As we reach the quarter mark of the 2022-23 NBA season, gusting
trade winds are right around the corner. In two weeks on Dec. 15,
conversations around the league will kick into another gear, as
many players who were acquired in the offseason will be allowed to
be dealt elsewhere.
Which players stand out most as potential trade candidates over
the next few months? Let’s take an early peek at some of the names
that already have some steam behind them.
Myles Turner, Indiana
Off to the best start of his career, averaging 18.2 points, 8.1
rebounds and 2.6 blocks on a 68.8% True Shooting percentage,
Turner’s trade stock will only rise heading toward February’s
deadline. Always an underrated big man with elite rim-protection
prowess, Turner becoming more of a consistent offensive focal point
was the missing ingredient for years. Situation and usage played a
big role in Turner’s roller-coaster scoring ways, but he’s now
being fed by arguably the NBA’s best passing point guard.
Tyrese Haliburton is the perfect facilitator to showcase
Turner’s modern skill set, which was relatively untapped as he was
parked in the corner playing alongside Domantas Sabonis as a
jumbo-sized 4. Now, Turner and Haliburton are creating dynamite in
pick-and-roll situations. The former Texas Longhorn is scoring 1.30
points per possession as a roll man, and in 332 minutes together,
the Haliburton-Turner duo carries a plus-4.5 Net Rating (113.9
Offensive Rating, 109.5 Defensive Rating) as well.
Indiana is in such an advantageous position following its
surprisingly hot start. Already possessing three first-round picks
in the 2023 NBA Draft, the Pacers could soon capitalize on a
career-best running start from Turner.
How the Pacers fare on their extended west coast road trip will
tell us whether this team is a legitimate Eastern Conference
Play-In Tournament competitor or not, which ties right into the
unsteady future of Turner and a fellow teammate...
Buddy Hield, Indiana
Added to the Sabonis-Haliburton trade as salary filler, Hield
has taken full advantage of the ultimate green light that Pacers
head coach Rick Carlisle has given him. In 45 games thus far in
Indiana, Hield is averaging 17.8 points and 3.9 assists per contest
as a full-time starter. With only two years remaining on his
contract, Hield’s three-point shooting expertise makes him a prime
trade target for a multitude of teams.
With how the Pacers’ roster is currently constructed, Hield is
getting in the way of both Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte
getting extended minutes. This hasn’t been a problem as of late
with Duarte sitting out with a sprained ankle; however, beforehand,
it was a jumbled mess trying to find the 2021 lottery pick
consistent run behind Hield. As Mathurin headlines the Rookie of
the Year race, allowing more minutes for the young core should be
of the utmost importance here.
Although Indiana is off to a much better start than anyone
expected, they are beating up on teams well below .500. As the
schedules goes up another rung in toughness over the next few
weeks, the Pacers' preseason expectations could average out. With
the way Hield is playing, Indiana wouldn’t have to sell hard to
find a taker.
Bojan Bogdanovic, Detroit
The Pistons quietly put together a fantastic offseason to
surround former No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham with the
necessary pieces to create a feisty Play-In contender. Jaden Ivey
and Jalen Duren were fantastic selections in this past summer's
draft, but their late acquisition of Bogdanovic was a coup on
value. Immediately, Bogdanovic paid dividends alongside Cunningham
and Ivey as a floor-spacing stretch 4 who could put the ball on the
floor. But now, with Cunningham’s shin injury feared to be
potentially season-ending, Detroit is knee-deep in the Victor
Wembanyama race, checking in with a 5-17 record.
Bogdanovic signed a two-year, $39.1 million extension less than
two weeks into the regular season. However, the veteran is still
immediately trade-eligible, instantly making him one of the most
appealing transcational chips for a team needing an offensive
Another player off to a career-best start statistically — 20.6
points on a 63.3% True Shooting percentage — the Pistons are in the
ideal position to sell as high as possible. Bogdanovic should be
able to net either a protected first-round pick or an appealing
young prospect. Plenty of teams reportedly showed interest in
Bogdanovic before he was traded to the Pistons, including the Los
Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns.
Don’t be surprised when the Pistons open the phone lines again.
Committing to the Wembanyama race makes the most sense for any team
leading the reverse standings right now.
Jae Crowder, Phoenix
If you had forgotten about the Crowder saga still ongoing in the
Valley, nobody would blame you. After requesting a trade,
reportedly due to Cameron Johnson earning his starting spot,
Crowder is still away from the team as Phoenix searches for the
best possible deal.
The Suns' original hope internally was to find a Crowder deal
back in October, preferably before the regular season as head coach
Monty Williams said. Instead, the market is telling Phoenix there
are not many takers for the 32-year-old wing. The Athletic’s Shams
Charania mentioned the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks as
potential suitors for Crowder since his request.
Johnson suffered a torn meniscus a few weeks back that will
sideline him for another month at least. That has to bring some
sort of urgency to the Western Conference-leading Suns. Even with
no Crowder and Johnson out for a good chunk of the season, Phoenix
is still firing on all cylinders with one reliable wing in ironman
Mikal Bridges. Also, incredibly enough, the Suns' offense hasn’t
fallen off at all with Chris Paul watching as a spectator because
of a nagging heel injury.
Eventually, Phoenix must make a win-now move by utilizing
Crowder’s $10 million salary. If the Suns want to make an even more
aggressive push, they can attach Dario Saric’s expiring contract
alongside Crowder, which would allow them to bring back close to
$25 million in salary. Charania reported the Suns have had
exploratory talks around Crowder for Atlanta’s John Collins,
Washington’s Kyle Kuzma, Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes and Houston’s
There appears to be little traction right now, but keep an eye
on this Crowder situation eventually reaching a resolution. Once
the Suns are back to full health, they will stay right near the top
of the West.
Even more names and teams will continue to pop up between now
and Dec. 15, but silly season in the NBA is starting to appear on
the horizon. How some of these aforementioned teams operate will go
a long way toward deciding how active this deadline period could