Trade rumor rankings: James Harden, Julius Randle and more

nba 2021-22 trade deadline rumors rankings ben simmons james harden

Trade rumor rankings: James Harden, Julius Randle and more


Trade rumor rankings: James Harden, Julius Randle and more

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It has finally arrived. NBA Trade Deadline week is here, one of the most exciting times to be a basketball fan, as players switch teams and franchises try to bolster their chances to make deep playoff runs.

We have already seen the Los Angeles Clippers pick up Norman Powell and Robert Covington, as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers improve their backcourt with Caris LeVert.

Who else might we see get moved this week?

Some of the names below could be next.

Julius Randle (New York)

It has been a tumultuous season for the New York Knicks to say the least and, fair or not, a good amount of the blame has fallen on Julius Randle’s shoulders.

It’s clear the pressure is getting to him a bit, too, as he was recently seen getting into it with a Knicks staffer in the middle of a game:

New York media is doing nothing to help matters, either, as the New York Post reported just today that Randle’s trade value is hitting record lows:

Though opposing coaches have great respect for Randle by loading up their defense toward stopping him, The Post has also reported Tom Thibodeau has had trouble coaching Randle this season into being more of a selfless player. Some in the organization wonder if his new contract extension has made him feel he needs to do too much. “It’s a low trade value,’’ another NBA scout said. “He hasn’t come across as a good teammate. He has played selfish. His contract isn’t an issue. Perception is.’’

Randle recently told collected media that he still wants to be part of the Knicks, and it’s hard to see New York moving him over the next few days, but it’s clear this situation is getting explosive, and that could lead to a move over the offseason.

For the latest on the Julius Randle trade front, click here.

CJ McCollum (Portland)

With the Portland Trail Blazers signaling the end of its current group as construed by trading Powell and Covington, all eyes are on the Blazers’ other non-Damian Lillard pieces, including his backcourt partner, CJ McCollum.

McCollum’s name has been all over trade rumors recently, with reports attaching him to various teams.

Bleacher Report mentioned the New Orleans Pelicans as being a top suitor for McCollum. Our own Michael Scotto reported the Dallas Mavericks as another interested party for the underrated 2-guard. The Athletic mentioned the Atlanta Hawks as another team with an eye on McCollum.

And, most recently, both Marc Stein and SportsNet New York mentioned the Knicks as being after McCollum, too.

It’s clear McCollum will have a ton of suitors on the trade market. It’s just a question on whether or not Portland tries to move him before Thursday.

For the latest on the CJ McCollum trade front, click here.

Harrison Barnes (Sacramento)

Our own Scotto had a lot to report on the Harrison Barnes trade front last week. The veteran swingman, despite the Sacramento Kings’ struggles this season, is enjoying a solid campaign, spacing the floor and displaying solid defensive versatility.

Scotto mentioned the Utah Jazz and Pelicans as having an interest in Barnes while also divulging that the Kings would like at least one first-round pick in exchange for a Barnes deal.

The Ringer also reported on the Jazz as being interested in Barnes, which makes a lot of sense. Barnes’ shooting ability as a small-ball 4 and ability to switch defensively would be a fantastic fit alongside Rudy Gobert, and could give Utah a higher ceiling come playoff time.

For the latest on the Harrison Barnes trade front, click here.

Jalen Brunson (Dallas)

After a week of rumors about the possibility of a Jalen Brunson trade this week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban did his best to slow those down by telling the media that his team will do everything in its power to keep both the talented guard and young swingman Dorian Finney-Smith:

“We will do all we can to keep (both Jalen Brunson) and Dorian (Finney-Smith),” Mavs owner Mark Cuban tells

Bleacher Report spoke to Brunson on the rumors, who had the following to say on the matter:

As the NBA trade deadline approaches, Brunson’s team-friendly contract makes him a coveted trade target. The Detroit Pistons are among the teams that have been linked closest to Brunson, as are the Knicks. Brunson’s father was Knicks president Leon Rose’s first client. A clear line can be drawn. “I try to not let it affect me at all,” Brunson said. “They are good problems to have. I guess teams have been calling about me … but I just try to go out and focus on playing for the Dallas Mavericks because that is who I am with. That is who I am trying to win games for right now.”

Considering how well the Mavericks are playing, it would be shocking to see them trade Brunson this week, even despite his impending free-agent situation this offseason, one that will be tricky for Dallas to navigate.

