top of page

NBA Power Rankings 3.0: A trade candidate from each team

It's time for the third iteration of the weekly bballdistrict Power Rankings! We'll count down each team from worst to best, check in on the state of each squad, and this week we'll tell you the player most likely to be traded from their team. (Stay tuned every Sunday for brand new rankings and a new theme!)

30. Houston Rockets (10-36) (=)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Eric Gordon

Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

Gordon is the odd man out on a Houston team that's gone full youth movement. The 34 year-old is one of only two players on the bottoming Rockets who has more than three years of NBA experience (Boban Marjanovic, seven), and is on a near-20 million dollar contract that Houston undoubtedly would like off their books. Gordon is a known entity, which should help him garner interest at the deadline. He's a safe bet to be on the move.

29. Charlotte Hornets (13-34) (-1)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Mason Plumlee

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Plumlee is arguably the worst starting five-man in the league, but if traded he would quickly become an elite backup on a contending team. The Hornets have their 2022 first round pick Mark Williams' development coming along nicely, and he would benefit from the opportunity to start, which Charlotte doesn't appear to be willing to do with Plumlee still on the roster. 25 year-old seven footer Nick Richards would also see a spike in minutes with Plumlee out of the mix. It's time for Charlotte to prioritize development.

28. Detroit Pistons (12-36) (-1)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Bojan Bogdanovic

Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Bogdanovic might as well already have his bags packed, as he's one of the hottest - and most logical - names on the trade block. The 33 year-old is averaging a career high 21.3 points per game this season for Detroit, but like Gordon, Bogdanovic simply doesn't fit his team's timeline. He would, however, fit perfectly on a team who needs another bucket-getter to make a title run. He won't be cheap, but there'll be a GM out there who has visions of a banner in the rafters and pulls the trigger on a deal for Bogdanovic.

27. San Antonio Spurs (14-32) (+2)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Josh Richardson

Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

San Antonio has a few players likely on the way out come the deadline, but Richardson should be the easiest to move. His shooting splits are down, but he's still a veteran wing who can provide solid minutes off the bench for just about any team. A move to acquire Richardson won't make a big splash, but he's an intriguing budget option for teams who may not be willing to part ways with the sort of assets it would take to bring in a higher value player like Bogdanovic.

26. Orlando Magic (17-29) (+1)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Terrence Ross

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Ross and Gary Harris are the only veterans remaining amongst a slew of young talent in Orlando, but Ross stands out as a possible piece to be moved. The 11th-year veteran is an expiring contract, and it would be a surprise to see him return to the Magic next season, so although the return won't be particularly impressive, Orlando will likely take whatever they can get and move on. A Ross deal would also make for a fairly seamless transition of minutes from him to Johnathan Isaac, who's finally ready to play basketball for the first time since the bubble.

25. Washington Wizards (20-26) (=)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Kyle Kuzma

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Wizards have gotten fantastic production from Kuzma since acquiring him from the Lakers in the Russell Westbrook deal, but his time in the District may be running short. Kuzma has a player option in his contract for 2023-2024, and if the rumors are any indication it's unlikely that he would choose to come back to the Wizards next year. Washington can probably get a decent haul from a solid team who thinks Kuzma would be willing to accept his player option and sign an extension.

24. Toronto Raptors (20-27) (-1)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Gary Trent Jr

Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Trade rumors are swirling in Toronto amid a rocky season, and the big question is whether the Raptors will choose to rebuild or simply retool. It feels like they just have too much talent to tear it all down, though, so with Trent Jr seen as the least integral piece to their future, he should be the one to go. The sharpshooter should net a good return and allow Nick Nurse to keep experimenting with his rotations, because the Raptors have the pieces to be far better than they are currently.

23. Los Angeles Clippers (24-24) (-1)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Luke Kennard

Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Clippers are in an interesting spot as the trade deadline approaches. They're exactly .500, but 48 games into the season their dynamic duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined have played just 55 times. Even if they haven't seen much of a fully healthy team, though, they are moves to be made. Kennard's 48.9 field goal percentage is the only thing standing between him and a 50/40/90 year, a rarity in today's NBA. Despite that, Kennard is LA's 9th man in terms of minutes per game. He could use a change of scenery, and the Clippers can either use his minutes for a new addition, or give them to Robert Covington, who can also fill the spot up shooter role if he can move his shooting splits back towards his career averages.

22. Portland Trailblazers (21-24) (-2)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Justise Winslow

Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Blazers are trying to walk the fine line of letting their young talent, like Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe, develop, and not wasting the prime of Damian Lillard. That leaves them without many choices in terms of who to deal at the deadline. Odds are they stand pat, but they could look to move Justise Winslow's expiring contract for a small return. He's not a vital piece for Portland now, nor will he be in the future, so the Blazers don't have much of an incentive to convince him to stick around long term.

