10 Teams That Need a Big Trade ASAP

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2017

10 Teams That Need a Big Trade ASAP

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    Aaron Gash/Associated Press

    Sometimes a big trade can boost a team to playoff contention—and sometimes it simply cures a big headache. 

    Teams clearly needing to make a move aren't hard to find. In leagues such as the NFL, it is all about acquiring much-needed help to round out a roster. It's more complicated in a league such as the NBA, where a move can alter a franchise for years. Speaking of complicated, the MLB is the deep end of the pool when one takes into account farm systems.

    The definition of a big trade varies. For some, it's clearing out a bad situation, a reset button of sorts, enabling a fresh start. For others, it is about the now and a chance to perhaps compete for something big.

    Now, some of the usual suspects won't show up on a list like this. For instance, everyone seems to want the Sacramento Kings to make a big move with DeMarcus Cousins. But realistically speaking, it is in the team's best interest to find a way to make it work with the best center in the game. 

    As the sporting world really starts to sink its teeth into 2017, let's take a look at franchises in need of a major move to ensure a strong year—if not much more.

New York Knicks

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Something has to change in New York. 

    The idea Derrick Rose was the missing piece necessary to help Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis into the playoffs doesn't hold much water.

    Rose is a big part of the issue. Forget the whole strange disappearing thing—he's only averaging 17.5 points per game and doesn't even lead the team in assists.

    The arrival of Joakim Noah hasn't exactly helped either. He's only playing 22.8 minutes per night with 5.7 points and 8.9 rebounds. 

    The Knicks need some serious defense in a hurry. As expected, the team doesn't have any problems on the offensive end of the court, hence averaging 105.2 points per night. But the team ranks 25th, allowing 108.1.

    While the team doesn't have the best trade chips around, the brass in New York need to make a move before it is too late.

New York Jets

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Imagine if the New York Jets had a Tony Romo or some other capable veteran.

    The Jets need to fix much about the roster, including a once-proud defense that allowed 25.6 points per game. But even a great defense can only do so much when consistently put in bad situations when a quarterback like Ryan Fitzpatrick throws 12 touchdowns against 17 interceptions while occasionally handing the job off to Bryce Petty and Geno Smith.

    New York is in an interesting situation. The team retained head coach Todd Bowles, giving him and the plan a strong endorsement. In theory, the current regime won't want to wait on developing a rookie quarterback, so making a move makes sense.

    These Jets are sort of like some of the NBA teams on the list. There is too much talent at certain levels of the defense, making guys like Muhammad Wilkerson trade candidates. A move now plus smart draft choices could lead to a huge turnaround.

Dallas Stars

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Parity has really put a damper on the trade market in the NHL so far this season.

    Still, a team like the Dallas Stars could use a big move. After posting a 50-win season in 2015-16 and surprising by winning the Central Division, the Stars sit just fifth as of Saturday and continue to flirt with the .500 mark.

    Problems persist in Dallas, but a better-producing netminder could make a world of difference.

    After holding the Stars back in the postseason last year, Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen haven't taken much of a step forward. The former ranks 28th in save percentage, the latter 42nd.

    Not all is lost for the Stars, though the front office needs to confess the problem and do something about it. Quality goalies aren't hard to find on the trade market, should the Stars offer the right price.

Chicago Bulls

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Rose's old team also underwent a few eyebrow-raising changes and doesn't look much better.

    The Bulls brought on Rajon Rondo to run the point and he averages 7.3 points per game when he actually sees the court. New arrival Dwyane Wade looks good at 18.8 points per game, but it's worth noting it is his worst output since his rookie year back in 2003-04.

    Look, the Bulls and Rondo already sound headed for a split. Might as well do it now and see what the market has to offer because the flirtation with a .500 record might not keep the team from the playoffs, but it will ensure a quick dismissal.

    Chicago could use some defense considering opposing teams shoot 45.8 percent from the floor against Wade and Co., though a spread-the-wealth point wouldn't hurt.

    The combo of Wade and Jimmy Butler can probably make some noise in the playoffs, but the front office has to up the quality of the supporting cast and do away with the distractions.

Houston Astros

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    The Houston Astros are all-in.

    With guys like Jose Altuve on affordable contracts, the Astros took Brian McCann off the hands of the New York Yankees and splurged in free agency on Josh Reddick.

    If the Astros still want to make moves and seriously compete while this interesting window remains open, the front office needs to invest in some pitching right now. 

    The rotation doesn't look too different from last year, where only one of six players with 10 or more starts recorded a sub-4.0 ERA.

