The 2015 NBA trade deadline comes on Thursday afternoon, just before games pick back up following a festive All-Star weekend. But before those games start and that trade deadline hits, a few big names better be in new cities. We’ve seen Carmelo Anthony get shut down, Amare Stoudemire and Larry Sanders get bought out and we’ve already seen some big trades go down. More need to come, and for various reasons that impact both players and teams. Let’s take a look at the 16 biggest names that absolutely need to be moved as soon as possible, why and where they could wind up:
Deron Williams, PG, Brooklyn Nets
Williams is paid like a stud starting point guard and he’s either constantly banged up or coming off the bench for the Nets. Brooklyn is a borderline playoff team, but they don’t know what they want to do right now. One good way to discover their true desire is to find a taker for a still talented and useful D-Will. They still have Jarrett Jack to man the point and they’d shed a monster contract in the process. He’s been loosely tied to the Kings in the past, so they could re-engage in talks.
Reggie Jackson, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Jackson showed earlier in the year he can carry a (bad) team if need be, and he just might have some serious star power. His agent just demanded he be traded, while OKC probably was leaning that way anyways, considering they’ll lose him for nothing if they don’t. He could be a true gamer and a be a piece of the puzzle in somewhere like New York or Los Angeles.
Goran Dragic, PG, Phoenix Suns
Dragic has made it clear that he won’t be re-upping with the Suns, so they’d be foolish to hold onto him now. The good news is that a ton of teams want him for the long-term, so Phoenix hasn’t backed itself into a corner when it comes to negotiations just yet. He reportedly would like to play long-term with teams like the Lakers, Knicks or Heat, while the Rockets and Celtics have recently made it known they want The Dragon.
Jeremy Lin, PG, Los Angeles Lakers
Linsanity is a thing of the past. It’s clear Lin can be a quality role player, but he’s probably not a viable starter and he surely isn’t a star player. That doesn’t mean he’s as useless as the Lakers have painted him to be, which could mean someone tries to add him to their squad for the playoff run. Teams that could use bench scoring or point guard depth like the Cavaliers, Pistons, Clippers, Bucks and Pelicans could all express interest.
Jose Calderon, PG, New York Knicks
Calderon hasn’t been awful with the Knicks, but he’s an aging vet who isn’t part of the solution. New York is dropping quality veterans left and right, so he should expect to either be dealt or bought out at some point in the near future. Either way, Calderon landing in a nice spot like San Antonio or Houston could make some sense.
Lance Stephenson, SG, Charlotte Hornets
Stephenson has been woefully ineffective despite signing a superstar deal this past summer, which has lead to both he and the Hornets counting the days until he’s playing in another city. The end is drawing near one way or another, though it’s painfully clear that his trade value is at an all-time low. There have been whispers about a return to Indiana, while the Clippers could consider using him at small forward if they can swing the right deal.
Kevin Martin, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Martin has suffered through a wrist injury for most of the year, but when he’s played he’s continued to be a fantastic scorer. The T’Wolves are knee-deep in a full-blown rebuild, though, so he’s got to be on his way out. A few teams could trade for him, but it’s just as likely the two sides agree to a mutual buyout.
Nik Stauskas, SG, Sacramento Kings
Stauskas is the rare rookie that needs to get out of town – and fast. The Kings have misused him all year and it’s clear they prefer Ben McLemore as their starting shooting guard going forward. He wants out and they’ve been testing his trade value for months. Any numbers of teams could pry him from the Kings for the right package.
Arron Afflalo, SG, Denver Nuggets
Afflalo’s name is all over the trade rumor mill, as numerous teams see him as an answer for an offensive spark they currently likely. A couple of those teams are the Bulls and Pistons, but figuring out the appropriate compensation could be difficult. Making things harder is Afflalo’s interest across the league, too, as several teams will be fighting to land him until the final minutes.
Wilson Chandler, SF, Denver Nuggets
Sticking with Denver, the Nuggets just might blow it all up by shipping off Chandler, as well. Chandler has been tied loosely to a number of NBA teams, but the Trail Blazers have been the loudest team to show interest so far. The Nuggets still like Chandler, though, so if they don’t get the right deal he could stick around.
David West, PF, Indiana Pacers
West is aging and could drop off at any moment, so the Pacers need to decide if they want to keep him around for another run. He’s also whispered about retirement and at 34, that decision could be coming sooner than some may think. No one knows how badly the Pacers want to unload him for assets, but word has sprung that the Toronto Raptors are big fans of his game. They’re probably the top team to watch if he’s going to be moved before Thursday.
Kenneth Faried, PF, Denver Nuggets
Faried isn’t overly likely to be moved due to an insane salary, but it’s precisely because he hasn’t lived up to his massive new deal that the Nuggets may cut bait early. He simply has had a terrible season given the money he’s earning, as he’s focused too much on his offense and it’s negatively impacted his rebounding and overall intensity. A lot of teams could show interest in turning him back into a dominant rebounder, but his contract could be an obstacle. Still, Denver may be gung-ho about getting rid of him, and it’s hard to blame them.
Greg Monroe, PF, Detroit Pistons
The Pistons don’t really want to trade Moose. Not only is Detroit in the running for a playoff spot, but the Pistons also would prefer to hold onto Monroe for the long-term, as well. Unfortunately, he’s going to enter free agency and it’s going to be extremely hard for the Pistons to talk him into staying. With the real threat of losing him for nothing, the Pistons will have to seriously listen to any and all offers. The Suns were rumored to be a hot landing spot back in the summer, but a long list of suitors can be expected to be involved in any Greg Monroe trade rumors.
Jason Thompson, PF, Sacramento Kings
Thompson just hasn’t been getting it done as Sacramento’s starting power forward and the team needs an upgrade at the position. How they find that upgrade is anyone’s guess, but they might as well get the process started by shipping off the disgruntled Thompson.
Enes Kanter, C, Utah Jazz
Kanter is another high profile player that has already publicly said he wants out, so Utah may want to act fast and get all they can for their talented big man before it’s too late. Kanter is a really nice offensive player, but he’s borderline inept on defense. Still, someone would love to take on the task of fixing him on defense and at the very worst would use him for his offensive skill-set. Due to his talent and youth (he’s just 22), there won’t be a shortage of teams knocking on Utah’s door to land him.
Brook Lopez, C, Brooklyn Nets
Lopez ends our long list of guys that should or could be traded by Thursday’s deadline, as the Nets are very close to a fire sale and he’s not even starting these days. Like Kanter, Lopez is a problem on defense, but he’s a great offensive player and at least has the tools to be a good rebounder and shot-blocker, as well. Several teams have been rumored to be interested in landing him, including the Kings and the Thunder. Oklahoma City makes special sense, since the Thunder really lack a consistent inside scoring threat. No deal is imminent, but Lopez could be on his way out of Brooklyn by Thursday afternoon.