Either way, Dallas will likely worry about that later in hopes of winning its first playoff series in the Luka Doncic era this year.

For the latest on the Jalen Brunson trade front, click here.

Seth Curry (Philadelphia)

As part of the blockbuster James HardenBen Simmons trade that was reported on last week, one that we’ll discuss more later, Seth Curry’s name has come up as a potential piece in the deal.

Veteran NBA scribe Bill Simmons reported that he has heard that the Nets would covet Curry in a potential Harden swap:

This is from the same source that has given me some good intel over the last couple of weeks, that Brooklyn is open to it, but (Seth) Curry has to be in the deal.

When taking into account the Nets’ porous shooting around its superstar trio,  especially with Joe Harris out injured, them coveting Curry – a 40.6 percent three-point shooter – makes a lot of sense.

Either way, a Curry move would be required on an agreement between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers on the biggest trade we’ve seen in some time, making it unlikely we see Curry get dealt this week.

But never say never.

For the latest on the Seth Curry trade front, click here.

Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia)

Matisse Thybulle’s situation is similar to Curry’s in that he would more than likely only be traded this week if it’s part of a Harden-Simmons swap. His numbers may not pop at first glance, but the Australian swingman is one of the most impactful defenders in basketball and still on his rookie deal, which is why Philadelphia considers him so valuable.

Either way, according to Kevin O’Connor, Thybulle getting traded – even in exchange for Harden – is unlikely:

My understanding is that, from Philadelphia’s standpoint, there’s no chance they give up Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle is unlikely in that deal, it would be more like an older player like a Danny Green.

That could be posturing by the Sixers, as we all know how badly Daryl Morey wants to reunite with Harden, but what’s almost certain is that Thybulle is staying put unless Philadelphia is able to secure Harden from Brooklyn.

For the latest on the Matisse Thybulle trade front, click here.

Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia)

Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey is one of the most promising young ball-handlers in basketball right now, putting up nearly 17.0 points and 6.0 assists in just his second season.

So, naturally, his name is one that is brought up as part of talks between the Sixers and Nets as part of a Harden-for-Simmons swap.

However, according to O’Connor, who reported twice on the matter over recent days, Maxey will not be included in any such trade, even if it means Philadelphia landing Harden.

O’Connor most recently had this to divulge on the matter:

Sources say Maxey is totally off the table. He’s only 21, and is averaging 16.9 points and 4.8 assists per game in the second year of his career. He hustles on defense, is selfless and clutch, and does wild things like hitting layups while falling horizontally out of bounds. He can drain shots off the dribble and now he’s comfortably making 3s.

Sixers head coach was also recently asked if he’s talked to Maxey about the trade rumors surrounding his name, to which he responded:

Keith Pompey: #Sixers coach Doc Rivers was asked if he had a discussion with Tyrese Maxey in light of a report that Maxey could be an option to be packaged with Ben Simmons in a trade to the #Nets: “First of all, the one thing that I won’t do is all of the discussion is from a writer. Why would I … like, you know what I mean? Some of this stuff is crazy. I mean, there’s articles from, you know, I’ll get a call from one of our coaches telling me about an article from a guy that works for the agency of one of the agents. Why would we ever comment on that stuff? It’s so silly. So those are the things I stay away from and I don’t get involved in…”

Again, that could be more posturing through the media by Morey and Co., but Maxey truly is a hugely valuable asset with a lot of promise, so even if it means landing Harden, it’s hard to see the Sixers agreeing to part with him.

For the latest on the Tyrese Maxey trade front, click here.

Eric Gordon (Houston)

Thanks to his veteran status, scoring ability and shooting prowess – he’s hitting 42.7 percent of his threes this season – Eric Gordon is the type of piece playoff contenders covet come trade deadline time.

As such, we’ve recently received word on a multitude of teams as having an interest in the former Indiana standout, including the Phoenix Suns (via Bleacher Report) and the Pelicans (via Brian Windhorst).

Gordon has heard the rumors, and recently talked to the media about the subject:

For Rockets guard Eric Gordon and center Christian Wood, the highest-paid Rockets this side of the eager-to-be-traded John Wall, the challenge has been to hear their names and not think about the speculation that follows. “I don’t even worry about it,” said Gordon, who has been traded once in his 14 NBA seasons. “I just go out there and play basketball. You always hear about different rumors. (Rumors) are going to happen. I know what kind of value I have. This team also knows what kind of value I have. I just go out there and play. I play to do well. Whether it’s here or elsewhere, it’s what I plan on doing.”

