Potential contender-tanker trades

A look at four hypothetical NBA deals that would benefit all teams involved

Updated: December 4, 2013, 11:19 AM ET
By Bradford Doolittle | ESPN Insider

Hawes-AdrienUSA TODAY SportsSpencer Hawes and Jeff Adrien could help contenders who need a post presence.

With more than a fifth of the 2013-14 NBA season in the books, some teams have emerged as contenders while others appear lottery-bound. The rest reside somewhere between. For that group, it's still murky how to proceed. However, the top and bottom groups are already sizing each other up as teams plan their next organizational steps. So-called "tanking" teams will look to cash in on the trade value of players who don't fit the long-term plan, while teams that fancy themselves as contenders hope to plug any remaining roster deficiencies.

With that in mind, let's fill some of those contenders' gaps with possible trade candidates from tanking teams. All in all, I found 12 teams that to varying degrees could consider themselves contenders; eight teams that -- intentionally or not -- appear to be in rebuilding mode; and 10 teams stuck in the middle. From the bottom teams, I identified 39 players who could be attractive trade targets for contenders. Then it was just a matter of playing "make a deal" and making it all work under the CBA.

Here's a look at four potential trade fits between contender and tanking teams, driven by the needs and targets of the contenders.


Houston Rockets


Need: rebounding PF