It’s time for another edition of our trade rumor rankings series, where we rank the 10 players who have appeared most often in trade rumors over the previous week.
This week’s entries won’t come as a surprise to anyone, especially those near the top of the list, not with how much has been reported on them of late.
Let’s get right into the action, as we have a lot to discuss.
Kyle Lowry (Miami)
By his high standards, Kyle Lowry had a down year last season, his first with the Miami Heat, and his play got even worse in the playoffs when he was dealing with injury.
As such, it’s not a shock to see his name pop up in trade scuttle this offseason.
Even so, according to the Miami Herald, the Heat have assured Lowry that they will not trade him to the Brooklyn Nets for the All-Star point guard who will come up later in these rankings:
There’s no indication that the Heat wants to move on from 36-year-old Kyle Lowry – who is very close with Jimmy Butler – but Pat Riley has said that Lowry needs to get in better shape. The Heat has assured Lowry that it has no intention of trading him for Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, according to a source briefed on the situation. We’re told that Lowry wasn’t upset when Riley said publicly that his conditioning must improve.
Plus, according to The Athletic, the No. 1 player on this list and the player everyone is currently after has it in mind that if he were to join the Heat, it would be to play with Lowry:
As for the Miami possibility that also seems to be in play, I’m told there’s a significant obstacle on that front. Kevin Durant, it seems, would only want to play on a Heat team that includes Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry. So even if the Heat were willing to move Butler in a deal as a way of satisfying the Nets’ (understandably pricey) request, doing so would leave Durant discontented from the start.
So although Lowry would make sense as a trade candidate, all signs now indicate he’ll be staying put in Miami.
For the latest Kyle Lowry rumors, click here.
Mikal Bridges (Phoenix)
With one of the best scorers in league history suddenly on the market, players who once appeared like franchise cornerstones for their teams, like Mikal Bridges with the Phoenix Suns, now look like they could be moved.
According to The Athletic, a source close to Phoenix center Deandre Ayton had raised the possibility of a Bridges-Ayton swap to the Nets before the No. 1 player on this list had even put in his trade request:
Phoenix has the kinds of players who might make this a win-win for all involved – namely, Suns small forward Mikal Bridges and restricted free agent center DeAndre Ayton. In the days before Irving’s choice to opt-in, sources close to Ayton had raised this possibility of an Ayton-Bridges deal being very much on their radar. At that time, however, it was unclear whether Durant was going to ask out.
The Athletic reported later in the week that the Nets might not be all that interested in an Ayton-Bridges package in exchange for their superstar small forward:
All eyes are on Phoenix when it comes to Durant, the Nets star who is believed to be targeting the Suns as his preferred next destination. Yet while I wrote at length on Thursday about how a deal centered on restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton and small forward Mikal Bridges might work for both sides, the early sense is that it would take more than that. Or, to be clearer, something different. As the New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield pointed out in the wake of the Rudy Gobert-to-Minnesota blockbuster that went down on Friday, the Nets’ asking price for Durant – two All-Stars, as we’d been told – may have just gone up.
We’ll see how this plays out, but if the top player on the ranking this week does get his wish to play for the Suns next year, Bridges would likely be involved in any such deal, be it to the Nets or a third party.
For the latest Mikal Bridges rumors, click here.
Joe Harris (Brooklyn)
The most substantive reporting on the Joe Harris front this week came courtesy of Chris Haynes, who shared that in a potential Kyrie Irving swap to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Nets would like to attach the sharpshooting Harris to the deal while L.A. is more inclined to take Seth Curry, who’s on a much cheaper deal and will be an expiring contract:
Draft compensation is an ongoing talking point for the Nets and they want shooting guard Joe Harris – who is recovering from left ankle surgery – and his remaining $38.6 million owed over the next two years included in the deal, sources said. The Lakers have been disinclined to the inclusion of Harris, and are instead seeking the insertion of sharpshooter Seth Curry as part of the arrangement, sources said.
Harris was limited to just 14 games in 2021-22 and is under contract for two more seasons, through 2023-24, a campaign in which he’ll be owed nearly $20 million.
If the Nets are to blow things up as it appears, look for Harris to be a player that could be had by rival clubs for pretty cheap considering where his trade value is at the moment.
Hint: It’s not high.
For the latest Joe Harris rumors, click here.
Ben Simmons (Brooklyn)
After weeks and weeks of writing about Ben Simmons trade rumors, we got a small reprieve from that once he once finally moved by the Philadelphia 76ers to Brooklyn.
And yet here we are, right back to square one, discussing Ben Simmons trade rumors, the craziest part being: He still hasn’t played one minute of NBA basketball since June 20, 2021.
The biggest news this week on the Simmons front was that he deactivated his Instagram account, leading to a small frenzy on Twitter with people thinking the Nets were about to make a major move.
They didn’t. Not yet, at least.
While Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trade rumors swirl, Ben Simmons’ Instagram has just been deactivated 👀 pic.twitter.com/1nZ1C2eKiI
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 3, 2022
Regardless, according to Sam Amick, the Nets are expected to keep Simmons no matter what happens with their two top stars this offseason.
Source close to the situation tells @TheAthletic that the Nets are expected to keep Ben Simmons. Some had rightfully wondered if there would be a ripple effect here on the 25-year-old's Nets future. https://t.co/2TnO6n71xI
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 30, 2022
We’ll see how true that winds up being.
For the latest Ben Simmons rumors, click here.
Devin Booker (Phoenix)
Although Kevin Durant favors Phoenix as his landing spot, part of the reason for that being the ability to play alongside Devin Booker, according to Vincent Goodwill, the Nets would want Booker back in a Durant deal.
That’s according to Jake Fischer, who wrote last week:
From Brooklyn’s perspective, sources said, there’s no deal to land Durant in Phoenix that doesn’t start with sending back Devin Booker to Barclays Center. The Suns, of course, would likely hold the line firm. But early indications are the Nets brass is not particularly inclined to take a sign-and-trade that brings back restricted free agent Deandre Ayton.
Booker agreed to a super-max extension last week, one that will pay him $214 million over the four years of the deal, and the strong odds indicate he’ll play that extension out as a member of the Suns, as there’s little chance he’ll be moved, even for a player of Durant’s caliber.
For the latest Devin Booker rumors, click here.
Russell Westbrook (LA Lakers)
It appears we might have to wait a bit to see how the Irving saga unfolds, but things did get a bit exciting this week on that front when Haynes reported that the Lakers and Nets were at least discussing a swap for Irving that would have sent Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are actively engaged in discussions on a trade package that would send star point guard Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn in exchange for star point guard Kyrie Irving, league sources told Yahoo Sports. There’s palpable optimism that an agreement can be struck between the two sides this offseason, but there remain a few hurdles, sources said.
Haynes immediately followed that up by tweeting that talks are just preliminary at this point, curbing any and all excitement on the matter rather quickly.
However, it went slightly unnoticed when Ian Begley reported days later that momentum was building on a Westbrook-for-Irving trade.
Either way, here we sit days later without a resolution on the matter. It just seems difficult to believe the Nets would take Westbrook back in an Irving deal unless the Lakers are willing to attach some draft sweetener to the trade.
For the latest Russell Westbrook rumors, click here.
John Collins (Atlanta)
Following the acquisition of Dejounte Murray by the Atlanta Hawks, the team is reportedly not done dealing, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, who reported last week:
Woj says the Atlanta Hawks are "not done dealing yet"
— 𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣’ 𝙉𝘽𝘼 (@_Talkin_NBA) June 29, 2022
However, following the draft, Chris Kirschner told our own Michael Scotto that Collins’ market has cooled down a substantial amount:
Chris Kirschner on John Collins’ trade market: From talking with people since the draft, it seems like the market for Collins has decreased quite a bit. Now, I’m not really sure who’s interested in him… As it stands now for John, the market has definitely dwindled down for him. It’s not a possibility the Hawks just keep him. The Hawks aren’t going to just trade John for nothing. We’re talking about someone who’s a really good player.
Nevertheless, the Kings and Wizards were mentioned as potential landing spots for Collins this week by Carmichael Dave.
The Wizards are the most engaged for John Collins at this point. Sacramento and others still in the conversation, but the Wizards at the front of the line.
— Carmichael Dave (@CarmichaelDave) June 30, 2022
Just like on so many other fronts, it looks like a Collins move will have to wait until Durant gets dealt, as the top-five player has put the entire market on a hold for the moment.
For the latest John Collins rumors, click here.
Donovan Mitchell (Utah)
With Donovan Mitchell’s ties to New York City, there has been a lot of speculation about his future being with the Knicks. However, the most recent reporting on his trade prospects indicates that the Nets could be hoping to land Mitchell in a potential Durant deal.
Marc Stein wrote the following recently:
My pal Brian Windhorst became the darling of NBA Twitter on Friday for his dramatic burst of morning prognostication mere hours before Utah traded Rudy Gobert to Minnesota. Yet I suspect that Windy, when he was musing so irresistibly about the intrigue building in Salt Lake City, was thinking as much about the prospect of Donovan Mitchell landing in Brooklyn as part of a three-way deal sending Durant to the Suns as he was about what might happen with Gobert.
However, cap rules would prevent that from happening… unless Simmons gets traded somewhere else, as a team can’t have two players on designated rookie contracts when one of them was acquired via trade.
Regardless, Wojnarowski reported last week that the Jazz’s plan after trading Rudy Gobert remains to build for their future around Mitchell:
"They have shut down any team who's called about trying to trade for Donovan Mitchell. The Jazz are committed to moving forward with him as their cornerstone player."@wojespn on the Utah Jazz's plans with Donovan Mitchellpic.twitter.com/OqPPan8bYy
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 3, 2022
There was some pushback on that from local Jazz beat writers, but for now, it looks like Mitchell is staying put in Utah despite heavy interest from the Heat and Knicks.
