Ranking the Top 5 NBA Trade Targets at Every Position This Offseason

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 3, 2020

Ranking the Top 5 NBA Trade Targets at Every Position This Offseason

0 of 25

    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    The 2020 NBA free-agent class underwhelms in quantity and quality.

    Anthony Davis is technically its headliner, but the entire basketball world assumes he'll quickly re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. Brandon Ingram holds the No. 2 spot, but he's a restricted free agent and one would think the New Orleans Pelicans are eager to ink him to a long-term deal or match any offer the 22-year-old All-Star receives.

    After that, it's...Gordon Hayward? Fred VanVleet? Danilo Gallinari? DeMar DeRozan? Those aren't top-tier needle-movers, to put it kindly.

    Even if superstar talent was available, few teams have any money to spend. Most that do are in such an early stage of a massive rebuild they shouldn't break the bank and would have trouble attracting stars if they tried.

    But this doesn't mean we're guaranteed a sleepy offseason. In fact, an uneventful free agency might be just what the trade market needs to spring to life.

    What kind of names might be available? We're here to list the top five realistic targets at each position, ranked by their trade value.

Point Guard No. 5: Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder

1 of 25

    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Chris Paul has exceeded even the wildest dreams surrounding his return to the Sooner State. The Oklahoma City Thunder aren't in playoff position without his distributing, leadership and clutch scoring.

    But this hasn't pulled the franchise out of rebuilding mode. And as a rebuilder, it should still be seeking a way out of the 34-year-old's colossal contract.

    That money—$41.4 million next season, $44.2 million player option for 2021-22—is tricky for any team to match. If a win-now shopper finds that flexibility, though, this is a chance to add a plug-and-play floor general who ranks among the very best at his position (third in real plus-minus, per ESPN.com).

    Paul's market will be limited by his age and pay rate, but interested suitors should be very interested.

Point Guard No. 4: Dennis Schroder, Oklahoma City Thunder

2 of 25

    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    Props to Billy Donovan for turning OKC's backcourt congestion into its biggest strength.

    Since Paul, Dennis Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander all ranked among the club's five best players, Donovan decided to trot out all three point guards together. In doing so, the coach created the top trio in basketball. Among the 1,141 different three-man NBA combos to log 200-plus minutes together, none had a higher net rating than this troika's terrific mark of plus-28.6.

    But this shouldn't change the team's trajectory—who knows if it would've held up over a greater sample size (401 minutes), let alone against postseason competition—or Schroder's place in it. While he's younger (26) and cheaper ($15.5 million next season) than Paul, Schroder is still a strange long-term fit when Gilgeous-Alexander is the centerpiece.

    Schroder's (relative) youth and affordability should increase his pool of admirers, though those teams won't be getting a transformational talent. He might work best in his current role of instant-offense supplier, which fills a need but doesn't cause the greatest impact.

Point Guard No. 3: Derrick Rose, Detroit Pistons

3 of 25

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Detroit Pistons could have moved Derrick Rose at the deadline for a decent haul. Considering they've gone all-in on a youth movement, one can argue they should have.

    But the Pistons had their reasons for keeping him around.

    "He's a leader," senior adviser Ed Stefanski said, per Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. "... Going forward, you are going to need some veterans and I don't know if you can pick a better veteran than Derrick Rose to help you go forward in this rebuild."

    The fact the former MVP remains a draw at the gate probably doesn't hurt, either. Detroit tied for 28th in average attendance this season and sold the smallest percentage of its available seats (75.9).

    From a basketball standpoint, though, dealing Rose for rebuilding tools helps this process more than his presence. Between his resurgent season (18.1 points, 5.6 assists) and modest, expiring salary ($7.7 million next season), he should generate substantial interest. It's hard to think of a second unit that couldn't use his instant-offense punch.

Point Guard No. 2: Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets

4 of 25

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The Brooklyn Nets got a free pass on this season, but Kevin Durant's debut and Kyrie Irving's return will launch this club into championship-or-bust mode already next year. If the front office feels this roster is lacking in any area around this dynamic duo, that could make for a busy offseason.

    "Several people mentioned the Nets could be active in trades," ESPN's Tim Bontemps reported. "Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen are all names that rival executives believe to be available in some form."

    Dinwiddie might spark a small bidding war. His proven production holds appeal to competitive clubs with point-guard problems, and he has enough growth potential to interest teams that aren't on the cusp of contention.

