Plenty of NBA teams are in dire need to make a blockbuster potential trade. Unfortunately, that is currently being blocked by a lockout.
Many of these teams are perennial contenders looking to add a piece to solidify a top seed for the playoffs. However, some are looking to start from scratch by acquiring a few promising players for their superstars.
Post lockout, this off season promises to bring us some fireworks.
While the free agent class of 2011 is not as strong as the star packed 2010, a lot of teams will have to make trades to better themselves.
Plenty of other players that I did not include on this list will hear their names in potential deals, but these are names I think need to be traded for specific reasons.
Let's checkout some players that could be swapping uniforms next year.
Trading O.J. Mayo won't hurt the Grizzlies, but could be a huge piece for another suitor.
Mayo is still only 23 years old and could have a bright future in the NBA, but could be expendable for Memphis.
With Marc Gasol being a restricted free agent, it's questionable if Memphis will be able to re-sign the promising center. Mayo could be used as some bait to get some help at the center position if all else fails.
Mayo watched his minutes dip marginally in 2011, along with his statistics. While playing only 26.3 minutes a game, Mayo averaged 11.3 points.
While being a pure scorer, Mayo has the ability to average 20 points a game and could be a dangerous second scoring option.
Mayo will draw a lot of attention on the trading block, and bring a lot of potential to the table.
Working on shot selection could make him a tad bit more efficient, but he has All-Star hopes if he figures it out.
Steve Nash is one of the true gentlemen ever to play the game, the least Phoenix could do is give him a shot at a NBA championship.
If the season starts on time the 37-year-old Nash will only have a few more competitive years left in him, just enough to help a contender.
Phoenix is another team that could benefit from trading their star for rebuilding purposes. While most teams have a star caliber player to build a future around, it's not looking good for the Suns.
Nash still shoots with great accuracy and is a true wizard with the ball. He can create scoring opportunities for teammates at will and is always a threat when he has possession of the ball.
His downfall would be considered his age and defense. While Nash isn't the most physical defender, he is in great shape and will at least attempt to be effective. He won't shut down an elite guard, but will always give his full effort to help his team out.
The Suns are a playoff contender, but unfortunately not a championship contender. It is time to rebuild in Phoenix, and the two-time MVP could be the first piece to go.
Yes, another Phoenix Sun.
Vince Carter is another player slowly watching his abilities decrease. The bad thing about that is so is his trade value.
Carter has lost a lot of what made him one of the most exciting players in NBA history – his athleticism. He's not going to have anymore dazzling dunks or breakout years, but still can be a great role player.
Carter can still hit jumpers for a productive percentage and isn't going to hurt his team on the defensive end.
Still being a legit scorer, Carter could be a perfect fit for a team like the Chicago Bulls who need a scoring threat. The good thing for Chicago is that it wouldn't be the biggest risk if Carter doesn't pan out.
Chicago could keep their core players and if all failed get rid of Carter via free agency after 2012. The Bulls are a team who can contend now and also have a bright future. Carter wouldn't destroy that potential and would be a valuable asset.
While putting up productive numbers in Orlando, Carter never really looked comfortable in Phoenix and should be traded again.
It's best for Carter and Phoenix to part ways for better opportunities.
Monta Ellis is one of the best scorers in the NBA, he just doesn't fit into the Warriors' future plans.
Golden State needs to make some serious moves to build around Stephen Curry, and getting rid of Ellis is only the start. Curry is a natural shooting guard trying to transition into a point guard, but it's not coming along so well.
While turning the ball over three times a game, Curry didn't show the sharpest skills that most point guards need. He's not the quickest player in the league, and would benefit more as a spot up shooter.
Back to Ellis.
Although Ellis has some injury concerns, he managed to play in 80 games last year with full effectiveness.
Ellis can go for 20 points any night, but could be a player better suited for another team. He posses great talent but needs to be a teams undisputed first scoring option.
While using his quickness, Ellis has also improved on his defense. He averaged 2.1 steals last year and shows signs of becoming a better team defender.
Although undersized for a shooting guard, he can still light you up and is always a threat to get to the basket.
Already in numerous trade rumors, look for Ellis to be shipped for either a true point guard or some defensive help.
I combined these two into a slide for one reason: Utah should consider getting rid of one but not both of them.
Both Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson are 26 years of age and have good years ahead of them.
Jefferson can be considered one of the most underrated players in the NBA. He's a great defender who can fill lanes and block shots at a noteworthy level.
However, he's an even better offensive weapon. He's going to give you productive shots and has fairly good range for a big man. He also averages 2.9 offensive rebounds a game, creating second chance opportunities for his squad.
Millsap is a little less polished, but still has great potential.
While being a bit undersized, Millsap is still a dangerous defender with the ability to hurt you offensively. He's not going to demand as many shots as Jefferson, but will score over 50% of the time.
Millsap has never shown injury concerns and looks to improve every year he plays.
With Utah using an early draft pick on Enes Kanter, the Jazz have three big men looking to split a big portion of minutes.
Trading one of these two players could help bring in a better shooting guard than Raja Bell and help with depth issues.
Mehmet Okur is another player that could be considered, but would have no where near the trade value of Jefferson or Millsap.
Utah is doing all of the right things is rebuilding, but this would ensure them a better future.
To put this simple, Ben Gordon wasn't a good signing for Detroit. Gordon has great shooting ability, but isn't a key player for a team looking to rebuild.
The good news for Gordon is he can be a great sixth man. One thing the NBA Finals proved was a great sixth man can be crucial to success, just ask Jason Terry.
To be honest, Gordon put up great numbers by the minute and actually shot a high percentage while doing so. The only problem is Gordon is a player who should be playing more minutes and getting more touches.
The Pistons stand to lose a lot in free agency, but should look to build around stars like Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe anyway.
Gordon will help a contending team add some depth, and will give the Pistons a few pieces with promising potential.
Smith is a true stat sheet filler and one of the most athletic players in the game, but was named in a blockbuster trade scenario with Orlando.
While I truly don't understand why Atlanta would try to rid themselves of Smith, he will make one team noticeably better.
Smith is one of the most versati le players in the NBA. He plays elite defense, blocks shots, and creates turnovers for his team. He challenges shots well as a one on one defender and will always threaten for 10 rebounds a night.
He isn't afraid to score offensively, but will sometimes take questionable shots.
While being one of the best rim finishers in the game, Smith averaged two 3-point attempts a game in 2011, a year after taking only seven attempts total.
He is improving his shot and range, making him a player you have to account for at all times. Smith has great leaping ability, but should also work on his ball handling skills after averaging 2.6 turnovers last year.
If Smith is not wanted in Atlanta, he could draw a lot of attention for serious offers elsewhere.
It's pretty obvious that Paul has no real interest in signing a new contract to continue playing in New Orleans. So trading him for a few building blocks is the smart thing to do.
Paul is the complete package when it comes to being a point guard.
He is a true leader and a triple-double threat every night. Paul has shown some of the best defense and court vision currently in the NBA, and will make any team an instant contender.
With the New Orleans franchise in a bit of a mess right now, it will be hard to convince a star player to sign a long term contract.
Paul has plenty of trade value. He is young, shows a great persona, and has a bright future in this league.
Teams that are already contenders, like the New York Knicks, could look to put a trade together – but could be strapped for players considering they have six free agents.
However, if Paul hits the free agent market in 2012, the Knicks could be the favorites to pull in CP3.
There are plenty of wild card teams that could make a move at Paul too.
Orlando has shown interest in getting Dwight Howard some help, but a trade with them would likely involve the ridiculous contract of Gilbert Arenas.
Oklahoma City could always make a move if Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant don't find true chemistry. Westbrook is a player with the ability to have a team built around him while Paul would be the perfect teammate for Durant.
Other teams with promising futures could also pursue Paul, but there aren't a ton of realistic destinations.
Trading the former Demon Deacon could be best for New Orleans' future and could make another team a championship favorite.
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