Identifying the Ideal Trade Target for Each NBA Team

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2016

Identifying the Ideal Trade Target for Each NBA Team

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    Wheeling and dealing is a necessary part of the process for plenty of NBA squads. 

    Some teams would like to make a move that pushes them into playoff contention or allows them to join the elites in their conference. Others have a more dire need, seeking to fill a hole that's been opened up by either injury or improper roster management. 

    But let's pretend each of the Association's 30 franchises are bound and determined to make a deal before the deadline comes and goes at 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 18. We'll only have two exceptions, and you'll see those exist for good reasons. 

    Before we move into the ideal targets, a few ground rules: 

    1. A player can only serve as an ideal target for one team, or else you'd see far too much repetition. 
    2. Targets must be on the trade block or at least reasonably viewed as potentially available. Every squad would love to trade for Stephen Curry, but that's not going to happen. 
    3. Teams must have the pieces necessary to trade for the available player. The Brooklyn Nets, for example, wouldn't have any chance of landing a big name since they have few assets at their disposal. 

Atlanta Hawks: Robert Covington

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    Even though the Atlanta Hawks already have plenty of wing players, few have worked out. Kyle Korver has struggled to find his shot in 2015-16, while Tim Hardaway Jr. and Justin Holiday have failed to make much of an impression. 

    If the defending Eastern Conference regular-season champions are hoping to make it further than the opening round of the playoffs, a boost is needed. Robert Covington could be the answer, given that he plays like someone head coach Mike Budenholzer could turn into a useful two-way contributor. 

    The 25-year-old has already been a solid defender for the Philadelphia 76ers, and he's shown flashes of quality three-point shooting throughout his three years in the NBA. Plus, his 6'9" frame grants him the luxury of added versatility, potentially allowing him to play the role of backup power forward in smaller lineups. 

    It's starting to feel like the current core has a limited ceiling in Atlanta, which means a substantial change or high-upside addition could be necessary. For now, the latter is the easier and safer solution.

Boston Celtics: DeMarcus Cousins

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    The Boston Celtics have all the assets necessary to trade for a superstar.

    They have plenty of movable pieces in the frontcourt (see: Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson, David Lee and more), and the backcourt boasts players such as Avery Bradley who could be shipped off for the right addition. Plus, this organization is swimming in draft picks—including the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected first-round selection in the 2016 NBA draft, which could rise as high as No. 1 during the Ben Simmons sweepstakes. 

    The C's need a frontcourt superstar, and DeMarcus Cousins fits the billing. He's more than a ball-dominant offensive machine with one of the most potent combinations of physicality and finesse we've seen in recent history; he's also a developing floor-spacer, which works perfectly in head coach Brad Stevens' system. 

    Rumors surrounding Cousins' availability have tapered off significantly as the current season progresses, but the Celtics still have enough assets to keep him within the realm of reasonable and realistic possibilities. 

Brooklyn Nets: Any Asset

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Trade Thaddeus Young. See if anyone is willing to take on Joe Johnson's massive contract now that there's only one year remaining. Shop Brook Lopez. Attempt to move a veteran backup such as Wayne Ellington. 

    The Brooklyn Nets can't just sit still at this year's trade deadline, even if they don't necessarily have any specific targets. Devoid of traditional rebuilding methods, they must attempt to find any assets they can acquire by putting their veterans on the block. 

    Brooklyn doesn't have any first-round draft picks until roughly 3016 (slight exaggeration...but it's bad), which is particularly painful since they could realistically earn the No. 1 selection this summer. They also don't have much appeal in the open market, given the stench of losing and mismanagement that has permeated this organization throughout the last few seasons. 

    Acquiring second-round draft picks and unearthing gems is about the only way these Nets can hurry along their rebuilding process. 

