NBA Trade Speculation: Potential Trade Bait for Each Team in the League
The Dallas Mavericks faced a team in the 2011 NBA Finals that was as, if not more, talented than they were.
Both teams' rosters are filled with some of the league's prominent names. The Mavs were led by a set of seasoned veterans like Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion and Jason Terry. On the side of the Miami Heat was the young and talented All-Star trio of Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James, not to mention quality veterans like Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Illgauskas.
The Heat's roster of role players and vets, most of whom took pay cuts for this one chance at glory, was built around their "Big 3", which was quickly assembled mostly due to the saavy Pat Riley. The players couldn't resist the temptation to be on a seemingly instant contender.
They were trumped, however, by a Dallas Mavericks team that since its previous Finals appearance in 2006, had gone about building a championship team piece by piece by acquiring talent over the course of five years.
Now, teams across the league will be looking to make moves to make their rosters competitive. So while this past year's free agency fiasco shook up the league, next season's landscape could look even more different. Assuming the new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn't cause a lockout, here are some key players from each team that could see a change of scenery.
The gritty defender and seasoned vet is an underrated asset in the game. His jumper is solid, capable of hitting from beyond the arc and his lock-down defense makes him a good fit for many teams in the league.
Assuming he bounces back from injury, his contract—which expires in 2012—also makes him one solid guy the Hawks could shop around. This is especially true considering Joe Johnson's ridiculously high-priced contract, and particularly if scorer Jamal Crawford decides to leave the nest.
With the recent retirement of Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine is now the only O'Neal on the team. However, it might not be for long. The 6'11" center wasn't really the player Boston Celtics thought he was when they picked up big men in Jermaine and Shaq, but he's now at least a movable big man with an expiring contract.
Bradley and his rookie contract are movable due to the contract's team option. Additionally, considering Shaq's retirement and the fact that Ray Allen has opted to make one last run with the original Big Three, there aren't a whole lot of pieces capable of being moved around.
After shipping out an All-Star talent in Gerald Wallace, team captain Stephen Jackson evidently isn't untouchable either. The guard/forward is a capable scorer and team leader, but without a partner to run in tandem with, he might be better to trade, given the Bobcats' slump of sorts.
The former prospect is back with the team that he blew out his knee against, but even after some time in the D-League, he hasn't been able to reach his potential. Now, he might make a good piece to add in a package deal if the Bobcats look to make some moves for better talent.
Streaky at best this season for the Bulls, Korver just hasn't been able to produce at the level Chicago needed him to. However, when he's hot, he's hot, and Korver is still a very capable shooter many teams would love to have if it doesn't work out in Chicago.
On another note, his uncanny resemblance to Ashton Kutcher can also be passed off as a celebrity appearance, thus spiking attendance in team arenas. So his $15 million contract actually pays more around $80 million especially with Kutcher's replacement of Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men.
Many are quick to give Keith Bogans the boot due to his lack of offensive production this season, but Bogans can still hit a solid three-pointer and is a terrific defender. In effect, he could serve as a good addition to many player package deals. The Bulls need a more talented shooting guard than Bogans, but this doesn't mean he can't make another team's roster very happy.
Whether you believe it to be the universe giving back to Cleveland or not, the Cavaliers snagged the first pick of this year's draft. They could take Arizona's Derrick Williams; however, the NBA is quickly becoming a point guard's league. So naturally, it's expected that they'll take the consensus No. 1 pick, Duke point guard Kyrie Irving. So where does that leave Baron Davis?
If the Cavs plan to build around Irving, eventually Davis will head to the bench in favor of the younger Irving. In this case, the Cavs could move Davis, who is still a viable talent, along with his $65 million contract to make some room for some other positions.
Jamison was left in the wake of the LeBron fiasco and as a result was the team's lone ranger until Baron Davis came to town. Now with two top five picks, the Cavs will most likely draft a new one-two combination in Kyrie Irving and possibly a big man like Enes Kanter with their fourth pick.
So why not move Jamison? Davis and Jamison make for some pretty nice trade bait and given that the Cavs are rebuilding, the timing couldn't be better.
Why mess up a good thing? The NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks spent five years putting together this team, so while they don't need to break up the squad, they could move a player or two. One guy whose name comes to mind is Rodrigue Beaubois.
Beaubois was having himself a nice season until he was sidelined with a broken foot. Now, Beaubois has to contest for playing time with J.J. Barea (who is playing fantastically) as well as the bigger DeShawn Stevenson. Maybe he'll be better off being traded to add a new piece to the championship roster.
Ty Lawson will probably get the starting position over Felton. However, Felton, who averages 15 points per game and 8 assists per game, is a more than capable point guard. He shouldn't have trouble finding a new home, but the Nuggets need to think about who they might want in return.
The Pistons could package a bunch of their players to make some deals, especially since their Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon experiment didn't pan out. Throw Hamilton into the mix, and teams dealing with the Pistons get a solid shooter who can work without the ball.
