NBA trade rumors: 10 players most likely to be traded in 2021-22 season

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Dec. 15 marks the unofficial start of trade season in the NBA.

Why? It's the date most of the players who signed contracts in the offseason become eligible to be traded.

There were a decent amount of players who were already trade eligible, of course, but the pool is now much greater. That means more trade targets and move avenues for teams to create trade packages.

Now a month out from the trade deadline, here are 10 players who could be traded this season, in no particular order.

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1. Ben Simmons, 76ers

It's no secret that the 76ers have been exploring trades for Simmons for several months now. Their asking price? An All-Star caliber player and/or multiple first-round draft picks, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. There doesn't appear to be any shortage of teams interested in Simmons — it might be easier to list which teams haven't expressed interest in Simmons at this point — but we're still waiting to see if anyone will give the 76ers what they're looking for.

It's possible this extends into the offseason and beyond.

2. Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, Pacers

In early December, The Athletic's Shams Charania and Bob Kravitz broke the news that the Pacers are "receptive in trade dialogue with rival teams" centered around three of their core players, including Sabonis and Turner. The kicker is it appears as though the Pacers would only part ways with one of the two big men. A two-time All-Star, Sabonis is the superior scorer, rebounder and passer, but Turner offers a unique blend of 3-point shooting and shot-blocking at the center position.

3. Caris LeVert, Pacers

LeVert is the other player mentioned in Charania and Kravitz's report that the Pacers are open to having discussions about. LeVert's numbers are down a tad this season and he has a long history of injuries, but he's proven to be a talented scorer when healthy. He averaged 19.5 points per game on .433/.343/.759 shooting splits over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons (92 games).

4. Buddy Hield, Kings

Hield has established himself as one of the league's most feared shooters. He's a career 40.2 percent shooting from 3-point range on high volume — nobody has ever made as many 3-pointers as Hield through the first five seasons of their career. No stranger to trade rumors, Hield is on the books for $23.1 million this season. His salary declines in each of the next two seasons, down to $21.2 million in 2022-23 and $19.3 million in 2023-24.

5. Marvin Bagley, Kings

The No. 2 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Bagley has appeared in only 140 games to this point of his career, mostly due to injuries. Much to the chagrin of his agent, he wasn't in Sacramento's rotation to start this season. He's appeared in 22 games since and has shown some promise, but he's averaging a career-low 21.0 minutes per game on the season. 

According to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, the Kings are shopping a package including both Hield and Bagley.

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6. Thaddeus Young, Spurs

Young had one of the best seasons of his career in 2020-21, filling in the gaps off the bench for Chicago as a small-ball center. He hasn't been a part of San Antonio's rotation this season, but The Athletic's Shams Charania reported before the season that the Spurs are expected to "receive strong interest in the veteran forward from competitive teams." He'll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

7. Eric Gordon, Rockets

Gordon started the season coming off the bench but has started in his last 24 appearances, posting averages of 15.0 points and 4.1 assists on 49.0 percent shooting from the field and 42.7 percent from 3-point range. A high-volume 3-point shooter and capable playmaker who can also defend, it wouldn't be a surprise if Gordon also draws interest from contenders ahead of this season's trade deadline.

8. Goran Dragic, Raptors

There were questions coming into the season as to how long Dragic would be with the Raptors. He started in Toronto's first game of the season but was quickly removed from the rotation, and he is no longer with the team for personal reasons. Perhaps Dragic is destined to be bought out by the Raptors, allowing him to finish the season with a team of his choosing, but his $19.4 million salary could help them match contracts in a trade.

9. Terrence Ross, Magic

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Magic "have sought draft capital" in talks for Ross. Ross' scoring is down this season, but he's proven to be an explosive scorer off the bench who can heat up in a hurry. He finished fifth in Sixth Man of the Year voting in 2018-19 when he averaged 15.1 points per game off the bench.

10. Jerami Grant, Pistons

With averages of 22.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, Grant finished second to Julius Randle in Most Improved Player voting last season. He's posting similar numbers so far this season, though he's currently out with a ligament sprain in his thumb. His combination of 3-point shooting and defensive versatility with some playmaking mixed in will make him a popular trade target among contenders in need of a wing.

Per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Pistons are fielding calls for Grant.

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