Charlotte Hornets: Terrence Ross

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    Though Nicolas Batum has played like a borderline All-Star and Jeremy Lamb has looked vastly improved in his new uniform, the Charlotte Hornets could still use more depth on the wings until Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returns from his shoulder surgery. P.J. Hairston (7.3 player efficiency rating) and Troy Daniels (12.7 PER in limited action) just aren't cutting it. 

    That's where Terrence Ross enters the equation. The Toronto Raptors need more pieces in their frontcourt, and the Hornets have plenty to offer, allowing them to get their hands on a high-upside wing with potential for two-way growth. 

    Even if Ross' defense doesn't improve, he's still a dynamic offensive contributor with the athleticism necessary to finish around the hoop and the shooting prowess that helps space out the court. He's taking 4.1 three-point attempts per game this year and hitting them at a 36.1 percent clip, which is actually the worst mark he's produced in the last three. 

    If Ross can knock down 39.5 percent of his treys, as he did during his sophomore season with the Raptors, he'd surely help boost the Hornets back into the Eastern Conference's competitive playoff race.

Chicago Bulls: Randy Foye

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    Before Joakim Noah reinjured his shoulder and underwent a surgery that should keep him out for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign, the Chicago Bulls had a lot more ammo to use on the trade market. With Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis, they almost had to move one of their many frontcourt standouts in order to upgrade at a smaller position. 

    Now, they still need another guard, but they can't afford to give up a player of Gibson's caliber. Smaller targets are necessary in the quest to find a convincing backup for both Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, which is why we're left with Randy Foye. 

    The Denver Nuggets combo guard is by no means a glamorous addition. He's 32 years old and in the midst of his worst season as a pro, shooting only 34.5 percent from the field and a putrid 27.9 percent from downtown. 

    But there's still hope Foye could turn things around on a more talented team. Given the opportunity to thrive as a spot-up threat, he'd be able to make the most of his natural shooting ability instead of trying to create his own space while playing for a squad that doesn't have many go-to options to draw away defensive attention. 

Cleveland Cavaliers: Jared Dudley

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    ESPN.com's Bradford Doolittle suggested that Washington Wizards forward Jared Dudley could be an ideal trade target for the Cleveland Cavaliers:

    Dudley's ability to defend both forward positions and space the floor at an elite level make him an ideal Cleveland target. Washington, of course, still needs him, but if the Wizards' season comes unhinged over the next few weeks, perhaps they'll seek to unload Dudley's reasonable but expiring deal.

    The Wizards are only two games out of the playoffs, but they're much further away from emerging as one of the legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference. Selling is the natural reaction, and the 30-year-old Dudley shouldn't be viewed as a long-term contributor in the nation's capital. 

    In Cleveland, he'd make a world of difference. 

    Dudley is knocking down a career-best 46.5 percent from downtown this year, and that's pushed him above 40 percent for his entire NBA tenure. He's also posting a defensive box/plus minus of exactly zero, which indicates he's been an average stopper on a team that has fallen to No. 19 in the defensive efficiency standings. ESPN.com's defensive real plus/minus is even more optimistic, giving him a positive grade that leaves him behind only 15 players at his position.

Dallas Mavericks: Anthony Morrow

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    The Dallas Mavericks love taking three-pointers this year. Through their first 43 games, they've lofted up 1,204 treys, leaving them behind only the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors. 

    Unfortunately, they've haven't been very accurate. Knocking down just 34.2 percent of their long-range attempts, the Mavs sit below the league-average mark of 35.1 and trail 18 other teams in that category. In large part, the problem stems from the shooting guards: 

    • Wesley Matthews: 98-of-269 (36.4 percent)
    • Raymond Felton: 39-of-118 (33.1 percent)
    • Devin Harris: 27-of-78 (34.6 percent)
    • John Jenkins: 3-of-18 (16.7 percent)

    Charlie Villanueva (24.8 percent on 113 attempts) may be the biggest issue, but the Mavericks need to bring in another wing player who can connect at an impressive clip. Basically, they need Anthony Morrow, whom they can presumably acquire cheaply from the Oklahoma City Thunder even though he's knocking down 40.5 percent of his triples. 

    Morrow's role has fluctuated under OKC head coach Billy Donovan, and his lack of defensive ability makes him less appealing on a team that already has so many offensive options. But for Dallas—a team on which his shooting wouldn't just be a luxury, but a necessity—playing time shouldn't be an issue. 

Denver Nuggets: Asset Consolidation

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    There isn't one specific area the Denver Nuggets need to focus on upgrading. 

    At point guard, Emmanuel Mudiay should be the future of the franchise, even if he's struggled immensely during his rookie season. The wings are set with Gary Harris, Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton. And the big men are forming a bit of logjam, given the presences of Kenneth Faried, Jusuf Nurkic, Nikola Jokic and Joffrey Lauvergne. 

    Instead of just acquiring more talent, Denver has to focus on consolidating those assets by turning two high-upside players into one with even more star potential. Ideally, those pieces come from the frontcourt or forward spots and involve the more veteran players. Packaging Gallinari and Faried, for example, could yield a rather fruitful return. 

    The Nuggets don't need to do anything, despite what their win-loss record would indicate. But it couldn't hurt to make a few calls and see what upgrades are available.

Detroit Pistons: Markieff Morris

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    Stan Van Gundy has the luxury of making personnel decisions and coaching the players he acquires, which means the Detroit Pistons are never going to stop pushing for more shooters. The four-out, one-in system built around Andre Drummond necessitates players who can space the floor. 

    While Markieff Morris has been a negative presence for the Phoenix Suns, it's not difficult to imagine him being a perfect fit in the Motor City. 

    The power forward has plenty of shooting and shot-creating skills around the perimeter, even if he's not a true threat from beyond the arc. He's shown that in previous seasons, boosting the desert-based offense with his versatility and touch.

    But perhaps most importantly, Morris would be motivated in Detroit. He'd be reunited with his twin brother, and the initial trade that sent Marcus Morris to the Pistons was what led to Markieff's disgruntled status in the first place.  

Golden State Warriors: Absolutely No One

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    The Golden State Warriors are overflowing with depth and, following their thrashing of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 18 in Quicken Loans Arena, they sit pretty atop the Western Conference standings with a gaudy 38-4 record. That puts them on pace to win 74 games and establish the new all-time record at the expense of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. 

    Beyond that, the Dubs are outscoring their opponents by a ridiculous 11.7 points per 100 possessions, which gives them one of the best net ratings in NBA history. It might even be better if Golden State didn't consistently blow teams out in the first three quarters and rest its starters as the clock ticks down to triple zeroes. 

    Why in the world would this team be compelled to make any moves?

    Unless a major injury pops up before the trade deadline and opens a significant hole in the rotation, the defending champions can adhere to the motto that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." 

Houston Rockets: Jerryd Bayless

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    The Houston Rockets need someone who can play alongside James Harden, serving as a spot-up shooter who helps space out the court for the nimble drives of the fleet-footed 2-guard and Dwight Howard's dunks. Forming a two-headed point guard monster alongside Patrick Beverley would be ideal, and the Rockets would benefit from the offense-defense combination. 

    In other words, they need someone other than Ty Lawson

    Jerryd Bayless would be the perfect fit, given his proclivity for dropping shots in spot-up situations. Per NBA.com's SportVU databases, the Milwaukee Buck has scored 1.5 points per possession in those scenarios during the 2015-16 campaign, leaving him in the 99.4 percentile. Cameron Payne (1.67) and J.J. Redick (1.86) are the only qualified players above him, while Lawson (0.9) sits all the way down in the 42.4 percentile. 

    Houston needs more than a spark; it needs a player who actually meshes well with everyone else and helps build chemistry during a season that's starting to take a turn for the better—but only barely. 

Indiana Pacers: Kevin Martin

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    Even though Kevin Martin has spent portions of this season completely out of the Minnesota Timberwolves' rotation, he still has value to the right team. His shooting skill hasn't completely evaporated, and he remains capable of putting the ball on the floor and drawing contact. 

    In the proper situation, Martin can be a significant spark plug for a team like the Indiana Pacers, who are thriving behind a dominant defense but still feature an offense scoring only 104.8 points per 100 possessions—the No. 14 mark in the Association, though the league average is 105.1. 

    Thanks to the stellar defense of Ian Mahinmi and Lavoy Allen (among others), the Pacers have the pieces in place to cover up for a one-way player such as Martin. He wouldn't turn into a defensive plus like Monta Ellis has, since he doesn't have the same athletic ability.

    But he'd at least see many of his mistakes erased by the interior forces, and that makes his offensive skill set all the more valuable.

Los Angeles Clippers: Rudy Gay

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    The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones has linked the Los Angeles Clippers to Rudy Gay, but it's a bit unclear how the Western Conference's fringe contenders would actually get their hands on such a talent with a limited pool of assets to pull from. We'll turn to Clipperholics' Trisity Miller for a solution:

    The real issue in this scenario would be what the King [sic] want in return for Gay. The Clippers don’t have a lot to offer the Kings, or anyone else for that matter, outside of expiring contracts. If that’s the way Vivek Ranadive and company want to go, clearing the books in an attempt to make a splash next summer, something like Stephenson ($9 million, team option next summer), Crawford ($5.6 million, UFA next summer), Smith (Caron Butler works out financially.

    Is it entirely realistic? Maybe. 

    If the Kings are willing to acquire so many expiring contracts instead of pushing for the No. 8 seed in the struggling Western Conference, it would certainly benefit the Clippers. Gay's athletic ability and the versatility of his game would be a boon to LAC, whether he settled in as the starting small forward or came off the bench as a supersub. 

    This team may be rolling through the current portion of its schedule, but improvement is still both possible and advantageous. After all, the Clippers continue to sit a tier behind the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. 

Los Angeles Lakers: David Lee

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    "I suspect that there will be more activity moving forward," Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak admitted during an appearance on Time Warner Cable SportsNet with Chris McGee. "But I wouldn't suspect a blockbuster deal."

    A blockbuster deal wouldn't make sense for this team, as it would likely involve parting with one of the centerpieces of the current rebuild. D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle should all be viewed as nearly untouchable commodities, even if Randle has struggled immensely during his de facto rookie season. 

    One idea, as conceptualized by Bleacher Report's David Murphy, involves trading Roy Hibbert to the Boston Celtics for David Lee, then using the rest of the season to evaluate his fit with the team. If it works, re-sign him. If it doesn't, the Lakers have cleared up even more cap room to be used in the pursuit of a superstar signing. 

    Lee might not seem like an "ideal" acquisition at this stage of his career, but the Lakers' situation is important. Taking a major step forward during the current campaign is anything but ideal, especially given the possibility of losing a first-round draft pick if the team isn't selecting within the first three choices on June 23. 

Memphis Grizzlies: Eric Gordon

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    UPDATE: Eric Gordon injured and underwent surgery on his right ring finger and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

    Managing to match salaries could be fairly difficult, but it's doable. The Memphis Grizzlies could send Tony Allen, Jeff Green's expiring contract and a draft pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for Eric Gordon, acquiring the shooter they so desperately need without taking on too much risk. 

    If Gordon doesn't give Memphis the push it could use over the proverbial hump, the Grizzlies could cut ties with him this summer. Even though his 2015-16 salary is massive (slightly over $15.5 million), it expires at the end of the season. 

    Memphis needs to make a move, and that move must involve a shooter. Despite the winning record, this is a severely flawed team that struggles to keep pace with competitive squads, largely due to its complete dearth of three-point threats. 

    Thus far in 2015-16, Memphis has made only 243 triples—more than just the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves—while connecting from beyond the arc at a 32.9 percent clip. This time, only the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Nets and Los Angeles Lakers have been worse

    It's possible to compete with an archaic style, but not one that's this out of touch with modern trends. 

Miami Heat: Miles Plumlee

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    The Miami Heat don't have the ability to move many pieces right now. Their most expendable players are all aging frontcourt members who won't have much value in the trade market and aren't spending enough time on the court to be showcased. 

    But even with limited options, the Heat could still get their hands on Miles Plumlee, who has made only 24 appearances for the Milwaukee Bucks and logged just 8.1 minutes per game in those contests. This isn't because the big man is a fringe NBA player, but rather because the Bucks have too much frontcourt talent and not enough playing time to go around.

    ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported back in early December that Milwaukee was willing to trade Plumlee, and that stance shouldn't have changed. He's still a restricted free agent this offseason, and it's not like he's suddenly vaulted ahead of the younger Brewtown bigs with more unrealized upside.  

    Miami surely wouldn't have to part with much in order to acquire him, and he'd lend some convincing size and defensive ability to a frontcourt that needs another piece. Hassan Whiteside still doesn't spend an inordinate amount of time on the floor, which forces the Heat to turn to their small-ball lineups a bit too often. 

    Just having another option would make this team even more dangerous—and perhaps a bit more consistent.

Milwaukee Bucks: Jared Sullinger

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    Jared Sullinger is an intermediary piece in the series of moves for the Milwaukee Bucks. The first involves getting him from the Boston Celtics, as Bleacher Report's Dan Favale proposed in a recent article: 

    Jared Sullinger and one of Boston's bajillion first-rounders, along with David Lee's expiring deal, is fair compensation should the Bucks decide to repurpose their season. Sullinger has more range on his jumper than Monroe and won't fetch anything in restricted free agency that approaches the $17.1 million Milwaukee owes his would-be predecessor in 2016-17.

    Dealing Greg Monroe allows the Bucks to officially pull the plug on this miserable season and start building a team with a higher ceiling. The defense has taken a massive stride in the wrong direction with him eating up minutes at center, and his offense can be replaced, especially if trading him opens up more minutes for the high-upside incumbents.

    And that's why Sullinger is just an stopgap. 

    Acquiring him lets the Bucks make the best possible trade that involves Monroe; then they can go shop him in order to free up minutes for Jabari Parker, John Henson and the other power forwards and centers already on the roster. 

Minnesota Timberwolves: Better Veteran Contracts

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    The Minnesota Timberwolves, much like the Denver Nuggets, don't actually need to make any trades. They've stockpiled a sufficient amount of young talent at every spot in the lineup, and they've surrounded the young contributors with veterans who can help them grow. 

    Kevin Garnett and Andre Miller can stay. But Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic aren't as ideal for the 'Wolves. 

    The former will have more value on the open market, given his enduring ability to serve as a floor-spacing option and the fact that he only has one year remaining on his contract. But because of that expiring nature, Minnesota can also hold onto him and create more cap space this offseason, only dealing if the return is sufficient. 

    Moving Pekovic is more ideal, if for no other reason than the fact he has two years and $23.7 million remaining on his contract after this season ends. Given the presences of Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng, he'll never play enough to justify the gaudy nature of that deal. 

    But trading the Montenegrin center will be a challenge. Few teams will be willing to acquire such an albatross of a contract, which means Minnesota would have to accept an exceedingly small return. 

New Orleans Pelicans: A Draft Pick

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    It's time. 

    Even though the New Orleans Pelicans refuse to give up during any single game, they're too far back in the Western Conference standings. Forty contests into their season, the Pelicans are 4.5 games shy of the No. 8 seed, and sneaking into the postseason won't do much. 

