The Likeliest Player to Be Traded on Every NBA Team Going into 2016 Deadline

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2016

The Likeliest Player to Be Traded on Every NBA Team Going into 2016 Deadline

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    Take a deep breath. 

    If the NBA All-Star break served as the calm before the storm, this week is going to be hectic—and then some—leading up to the Feb. 18 trade deadline. Precious little has actually happened, as teams decide whether they want to go after that piece that might give them a chance of beating the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs. 

    But the storm is coming.

    Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin have spent plenty of time in the rumor mill lately. The Atlanta Hawks are deciding whether they want to unload two of their best players. Rebuilding teams may be looking to move quality veterans. 

    With only a few exceptions—see: Golden State and San Antonio—each organization should be working the phones furiously while there's still time to make deals. And each of them has that one player who's most likely to be on the move, whether it's because he's playing at a crowded position, has the most value or has promoted internal disharmony.

Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague

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    The Atlanta Hawks haven't recaptured the magic of the 2014-15 season, even if they're still sitting pretty in the Eastern Conference. Coming out of the All-Star break, they trail only the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics. 

    But without a legitimate shot at advancing further than last year's exit in the postseason's penultimate round, the front office is justifiably thinking about blowing things up.

    Al Horford may be on the block, though a source recently told Sean Deveney of Sporting News the team isn't actively shopping the All-Star center. And it's for that reason Jeff Teague has asserted himself as the placeholder here. 

    We know there's a replacement already on the depth chart (Dennis Schroder). Even more importantly, we know other teams have shown interest. 

    "They are looking so very possible," Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler said on Twitter in response to a question about whether the Indiana Pacers will make a trade before the deadline. "Heard their interest in Jeff Teague is very real."

Boston Celtics: David Lee

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    The Boston Celtics could be major players at the deadline. 

    In one pocket, they have a conglomerate of players at a couple of positions. With Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, R.J. Hunter and Terry Rozier, the C's have too many guards to give everyone a fair shake. At the biggest spots in the lineup, the same holds true for Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko, David Lee, Jordan Mickey, Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk. 

    Consolidation is necessary, and that process should be aided by the many first-round draft picks Boston has in the other pocket. Highlighted by the Brooklyn Nets' unprotected selection, one that could go as high as No. 1 in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes, these picks could pay major dividends if they're offered. 

    But no one is quite sure what the Celtics will do. Are they targeting a wing such as Danilo Gallinari? Are they preparing to make a groundbreaking offer for a big-name center such as Dwight Howard or DeMarcus Cousins?

    Either way, it seems likely Lee would be included in a deal. His gaudy salary makes it easier to match money in any potential deal, and the expiring nature of his contract will help other teams take him on for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign. 

Brooklyn Nets: Thaddeus Young

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    It's time to sell.

    The Brooklyn Nets aren't going to compete for a playoff spot in the East. Unfortunately, tanking isn't going to help them much either, as their first-round pick will be conveyed to the Boston Celtics in unprotected fashion. 

    The only logical course of action is to sell veteran pieces who won't be around when it's actually time to start rebuilding. Virtually everyone on the roster should be made available, from Joe Johnson to Brook Lopez to Thaddeus Young to Wayne Ellington. If you can get picks or young players with unrealized upside, you do it. 

    However, it's not easy to move most of these guys. 

    Ellington doesn't have enough value. Johnson's contract, while it expires at the end of the season, is such an astronomical albatross that it would be nearly impossible for teams to match salaries without sending too much talent back in return. Lopez could still be a part of the future, which means the asking price could be too high from Brooklyn's end. 

    By process of elimination, Young has to be the Nets' representative.

Charlotte Hornets: Marvin Williams

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    If the Charlotte Hornets want to advance to the playoffs and have a shot at staving off first-round elimination, they need to become buyers at the deadline. Now that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum, the talent is dispersed too unevenly throughout this depth chart. 

