The chances that every NBA team makes a trade during the course of the 2012-13 season is as close to zero as you can get. But what if every NBA team was required to put one player on the trade block? Predicting who would make that list for every NBA team is easy in some cases, but much more convoluted in others.
Some NBA teams have looked like legitimate championship contenders with their current roster, so the chances they stand pat with the guys they have is a high possibility.
Other teams may be one or two key pieces away from competing on the highest level, and others still are dwelling in the NBA cellar, possibly looking to sever ties with bad contracts and/or locker room distractions.
Teams will be split into six groups of five based upon the likelihood that they’ll make a trade moving forward. For instance, teams with championship pedigree and/or aspirations will likely keep their roster intact, while teams with obvious trade needs will find themselves higher on the list.
So who may end up on your favorite team’s trading block before the deadline? Read on to find out.
Note: All statistics in this article are accurate as of Jan. 6, 2013 (prior to games played).
The following NBA teams can taste a championship on the horizon. They’ve been among the best competitors so far with the talent on paper to live up to the hype. The chances that these teams end up making a trade of any kind moving forward is remote at best, but here are their most likely trade candidates.
Los Angeles Clippers: Willie Green
The Clippers are probably the least likely team to make a trade. They have one of the best rosters in the entire NBA via their stars and depth, with great team chemistry to boot. If they do make a trade, Willie Green is a likely candidate to open up some more playing time for the young Eric Bledsoe and veteran Chauncey Billups (when he returns from injury).
Miami Heat: Dexter Pittman
Again, Miami is a team with no need for a trade. They won the NBA title last season with less overall talent and key injuries to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Dexter Pittman would be a throwaway option for other teams because his contract expires this summer. He has some potential as a big body, but his NBA career likely won’t have many highlights.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Eric Maynor
Maynor is a great perimeter defender with solid NBA potential. His young career has been marred by injuries though, and playing behind Russell Westbrook in OKC isn’t the best situation for his overall development. He’ll be a free agent by season’s end, so OKC may look to get some value in return for him…but that’s not very likely.
Memphis Grizzlies: Jerryd Bayless
If there’s anything the Memphis Grizzlies need, it’s a three-point shooting threat. As a team, the Grizzlies rank 29th in the league in three-point field goals made per game (only the Chicago Bulls make less attempts from long distance).
The Grizzlies have other options with potential at the backup point guard spot to take over for Bayless (Josh Selby and Tony Wroten). As a result, they could try to move Bayless for a three-point shooter at another position. However, this type of deal isn’t all too appealing for the Grizz.
New York Knicks: Amar’e Stoudemire
The Knicks reportedly already offered Stoudemire to nearly every NBA team in the league “for free” this past summer, according to Howard Beck of the New York Times. Considering that the Knicks got zero takers for the oft-injured former All-Star, the chances they find a suitor now are slim to none.
The Knicks are finally playing with great chemistry. Carmelo Anthony is the unquestioned leader, J.R. Smith is in the running for Sixth Man of the Year and all the wily veterans seem rejuvenated. If the Knicks can’t move the only player they want to move, don’t expect a deal.
The following teams don’t have much to gain from making a deal. They don’t have the assets available to make a positive trade, they’re trapped into contracts too difficult to move or making a trade simply doesn’t make sense at the moment. Here are five teams with a low probability of making a deal.
Atlanta Hawks: Devin Harris
Nobody on Atlanta’s roster stands out as a possible trade chip, but Devin Harris seems to be the most likely candidate.
Harris was acquired this offseason for Marvin Williams and he’s enduring one of his least productive seasons since his rookie year (7.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.7 rebounds per game coupled with injury woes). As a result, his expiring contract is what teams would be after unless he can somehow return to form.
The Hawks have looked great this season following the addition by subtraction trade that sent Joe Johnson to Brooklyn. Atlanta has a chance at making a splash in free agency this summer, so adding contracts to hinder them before then isn’t in their best interest.
