There’s less than a month left before the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline, and with team executives ramping up conversations, notable names for this year’s market are starting to emerge. John Collins of Atlanta and Jay Crowder of Phoenix remain on the trading block, and discussions surrounding both are expected to continue to heat up in the coming days.
However, one organization emerges at each deadline as the main focus of the entire NBA. This season, it could be San Antonio. Spurs center Jacob Boltel has gained significant commercial interest from teams like the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, according to league sources who, like all others in this story, have been given anonymity so they can speak freely.
Poeltl is believed to hold the Spurs organization in high regard, head coach Gregg Popovich, and his teammates, but his desire to compete at the highest level is a factor other organizations feel is important for the suspended unrestricted free agent. Tottenham have wanted the 27-year-old Boeltel to be part of their future long-term, but they are weighing the risks of price him and potentially losing him for nothing in the summer.
League sources said the Spurs had a permanent offer for Boltell for a maximum four-year extension and $58 million since pre-season, but this was rejected. San Antonio will be able to offer Poeltl more in the off-season and is set to have over $50 million in salary cap space. Rival executives believed Poeltl would be close to the $20 million per year range in a new deal during the offseason. There is little doubt that Tottenham would charge a high price cap for any deal involving Poeltl.
In addition to Poeltl, the Spurs have two veteran players on the wing in Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott who are sure to get interest before the deadline.
Richardson, who will be a free agent in July, has averaged 11.3 points, 3.3 assists and 36.1 percent on 3-point shooting this season and is rated as a two-way player. McDermott, under contract through 2024 at $13.75 million annually, is averaging 10.5 points and 42.1 percent from the 3-point range this season.
Along with the Spurs, the Charlotte Hornets are an organization many across the league are watching as a potential seller as the trade deadline approaches. Guard Terry Rozier, center Mason Plumley and forwards Jalen McDaniels and Kelly Ober Jr are among the players expected to receive potential deal interest.
The Hornets are expected to hear suitors for Rozier before the deadline, even though he has three years remaining on the four-year, $97 million extension he signed in 2021.
The Hornets (11-34) are the worst team in the Eastern Conference this season and trail the Houston Rockets (10-34) for the worst record in the league. Charlotte’s season was derailed by the extended absences of key quarterbacks like LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Dennis Smith Jr., and Dennis Smith. and Cody Martin and Miles Bridges. It has the fourth worst defense in the NBA.
Right now, San Antonio and Charlotte are seen as two of the guaranteed NBA sellers in the market. League sources say the Houston Rockets have guard Eric Gordon as a trade candidate but set a price tag for a good young player or first-round draft pick for Gordon.
Speaking to team officials across the NBA, the Toronto Raptors are the most amazing franchise to watch before the deadline. At 20-24 and 11th in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors have been overwhelmed at times and have several talented players — Pascal Siakam, OJ Anunobi, Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. — that teams have their eye on. If the Raptors decide to rebuild and prepare for the Draft Lottery goal by moving two of their major cornerstones, there will be a long list of suitors.
Without a doubt, the Raptors have the full attention of everyone in the NBA.
More NBA news and notes…
League sources say the Utah Jazz have been the most engaged team lately in a potential Collins deal. The Washington Wizards were also among the teams expressing interest in Collins. The Jazz has two pieces in Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt that could interest the Hawks.
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League sources said the Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks are among the teams that have signed up for Bogdanovic from Detroit. The Pistons emphasized that they’d prefer to keep Bogdanović going forward, but so would he the athleteJames Edwards III has stated that the franchise is open to talks, and believes an unprotected first-round pick could get Bogdanović out of Detroit.
Los Angeles Clippers
League sources said the Clippers are looking for depth in the frontcourt and have discussed guard John Wall in potential trades. Behind Ivica Zubak, the Clippers have relied heavily on big man Moses Brown, but they’ve also looked at a more accomplished center.
Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers star Anthony Davis With the aim of returning to the lineup By early February, within a handful of games before the All-Star break, league sources say. Davis has been out of action since December 16 with a stress reaction and a bone injury in his right foot. Davis played like an MVP candidate before the injury, a season-averaging 27.4 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 59.4 percent field goal shooting.
The Timberwolves have a major decision to make with D’Angelo Russell, whose $31.3 million contract expires with no extension signs. The sources said the team would forfeit his salary if he left as a free agent, so Minnesota was exploring the possibilities of a trade for Russell while prioritizing another point guard.
San Antonio Spurs
Sources said the Hawks are in serious talks to hire former Tottenham executive and former Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant as a senior front-office advisor to Landry Fields. A highly respected executive, Grant spent nine years in the Hawks organization (1996-2005) before serving as the Cavaliers’ assistant GM and GM from 2005 to 2014.
The Suns and Magic have emerged as potential suitors for All-Star team free agent VanVleet, league sources said. VanVleet — the 2019 NBA Champion and one of the league’s greatest non-manufacturer success stories — recently spoke about his pending free agency status in the offseason and how he remains focused on the Raptors: “I’m totally focused on his team. My loyalty to this team and this franchise and trying to get us back.” To the level we’re used to here.”
League sources said the Timberwolves and Clippers are expressing interest in Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr. A highly respected veteran at Utah and across the league, Conley averaged 10.3 points, 7.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds this season. The Jazz are 5-7 without Conley this season and 18-17 with him in the lineup.
(Top photo by Jakob Poeltl: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)