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NBA trade rumors: From Jakob Poeltl to Bojan Bogdanovic, here are four moves we want to see

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The unofficial start of NBA trade season has arrived.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, more than 70 players who signed contracts during the 2022 offseason will become eligible to be traded. Conversations between teams could really start to heat up now that a new group has flooded the market.

However, it’s also worth noting that the Eastern and Western Conference standings are still tight through one quarter of the 2022-23 campaign. Plenty of general managers may be hesitant to pull the trigger on deals until they have more clarity and get closer to Feb. 9 trade deadline.

With that said, it’s never too early to take a look at the landscape of the league and discuss trade targets for certain front offices. The Sporting News’ staff has covered a few of its favorites below.


Warriors trade for Jakob Poeltl

It’s been a rough start for the defending champs. Beyond Stephen Curry’s brilliance, the Warriors can’t seem to find any consistency and are currently stuck in the middle of the Play-In Tournament race.

Golden State has seen a dramatic drop in its defensive performance, sliding from No. 2 in defensive rating last season (106.6) to No. 20 this season (112.6). Insert Poeltl, who would look a lot better on a team that is in win-now mode.

At 7-1, 245 pounds, Poeltl would give the Warriors an interior presence that they are clearly lacking. He is also a low-usage player on the offensive end and one of the best screeners in the NBA. He was among the league leaders in screen assists last season, and he wasn’t playing with shooters like Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole.

Adding Poeltl would mean losing young players and/or future draft picks, but Golden State may be able to negotiate a reasonable deal with San Antonio because Poeltl could leave the Spurs in free agency for nothing next summer. Sure, Poeltl isn’t a superstar, but he could really move the needle for the Warriors.

— Jordan Greer

Mavericks make a play for John Collins

Luka Doncic is playing the best basketball of his career, and yet, the Mavericks are just a pedestrian one game over .500 (14-13), good for ninth place in the West. Dallas has only won one (!) game all season in which Doncic wasn’t its leading scorer, translating to a simple message: Get this man some help.

In Shams Charania’s latest trade intel piece with The Athletic, the NBA insider mentioned the Mavericks as a potential landing spot for John Collins, a player whose name has popped up in trade rumors for three seasons now.

Collins has seen his role diminish drastically in Atlanta, averaging 12.3 points on just 9.7 field goal attempts per game, both of which are his lowest marks since his rookie season.

Only 25 years old, Collins could be an intriguing piece alongside Doncic as a versatile and mobile inside-out scorer who had shot 37.6 percent from 3-point range prior to this season. We’ve already seen how Doncic has elevated a similar big like Christian Wood this season. There’s no reason to believe Dallas couldn’t be the change of scenery Collins needs to get back on track.

The tricky part would be matching salaries for a trade, as Collins is in the second year of a five-year, $125 million deal he signed with the Hawks in 2021 following their run to the Eastern Conference Finals. That means the Mavericks would have to be willing to part ways with guys like Tim Hardaway Jr., Davis Bertans, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell or Reggie Bullock to get a deal done.

As their roster stands, it seems like the trade would be worth the risk.

— Kyle Irving

Mavericks win the Bojan Bogdanovic sweepstakes

Let’s stick in Dallas for a second.

I like the idea of Collins going to the Mavericks as well, but I’m higher on Bogdanovic’s fit next to Doncic, who, as Kyle mentioned, could do with some help.

Ideally, the Mavericks would pair the 23-year-old Doncic with a younger No. 2, but Bogdanovic ticks a couple of important boxes. In addition to being a knockdown shooter — Bogdanovic has connected on 39.4 percent of his career 3-point attempts on solid volume — he’s skilled enough to get himself a bucket.

The Mavericks don’t have enough of those players right now. It’s a whole lot of Doncic, some Spencer Dinwiddie and a little bit of Christian Wood. When Doncic is off the court, their offense falls off a cliff.

There’s a good chance the Pistons won’t take calls on Bogdanovic this season, but if they do, the Mavericks should make a call. It wouldn’t be difficult for them to match salary either, with the draw for the Pistons being draft capital.

— Scott Rafferty

Bucks add Jae Crowder to complete the puzzle

The Crowder saga in Phoenix has to end at some point, right?

In September, it was revealed that Crowder and the Suns mutually agreed that he would not have to report to training camp as he sought a trade. Nearly three months have passed, Phoenix is struggling and Crowder is still in search of his next destination.

Crowder has been linked to the Bucks for some time now and within Charania’s trade intel piece that Kyle mentioned above, it was indicated that Crowder nearly became a Buck in a three-team trade that also had Atlanta involved. Perhaps the Suns’ injury woes and struggles might give them a sense of urgency to get the deal done.

For Milwaukee, Crowder completes the puzzle to return to title contention. It’s no secret that in 2021, P.J. Tucker played an integral role in the Bucks’ run to an NBA title, but Tucker’s exit weeks later via free agency has left a glaring hole in the toughness department for the last season and a half.

By no means is Crowder the same player, but he does check a few of the same boxes.

Crowder is 32, stands at 6-foot-6, has a strong 235-pound frame and over the last three seasons, has played a key role in two trips to the Finals by playing hard-nosed defense and shooting 36.0 percent from beyond the arc. He’s been staying ready, too.

The move almost makes too much sense for Milwaukee, and I completely expect its front office to figure it out. 

— Gilbert McGregor


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