The 2023 NBA trade deadline has the potential to be bonkers. The championship picture feels wide open with no obvious favorite at the top of the league, and the standings in both conferences are so bunched together that one good or bad week could make or break a season.
With the 2023 NBA trade deadline coming on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, at 3 p.m. ET, rumors are starting to heat up. The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly looking to make another move after adding forward Rui Hachimura in a deal with the Wizards late last month, while the whole league is seemingly hanging on if the Raptors will trade OG Anunoby. Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz look like they’re ready to be sellers after a hot start to the season.
Here are the latest trade deadline rumors from NBA newsbreakers, with the Lakers, Jazz, Trail Blazers, Grizzlies, and Pelicans all in the mix.
Lakers and Jazz are talking Russell Westbrook trade
The Jazz were never supposed to be competitive this year after trading Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell over the offseason, but a 10-3 start made Utah the best story of the start of the season. The Jazz didn’t just acquire draft picks by trading their superstars — they also got a bunch of quality veteran role players. Lauri Markkanen even turned into a surprise All-Star. While Utah currently sit one-game over .500 at 27-26, it sounds like the Jazz are ready to deal and prioritize their draft position.
The Lakers and Jazz are having “exploratory conversations” that would send Russell Westbrook to Utah and multiple role players to LA, according to Chris Hayes of Bleacher Report. How does Westbrook and two first round draft picks for Mike Conley, Malik Beasley, and Jared Vanderbilt sound?
The Lakers have been dangling Westbrook’s expiring contract with two future first rounders to upgrade the roster. The question for the Lakers is whether they’re better off saving their cap space for the free agency class, and keeping their picks to eventually go star hunting rather than settling for role players. Re-signing Hachimura would cut into the Lakers cap space, and of course LA doesn’t know how many great seasons they will keep getting out of LeBron James, who is now 38 years old.
Conley could give the Lakers a secondary ball handler to replace Westbrook, Beasley is one of the league’s best bench shooters, and Vanderbilt is a monster rebounder who doesn’t shoot but could fortify the defensive interior a bit. Utah could also sub in Kelly Olynyk or Rudy Gay and pull off a similar deal.
Is this type of trade really going to save the Lakers? If not, is it really worth two first round picks? The pressure would really be on LeBron and Anthony Davis right now to go on a run if the Lakers pull the trigger.
The Blazers want to be buyers, targeting Jared Vanderbilt
Portland would be the first team out of the play-in tournament in the West if the season ended today, and the organization is apparently eyeing a deal that would push them into the postseason. The Trail Blazers are in “buying mode,” according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. One name on their list, according to insider Shams Charania, is Utah’s Jared Vanderbilt.
Western Conference playoff contender emerges as strong suitor for Utah’s Jarred Vanderbilt: pic.twitter.com/WMzNyGEVzS— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 2, 2023
Portland is currently in the bottom half of the league in rebounding. Vanderbilt would certainly help in that department.
Windhorst also mentions the Blazers could be interested in OG Anunoby, with high-flying rookie Shaedon Sharpe being one name that could intrigue Toronto. Sharpe, the No. 7 pick in the draft, is a bonkers athlete who is only 19 years old. His flashes this year have been super enticing, but he’s probably still a few years away from making a winning impact on the court.
Grizzlies, Pelicans interested in OG Anunoby trade
Here’s the latest from Haynes on interest in Anunoby from New Orleans and Memphis.
The best and most thorough breakdown of the O.G. Anunoby situation in Toronto and some new teams in pursuit ... @ChrisBHaynes has it all here in the latest episode of #thisleague UNCUT— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) February 2, 2023
FULL POD: https://t.co/IzWOSxJNzp pic.twitter.com/tVJa9REu0X
The Grizzlies and Pelicans are both flush with surplus draft picks. Memphis is seen as a top-2 contender to reach the NBA Finals out West along with the Denver Nuggets, and could be looking to make an all-in push for one more piece. Of course, the Grizzlies have long preferred to build their team through the draft, and giving up a bunch of future picks for Anunoby just doesn’t seem to match Memphis’ MO.
The Pelicans were one of the best teams in the West when Zion Williamson was healthy; now they’re just trying to stay out of the play-in mix. Anunoby would give them another long and strong wing who can shoot around Williamson and Brandon Ingram. The Pelicans certainly have the draft capital to make a big move thanks to owning the Lakers’ picks from the Davis trade.