We are now at part six 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 over the prior 14 days.
The Feb. 7 trade deadline is now just over two weeks away, and with the fast approaching deadline, things are getting steamy on the rumor mill.
In this edition, we have a former No. 2 pick, a one-time NBA champion, a veteran big man who could be a solid reserve on any contender, a scoring/rebounding beast and a player many expected to be a certain Texan franchise’s cornerstone for years to come.
Without further ado, let’s break down which five players have been mentioned most in trade rumors over the last two weeks.
5. JABARI PARKER, CHICAGO BULLS
The latest on the Jabari Parker trade front has tied the Chicago Bulls forward with two teams – the New York Knicks and New Orleans Pelicans – while also cautioning that a deal isn’t imminent.
Regardless, according to the Chicago Tribune’s KC Johnson, the Bulls will continue to shop Parker over the coming weeks:
Regarding New York as a potential landing spot for Parker, reports have stated that a deal could include Enes Kanter, the Knicks’ double-double machine who has fallen out of the rotation due to the team’s ongoing youth movement, but that a third team would be needed to make that happen, since the Bulls also have no need for a 26-year-old impending free agent in the midst of his prime (via the New York Daily News):
“Defense remains an issue for Kanter but his skillset — top-level rebounding and inside scoring — is such that he can help a playoff team off the bench. The Knicks are actively trying to deal the 26-year-old international, who is coping with a very public and emotionally taxing battle with the Turkish government. Kanter has an $18 million expiring contract that could be a vehicle to acquiring an asset (draft pick, young player), which is the Knicks’ preference. However, the market has not been robust. There had been preliminary discussions involving the Knicks taking back Jabari Parker, but there needed to be a third team to take Kanter.”
Despite Parker’s inefficient production and large contract (worth $40 million over two years), the fact that the second year of his deal contains a team option, as well as Parker’s age (he’s still just 23), could make him appealing for a rebuilding team willing to take a half-season gamble on the talented scorer.
4. KEVIN LOVE, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Things have been mostly quiet surrounding Kevin Love over recent weeks, mostly because the All-Star big man doesn’t appear close to a return from the toe injury that has sidelined him since October.
Even so, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin believes the team could be open to fielding offers for the floor-spacing power forward ahead of February’s trade deadline:
And the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Chris Fedor reports that teams have called the Cavs to find out about Love’s availability. Even so, he doesn’t think Love ends up getting moved:
“Who are the next Cavaliers to get moved? Chris Fedor: This is the question that so many are asking. So let’s start here: There’s interest from other teams in All-Star power forward Kevin Love. Sources tell me that the Cavs have received calls about him. It’s the same thing that typically happens with him around this time of year. He’s used to it. As I’ve written numerous times, it will take close to the perfect deal for the Cavs to pull the trigger.”
Although Love doesn’t make sense on the Cavaliers with the way their roster is presently constructed, his age (he’ll be 31 next season), the extra mileage on him from all those Finals runs and the enormity of his contract extension (four years and $120 million) are going to make him awfully tough to trade.
At least without attaching assets to a potential deal.
We’ll see if Cleveland actually tries to trade their lone All-Star prior to Feb. 7, but for now, it doesn’t look all that likely.
3. ROBIN LOPEZ, CHICAGO BULLS
Like with Parker, the Chicago Bulls will go all out to try and find a trade partner for Robin Lopez prior to the deadline.
There’s a good chance if that doesn’t happen, Chicago will just buy the veteran big man out in order to let him find a new home, more than likely one where he’ll be able to participate in the playoffs. Nevertheless, for now, the Bulls’ priority is to find a trade for Lopez.
At least, that’s according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley:
“The Bulls aren’t looking to play hardball with Robin Lopez as much as they are just trying to conduct smart business. So while there was a Yahoo Sports report out late Sunday night that stated the Bulls were refusing to negotiate a buyout with their veteran center so that he could possibly join the Golden State Warriors, looking to trade Lopez before the Feb. 7 trade deadline has been atop their priority list for the last few months and will stay there.”
Rather than lose Lopez for nothing, it makes sense why Chicago would rather trade him and get an asset back in return. But is any team really going to be willing to give up a valued asset for the nearly 31-year-old center?
Probably not, unless the Bulls really value protected second-round picks.
The team that’s been tied most closely with Lopez have been the Golden State Warriors, though with DeMarcus Cousins looking solid in his return and Kevon Looney still contributing at a decent level, there’s a chance the reigning champs have less interest today than they did a few weeks ago.
Either way, it’s going to be tough for Chicago to land anything valuable in return for Lopez, so look for this saga to end with a buyout after Feb. 7.
2. ENES KANTER, NEW YORK KNICKS
As previously mentioned, Kanter’s name has popped up in trade rumors recently in connection with the also-available Parker.
It appears that if the Knicks and Bulls can find a third team to take on Kanter – look out for the Sacramento Kings here – we could see a deal come to fruition.
Other reports state that New York, smartly, doesn’t want to add long-term money to their books, but since Parker’s deal has a team option on next season, he wouldn’t qualify as long-term money.
Kanter had recently been told by head coach David Fizdale that he would fall third in the team’s center rotation, behind Luke Kornet and rookie Mitchell Robinson, which Kanter was none too happy with (via ESPN):
“Kanter said Monday that he hadn’t requested a trade. ‘I love it here but in the end, I want to play basketball. I miss playing basketball, man,’ Kanter said. ‘And I would let [Knicks general manager] Scott [Perry] and my agent [Mark Bartelstein] handle that stuff.’ … New York Knicks center Enes Kanter doesn’t agree with head coach David Fizdale’s decision to remove him from the rotation. ‘I was very disappointed. There was nothing to be happy about, so I’m not happy and I definitely don’t agree with the decision, of course,’ Kanter said after the Knicks’ 127-109 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.”
So although Kanter didn’t flat out request a way out of New York, it would be healthiest for both parties to find a peaceful resolution prior to the upcoming trade deadline.
Whether they’re able to or not remains to be seen, but plenty of playoff-caliber teams could use Kanter’s low-post scoring and ability to gobble up rebounds, so expect business to pick up here over the coming weeks.
1. DENNIS SMITH, DALLAS MAVERICKS
At one point, Dennis Smith took a hiatus from the Dallas Mavericks, claiming sickness, while the team seriously considered whether they should trade the second-year point guard. It seemed his days in Dallas could be numbered, but the two sides seem to have worked things out (at least for now).
Since then, things have cleared up a bit, with Smith rejoining the team and even starting last night’s game for the Mavs.
Overall, this is probably the best possible outcome for both parties. There’s just no way the Mavericks would have found equal value for Smith with how low his stock currently is; and for the young ball-handler, playing for an elite head coach like Rick Carlisle, and alongside Luka Doncic, is a pretty great place to develop – at least if they can all get on the same page, which, granted, may not be all that easy. Consider the following, from ESPN:
“The Mavs have been adamant that they won’t trade Smith unless they get good value in return and have not received any offers they consider tempting,sources said. Smith’s frustration, according to sources, stems from his diminished role with rookie star Luka Doncic emerging as Dallas’ primary playmaker and friction with Carlisle.”
So was Smith’s return a last ditch effort to work things out with the team? Or was it a way for Dallas to raise his value before putting him back on the block?
At least we won’t have to wait long to find out. After all, the trade deadline is right around the corner.
You can follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_.