Thursday’s NBA trade deadline is fast approaching, and rumours are flying like mad.
But before we take a look at the latest reports on which teams are making moves and which teams are holding firm, first an update on all that’s happened so far.
Along with the two big trades that have dominated the NBA world (DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans; Serge Ibaka to the Raptors), we’ve also seen the Lakers and Rockets cut an interesting deal.
On Tuesday night, just hours after Magic Johnson was named the new President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers, the Lakers dealt Lou Williams to Houston for Corey Brewer and an unprotected first-round pick. That’s notable — Williams had been linked to the Wizards, and though his defence leaves much to be desired he will still be a key offensive playmaker off the bench for the Rockets come the playoffs. The Lakers, meanwhile, have to feel good about snagging a first-round pick for Williams. As they continue their rebuilding effort, draft picks are key.
Now, to the rumours:
Celtics and Bulls locked in a stalemate over Jimmy Butler
Reports earlier in the week said that the Celtics were also interested in going after Paul George, but now all indications suggest they only have eyes for Butler. The question is whether the C’s can muster up a package that satisfies the Bulls. They are, after all, giving up their best player.
David Aldridge reported that the most important name here is Jae Crowder. Crowder is a key defender for the Celtics, and one of the few players in the league that can reasonably guard LeBron James. The Bulls, however, reportedly feel Crowder must be included — the logic, according to Aldridge, being that the Bulls can’t simply trade their best player for picks alone.
Adrian Wojnarowski’s reporting more or less confirms this, but with a different spin. Woj reports that the Bulls must be blown away by any offer from the Celtics, who are also wary of trading their rookie Jaylen Brown. Brown, the Celtics believe, has “star potential.”
As it stands right now, it sounds hard to imagine the Celtics will land Butler without giving up either Brown or Crowder.
Wizards have “significant interest” in Bojan Bogdanovic
The Wizards missed on Lou Williams, which means they are setting their sights on Brooklyn sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic. That said, Woj reports that Washington is hesitant to give up a first-rounder for a player that is likely to leave over the summer, and Bogdanovic does become a restricted free agent this summer. (Woj also notes that the Kings are interested in Bogdanovic.)
Pistons shopping … everyone?
Stan Van Gundy said last month that nobody in Detroit is truly safe, and reports over the past few days have said both Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are being tentatively shopped. There’s a difference between being available and actually getting traded, of course, and ESPN’s Marc Stein told Zach Lowe on Tuesday that no major action is likely to take place.
That said, Detroit reportedly inquired about trading Drummond for Boogie Cousins, but Sacramento didn’t bite. With regards to Caldwell-Pope, Detroit (per Wojnarowski) is uncertain about giving him a max contract this summer, despite the fact that they are high on him. As such, they may be fielding calls to get a sense of KCP’s market value ahead of the summer.
Nets finding no love for Brook Lopez
Thanks to the infamous trade that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn, the Nets still don’t have any draft picks. That’s not ideal when you have the worst record in basketball, but it does make just about anyone with any semblance of some trade value available ahead of the trade deadline (see: Bogdanovic).
Brook Lopez is the obvious choice to leave town, as he’s their top scorer and someone Brooklyn might actually be able to deal for a first-round pick. That said, Woj reports that the trade market is oversaturated with big men, meaning the Nets are finding the market for Lopez to be “really limited.”
Pacers showing interest in Jahlil Okafor
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported on Tuesday that the Pacers have expressed some interest in Philadelphia 76ers’ big man Jahlil Okafor, but for now that’s all we know. Okafor has remained in limbo in Philly, clearly behind Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel on the team’s depth chart, but not at all a bad player in his own right. Okafor is, after all, only 21. He could certainly enjoy more success in a different situation.
The Bulls have also shown interest in Okafor, according to Woj, though there appears to be some disagreement on his value. The Sixers value him as the former third pick in the draft (which he was), and would like to be compensated accordingly. The rest of the league already seems less high on the former Duke star.
According to David Aldridge, Okafor “will be moved” before Thursday’s trade deadline.
Thunder, Hawks, and Rockets still looking for help
The Vertical’s Chris Mannix (and Woj) report that Houston wants someone for the frontcourt, and OKC wants a wing. Atlanta, meanwhile, is trying to add pieces to help Paul Millsap, who can opt out this summer.
Minnesota in talks with the Knicks to trade Ricky Rubio for Derrick Rose
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the Timberwolves have inquired about a potential Rubio-for-Rose deal. Rose, of course, played the bulk of his career with Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago, where he won MVP. Rose is also on an expiring contract, while Rubio is on the books for the next three seasons. Getting rid of Rubio — which the Wolves are reportedly keen on doing — would help clear up some salary-cap space for Minnesota.
The Knicks, meanwhile, are taking calls about Rose, who wants a max contract this summer, according to ESPN. If the Knicks believe he won’t re-sign next season — or if they decide they don’t want him — it would be in their best interest to trade him for something before he leaves and they get nothing.
Full comments from @daldridgetnt on @NBATV on inclusion of Jae Crowder being a potential sticking point in Jimmy Butler negotiations pic.twitter.com/J6npmh5bqk
— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) February 22, 2017
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