We have arrived at Part Four of our trade-rumor rankings series, where HoopsHype ranks players based on the amount of times they’ve been mentioned in our Trade Rumors Page the prior 14 days.
As the Feb. 7 trade deadline begins to approach, we’re already starting to see bigger and bigger names litter the latest rumors, with a legit MVP candidate making his first appearance in this series.
Besides him, a former No. 1 overall pick, a former No. 2 overall pick, an All-Star caliber point guard and a decently productive role player all made our list this time around.
Without further ado, let’s get into which five players have been mentioned most in trade rumors over the last two weeks.
5. JOHN WALL, WASHINGTON WIZARDS
It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve heard anything on the potential John Wall trade front, and the last we did hear were two immediately contradicting reports.
First, the New York Post’s Marc Berman reported on there being a belief league-wide that the New York Knicks are stockpiling assets in case the Washington Wizards make Wall available in trade discussions:
“Some in the league believe the Knicks are stocking up their young assets and will make a major play for Wall if he becomes available. The Wizards (9-14) were said to be ready to break it up after their disastrous start. It would have to be a three-team deal with the Knicks throwing in Ntilikina, Dotson, Courtney Lee (for cap purposes), a 2020 first-round and second-round pick.”
Not long after, Berman’s report was immediately and pretty emphatically refuted by ESPN’s Ian Begley in the form of a single tweet:
Even with Washington still struggling (the Wizards are 13-20 and sit 24th in net rating at -4.3), it doesn’t look like they’ll be having a fire sale anytime soon. At least not one featuring their All-Star point guard.
4. MARKELLE FULTZ, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
The latest we’ve heard on Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz came courtesy of his general manager, Elton Brand, who said on Dec. 22 that there was no timeline for the 2017 No. 1 pick to return to action. Brand added that he’s currently going through physical therapy for his shoulder injury and not playing actual basketball as of yet.
Obviously, that makes figuring out a trade for the enigmatic guard a difficult exercise, considering no one knows when he will be back. It might not even be this season, either.
Nevertheless, apparently the latest on Fultz’s health hasn’t deterred too many suitors, since, according to the latest on the trade front (via Liberty Ballers), as many as five teams – including the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns – remain interested in acquiring the talented ball-handler.
We’ll see how this story unfolds. More than anything, Fultz has to get healthy and back on the hardwood before any of trade report featuring his name can be taken too seriously.
3. KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE, LOS ANGELES LAKERS
If we are to believe the latest scuttle on the matter, it would appear that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s days with the Los Angeles Lakers are numbered, and that his landing spot will be with the Houston Rockets.
On Dec. 18, the New York Times’ Marc Stein reported the following (via his weekly newsletter):
“As reported earlier this month, Houston has expressed exploratory interest in Cleveland’s J.R. Smith, who has been sent home by the Cavaliers as they try to find a new home for him via trade. But the Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is said to be the Rockets’ top target in their search for help on the wing, with Smith somewhere further down the list.”
A KCP deal between the Rockets and Lakers makes sense for both parties.
Los Angeles has a better option playing the same position on a much cheaper deal in Josh Hart, while Houston misses the toughness and 3-and-D prowess of the departed Trevor Ariza, which is a void that Caldwell-Pope should theoretically fill nicely.
A deal for Caldwell-Pope may not be imminent, but he’s by far one of the likeliest players to get dealt by February’s trade deadline, so this is one to keep an eye on.
2. JABARI PARKER, CHICAGO BULLS
One of the hottest names on the trade market over recent weeks has been the Chicago Bulls’ Jabari Parker.
Although the Duke product had a decent 17-game stretch where he was averaging 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists nightly while shooting 46.1 percent from the floor, the return of a healthy Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis sort of made Parker obsolete in Chicago’s frontcourt rotation. So, on Dec. 15, new Chicago head coach Jim Boylen announced that Parker would be out of the rotation, which immediately raised suspicions on the 6-foot-8 wing’s future with the Bulls.
Since then, reports have gone back and forth, with some stating that Parker could get dealt soon, and others saying that it still isn’t a foregone conclusion that he’ll be traded.
Still, most of the signs point to Parker’s time with his hometown Bulls coming to an end. As far as exact suitors (of which there are supposedly many), the only concrete report we have on the matter, coming courtesy of Begley, mentioned the Knicks as being one potentially interested party.
Parker’s deal – worth $40 million over two years – may seem difficult to move, but the fact that the second year contains a club option on it should quell those concerns.
If the Bulls really want to trade Parker, they’ll be able to with little problem.
1. ANTHONY DAVIS, NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
For the first time this season, we had a legitimate superstar make the rounds in trade rumors. That superstar was Anthony Davis.
From LeBron James publicly saying he’d love to team up with the five-time All-Star to New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry accusing James of tampering, Davis’ name has most closely been tied to the Lakers over the past week.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, James and Davis even had dinner together after a recent Pelicans/Lakers game. In Haynes’ own words:
“With the Pelicans staying overnight before traveling to Sacramento, James and Davis met up for a postgame dinner in Los Angeles, league sources told Yahoo Sports. If Davis desires to be a member of the Lakers, it’s only a matter of time before he’s eventually sporting the purple and gold. Davis is in complete control of his destiny, and it may lead him directly to Southern California.”
Haynes continued, writing that even though the Pelicans can offer Davis what would be the biggest contract in league history next summer, Davis’ main concern at this point in his career is shaping his legacy and “championships”. Reading between the tea leaves a bit, that would make it sound like the Lakers could interest Davis as a destination.
With all that said, we should note: It’s unsurprising that these rumors sprouting up coincides with New Orleans going through their worst two-week stretch of the season, as the Pelicans have been victorious in just two of their last seven contests.
Nonetheless, we know L.A. wants to land a second superstar to pair with James. And the best player who could come available, besides Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, is Davis. So this is a situation that will be very much worth monitoring once we arrive at the 2019 offseason.
As far as Davis getting dealt prior to the upcoming trade deadline?
There’s little to no chance of that happening.
You can follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_.