Five Players That Could Be Dealt To Contenders
During the NBA season, contenders often look at players on teams further down in the standings to bolster their rosters as they make a run in the playoffs. The availability of players is based on a variety of different factors; contract status, impending free agency and draft plans, etc.
Although there is still plenty of time for trades to occur before the February 21st deadline, here are five players that are on teams with no playoff chances that could be dealt to a contender.
5. Jose Calderon, Raptors
It feels like the Calderon trade rumors have been floating around forever, but for now, he’s still in Toronto. While he isn’t one of top-tier point guards, he is certainly productive, and could help most teams. Calderon quietly seems to hover around 10 points and 10 assists per game every year, and shoots a very good percentage from three and from the line.
He isn’t a game changer by any means, but he certainly has value in the right role. Calderon is making over $10 million this season, but is in the last year of his deal.
4. J.J. Redick, Magic
For someone who wasnt given much of a chance by many to make it in the NBA, Redick has turned into a pretty good player. Coming out of Duke as a college basketball legend, many had doubts about how his talents would translate to the NBA, as is the concern with many Duke players. His shooting and scoring are what make him such an asset, and is someone who could carry a second unit for stretches as well as provide great spacing for a first unit.
The Magic aren’t going anywhere this season, and with Redick’s contract expiring after this season, it only makes sense to trade the Duke alumni. Contenders are always looking for shooting and for guys who can help them off the bench. You know what you’re getting out of Redick; not a game changer, but someone who can definitely help you win games in the right role.
He shouldn’t be a primary option, which he won’t be, if he gets sent away from Orlando. The Magic are undergoing a youth movement, and they might as well get while they can for Redick. You have to believe that the Magic will be sellers at the deadline as a part of their rebuild in the post Dwight Howard era.
3. Robin Lopez, Hornets
Lopez is quietly playing some great ball for his new team, the Hornets. In 26 minutes per game, he is averaging 11.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks on 55% shooting. He was not one of the bigger names that many took notice of this offseason when he left Phoenix, but he looks the best he has in his 5 years in the league.
The young center is in the first year of a 3 year, $15 million contract. This should be able to move for two reasons; quality centers are at a premium, and the next two years of his deal have team options. The Hornets are a young team that won’t be doing much this season, so you have to believe that they would be willing to part ways to get some assets in return.
How badly could a team like the Heat use Robin Lopez?
2. Tyreke Evans, Kings
You can put Tyreke Evans on the list of players that need to get out of the hazardous environment that is Sacramento. It’s a pretty long list.
Tyreke really hasn’t improved since his rookie year, where he averaged over 20 points per game while on his way to earning Rookie of the Year. Part of the stunted development has to be his environment, because the potential is there. He’s a big, athletic guard who can attack the rim with some of the best in the league. Evans can create matchup nightmares from the point guard position with his 6’6″ frame, something that could really give an opponent troubles in a long playoff series. Of course, he’ll have to be dealt for us to find that out.
The Kings don’t seem to be going in any particular direction, so the time could be now to deal him. He has a qualifying offer of about $7 million for next season, and you have to think that a contender with a strong head coach could get the most out of Tyreke.
1. Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers
Wasn’t he supposed to be traded by now?
In case you somehow haven’t noticed, Varejao is having a ridiculous season, averaging over 14 points and 14 rebounds for the lonely Cavaliers. This includes 5.5 offensive rebounds per game. No typo-over 5 offensive rebounds per game. It’s tough to find big men as active as him, and his energy alone can be enough to push a contender over the top.
The question is whether Cleveland wants to deal him. Yes, they aren’t going anywhere this year. But with two more affordable years left on his contract after this year, they may want to keep him around to help develop some of their younger players, specifically Kyrie Irving. If a contender could figure out how to swing Varejao without giving up too much, it could certainly push them over the top.
How many teams want to play against this guy for 7 consecutive games? Seriously, he would cause an absolute disaster on the boards for smaller teams in the Eastern Conference, such as the Miami Heat. I have a hard time believing that Chirs Bosh could handle boxing him out on a nightly basis.
I would love to see him in the playoffs this year just to see how good he really is.
-Mark Evans, Assistant Manager/Editor of Content
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