    His three-ball isn't where he needs it to be (32.3 percent since 2017-18), but he's nevertheless a potent scorer and capable table-setter. He's one of only 15 players averaging 20 points and six assists, and he's the only member of that group we'd classify as realistically available.

Point Guard No. 1: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

5 of 25

    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    The Toronto Raptors' first Kawhi Leonard-less season could not have been better. When the campaign was suspended, the squad actually had a higher winning percentage (.719) than the championship club posted with the Finals MVP (.707).

    But the second go-round could be dramatically different. The Raptors have several key performers heading into unrestricted free agency—including Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka—and even if they have a desire to keep them, they must proceed with caution. Overspending this offseason could tank their chances of a run at Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021.

    If Toronto pivots toward even a partial teardown, would it even want to keep Kyle Lowry around? He remains a top two-way contributor—fifth among point guards in RPM—but he's also 34 years old and approaching his final season under contract.

    He'll collect a cool $30.5 million salary next season, which will limit his market, but those who can afford him would be highly interested. The six-time All-Star has already been the second-best player on a champion, and he was highly productive before the shutdown (19.7 points, 7.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds).

Shooting Guard No. 5: Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets

6 of 25

    Ralph Freso/Associated Press

    The Denver Nuggets are learning quickly that every dollar counts. Despite ranking among the West's elite, they made the cost-cutting decision to part with restricted free agents-to-be Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez in a four-team deal at the trade deadline.

    Those same financial motives could have the front office pondering whether Gary Harris remains a good investment at his price ($19.2 million next season, $20.5 million the following year). In fact, those discussions have already started, as B/R's Michael Scotto reported the club discussed moving Harris in deals for Zach LaVine and Jrue Holiday before executing the four-teamer.

    Harris has been trapped in a two-year decline, losing volume and efficiency at alarming rates. His player efficiency rating dipped below league-average last season (12.2) before cliff-diving into single digits this year (9.7). His per-36-minutes contributions were a meager 11.8 points and 2.4 assists.

    So, why would anyone have interest at this point? Well, he is still just 25 years old, offers some defensive versatility and can be an offensive asset when his three-ball drops. Just two seasons back, he was a nightly supplier of 17.5 points and 2.3 triples, plus a 48.5 percent shooter overall and 39.6 percent shooter from distance. The track record and bounce-back potential should be enough to attract backcourt-needy shoppers.

Shooting Guard No. 4: Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons

7 of 25

    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Luke Kennard should ostensibly play one of the leading roles in the Pistons' overhaul. The 23-year-old was busy engineering a breakout season (15.8 points, 4.1 assists, 39.9 three-point percentage) before knee tendinitis forced him off the floor.

    And yet, the 12th overall pick of the 2017 draft was nearly rerouted to the Phoenix Suns ahead of the deadline. The talks only snagged when the clubs couldn't agree on protections for a first-round pick coming from Phoenix, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

    That already proves the Pistons don't see Kennard as untouchable, and perhaps there's some hesitation on their end regarding his extension eligibility. He struggled finding his rhythm his first two seasons, and if this campaign doesn't reopen, he'll finish with only 28 appearances.

    Even if they like Kennard, though, they might recognize he's one of their best avenues to rebuilding assets. If he puts his knee troubles behind him, he's an excellent young source of perimeter shooting and secondary playmaking and scoring.

Shooting Guard No. 3: Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings

8 of 25

    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    This season started with a standoff between Buddy Hield and the Sacramento Kings, before the two sides finally reached an agreement on a four-year, $86 million extension. Another uncomfortable showdown could be brewing after the Kings yanked Hield from the starting lineup and began playing some of their best ball of the season.

    Hield might be paid now, but that doesn't mean he's happy.

    "If Hield remains displeased with his role, a source with knowledge of his thinking said he might request a trade," The Athletic's Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Jason Jones reported in February. "He believes he is a starter in the NBA and there's no guarantee he'll get that job back, given how the team has played lately."

    It's easy to envision other shooting-starved squads agreeing with Hield's self-assessment. He may not offer the most diverse arsenal, but he's an absolute net-shredder. Only he and James Harden have tallied at least 2,500 points and 500 triples since the start of last season.

    Hield's new contract doesn't kick in until next season, and while it's a substantial sum, it also offers security and a declining annual salary. He also might offer more upside than the typical 27-year-old, since this is just his fourth season in the Association. That means he could potentially interest both win-now and win-sooner-than-later squads on the trade market.

Shooting Guard No. 2: Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans

9 of 25

    Brandon Dill/Associated Press

    The New Orleans Pelicans resisted temptation and opted against moving Jrue Holiday at the deadline. But did they see enough from this nucleus upon Zion Williamson's return to justify holding onto the 29-year-old Holiday and his $26.2 million salary?

    That might hinge on what the market has to bear. The Pels stopped short of making the combo guard off-limits in February, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski instead reporting that an "overwhelming offer" could've lured Holiday out of the Crescent City.

    If the Pels have their ears open again, they might be flooded with phone calls. Holiday is one of the easiest players to add to almost any lineup. He can run offense as a lead guard, space as an off-ball shooter and defend both backcourt spots.

    Maybe he's so good New Orleans thinks it can't afford to give him up. Or perhaps the Pels feel that with 19-year-old Williamson and (presumably) 22-year-old Brandon Ingram (a restricted free agent they're expected to keep) leading the charge, they can flip Holiday for an equally valuable package that better fits the young core's timeline.

Shooting Guard No. 1: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers

10 of 25

    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Victor Oladipo helped the Indiana Pacers find their post-Paul George relevance. But after they were forced to learn how to play without Oladipo as he lost more than a calendar year to a ruptured quad tendon, maybe the Circle City's future looks different than both parties imagined.

    Oladipo is approaching the final season of his contract. While Bontemps reported that "many still expect Oladipo to stay long term," the scribe also described the situation as "something to monitor between July and the 2021 trade deadline."

    The Pacers could conclude they have the perimeter depth to thrive without Oladipo. Between Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb (once he's ready), Aaron Holiday and TJ McConnell, there may not be a glaring void in this backcourt, especially when factoring in any potential return pieces from a 'Dipo deal.

    This might all come down to the NBA's view of Oladipo. He was a top-shelf two-way star in 2017-18 (23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and a league-leading 2.4 steals), but he's only played 49 games and hasn't been nearly as efficient in the two seasons since. It's possible someone still pays a high premium, though, since his best version features primary scoring, lockdown defense and enough playmaking to run the offense in spurts.

Small Forward No. 5: Doug McDermott, Indiana Pacers

11 of 25

    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    You're probably clued in by this slide, but this isn't a great offseason to go small forward shopping. Doug McDermott is fine (more on that in a minute), but there aren't many top-five NBA lists where you'll find even a mention of Mr. McBuckets.

    An all-time great at the collegiate level, McDermott is strictly a specialist in the big league. But there are much worse labels in today's game than three-point specialist.

    As the title implies, he's an elite spacer. Since he entered the NBA in 2014-15, 121 players have made at least 400 triples. His 41.3 percent conversion rate ranks seventh among that group.

    The Pacers probably aren't in a rush to part with his marksmanship, but he is entering the final year of his contract. If Indy feels a need to upgrade the roster, he seems like a natural sweetener/money-matcher in a blockbuster swap.

Small Forward No. 4: Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers

12 of 25

    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    The Cleveland Cavaliers are 38-109 since LeBron James' latest departure. This franchise should be on a desperate search for stars and leave no stones unturned in those efforts.

    That's what potentially nudges Cedi Osman onto the trading block. While he's fine to keep around—his four-year, $31 million deal declines in value each season—he'd be worth flipping if he could fetch the right kind of draft considerations.

    His solid foundation offers plug-and-play potential, and his room for growth as a 24-year-old in his third NBA season appeals to long-term buyers. He doesn't have star-level upside, but he can be a solid starter for a decent team or a reliable reserve for a contender.

    If someone would part with a first-round pick to get him, Cleveland has to consider it. If not, it can move forward with him as a core player.

Small Forward No. 3: Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors

13 of 25

    Matt York/Associated Press

    Pro tip for all non-superstar Golden State Warriors additions: Don't get too comfortable in your new digs. The Dubs maxed out D'Angelo Russell in July and shipped him out in February. Andrew Wiggins, acquired in the D-Lo deal, could have a similarly brief stay in the Bay.

    The healthy Warriors have a championship core with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, but you can't stay light years ahead without being constantly on the prowl for star power. The Wiggins deal might be the latest example of that mindset, as B/R's Eric Pincus reported some around the league think Golden State made that trade to help engineer a mega-move for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

    "The Warriors just rebuilt their dynasty for like six years," a former team executive told Pincus after the deadline. "No one can beat Golden State's lottery picks, a solid starter [in Wiggins] and all of their picks for the next [several] years."

