In any of the four major sports, there is no more exciting time than the trade deadline. However, when you look at the history of player movement on the last day that it’s allowed, it appears as though the NBA and their teams get affected in the biggest way compared to the NFL, NHL and MLB.
Just take a look at the track record of some of the deals made.
In 2004, electric power forward Rasheed Wallace was shipped to the Detroit Pistons in a three team trade, becoming the final piece to their NBA Championship season. In 2003, true superstars were swapped, as the Seattle Sonics sent point guard Gary Payton to the Milwaukee Bucks for Ray Allen. And in 2001, the Philadelphia 76ers got their defensive counterpart to Allen Iverson, as they acquired center Dikembe Mutombo.
Other great moves at the deadline include Tim Hardaway being sent to the Miami Heat in 1997, Mark Jackson being reacquired by the Indiana Pacers mere months after being dealt in the same year and the Golden State Warriors bringing in center Andrew Bogut in 2012.
However, not all deals work out for teams making them.
Who could forget the inexplicable swap of Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, leaving the Boston Celtics without their enforcer? How about when the Phoenix Suns decided that Shaquille O’Neal – who was past his prime – would be a better fit in their seven seconds or less offense than Shawn Marion?
That’s the risk NBA teams take at the deadline; while players can come in and transition effortlessly, others have a hard time taking on different roles.
And just like every trade deadline, there is a variety of notable names on the block. Check out these fifteen players who could be shipped away by the 2016 trade deadline.
15. David Lee
David Lee has always been seen as a consummate professional. Not many players would take a seat for the betterment of the team, but Lee did so for the Golden State Warriors – and that helped earn the organization an NBA championship. However, with his championship ring now in his jewelry box, Lee wanted to play – so the Warriors brass sent him to the Boston Celtics.
However, with the emergence of young big men Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko, Lee has seen his playing time dwindle yet again. With him being in the final year of his contract, he can bring value to a contending team looking for front court help in the midst of a playoff push. Noted for his low post game and efficient rebounding, Lee could be wanted by many teams. Although the Celtics won’t get a hefty package in return, he could bring back someone that can immediately help their roster as well.
14. Ty Lawson
When Ty Lawson was shipped to the Houston Rockets this past offseason, he was looking to rekindle some of the magic he had in his earlier days with the Denver Nuggets. Unfortunately, he hasn’t made any sort of impact in 2015, and his playing time is basically non-existent at this point.
Since he is only 28-years old, there may still be point guard starving teams that are willing to give him a chance. Sure, his average of six points and four assists are less than appealing, but Lawson still possesses the speed and passing instincts to push the pace and create opportunities for his teammates.
13. Solomon Hill
When Paul George went down with a leg injury, the Indiana Pacers needed someone to step in his place. While he wasn’t going to replicate George’s statistics, Solomon Hill did an adequate job as the starting small forward, as he averaged nine points and four rebounds per game. While those numbers aren’t gaudy, they were impressive for a second year player who found trouble getting playing time in his rookie year.
With George now healthy, Hill was expected to be a featured player coming off the bench. Unfortunately for the Pacers, that hasn’t come to fruition. With Chase Budinger and Glenn Robinson III on the roster, Hill has only played in 18 games. However, the former first round pick still has upside. At just 24 years old, Hill is both a versatile defender and a capable scorer, which is appealing to a plethora of teams.
12. Jose Calderon
When Jose Calderon was originally acquired by the New York Knicks before the start of last season, many expected him to flourish in the Big Apple, despite him being closer to the downside of his career. Whether it was because the transition wasn’t smooth or because of the lack of talent surrounding him, Calerdon’s first year with the Knicks was a failure.
Fortunately, a healthy Carmelo Anthony and an emerging Kristaps Porzingis has Calderon looking like the player of old this season. While he has continued to struggle as a defender and pushing the pace as the point guard, he can still pass the ball and hit three pointers at a strong clip. Calderon could be an ideal fit for a team that’s looking to solidify their bench, and the Knicks front office appears willing to unload his contract.
