NBA Trade Speculation: 15 Players Guaranteed to Be Traded in the Offseason
It's time to get the NBA rumor mills churning! Even though the playoffs are currently in progress, let's get a little bit of early speculation about the trading season underway.
These are the 15 players who will be traded during the NBA offseason. At least, in my opinion.
Although I threw in sources to official rumors where I could, a lot of these are purely speculation on my part and don't have any hard quotes to back them up.
Let's find out who they are.
Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 11.5 points, 1.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds
Even though Michael Beasley hasn't been able to earn as many minutes with the Minnesota Timberwolves as he would with various other teams around the NBA, he remains a talented scorer and rebounder.
However, Beasley only earned 23.1 minutes per game this season due to the presences of Kevin Love, Wesley Johnson, Anthony Randolph and Derrick Williams, among others.
This young small forward still has time to reach his potential, but the return the T'Wolves would get in a trade outweighs whatever benefit they get from bringing him off the bench.
Team: Sacramento Kings
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 16.5 points, 4.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds
Tyreke Evans is a talented young player, but he just doesn't have much of a role on the Sacramento Kings ever since the precipitous decline following his stellar rookie season.
The Kings have experimented with Evans' position in the lineup, throwing him out at point guard, shooting guard and even small forward on various nights. Now it's time for them to experiment even further and try to trade the former Memphis Tiger.
The Sacramento Bee's Ailene Voisin recently reported that the team's executives are ready and willing to listen to trade offers for Evans throughout the summer.
Team: Portland Trail Blazers
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 11.4 points, 6.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds
It's becoming more and more clear that the Portland Trail Blazers and Raymond Felton do not have a future together.
After the 27-year-old point guard struggled through another disappointing season, one that included benchings and losses of playing time to Jamal Crawford, it's time for him to be on his way out.
I'd expect the unnamed future general manager of the Blazers to cut ties with Felton and look to address the position in either free agency or the draft.
Team: Chicago Bulls
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 7.7 points, 0.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds
Refusing to trade Taj Gibson thus far has worked out nicely for the Chicago Bulls, as he's been an integral part of the team's success while coming off the bench. But at some point, the Bulls have to trade him away.
Gibson is a high-energy player who is quite underutilized. Unfortunately, though, he's not going to be thrust into a larger role than the 20.4 minutes per game he averaged this season while a healthy Carlos Boozer is in the starting lineup.
There are quite a few teams who may be willing to take a gamble and hope that Gibson's bench success will translate into effectiveness while starting.
Team: New Orleans Hornets
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 20.6 points, 3.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds
Eric Gordon is a restricted free agent this summer, but he's going to command a high enough price that I'd be very surprised if he didn't end up forcing the New Orleans Hornets into a sign-and-trade situation.
No one realistically has any idea where Gordon is going to wind up playing during the 2012-2013 season, but it doesn't seem as though New Orleans is going to be the answer.
Team: Orlando Magic
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 20.6 points, 1.9 assists, 14.5 rebounds
While leaving Dwight Howard off this list would be absolutely silly on my part, I also refuse to discuss the annoying big man's trade situation any further at the current moment.
As we learned over and over throughout the 2011-2012 season, no one actually has any idea what's going on in the mind of Dwight Howard.
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 12.4 points, 5.5 assists, 6.1 rebounds
How many times have you seen Andre Iguodala's name appear in trade rumors?
It seems as though he, Dwight Howard, Monta Ellis and Josh Smith are the players who all appear in these sorts of things. You've already seen Howard's name and I promise you'll see one of the other two as well, so don't worry.
The swingman is a great, versatile talent who can absolutely help any contender in the league, or any team for that matter.
Fresh off the relative success of his team in the playoffs, Iggy's stock may not ever be much higher.
Team: Milwaukee Bucks
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 19.1 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds
Brandon Jennings was put on the trading block during this season, but no move was made to ship him out of town and the Milwaukee Bucks brass instead brought in Monta Ellis to form a talented backcourt duo.
That said, there might not be enough shots to go around in that backcourt over the course of an entire season.
The point guard who improved so much this season has never made any pretense of being happy in Milwaukee, so it wouldn't surprise me whatsoever to see him traded away before any true unhappiness is allowed to surface.
SlamOnline.com reported the following after the Bucks were essentially eliminated from postseason play:
The Journal Times reports: “As the Milwaukee Bucks’ deeply-disappointing season comes to a merciful end, their deep-seeded frustrations are starting to surface. After the Bucks were virtually eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoffs in a loss Friday to the Indiana Pacers, Bucks starting point guard Brandon Jennings publicly expressed what many of his teammates had privately felt for months. ‘Some guys have the mind-set of winning on the team and some guys just don’t,’ Jennings said.
