As we head toward the end of the calendar year, it's time to start speculating the names that will be on the move ahead of the Feb 7. NBA trade deadline. While nothing is certain, there have been plenty of rumblings already of players being shopped around. On numerous struggling teams, there are vets who would do better in a different environment.
Here are 10 players that need a change of scenery:
Much has been made of the chemistry issues within the Wizards locker room this season. Bradley Beal has found himself in the midst of that conversation. Only 25, and coming off an All-Star campaign, Beal is on the radar of a plethora of organizations as the deadline approaches. So far averaging a career-high in points (23.3), it's understandable why interest is high in the sharpshooting guard. With two years remaining on his contract, he provides a consistent presence who will bolster the 3-point prowess of any organization. As of now, Washington sits at 11th in the conference, which shows that this roster isn't living up to its potential. Change is needed, and moving Beal should be the Wizards first step towards a rebuild.
When the Lakers chose to re-sign Caldwell-Pope to a one-year, $12 million deal this offseason, many were left scratching their heads. Coming off a lackluster first season with the organization, many felt the Lakers, back in action on Thursday against the Kings (10 p.m. ET -- watch on fuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension), would seek to spend that money elsewhere. Caldwell-Pope presents a roadblock for the younger guards on the team (eg. Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart) to develop and hasn't really found his place within the current roster makeup. His contract is a key trade chip that we should keep an eye on as the weeks go on.
The Chicago Bulls hoped that their signing of Parker this summer would breathe new life into the organization. On the outside, many were unsure of the fit, especially since Parker's tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks had been mired with injuries. Parker hasn't been terrible thus far (15.2 ppg, 6.9 rebounds), but he has not lived up to the two years, $40 million that he signed for. With coach Jim Boylen's recent announcement theat Parker will be out of the rotation going forward, it's only a matter of time before the former No. overall 2 pick is on the move.
Since the start of the season, many have wondered just how happy Wall is playing in the nation's capital. With the Wizards' struggles, it might just be time for both sides to move on. Washington can use Wall in a deal to add some more youth and prepare for a rebuild. The one hiccup in this scenario is his contract. With Wall set to make upwards of $39 million in each of the next three seasons, most teams in the Association won't be willing to risk their future on one player. The likely scenario is they end up keeping him, but they need to be doing everything in their power to move on.
Potential Suitors: Los Angeles Lakers
With all of the young assets that the Magic have stockpiled in the front court, it seems almost certain that Vucevic will be moved. With his contract ending this year and his unique ability to play down low as well as outside, he will be a valuable asset for any playoff-bound team looking to add a useful piece. His averages this year are impressive (20.2 points, 11.8 rebounds), and due to his affordable contract ($12.8 million) expect him to be a popular target as we approach Feb. 7.
Whiteside has been one of the trickier players to evaluate over the last two seasons. Since he signed his contract in 2016, his play has been inconsistent. Last season he was only able to play in 54 games, and wasn't able to be the type of high-impact offensive player that the Heat needed. This year, his points have dropped again (13.3), but he's back to being an above-average rebounder and rim protector (2.6). With this resurgence of sorts, it will be interesting to see if Miami is willing to give up on the 29-year-old.
The Cavaliers announced on Nov. 20 that Smith "will no longer be with team as the organization works with JR and his representation regarding his future." Since then, they've been looking to move the disgruntled guard and his expiring contract. Smith is a remnant of the LeBron James-led roster of the past, and as the team enters a more youthful future, his presence isn't a focus. He needs to be on a team with a veteran core that can inspire him to play with effort on both ends of the floor. Look for the Cavaliers to continue their search, and don't be surprised by a buyout situation if the opportunity presents itself.
Potential Suitors: Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder
Another player whose talents would be well suited on a contending team is Kent Bazemore. Atlanta sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, so it will assuredly receive numerous calls about Bazemore's availability as the deadline approaches. Dependable two-way wings are in high demand, and though he's set to be paid $19.3 million next year, he's still "generating interest from contending teams that covet a versatile swingman," according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. I wouldn't expect Bazemore to be a Hawk come March.
Potential Suitors: Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets
In the 2017-18 season, the Clippers enjoyed Beverley's services in just 11 games before his season was cut short by a meniscus injury. Thus far in 2018-19, he's played lackluster, falling behind rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the rotation. His average of 6.8 points per game is his lowest since his rookie season, not to mention a career-low field-goal percentage of 36.4 percent. At 30 years of age, this is not the trajectory he wants to be on. A move to a point guard-starved club should be in the cards for him as his experience and defensive tenacity still make him an asset in the current game.
Potential Suitors: San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns
The 7-foot Lopez has been having a miserable season for the Bulls. His averages of 6.1 points and 2.5 rebounds are his worst since 2011-12. He really doesn't fit in with a club that seems poised to earn a top three pick come June, and his size could certainly be used elsewhere. He should still be a factor in a setting where he can play around 22 minutes and receive a few low-post looks a game. The major thing working in Lopez's favor is his contract. Plenty of clubs will be looking at his expiring deal and believe that it's worthy of an inquiry.
Potential Suitors: Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks