The Most Tradable Player on Every NBA Team

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2018

The Most Tradable Player on Every NBA Team

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    A banner year of NBA wheeling and dealing could continue up to Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

    Anything feels possible atop this wave we've been riding the last 12 months. Eight of last season's All-Stars aren't on the same teams they were then, and six moved via trade. More could join that group soon if any of this trade-rumor smoke becomes a full-fledged fire.

    Recent history tells us almost the Association's entire population is tradable. But closer examination of each club's situation reveals the most movable player from every roster.

    Our definition of tradable draws upon two key elements.

    The first is realistic availability. While these don't have to be players who are being actively shopped, they can't be ones whose mere mention would cause their employers to cease communication. Second, there must be a reasonable desire from outside clubs. That might stem from current production, future potential or financial motivations, but these players have to offer something to potential trade partners.

    With those parameters in place, let's start ushering candidates to the trade block.

Atlanta Hawks: Ersan Ilyasova, PF

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk is hoping his first trade deadline at the helm will be busy. Still in the early stages of a rebuild, the Hawks are reportedly shopping Kent Bazemore, Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli in search of picks and/or prospects, according to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski.

    While all three are trade candidates, Ilyasova seems the most likely to need a change-of-address form. Bazemore could collect more than $37 million over the next two seasons (2019-20 is a player option) despite performing like he's worth about half of that (15.1 player efficiency rating). Ilyasova and Belinelli are both on expiring deals, with the former being younger, cheaper and more productive over his career.

    Ilyasova doesn't have the deepest skill set, but he's a 6'10" floor-spacer who occasionally pops off in the scoring or rebounding categories. He's also had an above-average PER in four different campaigns, while Belinelli has only reached the mark once in 11 seasons.

    If the Hawks have their way, they'll turn each of their expiring vets into some kind of rebuilding tool. But if there's only one move they make, Ilyasova is the likeliest to go. Modern trade markets will always have interest in lanky, reasonably priced snipers.

Boston Celtics: Shane Larkin, PG

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    If you're breaking down the Boston Celtics' trade values, Shane Larkin ranks low enough he might never be mentioned. But if you're discussing players the Shamrocks would reasonably move, the 25-year-old could top the list.

    This assumes a few different things: For starters, that there isn't a top-shelf talent available who would make general manager Danny Ainge part with several youngsters (cough, Anthony Davis). Also, that the Celtics don't feel any urgency to act given their glowing future (imagine this roster with a healthy Gordon Hayward plus further-seasoned prospects). And lastly, that Boston is prepared to pay Marcus Smart in restricted free agency.

    If all of the above holds true, the Celtics will either sit out the swapping season or only make a minor move for depth. While Larkin has been a pleasant source of depth—he was out of the league last season—he's neither an every-night contributor nor an obvious keeper. If Boston can transform the minimum investment it made in him into yet another roster-building asset, it should be thrilled with the return.

    If the Celtics aim a tad higher on the trade market, they might have Terry Rozier atop their tradable player list. But given the small, specific needs of this roster—bench scoring, supplemental shooting—it's hard to justify the cost. Rozier is an integral rotation piece, a relentless defender and a player who makes Boston better both now and in the future.

Brooklyn Nets: DeMarre Carroll, SF/PF

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Well played, Brooklyn Nets.

    In July, they added a pair of draft picks—including a 2018 first-rounder—just to take DeMarre Carroll and his burdensome contract off the Toronto Raptors' hands. Not even one year later, Wojnarowski reported teams are "targeting" the 31-year-old forward.

    "... Last year, when I was injured and I didn't have a great year in Toronto, I was considered a salary dump," Carroll said, per Greg Logan of Newsday. "Now, this year, you've got a number of teams that really want me."

    Carroll, who has 57 playoff games under his belt, is posting personal bests in points (13.0), rebounds (6.4) and assists (1.9) per game. He has seen time at all three frontcourt spots, and when his outside shot is falling (career 35.9 percent), he contributes on both ends of the floor.

    The Nets might receive more inquiries about other players—Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris have been uberproductive for what they're paid—but Carroll probably best balances outside interest and an internal willingness to let him go. This is already a found-money scenario for the Nets, and win-now suitors will appreciate that Carroll—unlike Dinwiddie and Harris—has previously produced in a successful environment.

Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker, PG

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Barring an unexpected addition to the trade market, Kemba Walker might be the most productive player available. That is, if he's actually on the block.

