The clock is ticking in the NBA, and as the trade deadline approaches, teams are going to get more and more desperate to try and unload their bad contracts, especially if they’re not currently in position to compete this year.
Veteran GMs and contending teams are well aware of this situation, so they’re patiently waiting for this desperate franchises to hit the panic button as we head towards the deadline, with their assets losing a lot of value by the minute.
Today, we’re going to talk about five teams that aren’t in position to compete this season, or that might as well try and make a run without one of their stars, as they’re set to become unrestricted free agents and aren’t planning to stay put at their current squads.
The Utah Jazz can still make the playoffs but in order to do so, they need to put together a very good stretch as soon as Rudy Gobert comes down, but regardless of if they reach the postseason or not, they just need to part ways with Derrick Favors ASAP.
Favors hasn’t really stepped up a bit in Gobert’s absence and his trade value is pretty much at an all time low right now, as he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent and isn’t quite appealing as a half season rental on a tweener big man whose development has really stalled. Still, they should try and move him and get anything they can in return before he walks away for free.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are really struggling to put together an identity right now, especially with Lonzo Ball racking DNPs for preventive reasons due to several nagging pains, and it doesn’t seem like they’re going to turn things around any time soon unless they land top tier talent via trade or during the offseason.
So, Julius Randle and Brook Lopez, both being unrestricted free agents; are the most tradable assets they currently own. Randle isn’t going to be the beast we all thought he’d be out of the gate, but he’s still got a lot of upside, while Lopez is a veteran scoring big man that should get some decent value in return. Also, Los Angeles needs to clear cap space to make a push during the offseason, so they’re likely to deal Jordan Clarkson as well.
The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the worst teams in professional basketball right now, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering they lost their entire core in Tony Allen, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter, while Chandler Parsons hasn’t been able to shake off his injuries and Mike Conley has been sidelined for most of the season with an achilles injury as well.
So, considering they refuse to part ways with Marc Gasol (even though they should totally do it), they should just go ahead and deal Tyreke Evans, whose having the best season of his career and should have a lot of suitors looking for instant offense off the bench, trying to get some young assets or picks in return.
Los Angeles Clippers
DeAndre Jordan has been uncomfortable in the Los Angeles for a long while now, otherwise he wouldn’t have been that close to signing with the Dallas Mavericks a few years ago. Not to mention that he’s lost pretty much all of the teammates that actually convinced him to stay.
It’s been said that Jordan’s keen to reunite with his former point guard in Houston, and there’s absolutely no doubt that he’s going to opt out of the last year of his deal and he’s not going back to the Clippers. Having said that, and even though the Clips are currently sitting at a playoff spot, they should just trade the guy before they lose him for nothing.
And finally, we’ve got Sacramento, arguably the worst franchise in all professional sports. The Kings are currently amidst a rebuilding process and even though their young ballers like De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Skal Labissiere are currently struggling a bit, the future seems bright for the Kings (until they find yet another way to shoot themselves in the feet).
So a guy like Zach Randolph doesn’t have much room there, especially during this stage of his career, where he could be helping a championship contender off the bench to try and get a ring before he retires. Besides, with the Kings resting at least two veterans each game, he’s not going to be in good shape unless he gets traded right now. Let's also not forget that he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.