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The 1 Player Each NBA Team Is Most Desperate to Move at the 2014 Deadline

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2014

The 1 Player Each NBA Team Is Most Desperate to Move at the 2014 Deadline

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    NBA trade season is about to kick into high gear, meaning rumors involving all 30 teams are starting to surface at a rapid pace. 

    Although we're still slightly over a week away from finding out which players will be shipped out, it's becoming more clear which players certain franchises are attempting to rid themselves of. 

    As such, we've constructed a list comprised of the one player each team would appear to be most keen on getting off the books. 

    However, there's one key clarification that must be made before we get started: The players discussed aren't necessarily those whom teams are most likely to move. 

    Instead, they're players who have underperformed, own unattractive contracts or are simply bad fits with their current employer, and thus, it would be beneficial for them to be granted a change of scenery as the Feb. 20 trade deadline approaches.  

     

    * All statistics current as of Tuesday, Feb. 11 and courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com unless noted otherwise. 

    ** All salary information courtesy of Sham Sports unless noted otherwise. 

Atlanta Hawks: Lou Williams

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    Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 27

    Position: SG

    Contract: One year, $5.4 million remaining 

    According to Grantland's Zach Lowe, the Atlanta Hawks have yet to indicate if they'll be buying, selling or standing pat at the trade deadline. 

    However, Lowe is quick to note that Lou Williams hasn't exactly provided the scoring punch the Hawks have craved ever since he returned from ACL surgery, which makes him an interesting buy-low option. 

    Averaging fewer than 10 points per game for the first time in seven seasons, Williams has predictably struggled with his shot since suffering a gruesome knee injury and is now converting on just 37.5 percent of his field-goal attempts. 

    Savvy buyers could feasibly make a play for Williams and hope that he bounces back next season during a contract year, but as Lowe mentioned, it remains to be seen if the Hawks will be willing to drastically shake things up next week. 

Boston Celtics: Gerald Wallace

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    Age: 31

    Position: SF

    Contract: Owed $10.1 million annually through 2015-16

    In an ideal world, the Boston Celtics would be able to rid themselves of Gerald Wallace's heinous contract, one that's far too generous given that he's averaging 4.8 points per game while shooting 31 percent from three and 43 percent from the free-throw line. 

    And with a career-worst player efficiency rating of 10, Wallace's play this season is worth much closer to the veteran minimum than the $10 million he's been granted, making him an ideal candidate for this list. 

    Flipping Wallace is admittedly a pipe dream, but he's undoubtedly an overpriced piece whom the Celtics would be thrilled to deal if a foolish enough buyer were to come along. 

Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Garnett

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    Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 37 

    Position: C 

    Contract: One year, $12 million remaining 

    The Brooklyn Nets are in a bind financially with over $100 million on the books for this season and more than $88 million for the 2014-15 season. 

    One piece of that equation is Kevin Garnett's $12 million annual salary, which is actually the lowest of any of the team's original projected starting five (Brook Lopez, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams). That should tell you just how financially irresponsible Brooklyn has been. 

    Unfortunately for the Nets, trading Garnett at this stage in his career would be a rather tall task given the decline in his production (6.8 points per game, 13.0 player efficiency rating), his age and that unsightly contract. 

    Perhaps a contender would be more willing to take on the remainder of his salary at this time next year, but it looks like the Nets are going to be stuck with their aging man in the middle for a little while longer, especially if you believe what Williams has to say, per Tom Lorenzo of NetsDaily. 

Charlotte Bobcats: Ben Gordon

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    Age: 30 

    Position: SG

    Contract: Expiring at season's end

    Unlike Kevin Garnett and Gerald Wallace, Ben Gordon's contract is a realistic trade chip due to the fact that his contract is up at the end of this season. 

    With that said, any team that finds itself pondering a deal for the former UConn standout is likely just in the market for cap relief, as Gordon is now averaging fewer than 10 points per game for the first time in his career. 

