It’s time for the final installment of HoopsHype’s NBA trade rumor rankings, where we rank players based on the amount of times they’ve been mentioned on our Trade Rumors Page over the past week.
Obviously, the biggest headlines at the moment come courtesy of the Los Angeles Lakers and their chase for a certain superstar big man, so this list is littered with members of L.A.’s young core. Regardless, these rankings do contain players who aren’t on the Lakers or New Orleans Pelicans, including guys with multiple All-Star appearances to their names.
10. IVICA ZUBAC, LOS ANGELES LAKERS
After a slow start to the season, Ivica Zubac has been on a great run recently, averaging 11.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks over the last 21 games. As such, it’s not all that surprising to see his name pop up in trade rumors recently.
According to the Los Angeles Times’ Brad Turner, Zubac has been one of the names included in trade offers as part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ race to land Anthony Davis:
What’s more, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported something similar just days later:
Basically, if Zubac gets dealt prior to Thursday, it would likely be as part of the Davis deal. If that falls through, though, then it’s tough to see him going anywhere, as his name hasn’t popped up in any other scuttle outside of the Davis-related stuff.
9. BRANDON INGRAM, LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Like Zubac, Brandon Ingram has been heavily bandied about in Davis trade rumors.
This is what Turner had to report about the Duke product on Monday:
“Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps re-opened their dialogue Monday about working together on an Anthony Davis trade. The Lakers increased their offer to include everything the Pelicans desire: six players, two first-round draft picks and a willingness to take back an undesirable contract. The Lakers’ most recent offer to the Pelicans, according to people with knowledge of the situation, includes Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and two first-round picks in exchange for Davis and Solomon Hill, who is set to make $13 million next season.”
Needless to say, that’s a monster offer from Los Angeles – one that gives the New Orleans Pelicans almost every member of the Lakers’ talented young core, draft capital and cap relief. And Ingram, a 21-year-old forward who can do a bit of everything on the wing, might be the highest-upside piece in the entire package.
Nevertheless, it still appears New Orleans is holding off on dealing Davis – for now, at least – so it’s very possible that Ingram will remain with the Lakers beyond Thursday’s deadline.
8. BLAKE GRIFFIN, DETROIT PISTONS
Last week, a report came out stating that Blake Griffin wanted to get traded and that he even had a list of potential destinations already in mind.
The problem is, the information came from a questionable source and the five-time All-Star vehemently denied the report:
Does that mean it’s impossible Griffin gets traded by Thursday? With how poorly the Detroit Pistons’ books are set up and how much they’ve struggled with consistency this season, we can’t completely rule it out.
But both the team and player in this situation appear to be committed to each other…
…so Griffin getting dealt seems extremely unlikely.
It could happen at some point down the road, but it would be very surprising to see Griffin anywhere but Detroit after Thursday’s trade deadline.
7. KYLE KUZMA, LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Essentially, everything we wrote in the Ingram section also applies to Kuzma.
The Pelicans are going to want both young wings, and much more, to deal their franchise cornerstone to Los Angeles.
This season, Kuzma has been arguably the most consistent member of the Lakers’ young core, putting up 18.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest on 46.8 percent shooting. It’s easy to see why New Orleans would covet such a player in trade talks, as Kuzma’s floor-spacing ability from the 4-spot is essential for modern big men, and he could help make the post-Davis rebuild a little less painless.
6. MARC GASOL, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
There hasn’t been as much chatter about Marc Gasol on the trade market as there has been regarding his stud point guard teammate Mike Conley, but his name has popped up in rumors a few times over the past five days.
And two teams who have been mentioned as having ties to Gasol, according to Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler, are the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers. Even so, the Memphis Grizzlies don’t appear to be close on a Gasol deal:
“There are a couple of teams to watch specific to Gasol, the top being the Portland Trail Blazers. Sources close to the situation labeled the Blazers as the more likely team to land Gasol if the Grizzlies do a deal, but there was not a sense that anything was close enough to call. Gasol himself has talked about the San Antonio Spurs, and there seems to be some interest on the Spurs’ part in making a deal. But it’s unclear what the Spurs could or would offer to consummate a deal. Gasol has a player option for next season worth $25.5 million.”
Despite his solid numbers this season – 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists – Gasol being 34 years old and owed so much money in 2019-20 could make him pretty difficult to move for Memphis.
Gasol could be a relative game-changer for a playoff team without a doubt, but that’s a huge financial price for a team to pay on a player who may not be enough of a ceiling-raiser to warrant the cap investment.
