With NBA free agency basically wrapped up, most teams are more or less done making big moves before next season. We do still have lingering trade rumors surrounding stars such as Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, and Russell Westbrook. However, as each day passes it’s looking less likely we see a massive trade go down anytime soon. There are still some smaller name players in need of a trade though. Most of these players are aging veterans on tanking teams that could still play a valuable role on a contender. Some are young guys that could benefit from a trade to a team that will give them more opportunity to develop. Either way, it might be time for teams to try and snag one of the following players via trade before training camp starts. Here are some players that need to be traded.
11 NBA Players That Need to Be Traded
1. Buddy Hield – Indiana Pacers
Buddy Hield has been in trade rumors for a while as every team can use more shooting. But it’s worth noting just how prolific of a shooter Hield really is. Hield currently has the record for most made threes by an NBA player over their first six NBA seasons with 1,417 made threes. This beats out the likes of Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, and Stephen Curry who round out the top four. Yet Hield has still never made the playoffs as he’s always played on teams with low expectations. In fact, he currently has the most regular season games played without making the playoffs among active players at 468 games played. It’s time for his playoff drought to end.
Considering the Indiana Pacers recently traded away veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon and let veteran forward T.J. Warren walk in free agency, it’s clear they aren’t looking to be competitive this season. Hield is also older than he seems too at 29 as he came out of college late. Plus the Pacers just drafted another wing player in Bennedict Mathurin with the 6th overall pick and already have Chris Duarte a combo guard who they drafted 13th overall last season. So, it seems obvious Hield’s days as a Pacer are numbered. Contract wise Hield has a fairly tradeable two years 39.1-million-dollars of guaranteed money left on his deal. So all things considered, it shouldn’t be too hard for a team to land the best high-volume three-point specialist available on the trade market and give Hield a shot at his first playoff appearance.
2. Obi Toppin – New York Knicks
Obi Toppin looked like a very safe draft prospect coming out of Dayton in 2020 as an athletic, efficient, versatile scoring forward. He had a great all-around sophomore season in college putting up averages of 20.0 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, 2.2 assists per game, 1.0 steal per game, and 1.2 blocks per game on a very impressive 63.3/39.0/70.2 shooting split. But unfortunately for Toppin, he was drafted 8th overall to the New York Knicks who have a head coach in Tom Thibodeau who doesn’t like to play young guys. Toppin averaged just 11.0 minutes per game as a rookie and 17.1 minutes per game as a sophomore for the Knicks. It doesn’t look like he’s going to be getting big minutes any time soon either as he’s still stuck behind Julius Randle on the Knicks depth chart entering year three. Despite still being on a rookie scale contract, Toppin is also already 24 so he’s ready for a real opportunity.
Now Toppin did get a slight chance to prove himself towards the end of last season. Most of this opportunity came as a result of Randle being shut down due to a nagging quad injury. Toppin capitalized big time by putting up averages of 20.0 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game, and 0.9 blocks per game on a terrific 57.7/44.8/80.0 shooting split in 30.3 minutes per game over the final 10 games of the season. This includes a 42-point, 10-rebound performance vs the Toronto Raptors in the very last game of the season. So, teams should be looking to pry Toppin out of New York to see if this level of production carries over into a full-time expanded role.
3. Coby White – Chicago Bulls
Since being drafted 7th overall back in 2019 Coby White has proven he can be a spark plug scoring guard off the bench for the Chicago Bulls. His career averages of 13.7 points per game and 3.5 assists per game on 41.3 percent shooting from the field and 36.5 percent shooting from deep don’t jump off the page. But White is still only 22 and can give an offensive boost to a contender that needs an extra guard. Unfortunately for White, that team doesn’t look like the Bulls. The Bulls are already loaded in the backcourt with players such as Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and Ayo Dosunmu. Most of these players have proven to be much better defenders than White. Plus, the Bulls just signed veteran point guard Goran Dragic in free agency.
Now, normally elite guard defense isn’t always crucial to a team’s success. But the Bulls are severely lacking in frontcourt defense, particularly rim protection. Their starting center Nikola Vucevic is known to be a good offensive low post player who can space the floor. But he’s also known as a liability on defense. Their newly signed backup center Andre Drummond has never been known as a rim protector or defender either. On the wings, they’re also still over-relying on third-year forward Patrick Williams defensively. So, if the Bulls want to improve upon their 23rd-ranked team defensive rating of 113.2 from last season they’d be better off trading White’s expiring 7.4-million-dollar contract for some more frontcourt depth. Likewise, White would be better off playing on a team with elite defenders that can cover up his defensive shortcomings.
4. Jakob Poeltl – San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs surprised everyone by trading away All-Star guard Dejounte Murray for picks earlier this offseason. They made it very clear they want to tank and enter the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. As a result, their young roster that had potential has now become arguably the worst roster in the entire league. The Spurs currently have no star or young player who has flashed true star upside yet. Soon-to-be 27-year-old starting center Jakob Poeltl is already one of the oldest players on their roster. Given the new direction of the franchise, he should be the next player on his way out of San Antonio.
