Trade debates: Who stays, who goes?

Which of these five top trade targets should be moved before the trade deadline?

Updated: December 18, 2012, 9:23 PM ET
ESPN.com

Jennings/EvansRocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesBrandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans looked like cornerstones in 2009-10. Are they trade bait now?

Trade talk is beginning to simmer, with a few big names in the middle of the discussion. Which of these five trade chips -- Pau Gasol, Anderson Varejao, Andrea Bargnani, Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans -- should be dealt? Our panel has the answers.


1. The Lakers should trade Pau Gasol.

A. Agree strongly.
B. Agree somewhat.
C. Disagree somewhat.
D. Disagree strongly.

Chad Ford, ESPN.com: B. Agree somewhat. In theory, sure. In practice, I'm not so sure. I've yet to hear the scenario that makes this deal palatable for the Lakers. The Timberwolves want him, but I'm not sure Derrick Williams is the answer to L.A.'s problems. Adding Nikola Pekovic would make it much more interesting, but it's just unclear how he and Dwight Howard would coexist on the same team. The Hawks aren't giving up Josh Smith for him. Could a Bucks deal of Ersan Ilyasova (who can't be traded until Jan. 15) and Beno Udrih get it done?

James Ham, Cowbell Kingdom: A. Agree strongly. While I loved the idea of Gasol and Howard as an all-world front line, it hasn't really translated on the floor. The Lakers have to address their lack of talent off the bench and Gasol still has enough value to yield a lower-level starting forward, a solid bench scorer and maybe a draft pick.

Colin McGowan, Cavs: The Blog: B. Agree somewhat. Gasol is struggling to figure out how he fits into Los Angeles' new offense, but then so is everyone not named Kobe Bryant. The rail-thin Lakers could flip the Spaniard for a few solid bench players if the opportunity arises, but GM Mitch Kupchak shouldn't be eager to give up on a talent like Gasol.

Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball: A. Agree strongly. This has less to do with Gasol and more to do with the Lakers' absence of talent outside of their core group. For the sake of a deep playoff run, the Lakers need some reserves who can give Kobe, Dwight and Steve Nash a break during the season. Even a package of role players would be a huge upgrade over their current group.

Darius Soriano, Forum Blue And Gold: D. Disagree strongly. Gasol's skill and versatility are too valuable to the Lakers. He's still good enough to anchor the pivot when Howard is off the floor and malleable enough to play next to him when they share it. And while serviceable depth is a concern, it'd be nearly impossible for the Lakers to get enough value back to replace everything he does.


2. The Cavaliers should trade Anderson Varejao.

A. Agree strongly.
B. Agree somewhat.
C. Disagree somewhat.
D. Disagree strongly.

Ford: A. Agree strongly. Sell high. Varejao is playing like an All-Star this season and he has stayed healthy. A number of teams in contention, led once again by the Timberwolves, are in the hunt for him. The Cavs want multiple young assets or draft picks back in return. Again, I don't see a perfect fit. The Bucks are a possibility, as they have a number of interesting young bigs. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Raptors go after him as well. They have a number of interesting young players (Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross anyone?) and the rumblings out of Toronto sound as though it needs to start winning now.

Ham: A. Agree strongly. This is a tough one. Varejao is having a career year at age 30, which tells you to sell, sell, sell. But stripping Kyrie Irving of his only true post presence may have lasting effects. At the end of the day, the Cavs should be able to land a long-term solution at one of their glaring positions of need for an aging, injury-prone center playing well above his ability.

McGowan: B. Agree somewhat. In a vacuum, the Cavs should unload Varejao, whose stock will never be higher, but it's going to be difficult for them to get something close to equal value in return. Nearly all of the title contenders that desire Varejao's services are devoid of the young talent and/or lottery picks that Cavs GM Chris Grant covets.

Schmidt: A. Agree strongly. Embrace a rebuild. Don't hang on to assets too long. Of course Varejao makes them a better team, but does he make them a playoff team? Obviously not. Sell high and get something in return, be that a pick or a prospect. Whomever they get, he'll help them in four years more than Varejao.

Soriano: C. Disagree somewhat. Not only is his contract great, but there are few big men who defend and clean the glass like Varejao. The Cavs would be wise to keep him and those skills on their team. However, if they're blown away by an offer, his injury history and age should be reasons to consider a deal that helps accelerate their rebuilding.


