On December 15, most NBA players who signed new contracts this past offseason can officially be traded, which could prompt a flurry of player movement. This means any team who signed a player that just isn’t working out can now find a trade partner for him instead.
In essence, it means general managers across basketball now have more flexibility by being able to include a wider variety of contracts to appease the NBA’s complicated salary-matching system during trades.
Teams have already been discussing trades for months, but as we hear all the time, discussions don’t always lead to deals. In this case, we’ve highlighted five NBA players who would be better off getting traded to a new destination this season.
John Collins must escape Atlanta
One player who’s seemingly constantly involved in NBA trade rumors is Atlanta’s John Collins. For whatever reason, reports have suggested he’s never been overly pleased with his role within the Hawks’ offense.
The offseason addition of All-Star DeJounte Murray hasn’t helped. If anything, Murray’s arrival has arguably made Collins’ situation even worse.
Collins has the worst shooting splits of his career, and to no surprise, it’s led to him averaging just 12.3 points per game, the lowest mark since his rookie year.
Something is impacting Collins when he takes the floor, and it doesn’t make any sense for the Hawks star to be struggling more when Atlanta has only put another All-Star talent around him. If anything, there should be less pressure, less attention, and more space to score. In other words, Collins needs a trade.
Ben Simmons needs a longer leash
This is nothing new, but Ben Simmons needs a longer leash. He needs to be in a situation where he’s not expected to be an All-NBA player night in and night out. While it may not be what he wants (who knows), it would be best if Simmons joined a non-contender, where he has plenty of time and space to work out his inefficiencies.
It’s understandably taken Simmons a long time to get his feel for the game back after spending so much energy trying to recover either mentally or physically from the ailments that held him out of action.
The Nets have done a fine job of fostering a favorable situation, but there’s just too much pressure, both from the local media market, from an impatient fanbase, and from within, knowing they need to reach the postseason with a star-studded roster.
Simmons should seek a situation where he is thrust into a starting role and allowed to play north of 30 minutes per game. If that means joining a tanking squad, so be it.
Patrick Beverley deserves a bigger role elsewhere
Ever since he was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Patrick Beverley has long seemed like a strong fit for the Los Angeles Lakers. He can bring defensive intensity on any given night. He’s also an above-average point guard, both at distribution and shooting from distance. Honestly, he fits just about anywhere.
Except, we haven’t seen him thrive in the same ways we saw when he joined the Timberwolves and helped them reach the playoffs. Beverley didn’t begin as a starter in Minnesota, but he quickly earned his way into the starting five.
He may be starting in L.A. too, but the results have been underwhelming. Oddly enough, Pat Bev is actually averaging more minutes per game than he did with the Wolves, but his shooting percentages are also in the tank.
Patrick Beverley stats with Lakers: 26.9 MPG, 4.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 29% FG, 23% 3PT
Beverley’s getting older. He’s 34, but he’s still playing sound defense, and we don’t believe he’s just suddenly lost his scoring touch from one season to the next. Beverley can do a lot more, and it’s up to Lakers coach Darvin Ham to get one of his best role players on the right track.
Saddiq Bey has to get out of the Detroit tank
The 19th overall pick from the 2020 NBA Draft, Saddiq Bey was on track to becoming a star for the Detroit Pistons. We saw it a season ago, when the former Villanova standout managed to score a career-high 51 points, shooting 10-of-14 from distance in a win over the Magic late in the year.
Many anticipated Bey to maintain that success heading into the 2022-23 season. Only that’s been far from the case. Instead, the 23-year-old forward has seen his scoring take a dip, and he even lost his spot in the starting lineup for a brief stretch.
This is one of the worst teams in basketball, and with Cade Cunningham being ruled out for the rest of the season, the Pistons only figure to get even worse. Bey should be given every possible chance to succeed with the team that drafted him just two years ago, but instead, coach Dwane Casey seems to be growing impatient with his 6-foot-7 small forward.
Bey should be in a situation where he isn’t afraid to let it fly and isn’t in fear of losing his starting spot. Apparently, Detroit is no longer an ideal fit.
Zach LaVine has to find a better fit than Chicago
We’ve witnessed Zach Lavine flourish since getting traded from the Timberwolves to the Bulls in the Jimmy Butler trade. He’s become a two-time All-Star in each of the past two seasons but isn’t on track to make it back this year.
The Bulls are four games below .500, and DeMar DeRozan has emerged as the team’s leading shot-taker, stealing LaVine’s thunder. Like we saw the Hawks do in Atlanta by supplying Trae Young with a defensive-minded sidekick with Dejounte Murray, LaVine needs a similar situation. He and DeRozan aren’t an optimal pairing, and it seems unlikely that DeRozan, the team’s leading scorer, would be the one to go.
LaVine’s had four consecutive seasons scoring north of 23 points per game, but this season his scoring average sits at 21.8 per contest. He’s trending down, but at 27, the LaVine should be in the prime of his career.
He may never reach Steph Curry-like scoring levels, but there’s potential for the Bulls or another team to unlock more out of LaVine. And we’re just not seeing it since DeRozan came to town, which means it may be time to split the dynamic scoring duo apart.