    Help on the wings is needed, and the Hornets have frontcourt pieces they could afford to deal. Painful as it might be to trade Marvin Williams while he's shooting 38.6 percent from beyond the arc and emerging as a convincing stretch 4, doing so could improve this squad. 

    After all, Charlotte has replacements. Frank Kaminsky could stand to play more minutes, while Tyler Hansbrough can make a positive impact in a limited role. And with Al Jefferson nearing a return from knee surgery, the biggest part of the depth chart will only grow more crowded. 

    Granted, there haven't been any rumors about a Williams trade. Then again, Charlotte hasn't been an active player in the rumor mill whatsoever. 

    But if it intends to get involved, dealing this former North Carolina standout makes the most sense. 

Chicago Bulls: Taj Gibson

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    It doesn't feel like the Chicago Bulls will make a trade. While they once had all of the frontcourt flexibility in the world, injuries have ravaged their deep crop to the point that trading one of them might not make sense. 

    Taj Gibson was the early favorite to be moved, but as ESPN.com's Marc Stein wrote at the end of January, that's changing: 

    First Joakim Noah was lost to a potentially season-ending shoulder separation. Now Nikola Mirotic is out until after the All-Star break thanks to emergency surgery this week to remove his appendix.

    Those injuries, sources say, have greatly increased the likelihood that Taj Gibson will be staying put now, because Chicago suddenly doesn't need to make a trade to create more playing time for promising rookie Bobby Portis.

    Still, who else could be on the block?

    Chicago doesn't have enough viable options at the smaller spots in the lineup to justify moving one of them, which leaves Gibson as the best—and the only—option.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Timofey Mozgov

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    "The odds are against the Cavs re-signing [Timofey Mozgov], given their incredible salary cap problems and his declining performance," Terry Pluto wrote for the Plain Dealer. "Mozgov makes $5 million and I would not be shocked if he is traded."

    Though it would be painful for last year's runner-ups to part with Mozgov after dealing two first-round picks to acquire him in 2014-15, it's the right move. The Cleveland Cavaliers can make up for his production by playing smaller and handing more minutes to Anderson Varejao and Sasha Kaun when they go big, and they need more depth at other spots in the lineup. 

    Mozgov isn't likely to generate much of a return, but it also wouldn't be surprising to see the Cavs pair him with a more appealing player to land a bigger fish.

    Think about the potential three-team deal involving them, the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics as a blueprint. According to the New York Daily NewsFrank Isola, talks among those franchises never went further than preliminary discussions but involved Cleveland getting its hands on Carmelo Anthony and parting with Kevin Love. 

    That deal isn't likely to happen, but something similar could if Cleveland is feeling desperate.

Dallas Mavericks: Wesley Matthews

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    "What I see 100 percent is we're going to keep those guys together for a long, long time," Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon, referring to Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons. "When they're both 100 percent and have all their explosiveness, that's a crushing tandem on the wing and we'll fill in around them."

    However, actions speak louder than words, as the saying goes. 

    Matthews has sat out during a handful of crunch-time situations in recent weeks, watching from the bench as his teammates attempt to keep Dallas in possession of a Western Conference playoff spot. He's cheering from the pine, but it's a bit disconcerting that getting out the pom-poms is necessary. 

    The Mavericks probably won't make any moves at the deadline, but Matthews would be the best player to float if they decide to get active. No matter how hard he works on his craft, it's tough to overlook the fact that he's a 29-year-old shooting guard coming off an Achilles rupture. 

    Of the core pieces in Dallas, he's the one who offers the strongest combination of expendability and value on the trade market.

Denver Nuggets: Joffrey Lauvergne

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    "The Denver Nuggets are seeking a late first-round draft pick in exchange for center Joffrey Lauvergne," Michael Scotto reported for Sheridan Hoops. 

    While it's unlikely the Nuggets actually secure such a valuable asset for a 24-year-old center averaging just 7.5 points and 5.1 rebounds, Lauvergne should still be moved. Accepting something less impactful—a second-round pick or a young player at another position—would help clear up the massive frontcourt logjam. 

