Could Kevin Love and Pau Gasol be moved at the 2014 NBA trade deadline? Only time will tell.
The 2014 NBA trade deadline could see some serious shake-ups leaguewide, but only if teams are willing to look at their top assets as valuable bargaining chips.
Every team has something to offer, but not every general manager has the same goal in mind. Some are pushing for positioning in the playoffs, while others are simply building toward the future.
When looking at each squad's best trade asset, consider two key factors: Would the team realistically trade the player, and what would the value of that player be with the deadline approaching?
Of course, you can look at the Miami Heat and say that LeBron James is their best asset, but to claim that they would rid themselves of the four-time MVP is ludicrous and won't be discussed.
Not every team will look to deal its best asset, but that won't stop others from shopping with the deadline rapidly approaching.
*All statistics and rankings are current as of Feb. 1, 2014.
2013-14 Stats: 9.7 PPG, 3.7 APG, 1.8 RPG, 36.7 3PT%
If the Atlanta Hawks are willing to sell high following the loss of Al Horford, they could look to deal Paul Millsap. When he was signed during the offseason, we all knew that his contract was a steal, but as B/R's D.J. Foster points out, his stellar play has only added to his trade value throughout his first year in Atlanta.
Assuming the Hawks want to keep Millsap for at least the remainder of the season, Lou Williams is the next in line to be moved. He's a capable sixth man who could start for a handful of teams, and his long-distance shooting keeps defenses honest even when his shot isn't falling.
Williams is averaging his fewest points per game since 2007, but his minutes have also decreased compared to the last few years. There are plenty of squads out there that would give him minutes, but it all comes down to whether or not Atlanta wants to shake things up midseason.
2013-14 Stats: 6.7 PPG, 5.7 APG, 3.8 RPG
Whether GM Danny Ainge wants to admit it or not, Rajon Rondo is his best trade asset, and nobody is untouchable with Feb. 20 quickly approaching.
With the Boston Celtics clearly rebuilding, Ainge admits that "nobody is 'the future of the franchise,'" according to The Boston Globe's Baxter Holmes. "A franchise is bigger than any one individual," Ainge continued. "But we love him."
Holmes' article went on to discuss the contract extension that Ainge offered Rondo this season and how the point guard's camp quickly shot down the offer. The declination was not a result of the current rebuild, but rather an indication that Rondo has a longer, more lucrative deal in mind.
Trading Rondo makes sense if the Celtics want to truly start over, but with the playoffs in sight out East, keeping him around will be just as accepted at TD Bank Garden. Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the C's and their future, but this is one storyline worth watching as the deadline approaches.
2013-14 Stats: 20.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 25.78 PER
With the Brooklyn Nets finding success in 2014, we'll leave Deron Williams off this list. The team is 10-4 since the turn of the calendar, and ridding the roster of an All-Star point guard makes no sense if the team hopes to make any kind of noise in the playoffs.
Brook Lopez, however, isn't so lucky, as the team can only get better immediately by trading the injured center.
Despite being sidelined for the remainder of the year, Lopez is still a sought-after commodity. There are plenty of teams that would love to take advantage of his diminished value, especially those who are building toward the future without trying to win right away.
Other options on this team are guys such as Mason Plumlee and Mirza Teletovic. The two bigs have shown potential, but neither one's ceiling is as high as what Lopez has already shown, albeit in limited action due to multiple injuries.
2013-14 Stats: N/A
The Charlotte Bobcats are desperate to get back to the playoffs. The franchise has only been to the postseason once in its nine-and-a-half years of existence, and suffice it to say, a first-round loss in 2010 has left the organization hungry for its first real taste of success.
Charlotte has the expiring contract of Ben Gordon to dangle at the deadline, but with the 2014 draft class being touted as one of the best in recent memory, picks could be the Bobcats' avenue to immediate success. With the team being so hungry to win now, it might be willing to sacrifice the two picks it has under its belt to grab a scorer before Feb. 20.
