As we approach the final month prior to the 2020-21 NBA trade deadline, things on the market are starting to heat up a bit.
Just today, it was reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers would be sitting Andre Drummond until they are able to find a trade partner for the All-Star big man. And Drummond’s name is far from the only major one being discussed in the latest scuttle.
Below, we have taken the five players who have appeared the most often in our Trade Rumors Page over the previous week and rank them by order of appearances.
Harrison Barnes (Sacramento)
It’s funny how things work in the NBA. Just last year, Harrison Barnes’ contract was basically considered an immovable albatross. Now, teams like the Boston Celtics are reported to have interest in the floor-spacing swingman due to the fact that he’s playing extremely consistently this campaign.
However, the Sacramento Kings, 12-14 on the year and 11th in the West, want desperately to make the playoffs this year, and as such, reportedly haven’t shown much of an inkling to move their starting 4-man (via The Athletic):
Harrison Barnes is playing some of the best basketball of his career and is known to be on Boston’s radar (and likely several others). The Celtics, as has been widely reported, are on the lookout for ways to make good use of the $28.5 million trade exception they created in the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade with Charlotte. […] To this point, sources say teams have been given the impression that the Kings have no interest in moving Barnes.
Barnes is averaging 16.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season while shooting 40.2 percent from beyond the arc.
For more on the Harrison Barnes trade front, click here.
Kyle Lowry (Toronto)
An article from Bleacher Report put Kyle Lowry squarely in the thick of trade rumors last week, causing a stir amongst fans of the Toronto Raptors and a few other teams, namely, those who were reported to have interest in the NBA champion.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, Toronto, off to a disappointing start to this campaign, is considering moving Lowry to open up an even bigger role for his backcourt partner Fred VanVleet, to give Malachi Flynn, the team’s first-round pick in 2020, an opportunity for playing time, and, most notably, because he’s on an expiring contract, making it savvy to consider getting value out of him now rather than lose him for nothing this offseason.
Some of the teams that Fischer mentioned in his report as potential Lowry suitors include the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans. Los Angeles and Miami in particular, two ambitious teams with high aspirations this year, make a ton of sense as Lowry landing spots.
Lowry is on the final year of a deal that pays him $30.5 million this season, so moving him will require salary-cap gymnastics by whichever interested party does covet his services, but considering the almost-35-year-old floor general is still putting up 17.7 points and 6.5 assists this year, teams could see him as well worth the trouble.
For more on the Kyle Lowry trade front, click here.
Nemanja Bjelica (Sacramento)
After being out of the Kings’ rotation for nearly a month, stretch-4 Nemanja Bjelica got back into the mix this past week for Sacramento, playing 27.4 minutes over two games that saw him average 12.0 points and 6.5 rebounds while hitting two of his five attempts from deep.
It’s rather obvious the Kings are currently trying to up Bjelica’s trade value in order to deal the Serbian big man sooner rather than later, and, per reports, there are various interested parties out there.
Just a few days ago, we received word on the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat being two of the interested teams in attaining Bjelica’s services (via the Sacramento Bee):
Two Eastern Conference playoff contenders are believed to have interest in the veteran big man, one that went to the NBA Finals last season and another that hopes to get there this season. One of those teams is the Miami Heat, a club that can absorb Bjelica’s contract using its $7.6 million trade exception, a league source told The Sacramento Bee. The Philadelphia 76ers also “are known to be among the teams who are considering the 32-year-old forward,” according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick.
Bjelica, an underrated passer and good three-point shooter, would help out the two Eastern Conference contenders a great deal.
His extremely team-friendly contract, which is expiring this season and pays him just $7.2 million, will also be a factor that undoubtedly drums up interest in Bjelica on the trade market.
For more on the Nemanja Bjelica trade front, click here.
Andre Drummond (Cleveland)
Monday morning saw an explosion in Drummond trade rumors, as both Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski released reports on the big man’s future with the Cleveland Cavaliers nearing its end, making Drummond the hottest name on the market right now.
First, Charania reported that Cleveland and Toronto have discussed a potential deal for the two-time All-Star center, which makes a ton of sense considering how poorly the team’s current starting center, Aron Baynes, has performed this year:
The Raptors and Cavaliers are engaged in active talks on potential Andre Drummond deal to Toronto/Tampa, per sources.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 15, 2021
Then, Wojnarowski reported that Drummond would no longer be a part of the Cavs’ rotation as the team works to find a new home for him:
Reporting with @WindhorstESPN: The Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer planning to play center Andre Drummond as they work to trade the two-time All-Star prior to the NBA’s March 25th deadline, sources told ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 15, 2021
Wojnarowski also mentioned that though Cleveland has spoken to teams on the Drummond front, no deal is imminent and talks haven’t gotten serious with a single club just yet.
Complicating matters as far as a Drummond trade goes is the fact that although he’s on an expiring deal, that deal still pays him $28.8 million this season, making a potential trade extremely difficult to put together financially.
Will any team want to package together multiple valuable salaries just for a half-season rental of Drummond before seeing him hit unrestricted free agency this offseason?
Perhaps, but it’s not a given, either.
That’s why talks of a Drummond buyout have been so heavy over recent weeks. Speaking of which, a Drummond buyout, per Charania, would reportedly lead to interest from the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets, teams who lack the salaries and assets to trade for the big man but would like to sign him as a free agent.
At the end of the day, Drummond is a double-double machine who finishes just about everything in the paint, so there’s little doubt he could help frontcourt-needy contenders. His salary and impending free agency just complicate matters.
For more on the Andre Drummond trade front, click here.
Bradley Beal (Washington)
It almost feels silly to continue putting Bradley Beal at the top of these rankings every week considering the extreme unlikelihood of the Washington Wizards trading him this season, but the numbers are the numbers, and his name continues to appear in trade rumors more often than any other player, so we really don’t have a choice.
The most noteworthy thing to come out on the Beal trade front this past week came courtesy of Yahoo! Sports, who spoke to Beal’s agent Mark Bartelstein about the star 2-guard. Most notably, Bartelstein discussed why Beal wants to remain a Wizard for the foreseeable future:
“He doesn’t want to quit on something,” Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports & Entertainment, told Yahoo Sports. “He’s an incredibly loyal guy, and he wants to always feel like he’s done everything he can to help something or someone be successful. It’s the way he was raised and what his values are based upon. It’s ingrained in him. It’s what makes him, in my mind, so unique. He’s all about the right things.”
“It’s the team that drafted him, the team that’s invested in him, and he desperately wants to make them a championship contender,” Bartelstein, who has represented Beal since the 2012 draft, told Yahoo Sports. “He wants to make it happen. That’s the way he is. He’s not looking for the easy way out. He challenges himself. The evolution of his game speaks volumes about how committed he is and how hard he works.”
That leaves us where we’ve been for months on this matter: Beal doesn’t want to leave Washington (right now, anyway) and the Wizards don’t want to trade their superstar.
Maybe that’ll change over the next five-plus weeks, but for now, all signs point to Beal staying put with the Wizards at least through the rest of the 2020-21 campaign.
For more on the Bradley Beal trade front, click here.