We have arrived to Part Three of our newest series, where HoopsHype ranks players based on the amount of times they’ve been mentioned in our Rumors Page under the trade tag over the prior 14 days.
One guy who made our list last time, Kyle Korver, actually did end up getting traded, proving that our scientific method of examining the trade market bears out results. So if you want to remain as informed as possible and have an inkling of which players are the closest to getting dealt, we advise that you keep your eyes peeled for this bi-monthly series.
Now, without further ado, let’s get into which five players have been mentioned most in trade rumors over the last two weeks.
5. OTTO PORTER JR, WASHINGTON WIZARDS
With the Washington Wizards struggling out of the gate this season, a few of their players have been brought up in trade rumors over recent weeks. One of those players is Otto Porter Jr., their 3-and-D specialist on the wing.
Porter has performed decently in 2018-19, but his play has clearly been a notch below his previous two campaigns, when he was knocking down an absurd 43.7 percent of his threes. Thus far this year, that number is down to a mediocre 35.6 percent, which has done nothing to help the Wizards’ struggles.
It doesn’t appear that anything is imminent regarding a Porter deal, but multiple recent reports have mentioned Washington had hoped to package him along with another asset in order to land a third big piece to place next to the team’s star backcourt, yet haven’t had any luck so far.
Additionally, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor even went as far as to link a potential suitor for Porter (via The Ringer):
“There are whispers that New Orleans is interested in Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr., who is in the second year of an enormous four-year, $106.5 million contract. Porter’s role has dwindled in Washington; he’s averaging only 28 minutes and has lately watched fourth from the bench as Jeff Green and Kelly Oubre Jr. have finished games. Porter is overpaid, but he’s proved to be an effective two-way player. He could thrive in Alvin Gentry’s up-tempo offense and add another versatile defender at forward for the Pelicans.”
We’ll see if we get anything more concrete with Porter moving forward, but unless they’re willing to shell out plus assets, the Wizards may have trouble moving his four-year, $106.5 million contract.
4. JR SMITH, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
The only player to have made an appearance in all three parts of this series so far, JR Smith has, once again, been mentioned multiple times in trade rumors over the last two weeks.
Most recently, we learned that Smith won’t be around the Cleveland Cavaliers anymore moving forward as the team attempts to resolve his situation (which means until they trade him). The following statement came directly from the Cavs:
“The Cleveland Cavaliers announced today that JR Smith will no longer be with team as the organization works with JR and his representation regarding his future. The organization wishes JR and his family well and appreciates and thanks him for his contributions in the community, to the team and his role in the 2016 NBA Championship.”
Besides that, there haven’t been many more updates in terms of where Smith could end up, though the Houston Rockets did get mentioned as a potential landing spot by The Athletic’s Kelly Iko.
Expect a Smith trade in the coming weeks; it’s just a matter of time at this point.
3. MARKELLE FULTZ, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
By far the most interesting name to pop up in trade rumors over the past 14 days is Markelle Fultz. And from what the reports tell us, it would appear that the former No. 1 pick’s days with the Philadelphia 76ers could be close to over.
The first mention we got of a potential Fultz deal, which occurred approximately one week ago, came courtesy of The Athletic. It stated:
“Sources with knowledge of Fultz’s thinking have also told The Athletic that the player would prefer a fresh start with a new team.”
Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, vehemently denied the report, telling ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that no one from Fultz’s camp had told the Sixers’ front office anything about wanting the enigmatic guard to get moved.
Regardless, even if Fultz himself doesn’t want to get traded, it seems like Philadelphia may be done with the circus anyway. Despite seemingly being healthy (at least according to the Sixers), Brothers told his client to seek out multiple specialists to examine his shoulder before returning to action, which the team didn’t seem to be all that happy about.
Furthermore, following the original report from The Athletic, multiple others have followed from various reputable sources, stating that Fultz no longer figures as part of the 76ers’ long-term plans, and that they may be considering offloading him (via The Philadelphia Inquirer):
“Some sources have said that, despite the team’s statements, Fultz is no longer in the Sixers’ long-term plans. And they are no longer using his shoulder as an excuse for his performances. [….] If the 76ers have tired of this saga and are considering trading Fultz, and multiple sources said they are, his trade value must have declined a great deal since the start of the season.”
Overall, it’s an unfortunate, somewhat sad situation for both sides. Hopes were high when the Sixers traded up to the No. 1 slot in 2017 to take Fultz, as he appeared to be the exact type of ball-handler the team needed to take the next step. Then came his shoulder troubles, and with them, Fultz completely forgetting how to shoot a basketball. Now, the marriage appears to be on its last legs.
A Fultz trade may not exactly be imminent, at least according to team general manager Elton Brand’s own words…
…but it wouldn’t be remotely shocking to see steam on a potential deal pick up over the next few weeks. Things may get particularly interesting once we hear what the specialists have to say on Fultz’s bum shoulder/wrist.
2. JOHN WALL, WASHINGTON WIZARDS
A repeat appearance for John Wall in this series, as he finished the last installment ranked No. 3.
Since then, Wojnarowski has reported the following regarding Wall’s availability:
“As the Washington Wizards’ season spirals, the franchise is making every player on its roster — including All-Star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal — available to discuss in trade scenarios, league sources told ESPN on Monday. Washington’s preference remains to reshape the team around Wall and Beal, but poor play among key teammates is limiting their trade value and paralyzing the Wizards’ efforts to make meaningful changes to a roster that no longer appears functional together, league sources said.”
There was some pushback to Wojnarowski’s article, primarily from the Washington Post, who reported that the team doesn’t have plans to move either of their franchise cornerstones.
Following a recent game, Wall himself came out and said he doesn’t want to get moved, and went on to discuss the fact that he wants to turn things around in the nation’s capital:
Either way, even if the Wizards wanted to, trading Wall won’t be easy considering his super-max extension, which will pay him $169.3 million through 2022-23, doesn’t kick in until next season.
Still, this is a situation to keep an eye on, especially if Washington continues to struggle.
1. BRADLEY BEAL, WASHINGTON WIZARDS
The one member of their core the Wizards don’t want to move (according to most reports), Bradley Beal was mentioned the most in trade rumors over the last two weeks.
One report did come out stating that Beal preferred to be dealt, but that was quickly refuted by the All-Star 2-guard’s camp:
Additionally, in one his most recent podcasts, ESPN’s Zach Lowe mentioned that the Wizards’ asking price for Beal was so pricey that it basically made him unavailable.
So unless a team is willing to absolutely break the bank, it doesn’t look like Beal is going anywhere, even if Washington does continue to lose games.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, considering Beal is just 25, is still playing at an elite level and is under contract at a relatively team-friendly price ($25.4 million annually) for the next three seasons.
A fire sale may be coming for the Wizards yet, but don’t expect it to include the 22-point-per-game scorer.
You can follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_.