Charlotte is currently eighth out East but just 28th in scoring offense. Boosting the latter should help playoff positioning, and with the East being as bad as it is, the right move could secure a spot in the postseason for the first time in four years.
2013-14 Stats: 11.2 PPG, 2.1 APG, 3.9 RPG, 40.0 3PT%
If you believe that the Chicago Bulls are truly willing to start over, insert Joakim Noah's name here. He's the best player remaining on the roster, and if no one is untouchable, he's clearly the top trade asset.
Fortunately for Noah, we'll leave his name off this list until there's irrefutable evidence that he's on his way out, giving Mike Dunleavy Jr. the nod at this juncture.
Although Dunleavy is clearly filling the role he was brought in to fill, the Bulls no longer need that type of production. His stat line isn't going to lead Chicago over the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in the playoffs, and keeping him on board slows down the painfully obvious rebuild taking place.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, four teams have recently expressed interest in the swingman's services. He's a valued shooter on the market, but as Cowley points out, it's his versatility as a passer that adds to the attraction.
Don't be shocked if the Bulls continue making moves, and if you're Dunleavy, having a bag packed wouldn't be a bad idea.
2013-14 Stats: 14.4 PPG, 2.6 APG, 2.9 RPG, 38.0 3PT%
Dion Waiters has seemingly been on the trading block since being drafted, and it's fair to say that the Cleveland Cavaliers would deal him at this point if given the chance.
As B/R's Greg Swartz points out, Waiters and Kyrie Irving don't play well together. More specifically, Irving doesn't play as well when Waiters is on the court, and that's a problem, considering one is a franchise player and the other clearly is not.
Although Waiters has been an off-and-on type of player for the Cavs, he could be an ideal piece alongside a pass-first floor general. There's no denying that Irving has crazy court vision, but his No. 1 objective is putting the ball in the basket, and that's not going to change anytime soon.
2013-14 Stats: 11.4 PPG, 2.8 APG, 3.3 RPG, 35.9 3PT%
Once upon a time, Vince Carter was a coveted player because of his knack for scoring and his highly entertaining finishes. Throughout the years, he's been a go-to option and a lights-out shooter, and simply stated, he's put butts in seats because of his entertaining style of play.
Today, Carter is still a coveted asset, but it has more to do with his contract than his on-court production.
Making $3.18 million this season, Carter is in the final year of his deal. He's still the type of player who can provide veteran leadership, as well as occasional highlights and 20-point games, but it's his expiring contract that will appeal to GMs around the NBA.
The Dallas Mavericks don't have a lot to offer this deadline, but Carter makes the list. The Mavs are nearing a full-blown rebuild with Dirk Nowitzki in the twilight of his career, but don't expect them to blow up the roster for a spot at the eighth seed out West in 2014.
2013-14 Stats: 10.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 18.37 PER
Early in the 2013-14 season, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there was "significant interest NBA-wide" when it came to Kenneth Faried. He also reported in a separate tweet that the Denver Nuggets were not discussing trades involving the forward, but with the deadline looming, you never know what new management has in store in the Mile High City.
Despite the notion that Faried will remain in Denver, he shouldn't be considered untouchable. He's an energy-maker on both ends of the floor, but regardless of how entertaining he is to watch, his ceiling may not be as high as it was once presumed.
Much has also been made about Andre Miller. The point guard hasn't played since Dec. 30, 2013, and the disconnect between him and the organization has made it clear that he'll be dealt before the deadline passes on Feb. 20.
But as much value as Miller has for teams needing a backup floor general, Faried offers a long-term solution that squads across the Association would love to add to their rosters this year.
2013-14 Stats: 14.2 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 0.4 BPG, 17.52 PER
Watching the Detroit Pistons, it's clear that the Josh Smith experiment isn't working. The team would be smart to shop the 28-year-old, but his four-year, $54 million contract will be extremely difficult to move.
As a result, the odd man out becomes Greg Monroe.