Hamilton is a remnant of the old 2004 championship team, but the Pistons need to rebuild the team around new blood, especially if Tayshaun Prince could leave as well.
Golden State Warriors
Everyone knows Monta Ellis is a scoring machine. The thing is, he needs the ball in his hands almost 90 percent of the time in order to have an impact like a poor man's Russell Westbrook. All the while, running mate Stephen Curry has adapted his own game to benefit the team and in the process evolved into a point guard.
For the Warriors, it shouldn't be hard to find someone to take Ellis, since his scoring talents can compliment almost any team. The choice lies in who they can get in exchange for him.
Lee is a solid young shooting guard to come off the bench for Kevin Martin, but without Yao Ming, the Rockets need some major pieces in order to rebuild. Lee is a good throw-in to a trade, but he can't fetch them anyone big on his own.
The Rockets just brought in Miller in light of Yao Ming's absence, but with the Rockets looking to rebuild, why not just move him? Packaging up Lee, Miller and someone else could bring some new blood to Houston. Furthermore, Miller still has some years on him and his short range jumper is still intact.
Posey was inactive in Indiana despite coming to the Pacers with point guard Darren Collison. Now, while Collison has had only good fortune since leaving New Orleans, Posey has been relegated as an inactive backup at his position due to the performances of Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts and even Dahntay Jones to an extent. But Posey has some mileage left, and his shooting is still a plus.
Jones played some solid minutes in the Pacers' playoff series against Chicago. He's a decent defender and coupled with Posey could make make for good trade bait to help build around the young Darren Collison, Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough.
Los Angeles Clippers
Once an All-Star, Kaman is now coming off the bench behind DeAndre Jordan. He could start on quite a few teams and would easily draw attention in the trade scene. The Clips could pick up not only a more reasonably priced-back up center but also another player, perhaps for Kaman's contract.
Foye is a quality shooting guard and would be a good piece to move around. Coupled with Kaman, the two could fetch some talent to add around Blake Griffin.
Los Angeles Lakers
Before, it seemed that the only troubles for the Lakers' big man came in the form of injuries. Now, it seems that Bynum also suffers from behavioral issuesl. His seriously unnecessary flagrant foul on J.J. Barea in the playoffs made him only more likely to be traded.
Artest was initially a risky move for the Lakers. He's inconsistent, but he's still a quality player. He could fetch the Lakers a big name along with Bynum. The Lakers are better off shipping out potential troublemakers, especially with an aging Kobe Bryant.
Despite a suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, Mayo played a good game in the playoffs against the Spurs and the Thunder. A talented scorer, Mayo is fast off the dribble and could fill some positions (like SG in Chicago).
Now, he could make for some pretty tantalizing trade bait for many teams in the league.
With almost every one of its players' contracts expiring, the Heat don't have too many options. There is even a chance that the CBA will interfere with their hopes of keeping the super team intact.
If you had to move one of the Big 3's gigantic contracts, ultimately it would be that of Chris Bosh. Sure, the Heat could move players like Mike Miller or Udonis Haslem, but why not move Bosh and get at least two players for the price of "Bosh Spice".
Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem were originally parts of the lineup Pat Riley envision for the Heat. Joel Anthony would have come off the bench. So why not package Anthony with Bosh and fetch a couple of cheaper big men to fill the void in the post? Additionally, they should resign a guy like Illgauskas if they can, and soon they could have some more affordable presence in the paint.
The Bucks were expected to be the young sleeper team of the 2010-2011 season. However, things didn't go according to plan.
With Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut anchoring the team, Milwaukee has the ability to move a guy like Maggette, who can still produce at a starter's level.
A couple years back, Milicic expected to return to Europe to play basketball. His team option in 2014 makes his $20 million contract movable.
The T-Wolves can ship Darko off in order to pick up someone who is better-suited to run with the soon-to- arrive Ricky Rubio.
New Jersey Nets
After two championship seasons with the Lakers, Farmar decided to leave and head to New Jersey, where he played as the starting point guard. He later lost that starting position with the arrival of Deron Williams.
Now, Farmar is the team's secondary point guard and could be packaged in a deal in order to load up the roster at another position or two.
The team is supposed to be built around Williams and Brook Lopez. Assuming they stay, the Nets could easily give up Farmar to keep Williams.
New Orleans Hornets
Chris Paul has bounced back from injury, played MVP-caliber seasons, led a valiant effort against the Los Angeles Lakers and even assisted in the effort to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The guy has done big things for the Hornets and for the city of New Orleans both on and off the court.
But alas, all good things must come to an end. Paul has stayed with the Hornets, but he clearly somewhat wishes to leave as well. He even hinted at the possible formation of his own "Big 3" with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire in New York at Anthony's wedding.
Why not give him what he wants? The Hornets can send him over to the Knicks and enter a rebuilding stage of sorts. In return, they could get one of the next guys on the list...
New York Knicks
At 34, Mr. Big Shot isn't getting any younger. So while the former NBA Finals MVP is still rolling with the Knicks, his teammates Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire are hoping they'll be joined in New York by the Hornets' All-Star point guard Chris Paul.
If that's the case, Billups could be moved for Paul. Point guard for point guard, Chauncey Billups isn't a bad consolation prize for the Hornets. Plus, they could pick up another player such as:
The NBA All-Rookie First Team honoree could be a great young pick-up for the Hornets. While the Knicks would be losing out on a young talent, they'd be getting Chris Paul in return. No real losers on either end here.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The dynamic duo of Westbrook and Kevin Durant is a very exciting combo to have on your team. The thing is that Westbrook was a shooting guard at UCLA, and his style of play hasn't changed much. The guy is a scorer, but when you have scoring champ and franchise player like Kevin Durant in the lineup, the ball needs to be in his hands instead.
Scott Brooks even benched Westbrook during the playoffs in favor of James Harden and Eric Maynor. Maybe it was a one-time thing, or maybe it just isn't meant to be.
When the former three-time Slam Dunk champion landed on the roster of the guard-heavy Oklahoma City Thunder, his chances for playing time diminished. Despite his size, Robinson still has the elevation and shooting to become an offensive weapon.
While the Thunder traded for Kendrick Perkins in order to get big in the West, Robinson could be a tool in getting some size in OKC.
Superman made his decision not to sign his contract extension with the Magic and become a free agent in 2012. So why not try to move him? Howard played an MVP season in Orlando, but the team clearly hasn't been able to surround him with the right mix to win a championship.
Maybe he can make like Orlando's last great big man, Shaq, and jump ship to Los Angeles where he can team up with Kobe and go for a ring.
When the Orlando Magic made the huge move to bring in Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas, they took a big risk. Now that the experiment has failed to live up to Dwight Howard's expectations, it's time to try to clean house a bit.
If Howard goes, maybe Arenas can go with him, or perhaps somewhere else to help Orlando rebuild.
Similar to Monta Ellis in Golden State, Iguodala is being shopped around the league. The small forward is being kept under close watch, as Philly will be careful to scout out all its options before trading Iguodala—and rightfully so.
Iguodala is an excellent young athlete and member of the gold medal-winning FIBA Championship team. You can bet he's one of the hottest commodities right now.
Its been rumored that he and Ellis could switch places. This seems pretty plausible right now.
The Vince Carter experiment failed in Phoenix.
On a team with a heavy reliance on two aging, former superstars in Grant Hill and Steve Nash, any scoring assistance is much appreciated. Unfortunately, Carter just couldn't deliver the goods.
Now, with his contract soon expiring, Carter can be shipped out to make room for the Suns in order to make one (possibly final) run towards a title. However, a title run might not even be in the Suns' future anytime soon either, especially if Steve Nash gets moved.
Everyone celebrated when the prodigal son returned to Phoenix and became a back-to-back MVP. However, he's been unable to check off the last thing on his list: an NBA title. Nonetheless, despite his age, Nash is still among the best point guards in the league today.
Fernandez is a talented guard capable of handling the ball, and he's shown he can get up to the rim. He's come off the bench to play some point guard and is already a shooting guard.
His agent demanded a trade, so maybe the Blazers will grant his wish. He's a great talent to have at guard, but on a loaded team like the Blazers, the decision would probably come down to Brandon Roy or Fernandez.
Roy has shown himself to be great but has been injury-prone in his career. On the other hand, Fernandez is good and will still get better.
Still, Fernandez might benefit from a move and a chance to be one of the head honchos on another team.
It is likely that Udrih would end up staying with the Kings; however, in this league you never know. Tyreke Evans could stay as a point guard and continue to follow that role. If that's the case, Udrih could be traded to make room for a marquee player to add to the combo of Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. Or, he could end up staying and playing point while Evans moves to the shooting guard position.
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan doesn't seem to have the same hop he once had. So if the Spurs hope to stay relevant in a West full of young sleepers, their best chance might be to stay big. Tiago Splitter and Matt Bonner might be some of Duncan's other big men, but the West is especially physical.
Moving an aging but still capable Mcdyess would free up some space and send a trusted veteran off to another team.
Bargnani has proven that he is an offensive asset, particularly with his ability to shoot from the perimeter. Power forward would ultimately be the best position for him. With the possibility of a smaller capable shooter like a Kemba Walker being drafted, the Raptors might think it best to pursue a defensive big man instead.
Bargnani has drawn comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, and with the Mavs' 2011 Championship, those comparisions might make him even more desirable.
The former All-Star was recently bit by the injury bug but will likely return sometime this upcoming season. He may not be putting up the kinds of numbers he did before, but he still has the size and shooting to make him good trade bait.
The Wizards have height, but they need some more talent for franchise player and team captain John Wall to work with. In order to do so, as is the case with so many of the league's teams, they need to get rid of their huge contracts. Rashard Lewis and his gigantic contract are a prime example.