    Wiggins' contract is admittedly cumbersome (three years, $94.7 million remaining), and it might be a deal-breaker for those who view him as an inefficient scorer and indifferent defender. More creative front offices might instead see a 25-year-old with a surplus of physical tools and significant untapped potential if he finds the right fit.

Small Forward No. 2: Otto Porter Jr., Chicago Bulls

14 of 25

    Steven Ryan/Getty Images

    It's been tough to measure the Chicago Bulls' ceiling, since the rotation has been ravaged by injury. But this nucleus seems a bit further off than expected, which complicates matters with Otto Porter Jr.

    When he's been healthy in the Windy City, he's functioned like a primary puzzle piece. He was shot out of a cannon upon his February 2019 trade (17.5 points, 2.6 triples, 48.3/48.8/90.6 slash), and he was nearly as productive per 36 minutes across 14 games this season.

    But injuries have held him back, and even at his best, he's overpaid ($28.5 million player option for 2020-21). If the Bulls have any hesitations about backing up the Brink's truck next summer, then it's best to explore his trade market now.

    His elevated salary is a tad easier to stomach when considering it's set to expire right before a loaded free-agent class hits the open market. Buy now, and win-now teams will have an ace three-and-D swingman for next season and ample flexibility for the free-agency frenzy.

Small Forward No. 1: Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets

15 of 25

    Steven Ryan/Getty Images

    If the Nets go big-game hunting for a third star, that could be great news for their trade partner.

    A savvy deal for Caris LeVert now could be huge dividends down the line. The 25-year-old is an effortless offensive talent, and it's easy getting carried away when imagining what he could do with complete control of an attack.

    He has shared the driver's seat this season and still found his way to 17.7 points, 4.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds. He's one of 30 players to post a 17/4/4 line, and he's one of the group's only two members to hit those marks in fewer than 30 minutes a night (Stephen Curry is the other).

    Injuries have been an ongoing issue for LeVert, and if this campaign never resumes, it will be his second straight with 40 or fewer appearances. But when he's right, he looks like he could be special.

Power Forward No. 5: Julius Randle, New York Knicks

16 of 25

    Sarah Stier/Associated Press

    The New York Knicks made Julius Randle their prized pull from 2019 free agency and with good reason. The 25-year-old is a steady scorer, relentless rebounder and a crafty shot-creator for his size (6'8", 250 lbs). He's easily the most interesting player they found on the open market.

    But that shouldn't make him off limits—and the 'Bockers know it. They shopped Randle and more to the Charlotte Hornets at the deadline for a deal built around Terry Rozier, per SNY's Ian Begley.

    The Knicks should keep searching for upgrades, or at least players who better fit this core. Randle's playmaking is helpful, but not when it takes developmental touches away from RJ Barrett. And while some teams could live with the fact Randle isn't a spacer (168 threes in 375 career games), that can't work alongside the restricted area-bound Mitchell Robinson.

    If Randle finds the right fit, he could prosper as a high-level glue guy. His combo of scoring and creating can be hard to find among combo bigs, and he still has the traits of a lockdown defender—length, strength and mobility—if anyone can figure out how to ignite his motor at that end.

Power Forward No. 4: Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic

17 of 25

    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Aaron Gordon's trade value fluctuates wildly from one evaluator to the next.

    For some, the 24-year-old is probably nearing "he is who he is" territory. He works as a complementary scorer, distributor and glass-cleaner, but he won't stand out in any single area. His shooting hangs a half-rung below efficient, but he counters that by hovering near the elite in defensive versatility. This version of Gordon can't spark a bidding war.

    But others could see an undervalued asset. Through that lens, he's been too often forced out to the perimeter by an overcrowded Orlando Magic frontcourt and unable to operate where he works best. He's underutilized as a table-setter and too heavily leaned on for perimeter scoring. In the right situation, 2014's fourth overall pick may yet blossom into an All-Star.

    "Gordon should be thought of as a center in the mold of Draymond Green or vintage Blake Griffin who's utilized as an on-ball screener in the high pick-and-roll," The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor wrote. "It would enable him to destroy defenses with lob dunks and deft finishes or pick them apart with the pass."

    Gordon's name buzzed around before the deadline, and he should spark more conversations this offseason. If he isn't done growing, then he'd be an interesting addition to a team with a strong player development system.