Brooklyn Nets: Kris Humphries
Following back-to-back seasons in which Kris Humphries averaged a double-double, his minutes are down and he’s averaging just 7.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He’s essentially been replaced by Andray Blatche, who offers more athleticism and scoring.
Teams may look to acquire Humphries’ services, but his hefty contract would be a deterrent. The Nets, meanwhile, are better off building team chemistry for a playoff run.
Indiana Pacers: David West
Given the fact that David West is Indiana’s leading scorer, it makes little sense to see him on the trading block. With that said, West has a $10 million expiring contract this season. If the Pacers could get a guy of equal or greater value in return, with the incentive being that their trade partner gets money off the books, a deal could happen.
But again, this isn’t all too likely. What the Pacers really need is Danny Granger to return.
Chicago Bulls: Carlos Boozer
Much like the Indiana Pacers, the Chicago Bulls simply need their injured star (Derrick Rose) to return. As a result, trade scenarios from either squad aren’t all too likely.
Considering that Carlos Boozer is owed $47.1 million over the next three seasons, it would be nothing short of a miracle if the Bulls could find a viable trade partner. That’s especially true when you consider the fact that Chicago may choose to amnesty Boozer moving forward. Why would a team trade for a guy who could become available via amnesty auction?
Perhaps the Bulls could sweeten the pot by taking on a chunk of his salary, but ultimately they may just choose to keep him.
Golden State Warriors: Richard Jefferson/Andris Biedrins
The Golden State Warriors are playing tremendous basketball with a young core of great talent. Unfortunately, the Warriors are locked into a slew of egregious contracts. Richard Jefferson: two years, $10,164,000. Andris Biedrins: two years, $9 million. And that doesn’t even mention Andrew Bogut’s injury-riddled body: two years, $13 million.
The Warriors need to move forward with their young players, but they’re hindering that growth by paying bench guys way too much money. If they can find any NBA team to take on those contracts (highly unlikely) they should pull the trigger on a trade.
These NBA teams are a bit of an enigma. They don’t have the lowest overall chance of making a trade compared to other teams. But again, there isn’t much incentive for them to mix up the roster mostly because they have young talent with potential for the coming years (except San Antonio, a veteran contender with one logical trade chip).
San Antonio Spurs: DeJuan Blair
DeJuan Blair’s name has been seen in trade rumors for quite some time. Way back in July of last year, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports’ Pro Basketball Talk wrote about the possibility of Blair getting moved.
Blair was an integral part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs rotation for a while, but fell out of favor in the postseason last year and so far this season. Trading Blair makes a lot of sense because of that, but his name has been in rumors for many months now with no resolve.
It’s possible that San Antonio is waiting for the best deal to come along. However, as Blair is in the final year of his current contract, they’ll need to decide sooner rather than later if he’s in their future plans.
New Orleans Hornets: Al-Farouq Aminu
Al-Farouq Aminu was one of the centerpieces coming to New Orleans in the Chris Paul trade. The 22-year-old forward had a nice start to the 2012-13 season and appeared to be embracing his potential.
On opening night against the San Antonio Spurs, Aminu finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals. He had a few nice games after that, but injuries and poor play have seen him swivel in and out of the Hornets’ rotation.
Recently, Hornets head coach Monty Williams said of Aminu, “When he plays with energy, defends and runs the floor […], that’s how he earns minutes,” via John Reid of the Times Picayune.
The Hornets have a lot of frontcourt players that need minutes. If Aminu doesn’t fit with the Hornets’ young core with free agency looming, New Orleans may test the trade waters to see what offers they can get.
Philadelphia 76ers: Spencer Hawes
The Philadelphia 76ers have a ragtag roster mixed with veterans, youngsters and players on one-year deals. Short of getting Andrew Bynum back (don’t hold your breath, Philly fans), it doesn’t appear as if the Sixers have many options.
Jrue Holiday is probably the only “untouchable” player on the roster in terms of a trade, but Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner are still working toward their full potential.
If the future plans still include Bynum, Philly could look to trade Spencer Hawes (one of the team’s three centers). The Sixers need a legitimate power forward beside Bynum so that Young is no longer playing out of position in the post (even though the small-ball lineup works at times).
Hawes is a talented big man who passes extremely well and can shoot from the outside, so other teams would likely show interest if he were to become available.
Houston Rockets: Royce White
Even though the troubled young Houston Rockets forward is not openly seeking a trade, according to Henry Abbott of ESPN, we have to wonder how long this saga can continue before some sort of resolution is met.
Royce White has yet to play a single NBA minute this season due to mental health problems, a plot line that recently led the Rockets to suspend White "for refusing to provide services required by his contract," according to ESPN.
White is incredibly talented and may have been drafted in the top 10 in 2012 were it not for the mental health issues. With that said, the Rockets are playing well without him. If they could find the right suitor, a trade may end up being mutually beneficial for both parties involved.
Portland Trail Blazers: Jared Jeffries
Defensive specialist Jared Jeffries was signed to a three-year deal worth more than $4.6 million this offseason. So far for Portland, Jeffries is averaging just nine minutes per game.
Considering that the Trail Blazers have Nic Batum as the starting small forward, a far more offensively inclined player than Jeffries who also plays great defense, it makes sense that Jeffries doesn’t receive much playing time.
If a team contending for a championship decides to overpay for a defensive stopper like Jeffries for a playoff run, Portland should explore a deal since he doesn’t seem to fit their current scheme.
Nevertheless, the Trail Blazers have a great core of young talent. Perhaps they should just let that grow before mixing things up.
These NBA teams are on the fence when it comes to trades. Of all the groups listed, they may very well have the toughest decisions to make moving forward. Most have players that can help their team to an enormous degree, but trading them is just as viable of an argument as keeping them around.
Boston Celtics: Paul Pierce/Jeff Green
In terms of making a trade, the Boston Celtics can go one of two ways.
Option A would be trading Celtics’ legend and future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce. This would be a difficult move for Celtics fans to stomach when you consider everything Pierce has done for the franchise, but he’s making a ton of money for the next two years and can still provide a championship-caliber boost to other teams in the league.
Option B would center on a trade package including Jeff Green. Green was signed to a big contract this offseason and in many ways is seen as the successor to Pierce. However, the 26-year-old forward has struggled to play up to his potential.
If the Celtics want to keep their Rondo/Pierce/Garnett core in place while mixing things up, Green is the most likely trade candidate.
For the record, I have a gut feeling that the Celtics will eventually make some sort of deal. But I don’t see that deal including Pierce.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Anderson Varejao
The Cleveland Cavaliers are trapped in the NBA cellar with an 8-27 record in the Eastern Conference. They’re not going to compete for a championship any time soon, and Varejao may not be around when they’re ready to do so.
The talent and hustle Varejao brings to the table is well documented. He’s having a career year this season, leading the league in rebounds with 14.4 per game.
Despite that fact, Varejao is very injury-prone (he’s missed nine consecutive games due to a knee injury). When he comes back, the Cavaliers should listen to any and all offers. He’d be a tremendous help to a contending team, but he’d come at a steep cost because his stock is at an all-time high.
Perhaps the Celtics (the league’s worst rebounding team) will get involved in trade talks. The package around Jeff Green may be very appealing to the Cavs as they continue to build around Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Henderson
The Charlotte Bobcats need a lot of help, there’s no doubt about it. They jump-started their season with a 6-4 start, but have struggled mightily since then.
Gerald Henderson receives a lot of criticism for his up-and-down play, but he’s shooting a career-best 51.5 percent from long range this season. His stock isn’t anywhere near the selling point of a guy like Varejao, but Charlotte may be able to get pieces in return to help them along in the rebuilding process.
Trading Henderson isn’t likely, however.