An outright Mitchell trade demand could change that, but he hasn’t made any such request so far.
For the latest Donovan Mitchell rumors, click here.
Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn)
And now we arrive at the two players who have the entire offseason NBA market on hold.
Apparently, the Lakers are the only team willing to take on the risk of Irving next season, and even they haven’t been aggressive in their overtures for the 2016 champion quite yet, per Wojnarowski:
"The Lakers have yet, I'm told, to be aggressive in trying to put a deal together to get [Kyrie] from Brooklyn. That may come, that may evolve with time. But so far right now, there's no traction really on deals with either Irving or Durant."
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 4, 2022
Even so, Stein reported over the weekend that LeBron James himself has lobbied hard to get Irving on the Nets, as the four-time league MVP wants to see his former teammate join him in L.A. badly:
Brooklyn insists that talks are only preliminary at this point, but Chris Haynes’ report Saturday that the Nets and Lakers have discussed a Kyrie Irving trade only fueled what is already a widespread expectation that Irving is destined to end up with the Lakers. I certainly believe that, too. I know Irving has been in Los Angeles this week, but that’s not the source of my confidence. It stems from repeated rumbles in circulation that LeBron James is rooting hard for Irving’s addition to the roster. as the four-time league MVP wants to see his former teammate join him in L.A..
The Nets, however, don’t appear to care about what Irving wants and reportedly have no interest in accommodating him. They even might just use his salary as filler for another trade, according to NBA Twitter legend of the week, Brian Windhorst:
[T]he Nets have no interest in accommodating Kyrie Irving. They have no interest in doing it. If it comes up maybe a three-team trade or a four-team trade to get the Nets satisfied with what they want. To get them maybe a start. To take draft picks from Phoenix and reroute them somewhere else… Kyrie might get thrown into that four-team trade just as salary ballast. He’s going to be used as a tool to help the Nets.”
Irving has been pretty quiet on the matter publicly, though he did share one GIF with us, one that wasn’t all too subtle:
— A11Even (@KyrieIrving) July 1, 2022
Irving, a far better basketball player than GIF-sharer.
For the latest Kyrie Irving rumors, click here.
Kevin Durant (Brooklyn)
We finish with Durant, the best player the NBA trade block has seen in quite some time.
All indications at the moment are that this situation between Durant and the Nets might drag out quite a bit, as Brooklyn will look to avoid rushing into a deal. Wojnarowski stated as much recently:
Adrian Wojnarowski on Kevin Durant’s potential trade: “The market is still taking shape, and I think it’s incumbent on some of the other teams to be creative and start bringing to Brooklyn ideas, going out and seeing if they can get players, picks that would put the kind of package it would take to get Kevin Durant. Brooklyn’s got time on its side. They have a lot of time left in the offseason and they have a player in KD who has four years left on his contract. They don’t have to rush into a deal.”
The juiciest recent bit of info we got on the Durant front came from Marc Spears, who wrote that the Golden State Warriors, Durant’s former team(!), are interested in a potential reunion:
Kevin Durant’s quest to find a new home as he waits for a trade from the Brooklyn Nets could take him to a place he knows very well. Appearing on ESPN Radio, Marc J. Spears of Andscape called the Golden State Warriors a team to “keep an eye on” for Durant. Spears later took to Twitter to give more context to his report. Spears noted the Warriors “could” potentially offer the best package for both sides, with a deal involving Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman.
Now that would be the blockbuster of blockbusters, especially considering the inclusion of Andrew Wiggins, who performed so well and admirably on both ends of the floor during Golden State’s latest title run, as well as former No. 2 pick, James Wiseman.
Marcus Thompson reported afterward that a deal between the Nets and Warriors for Durant remains highly unlikely, but still, it’s fun to dream of the possibility.
(The lambasting Durant would get online from fans, talking heads and former players in the media if he rejoins his old team right after they won a title without him would rival the vitriol LeBron James got for joining the Heat back in 2010. It would probably be worse.)
Besides the Warriors, the Toronto Raptors have also been talked about a lot as a potential landing spot for Durant, though the inclusion of reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes appears to be a sticking point, per the New York Post:
League executives who spoke with The Post said Toronto was not only well-positioned, but confident of being able to put together the best package. The Raptors have balked at the notion of putting Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes in any deal, although those same executives opined that could be a negotiating ploy by savvy Masai Ujiri, who has a history of pulling off huge trades.
Although it seems as if Durant is staying put for a while as the Nets sort through huge trade offers, these types of things can materialize out of nowhere, so don’t be surprised if the former league MVP is dealt when you least expect it.
For the latest Kevin Durant rumors, click here.