    Thanks to the emergence of Nikola Jokic, Denver has way too many bigs fighting for minutes. The two aforementioned up-and-comers are competing with Jusuf Nurkic, Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and J.J. Hickson, which isn't a tenable long-term solution. 

    Trading at least one of the pieces is necessary, and Lauvergne should be the easiest to deal in a small-scale move...but only if general manager Tim Connelly is willing to back off the early reported demand.

Detroit Pistons: Steve Blake

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    The Detroit Pistons haven't been active participants in the NBA rumor mill, but they do have one veteran they could deal without losing many current contributions.

    Reggie Jackson was a borderline All-Star-caliber player during the first half of the season, and the combination of Brandon Jennings and Spencer Dinwiddie is capable of backing him up at point guard. But that leaves Steve Blake out of the equation, even though the 35-year-old has been a decent floor-spacing option with a solid assist-to-turnover ratio. 

    Blake wouldn't bring a sizable return, but that's not the point of dealing him. Detroit would be doing so to free up more time for Jennings and Dinwiddie, and anything that comes back would just be gravy. If the Pistons decide to get involved with a bigger swap, he'd be a likely throw-in.

Golden State Warriors: Marreese Speights

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    Per stats obtained from B/R Insights, Marreese Speights has been the most glaring defensive liability on the Golden State Warriors. He's allowing opponents to shoot 52.2 percent at the rim—a stark contrast to Andrew Bogut (42.1), Draymond Green (42.9) and Festus Ezeli (43.2). 

    Even when we expand the range to include all shots, not just those that come at the basket, Speights stands out in a bad way. He's letting his assignments knock down 50.2 percent of their looks, which is better than only Kevon Looney's two-game sample. 

    Now that Looney is back, Speights' role on this squad should be in jeopardy. He's the only member of the rotation who's been a distinct negative, and it would behoove the defending champions to see if they can get anything for him while opening up minutes for other, less negative contributors. 

    If they can't, there's no reason to do anything.

    After all, you don't want to mess with perfection. And when you're still on pace to produce the best win-loss record of all time, you may as well be perfect.

Houston Rockets: Dwight Howard

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    Dwight Howard could go anywhere. All that's certain is Howard's availability. At this point, it's no secret the Rockets are looking to blow up their core and build around James Harden

    Frank Isola of the New York Daily News is reporting the Houston Rockets are thinking about sending their center to the Miami Heat for Hassan Whiteside. ESPN.com's Chris Broussard has revealed that Howard himself would be interesting in joining the Atlanta Hawks. 

    The Charlotte Hornets wouldn't mind Howard coming to town, per Spencer Percy of Queen City Hoops. The Boston Celtics "are taking a cautious, measured approach" to any Howard trades, per the Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach

    We have no idea where he'll end up, but it seems likely Howard will be the headliner of this year's last-minute trade frenzy.

Indiana Pacers: Jordan Hill

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    Strike while the iron is hot. 

    Jordan Hill is having his best season in a long time, averaging 9.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists for the Indiana Pacers while shooting 51.9 percent from the field. Most importantly, he's made massive strides on the defensive end. The big man is fitting in with the rest of his teammates and posting a defensive box plus-minus of 1.2—his first above-average score since 2011-12. 

    But the Indiana Pacers don't need him. 

    With Ian Mahinmi in the midst of a breakout season and Myles Turner waiting to take over next to him, Hill gets in the way. Especially because Indiana likes playing with smaller lineups this season, there aren't enough minutes to go around. 

    Parlaying Hill's improvement into backcourt depth would aid this squad in more ways than one, actively promoting the growth of a future centerpiece while making the current lineup even more dangerous in a wide-open Eastern Conference. 

Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin

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    According to the New York Daily News' Frank Isola, the Los Angeles Clippers "are making [Griffin] available even though the injured forward is recovering from a second surgical procedure to his right (punching) hand and may not play again this season, especially if he's traded to a team out of the playoff race."

