It seems the trade rumors are starting to heat up. With the trade deadline February 7th this year, not many big names have really emerged as possibly heading to new addresses. Obviously, Anthony Davis is the big name that has been thrown around, but I’m gonna assume the New Orleans Pelicans aren’t going to find enough value to unload him and he will remain in New Orleans.
With that being said, I still think there are some difference makers who could be traded and help out a team for the second half run. The West is tight in the standings from three to ten and a trade could push a team up in the standings. In the East where it looks like only three or four real contenders, a trade could get another into that mix. Let’s not forget the teams at the bottom of each conference who will unload talent to acquire assets for their rebuild. Most think this deadline will be a quiet one, but I say buckle up for the ride that is always the trade deadline.
Dennis Smith Jr., Point Guard
Things are not going well for Dennis Smith Jr. at the moment. While he hasn’t asked for a trade and the Dallas Mavericks claim they are not looking to deal him, it seems like a break is what both need. Dallas wants the ball in rookie Luka Doncic‘s hands and hoped pairing him with the explosive Smith would work.
He is better creating plays with the ball in his hands. This has caused Dallas to gauge the market for Smith and see if they can find a deal they like. Also, there are several point guard-needy teams who don’t have consistency from the lead guard position and Smith would change that immediately. There are also reports on the strained relationship between Smith and coach Rich Carlisle. I think a change of scenery is exactly what Dennis Smith Jr. needs right now and think there is a very good chance he is dealt by the deadline. He is still young and in his second year, so Dallas may be able to get a nice return for Smith.
Possible destinations: Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns.
Jabari Parker, Power Forward
It seemed weird when the Milwaukee Bucks were good with renouncing Jabari Parker and letting him walk down Interstate 94 to the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls signed hometown kid Parker to a two-year $40 million deal with only the first year guaranteed. The plan was to play him at small forward where he struggled mightily at with Milwaukee. Then after signing with Chicago, Parker went on radio and basically claimed he doesn’t get paid to play defense. It didn’t take long for Parker to fall out of the starting lineup and then out of the rotation entirely. The former number two overall pick doesn’t appear to be in the Bulls plans at all and they are trying to unload him, but finding not much action.
Parker has not really been the same after suffering two ACL injuries while in Milwaukee and now there are concerns about his attitude. I think he can still play and might be able to help a team out, but that will likely be as a reserve, helping score for a team’s second unit. Chicago also is not keen on taking back $20 million in salary to make the trade work, but Parker’s contract could be attractive for a team trying to shed salary.
Possible destinations: Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz.
Enes Kanter, Center
Enes Kanter is in the final year of his contract and could be a nice trade chip. He has stated he wants to remain in New York, but his minutes have been so inconsistent that he is frustrated with his role. Kanter is still a serviceable big man in the fact he can score down low and is a good rebounder. He does not fit with the way the center position is evolving into a big who can step out and shoot the three or switch on pick and rolls. I still think someone may take a chance on his skill of post play and expiring $18 million that comes with it.
Possible Destinations: Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers.
Kent Bazemore, Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Kent Bazemore is a veteran who should get plenty of teams calling on him. He is a good fit for a wing needy team in the playoff race. He is a good defender and can shoot from three. Atlanta is going to be very aggressive at the deadline and will be offering up many veterans to free up money and hopefully bring back some assets. Bazemore does have a player option for $19 million next year which could make not as attractive to some who would not want him to pick up that option. However, he could be a steal for a playoff team making a run that will worry about the contract later.
Possible Destinations: New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons.
Nicolas Batum, Small Forward
When the Hornets signed Nicolas Batum to a big deal I was very surprised. Apparently, they believed he would compliment lead guard Kemba Walker. Once arriving in Charlotte, the Hornets played Batum as a two guard, which is not his natural position and he struggled with his scoring and defensively on much quicker guards.
The Hornets have not seen much success and outside of Kemba haven’t drafted well or made any significant signings. Batum has been moved to the small forward position this season and has been better, but his skill set just has not meshed with Walker and Jeremy Lamb has become the second option on offense and Batum has seen his offense struggle.
With Charlotte battling for a bottom playoff seed, they may look to make a splash and unload Batum to get it done. He still has value but not sure he will get Charlotte what they want. They may have to unload second-year guard Malik Monk to entice someone.
Possible Destinations: Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans.
Dion Waiters, Shooting Guard
So now that Dion Waiters appears fully healthy, he is not able with the logjam at the wing positions. Miami is loaded with guards and small forwards that it has been a hard time getting Waiters consistent minutes. Miami wants to unload pretty much any wing not named Richardson or Winslow. With no true point guard healthy right now those two have been the ball handlers in the absence of Goran Dragic.
I think Waiters has been more vocal about his displeasure with his playing time and since he just returned, he is feeling the minutes crunch more than the rest. Waiters is a dynamic scorer who can put up points in bunches, but I think he is just a reserve at this point. Finding a starting spot is not a likely option and he will most likely have to get used to being a bench player. Most teams are loaded with wings and getting him to a destination where he gets playing time is scarce. It will be interesting to see how Miami uses the trade deadline to thin out their plethora of twos and threes.
Possible Destinations: Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets.
Also Possibly Available:
Carmelo Anthony, Small Forward.
Chandler Parsons, Small Forward.
Patrick Beverley, Point Guard.
Jeremy Lin, Point Guard.
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