The big man has been a near-double-double figure since the 2011-12 season, and he's a solid go-to option on offense. Right now, his points-per-game numbers have dropped from recent years, but that's a product of the Smith and Brandon Jennings additions, not an indictment on his efficiency.
Monroe doesn't have the defensive skill set of Andre Drummond or even Smith, but that's not what teams leaguewide will be looking at. His impact on offense makes him a potential All-Star candidate, and at just 23 years old, the hope is that he continues to develop on both ends of the floor.
2013-14 Stats: 18.7 PPG, 2.6 APG, 40.9 3PT%, 13.47 PER
The Golden State Warriors would need a strong offer to come through in order to split up the Splash Brothers, but it's become clear that Klay Thompson is their top asset if they want to truly shake up the perimeter.
After the offseason acquisition of Andre Iguodala, Golden State has a bit of a logjam on the outside. Having too much talent is a good problem to have, but you can also argue that it stunts the development of the two younger players: Thompson and Harrison Barnes.
According to Grantland's Zach Lowe, teams across the league have shown interest in both Barnes and Thompson this season. While Barnes has shown loads of potential early in his career, Thompson's points-per-game average and lights-out shooting make him the No. 1 target for other organizations.
The Warriors have a good thing going for them, but if they're ready to balance the roster, they'd better be prepared to field offers for Thompson.
2013-14 Stats: 4.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.4 BPG, 10.59 PER
Omer Asik has been on the trading block since before the season began, and while we still don't know how this situation will play out, we know that his value remains high because of his abilities as a rebounder and low-post defender.
If it weren't for Asik's impact on the block, teams may have given up on him as a target. Injuries have prevented him from seeing the floor, his back-loaded contract is problematic and the Houston Rockets' unwillingness to deal makes him less desirable as the deadline nears.
All that said, he can be a difference-maker for a number of teams, as his skill set could help both rebuilding and contending franchises lock down the paint both now and in the future.
2013-14 Stats: 8.3 PPG, 1.2 APG, 3.6 RPG, 10.31 PER
The Indiana Pacers are in a good situation. They're the top seed out East, and quite frankly, they don't need to make a move to be competitive against the Miami Heat.
The Pacers' satisfaction with their roster means they don't have to move Danny Granger if they don't want to, but it's that same contentment that prevents any other players from making this list.
Granger hasn't been the same player since the 2011-12 season—or earlier if you were playing close enough attention—but he still has a shot that will keep defenses honest. His percentages are down, and his production isn't what it used to be, but finding a player with career averages of 17.7 points and 38.2 percent long-distance shooting won't happen very often on the midseason market.
The 30-year-old also has an expiring contract worth more than $14 million. This will be mighty appealing to those looking to shed salary, giving Indiana an opportunity to wheel and deal if it chooses.
2013-14 Stats: 2.3 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 0.2 APG, 5.25 PER
The top assets they're willing to part with can be found on the perimeter, but none of those players has enough value to bring back someone who can make the Clips immediate favorites out West.
Assuming L.A. doesn't want to trade Jamal Crawford, you've got a trio comprising Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock who are expendable. Dudley and Barnes provide a veteran presence, while Bullock has potential to grow—not to mention a rookie contract.
We'll consider Bullock the top asset at this point because of his youth, but whether a team is looking for three-point shooting or perimeter defense, Dudley or Barnes could be the one to go.
2013-14 Stats: 17.0 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 19.13 PER
The Los Angeles Lakers need to understand one simple fact: They do not have many trade assets with the deadline looming.
At this point in the process, Pau Gasol is the easy choice as the team's best asset. Not only is Gasol on an expiring contract, but he's also experiencing a resurgence in production.
Since the new year, Gasol has averaged 20.8 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting 51 percent from the field. He's proving that he's not done yet, which boosts his trade value leaps and bounds beyond what it was during the early part of the year.
Unfortunately for L.A., Gasol is once again sidelined and will miss a week with a strained groin, according to The Associated Press (via ESPN.com). That said, he's hands-down the best asset the Lakers have, as they shouldn't expect many calls regarding anyone else on the roster.
2013-14 Stats: 17.3 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 0.2 BPG, 18.09 PER
If we've learned anything from the Memphis Grizzlies over the past two years, it's that nobody is safe.
As wild as it sounds, Zach Randolph is included in that category. At 32 years old, the power forward isn't getting any better. That's hardly a knock on the career he's had up to this point, but it's a clear indicator that his trade value is as high as it's going to get.
Randolph is still productive enough to make him a valuable trade piece, as he's one of just eight players to average a double-double in points and rebounds this season (current as of Feb. 1).
The Grizzlies are starting over, and Randolph could be the next piece to go. He's not a lock to be traded—far from it, in fact—but he's the best chance Memphis has at expediting the current re-tooling process.
2013-14 Stats: 3.6 PPG, 0.8 APG, 1.0 RPG, 6.92 PER
The Miami Heat have virtually no tradable assets on their roster, but that's exactly how they like it.
Through 46 games, Miami is second out East. There's no tension regarding players' roles, and there's not a need to drastically upgrade any one particular spot.
What the team does have is a lights-out shooter on an expiring contract in James Jones. It's true that Jones has been virtually invisible this season, but you can't take those two things away from him with the deadline approaching.
Don't expect to hear Jones named in many rumors, as his 5.8 minutes per game hardly screams value. However, if Miami wants to make a trade, Jones may be one of the only players it is willing to move who will draw any interest.
2013-14 Stats: 6.1 PPG, 3.5 APG, 1.8 RPG, 37.3 3PT%
Assuming the Milwaukee Bucks are unwilling to part with their potential first pick in the 2014 draft, almost anybody on the roster should be up for grabs. For that reason alone, you could consider guys such as Ersan Ilyasova and O.J. Mayo in this spot, or even Larry Sanders despite his letdown of a season thus far.
The problem with dangling those pieces is that they all have long-term contracts worth more than most would like to spend. None of them screams superstar at this point in the year, making them difficult pieces to sell at the deadline.
If you're looking for a player on a decent contract who can fill needs leaguewide, look no further than Luke Ridnour. The NBA has become a point guard-driven league, and having a reliable backup is crucial for any true contender.
Ridnour hardly epitomizes today's ultra-athletic floor generals, but he's a smart player who makes the right decisions and hits open shots. It doesn't hurt, either, that he's in the final year of his contract, giving potential suitors future flexibility.
2013-14 Stats: 25.1 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 37.3 3PT%, 27.03 PER
This one is sure to be met with controversy, but let's not shy away from the very real situation that is happening surrounding Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard (subscription required), it's a "100 percent certainty" that Love bolts Minnesota for the Los Angeles Lakers when his contract is up. That evaluation comes from an anonymous GM, so take it for what it's worth, but it sheds light on the fact that Love's return to the Wolves is growing increasingly unlikely as the team continues to struggle.
If the Wolves are indeed willing to shop the big man in fear of losing him, he's hands-down the top asset on the team and most likely the best available player at the deadline. Love's ability to put up video game-like numbers has been well-documented, and teams should be willing to negotiate despite his reported desire to someday play for the Lakers.
2013-14 Stats: 15.9 PPG, 3.3 APG, 38.8 3PT%, 15.65 PER
Eric Gordon's trade value may not be what it once was, but putting him on the block gives the New Orleans Pelicans the best chance of making a move before the deadline.
Despite being known more for his injuries than his production, Gordon is still a career 17.7-points-per-game scorer. He has a long-range shot that will challenge any defense, and when healthy, his athleticism helps compensate for his 6'4" frame at the 2-guard position.
As long as New Orleans doesn't overvalue him at this point in his career, there should be a number of suitors willing to do business. His potential is still there, and his production is still solid.
