In a season that has already been better than advertised, the NBA trade deadline may follow suit with some excitement this year. Potential contending teams may be looking to bolster their roster and gear up for a playoff run, while younger/struggling teams may be looking for salary dumps or an additional pick in this seasons upcoming draft.
Whatever the case may be, fans should expect some action around the trade deadline. Now, let’s take a look at some of the potential players that could see their names in trade headlines, in the near future.
For the past two season, the Sacramento Kings and Rudy Gay have had a rocky relationship. It was reported a few times last year that the Kings were shopping Gay, but nothing came from those reports and Gay stayed on the Kings. This season, however; all signs are pointing towards the Kings and Gay finally ending their relationship together. For starters, the Kings are a less than impressive 10-17 and another season of mediocrity is staring them in the face.
There has also been some displeasure from Gay about being played at the power forward position as well. Overall, Gay has not enjoyed his time in Sacramento and was once quoted saying “Welcome to basketball Hell”, when referring to Sacramento to then head coach George Karl. To go off of that, Gay has also made it known he will opt out of his contract at the end of the season and become a free agent this summer. If the Kings want any compensation at all for Gay, general manager Vlade Divac will have no other choice but to deal Gay or watch him walk and get nothing.
The 30 year old small forward is averaging 18.6 PPG and 6.2 RPG, but it’s his pure athleticism and ability to run the floor that makes him a desirable trade option. A possible landing spot for Gay could be the Oklahoma City Thunder. Without a truly established starting small forward, the Thunder could use Gay’s ability to run the floor and who wouldn’t want to see a Westbrook-Gay fastbreak?
Kenneth Faried or also known as the “manimal” has had a rough season for the Denver Nuggets. As of late, Faried has seen his role and minutes for the Nuggets fluctuate and this could be because of his lack of an offensive game, in a loaded front-court. In his last six games, Faried’s minutes have looked like the following: 29 minutes, 13 minutes, 12 minutes, DNP (healthy scratch), 23 minutes, 7 minutes and 25 minutes. It’s clear coach Malone is favoring offensive minded bigs like Nikola Jokic, Darrell Arthur and Wilson Chandler over Faried. Let’s also not forget, the Nuggets have been linked to multiple trades in the past for big names like Blake Griffin, where Faried’s name has been floated around.
Throughout this whole process, Faried has been the consummate professional and the Nuggets owe it to him to trade him, because it’s clear the Nuggets are going in a different direction. If Faried can end up on a team that values his skill set and provide stability then Faried will thrive. Look for a team that is in need of an energetic big or need help with their rebounding production.
A Sixers Big Man
With Joel Embiid being the main big in Philly, the Sixers need to trust the process and figure out which big man they want to trade. It’s still very unclear whether it’ll be Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel, but the Sixers could make a case for either one. Any team looking for a rim protector will be going after Noel, but his injury issues are a cause for concern, so expect little in return in a Noel trade. Okafor is an established inside scorer and right now has way more value and upside than Noel. What the Sixers have to decide is, which player will be more open to coming off of the bench permanently?
Since Noel has been hurt, the Sixers have tried a twin tower esque lineup of both Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor. This lineup reduces Embiid’s offensive touches and lowers the Sixers defensive production, because of the lack of speed in the front-court. As you can see, the Sixers are in a quandary and still giving things time to develop. Realistically, however; the Sixers cannot keep three big men on this roster, so I fully expect Noel or Okafor to be moved.
Any Celtic Not Named Thomas or Horford
Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics will quietly be one of the more active teams in the trade market. It’s been clear that the Celtics want a star-like player to complete their big three alongside Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. Over a two-year span, the Celtics have been linked to big-name players like Kevin Love, DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin. The sense in Boston is they are an impact player away from taking the next step and being a top tier team in the Eastern conference.
The Celtics are a team that is rich with role players, but that isn’t their main selling point when looking for trades. The aspect that could land them a big name is that they own the 7-18 Brooklyn Net’s 2017 first round draft pick. This draft pick could potentially be a top 3 lottery pick in a loaded 2017 NBA draft. A trade package involving a player like Avery Bradley or Jae Crowder plus the Net’s first round pick makes the Celtic’s an enticing trade partner. A team that is trending in the wrong direction or suspect their star may walk in the off-season may look to Boston as the last resort.