The most interesting NBA teams at trade deadline: What to know about Lakers, Knicks, Bulls and more rumors

The NBA’s trade deadline is one of the most important dates of the league’s six-month regular season. And while the names and number of players moved varies each year, the motivation behind most deals remains the same.

Of course, there are the buyers — contending teams that have one final shot to make a significant roster upgrade to fortify their rotation. Then there are the sellers — future-focused teams that part ways with talented players who don’t exactly fit their timeline.

Outside of buyers and sellers, there’s often a smaller group of teams that lies somewhere in the middle. They can use the deadline to move toward contention or go the other direction by signaling a rebuild. They’re often the trade deadline wild cards.

This year’s Feb. 8 trade deadline is no different from the others and has the potential to be an intriguing one because of it. With time winding down, here’s a group of the most interesting teams at the deadline.

MORE: Ranking best players available at the trade deadline

Most interesting teams at the 2024 NBA trade deadline

D'Angelo Russell Los Angeles

(NBA Entertainment)

Lakers

Buyers

This isn’t exactly new territory for the Lakers, who could have been classified as buyers for each of the last several trade deadlines. Los Angeles has hovered around .500 all season and is in the market to bolster its roster around the All-Star duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Again, sound familiar?

The Lakers have been linked heavily to Hawks guard Dejounte Murray as well as Raptors do-it-all wing Bruce Brown Jr. DeMar DeRozan has always been a name to monitor but especially now, as the Bulls are reportedly open to fielding calls on the native of Compton, Calif.

As for who could be outgoing, one of D’Angelo Russell, Gabe Vincent and Rui Hachimura would likely be included in any deal. LA can also part ways with a first-round pick from 2029.

MORE: Can Los Angeles strike gold at the trade deadline again?

Knicks

Buyers

The vibes around this New York team are as high as they’ve been in the 21st century and the Knicks have a unique opportunity to make one big swing.

Despite a potential season-ending ankle injury to center Mitchell Robinson and a shoulder injury to All-Star Julius Randle, New York is still hanging toward the top of the East standings thanks in large part to the play of All-Star Jalen Brunson and recent trade acquisition O.G. Anunoby.

Since their first trade has proven to be a resounding success, who’s to say the Knicks won’t make another?

Helping New York’s case is its ability to use Evan Fournier, whose expiring $18.9 million salary can be crucial for money purposes, while promising 3-and-D wing Quentin Grimes, who has fallen out of the rotation, could be enough of a sweetener for a team to trade a valuable player.

DeMar DeRozan Zach Lavine Chicago Bulls

(Getty Images)

Bulls

Sellers

The situation in Chicago is bleak but it isn’t as bleak as it appeared before the season.

With Coby White coming into his own as a starting point guard, the Bulls have at least one solid piece to build their future around. It once seemed inevitable that Zach LaVine would be moved but his season-ending surgery means a deal is highly unlikely.

Meanwhile, DeRozan could be on his way out and the Bulls could listen to hefty offers for Alex Caruso. Andre Drummond is yet another player who will command interest from teams looking to bolster their frontcourt ahead of the postseason.

Thunder

Buyers

There’s ahead of schedule and there’s the Thunder, who are still sitting at the top of the West standings well past the season’s midway point.

The core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams is set. Now, OKC can build in the margins and assess very specific needs in preparation for this group’s first playoff run.

Similar to New York, the Thunder have a valuable trade chip in Davis Bertans, who isn’t in the team’s rotation but is on the books for $17.0 million. A package complete with Bertans, a young prospect who isn’t in the rotation and some of their seemingly endless draft capital could net the Thunder a real game-changer.

MORE: The Thunder are proving that history does repeat itself

Hornets

Sellers

Trading Terry Rozier in exchange for Kyle Lowry and a future first-round pick was a harbinger of a busy deadline in Charlotte.

The Hornets’ core of LaMelo Ball, Brandon Miller and Mark Williams should be viewed as safe, but otherwise, anything could happen. In addition to finding a new landing spot for Lowry, Charlotte could also move on from Miles Bridges, Gordon Hayward, Nick Richards and P.J. Washington.

This is a crucial juncture for the Hornets, who have yet to make the playoffs in any of Ball’s first four seasons. There’s speculation that Ball is being shut down for the season with an ankle injury, but regardless of his status, Charlotte is going to be a team in contention for the No. 1 pick in 2024.

Under new ownership, a productive deadline could be the first step of a real rebuild for a franchise building around one of the game’s most electrifying young stars.

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