With NBA training camps opening up around the league and preseason set to begin later this week, the trade landscape has slowed down just a bit.
But that doesn’t mean the rumors aren’t still coming in hot and heavy, particularly out of a certain team based in Texas, one that has already executed one major blockbuster in sending Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for Bradley Beal.
And that team might not be done just yet.
Using our Trade Rumors Page, we have ranked the five players who have made the most appearances in trade scuttle over the past week.
You can check out this week’s ranking below.
Fourth-year guard Frank Ntilikina caused a bit of a stir recently when he removed “Knicks” from a social-media account he runs, but the French ball-handler told the media that his only focus right now is making things work with New York (via SportsNet New York):
“There was some baseless speculation about New York including Frank Ntilikina in a trade because he removed the Knicks from his bio on a social media account. Ntilikina was asked about that on Friday and said that he’s solely focused on being a Knick.”
Despite his early career struggles (the former No. 8 overall pick is averaging merely 6.0 points and 3.1 points through three seasons in the NBA so far), a recent report from Newsday indicates that there is still trade interest out there for Ntilikina:
“However, scouts and executives around the league remain interested in Ntilikina, at least at a low cost. What this season holds for him in New York remains a mystery, too. The Knicks brought back Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr. and grabbed Immanuel Quickley in the first round of the draft, creating a logjam at point guard.”
What a trade package for Ntilikina might look like is tough to decipher at the moment, but he’s still just 22 years old and already an advanced defender for his age, so it’s possible the Knicks get some value if they do decide to ship the 6-foot-4 point guard.
On his end, Ntilikina admits the trade rumors are tough to deal with but that he’s focused on improving:
“‘It is,’ Ntilikina said in a Zoom interview. ‘But it’s part of the game. It’s part of the league. The past is the past and we have a new team now and new goals. So we’re focusing on the future, on the present, on how we can get better each and every day. And how we can make our goals be real . . . Work is just going to take care of everything. That’s what I’m focusing on. Working, doing the best I can do to help this team get better, to help this team complete their goals.'”
For now, a Ntilikina trade doesn’t appear to be imminent, but these things can change quickly, so continue to monitor the situation anyway.
For more on the Frank Ntilikina trade front, click here.
Despite all of the smoke surrounding Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers over the past year, the former All-Star guard vehemently denied wanting out of Indiana this week when talking to the media.
Here’s part of what he had to say:
“A childhood lesson has come back to help Victor Oladipo amid rumors that the Pacers star wants out of Indiana. ‘Growing up, I was always taught not to engage in nonsense,’ Oladipo said. ‘I never have. I never came out and said that I didn’t want to play for the Pacers or be in this organization, but, yeah, I’m focused on now. Here and now.'”
This isn’t the first time Oladipo has made such a denial, either, as the 28-year-old said the same to The Athletic a month ago:
“Two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo has informed the Pacers that he is fully committed to the franchise and the direction of the team entering this upcoming season, Oladipo told The Athletic’s Shams Charania. ‘I know there have been people saying that I have asked players to trade for me. That’s just not true, period. I love my teammates, I cherish the state of Indiana and I’m focused on leading this franchise to a title,’ Oladipo told The Athletic.”
Whatever the truth may be, and there’s no reason not to believe Oladipo here, it’s clear Indiana and the athletic 2-guard are focused on making it work this season, and if Oladipo is able to find his pre-injury form, a big year could be ahead for the talented Pacers.
For more on the Victor Oladipo trade front, click here.
There hasn’t been anything concrete on the Spencer Dinwiddie trade front over the past week, but the Brooklyn Nets guard did make a lot of interesting comments on the matter in interviews with the media.
For starters, Dinwiddie denied wanting a trade out of the Nets, something that he backed up by reminding everyone that he took less than market value to sign an extension with Brooklyn, which he (obviously) wouldn’t have done if he wanted out (via the New York Daily News):
“Spencer Dinwiddie denied any notion he ever requested a trade from the Nets. He called that rumor ‘really dumb.’ Dinwiddie, who was caught off-guard by the question during a Zoom conference call with reporters on Friday explained he felt he could have commanded more money as a free agent, but opted to sign at a lower number – three years, $34 million – to stay in Brooklyn. ‘I don’t know anybody that takes less than market value to stay on a team that wants to be traded, you know,’ he said. ‘That’d be bad for business. That would kinda be really dumb.'”
That matches with everything we’ve heard on Dinwiddie recently, as his name being mentioned in rumors is more about the Nets including him in a package for a potential blockbuster, not him wanting out.
