We haven't reached the halfway mark of the NBA season, but there has been plenty of time for teams to give themselves an honest evaluation.
Although a lot can change, most organizations know by now whether they are legitimate contenders and will be buyers at the Feb. 8 trade deadline. Those teams are already looking at the potential sellers for impact talents to add as the missing pieces for their rosters.
It will take a while for deals to finalize, but these big-name players are the most likely to be on the move in the coming weeks and months.
George Hill, Kings
Throughout his career, George Hill has proved to be a valuable point guard on contending teams, helping the Spurs, Pacers and Jazz reach the postseason and often make deep runs. He is coming off a career-high 16.9 points per game last year with Utah.
Unfortunately, he isn't making the same type of impact for the Kings this season—a squad that is just 11-20 so far.
With a young roster, it's unlikely Sacramento turns things around and contends for the playoffs. While Hill can be a leader in the locker room, his talents are being wasted on a bottom-dweller. Trading the veteran will bring back more assets for the future while helping young guards De'Aaron Fox and Frank Mason earn more playing time.
According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, this is already in the works as Hill "has already been shopped."
While Hill's scoring is down this year at just 10.3 ppg, he is as efficient as ever with a league-leading 50.6 percent from three-point range. His 48.1 field-goal percentage would also be a career high.
The 31-year-old has shown he can be aggressive to help a team or become more of a facilitator when needed, making him the perfect addition to any contender. Adding in his 83 career playoff games, he is exactly what a team would need.
Although his three-year, $57 million contract might be an issue, he would be worth the cost for the second half of this season and beyond.
Nikola Vucevic, Magic
While he is sometimes overlooked with the emergence of so many young centers, Nikola Vucevic is a double-double machine and one of the top two-way big men in the game.
The Magic star has developed an outside shot that was rarely used before this year, making him a more efficient scorer and a difficult player to defend.
As Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported, "Vucevic is the name mentioned most in NBA circles as having value." He added that the team is "listening to offers" but aren't in any hurry to pull the trigger.
The problem is, Orlando is going nowhere fast, especially with the injuries continuing to pile up. Top scorers Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon have been struggling to stay on the court, leaving Vucevic and a lot of question marks each night.
While the Magic could keep the 27-year-old at just $12.75 million next year, his team-friendly deal just makes him more appealing in the open market. As everyone tries to unload salary, here is one impact player that won't cause contenders to shift too much payroll.
Considering Orlando is six years removed from its most recent playoff appearance and unlikely to compete in the next two seasons, dealing away its best asset at the highest value seems like a wise move.
DeAndre Jordan, Clippers
Unlike the Kings or Magic, the Clippers expected to be competitive this season. Even without Chris Paul, there were enough pieces to at least reach the playoffs in the Western Conference and potentially make a run.
However, injuries to Blake Griffin, Patrick Beverley and Danilo Gallinari have made this difficult.
What's left is a potential full rebuild, including dealing away DeAndre Jordan before he potentially leaves in free agency after this season (he has a player option for next year).
Deveney reported the Clippers "would certainly be willing to part ways with him," although the question remains which teams would be interested and have a good enough package to make it worthwhile.
According to Sam Amico of Amico Hoops, the Cleveland Cavaliers at least fit into the first category. The team is reportedly "sniffing around" a potential trade for the All-Star center.
Kyler also added that any deal could center around Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson and a first-round pick.
Cleveland might not want to part with draft picks, especially the Brooklyn selection acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade, considering a rebuild might be necessary if LeBron James leaves after this season. On the other hand, bringing in a defensive star like Jordan could be a difference-maker to help the team win it all this season.
The 29-year-old has been first-team All-Defense twice in the last three years, and although his shot-blocking numbers are down, he remains a force in the paint and on the glass.
Considering defense and rebounding has been an issue for Cleveland in its losses this year, the addition of Jordan could go a long way and would be worth nearly any package the team can send.