NBA Trade Rumors: The New Jersey Nets' 5 Most Expendable Trade Pieces
The New Jersey Nets are not the NBA bottom-dwellers that they were last season, but even though they're making headway, they are still not making enough progress to be in the hunt for a playoff spot.
The Nets are nine games out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and it appears that they have maxed out their potential. The Nets need to shake up their roster and make some moves in order to get out of their funk.
Here are the five most expendable players that could go before the February 24th trade deadline.
5. Sasha Vujacic
Sasha Vujacic is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career despite not starting a single game.
Vujacic could be included as a piece in one of the major deals that the Nets might attempt to swing before the trading deadline, but it is not out of the question that a team that is battling injuries, such as the Dallas Mavericks, will attempt to make a separate deal for Vujacic himself.
In a playoff series, when a proven and confident scorer is needed, Vujacic is the kind of guy who won't second-guess himself to take and think that he will make a shot.
Think of him as a poor man's Mike Miller.
4. Troy Murphy
Troy Murphy hasn't played since January 8th—not because he's injured, but because Nets general manager Billy King is seeking a trade for the underused forward.
Last year Murphy averaged 14.6 PPG and 10.2 RPG for the Indiana Pacers.
This year Murphy has only played in 18 games and is averaging a paltry 3.6 PPG and 4.2 RPG.
Avery Johnson's inability to make Murphy fit in the underperforming Nets frontcourt rotation isn't something that will happen on a different team, and some general manager is sure to see Murphy as the missing piece of a deep playoff push.
At the least, Murphy's $12 million comes off the books after this season. This is enough of a trade asset.
3. Anthony Morrow
Anthony Morrow has already been mentioned as a trade piece in the Carmelo Anthony deal.
Despite playing a career-high 31.9 minutes per game, Morrow hasn't really blown anyone away with his play. Morrow is averaging 12.5 PPG, which is slightly below the 13 PPG that he averaged last season with the Golden State Warriors. Morrow's shooting percentages have dipped a bit a well.
Morrow is still the Nets' major trade chip, as he is young and given some time could blossom as a player. Time, however, is something the Nets don't have. If there is a major deal, Morrow is sure to be involved.
2. Devin Harris
Devin Harris should be hitting his peak years in terms of production. Things, however, don't always pan out as they should, and Harris' scoring has decreased for the third consecutive season.
The last three seasons Harris' scoring per game is 21.3 (2008-09), 16.9 ('09-10) and 15.0 ('10-11).
While a decrease in scoring would be welcome if assists and other numbers would go up, this isn't so with Harris.
The last three seasons Harris has seen a decrease in minutes, field goal attempts, field goal percentage, free throw attempts and steals.
The silver lining in all this is that Harris is still 27 years old, and the dip in production is for all intents and purposes just an anomaly. These facts are not lost on GMs, and this is what makes Harris a very attractive trade chip.
While the Nets are sure to stick with Brook Lopez when they move to Brooklyn, Harris is sure to be used as a trade chip in order to bring a marquee name to the Barclays Center.
1. Derrick Favors
For now Derrick Favors is the future of the Nets franchise. The question is for how long.
After being mentioned as a potential piece in the Carmelo Anthony deal, Favors finds himself, albeit temporarily, safe from all of the trade rumors. Not for long.
Mikhail Prokhorov will be looking for a big name to market the Nets after the move to Brooklyn in 2012. Unfortunately for Favors, Prokhorov won't likely wait until the young forward shows progress and develops into a superstar-caliber player. Prokhorov needs a big name, and he needs it now.
While flashes of Favors' potential have come and gone, just is the case with Devin Harris, Prokhorov won't be persuaded to wait if a big name becomes available any time soon.