The NBA’s trade deadline is just over 2.5 weeks away, and the rumors are swirling. Most rumors this week involve teams wanting to offload talent. We’ll find out in the next few weeks whether teams are willing to pay what it takes to make a deal or not.
Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post reported that there may be very little action leading up to the Feb. 8 deadline:
The consensus among the throng of scouts and executives who convened at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, a Toronto suburb (and, more importantly, home town of former NBA forward and St. Bonaventure legend Andrew Nicholson), is that this year’s trade deadline looks like it will be a dud.
While Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic seems like he’s destined to land somewhere — potentially as soon as this week, once he finally is eligible to be traded Monday — there isn’t another obvious trade candidate on the market. The Charlotte Hornets should consider trading Kemba Walker but to this point have shown no desire to do so. The Los Angeles Clippers are hanging around the playoff picture in the West, making it less likely than it seemed a month or two ago that DeAndre Jordan will be traded. The same goes for DeMarcus Cousins in New Orleans, as the Pelicans are desperate to make the playoffs and would like to keep him beyond this season.
Even the one executive who thought the deadline could be more active than people think had this to say: “There are plenty of good players to be had, but the problem is no one wants to take anything back.”
Since Bontemps published that story, the Charlotte Hornets have made Kemba Walker, along with several other players, available. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Charlotte is willing to move their All Star point guard if a team will take on one of their bad contracts:
Charlotte has been encouraging teams to make offers and appear eager to discuss attaching Walker to a larger trade where another team takes on one of the Hornets’ several far less desirable contracts, sources said.
Charlotte is hopeful that the inclusion of Walker in a potential trade could help bring back a good, young player or a first-round draft pick.
Ultimately, the Hornets know that trading Walker in any deal would be a reset for the franchise, which would be sending away its No. 2 player all time in terms of career points and assists.
Those “less desirable contracts” include Nicolas Batum (four years, $100 million), Dwight Howard (two years, $47 million), Marvin Williams (three years, $42 million) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (three years, $39 million) according to Woj’s report.
Nikola Mirotic, who became eligible to be traded on Jan 15, is likely to be moved, but according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, the Bulls aren’t rushing the process:
A source indicated the Bulls will continue to be patient with the process, making sure they leave potential buyers ample time to get into the mix or to raise their offers as the Bulls look for the best possible return for Mirotic.
Mirotic isn’t the only Bull available. Cowley also reported “Center Robin Lopez and guard Justin Holiday also could have a change of address sooner than later if the right offers come in.” K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls have also gauged interest in guard Jerian Grant.
Reports continue to have several Orlando Magic players available. Writing for the New York Times Marc Stein listed several players who could be moved:
Rival executives expect Jeff Weltman, Orlando’s new team president, to aggressively hunt for new homes for the likes of Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja, given that Nikola Vucevic’s broken finger is likely to preclude dealing the center.
Fournier responded to the trade rumors this week as reported by Josh Robbins in the Orlando Sentinel:
I’m not going to think about what’s going to happen or where I would enjoy playing or something, because it’s all speculation. That’s why I really don’t read this stuff: because you never know what’s going to happen. I got traded once and I had no idea. It really came out of nowhere. There was no rumors. There was nothing. And out of the blue I woke up one morning and I got traded. So I know this is just all talk. You really don’t know what’s going on upstairs [in front offices], so it really don’t matter, honestly. You’ve just got to focus on what you have to do, really. The rest is speculation.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are one team reported to be interesting in buying. Marc Stein tweeted this last week:
One trusted source pulled me aside at the @nbagleague Showcase last week in suburban Toronto and insisted that the Cavs will "definitely" swing at least one deal before the Feb. 8 trade deadline. But is there really one deal out there that closes this gap?— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 16, 2018
Adrian Wojnarowski suggested that the Cavs could be interested in the Utah Jazz’s Derrick Favors. Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reported Friday that they have expressed interested in Sacramento Kings guard George Hill:
In an effort to bolster their backcourt situation, the Cleveland Cavaliers are expressing interest in a trade for Sacramento Kings guard George Hill, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Cleveland has emerged as an interested suitor, with the Cavaliers pursuing Hill to potentially slide into a dual-guard role, starting at either backcourt position or playing as a reserve, league sources said.
Mark Stein added that the Cavs are looking into separate deals for Hill and LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and have shown interest in Lou Williams:
The Cavaliers are pursuing separate deala for DeAndre Jordan and George Hill in advance of the Feb. 8 trade deadline, according to league sources— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 20, 2018
The Cavaliers have allso registered trade interest in the Clippers’ Lou Williams, according to league sources, with Cleveland vets such as Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith featuring in various trade proposals.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 20, 2018
With the trade deadline looming Feb. 8, the Cavaliers do have some options, including trading their 2018 first-round pick, which could fetch interest on the market. In addition, they also have Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick in this year’s draft, acquired in the Kyrie Irving deal. However, several league sources told ESPN that the Cavs would prefer to hold onto the pick as a potential franchise-resetting asset should LeBron James leave as a free agent in July.
The Detroit Pistons are another team looking to add some help. Marc Stein reported in the New York Times that “The Pistons are openly pursuing roster upgrades via trade.” Vince Ellis reported in the Detroit Free Press that they have interest in Kemba Walker:
A person with firsthand knowledge of the situation indicated the Pistons are indeed interested in Walker, who reportedly has been made available by the Hornets.
“Certainly will look at it,” the source texted to the Free Press. “As always in hearing things, question is what would it take to get it done. What’s their ask?”
Some other notes from around the league this week:
- As reported here last week, several Atlanta Hawks players are rumored to be available. Dewayne Dedmon can be added to the list according to Mark Deeks of GiveMeSport.
- ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported that teams are unlikely to give up anything for Lakers forward Julius Randle who will be a restricted free agent this summer. Instead, teams interested in Randle will just try to give him an offer sheet in July.
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said they “are looking to use our cap space actively,” according to The Dallas Morning News. “We will take back salary to get picks or guys we think can play.”
- According to Marc Stein, Utah might be willing to move Rodney Hood and several teams have shown interest.
Trade rumors will continue to heat up as the trade deadline approaches. Check back next week for the latest.