NBA Trade Rumors 2014: Best NBA Players to Steal Before 2014 NBA Trade Deadline
- Jean-Paul Salamanca
- Jan 03, 2014 10:41 AM EST
As the NBA trade deadline approaches in late February, a bulk of the rumors surround some recognizable names.
Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Luol Deng, Zach Randolph, Pau Gasol, Jeremy Lin and other names have been thrown around frequently over the last few weeks. Many of those names could immediately impact whatever team they join. A few could be paradigm-shifting, balance-changing players that could transform decent teams into title contenders, or be the missing piece for some teams looking to become NBA Champions this year or in the next two seasons.
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However, sometimes, it's not all about the flashy names that can make teams winners at the NBA trade deadline. Sometimes, it's about looking for the steals. The undervalued players that can provide a bigger impact than expected, yet are overlooked in the short term. Fortunately enough for NBA teams looking to shake up their rosters, a few of these players are available before the Feb. 20 trade deadline. Some of them could add defensive presence. Some could add pinches of much-needed offense. Others could bolster the bench, an invaluable asset down the stretch in late March and April for teams looking to rest their stars, especially during the NBA playoffs.
More importantly, some of these players wouldn't require teams to break the bank either in cash or in assets in order to acquire them. Sometimes in sports, it's not about who spends the most, but who spends the smartest that often gives teams a better chance to win it all. A few players from around the league could pay off huge for shrewd teams looking for big dividends at a smaller price.
A few of these players could be true steals come trade deadline.
The rebuilding Kings have one tempting piece of trade bait to barter with, if they choose, in the sharpshooting Fredette. Lethal beyond the arc, Fredette is an impressive 45.0 percent from three-point range this season, which matches well with his 44.0 field goal percentage. The Glen Falls, N.Y., native was just as lethal from three-point territory last season, hitting 41.7 percent from downtown. At age 24, Fredette is young, hungry and gives teams a perimeter threat with the three-ball that makes him hard to ignore on defense; and he's very available. The Sacramento Kings have declined to pick up his $3.1 million contact option for next season, meaning he'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Athletic and talented, Lowry would make a fine addition to any team around the league. Still young at 27, the former Villanova point guard has been heating up on the floor for the Toronto Raptors. Over the last 10 games, Lowry has been electric, averaging 17.7 points and 8.9 assists for Toronto. Due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, at his current price tag of $6.2 million, Lowry could be a nice addition for any team that is either looking for a longterm point guard option or looking to add some short term offensive firepower or depth in the point guard position.
If you're looking for a shooting guard who adds scoring, depth and a smooth shooting touch, Crawford is your guy. In 2010, Crawford was the Sixth Man of the Year thanks to an 18.0-point season for the Atlanta Hawks. Now, Crawford has given his flair for offense off the bench to the title-hungry Los Angeles Clippers, who are 22-12 and fourth in the West. Over his last 10 games, Crawford has put up 17.9 points, a little higher than his 16.5-point average for the season. Crawford still has north of $16 million left on his three-year contract, but he could be had if the Clippers find a trading partner that is willing to offer up a quality big man, something they desperately need on their roster. And whatever team Crawford does end up going to in that case would be getting a player who can help make a team a lot deeper off the bench.
The last big holdover from the Orlando Magic's 2009 NBA Finals team, the 31-year-old Nelson could be a strong veteran addition to a team on the cusp of a title. While the Magic are not eager to deal Nelson away, reports have surfaced over the past month that Orlando would "entertain" offers for Nelson or Glen Davis. He's not exactly a spring chicken, but he's still strong and effective in a pick-and-roll situation when he turns up the intensity and becomes an aggressor on the offensive side of the ball. He's due to make $16.6 million before he goes off the books next season, but if a team is willing to pay the right price, Nelson could make for a solid starting point guard.
While Copeland had a nice showing in his rookie season in New York last year, he has had little playing time with the Indiana Pacers this season, playing an insignificant 6.1 minutes per game with Indiana, who are loaded at the small forward position with stars Paul George, Solomon Hill and the imminent return of Danny Granger. Young, athletic and big at a statuesque 6'8", 235 pounds, Copeland is a natural scorer and has an effective shot from the field if given a chance. If given a chance and allowed to flourish, he could develop into one of the better scorers in the league in the next five years. And in his second year, he may be quite the steal, both in contract and in talent for any team with an eye towards the future.