We have arrived at another edition of our trade rumor rankings series, where we take the five players who have appeared most often on our Trade Rumors Page over the past week.
This week’s edition has a couple of fresh names on it, including Jaylen Brown and Thaddeus Young, the latter of whom is certainly a name to watch ahead of the trade deadline.
Let’s get right into it.
Damian Lillard (Portland)
For the first time in a while, it was a quiet week on the Damian Lillard trade front, which could have to do with the fact that the superstar Portland Trail Blazer is finally playing up to form, averaging 33.2 points and 6.8 assists over his last five outings.
Regardless, Lillard’s name did directly pop up once in trade scuttle, with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stating that Lillard is the only Blazers player not available for trade at the moment:
Brian Windhorst: I talked to an executive this week who told me every single Portland Trail Blazer is available with the exception of Damian (Lillard).
That makes a lot of sense, as Blazers management recently publicly discussed the fact that this currently Portland group, as construed, might have already hit its ceiling.
Plus, getting a stronger supporting cast around Lillard could be paramount to keeping him a Blazer his entire career.
For the latest on the Damian Lillard trade front, click here.
Domantas Sabonis (Indiana)
Over the past week, multiple veteran NBA reporters have discussed hearing that Domantas Sabonis wants out of Indiana and to move on from the Pacers.
One of those reporters was The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, with his report being backed up by Matt Moore (via Action Network):
Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer reported that Domantas Sabonis wants out of Indiana. That’s what I was told by multiple league sources as well, and that it wasn’t just this season, but instead going back to last year Sabonis was looking for a change of scenery.
However, those reports were refuted by multiple sources as well, including Windhorst:
Brian Windhorst on the Pacers: They might trade one, they might trade two players. I would think Caris LeVert and Myles Turner, most likely in that order, from what I understand. I know there’s a lot of discussion about Sabonis out there, that there’s a lot of people claiming various things. I haven’t heard Sabonis’ name in the trade market.
Either way, we should know more about Sabonis’ future over the coming weeks, as the All-Star big man would undoubtedly return a solid haul if the Pacers do decide to move him.
While we’re on the topic, we recently broke down the four most realistic trade destinations for Sabonis.
For the latest on the Domantas Sabonis trade front, click here.
Ben Simmons (Philadelphia)
Unsurprisingly, Ben Simmons’ name continues to pop up in trade rumors, which only makes sense considering his trade request and the ongoing situation with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Windhorst mentioned Simmons’ situation recently on a podcast, stating the following:
Windhorst: There’s been a number of rumors that have gone around the league in the last few weeks about Ben Simmons trade involving the Morey quarangular. That would be Philadelphia, Minnesota, the Kings, and the Rockets. … Let’s just say there has been a lot of discussion. I’ve had executives tell me that when Ben Simmons gets traded, it will include one or more of the quadrangular. Not that that’s where Ben Simmons would go, but they would probably be involved, because a Ben Simmons trade likely ends up being a multi-team deal. MacMahon: The Rockets have been much better lately, but they get ‘Hey, this is very early in a rebuild.’ So they’re trying to wedge their way in and get ammo for a rebuild, for sure.
For what it’s worth, the current betting favorite to land Simmons in a trade is Portland, which probably stems from the fact that the Blazers are looking to shake things up around Lillard, with Dame himself reportedly stating he’d like to play with a defensive monster such as Simmons.
Fresh odds have surfaced on Ben Simmons regarding his next team. The Lakers are rumored to be interested in Simmons, but 5 teams have better odds, according to @betonline_ag:
FAVORITE – Blazers: 7/4
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) December 15, 2021
Regardless, we appear no closer to a resolution to the Simmons saga in Philadelphia.
For the latest on the Ben Simmons trade front, click here.
Jaylen Brown (Boston)
On the other hand, Jaylen Brown’s name making its way onto our weekly trade rankings series is somewhat surprising, considering he’s one of the top young swingmen in basketball and an apparent building block in Boston.
Still, according to Chris Mannix, if Brown does get traded, it would be only in an absolute blockbuster of a move – the likes of in a swap for Lillard, or something of the sort:
Chris Mannix: There’s never really been, from what I’ve been able to gather any type of de-commitment from Jaylen Brown. He’s been frustrated. He’s been out of the lineup. And he’s only got one I think a couple of years left on his contract. The idea that they’re gonna move Jaylen Brown, I think it would take something huge. Like Damian Lillard level huge.
Both Mannix and Keith Smith…
Asked around the NBA about rumors Boston may be looking to move Jaylen Brown. One rival front office exec summed it up best: "Have you noticed those quotes are always from another team? That tells me a lot of people want to trade for him, but Boston has no desire to trade him."
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) December 16, 2021
…made it sound like Brown trade rumors usually stem from outside of Boston, making the likelihood of the Celtics actually trading the 25-year-old All-Star pretty slim.
That was according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, too, who broached the topic on a podcast with our own Michael Scotto:
Jake Fischer: I’ve never heard Jaylen Brown’s name being brought up more frequently than I have in the last two weeks. It got to the point where I contacted some people close to the situation around those two players, and it’s definitely something that’s being discussed. who broached the topic on a podcast I quoted an assistant general manager in my story when he called Boston, they say Jaylen and Jayson are their only untouchables. They’re the top two guys, and they’re building around those two dudes.
So, for now, it looks like Brown would only be on the move if it was in a historic move for the Celtics, the likelihood of which is pretty low at the moment.
For the latest on the Jaylen Brown trade front, click here.
Thaddeus Young (San Antonio)
This week, NBA veteran forward Thaddeus Young, one of the more underrated players in the league for a long time, made waves by publicly stating his wish to be moved by the San Antonio Spurs and sent to a contender.
This came courtesy of a conversation with Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes:
“I don’t mind playing through rebuilds and stuff like that, but the one thing about it is I’m not getting any younger. I’m getting older and at some point, I want to start contending for championships. I haven’t been in any situation where I’ve been able to contend for a championship. I want that feeling. I want that aspect of being able to go out there and being able to compete for a championship every single night. That’s the part that I really want to get to.”
You know, you’re a free agent at the end of this season. If the trade deadline were to pass, is a buyout an option? Or will you cross that bridge when you get to that? THADDEUS YOUNG: I think I’m a just cross that bridge when we get there. Like, things can shift. You know, obviously, like, there’s a pecking order when, you know, trades come. You know, everybody is talking about, you know, right now the Ben Simmons [INAUDIBLE], you know? If that happens, then it might be a trickle-down effect.
What’s more, according to Bleacher Report, one team that would be interested in Young would be the Phoenix Suns, a fit that makes a lot of sense considering Young replace a lot of what Dario Saric – out for the season with a knee injury – did for Phoenix.
Young is certainly a name to keep an eye on going forward, and with his salary expiring (and paying him just $14.2 million this season, merely the 92nd-highest amount in the league in 2021-22), San Antonio should have no problem fulfilling Young’s wish and finding him a new home.
For the latest on the Thaddeus Young trade front, click here.