Top NBA Shooting Guards Who Could Be Traded This Offseason
Let's continue sorting through the NBA's next crop of trade candidates, shall we?
Point guards stole the show in our first installment. It only makes sense for their backcourt partners to follow them.
Nothing has changed since the opening shindig. Not all players are dominating the rumor mill or officially available. Many of them won't be going anywhere before next year. But they each have an obvious or semi-reasonable path to the chopping block.
Some will get there by the hand of their team's future. Squads staring down rebuilds are our bread and butter, and we'd be remiss not to account for ultra-aggressors who will try swinging blockbuster trades over the offseason. Other candidates are earning their "Most Likely to be Moved" badges as potential salary-cap casualties.
Position designations are hairier than ever these days, so we're using Cleaning The Glass' possession data to determine which players qualify as shooting guards. If, for some reason, you get bent out of shape that JR Smith's name isn't here, please don't lose any sleep. His cameo will come alongside the small forwards.
Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks
Kent Bazemore's $19.3 million expiring salary will draw interest from squads looking to change out more onerous deals for a usable player. But the Hawks have to be game for absorbing bad money first. It doesn't seem like they will be.
Atlanta has one of the league's largest margins for improvement and plans to be aggressive with its max cap space, according to The Athletic's Sam Amick. Bazemore would be more of a trade candidate if the Hawks strike out in free agency. And even then, they might wait to shop him until February's deadline, when they'd have a better idea of where they stand within the Eastern Conference.
Terrance Ferguson, Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder don't have many ways of improving their roster. They're capped out, weighed down by pricey contracts and light on intriguing prospects.
Terrance Ferguson is a default inclusion for any package Oklahoma City tries to build. He pairs nicely with a future pick and larger salary, and Andre Roberson's prospective return from a torn left patellar tendon renders him expendable.
Langston Galloway, Detroit Pistons
Langston Galloway might be more valuable to Detroit as a limited-minutes floor-spacer. He drilled 41.6 percent of his three-point attempts after the All-Star break and will need to pick up some of the point guard slack if Ish Smith leaves in free agency.
All bets are off should the Pistons decide Reggie Jackson is a keeper. Galloway's $7.3 million salary makes for nice filler, and Detroit can build some smaller-time deals around him, Jon Leuer's own expiring contract and a pick.
Josh Hart, Los Angeles Lakers
Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma get most of the shine in the "Who will the Lakers trade for Anthony Davis or another star?" discussion, but Josh Hart isn't exactly safe. No one on the team is shielded from becoming collateral damage of LeBron James' title window.
E'Twaun Moore, New Orleans Pelicans
E'Twaun Moore is among the handful of players the Pelicans might sell off once Davis is shipped elsewhere. And he should get them something. He can defend up to the small forward spot and is shooting 41.6 percent from deep since 2015-16. His $8.7 million salary also comes off the books next summer.
The push to move him becomes nonexistent if the Pelicans aren't looking to start over. He provides too much bang for his buck and will have no trouble adjusting to whichever ball-dominant players New Orleans places around him.
Jordan Clarkson/Brandon Knight, Cleveland Cavaliers
Luxury-tax concerns may prohibit the Cavaliers from cashing in their many expiring contracts for less-savory deals attached to a draft pick or prospect. Straight-out waiving JR Smith's partial guarantee ($3.9 million) doesn't even get them out of dodge.
Whatever the Cavs do to skirt the tax won't drag them under it by much. That cramps their capacity to take on bad money. But they can flip their expiring deals for similarly priced players whose agreements spill into 2020-21.
Those trades will be in higher demand closer to the deadline, after free agents who sign contracts this summer are up for grabs. The expiring salaries of Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Knight will only be hotter properties before then if the Cavaliers aren't worried about their proximity to the tax.
Potential Cap Casualties
Allen Crabbe, Brooklyn Nets
Carrying D'Angelo Russell's cap hold ($21.1 million) just keeps the Nets from opening superstar room. They'll eke out a hair over $30 million if they renounce all their other free agents and waive non-guaranteed salaries for Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier. That's enough to max out a restricted free agent, but it would fall short of the Kyrie Irving ($32.7 million) and Kevin Durant ($38.2 million) price points.