2013-14 Stats: 7.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 34.9 3PT%, 10.42 PER
If you believe that the New York Knicks are willing to trade Carmelo Anthony this season, put his name here immediately. Nobody on the Knicks roster—or leaguewide, for that matter—would be as coveted as the reigning scoring champion, making him without a doubt the team's top asset.
But while Melo is a hot topic across the Association, let's assume that the Knicks try to woo him before they give up hope.
Next in line is Iman Shumpert. Whatever his value is, we know from earlier in the year that it's less than Kenneth Faried. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Knicks attempted to swap the two, although Denver reportedly had no interest.
The Knicks already tried to deal Shumpert once this year, and while there's no guarantee it could happen again, he's their best bet to make a significant move.
2013-14 Stats: N/A
The Oklahoma City Thunder are in a perpetual race for the West's top seed, and they're about to get even better without making a significant trade.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Russell Westbrook could return as soon as Feb. 20. He admits that the rest of the league is hoping that the point guard's "appetite for shots" disrupts Kevin Durant's incredible production, but Derek Fisher believes the opposite will happen.
"What's most intriguing about Russell's return is that even at the level we're playing at now, we'll be better," Fisher said, per Wojnarowski. "He's going to make us better."
The Thunder would like to finish the year with the roster as is, and anybody they'd like to see go wouldn't bring back the value they'd hope for. Expect this roster to remain the same, as draft picks are the team's top asset it's willing to part with.
2013-14 Stats: 20 PPG, 3.7 APG, 4.3 RPG, 42.1 3PT%
Arron Afflalo's breakout season has raised his value on the market, and while there's no guarantee the Orlando Magic trade him, their current rebuild could spark a move involving their top scorer.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Orlando has given teams the "stiff-arm" when it comes to negotiations surrounding Afflalo. That said, ESPN's Nick Borges (subscription required) has reported that up to seven teams across both conferences have interest in the guard.
Whether Orlando moves Afflalo or not, it's easy to see why his value has soared. He's embraced his new role as a scorer, and he's averaging career highs across the board.
At 28 years old, Afflalo is a veteran. He can offer the perfect combination of leadership and production, making him a target for teams all over the NBA.
2013-14 Stats: 18.2 PPG, 3.8 APG, 6.1 RPG, 13.90 PER
Evan Turner is having the best season of his career, which means the Philadelphia 76ers can sell high if they choose to do so before the deadline.
Despite having all sorts of tradable assets on the roster, Turner ranks No. 1 for Philly. Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young and Jason Richardson are noteworthy pieces as well, but it's Turner who offers the most potential based off his current production.
With the Sixers fully invested in the 2014 draft, keeping Turner makes little sense. There's no question that they're sellers this season, and he should attract a number of organizations before Feb. 20.
The 25-year-old still has room to grow, but while his numbers are a bit inflated because of increased responsibility, that's hardly a bad sign. Giving more minutes should equate to more production, which should give other teams faith so long as they're willing to do the same.
2013-14 Stats: N/A
The Phoenix Suns have positioned themselves to be players in the 2014 NBA draft, but should they choose to trade those this season, they could be competitive in the 2014 playoffs.
After surprising everybody this year, Phoenix has made it clear that it is willing to trade its picks, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. Dealing the picks would allow it to bring back solid players, any of whom could be used to make a run at the postseason.
Along with draft picks comes cap flexibility. In today's day of the new collective bargaining agreement, tax penalties are extremely harsh, and there are a number of rebuilding franchises that would love to add future assets while shedding unwanted salary—consider Emeka Okafor's expiring contract just as desirable.
The NBA is a business, and its owners are businessmen. Trading for the future won't make them better now, but targeting the Suns' picks would be smart for any sellers around the deadline.
2013-14 Stats: 5.5 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 0.5 APG, 33.3 3PT%
Despite breaking his foot in training camp, C.J. McCollum has become a player worth watching just 12 games into his career. His ball-handling skills are strong for a combo guard, and his jumper makes him a threat both from deep and in the mid-range.
Unfortunately for McCollum, the acquisition of Mo Williams has made him expendable early in his career.