    In addition, Gordon's minutes have plummeted to a career-low 14.8 per game, as he's made just 17 appearances all season after seeing his spot in the wing rotation usurped by a combination of Anthony Tolliver and Chris Douglas-Roberts. 

Chicago Bulls: Carlos Boozer

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    Age: 32

    Position: PF

    Contract: One year, $16.8 million remaining

    According to Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, the Chicago Bulls have yet to make a decision regarding the use of their amnesty provision.

    The one name that's been linked to the dreaded clause, though, has been Carlos Boozer, although general manager John Paxson has not made that clear just yet, according to Friedell:

    Everybody knows that we have the amnesty clause available to us, Paxson said. And it's a decision that will be made, but it's not being made today. It will be made at some point, but you can't do it now if you want to do it. 

    If the Bulls do move forward this summer and make the sensible decision to amnesty Boozer and ensure the final year of his deal won't count against the team's cap, it would be nice to receive even a small smidgen of return value for the aging power forward. 

    However, the downside is that interested parties are likely well aware that the Bulls may be willing to part ways with Boozer this summer, which means appealing compensation may be hard to come by. 

    One way or another, it looks like Boozer's deal is going to come off the books soon. The method of removal, though, has yet to be determined. 

     

Cleveland Cavaliers: Dion Waiters

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    Age: 22

    Position: SG

    Contract: Three years, $15.9 million remaining (qualifying offer in 2016-17 makes up final $6.8 million) 

    Trade talk surrounding Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters has been prevalent this season, but it remains to be seen if new general manager David Griffin is willing to sell off assets at the trade deadline. 

    "I don’t see how you get better and win more games selling,” Griffin said, according to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. “We are dedicated 100 percent from top to bottom to getting better, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

    According to Basketball Reference, Waiters is one of nine players to average more than 28 minutes per game and record an offensive win shares total of zero or less. For a supposed generator of instant offense, that's not exactly ideal. 

    The Cavs may not be in a rush to deal Waiters with a few years remaining on his deal, but as Grantland's Zach Lowe reported, Cleveland would have to consider a deal if it involved a future first-round pick. 

Dallas Mavericks: Samuel Dalembert

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    Age: 32

    Position: C

    Contract: Team option for $3.9 million in 2014-15

    According to Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler, the Dallas Mavericks, in a deviation from the historical norm, won't be actively buying at this year's trade deadline: 

    As we covered in the space yesterday, the Mavericks, who have historically been one of the more active teams at the trade deadline, seem to be sitting this trade deadline out despite some ending contracts that could return value.

    One source close to the Mavericks admitted that adding a big man or another player with scoring punch would be attractive, but that the Mavericks really liked the construction of this team as it stands now, pointing to the fact that the team added nine new players this season and that’s a key reason to be somewhat patient.

    But if we're forced to select one player, center Samuel Dalembert fits the bill, particularly given Kyler's mention that the Mavs wouldn't mind an upgrade in the frontcourt. 

    Blocking 1.1 shots in 20 minutes per game, Dalembert is still capable of being a disruptive force around the basket, but his offensive game leaves plenty to be desired.

    With a non-guaranteed deal for next season, Dalembert is slightly more attractive to prospective buyers, but it's sounding increasingly likely that the Mavs stand pat at this year's deadline.

Denver Nuggets: Andre Miller

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    Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 37

    Position: PG

    Contract: One year, $4.6 million remaining 

    Andre Miller hasn't stepped on the court for the Denver Nuggets since Dec. 30 after being suspended two games for conduct detrimental to the team. 

    As a result, the Nuggets have been looking to ship out the ageless point guard, one who's averaging career lows of 5.9 points and 3.3 assists this season, according to Sheridan Hoops' Chris Sheridan

    He is a savvy veteran who can step in and calm a jittery young team (Toronto? Atlanta? New York? Chicago? Houston?)) in the fourth quarter of a tight playoff game, and he can be obtained on the cheap. His contract for next season contains only a $2 million guarantee.

