10 Players Who Should Have Been Dealt at NBA Trade Deadline

Grant RindnerContributor IIIFebruary 25, 2013

10 Players Who Should Have Been Dealt at NBA Trade Deadline

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    Raise your hand if you were excited by the results of the NBA's trade deadline. Didn't think so.

    The 2013 trade deadline, despite holding a lot of promise that high-profile players would be shipped out, turned out to be quite disappointing, as the most prominent player to don a new jersey is J.J. Redick, now of the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Still, just because moves didn't happen does not mean they shouldn't have happened. Players like Josh Smith and Al Jefferson were the subject of months of trade speculation, and there were plenty of legitimate reasons the two star big men were on the block for so long.

    With rosters locked up for the rest of the 2012-13 campaign, let's look at some players, some of whom were on the block and some of whom weren't, that should have been dealt at the 2013 NBA trade deadline.

     

    Statistics accurate as of February 23, 2013.

Kris Humphries (Brooklyn Nets)

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    Rumors surrounding the Brooklyn Nets' underachieving power forward Kris Humphries surfaced near the trade deadline, but the team was unable to make any move. 

    According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, Humphries was involved in a potential deal with the Boston Celtics for Paul Pierce, while ESPN's Chris Broussard brought a potential swap with the Charlotte Bobcats for Ben Gordon to light.

    Fresh off of signing a lucrative contract in the 2012 offseason, Kris Humphries came into the 2012-13 campaign as the Nets' starting power forward, but has been relegated to a small role due to his poor performance. He is averaging just 5.8 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 43.5 percent in 19 minutes per game.

    By comparison, he averaged 13.8 points, 11 rebounds and 1.5 assists on 48.1 percent shooting with New Jersey in 2011-12, albeit on a team that had less talent, and he was logging nearly 16 more minutes per contest.

    Still, some team could have used a forward who makes effort plays and can clean up on the glass. Even if it was not Boston or Charlotte, a size-starved squad would have likely jumped at the chance to add Humphries.

    With Humphries under contract through 2014, this could be a decision Brooklyn seriously regrets.

DeJuan Blair (San Antonio Spurs)

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    Although there was no formal offer on the table, many pundits, including Yahoo's Wojnarowski, expected the San Antonio Spurs to part ways with forward DeJuan Blair. Blair, a second-round draft pick back in 2009, fell out of the Spurs' rotation after starting 127 games from 2010-2012.

    One report, from Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy, said that Blair may be moved to Atlanta following a deal for Josh Smith, but nothing ever materialized as Smith was not dealt (we'll discuss that later).

    For the 2012-13 campaign, Blair is playing just 13.3 minutes per game and posting averages of 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds on 49.7 percent shooting.

    Though undersized at 6'7", Blair is capable of playing power forward and even some center thanks to his tremendous hustle and ability to use his strength on the glass. Blair boxes out well and makes multiple efforts to keep plays alive for his squad.

    With Tim Duncan experiencing an unexpected renaissance, Tiago Splitter coming into his own and Boris Diaw finally resembling an NBA player again, there simply are not many minutes available for Blair.

    That being said, given his youth and friendly contract, it is surprising San Antonio could not find a suitor.

    San Antonio, in all likelihood, will not make much of an effort to retain Blair, and it would have been smart to ship him out for future assets, even if it was just a second-round draft pick.

    We all know how good the Spurs are with those, anyway.

Darrell Arthur (Memphis Grizzlies)

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    The Memphis Grizzlies' Darrell Arthur has come on slowly in 2012-13 after missing the entirety of the 2011-12 campaign after an Achilles tear. The fifth-year big man is playing just 17.5 minutes per game and notching 6.6 points and 3.2 rebounds on 45.1 percent shooting from the floor.

    Since the Grizzlies acquired a talented, young frontcourt piece in Ed Davis, it would have made sense for them to pursue a deal for the underachieving Arthur. Davis is raw, but he is too talented to languish as the team's fourth big.

    Arthur may not have great upside, but he can rebound and hit midrange jump shots. He would be a welcome addition on most teams in the league. Not to mention, his contract, worth just over $9 million through 2014-15 and with a player option for the final year, is hardly a salary-cap killer.

    With so little guard depth beyond Jerryd Bayless, it might have been beneficial for Memphis to try to deal Arthur for a true shooting guard who can provide the offense Tony Allen cannot. The team could have then looked for a big man on waivers or in the free-agent pool.

    Not trading Arthur obviously will not ruin Memphis' playoff chances, but the Grizzlies' lack of backcourt scoring could hurt them in the postseason, and that is an issue trading Arthur might have helped to alleviate.

