There hasn’t been a shortage of NBA trade rumors over the past week, and as we get closer to February, the scuttle will only continue to become more frequent, a trend we’re already starting to see now, in early January.
Below, HoopsHype ranks the five players who have popped up the most in rumors on the site’s Trade page over the past week.
5. KEVIN LOVE
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ attempts to trade Kevin Love have not been fruitful so far, with the latest rumors on this front telling us that league execs believe Cleveland will have to attach assets in a potential Love deal for a team to actually be interested.
Here’s what The Athletic’s David Aldridge reported this week on the Love trade front:
Love certainly could help the Blazers, or Pacers, or Rockets. But that contract is hard to match up in a way that makes sense for Cleveland, which understandably is asking for a lot in return. “I don’t think Kevin has a lot of value,” a Western Conference executive said Monday. “The contract is obvious, but you know he is going to miss games with the toll on his body… I don’t see teams taking Kevin on (without) at least taking back a first-round draft pick or multiple seconds.”
Love’s injury history, age (31) and so-so production this season undoubtedly hurt his value, and that’s without even mentioning the fact that he’s set to be paid like a Top-20ish player for the next four seasons.
Cleveland might be better served playing the campaign out and trying to move Love again this offseason, in hopes his value rebounds over the course of the rest of the season.
4. ROBERT COVINGTON
Minnesota Timberwolves wing Robert Covington has been one of the hottest commodities on the trade market this year, drawing interest from a variety of contenders around the Association.
Among the teams who have inquired about Covington, according to The Athletic, are the Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets and, most interestingly, his old team, the Philadelphia 76ers. In that same report, however, it is clearly stated that Minnesota won’t trade Covington for cheap, even as they struggle through the 2019-20 campaign.
Covington is under contract for two more seasons after this one, for a total cost of just over $25 million, a fairly team-friendly price which surely factors in to the heavy interest teams appear to have in him.
Of course, his skill set, that of a 3-and-D specialist on the wing shooting over 35 percent from three, must also intrigue contenders league-wide.
3. LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE
Making a rare appearance in these rankings, LaMarcus Aldridge earns his spot on this list after being mentioned in trade rumors by two different outlets over the past week, one out of San Antonio and the other – from Miami.
First, San Antonio Express News’ Mike Finger reported that Aldridge hasn’t been placed on the trade block by the Spurs quite yet, but that if that were to happen, there would be plenty of takers, a logical conclusion considering Aldridge is averaging 19.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shattering a career-high three-point percentage of 43.7 on over 100 attempts from deep.
Couple those numbers with the fact that Aldridge will be off his team’s books by the summer of 2021, which many project to be a loaded free-agent class, and you can surmise why Aldridge would have plenty of suitors in the trade market.
What’s more, per a report from the Miami Herald, one of those interested suitors could be the Miami Heat, who have been specifically been mentioned as a team looking forward to 2021 free agency, and who are projected to have max cap space that offseason. Landing Aldridge would give Miami a second All-Star to pair with Jimmy Butler – an All-Star who they have chased in free agency in the past, no less – and still allow them to maintain financial flexibility for the all-important 2021 offseason.
2. DENZEL VALENTINE
For a lot of this season, the Chicago Bulls have made third-year guard Denzel Valentine a healthy scratch, handing him DNP-CD after DNP-CD, even as the team struggles for consistency and lacks veteran leadership a lot of the time.
That’s not to say Valentine would fix all of Chicago’s issues on his own, but he’s shooting nearly 39 percent from three over the last two seasons he’s played, and comes from a winning culture in college (Michigan State), so there’s no doubt he could contribute something for the Bulls if given the chance.
Regardless, it looks like the next time Valentine gets the chance to contribute anything will be for another team, as although he won’t request a trade, the Bulls reportedly don’t see him as a part of their future, so there’s a chance he gets dealt this month to a team willing to take a flyer on the former lottery pick.
1. ANDRE DRUMMOND
Well, we appear to have one less potential suitor for Detroit Pistons All-Star Andre Drummond, as it was reported this week that the Pistons and Atlanta Hawks have nixed their trade talks centered around the double-double machine.
The rumored deal between the two teams would have included Chandler Parsons, Damian Jones (or Allen Crabbe, who has since been shipped to Minnesota) and a first-round pick, but now, it appears the Hawks will just chase Drummond in free agency this summer instead.
Another report this past week (courtesy of the New York Post) mentioned that the Knicks are also out on Drummond, which makes sense considering they’re nowhere near a playoff position so why swing a big move for a very expensive player now?
The expensive nature of Drummond’s deal could also make him a difficult sell for contenders lacking in the frontcourt, since salary-swapping on such large contracts can be tricky for teams already at or near the luxury tax.
Nevertheless, there’s a chance Drummond gets traded before next month anyway, so he’s still a player to keep an eye on ahead of the 2020 trade deadline.
You can follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_.
Basketball, Business, NBA, Top, Andre Drummond, Denzel Valentine, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Robert Covington, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs