Every NBA team has it's goal of success, both fantastical and realistic, and 29 teams know, every year, that, essentially, they will fail. Only one can be champion. For the unlucky 29 who aren't champion, the offseason bring about an opportunity to reevaluate, re-tinker, and re-haul squads so that the realistic goals get closer to the fantastical ones.
During playoff time, it's hard to find news on player movements and desires, but at this point, 24 teams have been cut from chasing the ring and all they can do is watch their enemies continue to pursue a title. That's a lot of free time to plot for revenge and get a second (third, fourth, or fifth) chance.
Some do this by drafting heavily. Others peruse the free agent market. And some are lucky enough to have great talents people want that just don't work for their team.
This is an analysis, a rather black and white one (no extensive contract analysis or breakdown of possible trades), of what each team has in it's current roster both for sale and under lock and key. I try to look at what teams can't afford to lose, what teams might have no choice to lose, and what teams can benefit from being greedy with what they have.
This is a look at all 30 team's current trade and free agent speculation.
Untouchables: Players I feel should not be traded
Trade Bait: Players I feel would be tradable for the team
Word on the Street: News cycles were a little slow for playoff teams but teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs or never made it in the first place have been relatively active though not as much as they will be in the future (past June 30th, when free agency starts). I attach appropriate articles where necessary. They may shine light on free agency, trade options, a team's desires, etc.
Analysis: My thoughts on the team's trade prospects, trade likelihood, etc.
- FA = Free Agent (unrestricted)
- RFA = Restricted Free Agent
Untouchables: Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford (FA '11)
Trade Bait: Zaza Pachulia, Jason Collins, Al Horford
Word on the Street: nothing as playoffs resume
Analysis: Jason Collins showed he can be one of the few centers who can body Dwight Howard up. And while he may not be able to stop Howard, exactly, it allows any team that has Collins to exploit Howard's current weakness: his teammates.
And while Collins has impressed so far in these playoffs, so has, continually, Zaza Pachulia and Al Horford. All are hard working players but also expendable if necessary.
The Hawks are locked into Joe Johnson for the long term and he seems to be finally delivering the promise he was said to have years ago. Josh Smith is one of the best defensive players in the NBA and Jamal Crawford is second only to Lamar Odom in bench effectiveness.
With those players locked in or a priority, it might be time to cash in on the value of some of the Hawks role players.
Untouchables: Rajon Rondo
Trade Bait: Glen Davis, Ray Allen, (both sign and trade bait) Kevin Garnett (free agent 2012), Jeff Green (restricted free agent at end of '11)
Word on the Street: The Boston Globe reports Jeff Green wants to stay with the organization. No further news on player development outside of playoff talk.
Analysis: I thought Perkins was untouchable too but Ainge has shown that looming free agency means ANYONE is for sale. And, Allen has been discussion-fodder in trade scenarios before. He is still young enough to entice willing squads.
As for Davis. . .he could be a starter almost anywhere and he is so young. So while he is untouchable for the Celtics future, he is also in Ainge's sights as a possible sign/trade option.
Ainge is going to be extremely busy this offseason, perhaps more on the free agent market, since he has nine unrestricted free agents (his entire squad of SGs, his entire squad of centers, and every back up small forward) on the market once the playoffs end.
If there is a mass exodus, or is Allen and Davis escape without a sign/trade deal, trading away Garnett might be an option, only because squads WILL take him despite fewer days ahead. Also, Jeff Green, who was part of he Perkins trade that may have made/broke the Celtics this year, is of the young/quick/Thunder-esque variety that he could entice interest.
Untouchables: Stephen Jackson, D.J. Augustin
Trade Bait: As is tradition in my articles for the Bobcats. . .see the video above. . .
Word on the Street: The Charlotte Observer reports Kwame Brown wants to stay with the Bobcats
Analysis: I'm not sure what the Bobcats are doing. If Michael Jordan was God to the NBA and it's players, does that mean he is the Anti-Christ of Management/Ownership.
