With two weeks until the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 8, plenty of teams -- including the Cavaliers -- appear ready to make a move at the deadline to bolster their roster. So let's look at who we expect to be buyers and sellers, and which teams appear to be standing pat.
The Cavaliers have lost 11 of their past 15 games, including allowing 148 points to the Thunder over the weekend in a loss at home, which was followed by a team meeting where everyone reportedly pointed fingers at Kevin Love for leaving Sunday's game with an illness. The Cavs rank second-to-last in defensive efficiency and have an aging roster that does not look equipped to make another run to the Finals. George Hill and DeAndre Jordan are two names that have come up in rumors recently. Hill would make sense, given Isaiah Thomas' struggles since returning from a hip injury, and the fact the other two point guard options on the roster are Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon. The key question will be whether general manager Koby Altman makes the first-round pick he received from Brooklyn in the Kyrie Irving trade available. There's a lot for Altman to consider, including these two facts: LeBron James is a free agent at the end of the season and has not committed to returning, and there's no move out there that can put the Cavaliers over the top should they meet the Warriors again in a Finals rematch.
The Bucks are in win-now mode now that Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the league. Jason Kidd's firing on Monday further cemented that fact. Jabari Parker has missed the entire season thus far recovering from an ACL injury but is set to return soon. Parker is a restricted free agent this summer, and Milwaukee might have to make a decision at the trade deadline on whether to make him available. The Bucks are another team that's been linked to DeAndre Jordan, although any trade would probably require them to include names like Malcolm Brogdon or Thon Maker. The price for upgrading at the deadline might be too steep for the Bucks, but they'll be looking.
The Celtics snapped their four-game losing streak with a win over the Clippers on Wednesday, but the schedule toughens in the second half and holding on to the top spot in the East isn't a guarantee. Danny Ainge already made his splash this summer, but Gordon Hayward's injury gave the Celtics a $8.4 million disabled player exception, which is the best available option for Ainge to add another player to the mix at the deadline. Players like Tyreke Evans, who has been a sneaky Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Memphis, and Ersan Ilyasova would help bolster the depth of a Celtics team that has sights on making the Finals this season.
At 24-23, the Nuggets are in position to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Their core group is young. Jamal Murray (20 years old), Nikola Jokic (22) and Gary Harris (23) are probably the only untouchable players on the roster. After that, Denver could offer any combination of players from the group of Trey Lyles, Will Barton, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler to see if they can upgrade the roster. Toss in Paul Millsap's imminent return from left wrist surgery (expected to be after the All-Star break), and the Nuggets are definitely a team to watch at the trade deadline.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony seems to have figured it out, but the Thunder still need more to make a realistic run in the West. Sam Presti will have to get creative to make something happen at the trade deadline, but you know he will be considering every option. Two names that could help them: Marco Belinelli and Lou Williams. The Thunder desperately need to add something to their second unit, otherwise it looks like another early playoff exit for Westbrook and company.
New York Knicks
The Wizards need to do something to shake up the group, which means Otto Porter or Kelly Oubre Jr. might be available at the deadline. … The Nets are always in the market for buy-low candidates, as they've done with D'Angelo Russell and Jahlil Okafor. … The Heat are prepping for a second-half run, but given the depth on the roster, it would make sense for them to explore trade possibilities to see if they can find some more shooting to replace Dion Waiters, who is out for the season. … The Knicks are in the market for an athletic wing, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as a potential target.
Los Angeles Clippers
Despite injuries and a poor start, the Clippers are back in the playoff race but have the biggest trade chip on the market in DeAndre Jordan, who will hit free agency this summer. It probably doesn't make sense in the long term for the Clippers to commit max dollars to Blake Griffin and Jordan. It also doesn't make sense in the short term to hold on to Jordan for the chance of playing one round in the playoffs, so expect the 29-year-old to be on the move. The Cavs and Bucks would be interested suitors. If the Clippers are selling, they should also see what they can fetch for Lou Williams on the market. Williams has gone from spark plug off the bench to a legitimate All-Star snub this year.
