Marcin Gortat could be a difference maker for a competitor.
Success in the NBA is often as much about environment and opportunity as it is about talent. Sure, there are players in the league who would surely succeed regardless of the team or coach they played for. However, most players will see their productivity vary depending on their surroundings.
For these players, sometimes a change in scenery can be just what they need to turn their season around. Whether it is simply an increase in minutes or a change in coaches that makes the difference, a trade can often fix a players' woes.
Here are some big names who could benefit from a move before the trade deadline.
Josh Smith and the Hawks would do well to part ways.
The Atlanta Hawks and Josh Smith may be close to an end of their rocky relationship. According to ESPN, there is an estimated 60 percent chance that Smith will be traded before the deadline.
He has played all seven of his NBA seasons with the Hawks, but he is arguably having his worst season since his third in the league.
Smith is still scoring 16.9 points per game, but he is shooting only 45 percent from the field and a career-low 50.8 percent from the line. He is also averaging over three turnovers a game for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Smith is in the final year of his contract and has had disputes with the team this season, getting suspended for a game in January.
Moving to a new city could be just what he needs to get back on track. Atlanta and new GM Danny Ferry showed that they were rebuilding when they traded Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams this summer.
If Smith could get traded to a contender with a strong veteran presence, he could regain his focus and be a valuable secondary star on a playoff contender.
The Suns should look to rebuild without Gortat.
Marcin Gortat is one of the few talented, underpaid big men in the NBA. He is just 28 and is a legitimate two-way center, yet makes just over $7 million this season, according to HoopsHype.
As a very good player in his prime, Gortat is understandably unhappy playing in Phoenix on the worst team in the Western Conference.
He is not playing as well as he has the past two seasons. His 11.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg and 53 percent shooting from the field are all his worst since he came to Phoenix.
Gortat has never been a starter on a winning team, but this deadline could be his chance to get there. The best thing for him and the Suns is to part ways before the deadline.
The Kings' young prospects could use a veteran locker room.
The Sacramento Kings have not made the playoffs since 2006, and there is no end in sight for the franchise.
The team's current roster is an odd collection of castoffs and uneven prospects. Their best two players, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, are both unproven commodities who have produced mixed results.
Evans was the 2010 Rookie of the Year, but he has seen his scoring drop every season since. He still averages almost 15 points per game, but his ability to be a franchise player is questionable at best. The Kings could move him now if they don't have him in their future plans.
Cousins, on the other hand, is statistically a borderline All-Star. He is a great low-post player, averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds per game while posting a PER above 20.
His problems have been more about maturity and attitude than on-court production.
Playing in Sacramento has left Cousins without a strong veteran presence. If he was on an older team with a proven coach, there would be a much better chance that Cousins would grow up and finally show maturity.
While Evans and Cousins could both use a change of scenery, an inevitable Kings' relocation will likely keep them on the roster through the end of the season.
Monta Ellis has fallen out of favor in Milwaukee.
The Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis experiment has not gone as planned in Milwaukee.
The Bucks are currently eighth in the East, but they are still a long way from competing for an NBA title. The two undersized combo guards have not played exceptionally well together, and Ellis has been the least efficient of the two.
He is shooting under 40 percent from the field for the first time in his career, and he is at a miserable 24 percent from behind the arc. On top of that, Ellis is averaging three turnovers per game.
At this point, most people see Ellis as a low-efficiency volume scorer who doesn't have a true NBA position. While that is true to an extent, he could still be a valuable scorer off the bench for a contending team.
Ellis can't be the best player on a winning team, but there are few people who can match his scoring ability. He may just need another team change to make teams remember that.
Bargnani needs to start fresh outside of Toronto.
Last week, ESPN reported that the Bulls and Raptors were discussing a Carlos Boozer and Andrea Bargnani trade. Both players have huge contracts and have underperformed for their respective teams.
While no progress has been seen in these trade talks, a new team would be great for Bargnani.
He has struggled the past two seasons with injuries, but even a healthy Bargnani is not a good fit for defensive-minded head coach Dwayne Casey. He is a seven-footer who has averaged less than five rebounds per game for his career.
Even with his lackluster defense and rebounding, Bargnani was always an excellent offensive player. This season, however, Bargnani is shooting his lowest field-goal percentage since the 2007-08 season and is barely over 30 percent from behind the arc.
It may be that he just needs to get healthy, but a team change could be good for him as well. He still has value as a stretch big man who could be excellent in pick-and-pop offensive sets. He may just need a team that appreciates his skill sets.