The wide-open title race and a lackluster 2020 free-agent class could spur action on the trade market during the 2019-20 NBA season.
The Golden State Warriors’ demise has set the stage for the most wide-open NBA championship race in years. Coupled with an underwhelming 2020 free-agent class, that could convince teams to go all-in ahead of the February trade deadline.
“We’ve been getting calls all summer,” one general manager told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney. “There are a lot of things we are considering. The dust settles a little, you’re aware of your weaknesses and your holes and so you find ways to address that. I think we’re going to see more of that than usual. I think if you look at the market, there is going to be a very brisk trade market this winter for a few reasons.”
Teams with big-name players on expiring contracts may be forced to choose between battling for a playoff spot and taking advantage of a seller’s market. After seeing how trade-deadline acquisition Marc Gasol helped guide the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship last season, title hopefuls may drive up the asking price as they jostle for impact additions.
A wild offseason of player movement may convince teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Washington Wizards to embrace a rebuild and sell off their star players to the highest bidder. Others like the Raptors and Detroit Pistons could decide to flip players on expiring contracts who they don’t plan to re-sign in 2020.
All of those factors combined should set the stage for an explosive trade deadline.
Based on remaining contract length and where teams are in the league hierarchy, the following five players may become fixtures in trade rumors leading up to February.