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4 NBA Pretenders That Need to Sell at the Trade Deadline

Carmelo Anthony
Portland Trail Blazers star Carmelo Anthony | Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The NBA trade deadline is less than three weeks away, meaning it's crunch time for front offices. Some teams racing toward a chance at the finals like the Heat, Celtics and Nuggets will obviously be looking to add that singular piece to push them over the top, but a handful of other teams hovering around the middle will have some tough decisions to make.

4. Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies v New Orleans Pelicans
Memphis Grizzlies v New Orleans Pelicans | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Grizzlies certainly have talent, and even a fighter's chance at the eighth seed in the West. However, it won't do them much good beyond a first-round playoff exit at best. Andre Igudola could prove to be a prime trade piece and push a real contender forward, while yielding some decent return for Memphis. There's plenty to like here, but this isn't the year to go for it.

3. Portland Trail Blazers

Carmelo Anthony is having a career resurgence this year and could be a valuable trade chip.
Carmelo Anthony is having a career resurgence this year and could be a valuable trade chip. | Sean Gardner, Getty Images

This season has been nothing short of a shocking disappointment for the Blazers. After reaching the Western Conference Finals only a year ago, a steep decline has put Portland near the basement of the West this season. The one gleaming distraction from the team's shortcomings has been the resurgence of Carmelo Anthony, a phenomenon the organization should take advantage of at the trade deadline, and give Anthony a legitimate chance at that elusive first ring.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

For years now, NBA fans have watched and waited for the Timberwolves to reach their potential, but this organization continues to force fans to wait and wait. So what's a little more waiting? A young promising roster simply never materialized in Minnesota, so it might be about time to stop taunting the fan base and move in a different direction.

The Jeff Teague trade has already proven that the organization might be flirting with another rebuild, and there are reports that Houston is interested in Robert Covington. But a more dramatic transaction, like moving Andrew Wiggins or Karl Anthony-Towns, would indicate a hard reset for the organization, but could yield a haul in return. No need to go half-measures and try to add D'Angelo Russell just yet.

1. Brooklyn Nets

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets - NBA China Games 2019
Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets - NBA China Games 2019 | Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

This just isn't the year for the Nets. Yes, they currently hold the eighth seed, and yes, Kyrie Irving has returned. But even with Irving, as we saw earlier this season, the Nets are much closer to pretenders than contenders. The worst possible outcome of their futile march to an early playoff exit (at best) would be Kevin Durant growing anxious and amping up his rehabilitation too quickly. The Nets can't allow that temptation to grow, and need to accept their fate for 2020.