Five Notable Players Who Become Trade-Eligible In December

Nearly every NBA team has at least one or two players who will become trade-eligible this month, starting on December 15. In total, approximately 100 players around the NBA who aren’t currently eligible to be moved will have those restrictions lifted before the end of the month. That’s nearly one quarter of the league’s players.

Those trade restrictions apply to players who recently signed new contracts, so in most cases their teams probably aren’t clamoring to shop them. After all, by mid-December, those players will only have spent about two months of regular-season action on their new deals — even rebuilding teams may want a little more time than that with their recently-signed players to assess whether they’ll be part of the club’s future.

Still, a look through the list of players who will become trade-eligible in December – either on the 15th or later in the month – reveals a few interesting names. Here are some players worth keeping an eye on when their trade restrictions lift:Nerlens Noel vertical

  1. Nerlens Noel, C (Mavericks): As a player who signed his qualifying offer, Noel would lose his Bird rights if he’s traded, so he has the ability to veto any deal the Mavericks might want to make. Still, the situation in Dallas has turned out to be even more unfavorable for Noel than the one he experienced in Philadelphia, increasing the odds that he’d waive his no-trade clause if the opportunity arose. Noel has averaged just 12.5 minutes per game this season, and with unrestricted free agency looming in 2018, a long-term union with the Mavs no longer appears likely.
  2. Alex Len, C (Suns): Len is in a similar situation to Noel, having settled for signing his qualifying offer after failing to find a suitable multiyear deal. He also has veto rights on any deal, but might be willing to accept a trade to a team that would give him more consistent playing time — his minutes have fluctuated significantly in recent weeks and he expressed frustration after not playing at all in a couple games. Trading Greg Monroe or Tyson Chandler would help clear the Suns’ logjam at center and could save the team more money, but it might be easier to find a deal involving Len and his inexpensive expiring contract.
  3. Derrick Rose, PG (Cavaliers): After accommodating Rose’s recent stint away from the team and working to reintegrate him, the idea of trading the point guard may not appeal to the Cavaliers. But it may be the best move for his career. The Cavs have thrived in Rose’s absence, and with Isaiah Thomas due back soon, it’s no longer clear how the former MVP fits into Cleveland’s rotation. If Rose is satisfied with sitting on the bench and waiting for an opportunity, the Cavs could keep him around, but if he wants to play, a trade may be his best path to consistent minutes.
  4. Amir Johnson, F/C (Sixers): There’s no indication that the Sixers are in any way dissatisfied with Johnson or have any interest in moving him. However, his contract makes him an intriguing trade chip if the Sixers want to make a move before the deadline. At $11MM, Johnson’s salary is an ideal mid-sized amount for potential salary-matching, and because it expires at season’s end, it would be more appealing to a trade partner than Jerryd Bayless‘ deal, which is guaranteed through 2018/19. I’m not expecting Johnson to be moved, but if the team tries to make an impact trade, his name figures to pop up in rumors.
  5. Dewayne Dedmon, C (Hawks): Dedmon, currently sidelined due to a tibia stress reaction, should be healthy and back on the court well before the trade deadline, barring any setbacks. The veteran center had been enjoying a career year before he went down, with 11.1 PPG and 7.8 RPG in a modest 24.4 minutes per contest. The 5-18 Hawks clearly aren’t contenders this season, making them probable sellers at the deadline, and Dedmon could be the club’s most appealing trade piece. He’s not expensive, at $6MM, and if he continues to play well, he’s a good bet to turn down his $6.3MM player option for next season, which means now would be the time for Atlanta to get something for him. His rim-protecting and rebounding ability could make him a nice, lower-risk target for a team that misses out on an impact center like DeAndre Jordan.

Note: Len becomes trade-eligible on December 23, while the other four players listed above become trade-eligible on December 15.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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