Over the course of the 2018/19 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.
The Warriors have been one of the NBA’s least active teams in terms of in-season trades over the last several seasons, but the other four Pacific teams all look like good candidates to be active over the next couple months. The Kings may be buyers, the Suns are in the market for a point guard, and the Lakers and Clippers will seek upgrades that don’t compromise their 2019 cap space.
Here’s our latest look at a few possible trade candidates from the Pacific…
Milos Teodosic, G
Los Angeles Clippers
$6.3MM cap hit; restricted free agent in 2019
Last month, in the midst of a 14-game stretch in which he appeared in four games and played less than 24 total minutes, Teodosic expressed some frustration with how his time in the NBA is going, suggesting he’d likely return to the EuroLeague in 2019 — perhaps even before the end of the NBA season.
With Lou Williams on the shelf due to a hamstring injury, Teodosic has had the opportunity to play a bigger role over the Clippers‘ last two games, and he should continue to get regular minutes for at least a couple weeks. However, if he falls out of the rotation again before the trade deadline, Teodosic could become a trade candidate.
The Clippers have no shortage of backcourt options and teams like the Suns or Magic could really benefit from having a veteran point guard setting up their young players for easy baskets. Those clubs would also have an easier time carving out a clear-cut role for the former EuroLeague star.
Zach Randolph, C
$11.69MM cap hit; unrestricted free agent in 2019
A starter last season for the Kings, Randolph hasn’t played a single minute this season and looks like a buyout candidate. Before they consider negotiating a buyout though, the Kings figure to thoroughly explore the trade market to see if Randolph’s $11.69MM expiring contract might be a useful trade chip.
Combined with Sacramento’s $11MM in cap room, Randolph’s expiring deal could give the club some intriguing options on the trade market. For instance, since the Kings reportedly have interest in Otto Porter, let’s say the Wizards make Porter available for cap relief and draft picks.
Sacramento could attach a future pick to Randolph ($11.69MM) and Ben McLemore ($5.46MM), who is also in the final year of his contract. If both teams were over the cap, those two players wouldn’t be enough to match Porter’s $26MM+ salary, but the under-the-cap Kings aren’t subject to those salary-matching rules and could make it work. The Wizards, meanwhile, would get out of tax territory, pick up a future asset, and significantly increase their 2019 cap flexibility.
There’s no indication that that specific scenario is on the table, but it’s an example of how the Kings could leverage expiring contracts like Randolph’s and their cap room in order to make a major move.
Dragan Bender, F/C
$4.66MM cap hit; UFA in 2019
Typically, a 4-24 team like the Suns would be able to find plenty of minutes for a big man who is just two-and-a-half years removed from being drafted fourth overall. However, Bender’s days in Phoenix appear to be nearing an end. The team declined his 2019/20 option in October and has played him in just 10 games (8.6 MPG) so far this season.
If even the Suns can’t find a role for Bender, perhaps his days in the NBA are numbered too. But the seven-footer knocked down 36.6% of his three-pointers last season and he’s still just 21 years old. If another club wants to roll the dice on Bender’s upside, it seems like Phoenix would be open to making a move.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.