    "I'm not looking to trade Kemba, but I would listen to opportunities," Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. "... It's not like we are shopping him. We would not just give him up. I love Kemba Walker. I would not trade him for anything but an All-Star player."

    It's a defensible stance for a talent like Walker—a top-20 scorer and distributor—especially from a franchise with the Hornets' track record. It also might be a bit of posturing by Jordan, who should know better than anyone this club's play doesn't come close to matching its cost.

    There isn't a rich market for win-now point guards, which might make an All-Star return unobtainable. But if Charlotte shifts its demands from a current star—if Walker is going out, who would support the incoming talent?—to a more forward-focused package of picks, prospects and/or financial flexibility, the Hornets could engineer a necessary restructuring.

Chicago Bulls: Justin Holiday, SG

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    The Chicago Bulls are playing the long game. That's been obvious since the summer's franchise-resetting trade of Jimmy Butler, and it played a critical role in the recent Nikola Mirotic move.

    Chicago must continue hunting for picks, prospects and draft-lottery pingpong balls. The front office knows it too, as league sources told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune the Bulls are "extremely active in trade talks." That's not surprising, but it is reassuring the front office hasn't diverted plans despite some surprise success (three winning streaks of three-plus games since Dec. 8).

    The Bulls should be willing to talk shop on most of their roster, save for Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and (probably) Zach LaVine. But Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez stand out as obvious trade candidates, since they don't fit Chicago's schedule and would likely enjoy smooth transitions to new teams.

    Lopez is the more talented of the two—his second-worst PER tops Holiday's best—but his market might be weaker. There is a glut of non-shooting bigs available, and many don't have a contract as rich as Lopez's ($13.8 million this season, $14.4 million next year). Holiday's reasonable $4.6 million salary decreases to $4.4 million for 2018-19, and contenders are always shopping for three-and-D skill sets.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Jae Crowder, SF

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    The Cleveland Cavaliers roster isn't only the Association's oldest, but it's also one of its most expensive. That's why, despite making three consecutive NBA Finals trips, the Cavs aren't brimming with coveted players.

    Assuming both LeBron James and Kevin Love are off the board (if the latter was ever on it, his hand fracture forced him off), the trade hierarchy gets murky. Isaiah Thomas might be the guy, but he's struggled coming off a hip injury and needs to be paid (maybe PAID) this summer. No one is lining up to pay Tristan Thompson or JR Smith, and Cleveland can't rob LeBron of his friend (Dwyane Wade) or his spacer (Kyle Korver).

    But Jae Crowder is an interesting candidate. While he has underperformed in Northeast Ohio, his recent history is rich with contemporary qualities. He can defend (and play) multiple positions, convert open triples and attack the basket. And when he's doing all those things simultaneously, his contract looks like one of the NBA's better bargains ($21.9 million through 2019-20, including this season).

    Now, perhaps the driving force to get Crowder to Cleveland was the way he matches up in a potential championship-round rematch with the Golden State Warriors. So, if the Cavs think they can get there again, they may opt to keep him around. But if they want to make an impact move without depleting their draft picks, they may have to deal him.

Dallas Mavericks: Devin Harris, PG/SG

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    From the outside, the Dallas Mavericks look like sellers. Their winning percentage is at a 20-year low, and their roster lacks high-level young talent beyond 2017 ninth overall pick Dennis Smith Jr.

    But closer examination suggests Dallas is likely to either sit out this deadline or take on bad money in exchange for an asset. There's no way the Mavs are moving Smith, Harrison Barnes or Dirk Nowitzki. But they're reportedly hesitant to even alter their second tier, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:

    "... It would take something off the charts for the Mavericks to trade J.J. Barea, Devin Harris or Wesley Matthews—veterans who have become vital parts of the franchise. If this was a cutthroat organization, Harris already would have been waived before Jan. 10 to save the $3.5 million of his contract that was non-guaranteed."

    If someone offered draft considerations for Harris, though, Dallas would have to consider it. He'll be 35 in February and is playing on an expiring deal. He shouldn't have trouble attracting a contender either, since he's a savvy combo guard with loads of playoff experience. He also doesn't come attached to the unpredictability of Nerlens Noel or the money headed to Barea and Matthews beyond this campaign.

Denver Nuggets: Will Barton, SG

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    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    How badly do the Denver Nuggets want to chase a playoff berth? The answer to that inquiry will shape their deadline approach.

    A postseason berth is within reach—they're seeded eighth in the Western Conference—and would snap a four-year dry spell. It would also follow the trajectory they planned on taking when they lured in Paul Millsap, who could provide a jolt as soon as he's back from wrist surgery.

