The NBA trade deadline is still months away, but there are plenty of teams in need of that one extra piece to either reach the postseason or become a true title contender. Perennial postseason participants like the Trailblazers and Spurs could use a new addition to get back into the playoff picture. Talented but not quite elite teams such as the Heat, Celtics, and Mavericks might look to deepen their already potent rosters and enter “win now” mode. There are too many stars wasting away on teams destined for the lottery, and it’s time for some of these contenders to change that.
5. Marvin Williams
33-year-old Marvin Williams was a staple of the Hornets’ rotation when the team was still fighting for playoff berths with Kemba Walker, but that era has ended. Now, the franchise is developing its younger players and building for the future. That change has resulted in a career-low 20.8 minutes per game for Williams, who is in the midst of his 15th season and his sixth with Charlotte. Despite his limited role, Williams is still shooting an incredibly efficient 49.7 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three. The 6-foot-8 forward can still space the floor for a contender in need of his services.
Good Fits: Celtics, Raptors, Trailblazers
4. Davis Bertans
Davis Bertans has made the quietest leap of any player this season. The former Spur increased his points per game from 8.0 to 15.8 for the Wizards and is shooting threes at a career-high 46.2 percent clip. Not only that, but the 6-foot-10 super sub is contributing on defense with 4.7 rebounds per contest. Bertans showcased his ability to play for a contender while in San Antonio, and now the fourth-year player finally has an opportunity to display what he can do with starters’ minutes in D.C. He’s ready to return to a winning team and contribute in the playoffs.
Good Fits: Trailblazers, Nets
3. D’Angelo Russell
Someone needs to save D’Angelo Russell from the raging dumpster fire that is the 2019-20 Golden State Warriors. With Kevin Durant in Brooklyn and Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the shelf, defenses have been free to focus primarily on Russell due to the Warriors’ lack of a dangerous second option. Draymond Green has provided little offensive relief, and the absences of Curry and Thompson have magnified his flaws. The team currently has five wins and is almost certainly headed for next summer’s lottery. Some have speculated that the Warriors only traded for Russell so they would receive someone of value in return for Durant, so they might as well cash in that value and test the market for him if that was their intention all along.
Good Fits: Magic, Mavericks
2. Jrue Holiday
The Pelicans just announced that they’re open to trading Jrue Holiday, and that should make a lot of teams consider making offers for him. Not only is Holiday known as one of the best defensive guards in the NBA, but he’s currently averaging 19.4 points and 6.6 assists per game despite playing for a team with seven wins on the season. He’s only 29 years old, and he already has some playoff experience thanks to Anthony Davis. Holiday probably won’t make the All-Star team in February, but he will be arguably the best name left off of that list.
Good Fits: Heat, Raptors, Spurs
1. Kevin Love
Kevin Love is far too good a player to be wasting his time with the lowly Cavaliers. Love is a five-time All-Star and an NBA champion, and he’s proven he can act as a quality second or third option for a contender. Whether in the post or on the perimeter, Love is a constant threat to score. In addition, he’s grabbed 11.2 boards per game for his career. His 15.9 points per game are the lowest mark since his sophomore year, but the Cavaliers have no incentives to prioritize Love in an offense full of young players still in the development stage. He’s arguably the best stretch big in the game, and he still has a lot to offer at 31 years old.
Good Fits: Trailblazers, Celtics