NBA Trade Rumors: Ranking the Biggest Names on the Block
The firing of Mike Brown in Los Angeles and trade of James Harden to Houston proves that NBA teams are no longer wasting time turning rumor into actual action this season.
While that's undoubtedly titillating for those of us following the rumor mill, it also has to be rough on the players. Some guys have been on the block for months, knowing each game may be their last with teammates and a city they've grown to know.
Who is the best among those worried players? Here is a look at rankings of all the guys we know to be on the trade block through two weeks of the 2012-13 NBA season.
5. Raja Bell (SG, Utah Jazz)
Essentially banished from the team, the broken relationship between the Utah Jazz and Raja Bell is one of the more under-the-radar stories this season.
Though he's 36 years old, Bell is a guy who can fit in as a ninth or 10th man, especially on a contender looking for help on the outside. With a manageable $3.5 million salary, he's also not exorbitantly expensive and could be acquired for pinnace.
That's likely why the Minnesota Timberwolves have looked into trading for Bell, according to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda:
Adelman said there have been internal discussions about whom the team might add. That list likely includes free-agent wings Mikael Pietrus, Josh Howard and Chris Douglas-Roberts along with Utah's Raja Bell, who has been exiled from the Jazz.
Considering the rampant injuries in Minnesota, that could be a marriage that works. Bell isn't the sexiest name out there, but he's a guy who will be effective when given the chance.
That just won't happen in Utah this season.
4. DeJuan Blair (PF, San Antonio Spurs)
Though he's played nearly 20 minutes per game this season, there is no denying DeJuan Blair is essentially wading water with the San Antonio Spurs.
The team put out feelers during the offseason for the young forward, who fell out of rotation during last year's playoffs. Nonetheless, Blair is still very much available, according to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy:
Blair has been on the block for awhile. The Spurs worked the phones in the days leading up to the 2012 NBA Draft, gauging interest in the 23-year-old. They didn’t receive an offer that blew them away so they decided to hold onto Blair, but that doesn’t mean he’s suddenly part of the Spurs’ plan going forward.
At just 23 years old, Blair has to be intriguing for some teams. He's never going to develop into anything but a solid rotational player, but he's a consistently effective big who plays way above his 6'7" frame.
With career per-36-minute splits of 15 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, it stands to reason that a team would eventually over a heavily protected first-rounder for Blair's services.
3. Derrick Williams (PF, Minnesota Timberwolves)
Thought by some to be a better prospect than Kyrie Irving coming out of college, things have not gone to plan for Derrick Williams. The Minnesota Timberwolves power forward has struggled mightily to make the NBA transition and is essentially playing a place-holder role until Kevin Love's return.
With Williams' oscillating importance within the roster quite apparent, it's not exactly a shock that the team would consider moving him. According to 1500 ESPN, Williams (along with Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea) is among the most likely players to be traded by Minnesota:
As for other Wolves trade talks, all is quiet. But the internal belief is that dialogue will pick up after all teams play 15 games.
The Wolves are still expected to be busy before February's trade deadline. [Derrick] Williams and guards Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea are the names cited most by the sources.
Williams being on the block may cause a lot of interest due to name recognition. However, it's unclear whether he actually has the talent necessary to be a consistent contributor. For that reason, if I'm the Timberwolves, I'm jumping at any good offer I get for Williams while he still has value.
2. Jose Calderon (PG, Toronto Raptors)
On the trade block since the offseason, there is no longer a question about whether Jose Calderon will leave the Toronto Raptors. The only questions are: where he will go, when it will happen and what the Raptors will get in return.
We also know that it won't be happening now. Starting point guard Kyle Lowry is currently out with an ankle injury, and with Toronto attempting to battle back from a slow start, Calderon will be necessary to keep the ship afloat.
Luckily, a return to the starting lineup has also seen a return to form from the 31-year-old Spaniard. In three starts this season, Calderon has averaged 14.5 points, 11 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game, looking every bit like the player we saw in the Olympics.
Those numbers should stabilize at Calderon's career figures, but he should be a nice addition to any team that needs guard help—especially considering his commitment to staying professional during the process (per ESPN's Marc Stein).
1. Anderson Varejao (PF, Cleveland Cavaliers)
Speaking of guys whose trade values are skyrocketing, Anderson Varejao has been nothing short of sensational this season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers power forward had perhaps his best career game Tuesday night, scoring 35 points and grabbing 18 rebounds against the Brooklyn Nets. However, it hasn't been an isolated incident. Varejao is currently averaging a career high in points and rebounds, all while looking even better than he was before injury last season.
Still, that won't stop the Cavs from moving their forward for the right price, according to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy:
Varejao’s name will be mentioned in plenty of trade scenarios between now and the February deadline since he’s in the prime of his career and Cleveland is still in the rebuilding phase. With that said, it’ll take an attractive offer for the Cavaliers to part ways with him.
Considering Varejao is 30 years old, only contending teams will bother making calls. He likely has just two or three years left as a starter-worthy player, so that also keeps his value in a strange gray area.
Either way, in a one-season vacuum, he's possibly the best player available that wouldn't necessitate a superstar-for-superstar deal.