Although the trade deadline looms in the distant future, February 24 to be exact, already the hot stove has been fired up.
Carmelo Anthony has made his trade preferences known while the 76ers have been rumored to be shopping Andre Iguodala in an attempt to clear salary and solve the logjam at the small forward position.
However, these are not the only players who could find themselves on a new team by season's end. Many of the cellar dwellers will look to rid themselves of their overpriced veterans while teams with playoff aspirations will look to add talent for the stretch run.
Although most of the names listed below will remain with their current teams for the duration of the season, here we take a look at all thirty teams and examine one player that each team would love to land.
Why It Needs to Happen: Mike Bibby’s numbers are up from last year’s meager totals, but he is no longer a capable starter on a playoff team let alone a star.
Why It Makes Sense: After trading away Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu, the Suns essentially gave up hope on the season. Without playoff aspirations, Phoenix could deal Steve Nash while his value is still extremely high. After seeing Boston, Miami and Orlando make moves to improve their team, the Hawks need to make a big splash in order to stay competitive. Nash is a great distributor that will make everybody better and his presence will take a lot of pressure off of Joe Johnson.
Why It Needs to Happen: The Celtics don’t have many holes on their depth chart, but one glaring weakness is the lack of depth at shooting guard and small forward as well as the lack of a real point guard behind Rondo. The disgruntled Rudy Fernandez could help on all accounts.
Why It Makes Sense: Fernandez has expressed an interest to be traded after seeing his role in the offense diminish. Although his playing time would not rise dramatically in Boston, the idea of playing for a title contender would have to be enticing. Boston could offer an expiring contract and a draft pick or 2010 first round pick Avery Bradley in exchange for the Spanish wing.
Why It Needs to Happen: After firing Larry Brown, it appears evident that Michael Jordan is ready for a total roster overhaul. While they could try to win right now, the Bobcats would be best off re-building and dealing away either Stephen Jackson or Gerald Wallace. Both Courtney Lee and Jordan Hill are young players with high upside and small salaries.
Why It Makes Sense: Charlotte lacks the necessary players to make a playoff run, even in the weaker Eastern Conference. Is it really worth dealing away D.J. Augustin for Baron Davis as rumors have indicated they are considering? Clear cap space, add young players, and play for the future.
Why It Needs to Happen: When Denver finally unloads Carmelo Anthony, they will turn from a potential playoff team to just another also ran. When that happens expect everybody on their roster except for Ty Lawson to be on the trading block.
Why It Makes Sense: The Bulls are set at point guard (Rose), small forward (Deng), power forward (Boozer) and center (Noah). The one place you could argue they need help is at shooting guard. Although Smith is a head case, he is an extremely athletic wing and a potentially deadly long distance shooter. Add that type of talent to an already deep Bulls team and Chicago might be a legitimate title contender.
Why It Needs to Happen: Although the Cavs seemed destined to miss the playoffs, owner Dan Gilbert appears set in his view that Cleveland can make the post-season. If that were the case, the Cavs would be less likely to deal away veterans like Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams and more willing to add a proven scorer. Mayo fits that bill perfectly.
Why It Makes Sense: Rookie Xavier Henry has been starting for the Grizzlies and Mayo’s statistics have plummeted as a result. After averaging 18.5 ppg as a rookie, Mayo is down to just 13.1 in his third NBA season. Cleveland is loaded with draft picks after agreeing to deal LeBron James via the sign and trade, and could acquire Mayo for cap relief and draft picks. It would give Cleveland the go-to scorer they desperately need while acquiring a potential star for pennies on the dollar.
Why It Needs to Happen: Vince Carter is a terrible fit in Phoenix. The Suns were willing to take on his contract (two years at nearly $36 million) because it helped them unload Hedo Turkoglu’s even more unsightly contract (four years, $43 million remaining). However, the Mavs are always looking for top players past their prime and happen to have a hole at the two spot.
Why It Makes Sense: Dallas is currently starting DeShawn Stevenson as shooting guard and bringing Jason Terry off the bench. The truth is, the Mavs have too many undersized guards (Terry, Kidd, Beaubois, Barea) and could use some size at the position. Carter may not be the athlete he was in his more formidable years, but he’s still a capable scorer with range from deep.
Why It Needs to Happen: The Nuggets are inevitably going to trade Carmelo Anthony as they do not want to watch him leave this off-season without compensation. Ultimately, the only teams that are in the running for Melo’s services are the Knicks and Nets – two teams he would consider signing an extension with. The Knicks are Anthony’s preference, but because the Nets have far better trade assets, they would prefer to deal Carmelo to New Jersey.