    The Nuggets, however, can see their bright future revolves around the 23-and-under trio of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. That should make them open to at least fielding offers for their supporting cast, none of whom are more attractive than swingman Will Barton.

    The 27-year-old has an expiring contract and a sparkplug skill set. He can make plays on the ball, triples off it and finish plays above the rim. He has never averaged more combined points and assists per game (18.4), and he's en route to posting his third straight above-average PER.

    If Denver is playing for the present, it's better to keep Barton. That diminishes what it can find on the open market, though. The values of Emmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler are all trending the wrong direction.

Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson, SF

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The Detroit Pistons went all-in with their acquisition of Blake Griffin, unloading their top trade bullets in the process. But one would assume the slumping squad (11-20 since the start of December) will continue to sniff out instant-impact deals, particularly with head coach Stan Van Gundy's seat heating up.

    "All the Pistons' recent losing...is merely one alarming trend for Van Gundy," Marc Stein of the New York Times wrote. "All the empty seats routinely seen at their downtown arena is arguably even more troubling. Year 1, after all, is rather early for an attendance crisis in a new building."

    Detroit could soon decide it can no longer wait for Stanley Johnson to find the elusive key to consistency. The Pistons don't have the depth to misfire in a wing deal, but sources told The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor that Detroit is trying to snag Rodney Hood with Johnson as trade bait.

    Johnson has struggled to find his offensive niche, and his defensive play hasn't lived up to its potential. But he's still a 21-year-old 2015 lottery pick with significant upside at both ends. It isn't hard to envision him offering more value to an organization with a longer timeline than Detroit's.

Golden State Warriors: JaVale McGee, C

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    The Golden State Warriors don't need JaVale McGee. The high-flying 7-footer still isn't playing on a nightly basis, even though Jordan Bell has been out two weeks and Damian Jones has spent almost the entire campaign in the G League.

    This is not the follow-up McGee expected after dazzling—albeit in short bursts—during his first season with the Dubs. He set personal bests in field-goal percentage (65.2), PER (25.2) and points per 36 minutes (23.0) while outpacing his career per-minute rates in boards and blocks.

    Now, he's often going multiple games between appearances and perhaps picturing greener grass elsewhere, according to The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II:

    McGee hasn't been happy with his minutes. This is on top of not being happy the Warriors only offered him a minimum contract back in the offseason and told him the starting role wasn't on the table. McGee isn't causing problems at all, but it only makes sense to consider moving him if another team is interested."

    McGee should have some suitors, even if none is equipped to highlight his strengths and mask his weaknesses like the Warriors can. There's no shortage of bigs on the market, but few can match McGee's combination of size and athleticism. Plus, he might be a free rental if Golden State feels it must open a roster spot to have flexibility for the buyout market.

Houston Rockets: The Benchwarmers/G Leaguers

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    The Houston Rockets rarely sit out the trade season, but they've never looked more likely to do so. Their .745 winning percentage is the highest in franchise history, and when they're full strength, they're practically devoid of weaknesses. Any impact move would have to involve a core member, and that's probably a bigger disruption than the deal itself is worth.

    "I don't expect to do much," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. "There's outside-the-rotation stuff potentially. We're always looking for something to upgrade us. I would guess the odds of us doing nothing are much higher than normal."

    Of the 11 players to log 300-plus minutes, Tarik Black might be the only one theoretically available. (Houston can't move Gerald Green after signing him in late December, and Ryan Anderson's contract remains among the NBA's least appealing.)

    Black isn't an every-night regular and has an expiring deal, so he fits the basic profile of a candidate. But there might not be a market for him, and even if there is, sacrificing depth behind 35-year-old Nene seems too risky for a contender.

    Still, Morey will keep his eyes and ears open for a cheap move that wouldn't cause a disturbance. Maybe there's a way to use one (or more) of the contracts owed to Troy Williams, Zhou Qi and Cinanu Onuaku to make the bench one man deeper. With his 7'1" frame and possibilities at the offensive end, the 22-year-old Qi in particular might interest a forward-thinking shopper.

Indiana Pacers: Darren Collison, PG

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    Darren Collison doesn't get enough credit for his role in making the Indiana Pacers this season's biggest surprise. The 30-year-old journeyman is shooting career-best rates from all three levels and ranks 13th among point guards in real plus-minus17 spots higher than he finished last season for the Sacramento Kings.

    That could make him a keeper if the Pacers are big believers in his breakout. But they have to consider striking a deal while this iron is at its hottest.

