The NBA's trade deadline is less than one month away and the rumor mill is already heating up. But around this time, it's so hard to tell fact from fiction with everyone trying to get their own piece of internet traffic. So today's article is all about putting all of those rumors in one destination, but only the ones that I find realistic and plausible. As a result, I have compiled this list of players that I can see being put on the trade block by each of the 30 teams in the association. Go find your team and see if you agree!
Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague/Dennis Schroder
Starting off with a bang...
The Hawks have two excellent point guards. An all-star last year, Teague, hasn't been as good as last season when the Hawks went bananas, but has still been good enough for the Hawks to be consistently in the top 4 of the Eastern Conference. His numbers are down across the board, mainly because coach Bud wants to give the third year Schroder some more game time, as he impresses every time he enters the game.
Speaking of Schroder, in 21 minutes he has decent production of 11 points and 5 assists, with alright shooting percentages. When you compare their per 36 numbers, Teague and Schroder are practically identical, providing a like for like replacement every time one of them takes a rest.
So why do the Hawks have to break up arguably the best point guard rotation in the league? Simple. Both of them are worthy starters with a lot of trade value and the Hawks have bigger needs on the roster than a backup point guard. An extra rebounder or a defensive wing would both be extremely useful. Another point is that the Hawks barely play the two together, only spending 108 minutes together on the floor through half the season, with a negative per 100 possession rating of -14 points. If the Hawks want to improve and break into contender status, they should seriously consider trading one of their talented point guards.
Boston Celtics: David Lee
One of the easiest ones on here. 'Trader' Danny Ainge loves to make moves all the time, so when he saw that Golden State were giving Lee away for free they dumped Gerald Wallace and picked up a guy on an expiring deal that can help them get wins now.
That hasn't exactly worked out. Lee has dropped out of coach Stevens' rotation and has been a detriment every time he steps on the floor (-10.1 points per 100 possessions).
Seeing as Ainge would love to make a trade for impactful player (potentially a superstar), Lee's massive $13 million expiring contract will help them acquire that piece. With a few superstars seemingly being up for trade (Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony), Lee's albatross deal will help them land a star with a large contract around the deadline. Throw in a couple of young-ish players and draft picks and you've really got something!
Unfortunately for Lee, he is just the common denominator in any potential big trade.
Brooklyn Nets: Brook Lopez
I was tempted to just put everyone here, but that felt like cheating, so here's Brook Lopez.
The Nets need to re-stock their draft picks and acquire young players in their massive rebuild ahead. This means trading anyone and everyone. In my opinion Lopez is the most viable trade target because in simple terms, he has easily the most talent of anyone on the roster.
Let the rebuild begin.
Charlotte Hornets: Al Jefferson
Al Jefferson was an All-NBA guy just two seasons ago and now he is on the trade block.
The Hornets have been a lot better without big Al in the lineup this season, preferring various combinations of Cody Zeller, Tank Kaminsky, Spencer Hawes and Marvin Williams. They have taken a clear shift from the back to basket Al to big guys that can hit threes, stretch the floor and make room for Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin. Not only this, but Jefferson is just an awful defensive player, he is a turnstile in the post (the original Enes Kanter).
Looking forward to the future of the NBA, the Hornets will surely look to move Jefferson and his expiring contract for pieces that fit their new way of play.
Chicago Bulls: Joakim Noah
Despite his injury, Noah probably will still remain on the trade block. Although no one is likely to trade for him as he is essentially out for the season and is on an expiring contract anyway, the Bulls will surely look to offload him still.
Noah new bench role hasn't grown on him, he hasn't provided the spark Fred Hoiberg wants from him and doesn't like coming of the pine at all. Much like the Hornets, the Bulls now prefer bigs who can stretch the floor, going far, far away from the Thibs era. Noah can't do this. In addition, the Bulls defense hasn't suffered like many predicted it would with him out of the lineup, maintaining a defense that is still in the top 10 in terms of efficiency.
As I mentioned, Noah is highly unlikely to be traded now that he is out for the season, but the Bulls still have him out on the block.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Timofey Mozgov
Read my opinion on Mozgov, by clicking here!
