As the NBA season whips past the holidays, a certain kind of season picks up: trade (and trade rumor) season. The Portland Trail Blazers are fairly mum on dealings, as always, although their fans are furiously burning through the ESPN Trade Machine ahead of the Feb. 8 deadline, which was moved up this offseason by the NBA.
Another deadline looms on Jan. 15, where players who signed new contracts this offseason can officially be traded, opening up a whole new market of players. That deadline passing will bring a bevy of new rumors along with it, so let’s recap what’s been going on before then (and stay tuned for a recap around Jan. 13 in anticipation of that).
In what started as training camp drama with teammate Bobby Portis, it seems Mirotic is ready to move on. The forward has rejuvenated the Chicago Bulls (and his trade value) with an 11-5 record since his return, averaging 17.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists, while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 45.9 percent from three.
With injured point guard Zach LaVine, who came to Chicago in the Jimmy Butler trade, nearing a return, Mirotic might have his opening to leave, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:
The Sun-Times reported last week that Mirotic and his representatives are standing firm on his trade request and that he is willing to waive the no-trade clause in his contract when he’s eligible to be dealt Jan. 15.
What presented a buy-low situation for suitors before has certainly been warped by the Bulls’ record and Mirotic’s performance since his return. But, he still wants to leave, and suitors can hold that over Chicago’s head when it comes to talks.
With the Los Angeles Clippers battling injuries to key players like Patrick Beverley, and Danilo Gallinari, their season doesn’t look promising. And with a less-than-hopeful future, center Jordan is a prime trade target. The athletic big man is averaging 11.5 points and 15.2 rebounds per game (best in the league).
Sources said Clipper officials have targeted three Bucks in any deal for Jordan. One is John Henson, who is currently the team’s starting center, while the others are reigning Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, who lost his starting spot when Bledsoe came aboard, and standout swingman Khris Middleton.
The Bucks have let it be known throughout the league that they want to add a physical big man to their roster, a void that was created when they dealt Greg Monroe and future draft picks to Phoenix for Bledsoe.
Jordan was also recently linked to the Cleveland Cavaliers, with a savory first-round (and unprotected) pick from the Brooklyn Nets in their pocket, according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
I’ve heard the Clippers would strongly consider [acquiring Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye for DeAndre Jordan] if the Cavs added the Brooklyn 2018 first-round draft pick that they acquired in the Kyrie Irving deal. I’ve heard the Cavs don’t plan to trade that pick
Jordan can use his player option to opt out and become a free agent this offseason.
With the Los Angeles Lakers eyeing big free agents in the summer of 2018, some casualties will come as they try to shed as much money off their roster as possible. Insert Julius Randle. The forward is playing the lowest minutes per game of his career (22.7), and a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski in early-November said Randle was “very unlikely” to stay with LA:
Following that sentiment up, Randle seems like a real trade piece, according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
In a win against the Houston Rockets, Randle only played eight minutes and didn’t seem delighted with it. While his demeanor indicated frustration, Randle said the right things when he spoke to reporters.
Randle’s situation is worth watching, though. The Lakers would love to trade him if they could, and Jordan Clarkson fits in that category too. Both players know they have been offered in trades by the Lakers, and they’re handling it in different ways.
Randle will be a restricted free agent this offseason after not receiving a rookie contract extension.
The Atlanta Hawks currently have the worst record in the NBA (10-28) and every bit of that showed against the Blazers on Friday night. Losing Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, and Jeff Teague put Atlanta straight into rebuild mode, with point guard Dennis Schroder as the franchise’s lead man.
Schroder makes the second-most money per year in Atlanta at about $15.5 million, but it seems the Hawks aren’t pushing away suitors for the team’s best player, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:
The Atlanta Hawks are right where they wanted to be when they started the season—sitting in last place, staring a top pick in the eyes.
This season was a rebuilding year for the Hawks, and they knew it. It also is a year in which the Hawks are open to shedding contract dollars. League sources continue to say the asking price on Dennis Schroder is too high to make sense, but the Hawks have at least listened to the idea and are not turning away conversations.
Schroder is currently averaging 19.6 points, 6.7 assists, and 3.0 rebounds this season.
As trade season progresses, some conversations will die out while others grow from them—it’s just the nature of dealing with rumors and word of mouth. But these early rumors give us reference points just in case a deal does go through, while putting team needs and player values in perspective.