As we get into the 2023-24 NBA season, trade scuttle remains quiet but that doesn’t mean there aren’t rumors to discuss.
Below, we break down the five NBA players who have appeared most often in trade rumors over the past week, as ranked by appearances on our Trade Rumors page.
OG Anunoby (Toronto)
A name that has come up a lot over the past season-plus in trade scuttle, Toronto Raptors swingman OG Anunoby is still garnering interest around the league.
According to our own Michael Scotto, the Philadelphia 76ers could be a team that becomes a landing spot for Anunoby:
Michael Scotto: Some potential targets to keep an eye on for Philadelphia include Zach LaVine, who can spread the floor and OG Anunoby, who is loved by coach Nick Nurse, which I think is important. He offers two-way versatility on both sides of the ball, and the 76ers will have the necessary cap space to re-sign him this summer.
The reason Anunoby is a name that pops up in trade rumors is that he’s extension-eligible but it’s unclear whether or not Toronto will sign him to said extension or if he’d even be interested in signing one with it, considering he might be able to get more money on the open market.
From our own Yossi Gozlan:
Anunoby is currently extension-eligible but is limited to four years, $116.9 million, which would give him an annual salary of $29.2 million. He could earn more than that on the open market thanks to his theoretical fit on just about any team. The Sixers could sign him outright, but there’s a strong chance that he will need to be acquired via trade since there should be plenty of the teams projected to be over the cap that will pursue him.
Plus, the Raptors have two strong wings as is with Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam. Will they want to commit big money to the third-best of the bunch?
Regardless, Anunoby’s situation north of the border is one to monitor.
For more on the OG Anunoby trade rumors, click here.
Nikola Vucevic (Chicago)
As the Chicago Bulls start the season 2-5, one that saw them host a players-only meeting after… game one, the scuttle will only continue to rise that changes could be on the horizon for the team.
You know things are bad when there’s discourse on whether or not it was even a players-only meeting, but that’s exactly what happened in Chicago already (via Yahoo! Sports):
Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said his players were having a team meeting in the wake of an opening-night loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder — a 20-point beatdown, it should be said. But All-Star guard Zach LaVine says it wasn’t some team meeting, not in the sense of how he defines it. “A team meeting is when guys collectively call themselves in and talk about things,” LaVine told Yahoo Sports recently. “We didn’t have a team meeting, I think it’s a basketball conversation.”
With Nikola Vucevic reportedly not happy with touches early in the season, that has naturally led to talk that he could be the first domino to fall if the Bulls decide to blow up this edition of their team:
The Bulls could be at an inflection point of sorts, as the gamble the front-office regime made in bringing in DeRozan and Vučević hasn’t paid off. DeRozan has been stellar in his time in Chicago, but he and the Bulls couldn’t come to terms on an extension. Vučević was complaining about touches in the season opener and had a visible exchange with Donovan during the game.
Vucevic is currently averaging 15.9 points and 11.7 rebounds on 48.0 percent shooting. He’s under contract for two more seasons after this one and is owed $41.5 million.
For more on the Nikola Vucevic trade rumors, click here.
DeMar DeRozan (Chicago)
Of course, if it isn’t Vucevic to get dealt, Chicago guard DeMar DeRozan is another prime candidate to get traded this season, and considering he’s in a contract year (he’s owed $28.6 million for 2023-24 but will hit unrestricted free agency this summer, barring an unforeseen extension), he’d actually be pretty easy to move if the Bulls do decide to go in that direction.
DeRozan recently discussed the possibility of forcing his way out of Chicago, saying that he’s not the type to demand a trade (via NBC Sports Chicago):
You’ve never been tempted to try to force your way to a preferred situation? DeMar DeRozan: Nah. My whole life, I’ve always been this way: Control what you can control. This may sound cliché, but I’m big on being professional even in the toughest of times. It’s always easy to run away or find an excuse or blame somebody else or whatever. But sticking through something always teaches you a lesson. Some people demand trades or demand certain things and they still don’t get what they want. For me, I just wake up and try to be the best I can be that day and let it translate over.