UPDATE: The Grizzlies and the Charlotte Hornets are in serious discussions about a possible Gasol trade, according to Shams Charania. Memphis is holding Gasol out of Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves as the two sides discuss a possible deal.
5. RICKY RUBIO, UTAH JAZZ
The Utah Jazz haven’t exactly lived up to expectations this season. Through 54 games, they sit at 30-24 and seventh in the Western Conference. And with the trade deadline approaching, they could be seeking an influx of talent to help remedy matters.
One player who they’ve been heavily tied to, the aforementioned Conley, would be a great help to the team’s starting five, as his mix of outside shooting and defense would mesh wonderfully with the team’s top backcourt player, Donovan Mitchell. (More on that in a bit.)
Reportedly, to land Conley, it’ll cost Utah the player who’s been starting at point guard for them over the last two years, Ricky Rubio. At least that’s according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein:
There’s no doubt Conley would be an upgrade over Rubio for Utah, so the Jazz clearly have a motivation to get this done, even despite concerns over Conley’s contract, which has two years and roughly $67 million left on it after this season.
We’ll see if the two sides can come to an agreement by Thursday.
4. ENES KANTER, NEW YORK KNICKS
There hasn’t been much of an update on Enes Kanter’s trade prospects recently, with most of the recent reports on the matter focusing more on Kanter’s thoughts on the situation.
Though, to be fair, Kanter doesn’t exactly hide how he’s feeling:
According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, the New York Knicks are still doing their best to move the Turkish big man by Thursday. But without much concrete evidence that the team is any closer to finding a new home for him than they were when this saga began, it’s looking likelier and likelier that this ends with an eventual buyout.
3. MIKE CONLEY, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
For now, there are two teams leading race for Conley: the Utah Jazz and Detroit Pistons. And although the Jazz seem like the likeliest suitor, the Pistons also seem to be quite interested in the 31-year-old point guard:
It’ll be interesting to see who Detroit moves for Conley if the trade does end up happening, since the Pistons already have one of the messiest salary-cap situations in the Association as is.
With Blake Griffin about to turn 30 and still owed a whopping three years (after this one) and $109.8 million, to go with Conley’s huge deal, acquiring the 11-year veteran floor general could prove quite risky for Detroit. At least in Utah’s case, most of their top players – like Mitchell and Rudy Gobert – are still just entering their primes.
But when you have that much money owed to two guys in their 30s, then the proposition becomes less promising.
2. LONZO BALL, LOS ANGELES LAKERS
As was the case with Zubac, Kuzma and Ingram, Lonzo Ball getting moved likely depends on New Orleans agreeing to trade Davis – a decision that will not come easy for the Pelicans.
However, in Ball’s case, there is an added layer that came courtesy of his father, LaVar Ball, and comments he made to ESPN:
Ball and the Phoenix Suns would be an interesting fit, as the UCLA product would fill what has been Phoenix’s biggest hole for quite some time: the point guard position.
Ball hasn’t lit the world on fire quite yet as a pro, but he has shown flashes of being a unique difference-maker from the lead-guard spot, with a blend of savvy passing and defensive acumen that help set him apart. Next to Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, Ball could complete the team’s Big Three of the future.
Nevertheless, if the Davis deal doesn’t come to fruition, then there’s little chance Ball goes anywhere prior to Thursday’s deadline, which brings us to…
1. ANTHONY DAVIS, NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
With a new update on the saga coming seemingly every hour, it’s been hard to keep up with the latest on the Davis trade front.
Through Monday evening, though, it would appear that this is trending away from Los Angeles. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s trending towards Davis ending up on another team by Thursday. Rather, it’s starting to look more and more like the Pelicans are going to hang on to their superstar big man until the summer, when the Boston Celtics will finally be able to make an offer for Davis. Right now, Boston can’t legally trade for Davis due to the nature of the contracts he and Kyrie Irving are signed to, which are known as designated player extensions.
Besides the two main suitors for Davis, the Celtics and Lakers, on Monday we also learned Davis has a list of teams he would re-sign with when he hits free agency in 2020. Those teams are the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers. (Boston didn’t make the cut.)
The most recent report on the Davis front came courtesy of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who discussed what New Orleans covets from Los Angeles to consider a trade prior to Thursday:
Wojnarowski’s co-worker, Ramona Shelburne added that discussions between the two teams have been “one-sided”:
Of course, with trade discussions, especially with those that have these kinds of stakes, things could change quickly.
As of right now, though, the chances of Davis getting dealt by the trade deadline seem slim.
You can follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_.