5 Potential 2014 NBA Trade Targets Every Team Must Avoid
The trade deadline offers contending teams one last chance to add an impact player for a playoff run. This year, there will be plenty of names available that could potentially help title contenders or teams just looking to sneak in.
Making a big acquisition at the deadline can be a minefield, though. It's often difficult for teams to jell in less than 30 games or so, and the forfeiture of future assets for short-term rentals can be incredibly damaging to a franchise. There's a reason why the true contenders choose to stay put more often than not.
While there are some big names available at the deadline and plenty of prospective buyers, here are five players who every team would be wise to stay far away from.
Jarrett Jack, Cleveland Cavaliers
Former Cleveland Cavaliers GM Chris Grant made a lot of questionable decisions over the last few years, but the signing of Jarrett Jack this offseason was perhaps the most confusing.
After a good postseason run with the Golden State Warriors, Jack was signed to a four-year deal worth $25.2 million this offseason, which is an awful lot for a backup point guard, even before factoring in the depth of the position around the league.
Jack's shaky shot selection has always been an issue, but he's been more inefficient than ever this season, posting a true shooting percentage of 48.7 percent. Jack's reliance on pull-up long twos is growing more and more as he loses his ability to blow by defenders off the dribble, and that's a big problem.
Maybe there'd be some "buy-low" potential here if it weren't for that oversized, lengthy contract. At age 30, it's probable that Jack's best basketball is behind him. Cleveland paid for past performance instead of future production, and it would be a shock if any team decided to do the same, even at a low asking price. There are plenty of better point guards on the market.
Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers
It's no secret that the Philadelphia 76ers want to trade Evan Turner, and Turner is prepared for that possibility. Here's what he told Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times about all the trade rumors:
“I never really worried about it,” Turner said. “If it’s something that needed to be discussed, (agent David Falk would) let me know. Other than that, just go with the flow and go about your business. Whatever happens, happens.”
It's not often that a player deals with trade rumors during the best season of his career, but perhaps that's kept Turner motivated to put up big numbers. The fourth-year guard is averaging 17.4 points, 6 rebounds and 3.7 assists a game, which is definitely pretty impressive on the surface.
Here's the issue, though: It's highly debatable that any team would give Turner the ball as much as Philadelphia has this season (24.1 usage percentage) or play the type of uptempo system that boosts raw stats. Turner would instead play more of a complementary role wherever he ended up, which might be a little problematic since he's still a poor three-point shooter (28.7 percent this year) and lackluster defender.
Turner could have some value as a sixth man on the right team, but the asking price is probably too high. The 76ers are almost certainly holding out for a first-round draft pick, and even if a team is willing to forfeit that, Turner will need to be given a qualifying offer worth $8.7 million in order to become a restricted free agent this offseason. That's a lot of tied up cap space for a player who probably isn't starting material.
Turner has some talent, but there are just too many holes in his game to justify giving up a first-round pick or signing him to an expensive long-term contract. Good offenses aren't built around players like him.
Tyreke Evans, New Orleans Pelicans
After signing a four-year deal worth $44 million this offseason, Tyreke Evans has flamed out in New Orleans.
Part of that can be blamed on nagging injuries, but Evans has also largely failed to earn Monty Williams' trust, and he's playing just under 25 minutes a night because of it.
Roughly $11 million a year is an insane amount to pay any sixth man, even if Evans was playing at his best. Although he's still putting up good raw numbers per 36 minutes, Evans hasn't made an impact defensively or scored with any sort of efficiency. The only thing that's saving him is that the ball is in his hands an awful lot.
Pelicans GM Dell Demps may want a mulligan on this one, but the combination of Evans' contract, injury concerns and inefficient play should be enough to keep teams away. Evans would be better off in a different situation, but he might not get the chance.
Tayshaun Prince, Memphis Grizzlies
Tayshaun Prince has had an incredible career and is one of the most respected players around the league, but his days as a starting small forward are numbered.
At age 33, Prince is suffering through the worst season of his career by a large margin. He just can't hit a shot, and his athleticism is all but gone. The mind is willing, but the body is not.
The Memphis Grizzlies are in a tough situation. James Johnson is clearly the superior player behind Prince, but benching veterans doesn't often go over well in the locker room. However, Sam Amick of USA Today has reported that the Grizzlies want to upgrade at small forward:
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. Veteran Tayshaun Prince is having the worst of his 12 seasons as a starter, averaging just 6.0 points (38% shooting overall, 29.5% from three-point range), 3.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 26.7 minutes a game.
Moving Prince wouldn't be tough if he was on an expiring deal, but he's set to make $7.7 million next season. In no way is he worth that amount. Unless a team could shed a more damaging, longer contract, there's no point in trading for Prince.
Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons
Josh Smith is unquestionably the best player on this list, and he's still capable of performing at a high level on both ends of the floor.
The problem with Smith has never been his capabilities, though, but rather what he's willing to do. This year, Smith has been willing to shoot a ridiculous amount of jumpers and basically loaf his way through the season.
Smith is posting a career-worst true shooting percentage (46.6 percent), PER (15.2) and total rebounding percentage while shooting 22.9 percent from behind the arc. If Smith keeps chucking at this rate, he'll finish the year as the worst three-point shooter (minimum 300 attempts) in NBA history.
All that could probably be stomached if Smith was giving you his usual brand of elite defense, but that's not there this year, either. Smith's four-year deal worth $54 million signed this offseason looks disastrous now, and he's likely far too great of a risk for any team to acquire given his questionable effort and decision-making.
Smith can certainly turn it around, but no general manager should bet their job on it.