    Any major win-now dealcough, Kemba Walker—might require Collison's inclusion. He's well-versed in the art of changing addresses, his $10 million base salary helps big-money contracts align, and he fits either as an adequate starter or a top-tier reserve. He might even attract cost-cutting sellers too, since his 2018-19 money is only partially guaranteed.

    The Pacers can and should set a high price for Collison, since they'd have good playoff odds if they stood pat. But they can't get too attached and miss out on a worthwhile exchange. Good as Collison has been, he's not on the Victor Oladipo-Myles Turner-Domantas Sabonis timeline that should be driving all of Indy's decisions.

Los Angeles Clippers: Lou Williams, SG

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    Of all the (realistic) names being bandied about, Lou Williams might be having the best season. The Los Angeles Clippers are shopping both him and DeAndre Jordan, per Wojnarowski, but Williams' perimeter game, super-sub skills and skyrocketing trajectory help make him L.A.'s most movable piece.

    The 31-year-old has All-Star numbers—albeit without an All-Star invitation—with a top-20 scoring average (easily the best off the bench), a .441/.383/.899 shooting slash and career marks in assists per game, PER and true shooting percentage. He's already engineered 15 30-point outbursts, which included a 50-point, seven-assist masterpiece to knock off the defending champs Jan. 10.

    "Lou Will is killing," former Clips point guard Chris Paul said, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. "When I watch the Clippers play, it's Lou Will and sort of knowing what he's going to do, but you can't stop it."

    Contenders are always hunting for second-team sparks—Williams fetched a first-round pick at the 2017 deadline with inferior numbers—and there isn't a more effective one going. He'd fit just about every roster in the championship chase, which can't be said about the interior-bound Jordan.

    And since Williams makes nearly $16 million less in base salary than the bouncy big man, he's easier to work into a wider variety of deals.

Los Angeles Lakers: Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG

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    Few teams approach the trade deadline with a more transparent objective than the Los Angeles Lakers. They're looking to shed costs ahead of what they hope will be a fruitful free-agency period, leading them to place Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. on the trade block, per Wojnarowski.

    Randle might be the trickiest to trade. He's not only slated for restricted free agency this summer, but he's also perhaps facing a slim market given his unique skills. As a big man who doesn't space the floor or protect the rim, he isn't the easiest player to mold a roster around. Plus, clubs might be hesitant to part with assets for him now when they have a chance of signing him for nothing in five months.

    Nance is interesting in that he's still on his rookie deal for another year and would be a low-maintenance addition given his complementary style. He's also the Lakers' leader in PER (19.4) and on pace to post personal bests in points, rebounds and field-goal percentage. He isn't a shooter or a shot-blocker, though, so that might limit both his appeal and his ceiling.

    That leaves Clarkson, the only Laker with non-rookie-scale money owed beyond this season besides the untradable Luol Deng. Jettisoning Clarkson's remaining cash increases L.A.'s spending power, and his instant-offense ability is a trait that typically sells well this time of year.

    It'd help if he were a more accurate sniper (career 33.3 three-point percentage) or consistent playmaker, but his scoring punch alone would boost most benches.

Memphis Grizzlies: Tyreke Evans, SG/SF

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    For all the stumbles the Memphis Grizzlies have suffered this season, their one-year wager on Tyreke Evans has played out perfectly. The 2009-10 Rookie of the Year boasts his best scoring average since that award-winning campaign, and his newfound success from long range (career-high 39.2 percent) has yielded his highest true shooting percentage to date (56.3).

    The Grizzlies appear ready to cash in on Evans' success, provided they can procure a first-round pick, per Stein. With Evans' market searing-hot, Memphis plans to keep him off the floor until it completes a trade, sources told Wojnarowski.

    If Evans maintains this level—or something close to it—his trade cost should look reasonable to contenders. That's part of the reason he's more tradable than three-time All-Star Marc Gasol, who O'Connor reported is "highly unlikely" to be moved. The 33-year-old big man is showing his age on both ends—he's just 16th among centers in real plus-minus—and would be another hindrance if the Grizzlies tried to shop him.

    Evans' value is going the opposite direction, thanks in no small part to some welcome success in the health department. He not only played 45 of the club's first 46 contests, but he also surpassed his appearance total from each of the past two seasons in the process. Since he can play multiple positions and work as either a starter or reserve, he's one of the more malleable pieces on the trade market.

Miami Heat: Wayne Ellington, SG

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    With the Miami Heat jostling for seeding in the crowded Eastern Conference, they look like a club that could be searching for an upgrade or two to push them over the top. But if you shift that lens a bit forward, they suddenly appear as potential sellers given their weighty financial commitments and draft debts.

