The 2022 NBA Draft is still two months away, but that’s when thedominoes around the Association begin to fall for player activity.In a shallow class of free agents, the trade market will be thebest way for teams to make win-now moves. So many teams are influx, stuck between pushing for the postseason or rebuilding. Whenscouring the potential trade marketplace, five names stand out fromthe rest.
The Tyrese Haliburton era is in full swing for the IndianaPacers, which showed immediate long-term promise for a star-starvedorganization. With Haliburton in place as the primary buildingblock for the Pacers, it’s time to say adios to the failed MalcolmBrogdon partnership.
Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard is on record as saying Haliburton istheir point guard of the future, and he even compared acquiring himto former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. If thatdoesn’t say they’re all-in on Haliburton, then I don’t know what totell you.
Although Brogdon put together career-best scoring numbers duringhis time in Indiana, availability continued to be a serious problemfor the veteran combo guard. During the 2021-22 campaign, Brogdonmissed 46 games due to nagging injury issues.
Another interesting angle to monitor from the Pacers’ point ofview is losing a first-round pick they expected to receive via theCaris LeVert trade back in February. After the Cavaliers’ collapsepost-All-Star break, Indiana lost out on a top-20 pick they wereplanning on using for further draft ammunition.
Moving Brogdon would help recoup that asset, now deferred tonext season. Brogdon’s trade market could be robust thanks to histwo-way versatility, despite his injury woes.
If there’s any player in the Association who feels like a lockto be dealt, it’s Brogdon, thanks to the Haliburton era beginningin Indianapolis.
Christian Wood is seemingly on the way out in Houston. TheRockets’ rookie big man Alperen Sengun shined in a limited role,which increased later on as Wood’s minutes diminished. Wood wasshopped by the Rockets before the trade deadline, but they weren'table to move him. That may change this offseason.
As an expiring contract making only $14 million, Wood offers anycontender a ready-made stretch four who provides intriguing upside.For Houston, there’s no reason to keep Wood around. He simplydoesn’t fit their timeline with a young core spearheaded by JalenGreen, Kevin Porter Jr. and Sengun.
Wood originally signed with the Rockets to be a pick-and-rollpartner with James Harden, but Harden is no longer with the team.With a potentially fresh opportunity on the horizon, Wood has thechance to cash in if he lands in the right situation.
One team who continues to make sense for Wood as a long-term fitis the Miami Heat. Miami reportedly offered the Rockets DuncanRobinson for Wood, which Houston rebuked. With the Heat’s 2023first-round pick now available, could that change the Rockets’ mindon this swap? If Houston can offload Wood while obtaining asharpshooter and a future first, it makes way too much sense.
Whether it be Miami or elsewhere, Wood’s market has the chanceto catch fire in a few months. He feels like another shoo-in to beon the move.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 22, 2022
CHRISTIAN WOOD ARE YOU SERIOUS!
39 POINTS AND THIS RIDICULOUS SHOT 😱 pic.twitter.com/rqWDA2NS4z
Another player who has been stuck in trade rumors for the pastcalendar year is Jerami Grant, who bet on himself and signed along-term deal with the rebuilding Detroit Pistons. Grant soughtout a role where he would be more of a focal point offensively, andhe’s shown now over a large sample size he can get it done in thatarea.
However, Grant’s best fit for any contending team is how he wasused with the Denver Nuggets. As a third or fourth option who alsohandles the best scorer on the defensive end, Grant would fit ontoany team looking to take a significant leap forward nextseason.
Grant is another player who doesn’t fit the timeline of hiscurrent team. With the Pistons projected to have another top pickin this year’s draft, plus an enticing young core led by 2021 No. 1overall pick Cade Cunningham, the youth movement is in full effectin the Motor City. The Pistons would be wise to shop off Grant tothe highest bidder around the draft or in early July.
Grant’s elite versatility provides him a strong role anywhere helands. And don’t be shocked by the price tag for a Grant trade thisoffseason. Contenders will get into a bidding war to secure theservices of a strong plug-and-play wing who will raise theirceiling immediately.
What’s next for the Atlanta Hawks? After a disappointingfirst-round exit in the postseason thanks to the Heat, Atlanta’sroster has a few interesting decisions looming ahead. One of thoserevolves around dynamic power forward John Collins, who hascontinued to hear his name floated in trade rumors since signing afive-year extension last offseason.
Collins let it be known this season he was frustrated with hisrole on the offensive end, and soon after we once again heard tradewinds blowing around the former Wake Forest Demon Deacon. If theHawks begin fielding offers on Collins this offseason, expectAtlanta to net a significant asset (or assets) in return.
Trae Young is obviously the straw that stirs the drink inAtlanta’s system, but take a look at all of the young pieces inplace within their organization: Onyeka Okongwu, Kevin Huerter,DeAndre Hunter, Jalen Johnson, and you can even throw in the moreexperienced veteran in Bogdan Bogdanovic to the mix thanks to hisstrong fit with Young. Huerter already signed his rookie-scaleextension, but Hunter and Okungwu will soon be due. The same goesfor Bogdanovic, if he wants to stay in Atlanta past the 2022-23season.
From a financial standpoint, Collins feels like the easiestpiece to move in order to keep everyone else intact. Don’t besurprised if the Hawks use Collins’ contract alongside DaniloGallinari’s expiring salary ($21.4 million) to go star hunting.
What a disaster this season was for the New York Knicks. After asurprising surge in the 2020-21 campaign, the Knicks felt inclinedto run it back with their veteran-heavy core. Looking back on itnow, that decision has left egg on the face of New York’s frontoffice.
After winning Most Improved Player, Julius Randle may have beenthe winner of “Most Disappointing Player,” if such an awardactually existed. Randle seemed out of it for most of the season,not utilizing his special motor to help the Knicks consistently.Whether Randle’s incredible run was a flash in the pan or the fithas worn itself out, something has to give this offseason.
We should also note the emergence of former lottery pick ObiToppin, who continued to flash when given more playing time for theKnicks. Toppin makes Randle more expendable, and that should be theprimary plan for New York this offseason.
Randle’s contract is very movable, too. Making $26.1 millionnext season, Randle would help present a strong trade market forNew York to scour for the best offers. And who knows? Maybe Randlebounces back to his 2020-21 form in a different environment.
For Randle and the Knicks, it’s in the best interest of bothparties to split up.
While we're still a couple of months away from the trade marketopening back up, there are plenty of big names who could be moved.These players should find themselves at the top of that list, asany of them would prove a huge boost for the organization acquiringthem.
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