Poeltl is coming off a career-best season with averages of 13.5 points per game, 9.3 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game, and 1.7 blocks per game on 61.8 percent shooting from the field. He’s proven to be a terrific rim protector as he held opponents to just 55.6 percent shooting around the rim last season, which was 8.2 percent below their normal average. Considering Poeltl is on an expiring 9.4-million-dollar contract the Spurs would be wise to shop him. Poeltl should also be eager to join a contender that can make better use of his rim-running, rebounding, and rim protection abilities.
5. Eric Gordon- Houston Rockets
Eric Gordon is currently entering his 15th season and will be turning 34 in December. He’s already proven throughout his career that he can be a nice complimentary guard scorer and shooter with career averages of 16.4 points per game on 42.8 percent shooting from the field and 37.1 shooting percent from deep. However, injuries have been slowing him down lately as he’s only averaged 40 games played over the last three seasons. With the right load management, Gordon can still play a valuable role on a contender. But he probably doesn’t have much time left. Luckily, Gordon only has one year 19.6-million-dollars of guaranteed money left on his contract. He isn’t too risky for contenders to take a chance on even with his extensive injury history. So Gordon should be doing everything he can to get off a rebuilding Houston Rockets team that is currently coming off the worst record in the league last season at 20-62.
6. Myles Turner – Indiana Pacers
Myles Turner is another player who seems like he’s been in trade rumors forever. Back when the Pacers still had Domantas Sabonis the narrative was that the Pacers would have to choose between Sabonis and Turner. However, even after Sabonis was traded to the Sacramento Kings, Turner has still found himself in trade talks. This is a bit surprising considering Turner is only 26 and statistically the best shot blocker in the league. Since the 2016-2017 season, Turner leads the league in blocks per game at 2.4 including a ridiculous 3.4 blocks per game in the 2020-2021 season. He’s also proven to be a respectable shooter for a big man with a career 34.9 three-point shooting percentage. Yes, he still needs to improve his post defense outside of shot blocking and expand his offensive game. But there should still be a team that has an interest in his skill set. He also has an extremely tradeable one-year 17.5-million-dollars of guaranteed money left on his deal. So Turner should be very eager to find a team that truly values him. Especially after the Pacers gave Deandre Ayton a max offer sheet to try and replace him earlier this offseason.
7. Duncan Robinson- Miami Heat
Duncan Robinson was arguably the best shooter in the league during the 2019-2020 season for the Miami Heat. He shot a ridiculous 44.6 percent from three on a very high volume of 8.3 attempts per game. He was getting 29.7 minutes per game that season as well as 28.6 minutes per game in the playoffs. His great shooting and size for a shooter at six-foot-seven led him to sign a five-year 90-million-dollar contract last offseason. But unfortunately for Robinson, his minutes started to decline last season (25.9MPG) as well as his three-point shooting (37.2 percent), and by the time the playoffs came around, he was barely in the rotation averaging just 12.2 minutes per game. The main reason was the emergence of Max Strus who offered a similar skill set to the Heat but was more productive on the defensive end. Now Robinson could still bounce back for the Heat. The four years 64.4-million-dollars of guaranteed money remaining on his contract might also be difficult to trade. But Robinson should still be hoping for a trade to a team that is more in need of his three-point shooting ability.
8-11. Utah Jazz Key Veterans – (Patrick Beverley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley).
The Utah Jazz are another team that has made it clear they want to enter the tank race for Wembanyama. They already traded away their star defensive center Rudy Gobert for picks and spare pieces. Now they are shopping their young star shooting guard in Mitchell. So naturally, all of the Jazz’s key veteran role players should be looking to jump ship. This includes 34-year-old Patrick Beverley who has proven many times he can be an energizer and instigator for playoff teams. It also includes 33-year-old Bojan Bogdanovic, a very reliable scoring and three-point shooting forward with good size (six-foot-seven). Bogdanovic put up very strong averages of 18.1 points per game on 45.5 percent shooting from the field and 38.7 percent shooting from deep last season. So, he could easily still be a reliable third or fourth scoring option on a contender. 30-year-old former Sixth Man of the Year winner Jordan Clarkson could use a new team as well. Clarkson’s scoring (16.0 points per game last season) would give any contender a nice offensive boost off the bench.
All three of these players are on expiring contracts with 13 to 20-million-dollars in guaranteed money left on their deals. So, it really shouldn’t be too hard for teams to acquire them. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for aging star Mike Conley. who is turning 35 in October, showing signs of decline, and still has two years 37-million-dollars of guaranteed money left on his contract. It might be a bit harder to convince teams to take back the remainder of his contract in a deal. Nonetheless, Conley should still be hoping to find a new home along with the Jazz’s other key veterans.
It’s Time for a Fresh Start
Overall, while the NBA trade rumor mill has been fairly quiet lately, it’s clear there are still quite a few interesting trade targets for teams still looking to improve before the season starts. Sometimes it’s the smaller deals that put teams over the top. So hopefully, at least a few of these players can end up in better situations sooner rather than later.