    Their reality probably puts them somewhere in the middle, which might mean sitting out the swapping season or only making changes on the margins. Hassan Whiteside may seem to be an interesting trade chip, given the encouraging play of potential fill-ins Kelly Olynyk and rookie Bam Adebayo. But Whiteside is heavily paid—he's in the second season of a four-year, $98.4 million deal—frustratingly inconsistent and lacking some of the qualities craved in contemporary centers.

    Wayne Ellington, on the other hand, should be highly coveted in a league that favors floor spacing. The 30-year-old is fifth in three-pointers (159) and converting his long-range looks at a 39.8 percent clip. He's also invaluable to Miami's offense, which fares 7.8 points better per 100 possessions with him, so he wouldn't be the easiest player to pry away from South Beach.

    There are economic reasons for the Heat to consider it, however. Next season's payroll is already pushing close to the luxury-tax threshold without accounting for Ellington, an unrestricted-free-agent-to-be who's positioned himself for a substantial raise. All future paths with or without him carry some level of risk, as Barry Jackson detailed for the Miami Herald:

    "Here are the Heat's choices: Re-sign Ellington this summer and pay a luxury tax (an unappealing option for a team that isn’t considered a title contender); part ways with Ellington (that clearly would be damaging to this roster); or try to trade another player or players for less salary back to create room under the tax to keep Ellington."

Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, PF

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    Last season, Jabari Parker established himself as the Milwaukee Bucks' second-best player. In a vacuum, that might make him untouchable given Milwaukee's need to maximize its roster before all-purpose superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo reaches unrestricted free agency in 2021.

    Then again, Parker is months away from becoming a fascinating restricted free agent. At that time, he'll be a 23-year-old with at least one 20-plus-points-per-game effort under his belt and a career field-goal percentage near 50. He'll also have a pair of ACL tears and mostly disastrous defense on his resume.

    Could those contract negotiations get messy enough for Milwaukee to consider moving Parker now and capitalizing on his value? Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler heard that's possible if there's a trade that could fix the Bucks' frontcourt problems.

    This is a tread-carefully kind of situation. Parker might be the scoring and shooting threat the Bucks need to ease the burden on Antetokounmpo and survive minutes without him. He could also prove to be a contract albatross if his knees and defensive shortcomings get the best of him. With Milwaukee having already committed substantial money to this core, it cannot afford to guess wrong with the 2014 No. 2 pick.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Gorgui Dieng, PF/C

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    Tom Thibodeau is the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. On a related note, the team is taxing its top players with alarming workloads. Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins all rank among the top 15 minute-getters. Only one other trio ranks among the top 30, and it includes a player lost for the season to a ruptured Achilles (New Orleans Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins).

    Minnesota needs depth and not only to buck the "Thibs runs guys ragged" narrative. The Wolves' bench ranks 19th in net efficiency. No other club with a .600-plus winning percentage sits lower than 11th. The numbers game isn't working in Minnesota's favor, although addressing that void is complicated.

    As the stats would suggest, there aren't many attractive trade chips outside the (probably) untradable starting five. Unless the Wolves sell rookie Justin Patton painfully early and low, they'll have a tough time luring suitors for their second-teamers. Shabazz Muhammad would welcome a change of scenery, sources told Wojnarowski, but his tumble out of the rotation has flatlined his trade value.

    If there's a move for the Wolves to make, it probably includes Gorgui Dieng. The 6'11" post player supplied 10.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last season, but his floor time has since been sliced from 32.4 minutes to 17.8. If he could bring back reserve scoring and shooting—no simple task with $48.7 million owed to him the next three seasonsMinnesota would have to consider it.

New Orleans Pelicans: E'Twaun Moore, SG

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    Credit the New Orleans Pelicans for one thing—they know how to construct a frontcourt. Sure, it helps having a building block like Anthony Davis already in place, but their swift transition from losing Cousins to adding Mirotic will keep the bottom from falling out.

    The wings, however, are a different story. There's precious little substance between Jrue Holiday and the bigs—Jordan Crawford's scoring average from his two-game cameo ranks as the club's sixth-best—save for journeyman E'Twaun Moore, who is riding searing-hot shooting to a career year.

    Maybe that means Moore is unmovable. But calling a 28-year-old with a career 11.4 PER untouchable feels foolishly shortsighted for a team with no shot at contending, major warts on the roster and another first-round pick traded away. If Moore commands a decent price—his 61.0 true shooting percentage indicates he might—New Orleans needs to pounce.

