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NBA Trade Speculation: 7 Players Likeliest to Be Traded in the Offseason

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2013

NBA Trade Speculation: 7 Players Likeliest to Be Traded in the Offseason

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    The summer of 2013 figures to be an interesting time throughout the NBA.

    After an eerily quiet trade deadline this past February, a number of moves are poised to shake up the league landscape.

    Aside from big-name free agents like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Josh Smith all making monumental decisions, the trade market figures to be active as well.

    With franchises searching to move in new directions this summer, it's time to ponder which players could be on the move in just a few short months.

    Note: All statistics retrieved from Basketball-Reference unless noted otherwise.

Kris Humphries

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    It wasn't all that long ago that rumors were flying (via ESPN) of Kris Humphries' possible departure from the Brooklyn Nets.

    Humphries found himself in P.J. Carlesimo's doghouse for much of the 2012-13 campaign but could still be a serviceable big in the right situation.

    Although he's no offensive juggernaut, Humphries is a steady defender and reliable rebounder.

    While a $12 million price tag may seem hefty (according to HoopsHype), Humphries will be in the final year of his contract next season, making him slightly more appealing to a team looking for a strong presence down on the blocks.

Michael Beasley

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    The real task for the Phoenix Suns will be finding a team willing to deal for Michael Beasley.

    As if his play wasn't troubling enough, off-court issues continue to crop up for the small forward who averaged 10.1 points per game on 40.5 percent shooting during his first season in Phoenix.

    Whether it's trading Beasley to an established team who feels they can turn his career around or simply dealing him in a salary dump, the Suns would be wise to part ways with Beasley as soon as possible.

    Not only is Beasley a streaky shooter, but he's also due more than $12 million over the next two seasons, according to HoopsHype.

    With the Suns looking to rid themselves of the problem child, it wouldn't be surprising if Beasley found himself on the block sooner rather than later.

Derrick Williams

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    Derrick Williams has had a fairly rough go of it during his first two NBA seasons.

    Not only has Williams had to deal with comparisons to Kyrie Irving (the No. 1 overall pick in 2011), but he hasn't met the standards typically associated with being a No. 2 overall pick, averaging 10.5 points (on 42.3 percent shooting) and 5.1 rebounds per game over his first two seasons.

    There's still ample time for Williams to grow into a serviceable wing, but a change of scenery may be necessary for his full potential to be realized.

    Williams' name has been present in trade rumors before, and it wouldn't be a major surprise to see the Minnesota Timberwolves look to deal the athletic specimen as he's coming off a year in which he played 24.6 minutes per game filling in for the injured Kevin Love.

    After the All-Star break, Williams averaged 15 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, numbers that undoubtedly boosted his trade value.

    With Love and Andrei Kirilenko presumably returning at 100 percent next year, playing time may be harder for Williams to come by in year three.

    Perhaps the new president of basketball operations, Flip Saunders, will see fit to trade Williams to a team where he'll see consistent minutes, whether it be at the 3 or the 4.

Evan Turner

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    Despite averaging career highs in points (13.3 per game), rebounds (6.3 per game) and assists (4.3 per game) in 2012-13, Evan Turner shot a woeful 41.9 percent from the field, a new career low.

    The former No. 2 overall pick has been a total enigma since arriving in Philadelphia, playing brilliantly in some stretches and horrifically in others. Last season was a perfect example.

    With Jrue Holiday emerging as the Philadelphia 76ers' go-to scorer and ball-handler, Turner's role has become clouded.

    Turner's at his best when he has the ball in his hands and can create off the dribble, but he hasn't been able to operate in that role much over his first three seasons.

    An average defender with an inconsistent jumper, the Sixers would be wise to move Turner before his value dips any lower in year four.

    And remember, the Sixers had an offer on the table (via Philly.com) from the Atlanta Hawks to trade Turner in a package that would have netted them Josh Smith back at the trade deadline.

    With new general manager Sam Hinkie in the fold (via Yahoo! Sports), Turner may have a tough time fitting in. Under Hinkie and Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets attempted the fewest mid-range jumpers  per game (per HoopData), as their analytical methodology emphasized shooting threes and layups in massive quantities. Conversely, the Sixers ranked No. 1 in mid-range jumpers attempted in 2012-13, according to HoopData.

    Having fallen in love with the mid-range jumper, Turner's game is going to have to undergo a significant face-lift if he hopes to remain with the franchise long-term.

Eric Bledsoe

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    The case for trading Eric Bledsoe is simple. According to HoopsHype, Bledsoe will be in the final year of his rookie deal in 2013-14 and will become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014.

    As Bledsoe is already a starting-caliber point guard with elite athleticism, a market will almost certainly develop for the 23-year-old's services, whether it be this summer or next.

    And, with the Clippers hoping to sign Chris Paul to a long-term extension, they simply won't have the cash to keep both talented point guards in the fold.

    Rumors of Bledsoe's departure swirled this past February, but ultimately, the Clippers chose to stand pat.

    Now, with an offseason to mull their options, the Clippers would be wise to deal Bledsoe while his value is trending in a positive direction.

Paul Pierce

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    It seems odd to envision Paul Pierce donning anything other than green and white, but with the Boston Celtics as a franchise in flux, there's a chance The Truth could find himself on the move this summer.

    According to ESPN, Danny Ainge has yet to make a decision on Pierce and will take his time doing so this summer:

    "Conversation with my coach, conversation with Paul and his representatives," Ainge told WEEI. "Opportunities that may present themselves. There's a lot that will go into it, but it hasn't even started yet, we have until June 30 to make any decision.

    "Listen, Paul's been one of the greatest Celtics of all time and that will play part in it. We love what he's done for us, but ultimately we have to do what we think is the best for us from this point forward. And I think that Paul still has a lot of basketball left in him."

    According to HoopsHype, Pierce is due more than $15 million next season. If the Celtics are really serious about parting ways with Pierce, amnestying him would make sense as well. However, one has to think the 10-time All-Star could still net some nice pieces in a prospective deal.

    Should the Celtics ultimately decide to start fresh, Pierce would instantly become one of the hottest names on the market.

Eric Gordon

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    Eric Gordon is a dynamic scorer when healthy (via ESPN). Unfortunately, he's never played a full season during five years in the league, and he could be on his way out this summer.

    According to USA Today, the New Orleans Pelicans are making no guarantees about Gordon's return to the team next year:

    "To say if I anticipate [Gordon] being back — I don't know if that's something I can answer right now, or him not to be back. We're going to sit down and evaluate every situation and opportunity," Demps said Monday.

    Currently holding the fifth-best odds of obtaining the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, there remains a possibility that the Pelicans could move Gordon on draft day in an attempt to secure one of the few top-flight prospects available.

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