2013-14 NBA Trade Speculation: Best 3-Point Specialists Who May Be Available

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2013

2013-14 NBA Trade Speculation: Best 3-Point Specialists Who May Be Available

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    Specialists are always among the players who run through the NBA's rumor mill every season—defenders, rebounders, and for the purposes of this slideshow, shooters.

    Since the NBA adopted the three-point shot in 1979, it's slowly evolved into an integral part of the game. During that inaugural season, the league hit 28 percent from three-point range. Ten years later, it rose to 33 in 1989-90 and then to 35 in 1999-2000. Last season, the league-wide three-point percentage was 35.9. 

    The average number of threes made per team has seen a similar incline in the last 30-plus years.

    Shooters are in high demand these days, and there are a number of players who've made a career out of doing little more.

    Some of the guys on this list were more than merely three-point specialists earlier in their careers, and one player could still develop into something beyond that label. But if any of them are moved this season, it will likely have a lot to do with their ability to knock down threes.


    All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.

Danny Granger

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    From 2007 to 2012, Danny Granger led the Indiana Pacers in scoring for five straight seasons. During that same stretch, he averaged 5.8 three-point attempts per game and hit 38.8 percent of those shots.

    But injuries have drastically altered Granger's standing with the Pacers. He appeared in just five games last season, allowing Paul George to break out and, in a way, pull a Wally Pip.

    Without Granger in the lineup, Indiana came within a game of beating the eventual champion Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Now people are wondering if his $14 million expiring contract could become a trade chip.


    Possible Deal: Danny Granger for Steve Nash and fillers (Jodie Meeks and Darius Johnson-Odom, for example)

    The Lakers only have one guaranteed contract on the books beyond the 2013-14 season—the one belonging to Steve Nash. If they can flip him for an expiring contract, they could have absolutely nothing against the cap next summer. And Los Angeles might be in need of that kind of a restart.

    More on how it helps the Pacers later.

Steve Nash

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    I'm not sure Nash can still completely dominate a game the way he could a few years ago, but he's still more than a three-point specialist.

    In fact, I've long thought he might be the most underrated shooter in NBA history.

    His career three-point percentage of 42.8 is eighth all time, comfortably ahead of both Reggie Miller and Ray Allen. His career free-throw percentage of 90.4 is first in NBA history.

    He's also in the top 15 in both true-shooting and effective field-goal percentage.

    Even with the firepower Nash can provide, the Lakers aren't going to compete for a title this year. By the time the trade deadline rolls around, they might need to explore what they can get for him.


    Possible Deal: Danny Granger for Steve Nash and fillers (Jodie Meeks and Darius Johnson-Odom, for example)

    For the Pacers, Nash will elevate the production of the offense and make life much easier for Roy Hibbert, David West and Paul George. It also facilitates moving George Hill to his more natural position at shooting guard.

Jameer Nelson

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    The Orlando Magic have essentially been rebuilding ever since they lost Dwight Howard to the Lakers. There are only a couple pieces left to move before it's fully under way.

    Hedo Turkoglu will be bought out this year, leaving Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis as the only veterans left on inflated deals.

    Making Nelson's move even more probable is the fact that the team is interested in playing rookie Victor Oladipo at point guard.

    But just because Nelson is no longer needed in Orlando, doesn't mean he no longer has value elsewhere. As a backup, he could be a great floor-spacer for a team with a starting 1 who lacks range.

    Though his three-point percentage dipped to 34.1 last season, Nelson still has a career mark of 38 from downtown. And as a bonus, he averaged a career-high 7.4 assists a game in 2012-13—evidence that he can still create for others.


    Possible Deal: Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo for Luol Deng

    The rebuilding Magic can wipe some money off their books by acquiring Deng's expiring contract. The Bulls can move Jimmy Butler to his natural position of small forward, start Afflalo at the 2 and give Derrick Rose one of the best backups in the league.

Ben Gordon

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    Ben Gordon should be an attractive trade chip for a couple reasons. First, he's a career 40.4 percent shooter from three-point range.

    He's often been disparagingly called streaky, but a number over 40 from that range suggests the opposite. His consistency from the outside could be exactly what a couple contenders need.

    The other benefit of acquiring Gordon this season is that his contract ends this summer. If he performs well, sign him for less than the $13.2 million he's making this year. If not, let him walk.

    The tricky part is finding a team that has the means to take on that last year of his deal.


    Possible Deal: Ben Gordon for Luol Deng and cash

    Bulls fans may call for my head on this one, but at least hear me out.

    Chicago has needed a shooting guard for a while, and Gordon's range would keep perimeter defenders from collapsing on Derrick Rose's drives. 

    Plus, giving up Deng allows Jimmy Butler to move to small forward, his natural position.

    For the Bobcats, Deng doesn't do much for them basketball-wise. They'll be way out of the hunt for playoff contention by February anyway. That's why Chicago would have to throw in some cash or maybe even a future draft pick to bring Gordon back to the Bulls.

Jimmer Fredette

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    Jimmer Fredette's been in about the worst possible situation in which he could have landed since he entered the NBA.

    And even with Keith Smart gone, things haven't gotten any better for Jimmer. The team loaded up on guards this past offseason, and Fredette has logged two DNPs (did not play) this preseason.

    It doesn't look like he'll be leapfrogging Greivis Vasquez, Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore or Marcus Thornton on the depth chart any time soon.

    But that doesn't mean he can't provide some firepower elsewhere.

    Last season, he hit 41.7 percent from three-point range despite never being in a consistent role that allowed him to get a rhythm—something every shooter benefits from.


    Possible Deal: Jimmer Fredette for Jeremy Evans

    The Kings may be in the market for a power forward after losing Carl Landry to hip surgery. Jeremy Evans can provide energy and athleticism behind Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins.

    For the Jazz, this is a no-brainer. Jimmer would be a massive hit in Utah culturally and his range would open things up in the lane for Alec Burks, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. If by some chance it doesn't work out, the team can just cut him loose at the end of the season. 


    For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDBailey.