Change occurs quickly in the NBA, and this has been even truer over the past decade. Players are often unhappy with their role, unhappy with their front office or coaching staff, or just feel like they need a change of environment.
Front office executives are also often the initiators of transactions, constantly scanning the league for ways to improve their rosters or maximize the value of a given asset. For example, if a team likely to miss the NBA Playoffs has a player who could notably contribute to another roster on an expiring deal, they seek to return them.
Assuming that a conversation has already taken place with said player about his impending free agency, there’s a good chance he prefers to walk, and trading it would be the best use of assets.
Then, compared to someone leaving with no return, the organization might consider an extra draft pick or another NBA player with extra time on their contract.
Winning at the margin is essential in the NBA, especially for small markets.
Here are five players who may be involved in business conversations during the 2021-22 NBA season. I chose not to include Ben Simmons on this list because his movement was endlessly covered.
Potential trades during the 2021-22 NBA season
# 5 Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield hasn’t shied away from stating that he feels he deserves to be an NBA starter. This was first brought up when he was replaced by Bogdan Bogdanovic in 2019-2020, but is relevant again with the emergence of Tyrese Haliburton in Sacramento.
The Kings current backcourt consists of De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Davion Mitchell, Terence Davis II and Buddy Hield. Unless the team intends to deploy some of these smaller players with a smaller attacker (which they have already done), some changes will need to be made.
With Hield’s apparent annoyance to come off the bench, his name constantly thrown into business rumors and him being almost a Los Angeles Lakers player, Buddy Hield seems like the odd man.
Before Russell Westbrook asked for a trade in Washington, an agreement was in place to send Buddy Hield to the Lakers in exchange for Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell. If that doesn’t make it obvious he’s shopping in the NBA, I don’t know what does.
We’ve been hearing this for over a year now, but don’t expect Buddy Hield to stay in Sacramento for the entire season.
# 4 Kyle Anderson
Kyle “SloMo” Anderson had an exceptional year for the Memphis Grizzlies last season. He started in the 69 games he was available for averaging 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals and converted 46.8 field attempts and 36.0 % on three.
Anderson’s three-point volume also jumped significantly to 3.8 attempts per night from 1.3 on average in 2019-2020. His name has been mentioned here and there near the last deadline, and with his contract expiring after this NBA season, the incentive to trade him is expected to increase.
The Grizzlies, who are clearly committed to the youth and the future, may not have plans to re-sign the 6’9 “wing to its new market value. The offensive improvements mentioned by Anderson all by being a leading wing plug could lead to nearly $ 20 million per year.
Even though the Grizzlies are slim on the wing, letting Kyle Anderson walk through the no-comeback offseason would be a bad deal.