11. Kevin Martin
Ever since he made his NBA debut back in 2005, Kevin Martin has done one thing at a very high level – score. While he has continued to put up points at a solid clip in 2015, there are two things working against Martin. One is that his scoring numbers are below his career numbers, averaging just 12 PPG. The other is that the Timberwolves, who are stocked with young talent, would rather give playing time to their prospects instead of the 32-year-old shooting guard.
However, just because his value has diminished in the Timberwolves organization doesn’t mean he has no value. There aren’t many teams in the NBA that have players on the roster that provide instant offense like Martin does, which makes him a need for certain franchises. While the Timberwolves won’t receive much in return, playing time for their young talent is much more important. On top of that, Martin will get a chance to play with a possible contender.
10. Markieff Morris
Ever since the Phoenix Suns shipped away Marcus Morris, you knew it wouldn’t be long until his twin brother, Markeiff Morris, would be looking for his way out of town. The need to trade Morris is even more pressing, as the Suns have taken a huge step back this season. After demanding a trade, he flipped the switch and deemed his commitment to the Suns. However, after losing playing time, he has began to, yet again, let his feelings get the best of him.
Yes, Morris comes with tons of off the court baggage that plenty of teams would not want to deal with. However, there is no doubt that Morris can still ball – and that could be of value to organizations with the right veteran talent on the roster. This season, he is averaging 10 points and five rebounds per game, despite a lack of court time. If a perennial playoff team needs a counterpart to someone like Draymond Green, a player like Morris could do the trick.
9. Lance Stephenson
When Lance Stephenson was traded from the Charlotte Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers, many believed he would find new life under Doc Rivers. Unfortunately, that has yet to be the case. Pegged as the do-it-all sixth man, Stephenson’s struggles have continued ever since he left the Indiana Pacers. This season, he has averaged just four points, three rebounds and two assists, a far cry from when he was putting up triple doubles just two years prior.
The two years and $18 million left on his contract make Stephenson a less than ideal trade chip, simply because it is looking more and more apparent that he can only play at a high level with the Pacers. However, there have been plenty of rumors that the Clippers brass have been shopping Stephenson extensively; and if a team is willing to give him yet another shot to prove his worth, there’s a great chance that the 25-year-old will be on the move.
8. Joe Johnson
The Brooklyn Nets are currently in one of the worst situations in all of the NBA. They traded away a plethora of first round picks to go all in for the 2013-14 season but there was no championship banner to show for it, and the organization now finds itself with overpriced veterans and underwhelming young players. However, Joe Johnson – one of the highest paid players in the entire league – could be a value to a playoff contender, as his near $25 million owed will be off the books after this season.
However, there are also things standing in the way of a move. Not only is said $25 million an amount of money not many franchises will take on, but since the Nets just fired their GM, there is no one to construct a deal. On top of that, rumors are that Johnson also isn’t looking for a buyout. However, he has been nothing but an ideal member of the Nets, despite their losing ways.
7. Ricky Rubio
When Ricky Rubio was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2011, the then 21-year-old was pegged as the point guard of the future. A floor general in every sense of the word, many executives figured that scoring would eventually catch up to his supreme passing skills. However, in his fifth season, Rubio has yet to average more than 10.7 points per game and his 9.7 points per game this season would be the second lowest of his career.
If the Timberwolves were to ship away Rubio, they would get a strong group of players and/or picks in return to further add to their bright future.
6. Brandon Jennings
After four up and down season with the Milwaukee Bucks, it appeared as though Brandon Jennings finally found his stride with Detroit. Averaging over 15 points and seven assists per game over his first two seasons in the Motor City, it looked like both Jennings and the Pistons were a match made in heaven; that was, until Jennings tore his achilles. Not only that, but the team also acquired point guard Reggie Jackson, who was due for a new contract at season’s end.
