As the trade deadline approaches, executives will be looking for buy-low opportunities on players who don't fit on their current teams for one reason or another. Sometimes you can pry a productive veteran away from a rebuilding team. Other times you can rescue a player with potential from a bad situation. And there are always teams looking to get some value for upcoming free agents rather than losing them for nothing. Here are 14 players to keep an eye on:
Despite the fact that Sixers president Bryan Colangelo said he refuses to make a bad deal, it'll be difficult for him to get fair value for Noel, a soon-to-be restricted free agent. In today's NBA, big men who can protect the rim, finish and be effective in pick-and-rolls on both ends of the court tend to get paid, even if they have almost no jump shot to speak of -- look at Tristan Thompson and Bismack Biyombo. Noel's appeal, then, should be obvious, and it's doubtful he has a long-term future in Philadelphia as Joel Embiid's backup.
If you think Noel and Jahlil Okafor are stuck in a logjam, imagine what it must be like to be Holmes. The second-year big man had been producing well to start this season, even showing off an improved 3-point shot, but now hasn't played for almost a full month. His per-36 minutes numbers -- 15.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 2 blocks -- suggest he can handle a bigger role than "fourth-string center."
Williams' minutes have already started to decrease in the new year, and as stabilizing as he has been for the Lakers' offense, the organization might want to shift his responsibilities onto D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram. Williams has fit into coach Luke Walton's movement-oriented system better than general manager Mitch Kupchak expected he would, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's part of the team's plans.
If the Bulls want to make the playoffs and be competitive when they get there, they would be crazy to trade their longest-tenured player. If they want to set themselves up for a full rebuild, though, they might be crazy not to. Chicago has some major organizational decisions to make, and one of them involves determining how realistic it is to re-sign Gibson in the summer. Given his contract status, he might not cost more than a first-round pick.
Bogut has acknowledged he could be moved, and it's not exactly a mystery as to why. His rim protection and passing would be of better use on a contender than on the disappointing Mavs. He could be a nice rental, or more than that if the team acquiring him is prepared to re-sign him.
Indiana could hold onto him because it needs his shooting desperately. Like the Bulls with Gibson, though, the Pacers have to figure out whether they're likely to bring Miles back on a new contract. If the answer is no, then he might not be that difficult to acquire.
Given how little the Suns have been playing Knight lately, his market value has likely never been lower. The same can be said for the league's confidence that he can be a starting point guard. Executives surely remember him as a dangerous scorer, though, and perhaps a change of scene could get him back on track.
Before the season, Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy directly said that part of the reason they signed Boban Marjanovic was that they knew they would not be able to re-sign Baynes in free agency. As such, if Detroit is offered a draft pick or a player that will be around for awhile, the front office would have to consider it.
An attempt to pry this young center from Denver two years ago would have been received far differently, but now the team doesn't really need him. Nikola Jokic is the future of the Nuggets, and Nurkic seems like a medium-risk, high-reward gamble for a team that can afford to give him playing time.
Unlike Nurkic, this Nugget is a proven commodity and an upcoming free agent. If the front office can't package Gallinari and other assets in a deal for a big name, then it might need to look at what it can get for him.
Underused and underappreciated in Sacramento this season, Casspi can be a fine two-way role player elsewhere. He is yet another free agent-to-be, so he could be had for a bargain.
The Kings could keep this backup center as they try to chase the playoffs, or they could start to break up their crowded front court by trading him. Koufos isn't flashy, but he is efficient and pretty mobile for his size.
In no way do I think Sacramento should give up on Cauley-Stein already, but he is completely out of the rotation and that's not how you develop lottery picks. If the Kings aren't committed to him, some other smart team should nab him and give him a chance to realize his potential.
It's amazing that Morrow doesn't play more on a team that is second-to-last in the league in 3-point percentage. He is a harmful defender, but he is a pure shooter, even though his percentages are down this season. A starter just a couple of weeks ago, he's now collecting DNP-CDs again.