    At this point, it's no longer a question of whether the team is shopping Griffin. They are. That much is certain, given the proliferation of reports that various franchises are interested or having discussions about the dynamic power forward. 

    Where he ends up is the only uncertainty, though it's still possible L.A. could hang on and elect to keep the current core together for a playoff run. And if that's the case, this team doesn't have the assets necessary to swing any deal, given its lack of depth and dearth of tradable draft picks. 

    It's Griffin or nothing. 

Los Angeles Lakers: Lou Williams

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    "Ditto for the Los Angeles Lakers and a number of veterans on their roster: Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass, Nick Young and Lou Williams," ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported at the end of January, claiming the Lakers were making plenty of veterans available on the trade market. 

    Bass and Hibbert would need to learn new schemes, as both require an innate understanding of timing to function properly on the defensive end of the floor. Young is a bit too much of a wild card, and his antics may not endear him to new teammates right away. 

    Williams is a one-way player who loves playing in isolation, but is the most likely to move elsewhere of the four because of his ability to fit in seamlessly with another squad during the middle of a season. 

    He'd need to learn new plays, but would still be able to serve as an offensive spark plug off the bench. According to NBA.com's SportVU data, the guard is scoring 1.19 points per possession in isolation this year, which leaves him in the 97.8 percentile throughout the league. 

    That can work anywhere without many adjustments.

Memphis Grizzlies: Jeff Green

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    The Memphis Grizzlies have to love how much Jeff Green has been drumming up his own trade value lately. 

    Dating back to his 30-point explosion against the Orlando Magic on January 25, the small forward is averaging 19.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks while shooting 52.2 percent from the field, 40.5 percent from beyond the arc and 85.7 percent from the charity stripe. Everything is clicking now that his shot is falling, and that sets up the Grizz perfectly. 

    Without Marc Gasol in the lineup, this team is not going to assert itself as one of the true contenders in the Western Conference. Even when the Spanish 7-footer was playing, Memphis was overachievingalmost every underlying metric pointed toward an inevitable and unavoidable decline. 

    Selling Green while his value is at its zenith is the advisable course of action. And according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, that's exactly what Memphis is thinking about doing.

Miami Heat: Jarnell Stokes

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    Don't worry about any rumors you hear concerning Hassan Whiteside. Even if Dwight Howard can be had, it's unlikely Pat Riley would be willing to jeopardize the Miami Heat's future in a trade that would yield only a declining center on an expiring deal. 

    Instead, look for Miami to think smaller. 

    Mortgaging the future by trading Whiteside or Justise Winslow doesn't make sense, even if the former will soon need a new contract—one that could very well be a max deal. The Heat are too far removed from the two best teams in the Eastern Conference, and they're even further behind the juggernauts in the other half of the Association. 

    "The Heat [have] been seeking a second-round pick for Jarnell Stokes in a move that would open a roster spot and slightly lessen its luxury tax bill," Barry Jackson recently reported for the Miami Herald. It's that type of move that will be most appealing to a team that can still justifiably hope chemistry will kick in during the post-All-Star-break portion of the season. 

    Lest we forget, Riley added plenty of talent to the Heat roster over the last calendar year, hoping things would click when all of the key pieces were healthy. That hasn't happened yet, but there's no need to pull the plug and start the exact same experiment again when it's already February. 

Milwaukee Bucks: Greg Monroe

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    The Milwaukee Bucks didn't hand Greg Monroe a max contract so they could bring him off the bench. And yet, a mere six months after they staved off the overtures of the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, that's exactly what's happening. During each of the two games prior to the All-Star break, the center played heavy minutes but began on the pine, ceding his starting spot to Miles Plumlee.

    "[Michael] Carter-Williams isn't the only front-line player the Bucks are apparently willing to move," Gery Woelfel reported for the Journal Times in early February. "A much bigger surprise is the Bucks have made it known that center Greg Monroe is available at the right price, according to some NBA officials."

    ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst have recently reported Monroe is a non-starter in trade discussions, but that could merely be a smokescreen. 