With the uncertainty of Jennings’ future, the Pistons ended up signing Jackson to a five-year contract, making him the newest point guard of the future. With Jennings now back in the fold, he gives the Pistons a strong scoring option off the bench. However, with his noted ability as a starter, it looks like he could be on his way out.
5. Jamal Crawford
Throughout his now 16-year NBA career, there hasn’t been a player as quiet as Jamal Crawford. At the same time, there hasn’t been as loud of a player as the sixth man, as he is noted for being a top notch off the bench scorer. That narrative continued as a member of the Clippers; he has averaged 16.2 points per game in his four years in the L.A.
However, with the organization lacking flexibility, Crawford has had his name mentioned in trade talks throughout 2015. While the Clippers certainly wouldn’t want to see the 35-year-old depart, the franchise would both free up cap space and could possibly bring back a young player. With a reasonable amount due to Crawford in the last year of his contract, he is of value to virtually every NBA team – and that alone makes him an ideal trade candidate.
4. Ryan Anderson
There haven’t been many NBA players that have adapted to the new style of play than Ryan Anderson has throughout his career. When he first broke into the league as a member of the New Jersey Nets and Orlando Magic, he wasn’t athletic enough to guard threes, while also not being big enough to guard fours. However, he always had a lethal three point shot; and once stretch fours became a featured position, Anderson grew into one of the best.
Averaging 17 points and six rebounds per game, the power forward is still playing at a high level. Unfortunately, Anthony Davis prefers to play power forward instead of center, the position that Anderson currently occupies. With his contract ending at this season, the Pelicans will be looking to ship Anderson away. While they may not get a great return due to the impending free agency, Anderson will be a great get for whomever acquires him.
3. Taj Gibson
For years now, it seems as though Taj Gibson has played well enough to be a starter on the Chicago Bulls. While he was groomed as a future member of the starting five behind Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, the acquisitions of big men Pau Gasol and Nikola Mitotic have further relegated Gibson to the bench. Although he is putting up near career lows in scoring (7.7 points per game) and blocks (1.0 blocks per game), Gibson still has immense value.
It is apparent that he is capable on the offensive and rebounding side of the game. However, what can’t be understated is his defense, determination, hustle and energy. With the Bulls lacking wing players, Gibson is the first player out of all of the team’s big men that could be dealt – and whatever team he may end up on, they will be getting who will almost immediately upgrade their organization.
2. Derrick Rose
Unfortunately for him, many may consider former Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose damaged goods. However, while he isn’t the MVP he was just a few years ago, Rose continues to be one of the most explosive players in all of basketball, despite the multiple injuries sustained in recent memory.
The relationship between Rose and the Bulls has been even more tumultuous than it has been over the past two seasons. Many questioned Rose’s preseason statements about his future contract situation. Furthermore, the emergence of budding star Jimmy Bulter has made Rose the number two option, something that he doesn’t appear comfortable nor happy with. While his injury history is long and his attitude is coming to light, there will be team that will be in line for his services and if the Bulls can get any substantial package in return, they should pull the trigger.
1. Dwight Howard
Once upon a time, Dwight Howard was the best center in all of basketball. In his early years with the Orlando Magic, Howard lived up to his Superman nickname, as he put the team – almost literally – on his back en route to the 2009 NBA Finals. Although it was a failed venture, it looked like the future was bright in central Florida. Unfortunately, Howard’s ego overtook his on court prowess, as he demanded a trade out of town, preferably to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, playing second fiddle to Kobe Bryant didn’t appeal to Howard, so after one year in Hollywood, he left for greener pastures to the Houston Rockets.
Unfortunately, more of the same has continued with the Rockets. With the team struggling all season long, reports came out last month that Howard is, yet again, unhappy as the second option behind James Harden. With a player option looking like more and more of a possibility, the best decision for the Rockets may be to trade him. While he wasn’t the player he was with the Magic, there aren’t many complete centers in the NBA, and Howard is one of them. While his attitude is his number one detriment, there’s a strong possibility that teams will be lining up for his services.
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