The Philadelphia 76ers have been shopping three-time returning NBA All-Star Ben Simmons for the entire season, so nobody would be surprised if he is traded before the Feb. 10 deadline. We have also discussed potential deals involving the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal ad infinitum, despite both players pledging loyalty to middling franchises in serious need of a roster shakeup.
The list of potentially available franchise players beyond them is practically non-existent, but they are far from the only players who could shift the league’s balance of power if they were moved by the deadline. We are here to discuss that group of outside-the-box and under-the-radar possibilities in the weeks to come.
Rumors have been swirling around the Pacers since last month’s report that essentially everyone on the roster was available. A Sabonis trade would not shock anyone. The two-time All-Star’s team-friendly deal, which runs for two more seasons after this one, makes him more valuable to Indiana than teammates Myles Turner and Caris LeVert, but Sabonis’ skill and contract also make him more attractive to trade suitors.
Pacers executive Kevin Pritchard conceded publicly that Sabonis does not qualify as a “real star” in the traditional sense, but he is one of the league’s most underrated centers, averaging an efficient 19-12-5. If opposing general managers are holding back from offering much of significance for Turner, Sabonis might be able to fetch the young player or draft pick who Pritchard believes can transform into a No. 1 option.
New York’s salary cap is filled with one suboptimal contract after another. The Knicks followed their first playoff appearance in eight years with a disastrous offseason. Just about everyone on the roster is signed through next season, and they cannot possibly roll over an 11th-place team. They should be exploring any and all offers, including anything of value for Julius Randle — especially for Randle, whose four-year, $117 million extension has not even begun. Dump salaries. Offer every young player they have for a star. Try it all.