Predicting the 7 Biggest Names to Hit the Trade Block Next Season
Trades have shaken up the NBA landscape quite a bit this summer, and there will undoubtedly be more on the way once next season kicks into high gear.
While there may not be any trades that are reportedly imminent, offseason personnel moves and expiring contracts have provided a clear picture as to who we can expect to hit the trade block next season.
From disgruntled stars to players who may soon be bumped out of rotations, there's no shortage of intriguing talent that figures to be available in a few months.
With that out of the way, who's ready for some way-too-early trade speculation?
Trevor Ariza's 2012-13 campaign got off to a sluggish start, but the 28-year-old swingman developed a hot hand over the second half of last season.
After posting an offensive rating of 95.2, an effective field-goal percentage of 45.7 and a true shooting percentage of 49.3 during the first half, according to NBA.com's stats database, Ariza caught fire after the All-Star break.
According to NBA.com, Ariza exploded after the All-Star break, showing major improvements in all three categories. His offensive rating increased to a mark of 102.5 while his effective field goal and true shooting percentages each increased by more than 10 points.
Ariza's second-half performance could earn him the Washington Wizards' starting gig at small forward on opening day, but with the presence of No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter looming large, Ariza's days of productivity on the perimeter may be numbered.
In the final year of his contract, Ariza could be a nice addition for a title contender who's looking to add a three-and-D wing at the deadline.
So don't be surprised if they choose to blow things up further by trading a player or two acquired in that blockbuster deal with Brooklyn.
According to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, keep an eye on the Celtics should they explore their options when it comes to trading Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries or Brandon Bass:
Expect them to test the trade market for Wallace, who can’t be happy with this arrangement, and Humphries. Perhaps even Bass, with approximately $13.6 million due him over the next two seasons, becomes part of this exploration.
Humphries is the most realistic trade candidate, considering he only has one year and $12 million remaining on his contract.
But it's Wallace who's the most intriguing player here.
With three years and $30 million remaining on his contract, the Celtics would undoubtedly love to rid themselves of that unsightly salary.
Finding a trade partner willing to eat said contract won't be easy, but if there's one general manager who can pull off such a deal, it's Danny Ainge.
After the Philadelphia 76ers dealt Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans, it became clear that no one is safe from being shipped out of town—well, except for rookies Nerlens Noel and Michael-Carter Williams.
The Sixers hold trade chips of varying value, primarily in the form of Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner.
Young would undoubtedly garner a more appealing package of future assets, but Turner is due a qualifying offer worth $8.7 million next season—a hefty sum for a player who's yet to produce up to lofty expectations.
And while Turner's value may be on the decline, it's important to remember that they nearly dealt him at last season's trade deadline.
Perhaps, Turner will thrive under a new head coach, but even so, it's hard to imagine Sam Hinkie and the Sixers ponying up significant cash to keep Turner around for the long haul.
Although Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has stated that he's not looking to trade Marcin Gortat at this time, according to Arizona Sports' Vince Marotta, there's no denying that the Polish center is an intriguing candidate to be dealt next season.
According to Marotta, McDonough thinks of Gortat as a "top-15 starting center in the NBA," and if that's the way the rest of the league views him, the Suns' new GM should be quick to pull the trigger on a deal.
Gortat will be a free agent at the end of next season, and with rookie Alex Len waiting in the wings, he could bolt in pursuit of steadier job security or a team that's in win-now mode.
Just like he did last season, Pau Gasol will undoubtedly find himself positioned on the trade block come January and February 2014.
For one, Gasol's contract expires at the end of the 2013-14 season, and unless he's willing to take a significant pay cut, this will likely be his last season donning the purple and gold.
Secondly, we've seen what happens in the past when the Lakers struggle. The tone surrounding L.A. becomes awfully pessimistic, with seemingly every big-name player not named Kobe Bryant rumored to be in a vulnerable position at the trade deadline.
Should the Lakers struggle next season like many believe they will, trading Gasol becomes a real possibility. The difficulty, however, will be finding a trade that suits the Lakers' needs.
If the Lakers aren't serious contenders, they'll need to find a suitor for Gasol who's wiling to part with some combination of draft picks and expiring deals.
Otherwise, dealing the Spaniard doesn't make much sense.
The Lakers are primed to enter the summer of 2014 with only two (possibly three, pending Nick Young's player option) contracts on the books, which would give them ample cap space to sign max free agents, according to HoopsHype.
While the parameters of a deal may be difficult to work out, Gasol's name will be one to keep a close eye on should the Lakers struggle.
An aging power forward with an expiring contract, Zach Randolph is one name I'll be watching closely as the 2014 trade deadline approaches.
The Memphis Grizzlies haven't been shy about trading big names at the deadline (see: Rudy Gay) for less than their perceived value. Interestingly enough, it could be one of the players acquired in the Gay trade that winds up pushing Randolph out the door.
Ed Davis, 24, was a per-36-minute statistical revelation last season, posting averages of 13.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks, while shooting 53.9 percent from the field in said sample size, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
In addition to Davis' presence, it's important to remember that, at last season's deadline, ESPN's Chad Ford said Randolph looked like a "marked man" in response to a question about moves the Grizzlies could have made in February.
The Portland Trail Blazers have made all the right moves this summer. Neil Olshey emphasized bolstering the team's depth across the board and did so in the form of Dorell Wright, Thomas Robinson, C.J. McCollum and Robin Lopez.
But will those pieces be enough to propel the Blazers up the Western Conference standings?
It's hard to imagine Portland being anything better than a back-end, fringe playoff contender in an improved Western Conference that boasts the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers.
Should the Blazers find themselves scrapping and clawing for the seventh or eighth seed around midseason, don't be surprised to see Aldridge's name crop up in trade rumors.
CSN Northwest's Chris Haynes reported that Aldridge and Olshey have already met to discuss trade scenarios. However, Haynes also notes that a trade for Aldridge could be a year away, with his contract not set to expire until after the 2014-15 season:
Unless something changes after Summer League, the likely development is Aldridge returning to Portland next season and having a strong year to increase the likelihood of Olshey pulling the trigger on a deal.
A trade this summer feels premature, but if the Blazers don't show improvement with a balanced roster, Aldridge's displeasure could become a major storyline.