NBA Trade Speculation: Back-Up Big Men Who Will Be Trade Bait
These are names that have not been brought up in trade talks...yet.
In no way is this a rumor piece. It is a speculation piece that's dealing with big men that we believe have the potential of being traded either due to the organization looking to add some strength to other parts of their team, losing some unnecessary weight or just going in a different direction.
The majority of these players, however, would be looked at as trade bait mostly based on how poorly they've performed over the past few months. They've played underwhelming basketball, and instead of suffering with them by hoping they'll develop, we predict that these eight back-up big men could end up on a new team before the March 15 trade deadline.
Some of these guys might actually make themselves on their new teams. Take, for instance, former Orlando Magic center Marcin Gortat. "The Polish Hammer" was a seldom-used backup to Dwight Howard for a couple of years before getting sent to the Phoenix Suns. From there, he established himself as a prime threat in the pick-and-roll and now has a solid starting job on his new team.
We're not saying that the same will happen to these players if they end up on new teams, but it sure would be nice.
Here's eight back-up big men that could be getting sent to new teams.
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Not even the loss of starting center Brook Lopez could get Johan Petro into the rotation of a team as awful as the New Jersey Nets.
Aside from a start a few nights ago against the San Antonio Spurs, the Nets have been going with Shelden Williams, a 6'9" 250-pound forward-center who has been on seven teams since he was drafted in 2006.
If Williams is getting starts over Petro, it may be time to begin considering trades for the seven-footer out of France. He was selected with the 25th pick in the 2005 draft by Seattle. Petro would be given starts over his three-and-a-half years with Seattle/Oklahoma City and would even get some more starts upon joining the Denver Nuggets via trade.
Since joining the Nets in the 2010 offseason, Petro has started in seven games. He averaged only 12 minutes per game in 77 games last season, but has seen his role increase with the loss of Lopez this year. In 24 games and six starts, Petro is averaging five points and three blocks per.
Petro isn't much, but you have to imagine that there will be teams clamoring for the chance to add a lengthy seven-footer to their frontcourt. The Nets could possibly dangle him in return for a scorer at the three, four or off the bench.
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Selected with the 14th pick out of the University of Kentucky in 2010, the Houston Rockets envisioned Patrick Patterson to form one of the better power forward combinations in the NBA.
With the crafty Luis Scola starting and a strong athlete in Patterson coming off the bench, the Rockets were going to finally address the issue of replacing the interior presence that Yao Ming provided.
It turns out that it may not be working out to the Rockets' specifications. The Rockets ended up signing Samuel Dalembert to address the persistent defensive problems in the paint, and Patterson is struggling to earn a more prominent role in his sophomore season. Even after a solid rookie season where he did as much as he could in 16 minutes per, Patterson has yet to prove why he deserves any more playing time.
Patterson is currently averaging 21 minutes per game and posting up seven points on 50 percent shooting to go along with four boards per. He's playing five more minutes than he was last season and has yet to see any form of improvement in his overall game, which explains why he's still splitting time with the likes of Jordan Hill and Chandler Parsons.
The Rockets are in need of some defensive stoppers, a strong scoring presence in the paint and a reliable bench.
Patterson's age—he's only 22—and size would certainly entice a few NBA teams into possibly making a trade if they want a project work on.
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Three teams have had and dealt Ryan Hollins for obvious reasons.
Those reasons being because Hollins isn't that good. He's 7'0" and weighs 230 pounds soaking wet, has great athleticism for his size and long arms.
The only problem is everything else, such as having a competent game. His career highs include six points and three boards per game; both came with Minnesota, when he was playing 17 minutes per.
Hollins came via trade during the 2010 offseason to make up for the loss of LeBron James and actually became a relevant part of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged a career-high 17 minutes per, five seconds more than how much he was playing with Minnesota, and posted five points on 60 percent shooting as well as three boards per.
These days, Hollins is an afterthought. He's only played in 11 games and is utilized mostly as a garbage-time substitution. Hollins is averaging a solid three points on 48 percent shooting and one board per game. Despite having all the length and size, Hollins is basically useless on offense and finds most of his points coming point blank near the basket.
Hollins won't start anywhere, maybe in Miami, but it wouldn't hurt a team to have him play 15 to 20 minutes per game for mostly defensive purposes. Who knows, maybe some could actually refine his game and make him a relevant part of the NBA society.
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Who would have guessed that twin brothers could make it on to the same team?
Seriously, Tayshaun Prince must have done some convincing to the Detroit Pistons so that they could pick up Austin Daye with the 15th pick in the 2009 draft. The 21-year-old had just averaged 13 points and seven boards per game while shooting 43 percent from deep, and the Pistons felt as if they just had to have the 6'10", 200-pound forward.
That's not a typo either. Daye is the weight of your average 6'0" man, and that's exactly where his problem lies. He may have the advantage of length on his side, but that light body doesn't make him as aerodynamic as we thought he would be. It's also become known that Daye isn't strong in the slightest and can get worked by any small or power forward that he attempts to defend.
Daye had a strong sophomore season where he averaged eight points, grabbed four boards and shot 40 percent from deep, but has taken a tremendous step back in his third year. He's receiving only 16 minutes worth of playing time per night and is averaging five points on 30 percent shooting and three boards per.
He's also shooting 21 percent from deep. So much for that idea he's a quality three-point shooter, as this is the second time in Daye's three-year career that he's shot 31 percent or worse from deep.