    At this point in a year filled with backsliding and disappointment, almost everyone should be available—Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker should serve as the only true untouchables. But Monroe has the most appeal in the right landing spot. 

    Though he's a liability on the Bucks—yes, in spite of his gaudy per-game numbers—his traditional game would look strong to many teams. The Boston Celtics are just one such example, given their dire need for a go-to scorer in the frontcourt.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Martin

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    Between the ill effects of a wrist injury and the presence of younger contributors at his position, Kevin Martin has completely fallen out of the Minnesota Timberwolves' rotation. But that's not entirely a knock on his skill as a shooting guard, as he can still drain shots from the perimeter and work his way to the charity stripe. 

    He's the kind of player a contender would love to have operating off the bench in a limited role. Even while struggling to establish much of a rhythm, Martin is shooting 36.4 percent from beyond the arc while taking 4.5 attempts per 36 minutes. 

    The issue is the contract. 

    "Don’t think the Timberwolves haven't tried to peddle Kevin Martin before Thursday's deadline," Charley Walters wrote for TwinCities.com. "Problem is there's no market for the 33-year-old shooting guard whose salary this season is $7.1 million, fourth-highest on the team."

    Still, it's not as if there's a market for anyone else. Nikola Pekovic's contract is even more of an albatross, and the rest of the players with value are viewed as Minnesota building blocks, making them all but untouchable in a rebuilding year.

New Orleans Pelicans: Ryan Anderson

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    According to stats obtained from B/R Insights, Ryan Anderson is shooting 41.2 percent from three-point range when he's allowed to operate as a catch-and-shoot sniper. Contrasting that against his 26.4 percent marksmanship in other long-range situations shows just how valuable he's become working off the ball. 

    What playoff team wouldn't love to add that kind of floor-spacing ability when it comes without siphoning touches from the established stars? Plus, Anderson would love playing to his strengths more than he can on an offensively challenged New Orleans Pelicans roster. 

    We're looking at you, Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers. It might be hard for some of those teams to muster up a convincing package, but they should all be racking their brains for multi-team trades that could benefit them. 

    As for the Pelicans, it's time to rebuild, throwing in the towel on this ill-fated season and starting from scratch.

    Actually, it was time for that weeks ago. 

New York Knicks: Jose Calderon

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    "Jerian Grant has generated the most total team points (162) on drives for the Knicks, despite playing 607 fewer minutes than [Jose] Calderon," B/R Insights reveals. Diving even deeper, Grant is averaging 0.56 points per drive, while Calderon is stuck at a meager 0.33. 

    It's time for the New York Knicks to hand over the reins, testing the waters to see if someone else wants Calderon while opening the door for both Grant and Langston Galloway—who, per B/R Insights, is averaging 0.81 points per drive. 

    On the right team, Calderon can be valuable. He might not be adept at driving and doesn't seem to fit with the Knicks' current plans, but this is still a point guard shooting 40.7 percent from beyond the arc. Better yet, he's topped the 40 percent barrier every year since 2011-12. 

    Unsurprisingly, New York is on board with this plan. 

    "The Knicks, who also strongly covet [Jeff] Teague in their search for a front-line point guard, are trying their best to get a team interested in Jose Calderon and the $7.7 million owed to the Spaniard next season," ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst recently reported.

Oklahoma City Thunder: D.J. Augustin

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    Which player would you rather have? 

    • Option A is averaging 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.1 steals per 36 minutes while shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 39.7 percent from downtown and 76.9 percent at the line. His player efficiency rating is 17.1, his box plus-minus stands at 1.3 and he's earning 0.162 win shares per 48 minutes.
    • Option B is averaging 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 0.9 steals per 36 minutes while shooting 38 percent from the field, 39.3 percent from downtown and 76.5 percent at the line. His player efficiency rating is 8.9, his box plus-minus stands at minus-3.3 and he's earning 0.068 win shares per 48 minutes. 

    Pretty obvious, right?

    And the Oklahoma City Thunder's decision should become even more clear when Option A is 21-year-old Cameron Payne, while 28-year-old D.J. Augustin is Option B. 

    The Thunder don't have to make any moves right now, but dealing Augustin makes sense. He'd be useful depth for plenty of teams that don't have a rookie point guard making a largely positive impact, and he can be turned into a player OKC actually needs. 

Orlando Magic: Evan Fournier

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    Can the Orlando Magic really afford to keep Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier and Mario Hezonja? Probably not, and especially not if the French swingman continues to ask for at least $10 million per year in a new contract—as he did this November, per ESPN.com's Zach Lowe.

    Fournier is the easiest of the bunch to trade. The Magic don't have as much invested in his long-term growth, and the expiring nature of his deal could make him more attractive to contending teams seeking a half-season rental. 

    As we gear up for the Feb. 18 deadline, you'll likely hear many rumors involving myriad young players on the Orlando roster. It makes sense, as general manager Rob Hennigan has brought together so many intriguing contributors that some consolidation is necessary. 

    But it's hard to see the Magic giving up on Oladipo's or Payton's futures with the franchise, and Hezonja should be nearly untouchable until he's given more opportunity to develop.

    That leaves Fournier.

Philadelphia 76ers: Robert Covington

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    Even if we haven't seen it happen this season, we know Robert Covington can shoot the ball efficiently. He followed up his rookie year with the Houston Rockets by connecting at a 37.4 percent clip from downtown with the Philadelphia 76ers.

    We also know he can play solid defense against other forwards. He's posted an above-average defensive box plus-minus (0.6) this year, and that means his work has improved during each and every campaign of his young career.

    But does Covington have a future with the Sixers? Of his 2015-16 minutes, 29 percent have come at small forward, 69 percent at power forward and 2 percent at center in ultra-small lineups. That doesn't sound feasible for a team that rosters Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, with Dario Saric and Joel Embiid potentially joining the fray in 2016-17. 

    The Sixers may well be content to sit out at the trade deadline. But if general manager Sam Hinkie wants to get active, shopping Covington is his best bet, as well as the most likely outcome. 

Phoenix Suns: Markieff Morris

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    This is about as obvious as it gets. 

    Markieff Morris has seemingly spent the entire season on the trading block, though no team has been willing to pull the trigger in a deal. His volatility has been too much to take on after offseason trade demands and a first half that featured too many public blowups. Getting into a recent sideline spat with Archie Goodwin won't help his case. 

    But Morris is still talented, and he's not far removed from a campaign that left him close to earning Sixth Man of the Year. He can space out the court and create his own offense at the 4, which has to be appealing to a number of contending teams. 

    If the Phoenix Suns are willing to take little back in return, they should be able to find a buyer at the deadline. And the prospect of having him on the roster for the rest of the year might be too much to swallow. 

Portland Trail Blazers: Chris Kaman

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    The Portland Trail Blazers haven't played a part in any major trade rumors thus far, and that's likely because they don't have too many assets they can part with. The young players are key parts of the rebuild, and the contributing veterans aren't doing anything to tempt other teams. 

    We have to dig deep here, and that's exactly where Chris Kaman sits on the depth chart. The 33-year-old center has played only 64 total minutes this season, ceding opportunities to the plethora of younger players. 

    Could the Blazers get much for him? Of course not. At most, they'd receive a heavily protected second-round pick from a contending team desperate for size. But it's still more likely that a non-factor such as Kaman gets traded away from Rip City than any of the young guns. 

Sacramento Kings: Ben McLemore

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    What contending team wouldn't love a three-and-D contributor to help out during the playoff push? 

    We already know the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in acquiring Ben McLemore from the Sacramento Kings. ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst noted as much, also revealing the young shooting guard "is working with the Kings to try to find a new home via trade."

    Though the No. 7 pick of the 2013 NBA draft hasn't panned out as a star—or even close to it—he's still just 23 years old after celebrating his latest birthday on Feb. 11. There's plenty of time for him to continue developing, and it's not like his vaunted athleticism will suddenly disappear in a new location. 