Why It Makes Sense: Derrick Favors was the number three overall pick in this year’s draft and has already shown star potential. Favors per 36 averages of 12.5 and 10.2 are impressive as is his 55.6 field goal percentage. Favors is the only rumored trade target with superstar potential, and the Nuggets would love to acquire him.
Why It Needs to Happen: The Pistons are in a state of basketball purgatory. They’ve got overpaid and underachieving players inked to long term contracts. They’ve also got a handful of young players with some upside, although none with star potential. As much as they should rebuild, they have dug themselves into a hole and must now play for the present rather than rebuild for the future. Detroit lacks depth at the center position and could use a scoring big man.
Why It Makes Sense: With Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. The Jazz have their frontcourt of the future. Considering Okur is schedule to make almost $21 million over the next two seasons, it hardly makes sense to pay him that much to come off the bench. Detroit needs help and the Jazz need cap relief. Surely a deal could be worked out.
Why It Needs to Happen: Behind David Lee and Andris Biedrins, the Warriors have almost no frontcourt depth. Epke Udoh was a terrible waste of a draft pick and Brendan Wright hasn’t been on the court long enough for me to slap him with a bust label.
Why It Makes Sense: The Raptors are going nowhere fast and are likely already regretting the contract given to Johnson this off-season. Johnson is an incredible athlete, and at 23-years old, may not have even begun to scratch the surface of his potential. Johnson is the ideal fit for Golden State not only because they need forward depth, but also because his style of play fits perfectly with the Warriors up-tempo offense.
Why It Needs to Happen: Houston has the expiring contracts of both Shane Battier and Jared Jeffries and would be wise to use them. One potential trade to entertain would involve one of their expiring contracts in addition to Jordan Hill and/or Courtney Lee and draft picks.
Why It Makes Sense: The Bobcats would add financial flexibility and at least two promising young players. For Houston they would add a versatile forward whose defense first mentality fits perfectly with coach Adelman’s brand of basketball. Wallace could play the four with Scola moving over to center or play small forward with Brad Miller (and eventually perhaps Yao) at center. It makes the Rockets a playoff caliber team and gives Wallace a chance to enjoy the playoffs without having to watch it on television.
Why It Needs to Happen: The Pacers are currently 13-15, holding down the seventh spot in the top heavy Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, this team does not have a lot of talent. Roy Hibbert is still awkward and clumsy, despite the rise in his statistics. Darren Collison and Danny Granger are both young and talented, but after that there is a significant drop off in talent – especially at power forward. Indiana currently rotates Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough, but will need a significant upgrade if they hope to hold onto their playoff spot.
Why It Makes Sense: Although Cleveland seems set on improving their team this season, a change of heart could lead Antawn Jamison to the trade block. The 34-year old forward is averaging just 14.4 and 5.9 off the bench – a steep decline from his career averages of 19.7 and 8. The Pacers could use another scorer as well as depth at the four spot, and Jamison would provide both.
Why It Needs to Happen: According Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Jordan is considering a trade proposal that would send D.J. Augustin, DeSagana Diop and Matt Carroll to the Clippers for Baron Davis. This trade would shed millions from the Clippers payroll while dealing away a veteran point guard who does not fit into the teams long term plans.
Why It Makes Sense: While I think this trade would be moronic for Charlotte (as I would argue the less expensive and younger Augustin is already better than Davis), it would be a great move for LA. The 23-year old Augustin is averaging 12.6 points and 6 rebounds per game and would fit perfectly for a team that often starts five players 22-years old or younger.
Why It Needs to Happen: There are very few questions for the Lakers, but one concern is the health of Andrew Bynum. If Bynum is out, LA could struggle against the frontcourt depth of the Celtics, Spurs and Bulls.
Why It Makes Sense: Dalembert has an expiring contract, and if he is not dealt by the trade deadline, could have his bought out. The Lakers don’t have expiring contracts, but if Dalembert cleared waivers, he could provide the shot blocking, rebounding and toughness the Lakers would need against Boston.
Why It Needs to Happen: The Grizzlies lack depth behind Rudy Gay and rank near the bottom of the league in three pointers made. The addition of Jared Dudley could help with both of those problems.
Why It Makes Sense: Dudley isn’t the most athletic player, but he is one of the most hard working and intelligent players in the game. Despite the fact that he lacked three-point range in college, Dudley developed into on of the leagues premier perimeter shooters – shooting just over 41 percent on his career. He’s both affordable and expendable now that the Suns have gone into rebuilding mode.