Richard Hamilton (Chicago Bulls)

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    The only news regarding the Chicago Bulls' Richard Hamilton around the trade deadline was a report from CBS Sports' Ken Berger that Chicago was willing to move the veteran guard at all.

    Hamilton, in his second season with the Bulls, has been able to stay on the court more consistently, but has been a fairly spotty contributor in all facets of the game.

    In 43 appearances, Hamilton is logging 22.7 minutes and putting up 10.5 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists, though on just 43.2 percent and 31.1 percent shooting splits.

    He is no longer a lethal shooter and cannot sprint around screens as effectively as he could during his prime with the Detroit Pistons.

    Hamilton's veteran leadership and championship pedigree are valuable, but Hamilton is 35 years old and this Chicago team has better options at the 2-guard spot.

    Sophomore Jimmy Butler came on in a huge way with Luol Deng sidelined and is capable of playing the off-guard spot, while Kirk Hinrich at shooting guard would better fit the team's defensive scheme and give them another ball-handler and playmaker to pair with whoever they play at point.

    Hamilton is on a three-year, $15 million deal with the 2013-14 season being a team option. It is hard to believe that some team looking to free up cap space would not have been willing to take on Hamilton's contract and simply not pick up his option in free agency.

    Moving the former All-Star would have given Chicago's young players more time and helped remedy their cap situation, but they chose instead to retain the league's best-known masked man.

Andrea Bargnani (Toronto Raptors)

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    Though the Toronto Raptors and Bulls discussed an Andrea Bargnani-for-Carlos Boozer swap, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, the talks never moved past the exploratory stages. A deal for Bargnani failed to be brokered, and the Raptors decided to retain the former first overall pick, at least until the summer.

    Battling injuries and losing minutes to Amir Johnson and rookie Jonas Valanciunas, Bargnani is having his worst season since 2007-08. The Italian big man is averaging 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists and shooting a horrid 40.6 percent from the field and 29.5 percent from beyond the arc.

    Despite being 7'0", Bargnani has been criticized for his inability to contribute on the glass or guard the post. He is not a particularly strong player, and when his shots aren't going in, as they haven't all season, he is a huge detriment to Toronto.

    Toronto is in the midst of carving out a new identity around Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, one that involves running an uptempo attack and looking to push the pace at every opportunity. Bargnani works in this as a three-point shooter who can create mismatches, but not coming with a $10 million-per-season price tag.

    Given that he has appeared in just 28 contests and is putting up shooting numbers that wouldn't be acceptable for a 2-guard, the market for Bargnani was not high, but Toronto should have pursued a deal more aggressively.

    At this point, the best thing both parties can do is simply move on.

Ben Gordon (Charlotte Bobcats)

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    After an incident with coach Mike Dunlap, it was widely believed the Charlotte Bobcats would be sending Ben Gordon away for pretty much anything. The veteran does not fit with the team's rebuilding status, and if he cannot even get along with the team's coach he clearly does not belong with the squad.

    However, no deal came to fruition, and Charlotte retained Gordon, who currently comes off the bench behind Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson.

    Playing limited minutes, Gordon is averaging 12.2 points, 1.8 boards and 2.2 assists while hitting 42.3 percent of his attempts from the field and 40.5 percent from distance.

    Even with his hefty price tag, it is hard to think that a contender was not willing to make a play for Gordon, a former Sixth Man of the Year who is capable of providing an instant scoring punch off the bench.

    Charlotte has plenty of depth in the backcourt with Walker, Henderson and Ramon Sessions all capable of logging big minutes, not to mention Jeffrey Taylor and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist being capable of playing 2-guard at times. It is not as if they need Gordon as positional insurance.

    Now stuck for several months on a team with no shot at the postseason, Gordon could become a serious nuisance in the locker room. Worst of all, his final year of an extremely lucrative contract is a player option he likely will not decline given the salary.

    Charlotte should look to deal Gordon in the offseason, because keeping him was a clear mistake.

Michael Beasley (Phoenix Suns)

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    Signing Michael Beasley was seen as a gamble for the Phoenix Suns, and given that the team sits in the Western Conference's cellar, it clearly was a gamble that did not pay off.

    Beasley has tremendous talent, but he is as mercurial as an NBA player can be and there is just no telling what he is going to give you on a nightly basis.

    For the season, Beasley is averaging 10.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 dimes and connecting on 39.6 percent of his shots and 33.3 percent of his three-pointers. He has had some stretches of solid play, but has also seen a good number of "DNP-CDs" and games where he was a complete nonfactor.