The Bobcats have a solid talent in Augustin and Stephen Jackson is consistently good. But the Bobcats dealt away franchise player Gerald Wallace and let Raymond Felton go before that. I'm just not sure what they can do.
The main headline on most news pages is about Kwame Brown! Oy. So, in order to rebuild effectively, the Bobcats need to consider. . .everyone.
Untouchables: Derrick Rose (RFA '12), Joakim Noah
Trade Bait: Luol Deng, CJ Watson, Karl Korver
Word on the Street: Nothing recent as playoffs resume
Analysis: The Bulls' story is not yet written. Two 41-41 seasons followed by an overall number one seed and an MVP/Coach of the Year combo isn't exactly consistent.
If the Bulls crash out in round 2, 3, or in the Finals, look for them to tinker. They're locked in to Carlos Boozer, unfortunately, but secondary pieces Korver and Watson may be decent trade bait to get an offensive minded SG to back up high scorers Rose, Deng, and (occasionally) Boozer.
That is, of course, if Deng stays. He may be the team's best trade prospect (high scoring, good rebounder, solid shooter) if the Bulls have an early exit in the playoffs.
Untouchables: JJ Hickson (RFA '12)
Trade Bait: Ramon Sessions, Anthony Parker (FA '11), Antawn Jamison (FA '12)
Word on the Street: Anthony Parker, elder statesmen, is 'unsure of future'
Analysis: The Cavs have a lot of talented players but in their current configuration they are worth 19 wins. So since the rebuilding stage is imminent, the Cavs should try to unload the talented pieces they have for draft picks, cash, or sure-thing role players. Nothing is going to happen over night so the Cavs should capitalize on the little gems in the muck they have.
Untouchables: Caron Butler (FA '11), Tyson Chandler (FA '11), Dirk Nowitzki
Trade Bait: Brendan Haywood, Jason Terry (FA '12), Shawn Marion
Word on the Street: Very old news but Mark Cuban would make a play for Ricky Rubio if possible
Analysis: Sadly, two of the three key Mavericks players are free agents next year. So Cuban should focus on retaining Chandler first and foremost. If he retains him, he's have two of the best centers in the game at his disposal. In this big man light league, that's important.
Pending on how the Lakers series go, Jason Terry may be an immense trade chip. He has regular season clutch and provides amazing bench energy, a la Lamar Odom.
If Terry is out of the question and Cuban wants to wheel and deal, he'd lose something by getting rid of Haywood (as he is an underrated rebounder and shot blocker) but he'd definitely get something in return.
Untouchables: Nene Hilario (FA '11), Kenyon Martin (FA '11), Raymond Felton (FA '12)
Trade Bait: J.R. Smith (FA '11), Wilson Chandler ('RFA '11)
Word on the Street: The Denver Post reports that Nene 'may opt out of contract'
Analysis: The Knicks look just a little bit smarter, business wise, by getting a mega-star out of three players (Felton, Chandler, Gallinari) that are free agents in either 2011 or 2012. And just add that to the dilemma checklist for the Nuggets who stand to not only lose an identity but lose key franchise players (again) like Nene and Kenyon Martin.
Add losing the popular and effective Raymond Felton or the inconsistent but deadly J.R. Smith, and the Nuggets might end up having absolutely nothing, albeit on two or three year delay, from the Carmelo trade. Thus, the Nuggets need to focus on free agency and drafting, not trading. They stand to lose too much if they don't plan accordingly.
Untouchables: Ben Gordon
Trade Bait: Name a Player. . .
Analysis: Ben Gordon has put up history-making bench stats and is getting paid a lot to play half the time as a normal star of his quality. Sadly, by default, Gordon may be promoted simply out of necessity.
The old Pistons crew needs to go, some of the newer rookies need to stay, and any player stuck in an ugly or unusual contract should be considered available for sale.
Like the Cavs, a former team of respectability as recently as last season, the Pistons are in rebuilding mode and the hostile environment and tortured locker room are not the destination for key free agents.