    The Pelicans are searching for more support scoring and competent perimeter stoppers. It's hard to gauge what Moore's trade value is, but it seems certain it's never been higher.

New York Knicks: Courtney Lee, SG/SF

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    The New York Knicks are perennially perplexing. The All-Star ascension of Kristaps Porzingis and arrival of lottery pick Frank Ntilikina haven't changed that.

    Their trade deadline direction might be none at all. They aren't tearing down things to tank, per ESPN's Ian Begley, but they're also not "blindly chasing a playoff berth." They're hesitant to part with picks or take on substantial salary unless it involves someone they see as a long-term keeper.

    That's all defensible unless it leads to a quiet trade season. As one scout told Bleacher Report's Yaron Weitzman"It doesn't make sense for them to stand pat."

    Moving a piece like Kyle O'Quinn or Willy Hernangomez would only net a minor return. For something bigger to happen, Courtney Lee probably needs to exit the Big Apple. He's never averaged more points per game or shot a higher percentage from distance. He can handle multiple defensive assignments along the wing, and his complementary playing style would help him adjust to new digs.

    Losing Lee almost certainly makes this season's Knicks worse, but that shouldn't be the focus. He'd not only net one or more assets for the future, but he'd also clean up the financial situation a bit by taking the $25.1 million he's owed the next two seasons elsewhere.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Alex Abrines, SG

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    Surprised not to see Paul George here? You shouldn't be. The Oklahoma City Thunder added the All-Star swingman to help with the championship chase, and they'll see that pursuit through to the end. George is going nowhere, sources told ESPN's Bobby Marks, meaning OKC will wait until the summer to tackle its colossal cap puzzles.

    But the Thunder must do something to offset the loss of Andre Roberson. The stopping specialist might be a shooting nightmare, but he still paced OKC's regulars in net efficiency by a wide margin.

    Since the Thunder can't trade a first-round pick before 2024, they'll have to pull someone from their roster to make a bigger splash than just waiting for the buyout market. Alex Abrines seems the likeliest candidate, since his shooting stroke will attract suitors and his defensive shortcomings could make OKC deem him expendable.

    Save for raw rookie Terrance Ferguson, no one on the roster has a worse defensive rating than Abrines. That's why his floor time comes sporadically, even while this offense sometimes screams for more spacing. Jerami Grant, Josh Huestis and even Ferguson could all make appearances on the rumor mill, but Abrines' wavering role and clearly defined skill give him the highest odds.

Orlando Magic: Evan Fournier, SF

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    The Orlando Magic have gone an abysmal (and league-worst) 7-32 since jumping out to an 8-4 start. If you threw a dart at this roster, you'd be almost certain to hit a trade candidate.

    Rival executives expect Orlando's revamped front office to shop Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja, per Stein. If Nikola Vucevic wasn't mending a fractured hand, he'd be in that group too. The trade block is probably even bigger. Outside of Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac, the Magic should be open to discussing just about anyone.

    So, what makes Fournier more tradable than the rest? He best combines Orlando's incentives to deal him and the market's reasons for wanting him.

    He isn't someone the Magic have to move, but he's owed $17 million each season through 2020-21. That's a pricey pact for a club with such a low ceiling, especially when he obviously isn't changing its fortunes. While it would take a heavy commitment from his next employer (and surely impact what the Magic can get), a win-now club searching for perimeter offense could conceivably bite the bullet.

    Bismack Biyombo is equally expensive but far less desirable as a non-contributor on offense. Jonathon Simmons' deal is reasonable enough for the Magic to hold, especially if his inconsistent shooting would limit the return. Spacing concerns also muddle the market for Payton, who needs a new deal this summer. So does Hezonja, who's been inconsistent.

Philadelphia 76ers: Jerryd Bayless, PG/SG

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    The Philadelphia 76ers are prowling for perimeter reinforcements. They're eyeing Tyreke Evans, sources told Stein. They also have Lou Williams and Marco Belinelli in their sights, per The Athletic's Michael Scotto.

    None of this is good news for Jerryd Bayless, who plays the same instant-offense game as those listed above. He's getting squeezed for floor time as it is, and that's without a potential pickup or (fingers crossed) a possible Markelle Fultz return. Bayless' point guard minutes are drying up with Ben Simmons and T.J. McConnell in the way, and he's battling with Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Justin Anderson as backup wings.