    Miller can probably be had for an expiring contract and a second-round draft pick.

    Given that relatively low asking price, it wouldn't be a shock to see the Nuggets rid themselves of a headache and move on sans Miller. 

Detroit Pistons: Josh Smith

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    Age: 28 

    Position: SF/PF

    Contract: Three years, $42 million remaining 

    In a matter of months, the Josh Smith signing has already been deemed a failure.

    Not only are the Detroit Pistons on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture looking in, but their offense has also been far too inconsistent this season. 

    One reason? Smith and his erratic jump shooting tendencies. Just check out Smith's shot chart, courtesy of NBA.com, and examine the number of threes and long twos he's attempting compared to the number of shots he's hoisting in the paint and the restricted area. 

    For a guy shooting 22.9 percent from three and 37.3 percent between 16 feet and the three-point line, those are simply unacceptable numbers. 

    As a result, ESPN's Chris Broussard (subscription required, h/t ProBasketballTalk) believes the Pistons may be looking to admit their mistake and cut their losses: 

    The Josh Smith experiment in Detroit is not going well, and there’s strong opinion around the league that the Pistons would trade him if they could — and “could” is the key word. Since Smith is in the first year of a four-year, $56 million deal, he is one of the most untradable players in the league.

    As Broussard notes, trading Smith figures to be a rather daunting job, but there's no doubting the Pistons would love to rid themselves of such an inefficient and reckless player. 

Golden State Warriors: To Be Determined

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    USA Today's Sam Amick has reported that "rival executives are of the belief that anyone not named Stephen Curry or Andrew Bogut is up for discussion" in a trade, which makes a selection here entirely too difficult. 

    The hottest Bay Area names circulating the rumor mill have been Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson, but Grantland's Zach Lowe cautions that Golden State's two young studs likely won't be on the move: 

    Barnes and Thompson draw interest as trade chips all over the league, and Barnes hasn’t met the organization’s high expectations for him this season. With three years left on Lee’s contract, parting with one of these guys is Golden State’s only present-day means to a real game-changing trade. Just don’t expect one. "We like our core,” Myers says. “We believe in our core, and we believe they will get better.”

    Both Thompson and Barnes still have plenty of room to develop, but Golden State may be getting impatient, as they now occupy the Western Conference's No. 7 seed and hold just a three-game edge over a hungry Memphis Grizzlies squad. 

    That said, it doesn't sound like there's a blockbuster out there that would catapult Golden State back into the title conversation, meaning the Warriors may very well watch the trade deadline come and go without making a move. 

Houston Rockets: Omer Asik

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    Age: 27 

    Position: C

    Contract: One year, $14.9 million remaining 

    Omer Asik has spent the majority of a strange 2013-14 campaign watching from the sidelines after being replaced by Dwight Howard last summer. 

    As a result, the Houston Rockets big man could use a change of scenery, and he made that much clear back in November.

    After coming up empty at the team's self-imposed trade deadline in December, the Rockets have not made any statements regarding Asik's long-term future with the club, although reports have surfaced indicating that Houston may keep the center past the Feb. 20 deadline. 

    With his contract set to escalate by nearly $10 million next season, it would make sense for Houston to find a trade partner for the defensive specialist. 

    And while that would be a hefty amount of cash for a franchise to take on, it's important to remember that it would only be for one year. If a contender finds itself desperate for one more frontcourt piece in order to make a title run, perhaps they'll be able to sweeten the pot enough to lure Houston into making a trade. 

Indiana Pacers: None

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    Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling has reported that the Indiana Pacers may attempt to add another bench scorer at the trade deadline, but it's hard to imagine who they'd trade considering the pristine state of their roster. 