Why It Needs to Happen: Miami desperately needs a shot blocker and interior presence. Following the injury to Udonis Haslem they lost all toughness, and Nene could help fill that void.
Why It Makes Sense: Nene has two years left on his contract at $23 million, and Denver would likely be forced to watch the Brazilian big man either walk away with no compensation or overpay to keep him. After ‘Melo is dealt, everybody is expendable and Nene is no different.
Why It Needs to Happen: Martin has an expiring contract that plays him a whopping $16.5 million. Although that’s a massive sum, Milwaukee would only have to pay a fraction of that salary and could be convinced to move if they lose traction in the playoff hunt. Martin is overpaid, but that didn’t stop them from adding Corey Maggette.
Why It Makes Sense: The Bucks lack any semblance of depth behind Andrew Bogut and start a slew of small forwards at the power forward spot. K-Mart would bring shot, blocking rebounding and playoff experience to a team that desperately needs all three of those things.
Why It Needs to Happen: The T’Wolves are unlikely to make any trades as they are out of the playoff hunt and have very few veterans to trade. The one addition they can hope for is that of 2009 draft pick Ricky Rubio. The Spanish point guard is averaging just 7.4 points and 3.7 assists for FC Barcelona but would be a key addition to this young Minnesota team.
Why It Makes Sense: Because Minnesota is likely to stand pat. The 20-year old Rubio is currently property of the T’Wolves but his play making ability superb vision could ease the pressure on Kevin Love and Michael Beasley.
Why It Needs to Happen: Melo’s willingness to only sign a contract extension with the Knicks has severely hindered the Nuggets trade options. Teams like the Rockets and Nets (who happen to have far more attractive assets than the Knicks) would never risk trading away top young talent only to see Anthony immediately leave for New York over the off-season. However, Anthony recently stated he would consider signing an extension with New Jersey if they could acquire talent around him.
Why It Makes Sense: If the Nets acquired Anthony plus another high caliber player (Andre Miller’s name has been thrown around) they may not contend this season but they could be a threat for years to come. With Brook Lopez, Carmelo Anthony, Andre Miller/Devin Harris and cap room, New Jersey would only be a step behind the elites in the Eastern Conference.
Why It Needs to Happen: New Orleans has no depth behind David West and Emeka Okafor, and could use a shot blocker like Andersen.
Why It Makes Sense: The Nuggets would be willing to explore any trade possibility and certainly teams will come asking about Andersen. The Nuggets would love to unload his contract (four years, 20 million), and I’m sure more than a few teams would foot the bill for such an exciting shot blocker.
Why It Needs to Happen: The Knicks have improved by leaps and bounds since acquiring Amare in the off-season, but they are still a few major moves away from being on par with Orlando, Chicago, Boston and Miami.
Why It Makes Sense: Carmelo is the best available trade target and has expressed interest in joining New York on several occasions. Anthony has one of the most well rounded offensive games in the league and would thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s high-octane offense. Of course without any defense the team could never compete for a title, but that’s a problem for another time.
Why It Needs to Happen: I’ve always been fond of Serge Ibaka, but the Thunder need to add an offensive post presence and there may be few better options than Chris Kaman. The 7’0” center averaged 18.5 and 9.3 last season but has been injured with a sprained ankle for the better part of this season.
Why It Makes Sense: Kaman has two years left on his contract at $24.5 million. That means the duration is short enough that OKC can acquire Kaman and still be able to pay their young talent but long enough that the Clippers would love to shed his contract – especially with DeAndre Jordan showing so much promise at center. Kaman would give the Thunder an interior presence that can actually score in the paint. That’s something the team has needed since they moved from Seattle.
Why It Needs to Happen: After trading away Marcin Gortat to acquire Turkoglu and Richardson, the Magic found themselves with a dearth of big men. Other than Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson, Orlando has no other big men to spell Dwight Howard or help out if he gets in foul trouble. Dalembert has an expiring contract and Sacramento would love to open up his minutes for their young and talented bigs.
Why It Makes Sense: Dalembert is an excellent shot blocker and a solid rebounder who could provide a breather for Superman. Orlando is in dire need of another center and will almost definitely acquire one within the next month.
Why It Needs to Happen: If the Knicks fail to acquire Carmelo Anthony, they could turn to Andre Iguodala. AI has a slightly bloated contract (four years remaining at $56.5 million), but would fit well into the Knicks up-tempo offense. New York would not have to surrender a package as enticing as the ones offered to Denver for Melo, meaning Wilson Chandler would likely be off the table. However, Anthony Randolph could make for a nice under the radar pickup.
