With the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline approaching, there are plenty of players rumored to be available. Here are the five potential trade targets you’ll want your favorite team to avoid.
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Dec 6, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo (9) against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons won 102-91.Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA calendar is like clockwork, especially when it comes to the trade deadline. Every year we hear about poor fits, expiring contracts playing for terrible teams and disgruntled stars who might be available come February.
Some teams are forced into making blockbuster deals by a star who wants out. Some teams focus on marginal improvements to address areas of need by making a deal. And some rebuilding squads target young players and draft picks, auctioning off their current assets as they look toward the future.
There are plenty of teams that fit each category in 2017, but as always, one of the most entertaining things to keep an eye on is the group of playoff teams trying to bolster their rosters for a playoff run.
Most of these NBA teams already have a set core and limited amount of cap space to work with, all but ruling out blockbuster deals for star talent. Several names on teams outside of the playoff picture have cropped up lately, but which ones should your favorite team actually consider giving up assets for?
With the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline approaching, here’s a look at five “useful,” non-star players whose names have come up in recent NBA trade rumors…and why your favorite team should avoid dealing for them.
Jan 7, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut (6) rebounds the ball against the Atlanta Hawks in the 1 quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
5. Andrew Bogut
Andrew Bogut is an NBA champion, and on a more competitive team, his rebounding, rim protection, elite passing and “savvy” (read: illegal) screens might be a welcome addition. But he’s been a disappointment for the Dallas Mavericks this year and there are far too many red flags to make any fan base confident about trading for him.
For starters, Bogut’s numbers are down across the board, with the former No. 1 overall pick averaging 3.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in just 23.5 minutes per game. For reference, Bogut put up 5.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 20.7 minutes per game for a 73-win team last year.
In Dallas, Bogut’s declining speed has become more obvious with less talent around him. His field goal percentage has plummeted from 62.7 percent in 2015-16 to 45.1 percent this year, and the Mavs’ offense is seven points per 100 possessions better with the big Aussie on the bench.
Bogut isn’t completely washed though. Dallas’ defense is a staggering 12.6 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor, he’s hauling in rebounds and he provides an experienced touch to the back lines. Because of this, the Mavs will likely try to trade him in a lost season, in an attempt to cash in on his value while they can.
But at age 32, Bogut is no spring chicken anymore. He’s already missed 16 of the team’s 38 games due to injury, and in Dallas’ most recent game in Minnesota, he injured his hamstring. This is the same guy who missed the final two and a half games of the NBA Finals and spent his summer recovering from a knee injury.
Bogut is injury-prone, he’s 32, his game looks like it’s declining and he’d only be a two-month rental for whatever team trades for him, since he hits free agency this summer. We love that big Aussie, but only a team desperate for an experienced hand at center would consider giving up actual assets for him.
Dec 28, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) reacts during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 105-103. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
4. Kenneth Faried
Kenneth Faried‘s name has been mentioned on the Denver Nuggets‘ trade block for a long time now, but there’s probably a reason no one’s ever taken the bait. As much as the Manimal has built his reputation on being an incredible athlete and absolute work horse on the boards, the improvements in the other areas of his game have been marginal.
With a youth movement taking center stage in the Mile High City, the 27-year-old Faried remains firmly situated in the “open for business” category. He’s averaging 9.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in just 21.7 minutes per game, he’s shooting 52.4 percent from the floor, and he’s never had a poor attitude about having such an inconsistent role over the years.
But these numbers are close to career lows across the board, and with two years still left on his contract, his trade value is at an all-time low. His $12.9 million and $13.8 million salary for the next two seasons isn’t terrible under the NBA’s rising salary cap, but it’s an awful lot to pay for an undersized power forward who can’t shoot and would only start for a bottom-feeder team.
Being a second unit energy guy who’s often described with that typical “motor” buzzword seems like his NBA destiny at this point, but again, that’s a lot to pay for a role player off the bench — without even including the kind of assets that would need to be given up in a trade.
The Nuggets have to know their asking price for Faried can’t be too high, but at this point, is the Manimal even on anyone’s radar? It feels unlikely, and a playoff team giving up actual assets for Faried feels even more unlikely.
Dec 4, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) shoots a free throw during the first quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
3. Rudy Gay
That “cancer” label that’s often tossed around with Rudy Gay might be a bit unfair, but we also can’t deny that his teams have done considerably better once they’ve moved on from the 30-year-old small forward.
In the six and a half seasons Gay played for the Memphis Grizzlies, his teams went 223-295 (.431 win percentage), and they never won more than 46 games in a season.