21. Los Angeles Lakers (21-25) (+3)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Troy Brown Jr

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers are in a tough spot, and Russell Westbrook is the name many expect, even want to see here, but with this being the last season of his mega-contract, he won't fetch enough value to be worth trading. Instead, the Lakers' best move is to just ride out the year and regroup later. If they want to make a trade, Troy Brown Jr is an option. Brown Jr is only 23 and was once a double-digit points per game scorer. A contender could look to add him for depth and sparse playoff minutes.

20. Indiana Pacers (23-25) (-6)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Buddy Hield

Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

If Hield does get shipped off, he may very well be part of a package including teammate Myles Turner, but if Indiana moves off of just one, it'll be Hield. Both are great players, but Hield is on the wrong side of 30, and more of a specialist, while Turner is younger and the better all-around player, making him more ideal to keep around for a rebuild. Hield can find a place on any franchise in the Association with his shooting prowess, so he'll be in high demand should Indiana decide to get rid of him


19. Phoenix Suns (23-24) (+2)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Jae Crowder

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This one's a layup, as Crowder has been away from the team all season after requesting a trade. By not trading him, Phoenix would simply be locking up a roster spot unnecessarily.

18. Chicago Bulls (21-24) (+1)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Coby White

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

White's role as starting point guard has been completely usurped by Ayo Dosunmu for the entirety of this season, and with Lonzo Ball theoretically returning by the beginning of next season at the latest, White would be a redundancy for Chicago in the future. Additionally, although he's on the final year of his contract, he'll be a restricted free agent this offseason, meaning potential suitors won't have to worry about White simply walking in free agency at the season's close.

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (24-24) (-2)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: D'Angelo Russell

Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Timberwolves may be hesitant to make another trade so soon after the disappointing early returns on their megadeal to bring Rudy Gobert to Minnesota. With that being said, Russell provides them with an opportunity to salvage something from their current core of players. It's been a rocky year for Russell, who likely wouldn't be to unhappy about getting a fresh start. He also happens to have an expiring contract worth over 30 million dollars, which Minnesota could use to bring in some fresh faces or recoup some of the draft capital they lost in the Gobert trade.

16. Oklahoma City Thunder (22-24) (+2)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Mike Muscala

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Similar to Eric Gordon or Terrence Ross, who we discussed earlier, Muscala is the only veteran on a team full of young bucks. And while a veteran presence is valuable, the odds of Muscala still being an Oklahoma resident when the Thunder's young core develops into the superteam they envision are low. The 10th year pro could be an intriguing option for teams looking for a cheap stretch big, as he makes just 3.5 million per year.

15. Utah Jazz (24-25) (+1)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Mike Conley

Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The 35 year-old Conley is... ahead of the Jazz' timeline, if you will. The good news, though, is that he's making 22 million dollars each of the next two seasons, so if Utah chooses to trade him, they'll have plenty of flexibility in terms of what the return looks like. That's particularly beneficial for the Jazz given their hodgepodge young roster. They can use Conley to find an identity for their team as their young players hit their primes.

14. Atlanta Hawks (24-23) (+3)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: John Collins

Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

It's just not working between John Collins and the Atlanta Hawks. Collins' production is down this season, and it seems fairly clear to most outside observers that the fit just isn't working out nearly as well as it was during the Hawks Eastern Conference Finals run. Collins still holds plenty of value though. A 25 year-old who was a borderline All-Star for a few years and is under contract through 2026 is sure to widen the eyes of at least a couple GMs around the league.

13. Miami Heat (25-22) (-1)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Duncan Robinson

Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Robinson has been wildly disappointing for Miami since signing his extension, including shooting just 36% from the field this season. Now the Heat are stuck with his $19 million per year deal through 2026. Robinson may not be easy to unload, but freeing up that cap space is a crucial step for Miami to take if they want to give themselves a chance to improve their team.

12. Golden State Warriors (23-23) (+1)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: James Wiseman

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Warriors are trying to strike a balance between continuing their dominance with the old guard, and ushering in the new generation that was supposed to make up the next Warriors dynasty. But it's backfired, as the veterans aren't getting it done, and the young players' development appears stunted. The prime example of this is 2020 second overall pick James Wiseman, who's evolution has gone so sideways that he's found himself in the G-League. It seems clear that Wiseman doesn't represent the future of Golden State, and needs a change of scenery, so the Dubs would be best served to trade him while he's still seen as young and moldable.

11. New York Knicks (25-22) (-2)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Cam Reddish

Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Reddish was excited for new beginnings after being traded from Atlanta to New York last season, but things haven't gone as he envisioned. Whether he's in the doghouse, or coach Tom Thibodeau just doesn't see him as a fit on the team, Reddish hasn't appeared in a game since early December despite being fully healthy. It's time for the two sides to part ways.