    Truth be told, Bayless was already a trade candidate before reports surfaced about the Sixers' search. Trimming the $8.6 million owed to him next season would give Philadelphia even more wiggle room for free agency in 2018, when this franchise is one of the few that can afford to dream impossibly big.

    The money wouldn't be prohibitive in an exchange, though. It might put his trade cost near the bargain range if Philly's primary motive is financial. In that case, he would have sufficient interest among present-focused clubs chasing a cheap second-team spark.        

Phoenix Suns: Troy Daniels, SG

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Thanks to a roster crunch in Memphis, the Phoenix Suns were gifted a second-round pick to take Troy Daniels off the Grizzlies' hands. Phoenix could soon collect a second asset for a Daniels-based swap, since the sharpshooter is emerging for the second straight year.

    The 26-year-old might be a specialist, but he's elite at his craft. He ranks among the top 20 in total threes made, despite playing fewer than 20 minutes per game. He's also one of only four qualified snipers shooting at least 40 percent from three and 90 percent at the stripe.

    Daniels is reasonably priced at $3.4 million, so he'd fit into virtually any budget. He's even cheaper next year ($3.3 million), which means he's more than just a partial-season rental and perhaps more likely to command some type of draft considerations. Also, his style was tailor-made for modern offenses, as he's a flamethrower from the corners (42-of-80, 52.5 percent).

    He won't be the first name mentioned by the Suns (hello, cap-clogging Tyson Chandler) or potential trade partners (cue the Dragan Bender/Josh Jackson/Marquese Chriss lowball offers), but Daniels could best facilitate a win-win transaction.

Portland Trail Blazers: Ed Davis, PF/C

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    Jordan Johnson/Getty Images

    It must be trade deadline time because the Portland Trail Blazers are back in the big-man market. One year after landing Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers are now one of several teams chasing DeAndre Jordan, sources told Stein.

    A deal of that size would require a lot more than Ed Davis, but the rock-solid veteran seems the most probable to exit in any kind of exchange. Nurkic is only leaving for a Jordan-type player, so he's not as widely tradable. The same goes for Evan Turner, whose bloated contract would only be involved if a weighty deal also goes back to Portland. And forget about CJ McCollum going anywhere (for now, at least).

    Davis, though, has a lot of factors putting him on the chopping block. His $6.4 million contract is expiring, but ditching it now might help Portland dip below the luxury-tax line. He's also blocking a bunch of younger players, so the Blazers might not be keen on re-signing him. Plus, his playoff experience and no-frills game of rebounding, rim-running, screen-setting and defense would attract contenders.

    He should be a wanted man, and he knows it.

    "I talked about it with my lady last night," Davis said, per NBC Sports Northwest's Jason Quick. "There's a good chance that something could happen. We have to be prepared for it."

Sacramento Kings: George Hill, PG/SG

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    All the veterans who signed with the Sacramento Kings last summer look like fish out of water, but George Hill appears closest to the exit.

    Suitors will want him for any number of reasons, including playoff experience, three-point shooting and positional versatility at both ends. The Kings have the most incentive to deal him, since he's the costliest member of this core ($20 million this season, $20 million guaranteed after) and perhaps the biggest roadblock to developmental minutes for young guards De'Aaron Fox, Frank Mason and Buddy Hield.

    Plus, Hill doesn't exactly sound long for Sacramento. At the very least, there seems to be some culture shock for a player who has missed the postseason just once and now finds himself on a bottom-feeder.

    "I've never been through anything like this, not ever," Hill told Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee. "It's not what I expected, a little more difficult than expected."

    With Sacramento in the asset-collection phase of rebuilding and Hill starting the downside of his career, this situation is begging for a shake-up.

San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Anderson, SF

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    The San Antonio Spurs' winning percentage, elite defense and 30-something rotation members all mask this fact, but this franchise is quietly shifting its focus forward. Between promoting Dejounte Murray to the starting group and upping the usage of prospects like Kyle Anderson, Davis Bertans and Bryn Forbes, the Spurs are embracing the youth they have. With Kawhi Leonard rarely available, it's a savvy move from the smartest franchise.

    But wait, wouldn't moving Anderson counteract that? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense Anderson is just 24 years old, clearly on his way up and one of the most potential-rich prospects on the roster. But no, in that he might not be a keeper (more on that in a minute) and could be key to collecting more assets. Try building an impact move for San Antonio that doesn't include the untouchables, draft picks or Anderson—it's almost impossible.

