NBA Players Whose Trade Value Will Never Be Higher
A player's trade value isn't always a reflection of his value on the court. While the two usually coincide, contract length, prior performance, age and injury history factor heavily into trade value.
There are productive players in the league who really can't be dealt, and then there are unproductive players that are hot trade targets.
The following players can be slotted on different ends of the production scale, but each player has likely reached the peak of their trade value.
Zach Randolph, F, Memphis Grizzlies
It's been subtle, but Zach Randolph's performance is starting to decline. The 32-year-old bulldozing forward saw his PER, true shooting percentage and points per game all dip below his career averages last year.
That's natural and to be expected given the amount of miles on his body, but Randolph's reputation hasn't suffered much of a hit in the process.
If the decline is a little more sharp this season, however, Randolph's $16.5 million dollar deal will be a lot less palatable. Randolph is still very valuable for the Grizzlies, but there's no question which way his performance is trending.
Danny Green, G/F, San Antonio Spurs
Remember when Danny Green looked like he was building a legitimate case to be the Finals MVP? Ray Allen ended up striking back after Green broke his record for most threes in an NBA Finals, but let's not allow that to diminish Green's incredible shooting display.
It would stand to reason that Green can't keep shooting 48.2 percent from behind the arc like he did in the postseason, but his value is understandably through the roof right now. The San Antonio Spurs have Green locked up at a bargain for the next two seasons at under $4 million a year, but after that, Green is going to make some serious cash.
As it stands right now, Green is the cheapest and most productive three-and-D guy in the game. One or both of those things will change in the near future.
David West, F, Indiana Pacers
David West hasn't dropped off yet, but time waits for no one.
The 33-year-old forward is getting up there in age, and while he's still as solid as they come on both ends, West's bruising style welcomes an awful lot of wear and tear on his body. It's hard to imagine he can play as many minutes and dish out as much punishment as he does now going forward.
Although his three-year, $36 million dollar deal was certainly well deserved and the right move for the Indiana Pacers, the prospect of paying West that much money when he's pushing 35 is a little scary.
Right now he's worth every penny to a title contending team, but staving off an eventual decline seems unlikely. There's a good chance this contract is eventually viewed as "dump" candidate rather than a fair value.
Nicolas Batum, F, Portland Trail Blazers
Nicolas Batum put up career highs in points per game, blocks, steals, assists and rebounds last year. He is still just 24 years old.
So what gives? Why is he here? It's because while it would certainly seem that Batum should keep growing as a player, that might not be a given.
With Portland's improved bench, the chances Batum plays 38.5 minutes a night again are slim. Those overall numbers from last year are a bit inflated as a result, and Batum's assist totals last year were also a total outlier, as his career high before last season was 1.8 a game as opposed to the 4.6 number he put up last year.
Add in the decline of Batum's PER and shooting efficiency last year, and it's possible that we know what we're getting from him at this point. Batum is an above-average defender, but he's probably only a third scoring option because of his struggles to create for himself at times.
There's no doubting that Batum is a very good complementary player, but is he worth an average of $11.7 million over the next three seasons?
Batum is still young enough to be viewed as having the potential to be more than what he currently is. Still, that potential tag comes with an expiration date, and Batum is approaching it. If he doesn't make improvements, his trade value will start to descend slowly but surely from where it is now.
Nene, F/C, Washington Wizards
Nene doesn't have an awful lot working in his favor. He's turning 31 this season. He's one of the most injury prone players in the league. He can no longer play 30 minutes a night. He has three years and $39 million dollars left on his contract.
If that doesn't set off the alarms for "declining trade value," pretty much nothing will. Nene is still incredibly skilled and can play next to virtually anyone because of his passing and shooting ability, but the past and present aren't on his side. This could be as productive and healthy as we'll see Nene for quite some time.
A nice start to the year could raise his trade value relatively high, but missing any time would pretty much make him untouchable going forward. The injury-prone label is tough to shake, and if Nene can't stay on the floor, he'll have it firmly planted on him.
Martell Webster, G/F, Washington Wizards
Martell Webster is an elite shooter from the corners and a good defender and athlete, but raised expectations coupled with less opportunity is never a good combination.
When the Washington Wizards drafted Otto Porter and held on to Trevor Ariza, that put Webster in a strange spot. He'll back up Bradley Beal and scrap for minutes at the 3, but instead of doing that on the cheap like last year, he'll now do it on a deal where he'll make over $5 million a year.
While it's possible Webster finally figured it out in his eighth season, there's also a chance that last year was a little fluky. Webster managed to stay healthy despite being riddled with injuries throughout his career, and one has to wonder if those injuries will rear their ugly head again in the future.
Webster is coming off a career year, but everything has to continue to go perfectly for him to justify his contract. A return to the mean both in terms of production and health might be more likely.
Wilson Chandler, F, Denver Nuggets
Is the Wilson Chandler who shot 41.3 percent from behind the arc last year the real deal?
Chandler has always been a solid defender and a capable scorer, but he's never been considered a good shooter. His value in that department is certainly at an all-time high right now, but his career mark of 33.5 percent doesn't inspire much confidence.
Still, the trade market can be about "what have you done for me lately?," and Chandler has a tremendous chance to show that his performance towards the end of last year in the absence of Danilo Gallinari was legit.
Chandler will have to fight off some injury demons of his own, however, and that might not be easy. The Denver Nuggets forward is already missing preseason action due to a hamstring injury, and Chandler's medical folder probably requires its own drawer at this point.
If he can stay on the floor and keep knocking down threes, Chandler's trade value will keep improving. But if he can't, the trade market for an injury-prone player making an average of $6.7 million over the next three seasons will be almost non-existent. It's a make-or-break year for Chandler, and history is pointing us more towards break.
The Expiring Utah Jazz Trio
Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Marvin Williams are all on expiring deals, and it would be surprising if anyone but Williams played in the league again after this year.
If the Utah Jazz do decide to acquire some locked up talent from a salary dumping team, the expiring trio definitely have value. While it's more likely that the Jazz wait it out and save the cap space for their own use, it's not out of the question.
Of course, Biedrins, Williams and Jefferson's play have virtually nothing to do with this equation. They're nothing more than salaries at that point, and once that's gone, their trade value will follow suit.
Joe Dumars' Prior Offseason Mistakes
Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey are the last survivors of Detroit Pistons general manager Joe Dumars' complete free-agency failures.
While Stuckey and Gordon still have some value on the court, Villanueva will probably be out of the league after his contract mercifully comes off Detroit's books.
It's hard to imagine a team investing much in Stuckey going forward despite his youth, as shooting guards who can't shoot aren't exactly en vogue right now.
Gordon, meanwhile, can still shoot it and might have a decent year with the Charlotte Bobcats, but his previous clashes with coaching staffs and declining abilities will likely leave him with very little trade value after his deal for $12 million expires.
Other Expiring Players
A few other expiring contracts are likely to have their trade value peak this season as well.
Boston Celtics forward Kris Humphries could be a target for a team looking to shed a cool $12 million, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Caron Butler and his expiring deal worth $8 million is the perfectly sized contract to be dealt again at some point this season.