The Hornets have made Kemba Walker available, but Michael Jordan has set his asking price pretty high, which makes sense since Walker is the team's best player and he's on a contract that pays him only $12 million per year through the 2018-19 season. A spotty track record in the draft and free agency has pushed the Hornets to this point, where starting over means making their best player available. The bidding war for Walker should heat up as we near the trade deadline.
The Bulls have reportedly engaged in trade talks with several teams about Nikola Mirotic, who is as likely as anyone to be moving at the trade deadline. If the Bulls can extract a first-round pick for him, it will be considered a win. Otherwise, Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday are probably available too, as veteran players who can add depth to a contender.
The Kings are struggling again, so look for them to be sellers at the trade deadline, with George Hill the likeliest to move. It has been reported the Cavaliers have offered some combination of Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, but for Sacramento to move Hill, it will likely ask for a first-round pick and not the Cavaliers' own pick. The coveted draft pick is the one from Brooklyn, which the Cavs own through the Kyrie Irving deal.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are preparing to make a push in free agency this summer to land a superstar (LeBron James? Paul George? DeMarcus Cousins? All three?), so Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle might not be in the team's long-term plans. It would not be a surprise to see either of them moved at the trade deadline.
Portland Trail Blazers
Stan Van Gundy is open to shaking up the roster in Detroit, which means Reggie Jackson and Stanley Johnson are available for the right price. … The Magic's rebuild is going nowhere, which means names like Elfrid Payton, Mario Hezonja and Evan Fournier could be on the move at the deadline. … The Hawks will likely move Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova if they can get draft picks in return. … The Blazers need to move some contracts, namely Evan Turner's. … The Suns are rebuilding, so veterans Jared Dudley and Tyson Chandler might be on the move. … With the emergence of Donovan Mitchell in Utah, Rodney Hood and Alec Burks have become expendable. … Everyone not named Mike Conley and Marc Gasol is available in Memphis. … The Mavericks might move Nerlens Noel at the deadline, provided anyone is interested.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have won seven out of 10 and are just two back in the loss column of the fourth-place Timberwolves. DeMarcus Cousins became the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972 to put up 40-20-10 in a game, going for 44 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists in a double-overtime win over the Bulls on Monday. With the Pelicans in the playoff race and moving up in the West, any chance of Cousins -- who is a free agent at the end of the season -- moving at the deadline is now gone.
The Sixers are two superstars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and will see whether that's enough to get them into the playoffs in the East. They've won eight out of 10 and are best suited to just play the season out and wait until the offseason, when a bunch of contracts, including Amir Johnson ($11 million), Trevor Booker ($9.1 million) and J.J. Redick ($23 million) come off the books, which will allow Bryan Colangelo to figure out the next steps in surrounding Simmons and Embiid with the right pieces.
The Raptors were aggressive at the deadline last season, acquiring Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker for their playoff run. Toronto is once again a top team in the East this season, but with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan signed long-term, paired with one of the best bench units in the league built through the draft, the Raptors can stand pat and see whether this group can take them deep into the playoffs, and then figure out whether changes need to be made this offseason.
The Rockets have the second-best offense in the league and a top-10 defense, and they just beat the Warriors recently for the second time this season. Houston is a championship contender, and at the moment, a worthy challenger to Golden State to at least make the Warriors have to work for it over a seven-game series. Top to bottom, Daryl Morey has built a roster that -- depending on health, consistent shooting and maybe a little bit of luck -- appears ready to challenge Golden State like no other team has in the Western Conference over the past few seasons.
San Antonio Spurs
These are the Spurs, which means making a splash at the trade deadline would appear to go against everything they believe in. With Kawhi Leonard out and having appeared in just nine games this season, the Spurs are best served to just go with what they have, see whether Leonard returns to full health in the second half and figure out whether they can close the gap between themselves and the top teams in the West once their superstar returns.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are the Warriors. … Tom Thibodeau has done a tremendous job in Minnesota, and the roster appears set, although like any Thibodeau team, the heavy minutes for the starters will be a concern in the second half.… The Pacers already made -- in retrospect -- a great trade this offseason, acquiring Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for Paul George. They can stand pat and see how this young group performs, should they get into the playoffs.