4 NBA Teams That Will Be Most Active in Trade Talks This Season
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The NBA season is barely a month old and, to the surprise of most fans, there seems to be more parity than many people expected. The Memphis Grizzlies have risen in the West and the Miami Heat have yet to take control of the East. The New York Knicks have the league's best record and the Charlotte Bobcats already have five wins.
This newfound competitiveness is good for the NBA, and makes the prospect of an intriguing trade deadline more enticing. There are several teams in the league who could be looking to gain some talent or unload some contracts based on early season play.
Be it a move to improve or addition by subtraction, these four teams will have their own reasons for making big trades at some point this year.
It's been a long, hard fall for Tyreke Evans and the Kings could conceivably try to move him in order to build around their young talent.
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The Sacramento Kings have as much talent as any team in the league, they just don't know how to put it together. One thing is for sure—this team can score. It hasn't come about yet, but this young squad has proven in the last few seasons that scoring is not an issue.
The problem is defense, and the Kings are inarguably one of the league's most apathetic teams on that side of the court. This issue has come to a head in 2012, where the Kings are 24th in points allowed.
If the Kings want to improve, they'll need to put some effort in on defense. Luckily for them, they have a unique trade piece that could bring in several good defenders if they play their cards right.
A few years ago, you would have been crazy to think that Tyreke Evans could soon be on his way out of Sacramento, but the fact is he's just not that good anymore. He's averaging career lows in points and assists for the third straight year and simply hasn't improved since his stellar rookie season. The Kings have an exciting backup in Isaiah Thomas and could look to ship Evans since his usefulness seems to have run its course.
Evans may not be very good at the moment but he'll snag a bunch of good pieces on the trade market. If things don't improve as the season drags on, he could be in a new uniform before it's all said and done.
Kemba Walker is a rising star on a team that has surprised many people at the beginning of the year.
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We knew the Bobcats would be improved this season, if only because there was no way they'd be worse than last season. Interestingly enough, though, Charlotte is only two wins away from equalling last season's total and is a surprising second in the Southeast, behind Miami.
No, the Cats probably won't make the playoffs. But this is a young team with a talented core, and could benefit from some veteran leadership. Charlotte won't be looking to trade for a big name, but they could be looking for a Shane Battier-type player who can come in and provide stability and solid defense.
This would be especially true if the Bobcats somehow find a way to hang around for that eighth playoff spot in the East. It's hard to imagine that the notoriously trigger-happy Michael Jordan won't jump at the chance to give his team a better chance to win now.
Even if the Bobcats aren't in the hunt, there's no question that they'll pursue some kind of talent in the offseason. This team may be pretty bad now, but they've laid a strong foundation with Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The future is bright in Charlotte.
Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks may have to consider a trade or risk falling out of the NBA picture for what seems like the 10th year in a row.
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The Atlanta Hawks are "boring good." They make the playoffs every year but are never able to do anything significant. First they were stuck behind perennial contender Orlando, now it's Miami. The Hawks are a very good team, they just aren't as good as some others.
This above all else is the reason the Hawks probably need to trade for someone this season. Atlanta needs to avoid sinking into NBA irrelevance (although it may already be too late). Most people only know two players on the Hawks—Josh Smith and Joe Johnson, and they'd be wrong because Johnson doesn't even play there anymore (who knew?). Al Horford is underrated, but he's the only player on the cusp of being really good. The Hawks need a new face, someone who can inject some energy into the franchise like Joe Johnson did several years ago.
Who is that player? It's not very clear, but if the Hawks want to make any kind of impact on the NBA they need to grab one, most likely a scorer. It's a sad reality in Atlanta right now—no matter how hard they try with the current roster, they're still miles behind Miami in terms of readiness to win a title. There's only one way to change that, and the Hawks know it.
New York Knicks
Amare Stoudemire has been out for the duration of the season, but the Knicks are playing better than ever. They could use him as trade bait to grab a more important player.
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The biggest surprise of the early NBA season is probably the New York Knicks, who at 7-1 own the league's best record. The Knicks have a historically ancient roster but it hasn't seemed to matter. New York has shown amazing improvement on defense and Carmelo Anthony has improved his game to the point where he is no longer just a scorer.
Coach Mike Woodson has worked wonders with this squad, but there is still a wild card creating some rifts in terms of how the Knicks should move forward. The team is 7-1, and that's without the services of former All-Star Amare Stoudemire. This isn't the first time that Stoudemire's availability has been in question; he's dealt with injuries several times in the last few seasons. The difficult part for Stoudemire is that the Knicks don't exactly miss him when he's not on the court.
So this begs the question: should the Knicks trade Stoudemire? He has always been something of a defensive liability and the reason New York is off to a hot start is because they are allowing the fewest points in the league. Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby, while aging, have played very well, and Anthony has played some power forward as well.
The Knicks could use an infusion of youth into their lineup. Stoudemire isn't the player he used to be, but will still get a lot of looks on the trade market. The course of action seems clear. Trading Stoudemire would be addition by subtraction. The Knicks have proven they don't need him to win.