It looks increasingly like we’re headed to a quiet NBA trade deadline.
Sources around the league have told NBC Sports that while chatter has picked up in recent weeks, there is little traction on actual trades because of compact standings in both conferences that have a lot of teams in the hunt for the play-in, leading to few sellers. Thanks to the fundamental law of supply and demand, the sellers that are out there are keeping their prices high so far.
Two teams that will be sellers: The Utah Jazz and Charlotte Hornets. From Marc Stein in his This Week in Basketball Saturday newsletter.
Yet there is a rising belief leaguewide that Utah is open to listening to trade pitches for anyone on the roster not named Lauri Markkanen or Walker Kessler and that Charlotte is likewise prepared to take calls on veterans like Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward and Kelly Oubre Jr. as the Hornets prioritize lottery position in the wake of LaMelo Ball‘s third ankle injury this season. At 12-34 entering Saturday’s play, Charlotte is well on course to finish with one of the league’s worst four records.
Something else of note to monitor in Charlotte: Word is that the Hornets’ interest in re-signing P.J. Washington has risen sharply compared to last summer, when the Hornets were expected to prioritize Miles Bridges.
There have been a lot of Jazz trade rumors, including the Clippers talking to them about Mike Conley, plus a three-team trade that would send out Malik Beasley and more but bring back John Collins to play next to Markkanen. The challenge in these cases is that Utah president and decision maker Danny Ainge is asking for picks, and after what is regarded around the league as a fleecing of Minnesota this offseason, teams will be hesitant.
Charlotte doesn’t need to trade off players to pivot toward the Wembanyama lottery — they have been plenty bad this season already (in part due to LaMelo Ball having multiple ankle injuries. There is interest from a number of playoff teams in Rozier and Oubre, but moving Hayward and his $30 million contract, with $31.5 million guaranteed next season, will be much more difficult (the Hornets would have to throw in sweeteners to get someone to take that on).
Expect talks around the NBA trade market to get serious around Feb. 1 — if sellers such as Utah and Charlotte are going to drop their prices to get a deal done, that’s when it will happen. For now, the prices are high keeping there from being any real traction, but that doesn’t stop the rumors.
Here is more on the Jazz
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Report: Jazz, Hornets will be sellers at trade deadline originally appeared on NBCSports.com