The trade winds that are currently wafting through the NBA will soon reach hurricane force, scattering several player to as yet unknown destinations. However, let’s take a look at the guys who have been dominating the trade gossip: Which of them are likely to bring refreshment and renewal to their new teams, and which might bring devastation.
Josh Smith is the most talented player on the list, and he desperately needs a change of scenery. However, only a strong coach and a roster full of seasoned, respected veterans are capable of getting this knucklehead to play hard and play smart on a regular basis.
A risk, but one worth taking for teams on the cusp of competing with the NBA’s best.
Paul Pierce will be unhappy if he has to leave Boston, unless he’s dealt to a team that has a genuine shot at winning the championship. If he’s still a clutch shooter, PP’s legs are dead and he can rarely get to the rim. Which of the elite teams could afford to drastically disrupt team chemistry by immediately plugging Piece into the starting lineup?
A risk, but not worth the trouble.
Kevin Garnett still retains his bluster and chest-beating braggadocio. Too bad he’s still undependable in the clutch, which should make him an untouchable.
JJ Redick is smart, tough, and a dead-eye shooter. He needs to play on a disciplined squad that will run plays for him.
A terrific fit on the right team.
Andrea Bargnani’s only value is his long-distance shooting. Otherwise, he’s defenseless, incapable of holding his own in the battle of the boards, and is one of the softest players in the league. For sure, he can help keep the middle open for a high-scoring pivotman, but overall, his paycheck is too heavy and his game is too light to make his acquisition an unadulterated plus.
Luke Ridnour is a scrappy, well-intentioned point guard who would be a wonderful backup for any team with championship ambitions, and a solid starter for any second-tier team.
Pau Gasol’s injury might take him off the market. Still, he’s easily the most talented big man in the game, and would need to play for a highly intelligent team that values discipline and unselfishness. On the other hand, all of Gasol’s flaws (lack of power, mediocre defense) would be amplified by playing with dumb and selfish teammates, and also for a coach with a limited game plan.
Despite his injury, his age, and his salary, Gasol should be a get for the right team.
Iman Shumpert’s radical knee surgery needs at least a year for him to fully recover. Sure, he’s not a consistent shooter and is often out of control, but he always plays hard and is an excellent defender.
Another must have for any team that can steal him from the Knicks.
Kris Humphries can rebound. Period. He’s always believed that he’s a much better player than he really is. Coming off the bench (which is his rightful role) makes him dissatisfied.
A nyet for this guy.
Richard Hamilton can still be effective with a disciplined second-unit. Go get him before his wheels totally come off.
Omri Casspi is only effective in an open court, where his lack of toughness is minimized. Not worth anything more than a second-round pick.
Al Jefferson has the capability to be a dreadnaught point-maker in the low post, but only if he’s properly and relentlessly motivated. That means Pop and Doc are probably the only coaches who can get the most out of him. Otherwise, it’s buyer beware.
Ben Gordon is an undersized shooting guard who play miniscule defense. But he’s a streaky shooter/scorer and would be extremely valuable coming off the bench for an elite team. Teams going nowhere should avoid him.
Samuel Dalembert can block shots and rebound. Too bad he thinks of himself also as a scorer and is unhappy whenever he doesn’t get the touches he believes he deserves. He’d be much more useful if he accepted his role – a highly problematic situation.
Another guy best suited for an elite, championship-hardened team with a kick-ass coach.
DeJuan Blair is a too-small big. The fifth man in a four-man frontcourt rotation. Not worth much of an expenditure.
Paul Millsap used to play hard on every play. Getting out of Utah would certainly re-stoke his chops. Worth a small gamble.
Jared Dudley can drill treys and play earnest defense. A must have player.
Danny Granger can flat-out score. Questionable defense, iffy passwork, and health problems are his deficits. Still, any and all teams are advised to get him if they can.
Timofey Mozgov is still a project in his third NBA season. He’s athletic, willing, and coachable. A get for a young team that can give him the opportunity to learn on the run.
Evan Turner doesn’t shoot well enough to play the two-guard and lacks the skills to play the point. Strictly an iso-guy. Stay away from him.
Tyreke Evans is another tweener, but more of an offensive threat than Turner. However, teams interested in obtaining his services should keep in mind that big-time scorers for small-time teams are often disappointing when playing in situations where every possession is significant.
Worth a modest rate of exchange if he can come off the bench for a team that has bona-fide championship aspirations.