Why It Makes Sense: A-Dolph is only 21 years old and has such an incredible combination of skills. The 6’11 forward has great length and a long wingspan that, combined with his leaping ability, make him an excellent dunker and shot blocker. Randolph has good range on his jumper and a sick handle for a power forward. However, Randolph has limited knowledge of the game and does not appear to be a quick learner. He can be selfish at times, but has shown flashes of brilliance. Cap relief plus a young player or two with upside could be enough to pry Iguodala away from Philly.
Why It Needs to Happen: If Phoenix opts not to trade Nash, they will need to add another big man. One option would be Denver’s Al Harrington.
Why It Makes Sense: Harrington is a mobile big man with a soft touch and a smooth jumper. The 30-year old is averaging just 12 and 5 this season, but averaged 18 and 6 in New York’s similar up-tempo offense.
Why It Needs to Happen: If Boston acquires Rudy Fernandez from Portland, Avery Bradley would be on the move from Portland to Boston. Out of high school, Bradley was ranked the top recruit over fellow classmen John Wall, Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins, but saw his draft stock fall after an underwhelming freshman season.
Why It Makes Sense: The Blazers could move Andre Miller, but even if they don’t the team lacks point guard depth. Bradley is incredibly athletic and has proven to be an elite defender. He has high upside but will never get an opportunity behind all the veterans In Boston.
Why It Needs to Happen: Weird right? Why would Sacramento acquire Iguodala when they are so far removed from the playoff hunt? The fact is, Sac-town has good young talent but are still in need of veteran leadership. They have expiring contracts, draft picks and young players to offer and could be a dark horse candidate for Iguodala’s services.
Why It Makes Sense: Adding Iguodala could allow Tyreke Evans to shift over to the point guard with AI at the two, or more likely, Evans at the two and Iggy at the three. The move would give Sacramento three very promising building blocks (Cousins is the third) that are all under contract for the next four seasons. It wouldn’t make the Kings relevant, but it would be a good start.
Why It Needs to Happen: A more perfect combination there has never been. San Antonio needs a defensive big man to start alongside Tim Duncan and guard the opposing center. They need a player who can block shots and rebound, and Marcus Camby frequently ranks amongst the league leaders in both categories.
Why It Makes Sense: With Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson and Duncan, this team already has an abundance of scorers. That makes Camby a perfect fit as he rarely shoots except for open jump shots and immediately following an offensive rebound. Assuming the Blazers fall out of contention, a trade involving Camby and Blair would help both teams.
Why It Needs to Happen: If Atlanta fails to acquire Steve Nash, Jose Calderon could be the perfect backup plan. Calderon is a long shot to be traded based on his colossal contract (three years remaining at $29.2 million) but could be dealt for by a desperate team. Atlanta needs to make moves to compete with Orlando, Boston, Miami and Chicago and could be convinced to take on Calderon’s contract.
Why It Makes Sense: If Toronto agreed to deal Calderon (who is wildly popular in Toronto) they would likely want second year guard Jeff Teague. The dynamic combo guard has impressed in limited playing time averaging 12 and 6 per 36 minutes.
Why It Needs to Happen: The Jazz are off to a hot start, but will have to make moves if they hope to compete with the Lakers, Spurs and the elites of the Eastern Conference. Their frontcourt looks to be solid and Deron Williams is one of the league’s premier point guards, but they could use an athletic shooting guard to attack the rim. If that’s not Iguodala I don’t know what is.
Why It Makes Sense: Philly wants to dump Iguodala’s contract. Utah has expiring contracts plus a few young players and future draft picks. If the Jazz could acquire Iguodala, their starting line-up of Williams, Iggy, Kirilenko, Millsap and Jefferson may be good enough to challenge for the Western Conference championship.
Why It Needs to Happen: In all reality, the Wizards already made their big moves swapping Gilbert Arenas’ atrocious contract for Rashard Lewis’ slightly less appalling deal. However, one interesting trade scenario would bring O.J. Mayo to town.
Why It Makes Sense: Mayo is averaging only 12 points per game in his role off the bench and reached double digits in one of his last five games. With rookie Xavier Henry adequately replacing Mayo in the starting lineup and playing far superior defense, Mayo looks to be very expendable. The Wiz could deal away a number of young players and/or draft picks to acquire Mayo. Pairing the 23-year old Mayo with the 20-year old John Wall would give Washington a dynamic backcourt for years to come.