looking for.
This may extend into the off-season and beyond.
2. Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, Pacers
Athletic’s Shams Charania and Bob Kravitz broke the news that the Pacers are “receptive to business dialogue with rival teams” focused on three of their main players, including Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. The catch is, it looks like the Pacers would only part ways with one of the two great men. Sabonis, a two-time All-Star, is the scorer, rebounder and top passer, but Turner offers a unique combination of 3-point shooting and shot blocking in center position.
3. Caris LeVert, Pacers
LeVert is the other player mentioned in the Charania and Kravitz report that the Pacers are open to discuss. LeVert’s numbers are down this season and he has a long injury history, but he has proven to be a talented scorer when healthy. He averaged 19.5 points per game with shooting divisions of .433 / .343 / .759 during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons (92 games).
4. Buddy Hield, Kings
Hield has established himself as one of the most feared shooters in the league. That’s 40.1 percent in his career from high-volume 3s; no one has made as many 3s as Hield in the first five seasons of his career. No stranger to trade rumors, Hield is on the books for $ 23.1 million this season. His salary decreases in each of the next two seasons, down to $ 21.2 million in 2022-23 and $ 19.3 million in 2023-24.
5. Marvin Bagley, Kings
Bagley, the second pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, has appeared in just 131 games so far in his career, mostly due to injuries. To the chagrin of his agent, he was not in Sacramento’s rotation at the start of this season. He has appeared in 13 games since then and has shown some promise, but is averaging a career low of 19.6 minutes per game on the season.
According to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, the Kings are buying a package that includes both Hield and Bagley.
6. Thaddeus Young, Spurs
Young had one of the best seasons of his career in 2020-21, filling in the gaps from the bench for Chicago as a small ball center. He hasn’t been part of the San Antonio rotation this season, but Athletic’s Shams Charania reported ahead of the season that the Spurs are expected to “get a lot of interest in the veteran forward from competitive teams.” He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
7. Eric Gordon, Rockets
Gordon has been one of the keys to Houston’s turnaround this season. He started the season off the bench, but has started in his last 12 appearances, averaging 17.0 points and 3.9 assists with 48.3 percent shooting from the field and 44.0 percent from three-point range. A high-volume 3-point shooter and capable playmaker who can defend as well, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Gordon also draws the interest of contenders ahead of this season’s trade deadline.
8. Goran Dragic, Raptors
There were questions coming into the season about how long Dragic would be with the Raptors. He started in Toronto’s first game of the season, but was quickly removed from the rotation and is no longer with the team for personal reasons. Perhaps Dragic is destined to be bought by the Raptors, allowing him to finish the season with a team of his choice, but his $ 19.4 million salary could help them match contracts in a trade.
9. Terrence Ross, Magic
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Magic “have sought draft capital” in talks for Ross. Ross’s score is down this season, but he has proven to be an explosive scorer off the bench who can warm up quickly. He finished fifth in the Sixth Man of the Year voting in 2018-19 when he averaged 15.1 points per game from the bench.
10. Jerami Grant, Pistons
Averaging 22.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, Grant finished second behind Julius Randle in Most Improved Player voting last season. He’s posting similar numbers in 24 games this season, though he will miss a long time with a sprained thumb ligament. His combination of 3-point shooting and defensive versatility with some mixed plays will make him a popular business target with contenders in need of a wing.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Pistons are getting calls for Grant.