NBA Trade Rumors: Who’s On the Block?
The 2012 NBA Draft is four days away, which means executives are working the phones and the rumor mill is churning. In the days leading up to the draft, teams are doing their due diligence and gauging interest in their players, which is how talks heat up and rumors surface. We’ve already seen one trade in the last week, and more deals will likely follow. Here are some players who could be on the move:
Luol Deng – The Chicago Bulls are weighing all of their options and could trade Luol Deng prior to the draft. Chicago would love to move into the lottery and they’d be willing to part with Deng if the right deal came along. The Bulls are upset that Deng is representing Britain in the Olympics rather than undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist. Deng has heard the recent trade rumors and has accepted the fact that he may be dealt in the near future, according to sources close to the forward. Chicago would love to add a young star that could develop alongside Derrick Rose. The Golden State Warriors, holding the seventh pick in the draft, have expressed significant interest in Deng. When Britain’s national team started their training camp in Houston this week, Golden State’s East Coast scout Speedy Claxton was in attendance to take a look at Deng.
Kyle Lowry – In May, Kyle Lowry publicly stated that he wouldn’t be able to co-exist with Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale next season, saying that he would have to be moved if McHale returned. Now, Lowry may get his wish. The Rockets have gauged interest in Lowry and discussed a number of potential deals involving the 26-year-old point guard. Houston would love to move up in the draft or acquire a star player, and they would be willing to package Lowry with their first-round picks (No. 14 and No. 16) or Samuel Dalembert if the right deal comes along. In the past, Lowry was off limits in trade talks, but that no longer seems to be the case. It’s very possible that Lowry is dealt and Houston re-signs restricted free agent Goran Dragic, who emerged as a starting-caliber point guard last season. Lowry may realize that his days in Houston are numbered. On Sunday, he tweeted, “It’s been real.”
Andre Iguodala – The Philadelphia 76ers nearly traded Andre Iguodala in the days leading up to last year’s draft, but ultimately decided not to make a move. Now, league sources say Iguodala is on the trade block once again. The 28-year-old could be moved this week, with Philadelphia weighing their options and considering a move into the lottery. The 76ers met with several top prospects during the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, including Andre Drummond, and they may be willing to part with Iguodala to acquire a top pick. Philadelphia seems ready to turn over the reins to their young core of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young, which means Iguodala could be on the way out.
Josh Smith – It’s no secret that Josh Smith wants the Atlanta Hawks to trade him. The 26-year-old demanded a trade earlier this year, but Atlanta wasn’t ready to part ways with their star forward. Smith has grown frustrated with the organization because he doesn’t feel they’re committed to building a contender. He wants to win and he’s not sold he can do that in Atlanta. While the Hawks weren’t ready to move Smith at the trade deadline several months ago, that could change now that he’s entering the final year of his contract. If they believe he’s going to leave as a free agent after the season, they may trade him to ensure that they don’t lose him without receiving anything in return. If Smith’s departure is inevitable, Atlanta may cash in before it’s too late.
Rudy Gay – If the Memphis Grizzlies decide that it’s time to part ways with Rudy Gay, they’ll have no shortage of potential suitors for the small forward. A number of teams have inquired about Gay including the Charlotte Bobcats, Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets. The 25-year old is owed $53,666,790 over the next three years, but executives continue to express interest because of his potential. Gay’s name has been discussed a lot in recent weeks, but it’s unclear whether Memphis is looking to move him. League sources believe he could be dealt if the right offer comes along.
Pau Gasol – The Los Angeles Lakers would like to move Pau Gasol for a top draft pick or star player, but that’s easier said than done. Los Angeles has shopped the 31-year-old, but the general consensus around the league is that they’re asking for too much in return. There aren’t many teams that want to pay Gasol $38,285,850 over the next two years, especially since he’s coming off of a lackluster postseason in which he was inconsistent and averaged a career-low 12.5 points per game. Jim Buss recently went on the record to say that the Lakers aren’t looking to make major changes. In reality, the team would love to move Gasol, but his trade value is at an all-time low.
Jamal Crawford – The Portland Trail Blazers are actively shopping Jamal Crawford. If they don’t find a deal for Crawford by draft night, they will lose him for nothing because he will opt-out and become an unrestricted free agent on June 29. Portland extended the deadline for him to opt-out so that they could shop him and try to facilitate a trade. If they’re able to find a trade partner that Crawford deems suitable, he’ll opt-in to the final year of his contract and make $5 million next season. Several teams expressed interest in Crawford leading up to last season’s trade deadline so it’s possible that Portland finds a last-minute deal and receives something in return for the 32-year-old guard.
Jameer Nelson – The Orlando Magic may be looking to move Jameer Nelson by draft night. The Magic extended the deadline for Nelson to opt-out from June 14 to June 29, just like the Blazers did with Crawford. This could mean that Nelson indicated he was going to exercise his player option, giving Orlando no option but to facilitate a trade if they want to receive compensation for the veteran point guard. However, the two sides agreed to the extension before the Magic had hired a general manager so it’s possible that the decision was delayed so that Nelson could meet with the team’s new GM and discuss his role with the team before choosing to leave. The reason for the extension is unclear, but one thing is certain: Nelson’s future in Orlando is up in the air.
Over the next several days, HOOPSWORLD will keep you up-to-date with the latest trade news and rumors. Have a question for Alex Kennedy? Don’t miss his chat this Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET and follow him on Twitter (@AlexKennedyNBA).