Washington Wizards: Trevor Ariza
The Washington Wizards have truly shot themselves in the proverbial foot via their poor management decisions. They have ugly contracts by way of Emeka Okafor, Nene and Trevor Ariza, as well as underperforming young players in Bradley Beal and Jan Vesely.
Nothing is going right for the Wizards right now, so any change would be appreciated.
Ariza is having a terrible year and his contract leaves a lot to be desired, so trading him may not be possible. With that said, he does bring a defensive mindset to the game and he has valuable playoff experience. There’s an outside chance a contender could come knocking.
Los Angeles Lakers: Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol’s name has been thrown around in rumors for what feels like a decade at this point. Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers’ coaching staff seem to have no idea how to utilize Gasol’s talents, and as a result, he rarely plays in crunch time.
That’s truly an absurd change of events even with Gasol’s recent struggles. He was the leader of an Olympic basketball team just this past summer.
Anyway, if the Lakers can’t figure out how to utilize Gasol within the system, trading him is a possible solution. Granted, the correct solution is figuring out how to use him effectively, but we’ll see how long the struggling Lakers can go before making a rash decision.
For one reason or another, the following NBA teams need to shake things up. Key factors including fan frustrations, the need to rebuild and/or having players who just flat out don’t fit on the roster make up this section. These teams would be wise to consider a deal (any deal) moving forward.
Phoenix Suns: Michael Beasley
If you were an NBA owner, would you trade for Michael Beasley and his $18 million contract? No? Well congratulations, you passed the test.
Beasley has been absolutely abysmal for the Phoenix Suns. Despite superstar potential, Beasley is averaging career lows in points (9.6 per game), rebounds (3.5 per game) and field-goal percentage (at an atrocious 37.2 percent).
There’s no question that the Suns would have to add other players to any Beasley deal to make a trade work, but even then there’s no guarantee.
According to Shaun Powell via Twitter (referenced by ArizonaSports.com), a Suns source labeled Beasley “toxic” and a shakeup may be in the works.
Suns fans can only hope that’s true (the shakeup, not Beasley being a locker room cancer).
Dallas Mavericks: Rodrigue Beaubois
The Dallas Mavericks started off the year in style by beating the much-hyped Los Angeles Lakers without Dirk Nowitzki, but they’ve fallen back to earth and then some in the months since then.
The Mavs have a 13-21 record and are 2-8 in their past 10 contests. Even with Nowitzki getting worked back into the starting rotation, playoffs appear to be a long shot for this team.
Any number of Mavericks players could be traded moving forward, but the disappointing 24-year-old guard Rodrigue Beaubois may already be on the trade block. The young Frenchman was once thought to be the next Tony Parker, but he has struggled to find a niche in the NBA.
Now that the Mavs are getting solid contributions from Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo, Beaubois is even more expendable.
Detroit Pistons: Tayshaun Prince
Tayshaun Prince is the last remaining remnant of the Detroit Pistons’ championship team of old. He’s the consummate professional who goes about his business on a nightly basis despite playing for a lackluster team.
Not only would a change of scenery be good for Prince if he could find his way to a contender, but it would also be good for Detroit since they’d separate entirely from a past that they’ve screwed up so badly.
Orlando Magic: J.J. Redick
J.J. Redick has always been known as a sharpshooting guard, but this year he’s putting himself in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation with his contributions in other categories.
Redick is averaging 4.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game (both career highs) while shooting 90.1 percent from the charity stripe. He’s been a key piece for the Orlando Magic this season, a team which has played better than expectations.
Nevertheless, trading Redick to get value in return would further aid the rebuilding process in Orlando. Contending teams looking for instant offense off the bench may be willing to pay a premium for a guy like Redick.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams
As an Arizona Wildcat, I want to see Derrick Williams succeed at the NBA level. There’s still a chance for him to do so, but Minnesota doesn’t appear to be the best situation.
With Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger, Kevin Love and Dante Cunningham getting minutes, Williams’ opportunity to embrace his potential simply isn’t there.
