The NBA trade market experienced a brief spell of quiet for a few weeks before the smoke has started to pick again recently, which made it time for another in our Trade Rumor Rankings series.
In this series, we take 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.
You can check out this week’s ranking, featuring some very prominent names in the Association, below.
JaVale McGee (Cleveland)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man JaVale McGee makes the list thanks to a report from NBA reporter Jason Dumas, who had the following to say early last week:
SOURCE: The Brooklyn Nets are in active discussions with the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire JaVale McGee. Also have interest in Kevin Love
— Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) January 25, 2021
The Brooklyn Nets have seen their names attached to a variety of rumors involving defensive-minded big men since their trade for James Harden, only natural considering that deal cost them their best big man in Jarrett Allen.
Since the Harden trade, Brooklyn has posted the fifth-worst defensive rating in the NBA, giving up 116.1 points per 100 possessions in that time span, making their need for a quality, rim-protecting big very clear and obvious.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, meanwhile, have the league’s ninth-stingiest defense so far this season, allowing just 108.2 points per 100 possessions, and part of that has been thanks to McGee, who’s averaging 8.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in just 16.5 minutes of action this year.
McGee would be a savvy pickup for the Nets if they do make it happen, something that would be easier to execute now that the team has had their Designated Player Exception – worth $5.7 million — approved.
For more on the JaVale McGee trade front, click here.
Kelly Oubre (Golden State)
Golden State Warrior Kelly Oubre popped up in trade rumors this week due to a report from Shams Charania, who directly linked the athletic swingman to the New Orleans Pelicans, though he did indicate a potential deal between the two clubs doesn’t have much traction… yet.
Oubre has had merely an all right season thus far for Golden State, putting up 12.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals per contest on porous 37.2/22.8/74.1 shooting splits. The Warriors might already be having a case of buyer’s remorse, particularly because Oubre doesn’t provide anything Andrew Wiggins doesn’t already give them on the wing.
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr recently discussed the Oubre trade rumors on a local radio show, saying:
Kerr knows navigating the 24-7 news cycle is “the flip side” of life in the league and part of his and the players’ jobs, but he admitted Friday on 95.7 The Game’s “Damon, Ratto & Kolsky” that Oubre deserved transparency in this case because the Warriors weren’t shopping him. “I think it’s important for guys to accept it because in the modern life that we live there’s just going to be constant scrutiny and judgment and rumors and all kinds of stuff,” Kerr said. “But I did feel compelled to tell everybody exactly what happened, which was, somebody called us, there wasn’t even an offer made and all of a sudden, it’s on the internet. So that stuff is frustrating when it happens.”
A Oubre trade may not be close to coming to fruition, but he’s still a name to keep an eye on over the coming weeks, especially if his play doesn’t start to improve. Even then, how much value can he really provide a Warriors team that already has Wiggins doing similar things at a higher level?
For more on the Kelly Oubre trade front, click here.
Derrick Rose (Detroit)
Former league MVP Derrick Rose is currently enjoying a strong season for the Detroit Pistons coming off the bench, averaging 14.2 points and 4.2 assists nightly while shooting nearly 43 percent from the floor and 84.0 percent from the foul stripe.
That has naturally led to an interest in the still-athletic point guard on the trade market from playoff-level teams, reportedly including the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers, who were mentioned as potential suitors for Rose by Charania this week.
New York media also backed up the report, mentioning the relationship between Rose and first-year Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau as a factor in a potential trade. Rose and Thibodeau have been together in two previous stops, with the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves, so the connection between player and coach here is obvious.
Nevertheless, with the Pistons struggling to the tune of a 5-15 record this season, expect to keep seeing Rose’s name pop up in trade rumors until a deal does happen. He’s on an expiring contract and would be a great half-season pickup for a team with aspirations in 2020-21.
For more on the Derrick Rose trade front, click here.
Lonzo Ball (New Orleans)
Another player whose named popped up in the report from The Athletic’s Charania is fourth-year guard Lonzo Ball, who’s struggling thus far in his second season a New Orleans Pelican. In 2020-21, Ball is putting up 12.5 points and a career-low 4.8 assists per game while shooting just 40.0 percent from the floor and 32.1 percent from deep.
That, coupled with New Orleans’ struggles as a team (they’re 7-11 and 14th in the West at this point), has made the Pelicans open for business as far as trades for their veteran guards go. As Charania pointed out in his piece, shipping out players like Ball or JJ Redick would open up playing time for promising young ball-handlers Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis, something that New Orleans has to consider a priority if they don’t make a playoff push relatively soon.
Ball responded to the trade rumors by posting his best outing of the season this week and talked about the scuttle after the game:
Ball returned to action Friday night and played his best game of the season in a 131-126 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Ball had a season-high 27 points (tying his high in a Pelicans uniform), matched a career high with seven 3-pointers and had his second-best assist output of the season with eight. “I just stay the course,” Ball said when asked if he had any extra motivation this week. “I’ve been playing basketball for a long time. I put a lot of work in and just try to play my game. That’s how I play. I just try to stay away from all the noise and just go out there and try to help my team win games.”
Noise or not, Ball is going to need more games like that to keep his name out of the trade rumors.
For more on the Lonzo Ball trade front, click here.
Bradley Beal (Washington)
Of course, the top name remaining on the NBA trade hunt this season is going to continue being Washington Wizards superstar Bradley Beal, at least until Washington can prove they’re anything but a bottom-feeder.
Beal has been spectacular in 2020-21, leading the league in scoring at 34.7 points nightly while chipping 5.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.4 steals with a healthy 58.2 true shooting percentage. In spite of that, the Wizards currently have the league’s worst record at 3-12 and fifth-worst net rating (-5.5), meaning the Beal rumors aren’t going to go away anytime soon.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reiterated this week what has been said all season long, and that’s that Washington has shown no indication they’re going to make Beal available in trade talks, so unless the star 2-guard demands it, it’s not all that likely he does get dealt prior to this year’s trade deadline.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks also made it clear over the weekend that Washington has no plans to even discuss a trade involving their best player:
Scott Brooks on trade speculation involving Bradley Beal: "We're not interested. I think I might tell Tommy [Sheppard] to block all the 29 other GM's numbers. We're not answering."
— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) January 30, 2021
Scott Brooks on constant Bradley Beal trade rumors: "Of course every team would want him, but the good part about it, the team that he's on wants him the most. …We're not interested. We're not interested."
— Ava Wallace (@avarwallace) January 30, 2021
Even so, as long as the Wizards continue to post awful results despite Beal’s best 40-point efforts, the trade rumors aren’t going to stop. It might just require Beal actually wanting out for anything to come of them.
For more on the Bradley Beal trade front, click here.