The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 9, which means there is less than a month for trade rumors to heat up and for key fantasy pieces to change teams.
Which players would be most impacted — either in a good or bad way — if they were to be dealt?
Here are André Snellings, Eric Karabell, Eric Moody, Steve Alexander and John Cregan with some of the top names on their minds.
Russell Westbrook, PG, Los Angeles Lakers: Perhaps it is hard to tell if Westbrook is actually on the trade block, but we should presume he starts and plays more minutes if he gets dealt. Based on the numbers we’re seeing off the bench, Westbrook remains in valuable statistical form. He’s averaging 15.1 PPG (a career low, by the way), but 6.4 RPG and 7.9 APG. I’m sure Westbrook wants to start, and he would for most other teams. I may not be Westbrook’s biggest fantasy fan, as his poor shooting can be a drag, but few players offer a nightly flirtation with a triple-double, too. The next few weeks may be a wise time to try to acquire Westbrook in fantasy, too. — Karabell
Fred VanVleet, PG/SG, Toronto Raptors: VanVleet’s value could drop precipitously if he were to be traded away from the Raptors. VanVleet has played huge minutes and had a consistent green light with the Raptors; in the last three seasons he has averaged 37.2 MPG and 16.6 FGA. This has allowed him to produce strong scoring volume (19.7 PPG during that span) despite shooting only 39.3% from the field. VanVleet is an undersized score-first point guard that has a player option this offseason, so If a team traded for him it would likely be a championship contender looking for a veteran spark plug scorer off the bench to help them get over the top. This could help VanVleet compete for a ring this season, but if it brings his minutes and shot share down, he doesn’t have the efficiency or all-around game to maintain his current fantasy value. — Snellings
Nikola Vucevic, C, Chicago Bulls: Chicago has put Vucevic on the trading block, according to various reports. Vucevic checks in at 16.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.9 blocks and 1.7 3-pointers with the Bulls thus far. A move to any other team in the league could actually hurt him or help him, depending on where that might be. If he joined a team like the Suns, who have Deandre Ayton locked and loaded with averages of 17.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 0.7 blocks, Vucevic would obviously take a hit. But if he goes to a Dallas Mavericks team who starts Dwight Powell at center, he could actually see a large boost playing alongside Luka Doncic and Christian Wood. Powell is averaging just 5.9 points and 3.9 rebounds for the Mavs this season, and while Vucevic would have to contend with Wood for big-man stats, the door would be wide open for Vucevic to have a huge role in Dallas. — Alexander
Caris LeVert, SG/SF, Cleveland Cavaliers: LeVert has been the subject of trade rumors lately. On the Cavaliers’ roster, he’s the top trade asset. He’s taken a backseat this season to Donovan Mitchell (31.8%) and Darius Garland (28.7%), who have had high usage rates. LeVert is averaging 16.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per 40 minutes this season and, with an expiring contract, the 28 year old and could thrive on a new team. LeVert is only rostered in 46.8% of ESPN leagues. — Moody
Kyle Kuzma, SF/PF, Washington Wizards: I wrote about this recently, but in terms of credible rumors, Kuzma is in line to take the biggest divot in value if/when Washington moves him. With Bradley Beal dealing with hamstring issues, Kuzma’s usage rate continues to spike…even cracking the 30.0 usage barrier over the past week. On top of the usage-driven volume-number bump, Kuzma’s playing a decent amount of point forward this campaign, which is pushing his assists per game to a career-high 3.8 per game. There isn’t a contender out there who could give Kuzma the level of usage and role he’s maximizing in DC. — Cregan