Untouchables: Stephen Curry, David Lee
Trade Bait: Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright
Word on the Street: The San Francisco Chronicle indicates that the Warriors are focused on a 'Housecleaning' of support staff and not necessarily players; meanwhile the Chronicle also reports Biedrins is in the hot seat
Analysis: Despite the immense talent of Monta Ellis, and no free agency threat for the next two years, Ellis seems like the kind of prospect teams would splash heavily for and, frankly, the Warriors haven't been great with Ellis as a figurehead star (he played sparingly in the miracle '07 year).
Add on top of that 'where the hell did that come from' emergence of Dorell Wright. There is no telling if Wright will continue to be a deadly marksmen or if he'll revert to the Wright we all know from before. The Warriors might want to capitalize on his 3rd-Place Most Improved Player Award performance.
Untouchables: Luis Scola, Kevin Martin
Trade Bait: Yao Ming (sign and trade, FA '11), Goran Dragic (RFA '11), Kyle Lowry, Courtney Lee (RFA '12)
Word on the Street: Houston is mainly searching for a coach right now; nothing new on the trade horizon
Analysis: The legacy of Yao Ming, much like Greg Oden in Portland, is reaching it's breaking point. Either the Rockets let him go for nothing or risk signing him and hoping someone bites. How many times has Yao been listed as 'NEVER GOING TO PLAY AGAIN' and how many more of those can he live through before literally no one wants to bid?
Luis Scola and Kevin Martin are franchise players at this point but so was, I felt, Aaron Brooks. Since the Rockets are, thus, a 43 win team with what they have, they can either achieve mediocrity or cash in one what they have now. In this case, Kyle Lowry who became a fantasy sleeper when he took over for Aaron Brooks when he went down at the beginning of 2010/11 and when Brooks left for Phoenix.
Dragic has displayed immense talent but he needs a coach to believe in him. So either get rid of him or keep him but the Rockets have a, as in ONE, point guard to give and fill in other spots. Chuck Hayes, an underrated but key defensive/hustle talent, may leave and with the prospect of Yao leaving, the Rockets need to retain one talented point guard and trade the other to get some heighth.
Untouchables: Danny Granger, Tyler Hansbrough, Darren Collison
Trade Bait: Roy Hibbert (RFA '12), Paul George
Word on the Street: Nothing trade heavy, mostly organizational or administration
Analysis: The Pacers found out who was worth keeping and who was worth giving away in their competitive but inevitable first round exit to the Bulls. Hansbrough has become the starting power forward, Collison has solidified himself as the point guard of the future, and Danny Granger is Danny Granger.
Roy Hibbert, with a tiny contract and some upside, may be the best trade chip. He's shown flashes of greatness but hasn't delivered consistently or in the crunch. But his 7'2" height and 12-7 stat line will intrigue many.
Untouchables: Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon
Trade Bait: Mo Williams, Chris Kaman
Word on the Street: Hoopsworld reports that Kaman is unhappy with the prospect of splitting center duties
Analysis: Mo Williams suffers from 'He-Is/Was-Nothing-Without-LeBron' Syndrome but Williams is a serviceable point guard who can score, hit from three, and find the open man. He is somewhat surplus to requirements and probably isn't happy in THAT Los Angeles so he might be a solid piece to move.
Kaman, who has already voiced his displeasure with not being THE center for the Clippers, might make a fantastic trade chip to help surround Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, the new 'franchise' players, with help.
The Clippers, unsurprisingly, have a bright future and not a lot to lose with potential moves. But, also unsurprisingly, the Clippers seem to waste any opportunity to succeed. Their young talent and available trade bait means they could end the trend.
Untouchables: Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom
Trade Bait: Shannon Brown (sign and trade, FA '11), Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher (both FA in '12)
Word on the Street: Nothing major as playoffs still in progress; Bynum always mentioned with the possibility of Howard leaving Orlando in 2012
Analysis: You can't argue too much with two time defending champions. But when you are under the microscope so heavily on the positive side, you're going to see negatives as well.
