NBA Power Rankings: Looking at which teams will be buyers and sellers come the trade deadline

Previous Power Rankings:  PreseasonWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7Week 8, Week 9

  1. Utah Jazz

Pervious Ranking: 1 (Same)

Record: 27-7
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

Utah has looked like the best team in the league and is playing some of the best team basketball right now. It would be a bad idea to start moving some people around as it might mess up some chemistry and ruin what the Jazz have going right now. The Jazz should look to keep their rotation together and make a playoff push with them.

  1. Brooklyn Nets 

Pervious Ranking: 3 (Up 1)

Record: 22-13
Buyers or Sellers: Buyers

The Nets already made their blockbuster deal this season when they traded for James Harden, but they should still look to improve this team. Brooklyn should try to add some big man depth at the deadline to really put the team over the top. They could look to go get a guy like Nerlens Noel or Aron Baynes to help add some depth outside of Deandre Jordan.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers

Pervious Ranking: 4 (Up 1)

Record: 24-11
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

The only potential move the Clippers might make at the deadline this year is potentially moving Lou Williams as it was reported a while ago that they had interest in doing so. Those rumors have died down a bit, and as we get closer to the deadline it seems more and more likely that the Clippers will stand pat. They already have one of the deeper teams in the league, so it would make sense to not make a move.

  1. Los Angeles Lakers

Pervious Ranking: 2 (Down 2)

Record: 23-11
Buyers or Sellers: Buyers

With Anthony Davis out, this Lakers team has looked a lot more vulnerable than we once thought. L.A. won’t need to make a blockbuster trade here, but they should be looking to add some depth to their team. Look for them to try and get some 3-and-D wings like Wayne Ellington or Kyle Anderson to help them as they get ready for another playoff run.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers

Pervious Ranking: 5 (Same)

Record: 22-12
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

The 76ers are another team that probably won’t make any moves at the trade deadline. They already have a solid core in Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris and have a solid bench with guys like Shake Milton and Dwight Howard. They are currently at the top of the East and a potential trade could mess up their chemistry.

  1. Phoenix Suns

Pervious Ranking: 6 (Same)

Record: 21-11
Buyers or Sellers: Buyers

Phoenix should be looking to add to their bench at the deadline this year. The Suns don’t really have a go to guy coming off the bench, with the closest being Jae Crowder. Phoenix could look to add a guy like Harrison Barnes who can come off their bench and provide some much needed bench scoring and solid defense.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks

Pervious Ranking: 8 (Up 1)

Record: 20-13
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

Milwaukee is another team that has already made a blockbuster trade this year. After getting Jrue Holiday, the Bucks don’t have a ton of assets to throw around to try and improve this team at the deadline. Although they could maybe look to improve their bench, Milwaukee is more likely to stand pat and keep their few remaining assets.

  1. Golden State Warriors

Pervious Ranking: 10 (Up 2)

Record: 19-15
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

The Warriors shouldn’t look to make any deals at the deadline this year, as the missing piece of this team is currently on the roster, but is just injured in Klay Thompson. The team should run it with the squad they have now, and gain more chemistry before adding in Klay Thompson back for next season.

  1. Portland Trail Blazers

Pervious Ranking: 7 (Down 2)

Record: 18-14
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

Portland is in a similar situation to the Warriors where a lot of the holes on the team will be solved when guys come back from injuries. Fortunately for them, Portland should be getting both CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic back this season, which should make them serious contenders out West. Because of that, there is no need for them to make a move at the deadline. 

  1. Denver Nuggets

Pervious Ranking: 9 (Down 1)

Record: 18-15
Buyers or Sellers: Buyers

The Nuggets should be buyers at this deadline, and should be looking to either add a wing who can play some defense or a guard who can add some scoring. Although there aren’t a ton of defensive minded wings available, Aaron Gordon and Harrison Barnes could be two options for Denver. As for a scoring guard, the team could look to try and get a guy like Zach LaVine to relieve some pressure off of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. 