3. The Raptors should trade Andrea Bargnani.

A. Agree strongly.
B. Agree somewhat.
C. Disagree somewhat.
D. Disagree strongly.

Ford: A. Agree strongly. Bargnani has been an example of a player whose team internally values him more than other teams have for years. This has been Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo's project and after years of false starts, it's pretty clear he will never live up to his promise. I don't think there's any team dying to take on his deal, but if the Raptors are willing to offer some of their young players in return, the equation may change quickly.

Ham: B. Agree somewhat. Bargnani is talented, but he really needs the right situation to flourish, and I'm not sure he can find that again in Toronto. The Raptors have compiled some nice complementary pieces in Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas, but Bargnani isn't a franchise guy, and you have to wonder if both the team and the player in this situation wouldn't benefit greatly from a change.

McGowan: A. Agree strongly. Bargnani seems to have openly quit on his team, but who wants to pay $23 million over the next two seasons for an inefficient power forward who can't guard anyone? The Raptors might have to package him with a more enticing asset if they want to get rid of him.

Schmidt: C. Disagree somewhat. His value will never be lower. If he can be a part of a larger deal, such as one that could bring in a Gasol, then sure, let him go. But don't just punt Bargs for the sake of starting over. This season is a loss anyway, so the Raptors might as well let him try to boost his value.

Soriano: A. Agree strongly. While he's still young, Bargnani's game has plateaued in Toronto. Also, his poor defense and single-focused offensive approach require too specific a team to surround him, but he's not elite enough to justify being a building block who shapes the Raptors' roster construction. A change of scenery would do both sides some good.


4. The Bucks should trade Brandon Jennings.

A. Agree strongly.
B. Agree somewhat.
C. Disagree somewhat.
D. Disagree strongly.

Ford: D. Disagree strongly. I just don't see it. He's 23 years old and productive. He can be maddeningly inconsistent, but if the Bucks bail on him … what's left?

Ham: E. Ambivalent. That was an option, wasn't it? The Bucks are a very strangely constructed team and it's hard to tell what they need and what they don't. I don't love the Jennings-Monta Ellis backcourt, but if Jennings was a third guard playing off the bench, they might be able to coexist.

McGowan: C. Disagree somewhat. I'm not sure what the Bucks are building, but they are relatively young and entertaining. If GM John Hammond thinks the Ellis-Jennings backcourt experiment has been a complete disaster or that Jennings will fetch too high of a price in restricted free agency, he could ship out the 23-year-old guard, but I would urge him to be patient.

Schmidt: A. Agree strongly. Dismantle this 9-seed machine. Jennings has proved he is a pretty good player. Not an all-by-himself franchise-changer like Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul or Derrick Rose. But if the Bucks let him go, it should signal a whole new direction for the team. Ellis and every expiring should follow him out the door.

Soriano: A. Agree strongly. Jennings has not improved much, if at all, since his rookie season. And while he has obvious talent, his ball-dominant, low-efficiency style can be easily replaced at a much lower cost than it will take to re-sign him when his contract is up. Better to deal him before contract talks get messy over the next 12 months.


5. The Kings should trade Tyreke Evans.

A. Agree strongly.
B. Agree somewhat.
C. Disagree somewhat.
D. Disagree strongly.

Ford: A. Agree strongly. They should've never drafted him. At the time GM Geoff Petrie was trying to save his job and wanted a guy who could come in and play right away. A few years later, it's pretty clear that Evans peaked in his rookie year. The Kings are a mess and Evans' style of play doesn't help things, and, again, his stock is so low, I'm not sure what the value will be. One team to watch is the Celtics -- Danny Ainge loved him before the draft. I'm not sure Boston has the assets to get a deal done, but I could see the Celtics trying to make something happen.

Ham: D. Disagree strongly. The main reason I disagree is because if you polled 100 fans on Evans' value, you would come away with 100 different answers. There are plenty of teams out there who think that Evans' issues have more to do with the Kings than the player and they might be right. But it's too early to give up on him, especially when you don't know what he's worth.

McGowan: A. Agree strongly. It would behoove both sides to part ways as soon as possible. Evans might be able to reconstruct his career on a new team, and the Kings could use him to acquire a player who has "pass" in his vocabulary.

Schmidt: C. Disagree somewhat. For his sake, I hope he's moved. But if I were running the Kings, I'd hang on to him to see what happens. Even if he signs an offer sheet and the Kings match this summer, he'll still have trade value next season. He's a known talent who perpetually gets the benefit of the doubt because of how bad his franchise has been.

Soriano: A. Agree strongly. Evans has talent but no longer fits on a Kings team that is better off building around its frontcourt. He needs the ball in his hands to be at his best, but the team has enough creators on the wing to be a more efficient team without catering to his needs as a high-usage player.