With 2021 NBA free agency all but wrapped up, everyone’s eyes will now turn to the trade market, which could be where we see the next major move of the offseason happen.
There have been multiple huge names bandied about on the trade market for weeks, even months, so it won’t be a huge surprise to see a big trade come to fruition before training camp tips off in a bit over a month.
Below, check out the latest installment of our Trade Rumor Rankings series, which ranks the five players who have appeared most on our Trade Rumors Page over the previous seven days.
Buddy Hield (Sacramento)
There was a brief moment last week where it appeared it would be Buddy Hield, not Russell Westbrook, headed to the Los Angeles Lakers before the move ultimately fell by the wayside as the one-year-removed champs opted to add the former league MVP and triple-double machine instead.
How that decision will age remains to be seen, as Hield might have been a great fit for Los Angeles thanks to not just his three-point shooting but for his perimeter, off-the-dribble bucket-getting, but we digress.
After the Westbrook deal took place, however, there were still reports out there that the Lakers weren’t finished trying to trade for Hield, something that many found surprising due to how difficult of a transaction that would be to pull off legally.
Now, Los Angeles appears to be more settled in the shooting department after the pickups of Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn and Wayne Ellington, so the Hield-to-Lakers move looks like it might have hit its end.
Regardless, if the Sacramento Kings were willing to move Hield to an in-state rival, there’s a solid chance they aren’t done shopping him quite yet.
For the latest on the Buddy Hield trade front, click here.
Joe Ingles (Utah)
After seeing his name pop up in trade rumors ahead of the start of free agency this summer, many were surprised considering how much Joe Ingles had accomplished with the Utah Jazz already, how beloved he is by the fan base and how much he seemingly has left in the tank.
Regardless, a trade involving Ingles did not take place, and it doesn’t appear one came all that close to taking place, though we did hear about one interested potential suitor: the Golden State Warriors.
That report came courtesy of The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, who wrote:
If Jazz forward Joe Ingles is indeed available for trade, sources say the Warriors do have interest – just no good way to get him. Ingles, approaching 34, fits the Warriors’ need for a veteran and another offensive playmaker. His passing would fit perfectly with the Warriors. He can run point forward and spot up off the ball, making him viable with the starters and the second unit. He’s got 45 playoff games under his belt. He shot a career-best 45.1 percent from 3 on a career-high 6.1 attempts per game — his third season at 44 percent or above. He’s also reputed for being a great guy and would add to the culture of the locker room.
Imagine Golden State being able to place Ingles on the wing alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson… that’s a horrifying amount of three-point firepower for one team.
Nevertheless, the Warriors don’t really have the salaries to make such a move, as the majority of their players are on either max or near-max deals, or on rookie-scale or minimum deals, so it’s hard to envision Ingles-to-Golden-State taking place.
It’s hard to see Ingles being moved anywhere, in all honesty, at least not until the trade deadline, and only if the Jazz get an offer too enticing to pass up on.
For the latest on the Joe Ingles trade front, click here.
Danilo Gallinari (Atlanta)
Over the past week, there have been two reports tying Danillo Gallinari to the Minnesota Timberwolves, both from The Athletic.
First came one from former Grizzlies executive John Hollinger, who said:
They had eyes for Kuzma before the Lakers sent him to Washington, and could jump back in if he’s available again. Another possible name for the Wolves: Danilo Gallinari.
And then, the second came from local Minnesota beat reporter John Krawczynski, who shared that he had heard similar rumblings about Gallinari and the Wolves:
The Wolves have been looking at Gallinari for several months, though sources said that it would be more difficult to execute a trade with Atlanta now that Rubio’s $17 million is in Cleveland.
It’s unclear how exactly Gallinari would help Minnesota’s porous defense, though on offense, his fit spacing the floor next to Karl-Anthony Towns would be pristine.
Just judging by the two names tied to the Timberwolves in Hollinger’s report, Gallinari and Kyle Kuzma, Gersson Rosas very clearly wants a versatile, ball-handling, floor-spacing power forward to start next to his franchise big man, defense not being a concern whatsoever.
Either way, we’ve heard the name Gallinari talked about as a Wolves target for months now, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see it happen at some point.
For the latest on the Danilo Gallinari trade front, click here.
Damian Lillard (Portland)
It shouldn’t come as a surprise based on all of the recent reporting, but it looks like the Damian Lillard and Portland Trail Blazers marriage is going to continue at least for the next few months.
Most recently, we had Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes, a reporter extremely well connected to the Lillard camp, say that the superstar point guard is going to give the Blazers another shot to make things work:
Goodwill made mention of the New York Knicks’ calculated moves, in how they coallign with a potential Lillard deal, should his relationship with the Blazer go awry. In providing his own outlook on the situation, Haynes had this to say. “I expect Damian Lillard to go and play for the Portland Trail Blazers. I expect him to try out this roster. I believe he wants to give Chauncey Billups a chance. And I think he’s going to go there, give the roster a shot. And Portland’s probably still not done. You know, I’m hearing Paul Millsap, a guy they’re looking at. I’m hearing Kelly Oubre, who’s still on the market, a guy that they’re looking at, so they’re still not done. But I expect Dame to go out there next season, play, see how things materialize, and go from there.
Considering the lack of a major trade being made by the organization this offseason and the fact that their big moves this summer were to sign Cody Zeller, Ben McLemore and Tony Snell, the Blazers were operating like a team that isn’t at risk of having a disgruntled star demand out.
Maybe Portland is being wise in believing in their roster and just tweaking the edges of first-year head coach Chauncey Billups‘ rotation, believing the former championship-winning point guard will be able to get more out of this group than his predecessor.
However, it isn’t difficult to see this all falling apart for the Blazers this year, and quickly, too, as Lillard, coming off a gold medal with Team USA after playing with some of the league’s top stars for a few weeks, might want something similar for his NBA career.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
For the latest on the Damian Lillard trade front, click here.
Ben Simmons (Philadelphia)
After weeks of offering Ben Simmons up at astronomical prices – one report from The Athletic indicated that the Philadelphia 76ers were asking for four future firsts and an All-Star in exchange for the supersized ball-handler – it appears now that the Sixers will have to settle with running things back in 2020-21.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported as much last week when she said:
The Sixers could also bring him back and try again if they can’t get a Lillard or a Beal at the moment, but it also appears that maybe Simmons doesn’t want to come back. Per Ramona Shelburne on ESPN’s The Jump: The Sixers are open to bringing him back. In a lot of ways, I think they would prefer that. I think they would prefer to say we don’t want totrade this guy who can win the Defensive Player of the Year, who is a young superstar in the making. Just come back and let’s let’s work on this, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a bridge there that is being walked across by both sides like that. I don’t know if Ben Simmons has that interest right now because things were said afterwards. After the season, Doc Rivers said some things, Joel Embiid said some things. I know there’s been trying to smoothing out of that relationship, but it doesn’t seem like Ben is necessarily interested in that right now.
At the moment, it almost appears as if Simmons is more interested in finding a new team than the Sixers are in moving him, though with some time until training camp kicks off, there’s still a chance Philadelphia does find a trade for their All-Star point guard.
Their asking price just might have to come down at least a bit.
For the latest Ben Simmons trade rumors, click here.