Backcourt scoring isn't a problem for the Blazers. Interior defense, however, is, and Portland could look to swap guard production for a low-post presence at it prepares for the postseason.
The Blazers might be more inclined to put Meyers Leonard here, or even Thomas Robinson, but McCollum would likely draw the most interest, as his potential is already on full display.
2013-14 Stats: 5.7 PPG, 1.5 APG, 1.3 RPG, 46.7 3PT%
Jimmer Fredette has had an up-and-down start to his NBA career, but with the deadline around the corner, he's closer to a peak than he is to a valley.
While Fredette certainly isn't getting the minutes he'd like on a struggling roster, his recent production has been enough to showcase his potential. On the year, Fredette is shooting an incredible percentage from the three-point line, and that number increases to 47.5 percent in the month of January.
What's even more noteworthy is that his attempts also increase to 2.5 per contest during that time frame, which is indicative of his expanding role.
The Kings roster finally has a slight sense of direction with its recent moves, but Fredette, despite his improvements, still gets lost in the shuffle. Any team needing a shooter could look Fredette's way, giving him a chance to start fresh in a brand-new city.
2013-14 Stats: 9.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 41.8 3PT%, 15.26 PER
The San Antonio Spurs rarely make headlines for in-season trades (or any trades, for that matter), but injury problems this season may push them to make a move by the Feb. 20 deadline.
If San Antonio shakes things up, it has one big problem: a lack of assets. The Spurs have faith in their current rotation, and quite frankly, there aren't many players the organization would be willing to deal for short-term success.
Looking at the roster, Diaw stands out as a movable asset. This doesn't mean the Spurs will absolutely move the 31-year-old, but in the midst of a resurgence, his production would be welcomed by almost any franchise.
His expiring contract doesn't hurt, either, as rebuilding organizations can be included as suitors.
2013-14 Stats: 16.7 PPG, 7.6 APG, 4.3 RPG, 40.1 3PT%, 20.23 PER
Whether or not the Toronto Raptors trade Kyle Lowry, he's their best trade asset, and the team would be remiss not to explore his value before the deadline.
Lowry is the kind of player who appeals to almost every franchise in the league. If a team is buying at the deadline, Lowry's statistics are more than appealing. Then again, his expiring contract gives teams an opportunity to start over in 2014, which helps teams that will be selling come Feb. 20.
DeMar DeRozan also fits the bill here and, in the eyes of some, is an even better candidate. That said, his production makes him a piece worth hanging on to if you're the Raptors, and his contract gives you peace of mind for the future—something Lowry's can't offer in its final year.
2013-14 Stats: 9.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 39.1 3PT%, 14.26 PER
The Utah Jazz are rebuilding, and Marvin Williams is the perfect candidate to be the next player shipped out.
Like many players on this list, Williams has two things going for him: decent production and an expiring contract. Richard Jefferson has the same things on his side, but Williams has the benefit of still being 27 years old.
Williams, in his ninth season, has never lived up to his lofty expectations as a No. 2 pick. Luckily for him, teams across the league have let the notion go that he can be a star, setting him in his natural place as a solid role player.
Williams isn't a part of Utah's vision moving forward, and the 2014 deadline could be the perfect time to officially move on.
2013-14 Stats: 14.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 38.7 3PT%, 15.95 PER
When the Washington Wizards signed Martell Webster and drafted Otto Porter J.R., they all but sealed Trevor Ariza's fate. It was clear that he would be the odd man out on the perimeter, and it would only be a matter of time before he was weaned out of the rotation.
As it turns out, Ariza has shocked the Association, having one of his best seasons to date while averaging 35.0 minutes per contest. His success has been a pleasant surprise for a fringe playoff team, but his long-term future still looks bleak in the nation's capital.
Ariza's stock has risen drastically since the start of the year, and the Wizards would be inclined to sell high. It's unlikely his value increases throughout the rest of his career, and taking advantage now makes sense before he has the chance to walk away in free agency.