5 disappointing offseason signings now eligible to be traded
With Dec. 15 here, any player signed in the offseason as a free agent can now be traded. Below are five players that could eventually be on the move.
Players who sign with teams as free agents during the offseason cannot be traded for three months or until Dec. 15, depending on which date comes later. Most free agent signings take place in July and August, making Dec. 15 the day where they become eligible to be traded.
We’ve now reached that point in the season. The restrictions on these players have now been lifted, so trade season is now open.
That isn’t to say 100 deals will be happening this week. Dozens of players signed with teams as free agents in the offseason, but most are fitting in well with their new teams. There are only a few that have not worked out as expected, at least to the point where teams might consider cutting bait before the damage gets even worse.
Who are they? Here are five players that could find themselves on the block, for various reasons.
In Stephenson’s case, he’s already on the block. The Hornets wasted no time making calls around the league and exploring trade options, according to multiple reports. The Brooklyn Nets and Stephenson’s former team, the Indiana Pacers, are possible trade partners, according to Yahoo! Sports.ow did it get so bad? Stephenson signed a three-year, $27 million deal in the offseason after turning down a five-year, $44 million deal from the Pacers. The move was considered a coup for Hornets, given Stephenson’s age and wide range of skills. He was also coming off a season in which he averaged 13 points, seven rounds and five assists per game. The Hornets were hoping that his addition would propel their 43-win team further up the Eastern Conference standings.
But the move has turned out to be a disaster for both Stephenson and Charlotte. The Hornets are 6-17 despite playing in the lowly East, and Stephenson’s play and attitude have contribute to the downfall. He’s averaged just 10 points per game and is shooting just 39 percent from the field. His three-point shooting has also disappeared, as he’s connecting on less than 17 percent of shots from long range. He’s also been seen sulking at times and frustrating teammates with his propensity to hold the ball.
And yet, Stephenson is still a young and talented player on a reasonable contract. Whether it’s the Pacers, Nets or someone else, Stephenson will generate interest from teams looking to buy low on his talent. Just how desperate are the Hornets to get rid of him? Do they want something of value back, or are they just looking to get Stephenson out of the locker room as quickly as possible?
Now that he’s eligible to be traded, chances are we’ll find out the answer to these questions soon.
The Suns acquired Isaiah Thomas in a sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings in the offseason even though they already had two stellar point guards on the roster in Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic. (Bledsoe, a restricted free agent, was later signed to a five-year extension). After playing 35 minutes per game in Sacramento last season, Thomas playing less than 24 minutes per game this year. He’s averaging 15 points and four assists, but shooting just 41 percent from the field.
Many assumed that the Sums would try playing all three point guards together or rotate the three equally, but that has not been the case. Bledsoe, Dragic and Thomas have shared the court for a total of just 73 minutes this year, per NBA.com, and the Suns’ three most-used lineups don’t include Thomas. The Suns also appear to be in a bit of a tailspin, as they’ve now lost five in a row. Their offense, which carried them last year, has become an average one this season.
All of this is to say that a trade involving Thomas could be beneficial for all parties. The Suns could get some frontcourt help and Thomas could get the starting role he covets. There are a lot of good point guards in the league, but every team could use a 20 point scorer who can break a defense down. If Thomas in indeed on the block, he could end up being one of the more intriguing trade chips of the season.
It should also be noted that Thomas has reportedly fired his agent, which could be a sign that he is not happy with what transpired in the offseason.
Monroe’s situation is a bit different than others. The Pistons big man was a restricted free agent last summer and signed a one-year, $5.5 qualifying offer with Detroit in the offseason. Monroe didn’t sign any official offers from other teams, most likely because this avenue was his best chance to escape Detroit. He will be unrestricted free agent this offseason.
But because of that decision, Monroe will be difficult to trade. He can veto any deal thanks to a little-known rule that prevents his new team from going over the salary cap to keep him as a free agent. The stipulation applies to any player on a one-year contract and is expected to cool Monroe’s market.
Teams calling Pistons about Greg Monroe get same answer: Monroe, who must approve trade, uninterested & wants to keep Bird rights, I’m told.
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) December 15, 2014
It’s possible that Monroe, who’s averaging 15 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes per game for the 5-19 Pistons, believes that playing for a new team would provide him with the opportunity to show the league that he’s worthy of a maximum contract. But that’s mostly for naught if the team acquiring him can’t pay him that.
When you’re 6-17 like Charlotte currently is, it means very little has gone right. When you’re a 6-17 team that came into the season with expectations like Charlotte did, it means moves are on the way.
Marvin Williams, who signed a two-year, $14 million deal with the Hornets in the offseason, hasn’t been the cause of the team’s downfall, but his play certainly hasn’t helped matters. The 6’9 Williams is averaging just six points and three rebounds in 24 minutes per game. He was brought in to replace the departed Josh McRoberts and add shooting from the power forward spot, but his lack of size and ability to play close to the basket on defense has killed the Hornets. Charlotte is surrendering the seventh-most points per 100 possessions this year after allowing the sixth-fewest last year. Opponents are scoring a whopping 109 points per 100 possessions when Williams plays.
Still, Williams is a long defender who is better of playing the wing and shooting threes. He’s no star, but he is a player who could help another team off the bench. Given how desperate some teams are for capable wing players and how desperate the Hornets are to make some changes, it’s possible that Williams ends up playing for another team before the season is out.
In Hill’s case, disappointment isn’t the right term. The 6’10 Hill, 27, is averaging career highs in points (13.1), rebounds (8.8), assists (two) and free throw attempts (three) per game after signing a two-year, $18 million contract in the summer.
But he also could be trade bait if the Lakers decide they’d rather play for draft position. If they and Kobe Bryant determine that making an unrealistic run at the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, then it’s unlikely Hill goes anywhere. But if the Lakers decide that the goal is to be good in 2015, trading Hill for a future asset makes sense. Plenty of teams could use a big man capable of running the floor, rebounding and hitting some shots.