Who’s on the move for the 2024 NBA trade deadline?
Noah Wilson, Contributor
This season of NBA basketball has been nothing short of exceptional thanks to a plethora of storylines surrounding the league since the first day of tip-off. Many of these stories include Oklahoma City’s rise to the top, the Golden State Warriors fall from grace, Draymond Green’s WWE antics, stars like Embiid and Doncic hitting 70 points every other night, and of course one of the biggest storylines of the season, the 2024 NBA trade deadline. This year’s edition of the NBA trade deadline is set for February 8th. With the playoff race so incredibly tight this season, many teams will be looking to either bolster their squads for a playoff push or make a move to propel them over the top. Let’s get into it.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have had a very mediocre season up to this point. They currently stand at a 24-25 record and sit at the 9th play-in seed. With a team with Lebron James and Anthony Davis, there is no doubt this team is in win-now mode, which will make it a priority for the Lakers to make a move in some capacity.
One of the biggest names circulating the league has been D’Angelo Russell. Russell this season has been a man of two tales. To start the season Russell had his fair share of struggles which fueled the narrative of him being on the Lakers trade wire. Recently, however, Russell has been delivering as a scorer, so much so that his recent play might have been enough for the Lakers to second-guess whether to move on from him this deadline. Either way, he will be a player to watch as he is without a doubt the Lakers best asset heading into this deadline looking to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Much like the Lakers, the Atlanta Hawks have had an underwhelming season up to this point. Coming into this season, there was lots of buzz over the new acquisition of Dejounte Murray. Fast forward to the trade deadline and rumors are swirling about Murray possibly on the move. For Atlanta however, the biggest name on the rumor mill to everyone’s surprise has been Trae Young. Although far-fetched, his name has been circling teams like the Mavs, Spurs, and even the Lakers. He is someone to watch for not only for this deadline but for the months to follow heading into the offseason.
Dejoiunte Murray has been an elite guard this season which has not been a surprise to anyone. Murray is a bonafide stud, and that is why the Hawks acquired him. Unfortunately for Atlanta, this has not been enough to push them into the realm of a clear-cut contender. This season Murray has put up 21.5 points per game, 5 rebounds per game, with 5.2 assists to complement. This is a player just about any team in the league would love to have on their team which is why it’s fair to say he’s the best player available for the trade deadline.
As we approach the deadline, we have already seen multiple blockbuster trades come and go. The Toronto Raptors have been the biggest culprits to these trades as they have ignited their fire sale a little early this season. Seeing studs such as Pascal Siakam and OG Annonby shipped out and then promising young talents such as R.J Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Jordan Nwora, and a collection of first-round picks being shipped in. The Raptors are in a full rebuild- mode as they look to continue to craft a team around Scottie Barnes.
As the Raptors continue to offload their players, look for Dennis Schroeder to be their main asset on the block. The veteran point guard has been very productive for the Raps averaging 13.9 points, 6.3 assists, and 2.7 rebounds shooting at about 45%. It is not guaranteed that the Raptors will move on from Schroeder as he has been terrific coming off the bench, he is a player to keep an eye on if the Raptors decide to offload any more of their players at the deadline.
The Chicago Bulls haven’t been very good this season. Currently sitting in the second to last play in seed with a 23-26 record. One of the few bright spots from the Bulls this season has been guard Coby White. White has transformed himself into a star this year thanks to the absence of Zach Lavine putting up multiple 30-point performances this season while averaging a career-high 18.7 points per game. Because of such a poor season, it is more than likely that the Bulls will be sellers for the 2024 deadline.
The Bulls franchise piece, Zach Lavine has not played in many contests this season due to a handful of injuries he has gone through the past couple of months. Due to his absence this season, don’t be surprised if Zach Lavine has played his last game in a Bulls uniform. Lavine has shown his frustration over the lack of competitiveness in this Bulls squad and it seems like a separation between the two parties is inevitable. It doesn’t help that the Bulls are 12-10 without Lavine and 10-15 with him in the lineup. Like Trae Young, although he may not be moved at the deadline he is a trade catalyst that could be dealt shortly after.
Some of the Top Trade Candidates for the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline
Walker Kessler – Utah Jazz
Kessler has seen limited minutes this season. What’s impressive is he still is averaging 2.7 blockers per game making him one of the best-shot blockers in the league today. Look for teams to check in on his availability.
Jerami Grant – Portland Trail Blazers
Jerami Grant has been a reliable scoring machine for the Blazers this season averaging 21.3 points per game shooting at a 45 per cent clip. For Grant, he is a 30-year-old on a rebuilding Blazers squad. Although he has been productive it would not be out of the ordinary to see him dealt on deadline day.
Kyle Kuzma – Washington Wizards
The Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Poole team-up has unfortunately not lived up to expectations for the Wizards this season. They currently sit second last in the east with an abysmal 9-38 record. There isn’t a shadow of a doubt the Wiz will be looking to sell. Expect Kuzma to attract tons of interest from other teams as he is a valuable piece for a contending team averaging 22 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. He also has championship experience to back everything up.