    Perhaps more important, though, will be the Pacers' presumed hesitance to add any non-expiring deal to their books, as stud shooting guard Lance Stephenson is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

    Grantland's Zach Lowe explained further: 

    Trading Granger will be especially tough for the Pacers, since they cannot take on even a single dollar of money for next season without jeopardizing their ability to re-sign the terrifying (in a good way!) Lance Stephenson.

    To back that up, Scott Agness of Pacers.com reports that team president Larry Bird will do whatever it takes to keep Stephenson in tow: 

    Well, the books are never right for us because we’re always under the tax, Bird said when I asked if he’s confident in the team’s ability to re-sign the guard. It’s hard to compete with teams. But we’re going to do whatever we can to keep the young man. He’s worked as hard as anybody has ever worked here and you’ll see it on the court because he’s had a great summer.

    Our goal right now is to keep everybody we have. We think we have got a strong team. When the time comes when we have to do something, we’ll do it.

    With all of the necessary championship-caliber pieces in place, the Pacers should be able to stand pat at the deadline and feel confident about their title chances as the postseason approaches. 

Los Angeles Clippers: Jared Dudley

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    Age: 28 

    Position: SF

    Contract: Two years, $8.5 million remaining (early-termination option for 2015-16) 

    Since arriving in Hollywood, Jared Dudley has been a relative disappointment, averaging 7.8 points on 44.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.6 percent shooting from three, the second-lowest mark of his career. 

    And according to Grantland's Zach Lowe, the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers could be solid matches as trade partners, with Dudley and Spencer Hawes representing two of the bigger moving parts: 

    Philly might have enough cap space to do something like that and rent out the rest — at cost — to a team seeking to get under the tax. The Clippers would seem to be the prime candidate. They’re only about $2 million over the tax, and they could get under it by dumping a veteran player such as Jared Dudley or Willie Green, plus Reggie Bullock as the cost of doing business. You could expand this into a bigger money thing involving Hawes, given the Clips’ glaring need for a third competent big, but adding extra complications is always dicey.

    Lowe's theory is intriguing, but it's important to note that it's more of a hypothetical than anything else at this point in the game. 

    That said, basic logic suggests that Dudley would be one of the veterans the Clips could be in the market to move in order to improve in the short term, especially when you consider his struggles in Doc Rivers' offense, a team-worst defensive rating of 109 and burdensome contract. 

Los Angeles Lakers: Pau Gasol

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    Age: 33

    Position: C

    Contract: Expiring at season's end 

    Arguably the biggest name on the trading block as we approach the league's mandated deadline is Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol.

    And unlike several other candidates on this list, it appears Gasol may actually have a shot at getting dealt. According to ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers don't believe their talks with the Phoenix Suns are over, which means there remains a chance Gasol will be shipped out prior to Feb. 20. 

    It's also important to note that Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops believes the Lakers will continue to actively shop Gasol in an attempt to get under the luxury tax. 

    With Gasol an unrestricted free agent at season's end and a return to the Purple and Gold beyond 2014 unclear, it would make plenty of sense for the Lakers to shop Gasol and see if they can get solid return value for the Spaniard should he wind up walking this summer. 

    Getting real assets of value in return figures to be difficult, but if the Lakers can squeeze a late first-round pick out of a playoff hopeful, perhaps a deal can be struck.

Memphis Grizzlies: Tayshaun Prince

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    Age: 33

    Position: SF

    Contract: One year, $7.7 million remaining 

    The 2013-14 season hasn't been kind to Tayshaun Prince, who's averaging a meager 5.9 points and three rebounds in 26.4 minutes as a starter for the Memphis Grizzlies. 

    However, Prince may not be a starter for long, according to USA Today's Sam Amick, who reports that the Grizzlies may be in the market for a more reliable presence on the wing: "The Grizzlies aren't necessarily among the more active teams, but they are known to be perusing their rivals' rosters in search of an upgrade at the small forward spot."

    And while James Johnson has been one of the league's most pleasant surprises after being called up from the D-League, Memphis could find him more valuable as an energy player off the bench. 

