Ranking Five Best Players Who Could Be Moved At NBA Trade Deadline

Kyle Lowry headlines the group

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After weeks of speculation, rumors and chatter, the NBA trade deadline is just about here.

Thursday marks the deadline, and a number of teams will be left to decide if they should buy, sell, a combination of those two, or just stay put.

Particularly in the Eastern Conference, there is a pretty thin line between being fourth in the conference versus 10th. That means it’s tough to peg who actually thinks they can contend, so Thursday promises to be a busy and exciting day.

Here are five of the top players that could be moved:

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
He is perhaps the most impactful player of the bunch. A 14-year vet who was an All-Star each of the last six seasons leading up to this campaign, Lowry, who turns 35 on Thursday, would bolster a lot of teams’ backcourts.

Lowry is averaging 17.6 points this season with 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds per contest, but he’s a pending unrestricted free agent who is making $30 million this season. Because of that, it’s unclear which team would be willing to make that money work for a rental, but you can guarantee a team trading for Lowry signifies they think they have a legitimate shot at winning a title this season.

This is Lowry’s ninth season in Toronto, one of which culminated in an NBA title. He checks all of the boxes you want in an NBA trade deadline target. It’s just a matter of the reeling Raptors getting the right deal for him.

Victor Oladipo, Houston Rockets
There’s plenty of reason to be skeptical about trading for Oladipo. That the Rockets went 5-15 with him playing thus far doesn’t inspire confidence that he can still be the impactful, take-over a-game player he was with the Indiana Pacers, though that can’t fall squarely on him.

He’s also made clear he basically only wants to go to the Miami Heat when he’s a free agent this offseason. So, any team other than Miami would be all but certain to lose Oladipo if they trade for him.

That said, Oladipo still is averaging 20.8 points per game with 5.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds. You could do a lot worse than that with your starting point guard or even off the bench. The Rockets likely want a lot for Oladipo, but at the same time he’s obviously not in their long-term plans, so they might get to the point of moving him just to get something.

John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
We write this mere hours after Collins declared he wants to be with the Hawks for life. That doesn’t mean he won’t get moved, but it does show the front office that he’s at least committed to staying put.

The Hawks are in one of those weird spots where they’re fourth in the East right now, but just a few games clear of 10th place. They’re not fourth-in-the-East good, so that might prompt them to move Collins, who has been in trade rumors for what seems like forever, if the return is decent enough.

He meets a lot of needs for teams, though. He’s a power forward, for one, and he’s a reliable perimeter shooter. Collins has done nothing but start for the Hawks the last few years, but likely could be a sixth man on a contending team. An incredibly efficient player, the 23-year-old is putting up18.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest this season.

Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
The Magic are in a weird spot. This season is a lost cause for them, but they seem to think they can compete next season because they’ve been without Jonathan Isaac and Terrance Ross this campaign. Evan Fournier already made clear he doesn’t plan to re-sign, and Gordon recently indicated he would be interested in a trade.

He has plenty of suitors, the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets among them. He’s similar to Collins in a few ways, but on a much bigger ticket, as he’s making $18.1 million this season and $16.4 million in 2021-22.

Orlando doesn’t seem to think it needs to trade Gordon, which is why the ask for him seems so steep. He’s putting up 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, so he’s a useful player, to be sure. The Magic’s ask for Gordon is what could be what ultimately turns teams off.

George Hill, Oklahoma City Thunder
Hill being in NBA trade deadline rumors is a fairly annual thing, but it’s because championship-caliber teams always have a Hill type.

If the Oklahoma City Thunder are trying to shed cash and tradeable assets, Hill is easier moved than Al Horford. He’s making less than $10 million this season, and his contract only is partially guaranteed for next year.

And while he’s been having a down year — he’s played just 14 games and is averaging 11.8 points, 3.1 assists and 2.1 rebounds — Hill has proven to be a reliable shooter that can provide a spark off the bench or start in a pinch.

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