The NBA trade deadline is quickly approaching. OK it’s not actually, the trade deadline isn’t actually till February 20, 2014. Even with the three-plus months till deadline day it is never too early to speculate on those players likely to be traded.
We can thank the dysfunction in Houston for the early trade speculation as the Dwight Howard saga continues with his presence creating some roster turmoil. The likelihood of the Rockets waiting till February to move their disgruntled now-backup center is slim to none, so in the spirit of anticipating the trade we take pause to look at a few more players who could find themselves with a new zip code come February.
Omer Asik - Houston Rockets
The Asik and Howard experience in Houston has come to a crashing halt. The brainchild of Kevin McHale to have both these towers play alongside one another failed. Perhaps Asik and his people saw this as an eventual outcome as he had privately asked for a trade immediately following the Howard signing. Regardless, the situation has descended to the point where Asik is getting DNP’s now.
The Rockets are saying that they are in no hurry to make a trade and that they want a significant asset in return, but th longer this saga drags out the less value they will receive. One must remember that last season Asik posted averages of 10.1 ppg and 11.7 rpg and he is signed on a fairly affordable contract that pays him just over $8 million. There will be suitors no question, it’s just a matter of who wants to pull the trigger. Wherever he lands, Asik is sure to fit into their starting rotation and fantasy owners can then look at re-acquiring him.
Kenneth Faried - Denver Nuggets
The ‘Manimal’ got off to a slow start in Denver and as a result his name has surfaced in potential trades. Since the slow start though Faried has rattled off four consecutive double digit rebounding games, three of which were double-doubles.
The potential for Faried to be moved came with the offseason addition of J.J. Hickson who the Nuggets lured away from Portland. The recent injury to JaVale McGee has likely calmed the trade winds slightly, but Faried remains a very productive player who is still playing out his rookie contract.
With $10 million committed to McGee and another $5 million to Hickson, it is unlikely that the Nuggets will want to pony up another $8 million for Faried once he hits free-agency.
A trade now makes the most sense as the Nuggets would be looking to get an established asset in return, preferably a wing player to replace the departed Andre Iguodala.
Zach Randolph - Memphis Grizzlies
It would be tough for the Grizzlies to part ways with Randolph simply from a fan appeasement perspective but we thought the same about Rudy Gay and he was shipped out. Randolph is a potential trade target as he is 32-years old with a year remaining on his $18 million contract. A team could be willing to take on the last year for a run at a championship. The Grizzlies know that Randolph is no longer the dominating power forward he once was and they will be hesitant to offer another lucrative contract to him come next season. Should Randolph be moved the Grizzlies would need a young power forward coming back as they are thin up front.
Jameer Nelson - Orlando Magic
Nelson is a very serviceable point guard who comes with a reasonable $8 million per year salary. Problem is that the 31-year old, nine year NBA veteran doesn’t fit into the Magic’s youth movement. As it stands now the Magic are content to bring rookie Victor Oladipo along slowly in a reserve role, but once Oladipo is deemed ready to handle the reins as a starter Nelson will be deemed expendable. There will not be a lack of suitors for Nelson as the veteran guard would be a great roster addition for a playoff run.
Greg Monroe - Detroit Pistons
The Dumars project of having Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith playing together is not working.
As speculated, Smith has no room to maneuver in the post with the twin towers clogging the lane.
With the painted area already occupied, Smith has become content to launch jumpers and three-pointers at an alarming rate.
Moving Monroe is a top priority as Drummond is clearly the preferred post player and the Pistons must open the floor for Smith.
Plenty of suitors will come calling for Monroe’s services as teams particularly in the Western Conference need big bodies.
Derrick Williams & Alexey Shved - Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves would be happy to trade almost anyone if it meant that Kevin Love would sign an extension. The two likeliest pieces of trade bait are the underperforming Williams and the young point guard Shved. The Wolves will be hoping to bring back some pieces to compliment Love; however, neither of these two players have great trade value and jettisoning this duo might do more for the locker room makeup than the actual on-court production.
Iman Shumpert - New York Knicks
Shumpert makes our list here of potential trade candidates for the simple fact the the Knicks are in need of roster help and Shumpert is one of the only tradeable players on the roster. The Knicks need frontcourt help and they will continue to dangle Shumpert to see if a bigman can be had in return. Shumpert is a decent enough player who is best suited to be a two-guard on most rosters. As injuries become a concern for clubs and the playoff picture gets a bit clearer, teams will come calling it is just a matter of what they are willing to offer.