Regardless, even if Dinwiddie does want to stay in Brooklyn, he might not have a say in the matter if the Nets find a major trade they want to swing.
More on that in a bit.
For more on the Spencer Dinwiddie trade front, click here.
Like Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert is another player being mentioned in a lot of trade rumors recently, though not by his own volition. Rather, if Brooklyn pulls off the blockbuster deal many believe them to be interested in, LeVert would almost certainly be one of the players headed out.
Regardless, LeVert isn’t letting the scuttle get to him (via the New York Post):
“That’s the backdrop under which LeVert opened training camp this week. ‘This was kind of my first rodeo [regarding rumors],’ said LeVert, 26. ‘Whatever happens, happens at the end of the day. I just try to think about it like that. I’ve spoken to [general manager] Sean [Marks]. I talked to Sean a lot, a couple times a week. Those things definitely come up, and he’s been an open book, honestly, when it comes to that type of stuff. [We] have a great relationship, so if something does happen, I feel like I’ll know about it. I feel like he’ll tell me.'”
Good on general manager Sean Marks being so open with his players on trade talks, so at least if a deal does happen, no one will be blindsided.
LeVert might not be a superstar, but the 26-year-old is coming off a season where he averaged 18.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists (one of just 27 players to put up an 18/4/4 stat line in 2019-20) on respectable 42.5/36.4/71.1 shooting splits and considering his salary (he’ll be just the 72nd highest-paid player this season), he definitely holds a lot of value in potential trade discussions.
For more on the Caris LeVert trade front, click here.
By far the most active name on the trade market, James Harden has more appearances on our Trade Rumors Page over the past 24 hours than every other player in this ranking has made in the past week… combined.
First off, according to ESPN, the Houston Rockets are clinging to hope that they can work things out with the former league MVP and get him to report to training camp:
“The Rockets are clinging to the hope, ‘Hey, we can be competitive this year. If we’re competitive and we’re willing, maybe James will get back on board.’ They’re just clinging to this hope and I mean, how many times have you seen a superstar demand a trade very publicly and things ended up working out. I will give you Kobe Bryant when they pulled the Pau Gasol trade and won championships. I’m having a hard time thinking of another situation like that.'”
Further, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets and Rockets haven’t had discussions on a Harden trade in weeks:
Per @wojespn, the Rockets and Nets have had no conversations on a possible James Harden trade for weeks. Houston has made it clear to the league they want a "monumental haul" back for Harden. pic.twitter.com/MTwz0DpQjC
— Salman Ali (@SalmanAliNBA) December 8, 2020
If Houston does want an All-NBA/All-Star player in return for Harden, that makes Brooklyn a less likely landing spot for him unless Kyrie Irving gets included in a potential package. That should bring some peace of mind to the aforementioned Dinwiddie and LeVert.
Next, we learned that the Golden State Warriors, a rumored potential suitor for Harden, were no longer interested in pursuing such a trade (via NBC Sports):
“Though the vision of Harden moving into the Kevin Durant role was intriguing, the Warriors realized the return would be no better than a short-term gain while punching a hole in their future. It’s becoming more likely that Harden will end up leaving Houston, as his desire to go to another team is so transparent that his next step might be, for the fun of it, dying an orange ‘Trade Me’ message into his beard. […] No, the bigger issue for the Warriors would have been trying to squeeze Harden, as comfortably entitled as any player in the league not named LeBron James, into a culture that demands accountability and schemes that require collaboration.”
Finally, just today, we learned courtesy of Woj and Tim MacMahon that Harden would also be open to a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers other contenders:
“James Harden indicated to the Houston Rockets before training camp that he would be open to a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers or possibly other contenders, sources told ESPN. Harden, the perennial MVP candidate who is holding out of training camp, previously requested to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets to form a superteam with former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. After it was clear there was no traction in talks with the Nets, Harden expressed to the Rockets that he would be agreeable if a trade with the 76ers materialized, sources said. Harden also indicated that other teams could fit his criteria for a preferred destination, a source said.”
However, the report from ESPN goes on to say that Philadelphia and Houston have yet to have substantive talks on the matter, so we could still be a good bit away from learning the resolution of the Harden trade saga.
Will the Rockets lower their asking price? Will Harden change his mind and give Houston a chance this season? Will we see a trade before the upcoming campaign or will the bearded 2-guard’s relative holdout extend into 2019-20? Will the NBA step in at some point?
A ton of questions surround the Harden situation, and we probably won’t get answers for a while.
For more on the James Harden trade front, click here.