Stretching the final year of Crabbe's deal would create another $12.3 million in room, but he'd then be on the books at $6.7 million for the next three seasons. Dumping his salary outright or for a cheaper deal is cleaner and can drum up even more spending power.
Unloading Crabbe would cost a pick, and the Nets have selections to spare. Their own first-rounder (No. 17) should be off limits, but they own the Denver Nuggets' choice (No. 27) and the New York Knicks' second-rounder (No. 31) to dangle as sweeteners.
Courtney Lee, Dallas Mavericks
Sources told the New York Times' Marc Stein that the Mavericks will pursue Khris Middleton (player option) and Kemba Walker "with gusto" in free agency. They'll need to dig up more cap space to do so.
Floating holds for restricted free agents Dorian Finney-Smith ($2.9 million), Maxi Kleber ($1.8 million) and Kristaps Porzingis ($17.1 million) would leave them with a little under $28 million to burn if they keep Ryan Broekhoff (non-guaranteed). That number would plunge to $22.3 million or lower if they don't send their top-five-protected pick to the Hawks.
Dealing Lee's expiring contract for a cheaper player makes up the difference either way. Teams aren't swallowing his salary outright, but Dallas has Justin Jackson and (distant) second-round picks to use as sweeteners.
Dion Waiters, Miami Heat
Heat president Pat Riley wants to go superstar hunting in 2020 when Miami will have room for two max spots—or so he says.
Standing pat won't arm the Heat with enough money for two A-listers. Assuming Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow are non-starters, Riley must offload two of James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and Dion Waiters.
That process may not begin right away. It'll take at least a first-rounder to get off Johnson and Waiters. The Heat are better off conserving their assets until they absolutely need to get rid of them—their 2021 pick is headed to the Los Angeles Clippers—but their proximity to next year's luxury tax could coax Riley into immediate action.
Damyean Dotson (non-guaranteed)/Allonzo Trier (team option)
Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier needn't be traded for the Knicks to save money. They can part ways with both just before free agency without spending a cent.
But neither player is worth jettisoning on a whim. The Knicks should ensure they need room for two maxes before cutting ties with worthwhile and cost-effective players.
Keeping Dotson and Trier would leave New York just shy of affording both Kevin Durant (player option) and Kyrie Irving (player option). That's not a problem. Either can be relocated once free agency is underway, or the Knicks can focus their efforts on rerouting Frank Ntilikina, who earns almost as much ($4.9 million) as Dotson and Trier ($5.2 million) combined.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Age at Start of 2019-20: 26
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 58.1 true shooting percentage
Contract Value: 2 years, $55.8 million
Bradley Beal's availability won't really be up for discussion until the Washington Wizards have a general manager and this year's All-NBA selections are released. His future hinges on both.
Washington's next front office regime needs to determine a direction. More than half the roster is entering free agency, and John Wall's recovery from a ruptured left Achilles tendon figures to cost him most of next season. Now might be the time to rebuild.
Starting over doesn't have to include moving Beal. He doesn't turn 26 until the end of June, has two more years on his contract and wants to retire with the Wizards.
Beal's looming supermax eligibility complicates everything. He can sign a four-year extension worth over $190 million if he snares one of the six All-NBA guard spots. That isn't money the Wizards can spend without thinking twice. They'd have nearly $90 million per year invested in their backcourt by the time Beal's extension takes effect (2021-22).
At the same time, the Wizards risk disenfranchising Beal by not bankrolling his potential mega-deal. Their behind-the-scenes track record does nothing to suggest they can navigate such a slippery slope.
Offering him the supermax doesn't necessarily guarantee Washington keeps Beal, either. He's young enough to endure long-term growing pains, but that doesn't mean he wants to. He seems genuinely concerned about the Wizards' direction.
“I have no idea...I try not to [think about it]," he told The Athletic's Fred Katz when asked about the possibility of an extension. "I'm not gonna be naive to it. I know about it. But...I haven't even gotten that far, because I need to figure out what we're gonna do in this offseason, where we're going, which direction we're going.”