    Plus, he really has become a three-and-D player. 

    According to data from B/R Insights, McLemore is shooting 37.7 percent on catch-and-shoot triples while holding his opponents to 36.2 percent shooting on jumpers. For perspective, the Kings as a whole allow the opposition to shoot 39.4 percent in the same situation.

San Antonio Spurs: Rasual Butler

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    Why would the San Antonio Spurs make a trade? 

    It's out of their character to consider a big swap during the middle of the season, and this team is far too strong to mess with chemistry. The right veterans are in place, the young players are making contributions and the players at the back of the depth chart aren't rocking the proverbial boat. 

    However, for the sake of completeness, we have to pick someone. That should be a man who's listed on the roster but hasn't actually done much in 2015-16. 

    Rasual Butler and his 8.9 minutes per game are unlikely to be wearing a different uniform before the conclusion of the Spurs' eventual playoff run. But we have to pick someone.

Toronto Raptors: Patrick Patterson

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    It's not that Patrick Patterson has no value to the Toronto Raptors. If anything, the opposite is true. 

    Per stats from B/R Insights, the veteran power forward has the highest season-long plus-minus on the roster (plus-274) and has played better defense than many realize. Opponents are shooting just 39.8 percent from the field against him—2.8 percent better than the league average. 

    However, context matters.

    According to ESPN.com's real plus-minus (RPM), which accounts for the impact of teammates, Patterson checks in as barely a slight positive on both ends of the court. His RPM of 0.96 leaves him 20th among power forwards—sandwiched between Spencer Hawes and Nikola Mirotic—and at No. 93 among all NBA players. 

    Dealing him could allow the Raptors to acquire someone who fits even better alongside Jonas Valanciunas. Unless Patterson becomes a game-changing defensive presence or can hit more than 34.8 percent of his three-point attempts, the big-man pairing will remain less than ideal. 

Utah Jazz: Alec Burks

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    "[Alec] Burks may be seen as a high price to pay for [Jeff] Teague (with both sides likely adding other minor pieces), who will be a free agent after next season, but shooting guard is an area of strength for the Jazz given the emergence of Rodney Hood this season," Ryan McDonald wrote for the Deseret News while going over some potential trades for the Utah Jazz. 

    ESPN.com's Zach Lowe also suggested packaging Burks with Trey Burke to get Teague from the Atlanta Hawks. 

    The Jazz are by no means guaranteed to make any splashes at the deadline. Now that they're gaining momentum and have a serious chance at making the playoffs, they don't need to do anything. They can instead rely on internal improvement and established chemistry. 

    But if they do go after an established commodity such as Teague, parting with Burks is the best option. As McDonald hinted at, Rodney Hood has indeed emerged as the shooting guard of the future in Salt Lake City, and that makes his backup a bit more replaceable.

Washington Wizards: Jared Dudley

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    According to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst, via ESPN Cleveland's Twitter feed, the Cleveland Cavaliers would be overjoyed to add Jared Dudley into the mix. However, as transcribed by Jake Whitacre of Bullets Forever, he went on to explain why the Washington Wizards weren't interested: 

    The problem is, the Wizards have the easiest schedule in the league after the All-Star break. So even though they've been a disappointment to this point, the difficulty is they still feel like they can make a run because of what their schedule is and they're going to be healthy. So right now, he's not available.

    If Washington does remain optimistic it can sneak back into the playoff picture, it likely won't be making any deadline deals—refusing to sell doesn't mean the team will suddenly morph into a buyer. Would that stance change if the Wizards actually received a convincing offer? 

    If it does throw in the towel or hedge its bets against a second-half surge, Dudley is the most likely to go. He's a nonessential part of the team's future who has value to squads actually contending for home-court advantage in the opening round. 

     

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

    Unless otherwise indicated, all stats are from Basketball-Reference.com or Adam Fromal's own databases and are current through the All-Star break.