With trade season approaching, there are several vets on bad teams just begging to be dealt. We look at the top five candidates.
As we near three weeks and counting until the NBA’s trade deadline, we’re about to enter silly season.
Aside from the five teams that have been content to lose early and often since the year began, everyone else is still “in it,” or can credibly talk themselves into being so. The nature of the conferences is such that the 11th place team in the East (Washington) and the 14th place team in the West (Memphis currently, although this seemingly changes by the hour) are each within four games of a playoff birth.
Despite the fact that the new lottery odds should theoretically be nudging some of these teams to pack it in, there are several unique factors at play dictating otherwise. Some of the smaller market teams in the “race” (air-quotes emphasized) – teams like the Grizzlies, Wolves, Pistons, Hornets and Magic — benefit greatly in several areas simply by making the postseason. Others like the Kings (no draft pick) and Pelicans (the looming Anthony Davis cloud) have unique incentives to continue trying. Meanwhile, a team like Washington – maybe despite the absence of John Wall, maybe because of it – might be too good to tank even if they tried.
Put it all together, and there should be a robust trade market for buried and/or expendable veterans on losing teams, not only because there will be many buyers and few sellers, but because there are more than a few available, solid pieces to be had.
Let’s take a look at the top five: