NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Southeast Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

Friday is just the 11th day of the 2019/20 regular season, so trade talks around the NBA haven’t started to heat up yet. In fact, the trade market has been pretty quiet for months — no deal has been completed since the Thunder and Rockets finalized their Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul swap way back on July 16.

Still, based on contract situations and early-season rotations, some potential trade candidates may begin to emerge sooner rather than later. Here’s a look at three Southeast players who could fit that bill…

Dion Waiters, SG
Miami Heat
$12.1MM cap hit; $12.65MM guaranteed salary in 2020/21

Waiters was said to be unhappy with his playing time during the preseason and was suspended for the Heat‘s first game of the season after expressing his displeasure on the sidelines during the club’s final exhibition contest. Since then, he has remained inactive as he works toward meeting Miami’s conditioning requirements.

According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link), Waiters was “contrite” when he met with Heat officials this week, so perhaps he’ll eventually return to action, accept a reduced role, and play out the rest of his contract with the team without incident. Still, this feels a little like the situation Miami previously encountered with Hassan Whiteside, who griped about his declining role multiple times and eventually got traded.

With two years still left on his contract, Waiters doesn’t have positive trade value at this point, and the Heat’s hard cap will make it tricky for them to pull off certain deals. A trade may have to wait until 2020/21. But if the team explores the market in search of a major deal in the coming months, Waiters is a good candidate to be included to match salaries and get him a change of scenery.

Willy Hernangomez, C
Charlotte Hornets
$1.68MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

The Hornets almost certainly wouldn’t mind moving big expiring contracts belonging to Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Marvin Williams. But it’s hard to imagine the team getting quality assets for any of those players.

As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer pointed out in a recent mailbag, a trade involving Hernangomez might be more realistic, since his expiring salary is just $1.68MM. If a team is willing to give up a second-round pick for Hernangomez, Charlotte would probably listen, Bonnell writes.

Still, it’s not clear if there will be a team willing to pay even that modest price for Hernangomez, whose stock has dipped in the years since a promising 2016/17 rookie season. He has played in just two of the Hornets’ five games so far, and his trade value will be limited by the fact that he’ll be an unrestricted – rather than restricted – free agent at season’s end.

C.J. Miles, G/F
Washington Wizards
$8.73MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Miles has already been traded twice in 2019, from Toronto to Memphis in February and then to Washington in July. With the Wizards in retooling mode and not expected to contend this season, there’s no reason to think the team wouldn’t move him once more before the deadline if he can rebuild his value.

Although he’s still recovering from offseason foot surgery, Miles is reportedly inching closer to making his Wizards debut. The veteran swingman should fit right in on a squad that has been letting it fly from beyond the arc so far — Washington has attempted the sixth-most three-pointers in the NBA (38.0 3PG) and ranks fourth in three-point percentage (38.2%).

Given the other shooters on their rosters, the Wizards won’t need to lean on Miles to space the floor, but it will be interesting to see whether they give him regular minutes to showcase him for a potential trade. That $8.73MM expiring deal won’t be easy to move, and a buyout may ultimately be more likely, but if Miles looks healthy and is knocking down 40% of his threes, maybe a playoff team in need of shooting help gets desperate.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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