Anything less than a total understanding between Beal and the Wizards threatens to set the rumor mill aflame. He could ask for a trade if they don't pay him or he's not on board with the tough road ahead. And the Wizards could decide they can't afford him, or that it would be easier to reconfigure the future if they traded him for picks, prospects and cap relief.
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Age at Start of 2019-20: 22
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 13.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 54.7 true shooting percentage
Contract Value: 1 years, $6.5 million ($8.6 million qualifying offer ahead of 2020 restricted free agency)
Jaylen Brown's availability is not open-ended. The Boston Celtics aren't moving him if a superstar blockbuster isn't on their radar.
More specifically, Brown's future in Beantown is tethered to Anthony Davis, what it costs to get him and whether the Celtics are interested in having a unibrow-powered frontcourt.
That last part seems like a formality. Davis is a top-seven player who won't turn 27 until next March. Everyone is interested. But the Celtics (probably) aren't landing him without including Jayson Tatum, and it gets harder to punt on his career if Kyrie Irving leaves in free agency.
Boston told New Orleans "everyone can be available" in a potential Davis trade this summer, per The Athletic's Shams Charania. That position will hold if it means bagging two stars (Davis and Irving). It will invariably shift if the Celtics are unable to retain their point guard.
Brown's inclusion is fungible in the event Boston does go all-in for Davis. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge won't want to fork over both him and Tatum. And whereas the Celtics cannot build the most attractive Davis package without Tatum, they don't face the same limitations with Brown.
Baking in more first-round picks is a good substitute if the money still works. The Celtics own all their own future picks, plus this year's Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies (top-eight protection) and Sacramento Kings (top-one protection) first-round selections.
Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
Age at Start of 2019-20: 29
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 21.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.6 steals, 55.5 true shooting percentage
Contract Value: 3 years, $79.6 million (2021-22 player option)
David Griffin, the Pelican's executive vice president of basketball operations, will disagree with Jrue Holiday's selection—and not because he's listed as a shooting guard. New Orleans has used Holiday as more of an off-guard over the past few years.
Griffin will disagree because he doesn't consider Holiday expendable. He left no room for interpretation when asked if he viewed the 10-year veteran as a core piece moving forward.
"He's excited with the direction," Griffin said, per the New Orleans Advocate's Nathan Brown. "He wants to compete. He wants to win, and I have every reason to think he's going to want to do that with us. He's a competitor that you want your franchise to represent."
Holding onto Holiday isn't outrageous if the Pelicans are aiming for a fast turnaround after they trade Anthony Davis. He is a borderline All-Star and their most important defender. He'll have received more than his fair share of All-NBA votes this year.
Still, his timeline doesn't align with that of a team rebuilding from scratch. The Pelicans don't have the asset base in place to cross their fingers for organic acceleration. They'll need to prioritize a win-now return in Davis talks to cobble together a core capable of rejoining the postseason picture in a year or two. And attempting to tread water is virtually never the smart play when getting rid of a superstar.
Perception changes if Holiday has no qualms about withstanding the inevitable graduality in New Orleans. His contract will remain movable for its entire life, and the Pelicans don't play in a market that necessitates cap space.
And yet, if they trade Davis, gauging Holiday's market is the next logical step as they enter asset-collection mode. Teams are going to call them unsolicited anyway. The Pelicans might as well listen.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Age at Start of 2019-20: 25
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 8.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.8 steals, 56.8 true shooting percentage
Contract Value: 3 years, $40.3 million
Marcus Smart is in the same boat as Jaylen Brown. Boston will not ship him elsewhere just because. He will be given up for Anthony Davis or another superstar yet to be determined.
Unlike Brown, though, Smart is a surefire goner if the Celtics go after Davis. They need to send out around $21.6 million in salary to make the math work and aren't hitting that threshold without offering Smart, Gordon Hayward or Al Horford (player option).
Good luck selling the Pelicans on the other two.
Hayward's contract, which will pay him $66.9 million over the next two seasons, is a cap-sheet wart until he's all the way back. Horford is invaluable, but a player in his mid-30s on an expiring deal won't jibe with New Orleans' post-Davis timeline.
That leaves Smart and his $12.6 million salary—a mission-critical, non-negotiable inclusion if the Celtics are serious about acquiring the superstar they've coveted for years.