Power Forward No. 3: Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers

18 of 25

    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    It's been an awkward start (as expected) to the Anthony Davis era of the Los Angeles Lakers for Kyle Kuzma. The scoring forward has struggled to find his role alongside two similarly sized players who pack much more of a wallop on the offensive end in Davis and LeBron James.

    Kuzma, an All-Rookie first-teamer in 2017-18, has seen his opportunities slashed. After averaging better than 31 minutes each of the past two seasons, he's down to 24.6. He's still using roughly the same percentage of offensive possessions, but he doesn't look comfortable with the new reserve role or the volume reduction. His shooting rates are trending down from all three levels.

    The situation doesn't seem great for him or the team in general. Kuzma is probably their third-best player, but he's just not a great fit with the top two. That could make him the proverbial sacrificial lamb.

    "Kuzma is the one piece they have to really use to get better," an executive told Bontemps.

    Get Kuzma out of Hollywood, and suddenly his scouting report reads differently. Then, he's back to being a versatile offensive weapon with room to grow as a defender. All rebuilders in need of scoring oomph should and probably would place a bid for the 24-year-old.

Power Forward No. 2: John Collins, Atlanta Hawks

19 of 25

    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    John Collins seems like a no-doubt keeper for the Atlanta Hawks. They're rebuilding, and he's a 22-year-old who's basically been good for 20 points and 10 boards a night both this season and last.

    It sounds like the perfect pairing, until factoring in fit and finances. Collins is an expert rim-runner, but so is newcomer Clint Capela, who's signed for the next three seasons. Collins, meanwhile, needs an extension this offseason or he'll hit restricted free agency in 2021. When he thinks about his next deal, he can hear a cash register's ring.

    "I definitely feel like I am in max contract contention," he told The Athletic's Chris Kirschner.

    It's Collins' right to feel that way. But it's also Atlanta's right to disagree. Before the Capela deal went down, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported the Hawks didn't want to invest "over $20 million annually" in Collins and preferred "a cheaper alternative—such as Capela."

    This, folks, is how you pry a blossoming baller away from a long-term rebuilder. Atlanta looks prepared for its post-Collins life, freeing the bouncy big man for the trade market's highest bidder. In addition to the consistent point production and board work, the sweepstakes winner also receives an improved outside shot (59 threes at a 40.1 percent clip) and better rim protection (career-best 1.6 blocks per game).

Power Forward No. 1: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

20 of 25

    Nell Redmond/Associated Press

    The NBA hierarchy hinges on a single signature.

    Giannis Antetokounmpo is supermax extension-eligible this summer, and if he inks it, the Milwaukee Bucks are positioned as a basketball power for years to come. But if he declines to sign, the Bucks are put in the pick-your-poison predicament of either trading away the reigning MVP or risking him leaving for nothing next summer.

    The Association may be in a holding pattern until that decision goes down.

    "This summer's star movement may be hinged on whether or not Giannis extends or not," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective podcast (h/t Real GM). "If he extends, you'll all of a sudden see more action."

    Antetokounmpo has almost no weaknesses, save for the lack of an outside shot (that he's slowly but surely bringing along). He's only the seventh player ever to tally 10,000 points, 4,000 rebounds and 2,000 assists through his first seven seasons, and the only one to also supply 600 steals and 600 blocks. He can defend any matchup and dismantle any kind of defender.

    If the Bucks are forced to trade him, it's hard to imagine any asking price feeling outrageous. All 29 other teams would likely take their shots.

Center No. 5: LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

21 of 25

    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    The San Antonio Spurs' attempt to retain relevance after Kawhi Leonard's exit was hardly surprising. Between Gregg Popovich's age and the franchise's intact run of consistent dominance, the Silver and Black were the least likely squad to punt on competitiveness.

    But they're running out of other choices. DeMar DeRozan has a $27.7 million player option for next season, which is the final contracted year for fellow 30-somethings LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and Patty Mills. This roster could look dramatically different sooner than later, as it should, since that quartet was unable to stop San Antonio's skid down the standings this season.

    Aldridge, who turns 35 in July, is running out of utility for the Alamo City. He's still a steady producer (18.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks), but the numbers ring a bit hollow when they aren't leading to wins. That's not his fault, just the facts of life for a franchise in need of a reset.