    In Phoenix's first three games after the All-Star break, Beasley posted eight points, three points and six points while shooting a combined 6-of-21. 

    This is a Suns team that needs scoring, but not one that needs depth at small forward. They have Jared Dudley, PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris, all of whom are capable of logging time at the 3-spot.

    The team also recently acquired Marcus Morris from the Houston Rockets and needs to see whether Wesley Johnson is worth keeping around for the long term.

    His deal, worth $18 million over three years, is not so hefty that a team in need of scoring would not be willing to take it on. The problem with moving Beasley comes more from his personality than his on-court ability.

    With the Suns going nowhere and Beasley not succeeding under Alvin Gentry or Lindsey Hunter, Phoenix should have moved the troubled forward at the trade deadline.

Josh Smith (Atlanta Hawks)

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    We are all obviously tired of discussing Josh Smith, but humor me for a minute. The Atlanta Hawks' versatile forward was one of the biggest names on the trade market and was being pursued by a myriad of teams. At least one of these offers should have been enough to pry him away from the Hawks' clutches.

    Smith is having another strong campaign, averaging 17.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 45.9 percent from the floor and 33.9 percent from three-point territory. For good measure, Smith is also chipping in 2.1 blocks and 1.3 steals per night, making a huge impact on the defensive end of the court.

    However, reports indicate Smith is not likely to re-sign with Atlanta, and it would have been in the Hawks' best interests to deal him and begin to rebuild around Jeff Teague and Al Horford.

    Smith is an unrestricted free agent, and the Hawks will be battling a number of teams to secure his services if they choose to do so. At least one of those teams will be willing to tender him a maximum contract, which Atlanta would have to match or exceed.

    Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy wrote that the Phoenix Suns were a team pursuing Smith, and they have plenty of intriguing assets. For all we know, Atlanta could have nabbed Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley and a valuable first-round pick for Smith. They possibly could have gotten even more.

    Now, the Hawks face the very real possibility of watching their uber-athletic forward walk in free agency and receiving nothing in return.

Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings)

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    Tyreke Evans' rookie season for the Sacramento Kings was one of the best in league history, but he has struggled since then and is yet again playing mediocre basketball as his team battles dysfunction and inept ownership.

    On the year, Evans is averaging 15.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists while connecting on 46.6 percent of his field-goal attempts and 34.4 percent of his three-pointers.

    His numbers are solid, but Evans is still having difficulty finding a natural position. He is not a consistent enough facilitator to play the point, cannot shoot from outside well enough to primarily be a shooting guard and is not really physical enough to match up with small forwards.

    Since the Kings decided not to tender Evans an extension, it stands to reason that they will let him walk as a free agent. Sacramento has logjams in the backcourt and it does not appear that Evans is a part of their long-term future plans.

    Evans has improved his perimeter shot, but he is still not a true shooter. However, he is a talented athlete and someone who could fit in with a number of rebuilding franchises.

    Marc Stein of ESPN reported that the Boston Celtics were interested in acquiring Evans, but a deal failed to materialize.

    Now, the Kings are going into the offseason likely looking at Evans departing for greener pastures. Even though his loss won't be devastating, it would have paid dividends for Sacramento to have shipped out Evans.

Al Jefferson (Utah Jazz)

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    Heading into the 2013 NBA trade deadline, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the Utah Jazz would deal one of their incumbent starting big men, either Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap.

    Well, the deadline came and went without Utah making a single move.

    Realistically, the team could have dealt either one of them, but Jefferson does not have much upside and could not be a part of this young nucleus. Millsap, who is capable of playing both forward positions, fits into this team's future scheme better.

    Jefferson, on the year, is averaging 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 48.7 percent shooting from the field. He is one of the better post-scoring players, and although his defense is absolutely terrible, he is a very capable offensive player that a team can easily run its sets through. 

    Rumors swirled that Jefferson may be dealt to the San Antonio Spurs, per CBS Sports' Matt Moore, but nothing ever came to fruition. Though it would have cost the Spurs some of their depth, Jefferson, alongside Tim Duncan, would have given San Antonio another dominant scoring option and someone capable of making an impact on the glass.

    With Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors waiting in the wings, it is essential that Utah opens up more time for their young, athletic big men. Because Jefferson fits best at center, it will be extremely difficult for the Jazz to find adequate time for all three players.

    Plenty of contending teams could have used a low-post threat like Jefferson, and since the Jazz are still a ways away from being true contenders, they would have been wise to move him at the deadline instead of risking losing him as a free agent.