NBA Trade Deadline: 5 Teams Desperate for Roster Improvements

Written by: Mark Medina. Be sure to follow Mark on X (@MarkG_Medina).

Chicago Bulls NBA player smiling and looking at the camera.

Navigating through the NBA trade deadline has mirrored the dating experience on social apps.

Just like the dating experience on social apps, navigating through the NBA trade deadline has its ups and downs. While swiping right may be easy, finding the perfect match has proven to be more difficult. Nevertheless, NBA teams are determined to enhance their rosters before the Feb. 8 deadline.

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Below are the five teams that need to make a move:

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls seem to be going nowhere but to the basement of the NBA Play-In tournament, much like they did last season. Though they insist they can turn things around with improved execution and health, they regrettably just appear to be standing still.

The Bulls should thus pursue the painful but necessary process of rebuilding their roster.  The only challenge? Zach LaVine, who has requested to be dealt to a title contender, has struggled with a right ankle injury with no definitive return date.

With DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso, the Bulls intended to trade LaVine for a variety of assets to secure a strong playoff run. However, that now seems unrealistic. Rather, even if they don’t trade DeRozan and/or Caruso, the Bulls would be better off reluctantly dealing them for lesser value.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Even with a mostly healthy and dominant LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers have enough clarity that the continuity route has not gone according to plan. Blame that on injuries, player inconsistency, and Darvin Ham’s rotations all you want. Regardless, the Lakers have shown they are merely an average team that can collect marquee wins against elite teams, experience embarrassing losses to poor ones, and play consistently inconsistent.

The Lakers‘ inability to acquire enough players to improve their outside shooting, perimeter defense, and scoring punch is the only issue. Differently, even if the Lakers need to make a move, they are most likely better off staying put before making changes this offseason.

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Golden State Warriors

Theoretically speaking, the Golden State Warriors should be competing for another championship. In reality, Stephen Curry’s elite shooting and Jonathan Kuminga’s promising development have barely kept the Warriors in the Play-in picture. Amid injuries to an All-Star guard past his prime (Chris Paul), they also have costly suspensions to a proven defender (Draymond Green), and inconsistent play from their two stars (Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins).

The Warriors must consider all options to upgrade their roster and trim salaries leading up to the trade deadline. Just like the Lakers, though, the Warriors don’t have much of a market for their products. Don’t be surprised if the Warriors decide to stay as is in hopes of improving from within before making difficult roster moves this summer.

Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young can no longer take the Hawks to new heights; they are no longer a dynamic, young team. The Hawks are among the weakest NBA teams, despite recent coaching and roster upgrades centered around Young.

Fortunately, the Hawks have Dejounte Murray, a highly sought-after two-way player, who is capable of attracting a lot of attention and interest. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of assets other teams have to offer. Dealing Murray back to San Antonio in exchange for further draft picks and young players may be the best move.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets already made a significant move by trading their young and athletic guard (Terry Rozier) to the Miami Heat for a proven veteran (Kyle Lowry and a 2027 protected first-round pick. Look for Charlotte to continue the roster overhaul.

Amid pressure from new ownership, the Hornets want to build around their intriguing rookie wing (Brandon Miller) and their young, dynamic point guard (LaMelo Ball). The Hornets will try to deal Lowry before the trade deadline, or at least negotiate a buyout. Charlotte also needs to part ways with Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges, two veterans who could be more valuable on a winning team.

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