10. Dallas Mavericks (25-22) (=)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Davis Bertans

Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

Dallas doesn't have a ton of obvious pieces to get rid of, so we'll choose a guy who's had a very similar path to the aforementioned Robinson. Bertans signed a substantial contract with the Wizards almost exclusively for his shooting ability before seemingly forgetting how to shoot. Washington finessed Dallas into taking on Bertans and his bad contract in the Kristaps Porzingis exchange, and now it's time for the Mavericks to figure out how to pass on the favor to someone else by any means necessary. The Mavs pretty clearly need a second star to be serious contenders, and it'll be far easier to bring one in without $17 million of Bertans' contract clogging up the books.

9. New Orleans Pelicans (26-20) (-4)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Jaxson Hayes

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

New Orleans is in a great spot, near the top of the Western Conference in spite of injuries to Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, so it would be surprising to see them make a move, but if they do, Hayes is the name to watch. He hasn't lived up to expectations, leaving him to back up Jonas Valanciunas at center. Hayes also had a legal run-in, which certainly can't have been encouraging to David Griffin and company. New Orleans has enough size without Hayes, as Williamson is plenty built enough to play small ball center when Valanciunas is off the court. It's worth at least testing the market for the 22 year-old Hayes.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (29-19) (-1)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Caris LeVert

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Cleveland has five small forwards worthy of getting legitimate minutes, and that's before Dylan Windler gets back from injury. If any Cavalier is getting traded it'll be one of those wings, but figuring out who is a crapshoot, as it simply depends on how big of a swing Cleveland wants to take. LeVert would be the biggest swing, as despite his inconsistencies, he's the Cavs' best bench player, and a solid fill-in at guard when one of Cleveland' All-Star guards is out. LeVert or not, look for the Cavs to either trade one wing for a solid backup big, or go two for one and get a more significant small forward upgrade.

7. Brooklyn Nets (28-17) (-3)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Joe Harris

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

One of the most obvious roster redundancies in the NBA right now lies in Brooklyn. Harris, Yuta Watanabe, and Seth Curry all play the role of a spot-up sharpshooter, and while that's a nice luxury to have, it's probably better to use that advantage as a way to upgrade elsewhere. The decision of who stays and who goes could swing in any direction, but Curry and Watanabe's shooting splits are better, so they should be the ones who stick around.

6. Milwaukee Bucks (29-17) (=)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Serge Ibaka

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Ibaka, the decorated veteran, has been out of the rotation for the better part of the season, and he and Milwaukee recently came to a mutual agreement to find a new home for Ibaka via trade. Like Crowder, this is a no-brainer. There's no longer a reason to keep Ibaka.

5. Sacramento Kings (26-19) (+6)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Richaun Holmes

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Kings are likely absolutely terrified of making even the smallest of moves at the deadline for fear of messing with the magic formula that has them in third in the West. With that being said, if we had to float a name out there, it would be Richaun Holmes. The eighth-year big man doesn't get much run, as he's stuck behind Domantas Sabonis, Harrison Barnes, and even Chimezie Metu, but he's proven over the past few years that he has plenty of production to provide, so his market could be active enough to bring in some solid value for Sacramento.

4. Philadelphia 76ers (30-16) (+4)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Matisse Thybulle

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Thybulle has never been expected to make a major offensive impact, but his already extremely unremarkable numbers are only getting worse in his fourth year as a pro. Thybulle is still a plus defender but his lack of offense has forced him to the back of the rotation. He ultimately isn't giving much use to the 76ers anymore, so it may be time to try convincing a rival GM that Thybulle has potential to unlock offensively.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (31-14) (=)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Danny Green

Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

This would be a prime example of how sports can be a heartless business, as Green hasn't played with Memphis yet due to his continued rehab for his torn ACL. With that being said, it would be surprising to see any movement from Memphis, who has to feel great about where they're at.

2. Boston Celtics (35-12) (=)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Luke Kornet

Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Beloved by many for his bizarre new three-point blocking technique, it might actually be slightly sad to see Kornet go, but it would be an understandable move for Boston. The Celtics have a surplus of bigs, albeit most of them undersized, so it wouldn't be shocking to see Kornet on the move in favor of a depth addition at another position.

1. Denver Nuggets (33-13) (=)

Most Logical Trade Candidate: Ish Smith

Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Ok, this one admittedly is more just for kicks than a legitimate trade candidate, but it would only be right for Smith, the king of trades, to call a new city home one more time. If that happened, it would mark Smith's 14th different team suited up for, and his eighth time being traded.

That does it for this week's bballdistrict Power Rankings! Come back next week to see the updated rankings, risers and fallers, and to find out each team's biggest strength!


bottom of page