    If NOLA actually wants to build upon its first-round exit in 2015, it can't be content serving as the sacrificial lamb to the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs. Instead, it's time to accept that the current core isn't sufficient and start trading away pieces. 

    Anthony Davis stays—obviously. But Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday and virtually everyone else should be put on the block, all with the intent of acquiring draft picks and a better chance in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes. 

    After all, wasting one year of Davis is better than continuing to build a team around him that's doomed to peak well short of contention. 

New York Knicks: Ty Lawson

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    Because of the presumably low asking price and the fact that his contract is nonguaranteed in 2016-17, the New York Knicks can afford to take a risk on Ty Lawson. He's still a talented floor general who was pushing toward All-Star status with the Denver Nuggets, and he could be a much better fit in Madison Square Garden than he's been with the Houston Rockets. 

    Thanks to the shooting ability of Jose Calderon and the upside of Jerian Grant, the Knicks don't need to push for a new point guard. But acquiring one with even more talent would help expedite the rebuild and push them that much closer to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 

    If Lawson doesn't work out, the Knicks can write the trade off as a misadventure while immediately cutting ties with him this offseason. But just imagine if he becomes the dynamic offensive commodity he was in the Mile High City. 

    Having that extra playmaker could pay large dividends for New York. Plus, we already know he has a bit of pre-existing chemistry with Carmelo Anthony, since the two once played on the same Nuggets team before the latter was traded to the Knicks. 

Oklahoma City Thunder: K.J. McDaniels

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder are currently scoring 112.2 points per 100 possessions, which gives them an offensive rating superior to every NBA team other than the Golden State Warriors. Meanwhile, their defensive rating of 103.3 just barely allows them to sneak into the top 10. 

    So long as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are playing at such a high level, OKC doesn't have to worry about offense. That's going to come naturally for this team, just as it did during previous seasons in which the Thunder ran far too many isolation sets. 

    But they could still stand to improve the defense, ideally by adding another wing stopper. With Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams, there are enough strong interior defenders, but a versatile player with athleticism would help at shooting guard and small forward. 

    K.J. McDaniels should be a feasible solution. Not only does his minor role for the Houston Rockets indicate that he could be had on the cheap, but his previous stint with the Philadelphia 76ers made it quite clear he could serve as an energetic impact defender. 

    Though McDaniels can't shoot, that's not an issue for a Thunder team already loaded with scoring options. He can focus entirely on preventing points. 

Orlando Magic: John Henson

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    The Orlando Magic's defense has taken significant strides, but it's still rather porous around the rim. Nikola Vucevic is too slow-footed to make a positive impact when he's not allowed to stand right next to the hoop, and the members of the second unit have largely had limited success. 

    According to NBA.com's SportVU data, Dewayne Dedmon has limited opponents to 39.6 percent shooting at the basket, but he's only played 12 minutes per game during 25 contests. Channing Frye, Jason Smith and Aaron Gordon also force their foes to miss more than they make around the rim, but in limited time and while facing a small number of shots. 

    As a whole, Orlando has allowed 52.3 percent shooting near the hoop, which puts it ahead of only seven teams. And of those seven, only the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards have a realistic shot at making the playoffs, though no member of that trio should be considered a legitimate contender. 

    Help is needed, and John Henson could provide it. The Milwaukee Bucks still refuse to hand him more minutes, but he's been one of the few defensive bright spots on the struggling roster. In fact, his 3.1 DBPM stands well clear of the second-best mark produced by a Buck this year—Michael Carter Williams' 0.7. 

    Why? Largely because he's heavily involved around the rim whenever he gets run and still holds the opposition to 41.3 percent shooting. 

Philadelphia 76ers: C.J. McCollum

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    The Philadelphia 76ers desperately need someone who can score and help space out the court. 

    Enter C.J. McCollum, who is shooting 39.5 percent from downtown and averaging 20.5 points during his breakout season with the Portland Trail Blazers. He'd be an ideal complement to the interior game of Nerlens Noel and the developing mid-range efforts of Jahlil Okafor, drawing away defensive attention and giving them more room to operate. 

    The Sixers are in dire need of a spark (one other than Ish Smith, that is), which would make it easier for them to pay the potentially high price Rip City would demand. But at this point, even parting with some of the better draft picks would be worth doing, because McCollum has proved himself as a legitimate offensive threat. 

    Despite his status as a leading candidate for Most Improved Player, the Blazers should still think about dealing him. Dominant as he's been as a scorer, he's also been one of the worst defensive players in the NBA, and Portland can't afford to hemorrhage points from both backcourt spots. 

    McCollum would be even more valuable in a place such as Philadelphia, which has the necessary pieces to clean up behind him more often. 

Phoenix Suns: Someone for Markieff Morris

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    This franchise's problems aren't just limited to the current season. Instead, they date back to last year, when Goran Dragic was demanding a trade and forcing his way out of the desert, operating under the belief that the Phoenix front office had acquired too many guards and pushed him into an off-ball role he never agreed to. 

    Since then, things have gotten worse. After the Suns traded Marcus Morris to the Detroit Pistons, Markieff Morris adopted a disgruntled attitude and demanded a trade of his own. 

    "One thing for sure, I am not going to be there," he explained to Keith Pompey of Philly.com after an offseason workout. "If you want to put that out there, you can put that out. I don't give a [freak]. I am not going to be there at all. That's just what it is."

    He's still there, but he's not playing nearly enough to justify the size of his contract. It's time for Phoenix to bite the proverbial bullet and trade him, doing so to project that the culture is being altered, even if the return is far less than the Suns would like. 

Portland Trail Blazers: An Expiring Contract

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    After losing four starters, the Portland Trail Blazers easily could've plunged down to the very bottom of the Western Conference standings. Instead, they've hung tough and remain on the fringe of playoff contention—though that's due in large part to the backsliding of the teams joining them in the West. 

    Allen Crabbe and C.J. McCollum have both broken out as legitimate rotation players. Mason Plumlee and Ed Davis have excelled in the frontcourt, while Meyers Leonard has shown flashes of immense upside when he's been healthy. And as a result, the Blazers join the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves as rebuilding teams that don't truly need to make any major moves. 

    If Rip City does anything, it should be dealing to open up even more cap space for free-agency ventures this offseason. Gerald Henderson, Chris Kaman, Leonard, Maurice Harkless, Crabbe, and Tim Frazier all have expiring deals, but that won't free up quite enough financial flexibility once the younger players are re-signed. 

    Dealing someone such as Davis or Al-Farouq Aminu could, since it's clear the Blazers now have more building blocks on the wings and feasible frontcourt options than they could've originally imagined. Even trading McCollum is an option, despite the gaudy nature of his current statistics.

    Finding a star is the next step in this rebuild, and a bit more money is necessary to get that done. 

Sacramento Kings: Channing Frye

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    The Sacramento Kings need to find a big man who can actually shoot from the outside, because that would help DeMarcus Cousins resume playing to his strengths (and abandon the ill-advised exploits from beyond the three-point arc). Though the superstar center is shooting 33.9 percent on his triples this year, his desire to wait for perimeter opportunities is pulling him away from the strongest parts of his game. 

    "Sources around the league say Channing Frye is available now for very little, though Magic officials deny it," ESPN.com's Zach Lowe reported back in October. That probably won't be any different now, especially as the team hands even more playing time to Aaron Gordon. 

    Frye wouldn't just help out Cousins, though. He'd also allow Rudy Gay to play to his own strengths instead of attempting to serve as a floor-spacer, and the same is true for virtually everyone else on the roster.

    One stretch 4 could make a big difference in Sacramento. 

San Antonio Spurs: That's Funny

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    See how humorous Kawhi Leonard finds the suggestion that the San Antonio Spurs should trade for anyone during the 2015-16 campaign? I'm fairly sure that's the face he makes when he's laughing. 