Gordon would go on to say that he’d like to win as a member of the Houston Rockets, but understands that they’re in the midst of a rebuild and that he’s only worried about performing well for Houston at the moment.

Regardless, with Gordon only signed for one more guaranteed season after this one, and at a somewhat reasonable price ($19.6 million, putting him in the top 65 in player salary in 2022-23), it would be surprising if he didn’t get dealt this week.

For the latest on the Eric Gordon trade front, click here.

Ben Simmons (Philadelphia)

Reporting on the Simmons trade front has been hot and heavy this week, with a bunch of stories on the matter coming out just today. Basically, it still appears Simmons being dealt this week is unlikely… but maybe not totally impossible.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported just recently that the odds of Simmons getting traded prior to the deadline are slim:

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said on Jan. 20 that it’s “less likely than likely” that Simmons is moved prior to the deadline. A league source said Sunday that Simmons wouldn’t be moved at least until June’s NBA draft. And Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said Sunday the team wasn’t going to trade Harden. […] The Inquirer confirmed a report that Brooklyn may be open to sending him to the Sixers for a package that includes Simmons. But a source said Sunday that isn’t something that just came about. The source added that Nets general manager Sean Marks and the Sixers haven’t had thorough discussions about a Simmons-for-Harden deal. However, the source noted both sides are going through back channels and third parties to get information.

Meanwhile, Jake Fischer divulged that people in Simmons’ camp want the supersized point guard to return to the Sixers and play if he doesn’t get traded:

Numerous figures affiliated with Simmons’ representation insist he’ll never dress for the franchise again, but there are people around Simmons who have recently pushed for the All-Star to retake the floor if he’s not dealt, sources said.

Finally, Adrian Wojnarowski shared that the Sixers are no closer to trading Simmons than they were last week:

Adrian Wojnarowski: The Sixers will be engaged in conversations on Simmons this week. But they’re no closer to a trade for him. And they want to wait out whether it’s a James Harden, whether it’s other star players who may become available after the season that aren’t now. Philly has shown no indication that they’re going to sell short on Ben Simmons and do a deal that they don’t really love and they have a willingness to take this into the offseason.

We’ve known all along that a Simmons trade midseason would be hard to come by for the Sixers, especially considering their asking price.

All signs point to Philadelphia closing up shop and trying again this offseason.

For the latest on the Ben Simmons trade front, click here.

James Harden (Brooklyn)

The same that we just wrote about Simmons applies to Harden, as a potential Harden trade is contingent upon Simmons getting moved.

However, even despite all that has been said publicly by the Nets, including head coach Steve Nash firmly telling the media that Brooklyn will not trade Harden, Pompey reported today that the team hasn’t fully shut the door on a Harden trade:

However, the source said the Nets haven’t fully closed the door on trading Harden, regardless of what’s being said publicly. “People are saying one thing to one person and saying something completely different to someone else,” the source said. “I get the impression that that’s epitome of the entire situation on all fronts.

What’s more, Pompey also shared that the Nets and Sixers talked of a Harden-Simmons swap as long as a month ago:

Morey and Marks did have a preliminary discussion that included Harden and Simmons a month ago at the urging of others. Those discussions are typically about what teams would want in a trade. Multiple sources said the Sixers also asked if Brooklyn was interested in acquiring Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe to help with a deal as a third team. “The conversation was non-productive,” one of sources said. “It didn’t have any impact whatsoever.” However, the source said the Nets haven’t fully closed the door on trading Harden, regardless of what’s being said publicly.

According to ESPN, Harden is looking for an agent to help with his current situation, something that a player who is totally satisfied in his situation doesn’t usually do:

Once again, sources told ESPN, Harden and his manager have been searching for an agent to partner and navigate the situation — whether that’s free agency, a sign-and-trade to leave the Nets after the season, staying on a new deal, or even, a trade prior to Thursday’s deadline.

That same report shared that Kevin Durant wants Harden to stick around, as long as he’s actually committed to Brooklyn.

This situation is an extremely tricky one, as it appears both Harden and Simmons want out, but that it might take until the summer for such a move to happen.

That could lead to some very interesting drama over the coming weeks and months, especially for the Nets.

For the latest on the James Harden trade front, click here.

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