    Anderson will be a restricted free agent at season's end and appears no lock to return. San Antonio already has four eight-figure salaries on the books (five if Danny Green picks up his $10 million player option) and might not be able to justify a major investment in Anderson if he's looking at a second-team role. He has only played the 3 and 4 this year, spots held by Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge for the foreseeable future.

    San Antonio usually sleeps through the trade deadline, and this year may be no different. It's so hard to get a handle on this group given how little Leonard has played, and that alone could stop the Spurs from doing anything dramatic. But if they opt to pursue a relatively significant piece, they'll probably have to shop Anderson, who should have broad interest because of his modern versatility.

Toronto Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas, C

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Jonas Valanciunas encapsulates the transformations taking place north of the border. For years, the Toronto Raptors burly big man seemed set in his throwback ways. But all of a sudden he's simultaneously embracing floor spacing and ball movement along with his teammates, all while discovering less can be more.

    He has never averaged fewer minutes or been more effective when he's out there. His per-minute production is peaking nearly across the board, and he's easily outpacing his career marks in PER and true shooting percentage.

    Could all of this mean his seemingly endless stint on the trade market is finally over? Not necessarily. While the Raptors' likeliest course of action is no action, moving Valanciunas could be the clearest path to making a substantial move. As much as he's improved, he's far from irreplaceable. While he's the fourth-highest-paid player, he's only sixth in clutch minutes. And surging sophomore Jakob Poeltl is trimming Valanciunas' overall floor time.

    Toronto timed its self-improvement perfectly. The Eastern Conference feels as wide open as it can with LeBron James still lurking, and the Raptors have never looked better equipped for postseason play. But their dearth of shooting is muddling their makeover (they're fifth in three-point attempts but only 25th in percentage) and can't be addressed by moving a 2018 pick, since both of theirs belong to Brooklyn.

    Assuming the supply of available centers doesn't disintegrate their trade values, Valanciunas might bring back a better-fitting piece to the new-age dinosaurs.

Utah Jazz: Rodney Hood, SG

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    With the Gordon Hayward-less Utah Jazz needing an offensive leader, this was supposed to be the year of Rodney Hood. Only no one bothered to tell high-rising rookie Donovan Mitchell or Hood's ongoing battles with nagging injuries and inconsistent production.

    When he's on, Hood's game is marble-smooth. The 6'8" southpaw snakes around defenders, is capable of shredding nets at an absurd rate (four-plus triples eight times this season) and rarely looks rushed. He's also a sneakier passer than his paltry assists average suggests, and the physical tools are there to become a versatile defender (even if that change is never coming).

    But his scoring is streaky, which is worrisome with how little else he provides. He doesn't help himself either by rarely getting inside or to the line for easy points. His game has flaws, and he makes an uncomfortable number of appearances on the injury report. Oh, and he'll be a restricted free agent this summer, so someone needs to figure out what all this is worth—someone apparently other than the Jazz.

    Utah has "increased efforts" to trade Hood before the deadline, league sources told Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune.

    As a self-sufficient scorer and capable marksman, Hood should be easier to sell than fellow Jazz trade candidate Derrick Favors. But with adequate interest likely for both, Utah could have a few transformational trades on tap.

Washington Wizards: Kelly Oubre Jr., SF

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Forget everything you know about the Washington Wizards' approach to trade season. OK, maybe not everyone is familiar with how the District does the deadline, but basically this front office has typically been fast and loose with first-round picks this time of year. But it probably isn't happening this year, per TNT's David Aldridge.

    Without a pick, there isn't much for suitors to choose from beyond critical rotation players and bad contracts. They'll want the former, the Wizards will offer the latter, and talks may never progress to the transaction stage.

    Unless, Washington makes the all-in push its payroll might demand. If first-rounders are off the table, then a major move will surely require Kelly Oubre Jr., the "only player outside of its Big Three who has any trade value," according to The Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks.

    Wizards fans are groaning at this thought. The only thing more frustrating than trading future firsts away is dealing away a recent-past one who's coming into his own. Oubre has effortless athleticism, a vastly improved three ball and gobs of defensive potential. He's also collecting rookie-scale wages this season and next, so his value is hard to overstate.

    It would take a whale of a deal to pry Oubre away. But if there is a trade that sheds one of the burdensome big-man contracts and sends near-star talent back, aren't the Wizards at least considering it? They may not have a choice if they want to snag a difference-maker and not drain the draft-pick pool for once.

                                             

    Unless otherwise indicated, all stats are from Basketball ReferenceNBA.com or ESPN.com. Salary information obtained via Basketball Insiders.

    Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @ZachBuckleyNBA.