Ranking the Most Coveted Players on the 2012-13 NBA Trade Block

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterFebruary 2, 2013

Ranking the Most Coveted Players on the 2012-13 NBA Trade Block

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    The NBA trade block chooses you, not the other way around.

    A player might be on the block whether his team wants to trade him or not. Unresolved contract situations could force a team's hand or at least open its ears to incoming offers.

    Players who have uncertain futures with their current teams are the ones most likely to be coveted.

    There's some available talent on the block this year that can change the complexion of a roster. Adding one of these players could be the difference between the lottery and the playoffs or a parade and an early tee time.

9. Jason Terry, Boston Celtics

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    With the roster depleted and title hopes deflated, the Boston Celtics will be a target for many buyers at the deadline. Jason Terry is sure to be a player who will be mentioned among general managers.

    With injuries mounting, teams have begun inquiring whether Boston is willing to trade Jason Terry to get under luxury tax, sources say.

    — Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 1, 2013

    Even Terry, who's been somewhat quiet in his first year in green, would be a sneaky add for a playoff team looking for scoring depth and experience. Though he's not the playmaker he once was, Terry's ability to make shots will attract teams who have role players who can't.

8. Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings

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    Tyreke Evans has been beat up physically, but he's back on the court and is producing for the Kings.

    Sacramento is guilty of diminishing Evans' trade value by overcrowding its backcourt. Over the past few years, the Kings added Isaiah Thomas, Jimmer Fredette, Marcus Thornton and Aaron Brooks. They've taken the ball out of Evans' hands, and his consistency has suffered.

    Still, Evans is only 23 years old and possesses a versatile skill set in the backcourt or on the wing. There will be teams out there courting Evans' athleticism and playmaking ability while offering him more freedom on the offensive side of the ball.

    The Kings should be actively shopping Evans, who currently has no defined role with this organization. An extension wasn't reached this summer, and it appears this relationship has run its course.

7. Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz

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    One of the rare true post scorers in the game, Al Jefferson's production will come at a price. A team that's looking to acquire him should either be prepared to cough up the dough or give up long-term assets for a short-term one.

    Jefferson is an impending free agent and is likely to command somewhere near a max contract on the open market. He'd also require a bigger trade offer than Paul Millsap, Utah's other impending free-agent forward.

    Giving up youth and draft picks for a guy who could leave after the year is a risky play. Whoever targets him should be looking to go all in on Jefferson. That said, he is a difference-maker, and he'll be coveted when the deadline rolls around.

    You wonder if teams like the Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic would make an offer, using their potential top-five draft picks as trade bait. This draft class lacks star power, and Jefferson can provide the consistent scoring presence all these teams lack. 

    At the end of the day, Millsap is the one more likely to get dealt. Jefferson might be the better player, but Millsap has the better value.

6. J.J. Redick, Orlando Magic

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    J.J. Redick is an impending free agent, and the Orlando Magic will be approaching an important decision.

    Without any star talent on the roster, Orlando may want to save up some cash to prepare for bigger fish down the road or use him as bait to reel in valuable draft picks. Though the Magic certainly don't want to lose Redick, overpaying him this summer won't help in the short term and could restrict them in the long term.

    He's having a breakout year, averaging over 15 points a game, and has expanded his offensive repertoire to the point where he's no longer just a catch-and-shoot player. In addition to his scoring, Redick has become a capable facilitator, averaging 4.4 assists per game.

    Playoff teams with ball-dominant scorers who attract attention would love to add Redick as a complementary shot-maker. Just having him spread the floor would be a huge benefit.

    The Celtics have been rumored to be targeting Redick, according to a tweet by ESPN's Marc Stein, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Chicago Bulls make an offer as well.

5. Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz

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    Paul Millsap is another impact player in the final year of his contract. With the Utah Jazz employing an army in the frontcourt (Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter), you'd imagine they would make him available.

    Millsap's ability to score in the post and offer a physical presence down low should attract teams with inactive frontcourts. This isn't a guy you feature, but he earns his points and rebounds without disrupting the flow of the offense.

    His value on the open market is still to be determined, so it's unclear how much teams will be willing to pay for his services via the trade. Millsap should be more heavily coveted than Al Jefferson, who will command bigger offers and a contract that he probably doesn't deserve.

    There should be plenty of conversation between general manager Dennis Lindsey and the rest of the league regarding Millsap's availability.

4. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics

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    Paul Pierce is on the trade block whether he's being actively shopped or not. Suitors will be calling in with offers, and Danny Ainge will be listening with open ears.

    Though 35 years old, Pierce can still fill the role of a go-to scorer, even if he may be better suited as a No. 2 scorer at this stage of his career.

    Piece makes sense for a team looking for a final piece to the puzzle, whether its goal is to win a title or just reach the playoffs. A roster like Dallas makes sense, which is operating in win-now mode with an older nucleus of players.

3. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Regardless of what the Lakers front office says, you'd be naive to think they won't be entertaining offers for Pau Gasol at the deadline.

    Teams could view this as an opportunity to buy low.

    While it appears his value is on the decline, much of his dropoff can be related to the drastic change that's taken place on the court and on the chalkboard.

    A team like the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are searching for one more established player, has a surplus of young, expendable talent that they can throw the Lakers way.

    Ricky Rubio already made his pitch, saying Minnesota would be "more than welcome" to take Gasol off L.A.'s hands.

    There should be a concentrated market for Gasol, consisting of teams which lack an interior scoring option.

2. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks

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    This is Josh Smith's ninth season in the NBA, and we're still trying to determine his value. Is he just a high-profile name or an actual game-changer?

    Regardless, Smith should attract a number of deadline buyers based on his overall versatility. With the ability to play both the 3 and the 4, there will be more positions available for him to potentially fill.

    It's possible that a team with no star power at all makes a push for Smith, like the Phoenix Suns (via Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld) or a playoff team attempting to inject athleticism into its lineup.

    Without the ability to create, Smith would fare best playing alongside established playmakers. When he struggles, it's usually the result of him forcing the issue offensively.

    He's still a two-way threat who can finish off the ball and provide defensive range. Atlanta's phone bill should be higher than usual in the month of February.

1. Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks have failed to come to terms on an extension. Twenty-nine other teams should be very happy about that, even though he's a restricted free agent (Milwaukee can match any offer).

    At only 23 years old, Jennings already has a big-time game and is an All-Star-caliber guard.

    He does shoot a less-than-stellar 40.4 percent from the floor, but that number would surely increase if he didn't average 16.6 shots per game.

    Jennings is the top player on the board without a contract for next year and will be heavily coveted as the trade deadline nears. He's the prize on the block if he does in fact get moved.