Players Who Need to Be Traded During 2014 NBA Offseason
There are still plenty of moving parts in free agency, but now may be the perfect time for teams to be aggressive on the trade market.
All around the league, there are players in undesirable situations who should probably be dealt. Whether it’s because they’ve become less necessary after the draft or early free-agent signings, or simply because they’re an asset that could help address bigger needs through a trade, the following players should be dealt now while teams start to feel left out in the musical chairs of free-agency signings.
What’s interesting about the biggest trade candidates, however, is that they all seem to play in the frontcourt. That’s a good sign for teams in need of a strong power forward, but the abundance of players available at that position may drive the price down for teams willing to trade.
In some ways, that makes the trade market similar to the free-agency logjam we saw before LeBron James went back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. One big trade for a team in need of frontcourt help could set everything else in motion and start the action.
Let’s take a look at a few of the players who need to be traded this offseason.
Kevin Love is the biggest name on the trade block, and there will be no shortage of teams trying to acquire him.
Because Love is such a versatile forward offensively, he can fit in just about anywhere. Teams like the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers are all logical suitors, but there does seem to be a possibility that the Minnesota Timberwolves decide not to deal him.
With Flip Saunders acting as coach, general manager and president, he might not be so excited to trade his star player and start a rebuilding process.
The players may have gotten raked over the coals in the last collective bargaining (negotiation), but it’s pretty obvious that some of the stars know how to use the leverage they still have. Flip may think he can make like Portland did with LaMarcus (Aldridge) and get so much better that Love wants to stay. But that could backfire, too.
Keeping Love and hoping to retain him in free agency is obviously a massive risk, as there sure seems to be a strong chance Love could leave, and Minnesota would get nothing in return.
The longer Minnesota waits, the less leverage it may have in a trade. Teams may be desperate to get a full season with a star instead of half the year, so now is the time to deal Love if that's the plan.
Greg Monroe's free agency hasn't brought about any attention, which seems strange considering he's one of the very best big men on the market.
That may be a sign that something is going on, as it might be possible that Monroe is willing to accept Detroit's qualifying offer for a year and become an unrestricted free agent next season. If he wants to leave Detroit that badly, that's the one way to ensure they won't match.
Here's David Mayo of MLive.com breaking down some of the potential options for Monroe:
If Monroe actually receives a maximum offer, he presumably would sign it, and then the Pistons would have to determine whether to match.
But if Monroe's primary objective is to leave Detroit, Falk can facilitate it simply by not having his client sign an offer sheet and trying to force a sign-and-trade to an approved list of teams.
Failing that, Monroe could sign the qualifying offer and play next year for far less than his worth.
The qualifying offer, in some ways, would not be the worst thing for either party.
What might make the most sense here is a sign-and-trade deal. The Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics are two teams that would make sense, so long as Monroe viewed them as legitimate landing spots.
Maybe that's why Monroe hasn't signed an offer sheet quite yet. If he doesn't like any of the suitors in free agency, and if he's worried about Detroit matching on a deal, pushing hard for a trade may be the best option.
It's not that the New York Knicks should be in a huge rush to trade Andrea Bargnani and Amar'e Stoudemire, as both are on expiring deals. The Knicks should covet the cap space in 2015 more than anything, but it might be wise to get something for a guy like Bargnani in the meantime.
Even if it's just the swapping of expiring deals, the Knicks could desperately use some defense in the frontcourt. While it's unrealistic to assume Bargnani could bring a first-round pick, even if that's what it cost the Knicks to acquire him, grabbing a few future second-round choices as lottery picks would be a good move.
After moving Tyson Chandler, the Knicks could be a dumpster fire defensively in the frontcourt. Bargnani won't help at all in that regard, so he should be viewed as serious trade bait.
Although this won't be a season where they compete for a title, with a rookie coach in Derek Fisher and this roster, the East is still weak and it might be important to build some positive momentum heading into a big offseason.
With Carmelo Anthony back, the playoffs should be the goal. Bargnani probably doesn't help much to accomplish that, so getting him off the roster while teams are seeing the price around the league of stretch big men (Channing Frye, for example) might be smart before he can hurt his value even more by playing a big role on a terrible defensive team.
Speaking of logjams at power forward, Jason Thompson is stuck in one of the nastiest in the league.
The Kings have Carl Landry, Derrick Williams, Quincy Acy, Reggie Evans and Thompson all at the 4, and although he might not play there much, that's probably where Rudy Gay should be spending most of his time.
While it helps that Thompson can play behind DeMarcus Cousins at the 5 and soak up some of those minutes, that's not nearly enough to justify paying Thompson over $6 million a year for the next three seasons.
Thompson should have some appeal around the league as well, mainly because he's a solid rebounder and can hit mid-range jumpers. Ideally he'd be a third big man, but with Landry on a big deal and Williams needing minutes to develop, Thompson might be left out.
Moving his deal may take some work, but the Kings need to find ways to shed future salary to avoid being a tax team down the line. He's a good player, but moving him before his value sinks due to low minutes on a bad team would be a good idea.
Seeing a theme yet? Thaddeus Young is another forward wasting away on a bad team, and again, the leverage at the deadline should decrease compared to what the market may be now.
The Philadelphia 76ers saw what they were able to get with Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner deals last season, and the second-round picks weren't much. While Young will certainly bring back a better haul, maximizing the return now is probably the way to go.
That's especially true since Philadelphia looks to be punting another season away. Philadelphia has done nothing in terms of free-agent signings, and they drafted two players in Joel Embiid and Dario Saric who might not contribute this year.
How much longer will Young accept playing for a losing team? It's hard to imagine he's happy, and the last thing Philadelphia should want is for one of their most talented players to mail it in and set a bad example for the younger guys. It doesn't make Brett Brown's job any easier, either.
Young would be a good pickup for teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Bobcats, who could both use some help at the 4. It seems like only a matter of time before Young is dealt, as it's hard to see him having a future in Philadelphia given the current youth movement.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova has the ability to be one of the league's best shooting big men, and given the demand, Milwaukee shouldn't hesitate to move him.
With Jabari Parker taking over the role as a perimeter-oriented 4 and John Henson requiring some time there as well, Ilyasova may be the odd man out in the rotation this year. While his skill set could be of use for any team, a contender like the Houston Rockets might be interested and hope that playing with a great team can rekindle his sharpshooting ways.
Ilyasova is more than just a shooter, as he can also help out on the offensive glass. That's a unique combination and should appeal to the more analytics-heavy front offices around the league, even if Ilyasova's defensive effort can be pretty damaging at times.
If a team is willing to take on his contract and take a risk, Milwaukee should be able to pocket a future first-round pick or possibly a younger player that can grow with the rest of the core.
It just doesn't make sense to keep him around, and another bad year may hurt his trade value beyond repair. This is selling low, but Ilyasova's good seasons are recent enough to still get good value.