The constant question mark for the Lakers is their bench, outside of Lamar Odom of course. And one of their consistent sparks off the bench is a free agent in 2011, Shannon Brown who may be in high demand thanks to his energy, athleticism, and high flying dunks.
And of course there is Andrew Bynum. The oft-injured center is a fantastic talent but he comes with worries as any return from a jump could spell doom. The Lakers are known to be front runners for Orlando's Dwight Howard. Do they offer Bynum?
Lastly, Derek Fisher has pretty much become a playoff specialist. And, no doubt, his timetable is getting shorter and shorter. Maybe the Lakers can get something out of him while the reputation as a playoff sharp shooter is still respected and awed.
Untouchables: Marc Gasol (RFA '11), Shane Battier (FA' 11), Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay
Trade Bait: O.J. Mayo (RFA '12), Mike Conley
Word on the Street: Nothing substantial as playoffs resume
Analysis: Never has such a surprise team full of 'upstarts' been in so much trouble. Marc Gasol and Shane Battier, two parts of the four-part Grizzly heart, are free agents come June 30th. Their future determines the Grizzlies offseason trade maneuvers.
The Grizzlies have the most control over Gasol as they can match any buyer's price and they've already got ZBo in their control for years to come. Battier, always in demand for his defensive tenacity, surprising shooting range, and IQ, will need to be retained as well. If they tender both player's services, the Grizz have a great core for the future and can build around them.
The Grizzlies most obvious trade bait is OJ Mayo, who the Grizzlies have wanted to get rid of for some time. But emerging force Mike Conley might be a decent trade piece as well.
Trade Bait: Mario Chalmers (RFA '11), James Jones (FA '11), Mike Bibby (FA '11)
Word on the Street: Nothing substantial as playoffs resume
Analysis: I can't see the Heat trading for anybody when they'll only have four people on the roster come season end. The Heat have a whopping eight free agents, seven unrestricted, on the market come June 30th.
And people know the Heat's biggest weakness is depth (though it hasn't bothered them yet). So the Heat will need to pursue their own lost teammates or new free agents before they can even consider trades. Well, of course, unless they consider Chris Bosh or LeBron James trade worthy.
Untouchables: Andrew Bogut, Brandon Jennings
Trade Bait: John Salmons, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (RFA '11), Michael Redd (sign and trade, FA '11), Drew Gooden
Analysis: The long torturous saga of Michael Redd isn't over! And while he should entertain SOME offers, the Bucks can't rely on a massive sign and trade to save their future.
They've dedicated themselves to defense so they need some offensive punch. Trading Drew Gooden, an annual thing, or John Salmons, admittedly an offensive player, may lead to some better options.
The Bucks don't have a lot to work with but they also don't need much. Defensive teams are key but the Bucks need to outscore their opponents. Rebounding would help too. Gooden is a lost cause and Salmons is too inconsistent for this squad. Consider them bait.
Untouchables: Michael Beasley (RFA '12)
Trade Bait: Kevin Love (RFA '12), Luke Ridnour
Word on the Street: NBA.COM reports that GM David Khan doesn't know about Jonny Flynn's career as a Timberwolf
Analysis: The Timberwolves aren't losing anything in the next few years except, likely, more games. With double-double machine Kevin Love, scoring stoner Michael Beasley, and decent point guards like Luke Ridnour, the Wolves are still only winning 17 games.
Bear with me here but maybe the Wolves can ride the Kevin Love, er, love and cash in before he, likely, leaves in free agency in 2012. Beasley is subject to leave in 2012 as well so he's not out of the question either. But dedicated Wolves fans are already fans and it's clear the Wolves need another Kevin Garnett to come and revitalize the franchise with new fans.
So losing someone like Love and getting something for him might seem drastic but might be essential if the Wolves want to 'rebuild' (as if they aren't already) since the bidders would be many and the returns quite exceptional.
