NBA Power Rankings: Trade deadline buyers and sellers

The NBA trade deadline is fast approaching and while it’s fun to think that every team could have a shot at the playoffs, that’s obviously not the case.

Therefore, in this week’s edition of the NBA Power Rankings we look whether or not each team should be a deadline buyer, seller or neither.

Rank Team

Neither: Like every team, the Warriors do have expiring contracts that they could look to move at the deadline, but this is exactly the same team that won it all last season, so why fix something that definitely isn’t broken?

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Neither: Tim Duncan out is a very bad thing for the Spurs, but that still doesn’t mean San Antonio will be active at the deadline. Adding another big guy to the mix would be nice in the short term, but it just isn’t in the cards.

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Buyer: The Thunder are good, but are they good enough? Competing with the likes of San Antonio and Golden State will be a tall task for OKC, even with all the talent on their roster. Thus, they could look to add at the deadline and maybe use Dion Waiters, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, as their main trade chip.

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Buyer: Injuries to DeMarre Carroll and James Johnson really throw the Raptors’ wing depth for a loop, and then there’s the issue of the hole at power forward. Toronto has four first-round picks over the next two drafts. You better believe they’re going to make use of these picks to try to shore up one of these issues.

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Neither: The Warriors seem to have the Cavs’ number, but, realistically, what move is there to be made right now that would help Cleveland stop them? It’s smarter for the Cavaliers to just stand pat.

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Buyer: The Clippers have proven they’re capable of playing without Blake Griffin, but if this team truly still has the championship aspirations its roster construction suggests then it needs add at the deadline and Lance Stephenson’s expiring deal just might be the ticket to making that happen.

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Neither: They don’t really have the pieces to add and try to improve their seeding at the moment and, despite Marc Gasol’s name bandied about, it’s still tough to see them suddenly just decide to break up the band.

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Buyer: The Celtics have a ton of draft picks at their disposal and the expiring deal of David Lee. Sitting in sixth in the East, they could look to add to their team and bump up a few spots.

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Neither: The Heat are a veteran team that most opponents wouldn’t like to see in the playoffs, but not true contenders and they likely realize they, so why make a move?

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Seller: As crazy as this seems with the Hawks sitting in fourth place in the East, there has to come a time when a team that’s been as consistently good as Atlanta looks in the mirror and understands that it simply isn’t good enough to win the ultimate prize. Al Horford’s deal is expiring and he will likely command max money when he hits free agency. Now’s a good time to get value for him.

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Neither: They likely would’ve been a deadline buyer, but the injury to Joakim Noah really threw them for a loop. Chicago still has a surplus of above-average big men on their team and could conceivably flip one of them for some extra scoring punch, but it’s probably standing pat.

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Seller: Even though it looks as though the Mavericks will be making the playoffs this season they still need to find a way to get younger and the best way to do that is by dangling some of the veterans they have for either younger players or picks.

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Buyer: Last season the Pistons acquired Reggie Jackson in an effort to make the playoffs and while they ultimately didn’t accomplish their goal, bringing Jackson into the fold really improved them. This season Detroit’s hanging onto the No. 7 spot in the East and should look to make a move again in order to solidify its post-season berth.

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Buyer: The Hornets have a lot of money coming off their books, so adding a little salary at the deadline shouldn’t hurt them. They’re in a dogfight right now for that last Eastern Conference playoff spot, so this also makes sense from a basketball standpoint as well.

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Seller: The Pacers have been a nice story this season, what with Paul George’s return to superstardom and all, but clinging onto the eighth seed doesn’t seem like it’s ultimately worth it for a team that didn’t have the highest expectations to begin with coming into the season.

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Seller: The Rockets have managed to somewhat overcome their dismal start to the season, but it’s only rewarded them with a seventh-seed thus far. At this point, is it really worth it to keep pushing and pushing, only to likely run into the Warriors or Spurs in the first round? They’ve got to look to getting some of those big contracts that haven’t worked out for them off their books.

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Buyer: The Blazers have two tremendous players in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum who are carrying their team but are they enough to hold off the Jazz? If Portland is serious about the making the playoffs they’ll need more than just those two.

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Neither: Competing with Portland for that No. 8 seed in the West, the Jazz have the talent on hand right now to make the post-season.

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Buyer: The Kings haven’t been to the playoffs in a decade and are just on the outside looking in of the eighth spot. For the sake of their fans, they’ve got to go for it.

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Neither: The Wizards are recovering from their awful start to the season and are primed to get back into a playoff spot. They can accomplish this without making a move at the deadline.

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Buyer: The Knicks’ pick this season is likely headed to Toronto and they’re close enough to a playoff spot that they may as well try to add and go for it, if only for the sake of messing with the Raptors.

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Seller: Anthony Davis is obviosuly untouchable. Everyone else, though? They better all be fair game.

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Seller: The Nuggets need to find a way to actually kickstart their re-build and the best way to do that would be to try to get out of the big Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari contracts.

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Neither: The season certainly hasn’t gone the way the Bucks thought it was going to go but that isn’t a reason to panic. There’s no need for Milwaukee to buy, nor sell at the deadline. Just ride the season out.

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Neither: The Magic teased us with their early-season success but have since normalized and as such they shouldn’t be making any moves at the deadline. Everyone knows this team’s going to be dangerous soon, just not this season soon.

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Seller: Kevin Martin is the kind of veteran scorer a team like the Bulls or Grizzlies would value. His defence is what it is, but he can still go out and get you over 25 on nights and the Timberwolves should look to leverage this fact into even more young talent.

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Seller: Markieff Morris is a talent, but he’s also proven to be a headache for Phoenix. Just give him what he wants and ship him out of the desert.

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Seller: They’re going to try to sell at the deadline because they have to. Not sure how successful they’ll be, however.

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Seller: Part of “The Process” is draft-pick acquisition. The Sixers will be trying their damnedest again to be doing just that at the deadline.

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Seller: They don’t have a whole lot they could dangle that they’d be willing to give up, but the Lakers need to try to acquire more assets to help with their rebuild.

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