The NBA trade deadline (Thursday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. ET) is now less than three days away, so let’s check in on some of the latest NBA trade rumors floating around from various insiders around the association.
A Bucks-Mavs trade for Bobby Portis and Grant Williams?
In what was almost certainly the most unexpected rumor of the day, veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein reported in his latest Substack column that the Mavericks and Bucks had “exploratory discussions on a trade that would swap Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis Jr. and Dallas newcomer Grant Williams” but added that “it is not yet known if the talks will progress to something more serious.”
Shortly afterwards, however, he updated his story to include what the impasse in talks was:
One source briefed on the process, confirming discussions between the teams after this story posted, indicated that Milwaukee is unwilling to swap Portis for Williams straight up, meaning that a simple one-for-one trade construction would likely have to be expanded to include other players to advance these talks.
So that doesn’t sound imminent, and that might be in part because — from the sound of Yahoo’s the “Good Word with Goodwill” podcast earlier in the day — Williams isn’t the only potential target for Milwauakee.
On that show, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported that the Bucks are actively looking all over the league for defensive upgrades:
“If there is a perimeter, defensive-minded player that makes between $8 to $12 million that is considered to be available for the taking, I can guarantee Milwaukee is throwing it up on the whiteboard and they’ve been evaluating what that price point would be compared to other options. They are being described to me as ‘aggressively shopping’ to find that last piece who can be a real, proven perimeter defender for them.”
The only two players Milwaukee has in that price range for salary matching purposes are Portis ($11.7 million) and Pat Connaughton ($9.4 million), so consider them your likely outgoing players. Grant Williams is making just over $12.4 million, which would make a one-for-one trade of him for Portis legal, it just sounds like that won’t be a deal that will necessarily get these talks across the finish line without more pieces.
Part of that might be because, when informed of the report about this trade in our slack, Brew Hoop site manager Van Fayaz simply replied “God help me.” Just to give you a sense of how some in Milwaukee would feel about this type of move.
Bulls want ‘an OG Anunoby-type package’ if they’re going to move Alex Caruso
As the Bulls continue to chase NBA play-in-game revenue, it still sounds like they have little interest in moving Alex Caruso. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on the latest episode of his eponymous “The Woj Pod” what they’d be looking for if they were to make him available:
“If they’re going to trade Caruso, they want a lot for him. ‘Like an OG Anunoby-type deal’ is what’s been described to me. And I think he fits anywhere, and there are no shortage of teams that would love to get Alex Caruso. That guy impacts winning. But the Bulls know that, and the Bulls aren’t trying to be really bad, and they’re in the play-in.”
That’s right, the Bulls don’t want to be really bad. They want to be regular bad. And at 23-27 and in ninth place in the conference, mission accomplished. Still, Caruso can help them chase that sweet, sweet “one-play-in game at United Center” revenue, so all signs point to him probably not moving.
(Also, as an aside, our resident Bulls fan and associate director programming, Ricky O’Donnell, adds that an OG Anunoby-type package is just “a bad contract and a good young player someone doesn’t want to pay.” Which, yeah, that’s pretty much what Anunoby went for, so maybe Caruso is actually kind of gettable)
Either way, there are going to be at least some win-now veterans available, because…
Bruce Brown, Kelly Olynyk are likeliest movers
In the same podcast cited above, Fischer cited the Lakers and Knicks as two teams continuing to be engaged with the Raptors on a re-trade of Bruce Brown, who they acquired in the Pascal Siakam deal. But regardless of which of those teams (or another) Brown goes to, while Woj added on “The Woj Pod” that he thinks Brown will be dealt again by the deadline:
“Bruce Brown in Toronto, there’s a very good chance he moves.”
Meanwhile, on the newest edition ESPN’s The Lowe Post” podcast, insider Zach Lowe said the Jazz are showing an “increased willingness” to deal trade machine mainstay Kelly Olynyk:
“There was some buzz over the weekend, and this is just buzz I’ve heard… (that Utah) has signaled an increased willingness to move Kelly Olynyk at the right price. I’ve had one GM of another team say ‘at this point I’d be surprised if they don’t move Kelly Olynyk.” And this is a team that would like to get in on Kelly Olynyk.”
Given all the deals that have gone down so far and how much of a holding pattern much of the league appears to be in, those could be the two best remaining players realistically available. Brown is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and could instantly add some juice to a contender on that side of the ball (although his $22 million salary could make him harder to move) while Olynyk is the type of floor-spacing big man every contender covets.
Still, they won’t be the only players contenders are chasing, because every good team wants another two-way wing, and the Nets are the rare potential seller who appears to have a few too many.
A lot of Nets are on the block
While basically every report from every media outlet has painted the Nets as unwilling to part with versatile forward Mikal Bridges, it certainly sounds like most of the rest of their team could be had for the right price.
As part of his massive intel roundup from Monday, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported that while “Brooklyn is not looking to rebuild,” two of their other wings could still be had for the right package:
The wings that could potentially be moved by Brooklyn are Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale. At the trade deadline last season, Finney-Smith could’ve fetched two first-round picks, league sources told HoopsHype. O’Neale could’ve garnered a first-round pick at last year’s trade deadline as well, sources said.
Heading into Thursday’s deadline, rival executives continue to believe a first-round pick and a rotation player is suitable for Finney-Smith – who’s owed $14.9 million next season with a $15.37 million player option for the 2025-26 season – and multiple second-round picks can be had for O’Neale, who’s entering unrestricted free agency this summer.
Similar was reported over the weekend by my colleague Bob Windrem over at NetsDaily, who wrote “that the most likely return for (Finney-Smith) is a couple of second-rounders or a heavily protected first-rounder plus a player.”
But what could drive up that price is a bidding war, something that Scotto’s report implies could happen if a few contenders miss out on their top targets or otherwise get desperate:
Finney-Smith has drawn significant interest on the trade market, including several playoff-caliber teams such as the Lakers and Mavericks. With Jarred Vanderbilt potentially out for the season, per ESPN, Finney-Smith is a versatile defensive forward who can make up for his loss while spacing the floor. The Mavericks have long held interest in a reunion with Finney-Smith who is a close friend of franchise star Luka Doncic.
Other teams to circle the wagon on Finney-Smith include the Bucks, Thunder, Suns and Kings, while O’Neale has drawn interest from the Mavericks, Nuggets, Pacers, Bucks, Timberwolves, Suns and Kings, per the New York Post.
Will any of those teams get either player — or anyone else — before the deadline? In less than three days we’ll find out.