Untouchables: Deron Williams
Trade Bait: Anthony Morrow, Brook Lopez
Word on the Street: The New York Post reports 'Williams Will Stay With Nets' while the Newark Star-Ledger reports that Avery Johnson wants Kris Humphries back. Most rumors surround free agency signing and Williams future. No talk of trades yet.
Analysis: The Nets have, so far, been quite serious about being title contenders again and the first step in doing that is keeping Deron Williams. The second step is a but harder. Either pull a Knicks and unload all the free agents (4 unrestricted, 2 restricted) and clear up space for a big 2012 signing (like Dwight Howard, perhaps) and pray for a deal or use the little chips they have and make a few tactical deals.
The Nets need to hold on to Williams but anyone is fair game, even Kris Humphries, if they resign him. Travis Outlaw has a silly contract so he might be out but the two best options would be Brook Lopez and Anthony Morrow. Morrow is a marvelous three point shooter while Lopez is a solid big man who needs work but might thrive as a back-up on a power/size driven team.
Both aren't franchise players but could bring intriguing pieces to surround Williams. Add the Draft and free agency and the Nets have a solid off season ahead with lots of potential deals.
Untouchables: David West (FA '11), Carl Landry (FA '11)
Trade Bait: Chris Paul (FA '12), Trevor Ariza
Word on the Street: Nothing substantial; many opinions on Chris Paul's future
Analysis: The Hornets have one real option for trading: Chris Paul for whatever Orlando can unload. The Hornets, already dealing with ownership issues, needs to decide, quickly, on Chris Paul.
They need to decide if they'll risk keeping him until free agency hits OR if they want to avoid the Suns-Amar'e situation and try to get a number of solid talent in return for the irreplaceable.
If the Paul situation doesn't play out this offseason, the Hornets have the wildly inconsistent Trevor Ariza to put on the block.
Untouchables: Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony
Trade Bait: Landry Fields, Chauncey Billups
Word on the Street: The New York Post reports that Wilson Chandler is a trade target despite being jettisoned by New York in the last big trade. The Post also reports that Carmelo Anthony 'to have input on roster upgrades'.
Analysis: Like the Celtics, the Knicks plan to have seven (of their 15 total players) available via free agency. And with superstars Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and, recently, Chauncey Billups all signed for the long term, the Knicks don't really have much to work with.
The players available via free agency could provide something in the sign/trade market but what are you going to get for Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Carter, and Jared Jeffries?
The only realistic trade options are the three massive players the Knicks have on their payroll, Chauncey being the most likely. But it appears the Knicks want Billups for the future. Other then that, Landry Fields, a notable and essential soon-to-be-sophomore, might be the only person WORTH trading. He will be a restricted free agent in 2012 so if he has any prospective callers, a trade before the next deadline might be essential.
Untouchables: Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook
Trade Bait: James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Nazr Mohammed, Nate Robinson, Thabo Sefolosha
Word on the Street: Mostly playoff talk for now
Analysis: With only one Restricted Free Agent in 2011 and only four total in 2012, the Thunder can already build upon their impressive and youthful squad by keeping the very best (in this case Perkins, Westbrook, a free agent in 2012, and Kevin Durant) and using young and somewhat essential pieces as trade bait to fill in the gaps.
What are those gaps? Well, the end of the playoffs will determine that. If the Thunder win the title or get to the Finals, they can get greedy and throw any number of talented but not fully essential pieces in front of needy teams. If they bow out early, they can identify what they need and offer up talent without worrying about losing too much.
Untouchables: Dwight Howard
Trade Bait: Jameer Nelson, Brandon Bass (both FA '12), Gilbert Arenas
Word on the Street: The Orlando Sentinel reports Jason Richardson may have 'only been a rental' and are 'searching for a shooting guard again'
Analysis: It's taken me a long time to say this, as a Magic fan, but. . .it's time to cash in on Jameer Nelson while the Magic still can. He has moments of greatness and was an All-Star but he's not getting anything done with Dwight Howard.