In the very season they traded him away, the Grizz wound up winning 56 games and going to the Western Conference Finals. Since trading Gay, the Grizz have gone 199-127 (.610), they’ve reached at least 50 wins three times and they’re made the playoffs every season.
It’s a similar story with the Toronto Raptors, who went 25-30 (.455) in a short stretch over two seasons with Gay on the roster. After trading him early in the 2013-14 season, Toronto finished the season on a 41-21 tear to win a then franchise-record 48 games. They’ve gone 171-93 (.648) since trading him away, making the playoffs and setting a new franchise record for wins in every subsequent season.
Since trading for Rudy Gay, the Sacramento Kings are 101-165 (.380) and haven’t even sniffed the playoffs. Their current 16-22 record has them within reach of the eighth seed in the West, but that’s not saying much considering how bad the bottom of the playoff field is this year.
Regardless of their playoff pursuit, the Kings will still be considering dealing him before the 2017 deadline since Gay has already told the organization he will be opting out of his contract this summer and leaving in free agency.
Gay is averaging a respectable 18.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game on 45.1 percent shooting, but he’s not a great defender or three-point shooter (33.7 percent). Losing just seems to follow him everywhere he goes.
Throw in the fact that he’d likely be a two-month rental with his free agency coming up this summer and suddenly the scoring that Gay would provide on the wing is nowhere near worth dealing for.
Dec 19, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight (11) looks on during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Timberwolves won 115-108. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
2. Brandon Knight
Brandon Knight‘s trade value has never been lower, and as tempting as it might seem, a return to starting point guard duties on another team probably isn’t going to “fix” him.
When the Phoenix Suns first traded for Brandon Knight in 2015, they envisioned a combo guard complement to Eric Bledsoe who could play off the ball, make plays as a secondary ball handler, and knock down three-pointers as a spot-up shooter. At the time, he was coming off a borderline All-Star season in Milwaukee.
But since being traded to the Valley of the Sun, Knight has missed 47 of a possible 147 games and was replaced in the starting lineup by an up-and-coming 20-year-old named Devin Booker. After averaging a career-high 19.2 points and 5.1 assists per game last season, Knight’s numbers have plummeted to 12.4 points and 2.6 assists in 22.5 minutes per game this year.
Knight has failed to adapt to his sixth man role, shooting a putrid 39.6 percent from the floor. Even in his “career-best” season last year, Knight shot 41.5 percent from the field. His shot selection has always been suspect, and his appalling defense has removed him from head coach Earl Watson‘s rotation.
Brandon Knight is only 25 years old and on a manageable contract through the 2019-20 season. Perhaps a change of scenery and the return to the starting lineup would do him some good. Or, you know, he just might continue to take ill-advised long twos, turn the ball over and play horrendous defense.
With rookie Tyler Ulis surpassing Knight in the rotation, it’s obvious the Suns will be looking to deal Knight elsewhere and give him another chance at a mid-career revival. But with Knight’s -283 total plus/minutes ranking dead last of 446 NBA players, it makes sense that the only team rumored to have interest in him so far is Sacramento, the Kings of dysfunction.
Dec 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo (9) dribbles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
1. Rajon Rondo
Remember that “cancer” label we were talking about with Rudy Gay earlier, and how it might be kind of unfair? With Rajon Rondo, it’s pretty much fair game.
There was the way he ran himself out of town with the Dallas Mavericks, to the extreme that the team faked an injury for him to spare him the public scrutiny of being removed from Rick Carlisle‘s rotation in the middle of a playoff series.
There was how he put up resurgent numbers in Sacramento last season, only for the Kings to flounder their way to 33 wins and let him walk in free agency after he clashed with teammates and head coach George Karl.
And now there’s his current miserable situation with the Chicago Bulls, who have all but removed him from the rotation. He got a DNP-CD on his own bobblehead night for crying out loud!
Rondo is averaging 7.4 points, 7.1 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game this year, but he’s shooting an atrocious 37.4 percent from the floor, 30.9 percent from three-point range and 54.2 percent from the foul line. In a league continually trending toward more and more perimeter shooting, Rondo’s game is an old and dusty relic.
Though his $13.4 million contract for 2017-18 is non-guaranteed, Rondo’s skills are declining at age 30 and he’s nowhere near worth the headache for all the off-the-court headlines he continually manages to stir up.
Rondo has already called BS on the coaching staff’s excuses for benching him, and it won’t be long before he’s publicly seeking a trade. Teams desperate for a point guard might consider trading for Rondo, hoping that they might be able to “change him. But trading for a dangerously smart cancer who’s notorious for clashing with coaches and teammates alike is a truly inadvisable idea.