Our own Gozlan also wrote that Philadelphia could acquire both DeRozan and a teammate of his coming up later on this list if it wanted to based on how much expiring money the Sixers have on their books:
DeRozan’s $28.6 million salary is simple for the Sixers to match on its own with a combination of the expiring contract they got from the Clippers. In fact, they have enough expirings to acquire both DeRozan and LaVine while being able to duck the luxury tax. However, it’s unclear if all the tradeable pieces from the Sixers draft chest will be enough value to acquire both players.
We’ll see how this unfolds but it would almost be malpractice for the Bulls to not at least consider trading one of these players. It’s becoming pretty clear they’re not built to contend for anything and if they continue to need “basketball conversations” after every loss, things will go south soon.
For more on the DeMar DeRozan trade rumors, click here.
Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland)
One of the more interesting trade rumors to pop up this week actually came courtesy of two ex-Utah Jazz teammates: Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles.
That’s because Ingles went on the radio and said he believes Mitchell will one day play for his hometown New York Knicks:
Though Donovan Mitchell didn’t land with the Knicks last offseason, Joe Ingles said he believed the New York native would play for his hometown team at some point in his career. “This is like non-bias, no outside info, I think he’ll play for New York one day, whether that’s sooner or later,” Ingles said. “I think it would be great for New York and I think it would be great for him. Whether or not that actually happens we’ll wait and see.”
Ingles did go on to say he knows Mitchell is happy as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers right now so it’s not like he’s going to demand a trade to New York tomorrow.
Our own Scotto also wrote this week that Mitchell could be a name to watch for the Sixers, though his fit with Tyrese Maxey might be a bit overlapping for any sort of big trade investment from Philadelphia on that front.
For more on the Donovan Mitchell trade rumors, click here.
Zach LaVine (Chicago)
The final member of the current Bulls’ Big 3 to pop up in trade scuttle this week was Zach LaVine.
As we showed above, LaVine was the player to disagree with the assessment that the Bulls had a players-only meeting after the first game. He also disagreed with the local media who asked him about his defensive lapses in a recent loss for Chicago, showing how tenuous and tense the situation appears to be for the Bulls right now:
No one expects LaVine to be a lockdown defender. He’s made tremendous improvements at that end and has long been an underrated man defender. Consistency and off-ball focus have been his bigger issues. LaVine has frequently talked about becoming the best player he can be, a version universally viewed as a well-rounded superstar rather than a splendid scorer. To get there, he must avoid finishes like Friday. Multiple defensive mistakes in a late-game moment can’t happen. showing how tenuous and tense the situation appears to be for the Bulls right now. “I didn’t think they were lapses,” he said. “We’re all out there playing hard. You go for the steal. The ball gets tipped back out. A guy goes in the lane, gets a charge call that didn’t get called. And then it gets kicked back out to another person. I thought we were doing good rotations. “And then Bridges made a good move on the baseline. That’s basketball. I don’t think they’re defensive lapses. It’s basketball.”
LaVine recently discussed how the Bulls want things to get better now before they fall too down a hole and see their season end by the trade deadline:
They’re not imploding or fracturing, but it seems they’re approaching a critical point if things don’t improve. “I don’t think we’re at a crossroads, you never want to put something out there too early,” LaVine told Yahoo Sports. “But you don’t want to put yourself in a hole where you’re fighting back and behind the eight ball. One game isn’t gonna kill your season, but you don’t want that to snowball. Let’s try to nip this in the bud before it gets bad.”
Regardless, according to a local Chicago reporter, LaVine is not at risk of being traded “anytime soon”:
According to a source close to the situation, the Bulls have no intention of trading LaVine anytime soon, and even if that changes — a big if — it’s unlikely that the 76ers fit the profile of what the Bulls would be looking for in return. But this is the space the Bulls and coach Billy Donovan will have to work in this season, courtesy of the front office’s decision to bring the core of the roster back, despite two-plus years of underachieving.
We’ll see if that changes if the team continues on its current 28.6 percent win percentage rate.
For more on the Zach LaVine trade rumors, click here.