Dallas Mavericks: Devin Harris
The Mavs have holes on the wing defensively and in the big man area. Thinning out their cluster of point guards may help them to make a playoff dash in April/May/June.
Raymond Felton, Deron Williams and J.J. Barea are prefered by Rick Carlisle and have been better this season, therefore Harris is the logical man to trade from that bunch.
Harris is a vastly experienced guard with plenty of playoff games to his name. He would be a fantastic addition as a backup point guard for any team, just not the Mavs.
Denver Nuggets: J.J. Hickson
I'm not sure who exactly would take on a guy like J.J. Hickson in the first place, he plays no defense at all, while his offensive game relies entirely on putbacks and poorly executed rolls to the rim. The Nuggets would surely love to get rid of Hickson and since he is on an expiring contract, this is the perfect time to do so.
The Nuggets also have a nucleus of exciting young big men they would love to free up playing time for as well. Ranging from rookie, Nikola Jokic to ball of intesity, Jusuf Nurkic.
As a side note, J.J. Hickson is on my list of contenders for worst player in the league.
Detroit Pistons: Brandon Jennings
When Brandon Jennings tore his ACL after coming off arguably his best month in his career, the writing was on the wall for his time in Detroit. Stan Van then made a move for Thunder guard, Reggie Jackson at the deadline and in the offseason, signed him to a mammoth extension, while leaving Jennings out to dry, with his banged up body and an expiring contract.
Jackson is definitely their point guard of the future. He has improved vastly since his OKC days and has created wonderful partnerships with both two guard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and lob threat, probable all-star and all-round beast, Andre Drummond.
With Jackson in place, the Pistons have no intention in re-signing Jennings, as he will be looking for big money under the new cap and a starting job with a different team. Trading Jennings now to a team that needs a dynamic scorer at the point guard position is the right move for a Detroit team that desperately wants to make the playoffs. Trading for a stretch four would be the primary option for Detroit in this scenario.
Golden State Warriors: No One
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Houston Rockets: Ty Lawson
We know the story here, so I'll keep it short. Lawson and Harden don't work as a backcourt, one too many ball-handlers and has caused problems in the Rockets' locker room. Beverley is a much better fit and doesn't cause issues with other players. We've heard every possible destination through the rumor mill, so....NEXT!
Indiana Pacers: Chase Budinger???
Another team with next to no trade chips. I have nothing against Budinger, I think he is an alright NBA player, but the Pacers don't really need him. With C.J. Miles, Solomon Hill and Paul George, they don't really need Budinger.
Los Angeles Clippers: Lance Stephenson
After trading Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson is the next man up. Doc Rivers has seemingly completely given up on Stephenson and after trading Smith just to improve the chemistry, Stephenson has to be the prime candidate to be traded on the Clippers team. He hasn't meshed well, is a ball-handler on a team with too many ball-handlers and is a locker room issue.
Stephenson is playing at just 15.5 minutes per game, but hasn't stepped on the floor in 6 of the last 10 matchups. During their recent run without Blake Griffin, Doc has loved going to Luc Mbah a Moute, Wesley Johnson, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and even old man Paul Pierce, all ahead of the talented, but troubled Stephenson. The particular Redick/Crawford/CP3 three man combo has dominated teams, outscoring opposition by 19 points per 100 possessions.
Ridding themselves of Stephenson not only makes their team better on the court, but off the court too. Stephenson is just too much of a distraction, whether it be blowing in someone's ear or untying another's shoelaces. It's time to end the Lance charade.
Los Angeles Lakers: Nick Young
As much as Laker fans hate to admit it, it's rebuilding time in L.A.. With a couple of dynamite young guards and a high draft pick expected to be a small forward (CHECK MY MOCK DRAFT), trading Nick Young makes far too much sense if they want to get ready for the future.
Young has been linked with a move away from Laker Land since the start of the season with Memphis and New Orleans reportedly interested. At his best, Young is a dynamic scorer with a smooth jump shot from the outside. At his worst, Young is a chemistry nightmare that jacks up contested threes when he has open guys under the basket. This season, Young has been at his worst, shooting at just 36%. However, if someone is able to get something, anything resembling efficiency out of him, it would be a good trade.
