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The biggest league-wide questions entering the 2020 NBA trade deadline

We're less than 24 hours away from the trade deadline, one of the busiest days in the NBA season.

After a 12-player blockbuster trade centred around Clint Capela and Robert Covington, one might wonder, is there anything else in store?

Just last season, the Toronto Raptors' acquisition of Marc Gasol showed how one deal could help fuel a championship run. Will any contenders follow suit this year?

That's just one of a number of questions that loom ahead of the deadline. Let's explore some of the biggest.

Will there be movement in Los Angeles?

As we approach the deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers are pretty much where we expected them to be in the Western Conference standings - No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

It might not exactly be title or bust for either team this year but at this juncture of the season, it's not out of the realm of possibility that one - or both - of these teams makes a move to go all in.

LA Clippers

With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George leading the way, LA is poised to make the deepest postseason run in franchise history.

But it might be in the market to bolster its roster.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Clippers are in pursuit of a big man and wing to better prepare for the season's stretch run. Who could it be? Our Scott Rafferty has noted that Andre Drummond would be an interesting fit in that he provides frontcourt depth and gives the team the ability to deal with bigs like Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert in the postseason, but at what cost?

Montrezl Harrell is an impending free agent and is due for a large payday. Could he be the piece that moves the needle in a deal for a big like Drummond?

Per Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Clippers could also be in the mix to acquire Marcus Morris Sr., who is in the midst of a career season with the New York Knicks. Through 43 games, Morris is averaging 19.6 points and shooting 43.9% from deep.

Again, it becomes a question of who and what the Clippers would move in order to acquire Morris, with the Knicks looking to build for their future.

Los Angeles Lakers

Other reports have stated that the Lakers are also in play for Morris' services, creating what could be somewhat of an in-arena battle to acquire the 30-year-old forward.

According to The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, they've also inquired about his twin brother, Markieff.

For the Lakers, it's Kyle Kuzma's name that has been the one that often comes up in trade talks. The 24-year-old is averaging 13.1 points per game this season and has shown plenty of promise.

While his $1.9 million rookie-scale deal is team-friendly, it makes it harder to match salaries.

In order to acquire a player like Morris, who is making $15 million this season, the Lakers would likely have to get a third team involved and include more assets.

There has been speculation that the Lakers would make a play for Detroit Pistons guard Derrick Rose, who is making $7.3 million this season. Rose is having an impressive season and would give Los Angeles another playmaker and scorer to fill the minutes where LeBron James isn't on the court to run the offence.

If the Lakers stay put at the deadline, they could become active in the buyout market in order to better equip the team around James and Anthony Davis.

Do the Raptors have any moves in store?

To the surprise of many, the Toronto Raptors approach the deadline as the East's No. 2 seed. They're also on pace for a better regular season than in 2018-19 despite losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green and dealing with a myriad of injuries this season.

Maybe that championship window hasn't closed after all.

If any positive can be taken from Toronto's injury woes this season, it's that the team has learned just how deep its roster is. In order to make a move, the Raptors would have to part ways with a key contributor but they can confidently do so knowing that the next man is prepared to step up.

Who could it be? The expiring contracts of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka could be enticing for teams, while young players with potential like OG Anunoby or Norman Powell would likely be key to making a deal work. Fred VanVleet will be a top-dollar free agent this offseason but is likely as close to untouchable at the deadline because of how important he is to the team's success.

It's hard to predict what Toronto might do at the deadline because of how important each moving part is to the team. But Masai Ujiri is one of the league's best executives and showed just last year that he isn't afraid to make a big move at the deadline.

You can read more on questions surrounding the Raptors here.

How will other Eastern Conference powers look to improve?

After the Milwaukee Bucks, who appear to be running away with the East's No. 1 seed, there's a logjam from seeds two through six.

While the Raptors' situation is a bit more nuanced, there are some questions facing some of the East's best.

Boston Celtics

Can Boston find a big man?

Coming into the season, it was no secret that the Celtics' biggest weakness was a lack of frontcourt depth. Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis have been solid this season but still leave more to be desired in terms of production while Robert Williams III has been out since Dec. 9 with a hip injury.

In order to make a run in the East, the Celtics will need to have an answer for Milwaukee and Philadelphia's size.

It could be the difference between an early exit and a deep postseason run.

Miami Heat

The Heat have two players in Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard who will be free agents this offseason. James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk each have player options for the 2020-21 season.

Combined, the aforementioned four are making nearly $54 million.

Could Miami be the team that makes a play for one of the available players with hefty contracts or will it stay put and patiently await the star-studded free agency class of 2021?

So far, it has reportedly motioned to acquire big names in Andre Iguodala and Danilo Gallinari.

The Heat look to be all in for now … and the future.

As one of the East's best young teams, there's surely a big picture approach to be taken but the Heat are ahead of schedule and the right move could allow them to surprise people as soon as this postseason.

Philadelphia 76ers

Philly hasn't exactly played up to its potential. Who's to blame? What's to blame?

While the answers to the above questions might not be easy to answer, it is evident that the Sixers should try to do something to rectify some of their problems.

With an All-Star duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid leading the way, Philadelphia is one of the league's most talented teams yet it still runs into problems stylistically. Their Christmas Day domination of the Bucks shows that the Sixers can be world-beaters when the shots are falling, but what about when they aren't?

Consistent perimeter shooting should be a goal for Philadelphia, a team that needs to space the floor and play faster so its 6-foot-10 All-Star point guard can operate best. It's been reported that the Sixers have moved to acquire Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III from the Golden State Warriors.

That could be a step in the right direction.

Will OKC be sellers at the deadline?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the midst of a rebuild that isn't exactly the norm.

Despite rolling out what is essentially an entirely new team after a roster overhaul, OKC is comfortably in the West's playoff picture as it approaches the All-Star break thanks largely to the play of a group of savvy veterans that might not necessarily fit the team's long-term plans.

The stock on the likes of Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, Chris Paul and Dennis Schröder is higher than it has been all season and the Thunder might be willing to listen to the right offer for any of the aforementioned players if it benefits their future.

As mentioned above, reports have indicated that the Thunder could soon part ways with Gallinari, who appears to be on his way to Miami. What will OKC get in return?

Just last season, we saw the Clippers part ways with Tobias Harris ahead of the deadline in a move that ultimately put them in a better position to have a historic offseason.

OKC could follow that model, continue to build and still contend for a playoff spot - this year and for years to come.

Other Big Questions

D'Angelo Russell on the go?

While Minnesota is likely out of the running after its big move, the New York Knicks have been a team that is reported to have interest in Golden State's young guard (per Shams Charania). Other reports have indicated the Warriors would like to see what Russell and Stephen Curry would look like playing together, so the Warriors might not be in a rush to move the 23-year-old.

Find more information on big names that could be on the move here.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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