Five Players Most Likely to be Traded Once NBA Lockout Ends

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The NBA Lockout has frozen everything exciting about the off-season; no trades, no free agency, no “The Decisions.”  And depending on what is negotiated by the owners and players in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the rules of free agency and trades could forever be altered; especially if a discussed hard salary cap is in fact instated.

Once the lockout does end, there should be a plethora of moves both in free agency and via trades as teams will likely have to scramble to fill out their rosters before the season begins.  Here is a look at the five players most likely to be traded whenever the lockout does come to an end.

Chris Paul, Hornets
With David West and Aaron Gray opting out of their contracts prior to the NBA Lockout, the Hornets now only have six players on the roster for next season and that includes restricted free agent, Marco Belinelli.  With the salary cap expected to drop, the Hornets figure to have little flexibility in free agency to surround Chris Paul with better talent and convince CP3 to re-sign with New Orleans and not opt out of his contract next summer and become a free agent.

chris paul hornetsI think the Hornets’ best play is to follow suit with what the Nuggets did this past season.  Denver traded Carmelo Anthony and got some solid pieces in return rather than risk losing him via free agency and getting nothing in return.  If Paul does not commit to an extension, New Orleans needs to deal Paul in hopes of adding depth, youth, future cap space, and draft picks to help with the re-building process.  Also expect them to shop Emeka Okafor as well, possibly involving him in any deal with Paul since Okafor is scheduled to make more than $40 million the next three seasons.

Michael Beasley/Anthony Randolph, Timberwolves
By drafting Derrick Williams with the second pick in NBA Draft, the Timberwolves created a logjam at the forward spot.  As a result, Beasley and/or Randolph will likely be dealt once the lockout is resolved.  Neither play has great trade value, but Minnesota should be able to land a role player and possibly a second round pick in return.  If I was GM David Kahn (and thank goodness I’m not), I would try to package the pair together, possibly with another player in hopes pulling off a 3-for-1 type deal and adding a young veteran who could become the starting shooting guard or center.

Chris Kaman, Clippers
Assuming the Clips re-sign restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan, they will have the luxury of carrying two capable starting centers on their roster.  With Kaman in the final year of his contract and unlikely to sign an extension, they should actively look to trade him with the hope of landing a starting small forward in return.  A Kaman for Andre Iguodala rumor has been floated out there and with several teams searching for a starting center, L.A. should be able to move Kaman.

Ramon Sessions, Cavaliers
With Kyrie Irving the future of the franchise, the Cavs will look to deal one of their veteran point guards.  Since Baron Davis has an ugly contract with two years at about $27.7 million remaining, he is unlikely to be dealt.  Sessions will be more desirable since his contract is relatively affordable seeing that he is only due $8.75 million over the next two seasons.  He would be a solid option for a team in need of a back-up point guard and the Cavs should search for an up-grade on the wing with any potential trade partner.

Boris Diaw, Bobcats
Charlotte has solid depth at power forward with Tyrus Thomas, Eduardo Najera, D.J. White, and 2011 first round pick Bismack Biyombo.  However, they have holes in other places on their roster; specifically at center and on the wing.  With little flexibility in free agency, the financially strapped franchise might be better off trading Diaw who is in the final year of his contract to help fill those holes.

Other Players who could be Traded: Monta Ellis, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bynum, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a fomer contributor at The Washington Times Communities.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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