    Sitting at 36-6 through their first 42 games, the Spurs are outscoring opponents by a jaw-dropping 15.1 points per 100 possessions. To put that in proper perspective, the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls have the best net rating of all time, and theirs was "only" 13.4.

    It's not just one side of the court San Antonio is dominating. It's sitting at No. 3 in offensive rating while also posting the league's best defensive rating by a sizable margin. 

    So why exactly would the Spurs mess up this group?

Toronto Raptors: Terrence Jones

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    Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    The Toronto Raptors don't just need someone who can space the court from the power forward position. Beneficial as someone such as Ryan Anderson could be, he'd also create a terrible defensive liability in the frontcourt when playing alongside Jonas Valanciunas, to the point that he'd be virtually unusable in crunch-time situations. 

    Instead, finding a player who can shoot and protect the rim is the only option. 

    That's where Terrence Jones comes in, even if he's struggled to remain consistent with the Houston Rockets. He did knock down 35.1 percent of his three-point looks in limited action during the 2014-15 campaign, and he sits at 34.3 percent this year. In short spurts, the lefty has shown he can be significantly deadlier from beyond the arc. 

    He's also a capable interior defender. NBA.com's SportVU data may show that he's letting opponents knock down 53.3 percent of their looks at the rim this season, but that number was down at 46.3 percent in 2014-15.

    Jones is a risky acquisition, but the Raptors shouldn't hesitate to take a gamble on such a diversely talented 24-year-old who likely won't demand a particularly large return. 

Utah Jazz: Jrue Holiday

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Just imagine how threatening the Utah Jazz would be if they managed to acquire a legitimate point guard.

    Raul Neto and Trey Burke haven't gotten the job done in 2015-16—save for occasional flashes of offensive ability from Burke—and that won't change when Dante Exum is healthy next year. The Australian guard is too raw on the offensive end, and an ideal situation would have him paired up with a more threatening teammate in the rotation. 

    If the Jazz were willing to part with a promising wing player—say, Alec Burks—and one of their better draft picks, they may tempt a New Orleans Pelicans team entering a period of rebuilding into parting ways with a former All-Star. Jrue Holiday would be the target, and he's capable of both fitting in with the defensive mentality in Salt Lake City and providing a substantial offensive boost at the 1. 

    Utah already has so many promising pieces in place, but a player capable of knocking down triples while setting up his teammates would help them all come together into a cohesive puzzle. Holiday is one such guard, seeing as he's a career 37.6 percent shooter from downtown who's blossomed into one of the league's better distributors. 

    The asset-accumulation period should be over in Utah. It's time to shoot for the stars. 

Washington Wizards: Ryan Anderson

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    NBA Photos/Getty Images

    Remember when Ryan Anderson suited up next to Dwight Howard on the Orlando Magic and began establishing himself as one of the league's most dangerous frontcourt sharpshooters? He'd find himself in a fairly similar situation with the Washington Wizards. 

    Just as Howard feasted on pick-and-roll opportunities, Marcin Gortat does his best work in those sets. And while the Polish big man isn't as dominant a scorer, the difference is made up for with John Wall's incredible passing chops. The thought of Wall probing a defense and kicking the ball out to Anderson has to be terrifying for the rest of the NBA. 

    The Wizards need a spark, and adding a bit more punch at the power forward position could do the trick. This is a middling team from three-point range, and Nene's contributions have been coming in extremely small doses, even when he's healthy. 

    Figuring out a way to acquire Anderson without giving up significant pieces could be a bit challenging, and may even necessitate bringing in a third team. But if the Wizards can put together a convincing offer, they should. 

     

    Adam Fromal covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @fromal09.

    All stats, unless otherwise indicated, are from Basketball-Reference.com or Adam's own databases and are current heading into games on Jan. 19.