The NBA Trade Deadline is an opportunity for teams and players to shake things up. Who could really use a new set of circumstances?
It’s not as dramatic as an NBA summer, but February’s trade deadline is an opportunity for NBA teams to shuffle the deck. That might mean searching for that key player to get over the hump or taking on toxic assets to help build for the future.
For some players, it’s also an opportunity for a fresh start. A chance to leave a bad situation and find a new home that can be more supportive, offer more opportunity, or just make better use of their talents. Here are 10 players who could really use a fresh start at the deadline.
10. Dragan Bender, F, Phoenix Suns
Bender will absolutely be getting a change of scenery, if not at the deadline then this summer when he hits free agency since the Phoenix Suns declined his rookie option for next season. Having a team decline that four-year option is an extremely strong statement, especially for a pick as high as Bender (No. 4 in 2016) and a team as bad as the Suns.
He’s barely been on the court this season but had the opportunity to start the last two games for Phoenix, perhaps auditioning for a trade, and scored 13 and 12 points in those two games, grabbing 10 rebounds in each. For a player 7-foot-1, his athleticism and defensive potential are still extremely appealing and he made 36.6 percent of 322 3-point attempts last season. The predraft Kristaps Porzingis comparisons look increasingly absurd but somewhere in there is a solid, versatile contributor and the next stop of his NBA career could help pull that out.