Another reason to trade Swaggy P: his 3 year deal. This will dent their cap space and shots at potential free agent targets for years to come.
Memphis Grizzlies: Jeff Green
As a Celtics fan, I always hated having Jeff Green on my team. He always promised so much, with his body, athleticism and on occassion, effortless scoring touch, but failed to deliver 95% of the time.
He's having the same problem in Memphis, where he has been given all the opportunity in the world to be effective, but has just turned into a poor man's Rudy Gay. Green has spent time at both the three and the four this season and has struggled at both positions. At the three, he is disrespected for his three point percentage of 27.6%. The opposition constantly sags off him, daring him to shoot. At the four, his jump shot is considered quite good, but he always fails to take advantage of his superior speed and athleticism at the second big man spot.
The Grizzlies, as always are lacking three point shooting and trading Green for a real guy who can stretch the floor would make complete sense.
Miami Heat: Luol Deng
The Heat are about to pay the repeater tax (search it up) and need to shed salaries. Trading Deng would not only save them $10 million but the luxury and repeater tax fines. To add to this, Justice Winslow deserves to start on this Heat team, I personally think he is outplaying incumbent, Deng, by a long way. Just look at their on/off numbers. Per 100 poss, the Heat are 8 points worse with Deng on the floor, while they are 5 points better with Winslow out there.
Trading Deng makes far too much sense. It reduces their salary bill significantly and plans for the future too.
Milwaukee Bucks: Greg Monroe
The Bucks were coming off a breakout year with the second best defense in the NBA. In an attempt to bolster their offense, they are now incompetent on both sides of the ball. Ranking 19th in offensive efficiency and down to a staggering 26th in defensive efficiency. The cause of this is Greg Monroe who signed on to be their go to guy, but has just ended up being an unworthy replacement for the almost all-star, Zaza Pachulia. Monroe is too slow, not a rim protector and just too much of a detriment on defense in general for the Bucks. Now, it has to be said that the on/off numbers don't back this theory up, but the eye test tells me otherwise.
I don't think he is a viable option on the Bucks, who are also a bottom 10 team in terms of three pointers made and own two big guys (Monroe and Jabari) who both haven't made a three all season long. Trading Monroe for a rim protector and/or a stretch 5 would be ideal. I'm sure Monroe still has value around the league, his 16 points, 9 rebounds and 51% shooting are all great, but just not on the Bucks.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Martin
Easy. An old player on a young team who is holding back Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine from reaching their true potential. Also, a nice grab for a playoff team in need of shooting *cough* MEMPHIS *cough*. NEXT.
New Orleans Pelicans: Ryan Anderson
This rumor has come up a lot recently, so to save you the time here is everything you need to know concisely explained:
- The Pelicans suck and need to make changes to either bottom out and tank or get better and get in the race for the playoffs.
- Ryan Anderson has an expiring contract.
- He is awful defensively and is a big part of the reason why the Pelicans own one of the worst defensive records in the league.
- Has tremendous value with his three point shooting and stretch ability.
- Kings offered Rudy Gay for him.
He seems like a logical, classic trade block guy.
New York Knicks: Jose Calderon
I still don't really know what Phil Jackson was doing when he made the Tyson Chandler for Jose Calderon trade. Calderon still has another whole season after this one left on his $7 million per year deal and doesn't give the Knicks anywhere near enough production for that amount of dough. With just 7 points and 4 assists (granted on good shooting percentages) in 27 minutes, the Knicks need more of a game changer at point guard to take them to a higher level.
I think that the answer lies within the team with Jerian Grant, who although isn't having a great rookie season, is loaded with potential and just needs an opportunity to shine. This starts by trading the man in front of him on the depth chart.
