2023 Trade Deadline: The West’s Potential Impact Candidates

  • So, the trade deadline is obviously a time in which teams are able to make that last big move ahead of what they hope is either a more competitive roster or more lottery balls come May. Every season is different and 2022-23 is no different. Let’s examine three key overall points ahead of this upcoming trade deadline to help us forecast what possible moves are out there:

    1. The Play-In tournament has changed the way that teams approach the trade deadline since there are now 10 teams that have a shot at the postseason compared to eight before. That means that 66% of Western Conference teams have a shot at the postseason
    2. There are currently 13 teams vying for those 10 slots, with just the Spurs and the Rockets surely bound for the lottery as things stand ahead of the deadline. The parity that has existed in the West specifically has likely given all 13 teams increased confidence that they can make a run at the NBA Finals with no clear juggernaut out there as we’ve become accustomed to over the last decade-plus.
    3. The flattening of lottery odds has made it far less beneficial to tank than it used to be, meaning that there will be far less sellers out there on the market than we were accustomed to during the “golden era” of tanking.


    Now, we’ll take a look at the two teams destined to be sellers at the deadline and what that might mean for the fantasy landscape post February 9.


    San Antonio Spurs


    Jakob Poeltl
    C, San Antonio Spurs

    It would feel disingenuous to start this off with anyone other than the most obvious name in trade discussions, and that’s Spurs big man Poeltl. He is in the final year of his contract that is paying him just north of $9M this season. His production (11.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.2 BPG & 2.0 TOS on 62.0% FG & 59.0% FT as of 1/31/23) means that he is actually underpaid compared to what he will command in the market this summer. With the Spurs likely asking for a pretty penny for their starting center, it would make sense that any team who trades for him will be interested in signing him to a long-term extension this summer. I believe that Poeltl’s move will at best result in his production staying on par with what we’ve seen with the Spurs, while it’s more likely that he sees a dip in value rather than an uptick since a move would likely land him on a competitive team that already has a starting big. The only scenarios in which Poeltl would see an uptick in value is if he is traded to one of the few teams in the league who could use an upgrade at starting center. The Thunder, Mavs and Nets come to mind as potential landing spots which could positively impact the Austrian’s value. However, if he was traded to a team like the Clippers who already have Ivica Zubac, his value would stay similar or somewhat regress in that timeshare role.

    Pre-Deadline Recommendation: Sell for top-90/100


    Zach Collins
    C, San Antonio Spurs

    Let’s now talk about the potential beneficiaries of a Poeltl trade who are already on the Spurs roster. Collins is first up and he would be the biggest beneficiary since he’d likely be tasked with the starting center role. There isn’t a ton of upside to be had and injuries still have to be in managers’ minds with a player who has plenty of starts and stops so far throughout his career because of a variety of lower-body injuries. However, the floor is quite secure as long as another team doesn’t value his skill set at a pretty reasonable contract that is set to pay him a non-guaranteed $7M in 2023-24 while he’s getting $7.35 this season. As long as Poeltl is traded and Collins stays with San Antonio, he’d be the biggest beneficiary from a fantasy perspective and would be worth a preemptive add.

    Pre-Deadline Recommendation: Premium Access Required[/wcm_nonmember]

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