  1. San Antonio Spurs

Pervious Ranking: 11 (Same)

Record: 17-12
Buyers or Sellers: Sellers/Neither

The Spurs have over performed their preseason projections, which puts them in an interesting position. They could decide to keep their squad intact and make a run at the playoffs, despite them not really being championship contenders. Or they could flip some of their vets, like DeMar DeRozan, who are playing extremely well right now and get some solid assets for the future. The Spurs have options and could end up being one of the more active teams at the deadline, or end up doing nothing. 

  1. Toronto Raptors

Pervious Ranking: 13 (Up 1)

Record: 17-17
Buyers or Sellers: Buyers

Toronto has got themselves back in the playoff picture after an abysmal start and should look to improve their team at the deadline. The biggest hole on this team is clearly the center position, so a guy like Andre Drummond or maybe even John Collins could be a potential fit for the Raptors. 

  1. Miami Heat

Pervious Ranking: 17 (Up 4)

Record: 16-17
Buyers or Sellers: Neither 

With a very similar team to last year’s team that made a championship run, it seems unlikely that Miami will make a move. The team is on a roll right now and is starting to look like the team from last season. They will probably want to keep the core together and see if they can recreate last year’s run to the Finals.

  1. Dallas Mavericks

Pervious Ranking: 15 (Up 1) 

Record: 16-16
Buyers or Sellers: Buyers

Dallas should be looking to make some moves at the deadline to help improve the supporting cast around Luka Doncic. One potential option for the Mavs is Buddy Hield from the Kings. Hield is a knockdown shooting who is on a reasonable deal and could provide a much needed scoring boost for the Mavs. Getting Hield would make the Mavs a near lock for the playoffs.

  1. Boston Celtics

Pervious Ranking: 12 (Down 3)

Record: 16-17
Buyers or Sellers: Buyers

The Celtics should be buyers at the deadline this year as they have a lot of holes they need to fill as well as a trade exception at their disposal. The C’s could look to improve their bench by trading for a guy like Eric Gordon, who could come off and relieve the pressure off of Tatum and Brown. They could also look to improve their big rotation by trading for a guy like Drummond. Either way the Celtics should be players during the deadline.

  1. New York Knicks

Pervious Ranking: 18 (Up 2)

Record: 17-17
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

The young core in New York, led by Julius Randle, is sitting at .500 as of now and looking to make the playoffs this year. The Knicks should stand pat at the deadline though, and continue to let this young team grow and develop together. They could make a move to secure a playoff spot, but it would only hurt them more down the road.

  1. Indiana Pacers

Pervious Ranking: 14 (Down 3)

Record: 15-17
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

Indiana made their big move earlier this season by flipping Victor Oladipo for Caris LeVert as a part of the blockbuster James Harden deal. It seems that Indiana will stick with their core group of guys and see if they can get players like LeVert and T.J. Warren back from injury before the playoffs start. 

  1. Memphis Grizzlies

Pervious Ranking: 16 (Down 2)

Record: 14-15
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

The Grizzlies are another young team that shouldn’t look to break up their core. Not making a move at the deadline might hurt their chances at making the playoffs this year, but it will ultimately help them in the long run as they can continue to develop their young players. 

  1. Charlotte Hornets

Pervious Ranking: 19 (Same)

Record: 15-17
Buyers or Sellers: Sellers

With rookie guard LaMelo Ball getting better every single week, the Hornets will continue to have a log jam at the guard rotation. Charlotte may look to move one of Devonte’ Graham or Terry Rozier in order to free up more time for Ball. Many teams could be in play for either of the guards as they could be a solid sixth man or even a starter for some teams. 

  1. Chicago Bulls

Pervious Ranking: 22 (Up 2)

Record: 15-17
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

Unless the Bulls decide to trade All Star guard Zach LaVine, which is highly unlikely, the Bulls will probably not make a move. The young squad has started to play really well as of late and have put themselves in the playoff race in a weak Eastern Conference. They won’t want to make a trade that could mess up some chemistry and get them off their hot streak.

