The bulk of free-agency money has been spent, but the transaction game never stops.
A secondary market is now developing for players available via buyout and trade. With next summer’s free-agent class less deep, front offices expect trades to take center stage over the next 12 months.
In the meantime, here is a list of players who could still be on the move in the near-term, according to league executives.
Jeff Teague, Timberwolves: Teague is going into the final year of a contract worth $19 million in 2019-20, and the Wolves were involved in trade talks to move him in the event they would be able to land D’Angelo Russell over the past couple of weeks. Teague had ankle surgery in April, Russell is going to Golden State and the Wolves lost Derrick Rose in free agency, so they’d need another point guard option to make a deal.
Andre Iguodala, Grizzlies: For now, the Grizzlies don’t intend to give him a buyout and will try to re-trade him. This is a reasonable strategy but it may be unlikely for another team to take Iguodala at this salary and also give up an asset to get him. When the posturing is finished, there will be haggling over how much Iguodala may have to give up in guaranteed money to get out. He’s going to be available and numerous teams will be after him. The Lakers, where his old agent Rob Pelinka is the GM, are a strong option.
Kevin Love, Cavaliers: Love is about to start a four-year, $120 million contract extension that he signed last year. The team is eager to see how he’ll fit into new coach John Beilein’s system. Love played just 22 games last season because of foot surgery. These facts don’t add to a trade scenario. However, Love and the team knew when he signed the deal that there was a good chance he wouldn’t finish it in Cleveland, and a trade may be inevitable at some point. Interest in Love could ramp up if he plays well for Team USA in the World Cup this summer in China.
Goran Dragic, Heat: He was almost traded a few different times over the weekend as the Heat looked the facilitate the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade. Like Teague, he’s in the final year of his contract at $19 million. He’s coming off an injury-plagued season where he missed two months after knee surgery and saw his numbers plummet. But Heat would have to have another point guard option worked out as part of a deal.
Marc Gasol, Raptors: This is an asterisk inclusion, only if Kawhi Leonard doesn’t return to the Raptors. Toronto would have to pivot in that case and Gasol could be a tool for a deal, as he’s in the final year of his deal and will make $25.6 million.
Jae Crowder, Grizzlies: The veteran defender, in the final year of a deal paying him $8 million, is ripe to be traded to a playoff team. He struggled shooting the ball last season but he fits the profile of a role player on a good team. The Grizzlies, who will soon officially acquire him in the Mike Conley deal, are in draft-pick-acquisition mode and this is another chance.
Robert Covington, Timberwolves: He is one of the most valued 3-and-D players in the league, but after a knee issue forced him to have surgery in April, the Wolves were offering him around at the draft as they looked to move up. Depending on his return to health, league executives believe he could be on the market again.
Tristan Thompson, Cavaliers: The rebounding and defensive specialist is going into the final year of his contract at $18.5 million. After once playing in 447 consecutive games, Thompson has missed 68 games over the past two seasons. The Cavs are likely to try to deal Thompson or center John Henson, who played only 14 games last season, by the trade deadline.
Kyle Korver, Suns: In the last week, he’s been traded twice and will likely be released and become a free agent. A veteran shooter who is solid in the locker room, he will have options. Korver spent his formative years in L.A. as a Lakers fan and his connection to LeBron James could create a possible reunion.