Jennings then indirectly took a shot at Bucks general manager John Hammond, assistant general manager Jeff Weltman and coach Scott Skiles, the three biggest personnel decision-makers in the organization next to owner Herb Kohl. ‘We traded a lot of pieces I feel like we should have kept,’ Jennings said. ‘But that’s part of the business and you’ve got to roll with it.’”
Team: Houston Rockets
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 17.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists
Kevin Martin has always been a gifted scorer with a knack for drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line, but he may be doing what he does best in a different uniform during the 2012-2013 season.
The Houston Rockets are not in a position to truly contend next season and there isn't going to be a quick, easy fix. With Martin on the books for a hefty sum this upcoming season but ready to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013, dealing him may be the best way to maximize his value to the franchise.
There are quite a few teams who would be willing to give up a good bit of talent for Martin's services. Don't be surprised if he winds up on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Team: Portland Trail Blazers
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 13.7 points, 1.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds
After Brandon Roy was forced to retire prematurely, the reins were handed over to Wesley Matthews at shooting guard. He was supposed to be the next important player for the Portland Trail Blazers, and this was supposed to be his breakout year.
He hasn't been, and it wasn't.
This entire season was a disappointment for Matthews and it may already be time for him to get a fresh start with a new team.
During a chat session in early March, John Hollinger echoed these sentiments:
"The Blazers will move pretty much anybody except Aldridge and Batum, and they might even move Batum if the right Canadian point guard came along. So yes, expect conversations involving Wallace, Felton, Crawford, Camby and Matthews."
That was before the trading deadline, but it doesn't mean it won't apply to the offseason as well.
Team: Memphis Grizzlies
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 12.6 points, 2.6 assists, 3.2 rebounds
It seems like O.J. Mayo is almost traded each and every time there's a trade deadline. This year, he was almost dealt for Ray Allen and shipped off to Boston along with a draft pick.
The problem is that Mayo's situation with the Memphis Grizzlies is doomed to fail down the road. For all the struggles he's endured during his three years in the league, Mayo is still a talented young player just waiting for the right situation.
Something about Mayo's play also hints at a desire to play elsewhere. Whenever he's on the court, he simply acts like he wants to be the man.
And with the Grizzlies, he most assuredly isn't.
Team: Dallas Mavericks (kind of)
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 6.6 points, 1.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds
Lamar Odom had an absolutely horrid season, both on and off the court, once he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. However, it seemed as though his problems were of the mental variety.
There's an infinitely small chance that he ever puts on a Dallas Mavericks uniform again, but some teams are undoubtedly going to be intrigued by the versatile skill-set that Odom brings to the table.
If his trade value is still positive after the Dallas drama, he will be traded.
Team: Detroit Pistons
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 12.7 points, 2.4 assists, 4.5 rebounds
If the Detroit Pistons want to complete the rebuilding process and start making a push for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, they're going to need to have a successful draft and start handing this team over to the young guys.
Greg Monroe is already one of the better big men in the league and he's only going to keep improving in his third season out of Georgetown. Brandon Knight struggled throughout his rookie season but still is overflowing with potential. Rodney Stuckey just finished putting together an incredibly underrated campaign at age 26.
Building the team around those three players is crucial, but that might mean dealing some of the veterans. Tayshaun Prince is a logical choice to trade because he still has enough value to dangle in front of other teams.
Team: Atlanta Hawks
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 18.8 points, 3.9 assists, 9.6 rebounds
It's becoming abundantly clear that the Atlanta Hawks have just about hit their ceiling. This isn't a championship squad, and it's not just missing one or two small pieces.
With Joe Johnson on the books for a ridiculous, potential albatross of a contract, another major piece is going to need to move if Rick Sund wants this team to make it over the hump.
The choices are Al Horford or Josh Smith, but the latter makes far more sense, especially because he's more frustrating and always in the trade rumors.
Smoove was a crucial part of the team's success, but he may have shot one too many long-range jumpers.
Team: Chicago Bulls
Position: Point guard
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 9.7 points, 4.1 assists, 2.1 rebounds
The current version of the NBA places a high priority on point guard play, which means that there is a market out there for a valuable backup floor general like C.J. Watson.
In relief of the oft-injured Derrick Rose (I hate that I had to use that modifier), Watson has averaged 11.3 points, 4.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game in just under 30 minutes of action per contest as a starter.
The Chicago Bulls may be hesitant to let him go, but they could get quite a bit in return.