While the NBA trade deadline isn't until Feb. 9, trade talks are starting to heat up.
Dec. 15 is known as the start of NBA trade season because any player who signed a contract last offseason can now be traded by their respective team, making it much easier for teams to negotiate deals and match salaries.
As of now, it seems that there are a lot of buyers and only a few sellers. The main sellers seem to be the San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. NBA executives are waiting for more sellers to emerge, but since there's so much parity this season, many teams are looking to buy or stand pat.
So far, the most active teams on the trade market have been the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Rockets, according to Fischer. Let's take a look at each team and the moves they're considering.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Over the offseason, it seemed like a Russell Westbrook trade was inevitable. However, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports that "Westbrook’s play this past month has made it increasingly unlikely that he will be traded before the league’s Feb. 9 deadline." Since becoming a sixth man on Oct. 28, the 34-year-old has averaged 15.2 points, 7.9 assists, 5.8 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game.
If Westbrook isn't expected to get dealt, why are the Lakers considered one of the most active teams?
Well, they are reportedly looking to pull off a smaller trade involving Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and potentially a protected first-round pick. Jovan Buha of The Athletic spoke about this two weeks ago, and Fischer confirmed that L.A. has offered this package to various teams (including to the Pistons for Bojan Bogdanovic). It remains to be seen whether the Lakers will be able to flip this package for a significant contributor prior to the trade deadline. As always, they're also a team to watch once buyouts begin.
The Lakers are currently 11-16, which is the 12th-best record in the Western Conference. They have the NBA's 15th-ranked defense (allowing 110.1 points per 100 possessions) and 21st-ranked offense (scoring 108.8 points per 100 possessions).