    There aren't a lot of teams that would beat down the Spurs' door for a shot at Aldridge, who plays a throwback brand of inside-the-arc offense and lacks the foot speed to defend in space. But on a veteran-heavy team that will cater to his strengths and has others helping handle the scoring load, he might work as the third-best player on the right title contender.

Center No. 4: Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

22 of 25

    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    The Magic are trapped on the NBA's treadmill of mediocrity, and they're paying a fortune to be there. Even more worrisome is the fact they should've seen this coming. After all, they spent big last summer to maintain the core members of a group that...wait for it...finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and won a single playoff contest.

    That qualifies as progress in the Magic Kingdom, sure, but Orlando should aspire for something greater. There's a decent amount of young talent on this roster, but a lot of it is blocked by older, costlier players.

    That's how Nikola Vucevic could find his way to the trading block. The 29-year-old is a skilled, steady offensive player, but he might have peaked as a player. That's a worry when the Magic either need more from him or need to clear the spot to see how Mo Bamba or even Jonathan Isaac could handle being the full-time 5.

    If Vooch relocated, he'd have 19.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.5 triples a night to offer his next team. He can score from the paint to the perimeter, and when you add in his passing, he's a really good pick-and-roll partner. If a contender or near-contender can cover his defensive limitations, he has plenty to offer.

Center No. 3: Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder

23 of 25

    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    The Thunder weren't ready to part with Steven Adams this season. Not unless someone knocked their socks off, at least.

    Back in October, Heavy.com's Sean Deveney reported OKC set the bar at "a draft pick, a young player and salary relief." That's a steep ask for anyone, but it's astronomic for a non-star who shines brightest in the sports' subtleties, like screen-setting, boxing out and everything related to physicality.

    Maybe the Thunder will soften that stance. Their whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts approach will lose an awful lot of steam if Danilo Gallinari bolts in free agency, and maybe that sets off what's probably an inevitable fire sale. Adams and his inflated-but-not-egregious $27.5 million salary would need to go.

    That's good news for anyone in the market for a non-shooting center. He can bulk up any frontcourt, man the middle of a great defense and free up his team's top scorers with defender-dislodging screens. Win-now shoppers will pay for that skill set, provided they can fit Adams' salary into the budget.

Center No. 2: Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets

24 of 25

    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Well, this was unavoidable.

    As soon as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving decided DeAndre Jordan should join them in Brooklyn, Jarrett Allen's days there were numbered. Jordan was the hand-picked third wheel for the superstars, so minimizing his role was always going to be tricky. But banishing Allen to the bench wouldn't work, since the 21-year-old is on a short list of the league's best young bigs.

    Allen's youth is a selling point to plenty of teams—but not this one. As soon as Brooklyn axed Kenny Atkinson and elevated Jacque Vaughn to interim head coach, Allen was pulled from the starting group. It's hard to imagine the Nets reversing course given the support Jordan has among their best players.

    So, Allen has found his way to the trading block, and he'll be needed if Brooklyn uncovers a blockbuster deal for a third star. He has size, length and bounce, all of which make him a sturdy rim protector, an electric above-the-rim finisher and a vigorous glass-cleaner. He can be a building block for a future-focused buyer.

Center No. 1: Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

25 of 25

    Nell Redmond/Associated Press

    Small-ball is going nowhere in the NBA, which means the clock is ticking for the Pacers' jumbo frontcourt.

    "Rival executives believe the Pacers will eventually break up their big man trio of All-Star Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner and rookie Goga Bitadze," B/R's Michael Scotto wrote. "Turner is the name most rival executives believe will be traded."

    What makes Turner the odd man out? Well, Sabonis reached the top of the food chain with this season's All-Star emergence, and the 20-year-old Bitadze is just getting his rookie contract going. Turner, who costs an even $18 million each of the next three seasons, has seemingly plateaued, and a change of scenery could be the only thing capable of changing his trajectory.

    Of course, there's nothing wrong with Turner's current form. Teams searching for the unicorn combination of shooting and shot-blocking can check both boxes with the 24-year-old. He's one of only two players with 300 blocks and 150 triples since 2018-19.

    Trade suitors will hope for more, and that belief could be rewarded. Get him in a better spaced offense, and maybe he can tap deeper into his post-ups and pick-and-rolls. Playing alongside Sabonis has probably also masked how effective Turner can be on the glass. He has room to grow, and a savvy trader should give him the chance to explore it.


    All stats, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of NBA.com, ESPN.com and Basketball Reference.

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