Don’t look now, but we’ve officially moved into Trade Deadline rumor season. There’s plenty of moves to be had this season, whether it be one of the league’s best looking to make an upgrade or maybe a team fighting for a playoff berth. We also have some bottom feeders who are looking to move some of their veteran talent for future talent. Welcome to the official tier list of available players this deadline season, use it wisely.
* Stats are up to date as of 1/26 *
1st Tier (Immediate Impact stars)
Mike Conley: 20 pts, 3.3 rebs, 6.1 ast
Conley currently stands as one of the best PG’s in this league. That’s why he is one of the markets most favorable options. He ranks top-20 in the league in assists, 30th in scoring, and would provide a team an instant guiding force and star on the court. But, a $30M+ per year contract is quite a heavy cap hit. He also has a few health concerns to be worried about. Still, he is a fine option for teams looking to add major talent.
Nikola Vucevic: 20.6 pts, 11.9 rebs, 3.8 ast
Vucevic has made quite a name for himself the past three years, trending upwards in scoring, rebounding, and assists. If he isn’t voted in by popular vote in All-Star voting, I still see him as pretty much a lock making the roster as a reserve. There is risk involved with acquiring Vucevic though, it’s more than likely Vucevic is looking to cash in on his recent improvements on the FA market. It could either be a huge hit or a major flop. Buy away!
Marc Gasol: 15.4 pts, 8.7 rebs, 4.7 ast
Gasol is probably one of the most coveted big man available in our current market. While his best days are certainly behind him at 33 years old and injuries bugging him worse than his Grizzlies teammate Mike Conley, he still may have the ability to be a solid contributor on the right team. Not too long ago he won the Defensive Player of the Year award. If you got an abundance of young talent and are trying to compete, this is definitely your guy.
2nd Tier (Immediate Impact starters/High-End Rotational Players)
Dennis Smith Jr.: 12.9 pts, 2.8 rebs, 3.9 ast
With DSJ, it’s just a matter of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s going to be a primary playmaker in the NBA, but sadly, it won’t be on a team that also has Luka Doncic. The best career move for him is definitely a change of scenery. For comparison, think of it like DeAngelo Russell two years ago when he got moved from the Lakers to the Nets. He’s still going to have to improve on his current numbers though.
Kevin Love: 19 pts, 13.5 rebs, 3.5 ast (in 4 games)
I feel bad for Kevin Love. He’s in a bad situation with the Cleveland Cavaliers. I thought it was very classy of him to sign back on with the team after the whole LeBron James fiasco that headlined the offseason, but he should really be playing for a winner at this stage of his career. The Cavs are going to be a dumpster fire while they accumulate talent, not a place for a fading 30-year old star. Just about every team could use a double-double a night. Injuries are also keeping him far from returning any time soon.
Tim Hardaway Jr.: 19.4 pts, 3.3 rebs, 2.6 ast
As a Knick fan it pains me to write this, but THJ is just not a number one option. They grossly overpaid the FA a couple of years ago (a move that at the time I thought would work well) which is definitely a huge red flag against him. His 20 points per game may also be deceiving because somebody has to score some points for the team. But I do feel he can be a number two or three scoring option, and his cap hit will look better when taking into account an ever expanding salary cap.
Otto Porter Jr.: 12.8 pts, 5.8 rebs, 1.9 ast
Porter isn’t a bad player by any regards, but the guy played the Washington Wizards like a fiddle to get the contract he has now. The Wizards have been paying for it ever since. Sorry; but 13 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists isn’t enough for the $53M and a player option he is due over the next three years. That’s quite a finesse. Moving on is best for him, and he’s got a shot to bump those numbers up somewhere else.
Rodney Hood: 12.4 pts, 2.5 rebs, 2 ast
Despite the popular opinion, I’m actually pretty high on Hood. I think the Cavaliers should have used him way more than they did down the stretch and into the playoffs. He’s actually one of the best three and D players that the league has, and it appears he isn’t on the Cavaliers future plans. He has a surprising amount of experience for someone so young. I do think he’s a nice piece for a contending squad as he looks to play for a contract at the end of the year.
Terrance Ross: 13.9 pts, 3.2 rebs, 1.6 ast
He’s a solid bench scoring option that is probably looking to boost his value currently in a contract year. He’s athletic, can shoot the three, and has the physical tools to be a defensive force. Orlando’s got to choose if they want to contend or not though, which may drag his available.
3rd Tier (Role Players)
Wesley Matthews: 13 pts, 2.3 rebs, 2.4 ast
The situation Matthews finds himself in is pretty interesting. While he certainly hasn’t lived up to his max deal he got a couple seasons ago, he’s an expiring contract which is valuable for a team in need of instant cap relief and is having by far his best season since rupturing his Achilles tendon with 13 PPG and 2.4 APG.
Kent Bazemore: 14 pts, 4 rebs, 2.6 ast
Robin Lopez: 5.8 pts, 2.9 rebs, 1 ast
The Chicago Bulls purposefully not waiving Lopez so the Warriors can’t sign him is hilarious. He’d help just about any contender, by bringing in a Draymond Green-like element, and that horrendous stat line he’s got is purely a result of how much Chicago is hot garbage.
Derrick Favors: 11 pts, 7.1 rebs, 1 ast
Derrick Favors is an ancient artifact in today’s NBA. While he is fantastic on the low block, he doesn’t shoot the long ball well and doesn’t help push the tempo. There isn’t really a spot for him on this Jazz team anymore. His appeal comes from his expiring contract and ability to score in a system that utilizes him better.
Wayne Ellington: 7.9 pts, 1.9 rebs, 1.3 ast
Ellington’s sole purpose on a basketball court is to shoot the 3 ball and he does that very well. You simply cannot deny his has a knack to shoot from long distance, he remains one of the leagues best. But he's as bad at every other aspect of the game. His fit on Miami’s roster also makes him expendable, but he could help a team in need of shooting (Philadelphia; I’m talking about you).
Enes Kanter: 14.4 pts, 10.8 rebs, 2 ast
While Kanter may be by far the worst defender in the league by a wide margin, he still has considerable offensive ability and a knack for rebounding. That should be appealing to a team that has some capable defenders to put around him. But if you don’t have that, steer clear.
Courtney Lee: 5.1 pts, 2.3 rebs, 1.3 ast (11 games)
Lee should be playing on a contender, and the Knicks are the exact opposite of that. In NY, he’s not even dressing to play anymore and has seen his role been reduced to prospect groomer. His cap hit is also pretty reasonable from what he can produce too.
Jeremy Lin: 10.9 pts, 2.4 rebs, 3.6 ast