Eastern Conference players in play
David Thorpe examines every NBA roster—who’s really available?
BY DAVID THORPE
Between now and 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, February 9, the NBA is a nervous frenzy. The mere possibility of player movement gets fans excited at the idea of new faces and renewed hopes.
Which players are in play? It’s complicated. Some billionaires want to make a big splash, others want to save money. Midseason, some front offices want to pivot to the lottery. And then there’s the most interesting trade category, that tends to drive the trade deadline: teams with a chance to win it all might pay handsomely to secure one extra defender, scorer, or veteran to put them over the top.
That’s why, after watching almost every NBA game this season, I have gone through every roster and identified players who could be on the move—and sorted them into categories as offensive players, defensive players, two-way players, veterans, and youth projects. Of course, I don’t expect all of these players to be moved, few will be, but it’s a lot of fun to see who’s really out there and then contemplate what could be.
John Collins (Two-way impact/Veteran player)
Though there’s also been a lot of talk about a potential Bogdan Bogdanovic trade, the only needle-mover would be Collins. With a player option in his final year, Bogdanovic is probably someone the Hawks would like to move, but it’s hard to think they’re going to get win-now help for him.
He’s been disappointing on offense, but Collins can be a real force on the defensive end. If the Hawks decide someone else would fit better with the Trae Young-Dejounte Murray backcourt, a team with a more structured system might believe Collins could thrive there. More than anything he’s a veteran with playoff experience—and that has value.