With less than 18 hours to go before the official deadline, things seem calm on the outside. But the talks are moving at a rapid pace for a number of key names around the NBA.
Here’s the latest intel on trade discussions happening throughout the league.
A High Price Tag for Aaron Gordon
The Boston Celtics remain the frontrunner for Aaron Gordon, but multiple league sources expressed skepticism that Marcus Smart would be included in any deal that includes multiple first-round picks for the veteran forward. Whether that means Boston might include Smart with one first-rounder, or won’t include Smart at all isn’t fully known.
“There’s just no way Boston is giving up Smart and two picks for (Gordon),” a source commented.
There are also complicating factors in terms of taking money back when it comes to Evan Fournier. Someone for Boston has to be sent out and Tristan Thompson only accounts for a little under $10 million in a deal that would likely have compound parts involving Gordon and Evan Fournier.
The Celtics and Nuggets are currently circling the same number of targets. Both teams are interested in Gordon and are pursuing Harrison Barnes. They each are looking for wings who can defend, pass, and shoot, but aren’t necessarily superstars — though there continue to be questions as to whether Gordon thinks of himself as such.
Pawns and Kings
Speaking of Barnes, multiple league sources expressed the same sentiment this week: the Kings are of too many minds. Are they sellers? Buyers? Stand pat? Minor moves? Liquidate? Upgrade?
There isn’t a clear sense from teams who have called about Barnes that they have a direction they’re looking to go. Some teams got the sense they want to clear salary. Others indicated they’re looking for upgrades in return for their assets.
The ranking of available assets in terms of interest appears to be this:
- Richaun Holmes
- Nmanja Bjelica
- Buddy Hield (a distant fourth)
If the Kings move towards clearing assets, they’ll have a lot of options, but who knows if that’s the path they’ll take.
A Market Centered Around Big Men
A surprising number of centers are getting attention after the position was thought to be outmoded two years ago. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported Wednesday that the Knicks have entered the pursuit for Andre Drummond.
The Mavericks and the Knicks are the only two teams known to be looking to put assets forward for Drummond, and the Lakers are looking at other moves around Drummond, including potentially clearing out one of their centers, to make room for him after a buyout from Cleveland.
The Nuggets and Nets have both inquired about JaVale McGee; the Cavs’ whole approach of stockpiling centers may actually pay off with some assets.
Will Victor Oladipo Go?
A number of teams that had moved assets off the table have re-engaged, with the Houston Rockets for Victor Oladipo. As recently as late last week, the Rockets had signaled they weren’t going to give up Oladipo for nothing, even if meant losing him in free agency.
That’s changed in the last week. League sources indicated Houston had re-entered the market, but had done so with the implication they had received a competitive offer for the veteran guard.
In the past, the Knicks and Miami had expressed interest.
The Bulls are actively involved in the market, multiple sources suggest, with Lauri Markkanen said to be involved. The Athletic said the Bulls are “listening” to offers, but league sources told The Action Network in recent days Chicago has moved to actively pursuing upgrades with the young stretch forward.
More From Around the League
- The Hornets are looking for upgrades, but have resisted including any picks in prospective deals. They believe they can hold onto a playoff spot with LaMelo Ball likely back before season’s end and are looking for players to boost their chances this year, sources said.
- ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported this week that you can’t “rule out” Kyle Lowry to the Lakers. League sources continue to believe that Miami is the most likely destination, centered around a package that includes Kelly Olynyk, Andre Iguodala, Kendrick Nunn, and rookie Precious Achiuwa. Three different sources said their expectation is for the Heat to end up with one of Lowry or Oladipo, and sign LaMarcus Aldridge after a buyout from the San Antonio Spurs.
- The Hawks, sources say, have moved back from talks involving John Collins, with their recent win streak boosting a desire to make a run with the team as-is, especially with DeAndre Hunter back. The Hawks continue to listen to offers for Collins but he has moved from “likely moved” to “likely stays” in the minds of two sources involved in recent talks for the scoring forward.