Because there are only so many human beings 6'8" and taller, and because every competitive basketball team needs a handful, the following bigs will draw ample interest on the 2012 trade market.
Warm bodies, long legs, will travel.
Now, within the spectrum of big and tall, there are varying levels of usefulness.
The following list of top bigs available this season* intends to parse that spectrum, separating the large and talented from simply the large.
*For the purpose of this list, I excluded players who are available only in a specific trade scenario (i.e. Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard). We're only considering players who are available in a more general sense.
For what feels like the 1,000th time, the Washington Wizards have put Andray Blatche on the trading block.
Will anyone bite?
Blatche's asking price should be low, weighed down by his poor play early in the season, concerns about his attitude and the general gloom hanging on anything in a Washington Wizards uniform this year.
Indeed, it's been an ugly run for Blatche this past month. He's posted his lowest PER since his second season in the league, is shooting an unconscionable .387 from the field and continues to rebound at a rate far too low for a man his size (6'11").
Optimists note that Blatche is still just 25 and has both a 17.6 PER campaign and 16.8 points-per-game season on his NBA resume. Indications of his talent are surprisingly robust.
Pessimists counter that he's been in the league seven years and never managed to shake the low-motor, bad-shooting habits that curb his progress at every turn.
Boris Diaw's minutes have decreased every year since arriving in Charlotte during the 2008-09 season, cratering at 26.9 minutes per game in 2012.
No surprise, then, that the Bobcats want to deal the versatile Frenchman before the March trade deadline.
At 6'8", Diaw can play almost anywhere on the floor—an analytic euphemism for the fact that he's not particularly good anywhere.
But he does pass well, can heat up from the floor and does enough on offense to make up for sluggish rebounding and so-so defense.
As with Blatche, Diaw's work ethic is a concern and will hurt his value. At this point, Charlotte seems happy with any sort of return that doesn't burden them with a bad contract.
But they won't die, not so long as there are whiffs of Cousins' unhappiness and boxscores stuffed with his undeniable potential.
And it is undeniable.
Cousins carries averages of 14.7 points and 11 rebounds per game, and his offensive rebouding percentage is second in the NBA to Anderson Varejao (another intriguing trade target were Cleveland to make him available).
The odds are against Cousins leaving, but a volatile relationship between organization and player keeps the door open.
Because you have ears, I imagine you've heard that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge may jettison some part of Boston's big three.
The biggest, in terms of size, is Kevin Garnett. And though the former high school phenom isn't the leaper he once was, his rebounding (22.7 defensive rebounding percentage) and skills as a defensive communicator (97 defensive rating) make him an attractive trade chip.
Garnett also has the "team leader" and "glue guy" labels that are usually worth an extra second-round draft pick.
It'll be interesting to see how his intensity takes on a different team if it indeed comes to that.
At the beginning, it seemed Amar'e Stoudemire's place on the trade market was solely a function of the Knicks' ambition to land Dwight Howard.
Now, it appears that the struggling Knickerbockers would consider other offers for the man who, just one year ago, was credited with bringing basketball back in New York.
It seems the Knicks have concerns about Stoudemire's knees and don't think he plays well with Carmelo Anthony in Mike D'Antoni's offense.
The results bear that out. Stoudemire's points per game and PER are at their lowest levels since his rookie year.
Even so, it's hard to take a Stoudemire trade too seriously. His contract is mammoth, and the Knicks would need big return on a scorer of Stoudemire's talents.
Dwight Howard has been, and continues to be, the most talked about player on the trade market since the lockout ended.
The man needs no qualifier to top this list. He is the best big man in the NBA by an absurd margin, trade rumors attached or not.
Howard's list of preferred destinations is three-to-four teams deep (Los Angeles, New Jersey, Dallas, Boston?), with other teams like Chicago, Golden State and New York sure to try their luck.
All of it makes for a rumor mill maelstrom with just two certainties at its core: Dwight Howard will play somewhere other than Orlando next year, and he'll be really good once he's there.