Dec. 28, 2014
Ten Possible NBA Trade Candidates
With the first third of the NBA season over, what players could be changing teams soon?
Carmelo Anthony is in the first season of a new contract, but could the 5-26 New York Knicks try trading him? (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Written by Jake Elman
Put away your Christmas trees, eggnog, and debit cards with 600 dollars on them, because we're moving from Christmas season to trade season...and I'm not talking about trading in your Xbox One copy of Grand Theft Auto V your mom got you when you have a Playstation 4. Rather, I'm talking about the NBA trading season, one of my favorite times of the year.
There are plenty of NBA players that could be dealt, some of whom we might not see coming. Does anyone remember how shocked people were about the Derek Fisher trade in 2012, when Houston acquired him from the Lakers? What about the Boston Celtics trading Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the 2011 trade deadline?
If you ask me how surprising the Nets' 2012 trade of a draft pick that eventually became Damian Lillard for Gerald Wallace was, I'm not even giving that an answer.
Anyways, probably the best part of trading season is trade speculation, and that's what we're here to do today. I've narrowed a list down of ten players that I foresee either being traded or almost being traded over the next two months or so. Truth be told, this list isn't in order of things like trade value or realism - it's just ten players I see being realistically traded over the next two months. In addition to why I think they'll be traded and who could be interested, I've also put down their contract. If you think I left a player off, or you disagree as to where I have a player possibly going, make sure to tweet me your thoughts.
10. Andre Iguodala, G, Golden State Warriors
Contract: In the second year of a 4 year, 48 million dollar contract.
Reasoning: Do you remember when Andre Iguodala was a star with the Philadelphia 76ers before they started tanking and decided it would be smart to avoid rising above the Eastern Conference standings? I remember, and that's why the regression of Andre Iguodala confuses me so much. This is a guy who, after four straight seasons from 2006-07 to 2009-10 averaged at least 15.8 points a year, hasn't had more than 13.8 points in a season since 2010-11. You're probably asking yourself, "Jake, why would a team want to trade for him then, especially with his contract?" The easy answer is this - Iguodala doesn't shoot the ball enough in Golden State, and if you put him on a team that will allow him to shoot, you'll feel the rewards. The only issue is the money, but I could see Golden State maybe eating up some of it.
9. Jordan Hill, F, Los Angeles Lakers
Contract: In the first year of a 2 year, 18 million dollar contract ($9,000,000 guaranteed; the other 9 million is on a club option)
Reasoning: Long time SportsMix readers will know I'm a big fan of Jordan Hill - I even named him to the - and his trade value, believe it or not, is pretty high right now. On a pretty bad Lakers team, Hill is putting up career highs in points (12.3), rebounds (8.2) and also is averaging a block per game; those statistics may not mean much with how bad the Lakers are, but Hill is finally starting and he's only 27 years old. He's in the first year of a two year contract, the second of which isn't guaranteed, so maybe a team in need of a big man (Cleveland) could try to trade for Hill. If they don't want Hill, why not consider...
8. Brook Lopez, C, Brooklyn Nets
Contract: In the third year of a four year, 60.83 million dollar contract (Lopez can, however, opt out of the deal after the 2014-15 season)
Reasoning: Former Stanford star (and teammate of former Fox Lane High School big man Taj FInger) Brook Lopez once seemed to be a future top five center, but injuries and the emergence of young Mason Plumlee have made him expandable in Brooklyn. Lopez is scoring 15.5 points per game, which while not bad on the surface, isn't enough for a 'scoring' center that isn't amazing on defense. One little realized fact from Brooklyn's victory over the Denver Nuggets is that Brook Lopez made his first 'relief' appearance since his rookie season of 2008-09, and that says just as much about his injury issues as it does about Lionel Hollins' faith in him. If a team truly needs a big man for the stretch run (Cleveland), would it be that silly to trade for Lopez in hopes of re-inventing his career?
7. Brandon Jennings, G, Detroit Pistons
Contract: In the second year of a three year, $24 million contract with the Detroit Pistons.
Reasoning: It wasn't long ago that Jennings was considered one of the league's more underrated point guards, but people seem to have forgotten about him as he plays for the Mets of the NBA - the Detroit Pistons. The team's fire sale has officially begun with the trade of Josh Smith, and in my eyes, Brandon Jennings could be the next to go. His numbers are down this year, but a fresh start could be worth it for the former top ten pick. Just knowing how much help Detroit needs all around, I could see a team like Sacramento creating a package for Jennings sooner or later.
