Now that the dust of 2019 free agency has settled and teams are starting to take shape ahead of 2019-20, the majority of player movement has slowed to a trickle.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean the trade market can’t be active. After all, we’re merely two weeks removed from the massive Russell Westbrook deal, which saw the former league MVP get shipped to the Houston Rockets to reunite with James Harden.
Below, HoopsHype ranks the five players who have popped up the most in rumors on the site’s Trade page over the past two weeks.
Let’s jump right in.
5. BRADLEY BEAL
Washington Wizards guard and two-time All-Star Bradley Beal has popped up in trade rumors over recent weeks, mostly in correlation with the Miami Heat’s search for a second star to pair with Jimmy Butler.
However, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, though the Heat have “strong interest” in a potential deal for Beal, Washington isn’t likely to move the 26-year-old. In fact, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, even if Beal turns down the three-year, $111 million extension he can be offered starting on July 26, the Wizards still doesn’t have plans to engage in trade talks for their lone healthy All-Star.
The Wizards’ hesitancy in even considering a Beal trade makes total sense.
Even if they’re likely headed for a complete rebuild, Beal is still just 26, is coming off back to back All-Star campaigns and has two seasons left on his contract, even without an extension.
All of those factors give Washington zero urgency to move the St. Louis native, so barring a legit trade demand from Beal, an upcoming split between these two parties doesn’t seem all that likely.
4. MARVIN WILLIAMS
Veteran power forward Marvin Williams has also come up in trade rumblings over recent weeks, which isn’t surprising since the Charlotte Hornets appear headed for a youth movement.
Williams is more than likely expendable to the Hornets considering second-year forward Miles Bridges appears to be a lock to start at the 4-spot nexts season for Charlotte, and finding a trade suitor for him shouldn’t be that difficult. He’s got merely one season left on his contract – worth $15.0 million – and is still more than serviceable as a role player, even at 33 years old.
Williams has knocked down a healthy 38.2 percent of his triples over the past four campaigns and can defend multiple positions, making him a fantastic trade candidate for contenders in need of more bench production.
3. KEVIN LOVE
Although common sense would indicate that Kevin Love, a nearly 32-year-old veteran All-Star, should be a prime trade candidate this summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers don’t appear to see it that way.
According to The Plain Dealer’s Chris Fedor, the Cavaliers are not currently looking to move the final remnant of Cleveland’s 2016 championship run, and would much rather keep him heading into 2019-20:
“While it’s not wise to use the never term in this ever-changing league, the Cavs don’t want to trade Love. No, there aren’t any untouchables on this roster. Prized rookie Darius Garland would be the closest to that. If the Cavs are blown away by a Love offer and receive the package that meets their demands then, of course, they would consider it. It would be foolish not to. According to sources, the Cavs would want some combination of young players and draft picks. Not one or the other. Both.”
With a price that hefty, unless it changes, it doesn’t appear like the Cavs will be trading Love any time soon. His injury history itself, along with his age (30), present risk, and that’s without even mentioning the four years and $120.4 million due to him through 2022-23.
So unless the dominant, stat-stuffing Minnesota Timberwolves-version of Love emerges early next season, it’s extremely unlikely teams will be lining up to pay Cleveland the treasure trove of assets they want for their best player.
2. D’ANGELO RUSSELL
Although the Golden State Warriors are merely weeks removed from having acquired D’Angelo Russell, rumors persist about his long-term fit with the team and whether the Warriors will move him once Klay Thompson recovers from his torn ACL.
For one, veteran New York Times reporter Marc Stein predicts Russell will get dealt at some point next season:
“But I stand by my initial forecast: It may not happen until after next season, but Russell will eventually be dealt by the Warriors once Klay Thompson has recovered from a torn anterior crucial ligament in his left knee — thereby pushing Russell down to third on Golden State’s backcourt depth chart.”
Of course, Golden State, already down Thompson and facing the prospect of losing Kevin Durant for nothing with a brand-new arena debuting in 2019-20, had no choice but to swing the move for Russell, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’ll probably be superfluous in that backcourt once the All-Star 2-guard does return.
Nevertheless, Stephen Curry and Russell should make magic once next season does roll around, and with the latter still just 23 years old and locked into a long-term contract, he’ll be a major trade target around the league if he does eventually start getting shopped.
Look for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who finished second in the race for Russell this summer, to try and get back in on him at some point.
1. CHRIS PAUL
The most bandied about player in trade rumors over the past two weeks has been Chris Paul, for obvious reasons.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are clearly set to rebuild after trading Paul George and franchise staple Russell Westbrook for an insane amount of assets, meaning that Paul, at 34 years old and on the verge of hitting the downswing of his career, doesn’t make any sense on their roster.
Sure, if the Thunder want to push for the playoffs next season, Paul would be a very worthy floor general for a team that still features talented pieces such a Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but the question is: Will they want to win?
Tanking for playoff positioning is the common path teams in Oklahoma City’s shoes have taken in the past, and in the brutal Western Conference, racking up the losses would be far from difficult.
On the other hand, trading Paul, on a huge contract and with declining production, would probably cost the Thunder some of the valued assets they just received in the George and Westbrook trades, so it makes sense why team shot-caller Sam Presti would rather not do that.
We’ll see if anything changes on this front (reports state that Paul might consider declining his 2021-22 player option, which could make finding a trade for him more manageable), but for now, it doesn’t seem likely that Paul will be getting moved at least until the trade deadline.
You can follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_.
Basketball, Business, NBA, Top, Bradley Beal, Chris Paul, D'Angelo Russell, Kevin Love, Marvin Williams, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Washington Wizards