    With high-profile prospects such as David Paulino and Joe Musgrove hanging around, the Astros certainly have the ammunition to go out and grab a veteran. A third 80-win season in a row could be in order if the Astros don't sit on their hands.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Unlike the Jets, the Jacksonville Jaguars have decided to start over in some places, hence the arrival of Doug Marrone as head coach and Tom Coughlin as vice president of football operations.

    In other ways, Jacksonville might remain the same after Coughlin reinforced the idea embattled quarterback Blake Bortles will remain the starter, per NFL Network's Albert Breer.

    What gets lost in talk about the Jaguars is the fact the defense only allowed 215.3 passing yards per game, ranked fifth in the league. This isn't the best stat in the world, but only allowing 25 points per game is probably better than most would expect, too. 

    The Jaguars need to roster better wideouts if the team is serious about giving Bortles a chance to succeed. Allen Robinson is a special talent, but only caught 73 of his 151 targets last year. Not all on him, but the gap is huge. Ditto for Marqise Lee (63 of 105) and Allen Hurns (35 of 76).

    Offering some talent in exchange for a veteran wideout who can catch passes reliably makes sense. Rather than pay up for up-and-down free agents like Alshon Jeffery, gun for a young proven upstart such as Paul Richardson.

    And while they're at it, if sticking with Bortles is the plan, why not deal the No. 4 pick for a big haul and gather even more quality future-looking assets?

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia 76ers need to get Joel Embiid some help as soon as possible.

    Philadelphia hardly has double-digit wins this year despite the best efforts of the man known as The Process, who averages 19.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.33 blocks per game.

    The 76ers don't have much else right now, though it is high time the front office got serious about putting win-now talent around Embiid given what a revelation he's been. As usual, the 76ers are an odd group of talent, with Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel clogging the depth chart.

    Firepower should be the main objective of the front office. Embiid has to do it all on his own right now, hence the team only averaging 99.3 points per game.

    If the 76ers can deal a forward for a scoring guard, things turn for the better in a hurry, which helps along young developmental talent better than simply plodding through a miserable season.

Dallas Cowboys

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Romo, Romo and Romo.

    The Dallas Cowboys need to go ahead and pull the trigger. Letting Romo stick around doesn't make sense on multiple levels. For one, the media and fans will break into a frenzy whenever Dak Prescott happens to struggle. Hasn't had an impact thus far, but who knows?

    Two, from a business standpoint, it doesn't make sense to let a solid veteran quarterback waste away on the bench instead of dealing him on the market and shoring up other positions to gun for another playoff berth. 

    Think about all the ways Dallas could go in a trade. It could find another wideout to lean on other than Cole Beasley if Dez Bryant is bottled up. It could find a successor to Jason Witten (who just posted his lowest yardage total since 2003 at 673). An already-great defense could use another pass-rusher after only tallying 36 sacks during the regular season.

    As soon as the Cowboys bow out of the postseason, whenever that may be, the front office needs to be on the phone fielding ransom assets from teams in need at the most important position of all.

Cleveland Indians

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    The fate of Andrew Miller might be one of the most polarizing situations in baseball right now.

    Miller was a huge get for the Cleveland Indians when the front office decided to make a run at the World Series. It helped the team realize this goal, though everyone knows how it worked out in the end. 

    Costing the Indians only $9 million in 2017 and 2018, Miller is an absolute bargain. But the same reasons for keeping Miller in town justify moving him—the Indians could ask for a mother load in return given the ridiculously expensive cost of quality relief pitching these days.

    On paper, Cleveland can make the playoffs again without Miller. Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and others will hit next season fully healthy, so moving Miller for more affordable, long-term contracts and dishing the saved cash elsewhere across the roster to keep the core intact makes sense.

    Miller's value will never be higher, so the Indians need to recoup some of the talents they lost when getting him in the first place while ensuring years and years of playoff appearances. 

Detroit Lions

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Imagine a healthy Adrian Peterson on the Detroit Lions.

    Right? The Lions had it all this year on the march to the playoffs. Matthew Stafford threw 24 touchdowns against 10 interceptions while leading game-winning drives. Marvin Jones and Golden Tate both cracked the 900-yard mark. The defense held teams to just 22.4 points per game.

    Then there were the running backs. No back took more than 90 carries because why would they? As a whole, the Lions rushed for 1,310 yards and nine touchdowns on a 3.7 per-carry average—a list of nine players totaling less in every category than say, Dallas rookie Ezekiel Elliott. 

    Detroit has to find a quality solution here quickly if it wants to actually contend. Guys like Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington are change-of-pace backs only. The Ameer Abdullah experiment simply hasn't panned out and taking another risk on a rookie doesn't make sense.

    The Lions have a somewhat tight window here. Making a deal for a proven running back (jokes aside, Peterson may be on his way out of Minnesota) can work wonders for the offense, enabling a more well-rounded attack.