The Philadelphia 76ers are playing surprisingly good basketball after spending all of last season as one of the NBA's most pathetic doormats. But even at 27-29 and a third-place spot in the Atlantic Division, general manager Ed Stefanski has to know his team isn't even close to competing.
The NBA trading deadline is just a week away, and the 76ers have several good players that could entice a contending team into making a trade.
Here's a look at five of those players and where they might land.
Speights, a 6'10" power forward/center out of Florida, is a good, young big man who has drawn some interest around the league. The Portland Trailblazers, desperate for size after injuries to Greg Oden and Marcus Camby, reportedly already offered forward Dante Cunningham straight up for Speights.
Speights, the 16th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, is signed to a reasonable contract and is under team control through 2012 with a $3.8 million qualifying offer for 2013. He's an athletic big with elite shot-blocking ability, but he's fallen out of the 76ers rotation and has barely seen the court in February.
In 45 games this season he's averaging less than 12 mpg with only 5.4 ppg and 3.4 rpg, all of which are career lows. He's stuck behind Spencer Hawes on the depth chart and veteran Tony Battie is beginning to steal his playing time. In other words, it's time for a change of scenery.
Kapono, one of the NBA's premier three-point specialists, is having a horrific season for Philadelphia. He's only appeared in 18 games and is playing less than 5.0 mpg as coach Eddie Jordan seems intent on seeing what Evan Turner and Jodie Meeks can do.
The 30-year-old small forward has only attempted four threes this season and made just one. But Kapono's a career 43.9 percent shooter from deep and can certainly help a few teams as a role player off the bench.
Demand for Kapono has been weak, but with a $6.6 million expiring contract a team like the Lakers or Spurs could bite. If not, Kapono will likely be bought out.
The 6'11" big man has spent 13 seasons in the NBA, most of them as a backup center. Battie is a smart defensive player with the ability to rebound and knock down the mid-range shot, but he's not quick enough or strong enough to play a major role for any team at age 35.
A wrist injury has limited the veteran to only 30 games this season, but he's chipped in with a couple of points and rebounds per game and is shooting a respectable 47.4 percent from the floor.
Battie is signed to a one-year, $1.35 million deal, so acquiring him wouldn't involve much risk. A size-starved team like the Orlando Magic or New Orleans Hornets could be a good fit. A return to the Boston Celtics is also possible if neither of the O'Neals can get back on the court.
Nocioni is a tough player from Argentina who joined the 76ers in an offseason trade last June. He's an outstanding defensive player and has a solid offensive game which features a good mid-range shot and a developing three-point shot.
The six-year veteran has gotten off to a slow start with Philadelphia because of a finger injury, limiting him to just 39 games and only 18.9 mpg. The 76ers roster is stuff full with capable small forwards, so there's little reason to keep the 31-year-old around.
Philadelphia will have a tough time finding a trading partner for Nocioni until he can prove he's healthy. But with just $6.65 million owed to him next season, it wouldn't be surprising to see a deal with a team looking for some defensive energy off the bench. The Lakers come to mind if they can unload Artest, and the Magic definitely need someone competent behind Hedo Turkoglu.
Iguodala is easily the 76ers best player and most valuable trade commodity. The problem is that he's being paid superstar money (about $56 million over the next four seasons) for merely star performance.
The 6'6" swingman is playing a team-high 37.1 mpg and averaging 14.2 ppg on 44.5 percent shooting. He's developed into a much more efficient passer, averaging a career-high 6.1 apg to go along with less than two turnovers a game. He's also an outstanding rebounder for his size (5.8 rpg) and capable of defending multiple positions.
Iguodala had a breakout performance over the summer as a starter for Team USA in the FIBA World Championships, but he's still best suited as a No. 2 or No. 3 option on a championship team. The Cavs and Rockets have both inquired about Iguodala, and the Mavericks could definitely use him after losing Caron Butler for the season. However, thus far Iguodala has been kept off the market.
It would take a monster offer to convince Stefanski to trade away his team's biggest starter. But with Evan Turner looking like the real deal, it might finally be time to trade Iguodala and go into full rebuilding mode.