    Also consider that Quincy Pondexter is expected to miss the remainder of the season and finding a replacement for Prince figures to be priority No. 1 for the resurgent Grizzlies over the next week. 

Miami Heat: None

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    Examine the Miami Heat's roster, and it's clear that they already have every key piece in place. The superstars are there. So are the key bench components and the coveted role players.

    If anything, Miami made its move back in January, acquiring point guard Toney Douglas in a three-team swap that saw Miami deal a draft pick with fairly hefty protections to the Boston Celtics. 

    It's also key to remember that January's move was made with future finances in mind, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

    "With Miami's need to re-sign LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the franchise is focused on ways to reduce future payroll so it can move forward with all three stars under new deals," he reported.

    With that long-term goal the team's paramount concern, it's hard to envision the Heat moving players when they already have such a sturdy squad that has established tremendous chemistry. 

Milwaukee Bucks: O.J. Mayo

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    Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 26

    Position: SG

    Contract: Two years, $16 million remaining 

    O.J. Mayo's first season as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks has been nothing short of tumultuous. 

    Not only do the Bucks own the league's worst record, but Mayo has also been simply horrific since inking a three-year, $24 million deal last July. 

    Averaging 12.2 points on a career-worst 39.6 percent shooting from the field, Mayo has been unable to duplicate the success (15.3 points, 40.7 percent shooting from three) he had last season with the Dallas Mavericks, and he has at times grown unhappy with his inconsistent playing time, according to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    "It's hard to get a rhythm when you don't know what's going to happen for you night in and night out," he said. "You may get 6 minutes, 30 minutes. There's no staple to what we're doing. You can hang in there, compete and keep it close."

    Factor in that rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo has captured Mayo's former starting gig and that Luke Ridnour's minutes increased to 24 a night (from 19 in December) while Mayo's dropped to 22 a night in January, and it's clear that the Bucks would be thrilled to dump Mayo. 

Minnesota Timberwolves: Alexey Shved

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    Age: 25

    Position: SG

    Contract: One year, $3.2 million remaining (qualifying offer of $4 million due in 2015-16) 

    After a pleasantly surprising rookie season, Alexey Shved's production has essentially been cut in half thanks to the Minnesota Timberwolves' depth in the backcourt and on the wing. 

    Last season, Shved saw a solid 23.9 minutes per game, but that number has decreased all the way to 11.8, and for good reason. 

    For a supposed shooting guard, Shved is hitting a paltry 32.1 percent of his shots from the field, which actually represents a dip from a mark of 37.2 percent last season. That, and Shved is still hovering around 30 percent when it comes to three-point shooting. 

    With those unimpressive numbers in mind, it shouldn't come as a surprise that USA Today's Sam Amick reports Shved is one of several Minnesota players on the trade block: 

    For those who missed the memo, the summer of 2015 is a large priority for quite a few teams because of Kevin Love. The T'wolves star can opt out of his deal at that time, and first-year team President Flip Saunders is well aware that missing the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season would certainly not help his campaign to keep him in town. Translation: The T'wolves should be on the personnel prowl. Among their players thought to be available are point guard J.J. Barea, forward Dante Cunningham and guard Alexey Shved.

    With Minnesota possessing superior rotational bodies like Chase Budinger, Shabazz Muhammad and Luc Mbah a Moute, Shved's case for playing time is diminishing with each passing day. 

New Orleans Pelicans: Eric Gordon

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    Age: 25

    Position: SG 

    Contract: Two years, $30.4 million remaining (Player option for 2015-16) 

    Miraculously, Eric Gordon is one of the few key New Orleans Pelicans players whose season hasn't been ravaged by injuries.

    As a result, Gordon's trade value may be trending upwards despite the fair bit of cash remaining on the four-year, $58 million deal he signed in July 2012. 

