The NBA Finals are almost around the corner, so that means that 28 NBA teams are already planning ahead to the future to try and be better next year so they won’t have to be watching the ultimate stage from their couches.
For teams that don’t have much cap space available or whose market isn’t quite as attractive to land top-tier free agents, the easiest way of getting better is via trade, either to rebuild or enter a win-now mode for the upcoming campaign.
Naturally, rumors come and go very quickly at this point of the year, so let’s go ahead and talk about the top 10 hottest trade rumors we’ve heard so far.
10. Schroder Wants Out
The Atlanta Hawks are stuck on a mediocrity spiral and Dennis Schroder wants no part on their rebuild, so he’s reportedly going to try and force a move out of Atlanta in order to make the most of his youth.
Furthermore, he’s stated that he would like to play for the Indiana Pacers or the Milwaukee Bucks, although there haven’t been any signs of either of those teams actually interested in trading for the German Rondo.
9. Nerlens Noel And Golden State Warriors?
Nerlens Noel’s career has taken a major downfall after the injury-prone big man struggled all season long with the Dallas Mavericks, even ending his season with a marijuana-related suspension by the league.
Still, the upside’s definitely there and he’s the kind of athletic rim protector the Warriors would love to have on their ranks, although he would have to take a major pay cut in order to make this happen.
8. Whiteside Is Done In Miami
Following a very disappointing season, the Miami Heat is keen to move Hassan Whiteside, who hasn’t hesitated to let everybody know that he’s not comfortable on the team after Spoelstra benched him through clutch time for most of the year.
Moving his deal will be kind of tricky, especially with him being known for his big mouth and high ego. Still, there are a lot of teams trying to get athletic bigs and rim protectors, and he’s a lock to leave the team via trade even if they have to pair him with 2nd round picks.
7. Kemba Walker Trade?
The Charlotte Hornets have been quietly trying to move their All-Star point guard for some time now, and truth to be told, this may be a win-win situation for both parties and he’s pretty much wasting his talents on a mediocre side.
According to the Charlotte Observer:
Marks told me the combination of this being a weak class of free-agent point guards and few teams having considerable cap space heading into July could work to the Hornets’ advantage if Kupchak looks for a Walker trade.
Charlotte is entitled of the 11th overall pick in this year’s Draft, so apparently they would try to either move both Kemba and the pick to get a top-notch All-Star or trade up on the Draft, or would try to move him to the Los Angeles Clippers in order to have the 11th, 12th and 13th overall picks.
6. Portland Could Move McCollum
The Portland Trail Blazers were arguably the biggest disappointment of the playoffs, being completely dominated by the New Orleans Pelicans with Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday completely locking down their Lillard-McCollum backcourt.
Aside from multiple top free-agents becoming available in July, a number of teams and players are seeking fresh starts after experiencing a relatively sub-par season. The Portland Trailblazers are one of those teams, and some very interesting rumors are already beginning to surface regarding the status of their backcourt star, CJ McCollum (via Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons).
Iso offense wasn’t effective for RIP City and reports state that the team may want to move McCollum in order to land a top 10 Draft pick this season to provide Dame with a more capable supporting cast.
5. The Mavs Want A Big Man
The Dallas Mavericks still haven’t been able to fill the void left by Tyson Chandler years ago, and they’ve been looking to upgrade their center position for years now even after the DeAndre Jordan fiasco.
So, with Julius Randle set to walk away with the Lakers unlikely to match any high bids for him, he’d be a major target for the Mavs, although some rumors state that they would be willing to give DeAndre Jordan another shot, and even offer a huge contract for the recovering DeMarcus Cousins.
4. Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan Or Kyle Lowry
Following their disappointing end of a historic season, the Toronto Raptors decided it was time to part ways with their longtime coach Dwane Casey, and it feels like he may not be the only big name heading out the door for the Raptors during the offseason.
Several reports point towards the Raptors trying to move either Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan in order to kick-start their rebuilding process, as their value is at an all-time high right now and they’ve proven that they can’t lead this team to playoff success.
3. Young Wolves Out?
Things are quite messy at Minnesota right now, with the team being quite disappointed in Andrew Wiggins lack of character and improvement and Tom Thibodeau reportedly having a personal feud against Karl-Anthony Towns.
So it seems like the Timberwolves would try to move one (if not two) of their young studs to try and make this one Jimmy Butler’s team, although some reports state that the team would choose KAT over Thibodeau any day.
2. Paul George: The Decision
Paul George has been closely tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for a couple of years now, with the league even issuing a tampering fine against Magic Johnson for reportedly influencing PG-13 to force his way out of the Indiana Pacers.
Nonetheless, apparently the Lakers won’t be the only team trying to pursue the top-notch two-way player, as the Houston Rockets have reportedly shown a lot of interest in George, as well as the surging Philadelphia 76ers.
1. LeBron James: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
LeBron James has been stealing most of the headlines for both his on-court performances and his off-court future, as there’s still absolutely no clue on whether he’s going to stay with the Cavs or not beyond this season.
The Lakers are going to be quite aggressive in their pursuit for his services, while the Houston Rockets have been also closely linked with the King, but now that he’s seen what the Sixers are capable of doing, he may also be tempted to joining the Process and stay in the East.