They've gone as far as they can go with Jameer at the helm and, to add insult to injury, they got further with him injured (and replaced by Skip to My Lou no less) then with him. His role as team leader is finally taking it's toll. BUT, a lot of teams, especially non playoff ones, won't care.
While getting rid of Gilbert Arenas will be a treat I'd smile at even if the Magic did get three hard boiled eggs and two garbage bags in return, it seems impossible. So the Magic should SERIOUSLY consider an impressive package to bring Chris Paul to Orlando. That includes Jameer, excellent but undersized Brandon Bass, and maybe some other folks.
And besides getting a better point guard, the Magic need a backup center. The Magic, for a 52 win team, are flirting with disaster and they have way too much to do before it all gets better.
Untouchables: Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand
Trade Bait: Andre Iguodala
Word on the Street: Philly.com has a title 'Andre Iguodala Wants to Stay in Philly'. However, the article depicts AI as rather vague on his future but praises the Sixers organization.
Analysis: Not only are the 76ers a solid little squad, but they have a bright future and don't tend to lose too much both in the free agency market or on the trade market.
With Elton Brand back to form and Thaddeus Young a key piece behind him, the Sixers also have a lot of depth at center and point guard. Thus, they can make a play with Andre Iguodala. . .finally.
He still has upside but was average enough for the Sixers to oust him. Plenty of teams will be interested and the Sixers need to capitalize now, despite the three years remaining on that ugly $80 million dollar contract.
Untouchables: Marcin Gortat, Channing Frye
Trade Bait: Steve Nash, Grant Hill (FA '11), Mickael Pietrus (FA '11), Aaron Brooks (RFA '11), Vince Carter (FA '12), Robin Lopez (RFA '12)
Word on the Street: Multiple sources have indicated that Hill and Nash intend to stay with Phoenix while the Arizona Republic reports that Pietrus will exercise his player option.
Analysis: The Suns are locked in with some great-to-decent players (Gortat, Frye) but they have so many solid options that would make great trade assets if they weren't free agents.
Thus the Suns need to consider resigning free agents before going off into the trade market. If they were to, say, sign Grant Hill, he'd be sought after by many a team needing leadership and defense. Pietrus' shooting skills, known for hitting often when it is most needed, would be desired despite being used sparingly in Phoenix.
Vince Carter is likely gone, looking to merc out his talents for the highest bidder while some people still mysteriously think he's good (was he ever?) so the Suns are unlikely to get something there.
In the end, thus, the Suns have to resign their best assets before sending them off. That might be too much work for very little reward.
Untouchables: LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Gerald Wallace (FA '12)
Trade Bait: Andre Miller, Nicolas Batum, Greg Oden (Sign and Trade, RFA '11)
Word on the Street: According to The Oregonian, Andre Miller contract situation is up in the air; Oregon Live reports that Greg Oden wants to stay and may receive 'qualifying offer'. The same article comments on Andre Miller's future. . .mostly that Portland 'refuses to commit'
Analysis: Portland has a lot of room to work with. They're no longer stuck with Oden and can let that doomed legacy go, if they choose, and they stand to lose no one of important in the next two years, save Gerald Wallace in 2012.
LaMarcus Aldridge is an amazing talent, and still young, while Brandon Roy, despite having knees of glass, is a prolific scorer and dedicated to Portland. Thus the underachieving Blazers may need to pursue other options and they have decent bait for it.
Andre Miller has always been a knuckle-down talent with limitations but, as before, many teams will try for him if presented. But prospect Nicolas Batum seems a worthy trade candidate as well.
Untouchables: Tyreke Evans
Trade Bait: DeMarcus Cousins, Beno Udrih, Samuel Dalembert (sign and trade, FA '11)
Word on the Street: You try finding something OTHER then the now-dead move to Anaheim
Analysis: The Kings are fighting for their home, just another bloody and joyless battle that, like the Kings hunt for the playoffs, will end in disappointment.