    Now, with the Pelicans sputtering and Gordon one of the team's more valuable trade chips, Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops believes the guard could be on his way out the door next week: 

    Since the Pelicans are going to lose their draft pick to Philadelphia unless it falls in the top five, GM Dell Demps would love to restock that cupboard in exchange for an expiring contract and a No. 1 pick that would fall in the late teens or high 20s.

    Cash-strapped playoff contenders won't be able to pry Gordon away from the Pelicans, but he could be an interesting acquisition for a middling team willing to part with a first-rounder. 

New York Knicks: J.R. Smith

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    Age: 28

    Position: SG

    Contract: Two years, $12.38 million remaining (player option for 2015-16 included)

    In an ideal world, the New York Knicks would undoubtedly love to rid themselves of the contracts of Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, overpaid frontcourt cogs who are due $23.4 and $12 million next season, respectively. 

    Combine those contracts with wretched injury histories and underwhelming play, and Bargnani and Stoudemire are essentially immovable pieces at this point in their careers.

    That leaves us with reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, who still has two years (should he exercise his player option) and a shade over $12 million remaining on the deal he signed this past summer.

    However, according to Bleacher Report's Dan Favale, the contract would be the least of the Knicks' concerns when seeking out a trade partner: 

    See, while Smith's contract—which will pay him more than $12 million over the next two seasons—isn't completely unreasonable, his defective, potentially cancerous personality makes it seem immovable. Doesn't help that the league knows the Knicks are desperate, either.

    Of course, the Knicks were reported to be shopping Smith back in early January, but that was during a tumultuous stretch for both the individual and the team. Since then, Smith's productivity has picked up, which would feasibly make him easier to deal. 

    In January, Smith averaged a season-high 12.9 points on 43.1 percent shooting from the field and 39.1 percent shooting from three. And while those numbers are by no means jaw-dropping, they represent an improvement over the 36.8 percent he shot from the field in December.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Kendrick Perkins

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    Age: 29 

    Position: C

    Contract: One year, $9.4 million remaining 

    After scanning the Oklahoma City Thunder's roster, this is a no-brainer selection. 

    According to NBA.com's stats database, Oklahoma City is significantly better with Perkins off the floor, scoring 7.3 points per 100 possessions more when he takes to the pine. 

    And given Perkins' offensive deficiencies, it shouldn't come as a surprise that OKC's net rating changes more drastically on the offensive end. Normally scoring 103.6 points per 100 possessions when the plodding center is on the floor, that number balloons to 110.5 when Scott Brooks opts to bench Perkins. 

    Defensively, Perkins still has a bit of value (99.7 defensive rating when he's on the floor), but at more than $9 million, he is simply too pricey for the limited services he's providing. 

Orlando Magic: Jameer Nelson

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    Age: 32

    Position: PG

    Contract: $8 million team option for 2014-15

    The Orlando Magic's most generously compensated player, Jameer Nelson's days with the Orlando Magic figure to be numbered whether he's dealt at the trade deadline or not. 

    The reason: Nelson is due $8 million next season in the form of a team option, and it's hard to envision Rob Hennigan coughing up serious bucks for a point guard who's well past his prime and is barely shooting over 40 percent. 

    Remember, Orlando's in full rebuild mode. Wasting time and money on Nelson at this point in his career simply doesn't make sense. 

    According to Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops, Nelson fits the description of a likely trade candidate at this year's deadline along with teammate Glen Davis: 

    Again, there are a number of teams that could use a veteran floor leader to calm things down in the fourth quarters of tough playoff games, although there are a limited number of teams that have the assets to make a deal that would be to Hennigan’s liking.

    Hennigan also has been trying to rid himself of Davis’ contract for more than a year, and a package of the players would represent $15 million in outgoing salary.

    Still a capable passer and scorer (13.1 points, 6.5 assists per game), Nelson could emerge as an under-the-radar half-season rental for a squad that's in need of an upgrade at backup point guard. 

Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner

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    Age: 25

    Position: SG/SF

    Contract: Due an $8.7 million qualifying offer this summer 

    According to ESPN's Marc Stein, it's no secret that the Philadelphia 76ers are seeking to acquire a first-round pick in exchange for the expiring contract of Evan Turner. 

    And boy, is it easy to see why. 

    Turner may be averaging a career-high 17.4 points, but his game still lacks any semblance of efficiency, even in Brett Brown's uptempo, possession-crazed scheme. 

    The former No. 2 overall pick still owns a below-average player efficiency rating of 13.3 despite boasting a career-best usage rate of 24.1. According to Basketball Reference, Turner is one of only 17 players to possess a PER below 14 while simultaneously eating up more than 24 percent of his team's possessions when on the floor. 

    It's hard to imagine the Sixers coaxing a contender into coughing up a late pick in Round 1 for Turner, but like so many impending free agents (he's restricted at season's end), it's key that the Sixers get at least some return value while they still can. 

Phoenix Suns: Emeka Okafor

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    Age: 31

    Position: PF/C

    Contract: Expiring at season's end 

    The Phoenix Suns figure to be buyers and not sellers at the trade deadline, but if there's one player they wish to deal, it would appear to be center Emeka Okafor. 

    Out indefinitely due to a neck injury, Okafor doesn't figure to step on the court this season, making him more appealing to teams that are willing to take on expiring deals. 

    Okafor was linked to the Suns' pursuit of Pau Gasol as a piece that could be flipped back to the Los Angeles Lakers, and Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times explained why he would be appealing in this rare case.

    "Okafor, 31, is making $14.5 million in the final year of his contract," Bresnahan said. "An insurance clause could potentially cover about $5 million of his contract, making him more attractive to the Lakers."

    Okafor's hardly the most exciting asset to be dangling in potential deals, but he clearly holds a bit of monetary value despite his inability to get on the court.

Portland Trail Blazers: Meyers Leonard

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    Age: 21

    Position: C

    Contract: Three years, $9.6 million remaining (Final year a qualifying offer worth $4.2 million)

    The Portland Trail Blazers aren't really the desperate type right now given their immense successes this season, but if they were to look to deal one player, perhaps it would be second-year center Meyers Leonard. 

    A 2012 lottery pick (No. 11 overall), Leonard was unable to consistently flash his potential in 17.5 minutes a game during his rookie season and has only seen his playing time diminish as he's fallen behind Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland on the depth chart. 

    Appearing in just 19 games so far this season, the Blazers have made it clear to Leonard that they don't have the time or patience to develop a project at center while they chase an NBA title, and rightfully so. 

    While the Blazers may not be looking to actively deal Leonard, shipping him off for a veteran piece who could contribute during the postseason would be rather intriguing. 

San Antonio Spurs: Danny Green

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    Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 26

    Position: SG/SF

    Contract: One year, $4 million remaining

    The San Antonio Spurs don't possess an abundance of tradable commodities, but according to Sam Amick of USA Today, R.C. Buford and co. could be looking for an upgrade on the wing, as they've been reported to have interest in Philadelphia 76ers forward Evan Turner. 

    Should the Spurs actively seek to make a move to improve their perimeter depth, Danny Green factors in as an intriguing name, although the Spurs should be wary of pulling the trigger too quickly.

    Green's offensive production (7.7 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting) has dropped off after a superb 2012-13 campaign, but the Spurs have been noticeably worse defensively when he's been off the floor.

    According to NBA.com, the Spurs have been 6.8 points per 100 possessions worse defensively with Green on the bench and have allowed a stellar 96.3 when he's been on the floor. Conversely, the offense has been nearly five points worse per 100 possessions with Green out there. 

    However, with his three-point shot falling at a lower rate than last season (down five percent), Green is one of the few Spurs whom you can make a case to trade at this point in time.  

Sacramento Kings: Marcus Thornton

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    Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 26

    Position: SG

    Contract: One year, $8.7 million remaining 

    Perhaps it's time for the Sacramento Kings and Marcus Thornton to part ways. 

    In his third full year with the Kings, Thornton's numbers have dropped off drastically as he's struggled to score with more attractive options like DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas all surrounding him. 

    Also consider that the Kings are going to be looking to develop rookie Ben McLemore in the coming years and Thornton's time with Sacramento would appear to be running out. 

    The good news, according to Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler, is that the Kings have a desire to move Thornton at the deadline.

    The key, though, will be finding a taker for a volume scorer who's shooting a career-worst 38.1 percent from the field while posting a putrid player efficiency rating of 9.9. 

Toronto Raptors: Steve Novak

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    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

    Age: 30

    Position: SF

    Contract: Two years, $7.15 million remaining 

    Ordinarily, I would list Landry Fields and the $6.25 million he's owed next season in this spot. However, given his contract, litany of injuries and limited offerings on both ends of the floor, trading Fields is simply out of the question. 

    Also consider that the Toronto Raptors are souring on the idea of trading point guard Kyle Lowry, according to NBA.com's David Aldridge, and there aren't many attractive options to choose from. 

    That leaves us with three-point specialist Steve Novak, who's been a DNP-CD more often than not during his first season with the Raptors. 

    A bit pricey for a perimeter marksman, Novak and the two years left on his contract figure to be difficult to deal at this year's deadline, making him a viable desperation-trade candidate. 

    In the big picture, it's hard to envision the Raptors making a move, particularly after shaking things up so drastically back in December when they dealt Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings. 

Utah Jazz: Marvin Williams

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Age: 27

    Position: SF/PF

    Contract: Expiring at season's end 

    The Utah Jazz have three expiring contracts of note that could be viewed as assets at this year's deadline. 

    The first two are those of Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins, but neither player holds trade value at this point in his career. Marvin Williams, on the other hand, has been moderately productive in a pseudo bounce-back season for the former No. 2 overall pick. 

    In just under 27 minutes per night, Williams is averaging 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from three. What's more encouraging is that Williams' player efficiency rating has jumped up nearly five points from last season and is now slightly above average (15.3) while his offensive rating (112) is up seven points from 2012-13 and ranks second among all Utah players. 

    With his value trending slightly upwards in a contract year, now would be a nice time for the Jazz to capitalize and try to grab a late draft pick in exchange for the typically inconsistent Williams. 

Washington Wizards: Trevor Ariza

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    Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 28 

    Position: SF

    Contract: Expiring at season's end 

    Trading Trevor Ariza may seem a bit odd considering the terrific season he's having, but according to NBA.com's David Aldridge, it's a move that may have to be made to accommodate the franchise's long-term goals:

    They've already committed $80 million to Wall in a new extension, and Beal will be in line for his in a couple of years. And they can't let unrestricted free-agent center Marcin Gortat walk. Gortat, acquired from Phoenix after Okafor suffered a season-ending neck injury, has infused the locker room with his goofiness and tough play inside.

    But they can't pay Ariza, who also pines to return to the West coast, what he'll likely ask for as a free agent. Ariza recently hired Rob Pelinka as his agent, a man not known for taking 70 cents on the dollar. It's a tough, tough call for a team that desperately needed a perimeter defender like Ariza. Yet if the Wizards let both Ariza and Gortat walk in July, they'd have enough cap room to go after a major free agent to pair with Wall, Beal, Nene and first-rounder Otto Porter, Jr., for at least two years.

    Shooting a career-best 38.8 percent from the field while boasting the title of Washington's premier wing defender, Ariza could be a valuable commodity if the Wizards' asking price isn't exorbitant.

    However, dealing Ariza would definitely be detrimental to the team's defensive efforts in the short term, as the Wizards have posted a defensive rating of 100.8 with him on the court compared to a mark of 104.4 with him on the bench. 

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