The argument against this move is that Calderon is a better player right now, but the Knicks don't really need to be good right now. At best, let's say they get the eighth seed, oh would you look at that, they get swept by the Cavs. Anyways, it's time to build for the future around a duo of Jerian Grant and Porzingod.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Dion Waiters
I feel like it's time for Dion to do a Jordan Crawford and just ditch his NBA career and go for 72 points in China instead. In the midst of another incredibly inefficient season (and a contract year), the Thunder would be doing a good thing by letting the Waiters experience end and instead parlaying his roster spot and money into a three and D shooting guard who can complete the Thunder starting 5, unlike Andre Roberson who literally cannot shoot.
Orlando Magic: C.J. Watson???
So, Orlando don't really have anyone to trade. Unless someone is willing to take on three years and $15 million of C.J. Watson, I don't think they're going to make a move. Hence the question marks.
Philadelphia 76ers: Everyone
All hail Sam Hinkie.
Phoenix Suns: Markieff Morris
We know this story as well. Markieff hated that the Suns traded his twin and then tried to replace him with LaMarcus Aldridge and has demanded a trade ever since July. He hasn't been traded yet, but the Suns are just sitting by their phones, waiting for someone to send them an offer for the highly skilled, but troubled power forward.
Portland Trail Blazers: Gerald Henderson
If all indications are true, the Blazers badly want to be a playoff team this year. They have a deep group of inexperienced talent and Terry Stotts has coached them to perfection thus far. One player who seemingly doesn't fit in with their future is 28 year old Gerald Henderson.
The Blazers have settled on their wings at the moment, with CJ McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless occupying Henderson's positions. Henderson has underwhelmed Blazers' fans this year, with just 7 points per game on just 40% from the field. His three point shooting isn't great either, languishing in the mid 30 percentages, making him a poor fit on the run 'n' gun Blazers team that loves to get up and down the floor and shoot so many threes that you'll call them trip city (stolen from Bill Simmons).
On a very affordable $6 million expiring contract, Henderson would be a good piece on a playoff team to bring off the bench or just a salary filler in a trade.
Sacramento Kings: Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay has taken a step or two back from his career 2014-15 season. He is averaging 18 points on 47% shooting for a Kings team currently right in the Western Conference playoff picture.
However that team has been carried largely by the play of DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo. Cousins has been averaging 27 points and 11 rebounds, dominating from everywhere on the court, while Rondo has gotten back to his Boston glory days.
This has left Rudy Gay out of the picture a little bit. With Rondo handling the ball a lot, that means Gay has to float away from the ball quite a lot, especially when most of the Rondo's slick dimes go to Cousins. This means the defense has been able to sag off Gay and his 32% three point stroke, being able to bring double teams on Cousins. With Gay playing more possessions off-ball, it might be time to bring in a shooter and the three instead of the long, athletic Gay.
San Antonio Spurs: No one
See: Golden State Warriors
Toronto Raptors: Bruno Caboclo
The Raptors need to strengthen in order to be legit contenders to the Cavs in the East. So why not trade the Brazilian Kevin Durant, who is in no position to help any team at this point because he is two years away from being two years away. If a team is willing to part ways with a veteran expiring for a young player with potential, the Raptors should make a move.
Utah Jazz: Trevor Booker
The Utah Jazz frontcourt is becoming overloaded and Trevor Booker may be the odd one out.
Booker is a nice bench piece, but he halfheartedly plays the stretch four position as he is not entirely convincing from beyond the arc. The Jazz need stretch fours to surround Rudy Gobert and they found one in the lottery with Trey Lyles last year, who has seemingly jumped ahead of Booker in the rotation. With Derrick Favors, Gobert, Lyles and even the improving Jeff Withey on board, the experienced and useful Booker may have to find a new home for his 5.6 points and 6.6 rebounds.
Washington Wizards: Nene
The Wizards suck and need to find a way to win now, especially if they want to convince Kevin Durant to come on board in July. Nene is a big fat expiring, with nothing to offer on either side of the ball, meaning that like David Lee with the Celtics, he is a perfect albatross contract to include in a deal along with a couple of intriguing assets, just to make the contracts work out. Could we perhaps see Dwight Howard for Nene's expiring and a couple of youngsters? Maybe?
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