NBA Trade Rumors: Predicting Big Names Who Will Be Traded Before Deadline

Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks

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With the abundance of NBA trade rumors clogging the headlines, it seems like the right time to predict which big names could actually be dealt before the Feb. 23 deadline.

It’s that time of year–the time when we see a flood of NBA trade rumors turn the league upside down. Not only is it a stressful time for the players mentioned as trade candidates, but it’s also a time where a lot of nonsense is disguised as fact.

That’s why I’m here today. I want to help you determine which players could actually be traded in the next couple of weeks, and which ones simply aren’t going anywhere. It’s no easy task, but it seems necessary considering all of the unfounded junk out there.

Realistically, though, we can only expect so much movement between now and Feb. 23. Every year, the trade deadline brings plenty of speculation and little action.

It’s become the norm, and yet we continue to wait around eagerly like the NBA is going to look drastically different after the big day.

So which players could actually be on the move this year?

Let’s attempt to answer that question with my predictions for five big-name NBA players who could actually be traded before the deadline. I could be wrong on all of them, but what I’ve heard and read makes me believe all five stand a good chance of being dealt.

Jahlil Okafor Philadelphia 76ers

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Jahlil Okafor, C, Philadelphia 76ers

It’s been months since the conversation began about which center the Philadelphia 76ers would unload. All three of their big men are former top picks, yet there’s only so much room on an NBA roster for high-end talent at one position.

So who will it be?

Obviously Joel Embiid isn’t going anywhere. It was assumed Nerlens Noel would be the guy to go, but his recent play has given the 76ers reason to keep him around. Some would see that as more reason to send him packing due to increased value, but I don’t think that’s the case.

That means Jahlil Okafor could very well be the guy to go. In fact, he’s currently on the trade block and is receiving significant interest from several teams (via USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt).

On top of that, Philadelphia has apparently discussed a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans for Okafor (via USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick).

It appears the gears are turning for an Okafor trade to come to fruition. If I had to guess, I’d predict he’ll have a new home before the trade deadline has passed.

P.J. Tucker Phoenix Suns

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P.J. Tucker, SF, Phoenix Suns

In the last month, P.J. Tucker has been one of the more popular names discussed in trade rumors. With that being the case, he seems like a solid prediction as a guy who will actually be shipped off before this year’s deadline.

I mean, the Suns have already received interest in their outstanding small forward.

The Minnesota Timberwolves recently offered Shabazz Muhammad for Tucker (via BasketballInsiders.com). Arizona Sports 98.7 also named several teams, including the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers, as potential trade partners for Tucker.

Tucker is in the final year of his current contract, which has essentially necessitated a move by Phoenix. Seeing as he’s in the midst of a career year, the Suns want to cash in instead of letting him simply walk via free agency.

It also helps that he’s quietly asserted himself as one of the NBA’s top defenders. He’s proven capable of locking down any opponent this season, making him a viable target for almost every contender.

Considering his contract situation, modest $5.3 million salary and defensive value, Tucker seems nearly guaranteed to be on the move in the next couple of weeks. Someone will get desperate and make a big offer for Tucker, at which point the Suns will pull the trigger and bid him farewell.

Wilson Chandler Denver Nuggets

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Wilson Chandler, SF, Denver Nuggets

One of the team’s considered to be most active ahead of the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline is the Denver Nuggets. They’re expected to battle for the eighth seed in the West, and may need one final boost to get the job done.

Unfortunately, getting said boost may include losing the talents of Wilson Chandler.

According to Amick, Chandler is unsatisfied with his current role and wants to be traded. With the Nuggets searching far and wide for opportunities to improve, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them grant him his wish before February 23.

It’s a bit surprising considering Chandler is having arguably his best season as an NBA player. And yet, he’s currently bouncing back and worth between starter and playmaker off the bench.

That inconsistency has been the issue for Chandler, who wants a more defined role and stable minutes moving forward.

FOX Sports’ Sam Amico already announced the Oklahoma City Thunder are interested in Chandler’s services. I’m guessing more potential suitors will emerge as we get closer to the deadline.

One way or another, I’m predicting we’ll see Chandler wearing a different jersey in the near future.

Just as a side note, Denver’s Jusuf Nurkic is also very likely to be shipped out before the deadline.

Jimmy Butler Chicago Bulls

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Jimmy Butler, SG, Chicago Bulls

Things are quickly falling apart in Chicago. The team can’t get out of its own way at this point, with some of the top players failing to hide their discontent. Right now, it appears things are only going to get worse before they get better.

So why not start the process early? Yes, I’m talking about making a drastic move before the 2017 trade deadline.

For months now, rumors have indicated the Bulls are considering moving on from Jimmy Butler. The young superstar is still in his prime, yet seems to be a burden in this franchise’s eyes. However, trading him would theoretically net the team significant returns.

Rumors indicated before the 2016 NBA Draft that Butler could be sent to the Boston Celtics for a top pick. Now moving towards the Feb. 23 deadline, Hoops Hype believes the two parties could revive discussions about a potential trade.

It’s not as far-fetched as you may think, especially considering the differing directions of the two clubs.

Not long ago, Butler was seen as the savior of this Bulls team. The addition of Dwyane Wade this offseason only further that belief. However, with the way things are quickly spiraling out of control in the Windy City, it seems as possible as ever that Butler could be on his way out.

Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks

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Carmelo Anthony, SF, New York Knicks

Since this situation got real, I’ve bounced back and forth on whether or not I believe Carmelo Anthony is getting traded. At this very moment, though, my gut is telling me that he’ll be on his third NBA team very soon.

By all accounts, Phil Jackson and the Knicks are desperate to unload their scoring machine. Unfortunately, there are several things standing in the way of a potential deal. First is Anthony’s no-trade clause, which he has to waive in order a trade to happen.

They also have to find a team with the financial situation to take on Carmelo’s gaudy contract.

If they can find the right trade partner, though, I have to believe the Knicks will begin the rebuild. It’s essentially gotten to the point where a deal is all but imminent if a suitable scenario presents itself.

Whether it involves the Cavaliers working something out or a three-team deal including the Los Angeles Clippers coming to fruition, the Knicks will be searching high and low for opportunities.

We all know how persistent Jackson can be, which makes me believe he’ll find something if he truly is “desperate.”

It’s seem crazy, but that’s the NBA. After spurning other teams to stay in the Big Apple only three offseasons ago, Anthony could soon be calling a new city home.

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