The eventual move to Anaheim may draw in some stars but the Kings have nothing really to give and nothing to receive. DeMarcus Cousins is talented but troublesome, a coaches nightmare.
Samuel Dalembert is likely to leave though the Kings would be wise to secure the nearly 7' blocking/rebounding machine, who is quite underrated. That leaves talented-on-paper position players and Tyreke Evans.
The old saying 'it gets worse before it gets better' may have to occur before the Kings can be the playoff beasts they were in the past. Evans is untouchable but everyone else should be free to go with draft picks and role players in return. The rebuilding has begun. . .and, more importantly at this point, where (and when) will it end.
Untouchables: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, DeJuan Blair, Tim Duncan (legacy)
Trade Bait: Richard Jefferson, George Hill, Gary Neal
Analysis: If the article is true above, then the Spurs aren't going to rebuild just yet. In reality, they have a lot of good pieces for the future. It;s just the faces of the franchise are a little bit older.
The Spurs need to do what they did with David Robinson at the end of the '90s and in the early 2000s: slowly phase him out.
Parker, Ginobili, Blair, and, George Hill (somewhat), are a solid core. But if any phasing is going to be done to any non-Duncan players, getting rid of the mostly disappointing Richard Jefferson is a start. George Hill could go either way for San Antonio while Gary Neal has some high stock thanks to an interesting playoff performance.
Untouchables: Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan
Trade Bait: Jose Calderon, Reggie Evans (sign and trade; FA '11)
Analysis: For a team lacking in franchise players since the departure of, first, Vince Carter and then Chris Bosh, keeping Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan, the closest things to faces of the franchise, is a must.
The Raptors need to keep interest up more then winning at this juncture and Bargnani/DeRozan will do that, to some degree. But the Raptors have some decent prospects they can either trade outright or pull a sign and trade with.
Reggie Evans is basically a rebounding specialist and many teams would want him. And Jose Calderon has proven he can run a squad. I'm not saying the Raptors should leave playmaking to Jerryd Bayless alone but Calderon has value other teams would want.
Untouchables: Paul Millsap, Devin Harris
Trade Bait: Mehmet Okur (FA '12), Al Jefferson, Raja Bell
Word on the Street: Jazz-Paul-Millsaps-future-position-with-Jazz-unknown.html">The Deseret News reports that 'Paul Millsap's Future. . .Unknown'; the same paper confirms the Jazz have 'tough decisions to make on free agents' which may effect how they approach trades
Analysis: The Jazz are one of the few teams in 2011 that lose nearly half of their roster to free agency. Utah's goal is to determine if they believe in loyalty (by re-signing CJ Miles and Andrei Kirilenko, Jazz lifers) or if they should push for sign-trade deals.
Jazz fans would be troubled to hear Paul Millsap's future is 'unknown', as shown in the link above, as he is the closest thing to an untouchable as the Jazz have at this point. He would obviously be the Jazz's biggest chip if Millsap requests a trade BUT, if not, Al Jefferson and/or Raja Bell are options as well.
Untouchables: JaVale McGee (RFA '12), John Wall, Nick Young (RFA '11)
Trade Bait: Rashard Lewis (terrible contract), Andray Blatche, Josh Howard (FA '11), Jordan Crawford
Analysis: I put Rashard Lewis as trade bait because. . .well, I don't know why. No one in the history of man has ever gone from vital stretch-4 to absolute cipher n the matter of two years. And it couldn't have happened at a worse time as Rashard Lewis carries with him one of the most terrible contracts in NBA history.
The former All-Star who hit big shot after big shot in the playoffs not too long ago will find himself a journeyman. But I can't see rich teams passing up on him due to his skills. He's not done yet. But he's close.
The Wizards have John Wall long term and have contractual control over Nick Young if someone wants his services. The same goes for JaVale McGee. So the Wizards have three players they can count on for the not-to-distant future and should make a priority in terms of extensions, but the Wizards also have decent, if not great, trade bait to put on the market to help themselves out.