By: Jon Mladic
Much of an NBA player's production level is based on his situation. Does he have complementary teammates? Is he in the right offensive system? Is he a useful member of the team's roster?
When the answer to these types of questions starts to more frequently become "no," it's time for a trade. For the player and the franchise, a fresh start is best. Here are six players that need to be traded this year:
6. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies. Conley is a talented point guard. The problem for the Grizzlies is that they also have Kyle Lowry and O.J. Mayo. Instead of wasting a skilled player's season on the bench, the Grizzlies will trade either Conley or Lowry - they still need plenty of pieces on their roster, and should be able to fill at least one hole in return for the talent he offers.
5. Kyle Korver, Utah Jazz. Sadly, the Korver effect might be in its final days in Utah. This is making the best out of the situation. Utah's owner will not pay the luxury tax next season, and if the Jazz want to keep Carlos Boozer running the pick and roll with Deron Williams while not parting with Mehmet Okur, it looks like it will have to be Korver that goes. The Jazz simply need to get something in return for him.
4. Ben Gordon, Chicago Bulls. Gordon could fit in on plenty of clubs: he is a legitimate starting shooting guard that can score about 20 points a game, or he could return to the role of sixth man for an organization looking to add depth. But he no longer belongs on the Bulls, who will already have to find playing time for Thabo Sefolosha behind starter Larry Hughes. Moving him to point guard wouldn't help either, with Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose ahead of him on the depth chart there.
3. Jamaal Tinsley, Indiana Pacers. Larry Bird is convinced the Pacers can still get a quality piece in return for Tinsley. In any case, Tinsley will not have a role on the Pacers this year. T.J. Ford, Jarrett Jack and possibly even Travis Diener are ahead of him in line for playing time. They might take their time, but the Pacers will eventually trade Jamaal.
2. Stephon Marbury, New York Knicks. Now that the Knicks have Chris Duhon to run the show, there is (if it's even possible) even less of a need for them to hold on to Starbury. Reports are that he is in great shape - New York would do well to pick up anything in return for him at this point. If they can't find a trade partner, they could always just release him.
1. Zach Randolph, New York Knicks. Zach Randolph is not as bad a player as he has seemed lately on the Knicks. And he certainly is not as bad as he will seem playing in Mike D'Antoni's offensive system. How exactly is Randolph (listed at 260 pounds) going to help this offense run the floor? Even in half-court sets, he will slow the fluidity of the team down. It's time for a new home for Randolph, one where he can be a focal point of a slower, more deliberate offensive system.
While there are probably more players that would do better in a different context, these are six players that simply do not fit with their team's current mold, and won't belong if the team continues in the direction they are headed. This does not mean they are not talented players. In fact, sometimes new scenery is the best motivator a player can get.