NBA trade deadline features elite squads, prominent names

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This year in the NBA, it seems that trades and rumors have been all over the place. Players who have been the focal points of their teams have been the center of trade talks. With the Feb. 8 trade deadline coming up, the absolute chaos that most of the NBA has been involved in is in full swing.

Whether you play for a championship contender, a fringe playoff team or a noncompetitor, it seems like the Warriors’ dominance and building of a “super team” has the rest of the league scrambling.

Clippers’ big names

The most shocking move this season has been the Clippers trading Blake Griffin, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson to the Pistons for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley and Boban Marjanović along with two draft picks.

But despite already participating in the biggest trade of the season, the Clippers might not be done yet. With the state of the franchise clearly in decline, both Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan have been mentioned as potential trade pieces and could still be moved before the deadline.

Williams is set to be a free agent after having the best year of his career this offseason, and the Clippers would probably like to get value out of him before that. Jordan has one year left on his current contract, and another team would likely get more out of him than would the Clippers, who could benefit in the long term.

Other big names

Kawhi Leonard, a player who many thought was untouchable, has recently been the topic of many trade conversations. In the midst of a frustrating season riddled with injuries, reports have came out that Leonard is unhappy in San Antonio and has become distant from the team. After a brief return from injury, Leonard finds himself out once again without a timetable for his return, leaving himself and the organization at a crossroads.

The Spurs, as an organization, always have high expectations, and without their best player, beating the Warriors — let alone meeting them in the playoffs — seems out of reach.

Damian Lillard has also been the subject of many trade conversations. The value Lillard would bring to a contender could potentially be the difference in a tight postseason series. But with the Trail Blazers currently fighting for a playoff spot, trading Lillard seems to be a stretch.

Noncontenders have also been mentioned in trade conversations, as they hope to cash in on the collective panic going on across the league.

The Sacramento Kings have committed to resting their veterans, and point guard George Hill has been one of them. Hill, a 31-year-old veteran who is in his first year of a three-year, $57 million contract, seems to be a perfect piece to move. The Cavaliers have reportedly expressed interest in Hill, and as the team stands now, it would likely not be able to compete with Golden State.

All-Star Kemba Walker’s name has also come up in trade talks, when Hornets owner Michael Jordan said he “would listen” to trade offers. Jordan prefaced this by saying he isn’t looking to trade Walker but isn’t ruling it out entirely. Walker is one of the best players, if not the best, to play for the young organization, so trading him would be a huge indicator of where the NBA stands with regard to bold moves.

With the way the Grizzlies’ season has been playing out, veteran Tyreke Evans has been a player they will likely move. Evans is having one of the best and most consistent seasons of his injury-riddled career, and a contender would undoubtedly want a presence like him off the bench.

While these by no means are the only players who have been the subjects of trade conversations, the number of high-profile players whose futures are in question is at an all-time high.

Rafael Botello writes for Bear Bytes, the Daily Californian’s sports blog. Contact him at [email protected].