As a former No. 2 overall selection, there’s likely to be plenty of NBA teams interested in adding his services. However, the T-Wolves may not part with him unless they get an offer they can’t refuse.
We’re now down to the final five NBA teams on the list. Unlike the majority of teams in the league, these five organizations need to make a deal moving forward. Whether that’s because current players are not great (or even good) fits, marquee players have expiring contracts or they need to address weaknesses by sacrificing some of their strengths, a trade seems inevitable for these squads.
Sacramento Kings: Tyreke Evans
Perhaps you expected to see the potential-packed immaturity of DeMarcus Cousins in this spot, but I doubt Sacramento would give up a guy with that level of talent before exhausting all other options. It simply wouldn’t be the wise decision.
While Cousins will likely be a member of the Kings for the foreseeable future, something needs to be done about the team’s logjam of a backcourt.
Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas, John Salmons, Aaron Brooks, Jimmer Fredette and Francisco Garcia make up the claustrophobic Kings’ backcourt. Of all of those players, Evans has the most trade value without question.
Since averaging 20.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game during his rookie season, Evans has been on a statistical decline for the past three seasons. He desperately needs a change of scenery, and because he’s young with great potential, the Kings can get value in return.
The problem, however, is that Evans’ stock is at an all-time low.
Milwaukee Bucks: Monta Ellis
Addition by subtraction trades are a fickle beast. They don’t always work out, but when they do, they usually work amazingly well.
Case in point is this year’s Golden State Warriors team without Monta Ellis. So far in 2012-13, the Warriors have a 22-11 record. Last season, the Warriors finished with 23 wins total.
The dueling banjos duo of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis was broken up in favor of a broken Andrew Bogut, who has played just four games this year. The Warriors have been vastly improved regardless.
The Milwaukee Bucks may need to make a similar decision with their dueling banjos: Ellis and Brandon Jennings.
The Bucks backcourt is a tremendous scoring tandem, but they provide very little defense and have close to no help in the frontcourt. If the Bucks decided to trade their leading scorer in Ellis, they can move forward with Jennings as the primary scorer.
Ideally, he’d have a new partner in crime who can defend and take care of the post.
Denver Nuggets: Wilson Chandler/Anthony Randolph/Timofey Mozgov
The Denver Nuggets have sputtered to a 19-16 overall record despite being one of the league's most consistent teams last season. They score efficiently, they share the ball and they grab a lot of rebounds, but they’re still ranked in the bottom third (22nd) in the NBA in opponent points per game.
The Nuggets have a lot of similar players on the roster by way of athletic swingmen who can score the ball. There’s just a piece missing to the puzzle here.
I don’t think any Nuggets player is exempt from a trade given the right offer, but Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph and Timofey Mozgov could all be names that fit better elsewhere.
Toronto Raptors: Andrea Bargnani
For a team with a logo as vicious as the Raptors, they don’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of opponents. That comes in large part because of Andrea Bargnani. While he is a great shooter, he’s also one of the softest players in the NBA.
Amir Johnson, Ed Davis and Jonas Valanciunas are all capable of changing that stigma. However, the Raptors first need to move on from the former No. 1 overall pick to make that change a reality.
Toronto isn’t close to competing for a championship, and playoff aspirations for this year appear to be a pipe dream. If they can find a taker for a seven-footer who doesn’t defend or rebound, embracing a new future would be the wisest choice.
Utah Jazz: Al Jefferson/Paul Millsap
Both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are in the final year of their contracts. From a financial standpoint, the Jazz won’t be able to keep both players on board past this season, as they’ll command hefty deals in free agency this summer.
On the bright side, the Jazz have both Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter ready to take over for a departed frontcourt star. Whether the departed will be Jefferson or Millsap, however, remains the million dollar question.
Both players are the same age, put up similar stats and have great work ethics. Logically speaking, the NBA trade market will dictate which player Utah decides to deal.