6. Goran Dragic, G, Phoenix Suns
Contract: In the third year of a four year, 30 million dollar contract (Dragic can, however, opt out of the contract after the 2014-15 season)
Reasoning: What's there not to like about Dragic? He's relatively young, he's emerged as a leader on and off the court, and he can opt out of his contract when the season ends. As such, that's why the Phoenix Suns, Dragic's current employer, may want to consider trading him soon. The Suns are currently loaded with point guards, and with several teams possibly in the market for one, it might make sense to offload Dragic now to see what you can get for him. Brooklyn could be in the hunt if they trade Deron Williams (see below), as could Sacramento, Miami, and maybe even the New York Knicks.
Nets center Brook Lopez has durability issues, but could be an interesting pick up with only half a year left on his contract (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
5. Deron Williams, PG, Brooklyn Nets
Contract: In the third year of a five year, 98.77 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
Reasoning: Our third straight point guard on this list, Deron Williams has gone from elite point guard to average point guard to point guard who has shown flashes of being great once again. Luckily for Williams and the Nets, the third one on that list has been the 2014-15 season; though Williams isn't at the 21 points and 9 assists a night level he was in 2011-12, his last All-Star appearance, he's still been a more-than-competent point guard for Brooklyn, which is why his value continues to increase. There were rumors of the Sacramento Kings possibly trading for Williams, but I think that if he is traded, he's likely going to a team that will give Brooklyn a point guard in return (Goran Dragic/Tyler Ennis, anyone?) because Jarrett Jack likely isn't the long term answer at the point guard.
4. Jeff Green, F, Boston Celtics
Contract: In the third year of a four year, $35.20 million contract with the Boston Celtics.
Reasoning: For so long, it seemed like when the Boston Celtics landed a trade for Rajon Rondo, another piece of the trade would be veteran forward Jeff Green. So when the Celtics dealt Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks last week and Green wasn't included in the deal, I think a lot of people were shocked; it wasn't because Dallas didn't want him, but because the two seemed to be connected in every, single, realistic trade there was. Danny Ainge may have made the right choice, however, because he got a good haul for Rondo and can get a good haul for Jeff Green as well. Green's former coach, Doc Rivers, could very well be interested bringing the veteran out west to Los Angeles, as could the Pelicans and maybe even Memphis. I saw someone wonder if the Oklahoma City Thunder, Green's former team, might want to bring him back, but I'm not so sure of that being realistic.
3. Greg Monroe, F, Detroit Pistons
Contract: In the final year of a one year, $5.48 million contract with the Detroit Pistons.
Reasoning: There have been plenty of rumors over the past year or so about Monroe being traded, and with Detroit's fire sale officially on with Josh Smith being cut this week, the rumors of Monroe being out continue to heat up. You are getting so much with a player like Monroe who is still young and can play anywhere from the three to the five, though I'd likely play him at the four. Monroe is also an RFA once this season ends, so a team that might want to part ways with a first round pick could still bring him back for next year. If Josh Smith hadn't gone to the Rockets, I would have suggested Houston as a likely place for Monroe, but I could still see the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, and even Portland making a run for the veteran.
2. Carmelo Anthony, F, New York Knicks
Contract: In the first year of a five year, $124.06 million contract with the New York Knicks,
Reasoning: The ballad of Carmelo Anthony continues, as he remains one of the few players on the Knicks (if not the only player) to understand what a basketball is and how to play the game of basketball. That, friends, is partly why the Knicks are 5-26 - they have more losses than the Philadelphia 76ers, a team trying to lose every game - and partly why Phil Jackson might want to put Anthony on the trading block. I know the Knicks have said he's not up for being traded, but being twenty one games under .500, and 3-25 in your last 26 games, changes things. Here's the thing with Carmelo Anthony - if you trade for Melo, you're going to need to give up picks or young players, and it's more than likely going to be both. I have no doubt that Anthony can still play at an elite level, but it's better for him and the Knicks if he does it on another team. Earlier, I mentioned Goran Dragic as a possibility to be dealt, so maybe the Suns would make a play for Anthony? Whoever wants to make a trade for Anthony must remember, however, that he has a no-trade clause in his contract.
1. Roy Hibbert, C, Indiana Pacers
Contract: In the third year of a four year, $58.37 million contract with the Indiana Pacers.
Reasoning: I love Roy Hibbert, even though he's inconsistent at times. I've seen some people suggest Hibbert is continuing his downward trend from last year, the one that nearly cost him and the Indiana Pacers the top spot in the East, but I disagree. Remember, this Pacers team is not very good without Paul George, and per 36 minutes, Hibbert's play (15.0 points and 9.4 rebounds) is extremely similar to his 2012-13 season (14.9 and 10.4); if the Pacers had Paul George and others healthy, Hibbert's rebounds would also be up, but I digress. With the Pacers possibly going to rebuild soon, I see teams like Brooklyn, the Lakers, Boston (maybe?), and perhaps even Phoenix making a run for him. A change of scenery may be good for him, especially on a team like Brooklyn...
What players do you think will get traded? Make sure to tweet me at with your thoughts.