Still, Daye is a project in the making and could easily become a rotation player on any team. The Pistons need a veteran scorer in the starting lineup at the two or four, and the third-year forward from Gonzaga is expendable.
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A sore right ankle has allowed Charlie Villanueva to play in only two games this year.
It's probably the best thing that's happened to the Detroit Pistons this year. The 8-21 team should be open to any trade that comes their way, and Villanueva could prove to be the greatest piece of trade bait that the Pistons possess.
Everyone on this team outside of Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight is going to be up for grabs because they're the only players worth building around. Players like Ben Gordon and Villanueva, however, will always be on the trade block, and the Pistons will most likely be ready to entertain all sorts of trades that come their way.
No trade talks have been made, but you have to imagine that the Pistons would be absolutely willing to trade away a large contract that hasn't provided anything positive to the team since joining in 2009.
After a solid season with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he averaged 16 points and seven boards per game, the Pistons had to sign him for the low price of $35 million over the next five years.
Talk about a bait and switch. Villanueva joined the Pistons and averaged 12 points on 44 percent shooting to go along with five boards and less than an assist per.
But wait, there's more! Villanueva averaged 11 points and an embarrassing four boards per in his second year with the team.
Villanueva has started 27 games with the Pistons in the past two years. If they can package him in a deal with Daye and/or Ben Gordon, the Pistons may actually have a bright future to look forward to.
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Somebody go to the Missing Persons Bureau and send out a report for former Cleveland Cavaliers power forward J.J. Hickson to be found.
He was last seen in Cleveland with a one-way bus ticket to Sacramento. Witnesses have reportedly seen Hickson on the hardwood at the Arco Arena, but these could be false reports since the witnesses claim to see him only 20 minutes per night. DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson both claim to have never seen Hickson on the Kings.
After all, how could Hickson go from averaging 14 points and nine rebounds per night in 28 minutes worth of playing time in the 2010-11 season to averaging a mere six points on 39 percent shooting to go along with six boards per? The forward who started in 66 games last year has only started in nine games this season and is receiving less time than his fellow big-man teammates in Cousins and Thompson.
Hickson's in only his fourth year and was a regular starter for the Cavaliers in the two years before he went to Sacramento. It's unbelievably disappointing to see how far Hickson's game has fallen off since getting traded to the Kings for Omer Casspi.
If Hickson wants to feel any better, I hope he knows that the Cavaliers and Casspi aren't working out too well. Then again, J.J. has been so awful in his first year with the Kings that it wouldn't be surprising if the team went into another direction with Hickson before the deadline.
He's proven in the past that he's capable of being a competent starter, which makes him more valuable than probably anyone else on this list. The Kings could use some veteran help in the back and frontcourt, as well as a born leader that could actually give this team some direction.
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The Minnesota Timberwolves are overstocked on frontcourt players.
Among those members include Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Darko Milicic, Brad Miller, Nikola Pekovic, Anthony Tolliver and, of course, Anthony Randolph.
Besides Miller, Randolph is receiving less playing time than all of those players. He's played in only 18 games and is averaging 12 minutes of playing time when he does find himself playing in games. It's not difficult to find out why once you look at Randolph's statistics this season.
Randolph is averaging six points on 50 percent shooting and three boards per game. It's extremely disappointing especially after 23 games with Minnesota last year, where he averaged 12 points and five boards per. He's had a roller-coaster ride of a career where he's averaged as much as 12 points and as little as two points, which was the case with the New York Knicks.
He got playing time in his first two years with the Golden State Warriors and even started 22 games in his rookie year. Since his rookie campaign in the 2008-09 season, Randolph has started in 14 games, which includes none this year. It's not saying much really considering he's battling for playing time with three other power forwards, including an MVP candidate.
Much like Austin Daye, Randolph is incredibly tall and lanky. He does make an effort to drive and score near the rim, but it's too easy to utilize for an opposing player to utilize his strength and back him down. Just imagine if Randolph attempted to defend a forward like Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge on the low block.
The Timberwolves could use some scoring in their backcourt. Their leading scorer at the one and two is Luke Ridnour, averaging 11 points per on 44 percent shooting. Him, Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea are the three leading scorers in the backcourt and they're all point guards. Obviously, there's a need for a shooting guard.
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A solid defensive talent and that's about it. Golden State Warriors power forward Ekpe Udoh has continued to showcase some impressive defense against opposing players at the four, but has actually regressed on the offensive end of the floor.
In his rookie season, Udoh averaged four points on 44 percent shooting. Twenty-five games into his sophomore season, Udoh is averaging four points on 39 percent shooting. Not much has been learned. Udoh is still awkward on offense, has no go-to move for scoring and doesn't have much of an offensive game in the slightest unless he's close to the rim.
The Warriors should have seen that coming. Udoh might have averaged 14 points in 35 minutes per at Baylor, but averaged only six points in 26 minutes per game in the previous season at Michigan. He shot 49 percent or less in all three of his seasons at the NCAA level and was mostly recognized as a shot blocker and rebounder.
Udoh doesn't have much offense, but he has enough defense to average nearly 20 minutes worth of game time with the Warriors for his first two years in the league. He's averaging nearly two blocks per on account of his quick feet, long arms and great timing, and it's kept him relevant in the Bay Area.
However, the Warriors need some help in other places that Udoh cannot fix. The team needs some scoring off the bench and a defensive stopper or two in the backcourt. Udoh is the most valuable and expnedable player on this squad and could reel in a few potential suitors if the Warriors allow him to be used as trade bait.