Under-the-Radar NBA Players Destined to Be Traded Before the Trade Deadline

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2013

Under-the-Radar NBA Players Destined to Be Traded Before the Trade Deadline

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    Perhaps the most enchanting part of the NBA trade season comes in the months leading up to the trade deadline, when nearly every star on an underperforming team is said to be available.

    Typically, the actual trade deadline comes and goes without the widely reported blockbuster rumors ever taking shape. But that's not to suggest that the day lacks for movement or drama, either.

    Big names may dominate media coverage, but often the most important trades come when championship hopefuls become championship contenders with savvy, under-the-radar acquisitions.

    The 2013 rumor mill hasn't been short on name power, with Memphis Grizzlies Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, Los Angeles Laker Pau Gasol and Atlanta Hawk Josh Smith among the players already generating buzz.

    Any one of these players may ultimately be dealt prior to the Feb. 21 deadline, but there a slew of productive, oft-overlooked contributors much more likely to see a change of address in their immediate future.

Rodrigue Beaubois

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    Since bursting on the NBA scene with a wildly effective rookie season in 2009-10, Rodrigue Beaubois has failed to capitalize on the tantalizing potential he flashed then.

    He's shaved better than 20 percent off of his shooting numbers over the past three seasons, bottoming out at just 31.1 this year.

    His playing time, not surprisingly, his plummeted just the same. He's seen the floor just 11.1 minutes per game this season, a 10-minute drop from where he stood in the rotation one year ago.

    Why then would anyone come calling about the 6'2", 185-pounder?

    For starters, reserve point guards have taken on new meaning as this season has unfolded. The Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers have learned the importance of a reliable backup floor general all too well.

    He's also seen the dip in production coincide with a ravaging run of injuries. His foot, ankle and hand have all given him problems this season, and with so much of his game centered around his quickness and athleticism, those injuries have taken their toll.

    Whether an add-on as part of a larger trade or a stand-alone piece in a smaller one, this will finally be the season when the formerly enamored Mark Cuban becomes ready to cut the cord.

Derrick Williams

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    It's a concession that the Minnesota Timberwolves never wanted to make.

    No, not the fact that the season's lost (although it clearly is), but rather that the second overall pick in 2011 is more problem than solution.

    He's a 'tweener in the worst sense of the word. He doesn't have the size (6'8"), nor the footwork to beat defenders in the post and lacks the perimeter game (29.4 career three-point percentage) to find offense from the outside.

    Not a lot of real desirable qualities there, right?

    What Derrick Williams does have, though, is strength, energy and plenty of time for development (he won't 22 until May).

    His 41.5 career field-goal percentage and an overall subpar track record has diminished his value, but there's still enough potential positives for president of basketball operations David Kahn to sell to potential trade partners. He's reportedly being "shopped heavily" (according to what several sources told Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com).

J.J. Redick

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    At 14-25, the Orlando Magic have shown the kind of competitive spirit that appeared years away with the summer 2012 departure of Dwight Howard.

    But they're not exactly inspiring any playoff hopes.

    The Magic brought in some intriguing pieces in the Howard deal (Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless, notably), but are very much in the asset collection phase of the rebuilding process.

    With the roster still a jumbled mix of unproven talent and expensive holdovers from the franchise's attempt to build a championship contender around Howard, there aren't a lot of coveted pieces.

    But J.J. Redick is just the kind of player capable of pushing a franchise over the top.

    A knockdown shooter (38.4 three-point percentage on the season) and an underrated playmaker (4.5 assists per game), he's been known to hold his own on the defensive end as well.

    If his on-court exploits have Orlando GM Rob Hennigan's phone ringing off the hook, then Redick's expiring $6 million contract may have Hennigan's door knocked off its hinges.

Marcin Gortat

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    The Phoenix Suns made their intentions for the 2012-13 season clear when they fired coach Alvin Gentry.

    Despite some misguided preseason optimism that the club could compete despite the departures of Steve Nash and Grant Hill, the front office finally conceded that player development trumped wins and losses for the rest of the year (according to Brett Pollakoff of NBC Sports).

    Reading between the lines of the Suns' decision suggests that the soon-to-be 29-year-old center could be playing his final games as a member of the team.

    Once highly regarded as Dwight Howard's backup in Orlando, Marcin Gortat appeared on the brink of stardom last season (his first full season with the club). With 15.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game to go along with his gaudy 55.5 field-goal percentage, Gortat appeared a relative bargain with 1.5 years left on his five-year, $34 million contract.

    With statistical drops nearly across the board, he's no longer a door buster. But with just one year and $7.3 million left on his contract after this season, he's far from being a financial burden.

    Though he's lacking in upside, teams know what they'll be acquiring in Gortat. He's a big body (6'11", 240 pounds, according to NBA.com), packing enough offensive punch to be the third option on a contender.

    Phoenix is creeping toward fire-sale mode, so clubs looking for a productive, inexpensive center may find just what they're looking for here.

Tyreke Evans

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    While NBA teams have long been flooding the voicemail of Sacramento GM Geoff Petrie in attempts to pry Evans' teammate DeMarcus Cousins out of NoCal, there have also been inquiries made about the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year.

    Although he may go down as one of the rare players that peaked in their first NBA exposure (Tyreke Evans was just one of four rookies in league history to average at least 20 points, five assists and five rebounds), the 6'6", 220-pound shooting guard still holds some value among league executives.

    After three years of searching for it, he finally appears to have discovered a good enough perimeter threat (35.3 percent). But that's just part of the reason he's connected on a career-best 47.2 percent of his field-goal attempts. 

    Thanks to his puppeteer handles and fleet first step, Evans provides the kind of productive dribble drives that most of today's off-guards don't.

    Throw in his relentless defensive approach, continued activity on the glass (4.9 rebounds per game) and versatility (he's played both backcourt positions and the small forward spot), it's no wonder that the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics have all reportedly shown interest (according to Ailene Voison of the Sacramento Bee).

    The on-again, off-again reported sale of the club may limit what this front office is even allowed to do, but a slew of backcourt players already on the roster should make Evans expendable.

    Not to mention, Sacramento's decision not to offer him a contract extension, means he'll come free of any financial commitments beyond what's owed to him for the remainder of this season.

    Let the bidding wars begin.