  1. New Orleans Pelicans

Pervious Ranking: 21 (Same)

Record: 14-19
Buyers or Sellers: Sellers

The Pelicans have several players on their team who have constantly been mentioned in trade rumors this season. The Pelicans should definitely look to move at least one of Lonzo Ball or Eric Bledsoe as they just haven’t been a good fit next to each other in the backcourt. Getting rid of one of them will help the other be a lot more successful and bring in more assets for the Pelicans.

  1. Atlanta Hawks

Pervious Ranking: 20 (Down 2)

Record: 14-19
Buyers or Sellers: Sellers

The Hawks made a lot of moves in the offseason this year, but not a lot of them have panned out so far. One of them was signing Rajon Rondo who could very easily be on the move as he hasn’t really performed for Atlanta this year. Another guy who could be on the move is big man John Collins. Collins is an upcoming free agent this year who has already declined an extension from the Hawks. If Atlanta knows they aren’t going to bring him back, Collins could be flipped at the deadline for Atlanta to get some assets out of him. 

  1. Washington Wizards

Pervious Ranking: 25 (Up 2)

Record: 13-18
Buyers or Sellers: Buyers

After a horrid start to the season, the Wizards are red hot and have suddenly put themselves back in playoff contention. The Wizards will most likely want to capitalize on this and make a move at the deadline to boost their chances at making the playoffs. Their biggest hole is the center spot, and they could look for a guy like Andre Drummond or Hassan Whiteside to help them out.

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder

Pervious Ranking: 27 (Up 3)

Record: 14-20
Buyers or Sellers: Sellers

OKC is known for flipping their veteran players to contenders for first round picks, and they should do so again at the deadline. Players like George Hill and Al Horford could potentially be on the move as they could go to a playoff team and help put them over the top. Don’t be surprised if the Thunder add even more draft picks at the deadline.

  1. Sacramento Kings

Pervious Ranking: 23 (Down 2)

Record: 13-20
Buyers or Sellers: Sellers

The Kings look to be out of playoff contention again and should look to move some of their veteran pieces to help build around their young core. Harrison Barnes has been a name thrown around a lot and is one of the more likely players to be moved. The Kings could also flip center Hassan Whiteside to a team like the Raptors or Wizards who are in desperate need of a big man.

  1. Orlando Magic 

Pervious Ranking: 26 (Same)

Record: 13-21
Buyers or Sellers: Sellers

Every year it seems like we call the Magic sellers at the deadline, but then they end up doing nothing. This year seems different as they are clearly not a playoff team as constructed. Orlando should finally trade All Star center Nikola Vucevic, as he is wasting his prime on the Magic and could get some valuable assets in return. He would also free up some center minutes for a guy like Mo Bamba, who hasn’t really had a chance to show what he can do after being stuck behind Vucevic in the rotation.

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Pervious Ranking: 28 (Up 1)

Record: 13-21
Buyers or Sellers: Sellers

The Cavs have fallen out of the playoff race as of late and have some vets who they could look to move. It is only a matter of time before center Andre Drummond is traded, as the Cavs intend to stick with Jarret Allen as their new starting center. Cleveland should also consider trading Kevin Love, although there may not be that big of a market for him as he is very injury prone.

  1. Houston Rockets

Pervious Ranking: 24 (Down 4)

Record: 11-20
Buyers or Sellers: Sellers

Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker seem to be the two potential pieces that the Rockets could move at the deadline. Houston clearly is in rebuild mode and both Gordon and Tucker aren’t going to help them in a rebuild. The Rockets should be able to flip them to contenders for assets that will help jumpstart their rebuild.

  1. Detroit Pistons

Pervious Ranking: 29 (Same) 

Record: 9-24
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

Detroit will be looking to move on from Blake Griffin at some point this season, however it seems more likely that he gets bought out rather than traded. His play has declined significantly and there is little to no market for him right now. Outside of him, the Pistons have a young team that they should keep intact and try to develop. 

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Pervious Ranking: 30 (Same)

Record: 7-27
Buyers or Sellers: Neither

Minnesota is at the bottom of the standings and have no real veterans they would move. They would most likely want to keep their young core intact and develop them and get them to build some chemistry with each other. They won’t be very active at the trade deadline this year.

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