With the first month of NBA basketball coming to a close, most of us have a rough idea of who is competitive and who is not. For instance, the Los Angeles Lakers have the best record in the NBA, while the Detroit Pistons are clearly rebuilding. The Lakers have aspirations to go back to back while Detroit has plans to tank for a lottery pick. Many organizations are in a similar place like Detroit. They possess players that simply don’t fit the direction of a rebuilding team and are wasting their talents. For various reasons, the players mentioned on this list need to be traded to please both parties. If a team is rebuilding, then there should be no reason to harvest a 30-year old All-Star calibre player. Nevertheless, here are the top five players that need to be traded.
Choosing five players is challenging as many NBA players need to be traded out of situations that do not fit their own timeline. Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons barely miss out on making the top five. This is due to their injury history, followed by how large their contracts are. Even though Blake and Kevin are both former All-Stars, they are no longer in their primes. With their injury history mixed with terrible contracts, it will tough for any team to trade for these former phenoms. However, some organizations in the NBA could benefit from having either of these players.
The Utah Jazz currently ranks number one in the Western Conference standings and could use Blake or Kevin as a primary scoring option. With Bojan Bogdanovic playing poorly, a trio of Donovan Mitchell, Blake Griffin or Kevin Love and Rudy Gobert could be a threat in the Western Conference. The only issue is, can Kevin and Blake remain healthy? Unlike the other players mentioned in this list, injuries will not be an issue for the most part. This is why Blake Griffin and Kevin Love missed out on making the top five.
5. Nikola Vucevic
Besides his contract extension with the Orlando Magic, Nikola Vucevic‘s only other accomplishment was making the 2018 NBA All-Star team. His tenure with the Magic has been underwhelming due to how poorly they have built around him. From their difficulty in figuring out their identity to drafting multiple centres while having Vucevic, the Magic have been lost since trading away Dwight Howard. It almost feels like the Magic have been fatigued and, as a result, made poor choices.
Signing Nikola Vucevic to a max-contract while being viewed as a rebuilding team was the most confusing signing in 2018. Vucevic is worth a large contract in the NBA but not from a team that is currently rebuilding! In the last couple of seasons, the Magic barely made the playoffs and would lose in four or five games. As an organization, that must be frustrating. While Vucevic is under a relatively large contract, he is one of the best centers in the NBA. His offensive contributions, rebounding and shooting ability at his position could be beneficial for any team’s success. The organizations that should look into realistically trading for Nikola Vucevic are the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and the Charlotte Hornets.
4. Zach LaVine
Since being traded to the Chicago Bulls, Zach LaVine has panned out to be an All-Star calibre player in the NBA. From his freakish athleticism to his incredible clutch ability in late-game situations, Zach LaVine needs to be on a team where his skill set can be used in a winning environment. With his contract expiring next season, the Bulls need to decide if keeping Zach LaVine is worth it.
While most NBA teams are looking to contend for a playoff spot, the Bulls fall into the category of rebuilding. Although it feels like Chicago has been rebuilding for decades, the Bulls simply lack the roster of making the playoffs. Even if they did miraculously make the playoffs, the chances are that they would be swept in the first round! Rather than wasting LaVine’s prime in Chicago, the Bulls should trade for a package of draft picks and young assets. Fortunately, many NBA teams are currently looking to contend for the playoffs while fitting these requirements. These teams include the Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Memphis Grizzlies. As far as who would possess the best package for the Bulls, the Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks would defiantly have the best offer to give.
3. Bradley Beal
Currently, Bradley Beal leads the NBA in scoring with a monster stat-line of 34.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 5.0 APG. Unfortunately, the Washington Wizards are currently the 14th seed in the Eastern Conference despite trading for Russell Westbrook. While that trade has not translated into any meaningful success, Washington has not been unable to play games due to COVID-19 until recently. This has limited the Wizards to play as a unit, and with their abysmal start to the season, a rebuild should be in order.
While Beal is a young superstar in the NBA, his time in Washington needs to end. The chances of Beal winning a championship in a Wizards uniform will most likely never happen in this decade. However, other NBA organizations that are currently competitive would be ideal suitors for the former All-Star. These teams consist of the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, and Miami Heat. Every team mentioned has young assets mixed with numerous amounts of draft picks, which fits the criteria of what Washington would want in return for their franchise player.
2. DeMar DeRozan
Since being traded from the Toronto Raptors, DeMar DeRozan has become slowly irrelevant in the NBA due to the organization he represents. While the San Antonio Spurs were once an elite team in the Western Conference, that is no longer the case. Currently, the Spurs are in a rebuilding phase looking to develop while having the mindset of keeping competitive. Even though the Spurs have a record of 10-8 in the Western Conference while being the fifth seed, their early success will not be permanent. If anything, the Spurs need to take this opportunity to trade away their larger or expiring contracts while still having some value.
Trading away every large or expiring contract will be difficult to accomplish in just one season. However, their main focus should be trading away DeRozan due to several reasons. DeRozan is a 31-year-old shooting guard that is on an expiring contract. This means that he can choose which teams he wants to play for without the Spurs having his rights. The best option for the Spurs is to trade DeRozan to an organization with valuable assets. While the Spurs wouldn’t receive a bundle of young talent or draft picks, they would at least gain some value for trading DeRozan.
1. Andre Drummond
The recent trade of James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets highlighted one factor that affected the Cleveland Cavaliers. Attaining Jarrett Allen in that four-team trade benefits the future of the direction the Cavaliers are headed. However, that trade also determined that Andre Drummond will not be a part of the Cavaliers plans. The reality is, Drummond wants roughly 25-30 million dollars a season, which is not worth investing in. Even though Drummond is a fantastic rebounder and defender, the lack of a true jump-shot hinders his value, but that isn’t even the main issue. Like DeMar DeRozan, Drummond is also an unrestricted free-agent and needs to be traded if Cleveland wants anything in return.
Trading Drummond should not be too difficult for Cleveland. When they traded for him, they only offered Brandon Knight, John Henson, and a draft pick for Drummond. This means that Cleveland should not expect a generous offer for Drummond but should still trade him instead of letting him walk in free agency. Their top priority should be trading Drummond for any form of young potential and draft picks. Very few NBA teams have a wide selection of young talent and draft picks while also having playoff aspirations. These teams include the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors.
Both the Raptors and Celtics are a starting center away from being much more competitive. Even though Toronto has one of the worst records in the NBA, it is mainly due to lacking a true starting center. As for Boston, they are currently one of the best teams in the NBA record-wise but are not convincing threats. A trade for Andre Drummond would more than likely grant them from being much more competitve.
While the NBA has many more players that need to be traded, these five players are the best players that need to be traded. Whether it’s expiring contracts or a rebuild, these players need a new organization to represent. After the Nets forming a big three in the Eastern Conference, many teams can do something similar. Trading for any of these five players would surely give other contending teams a fair fight against the Nets or Lakers.
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