Trade rumor rankings: James Harden, Russell Westbrook and more

Trade rumor rankings: James Harden, Russell Westbrook and more

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Trade rumor rankings: James Harden, Russell Westbrook and more

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Word in NBA circles is that the NBA will open the league back up to trades on Nov. 16, two days before this year’s draft, meaning we’re less than a week away from potential madness.

Rumors around the Association are already intensifying, and not just about minor complementary pieces, but about some of the biggest stars the league has to offer.

Below, we have ranked the eight players who have appeared most in our Trade Rumors Page over the past seven days in order of appearances. Let’s jump right in.

8
Bradley Beal

For the third straight week, Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal makes his way into these rankings, and for the third straight week, there’s little indication that Beal is going anywhere anytime soon.

At the same time, that hasn’t stopped rival teams from hoping something changes on the matter at some point and the Wizards are forced to put Beal up on the trading block. Here’s what ESPN’s Zach Lowe had to report on the matter this past week:

The Wizards have shown no inclination to trade Beal, sources say, and might do so only if Beal — under contract through at least 2021-22 – indicates he would prefer to play elsewhere. Could that happen at the trade deadline if the Wizards are bad again? […] Rivals are not giving up on Beal becoming available sooner. Multiple strong playoff teams have called teams in the top 10 of the draft, investigating what it would take to acquire those picks, sources have said. Do those teams love a certain prospect? Or are they seeking ammo for a big trade?

So just like we’ve been saying for weeks now, Beal appears to be fully committed to making things work in Washington… for now.

But, like Lowe said, if the Wizards struggle out the gate yet again next season, which wouldn’t be all that surprising since we have no idea what Beal’s backcourt partner John Wall will look like coming back from all those injuries, could Beal’s stance on wanting to stay with the Wizards change?

That’s certainly a possibility.

For more on the Bradley Beal trade front, click here.

7
LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge, Golden State Warriors

Seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge has seen his name pop up in trade rumors recently in relation to the Golden State Warriors, who seem to have an interest in adding an established frontcourt player to the rotation.

The report came courtesy of ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who shared the following on his podcast:

“Someone within the league today texted me, ‘Hey there’s a little bit of buzz about No. 2 to San Antonio for LaMarcus Aldridge and No. 11,’” Lowe said on the most recent episode of the “Lowe Post” podcast. “And obviously there would have to be salary going out. And my response was, that’s crazy. The Warriors should not do that. You don’t trade the No. 2 pick for LaMarcus Aldridge, and I don’t care if you’re getting No. 11.”

Whether or not that trade would be a fleecing for the San Antonio Spurs is not for us to say, but there’s no doubt Aldridge would be a great addition for Golden State, who probably want to add size to combat with what the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers have in their frontcourt.

If this trade does happen, we won’t have to wait long, as the draft is less than a week away at this point.

For more on the LaMarcus Aldridge trade front, click here.

6
Devin Booker

There were conflicting reports this week about Devin Booker and whether or not he wants to stay with the Phoenix Suns.

The speculation started when The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo told Bill Simmons that one of the worst-kept secrets currently going around NBA circles is that Booker already wants out of Phoenix.

That’d be a bit surprising considering how well the Suns, led by spectacular play from Booker, did in the bubble and how close the team appears to be to turning the corner as a franchise.

Since then, Russillo’s nugget has been refuted by multiple reporters, including our very own Michael Scotto, who spoke to league sources to get a better understanding of what those who work in the NBA are hearing about Booker’s availability.

Here’s some of what Scotto heard back:

A league source also told HoopsHype there’s no truth to Booker wanting out of Phoenix. Several executives who spoke with HoopsHype believe Booker won’t be going anywhere because of his contract situation and his talent as a franchise cornerstone at such a young age. “He has no leverage,” one Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “He’s locked up for four more years. There is no way for him to demand a trade with that much time left on his contract.”

Even if Booker did want out of Phoenix, he’d have very little leverage considering he’s under contract through 2023-24 and earning a very healthy salary from the Suns, so there’s really nothing to worry about here for Suns fans.

Plus, Booker looked far from unhappy during Phoenix’s excellent bubble run, so the original reporting here may have been a bit off.

For more on the Devin Booker trade front, click here.

5
Chris Paul

One of the biggest bombs of the week was the one that came on Tuesday night tying future Hall-of-Famer Chris Paul to a previously unreported potential destination… the Suns.

Although Phoenix got a good season out of Ricky Rubio, who they signed last summer, there’s no doubt that even at 35, Paul would present an upgrade over the man-bunned Spaniard. Alongside a talent like Booker and other young studs like Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, the addition of Paul might be enough to put Phoenix over the top and get them back into the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10.

A deal between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Suns doesn’t appear to be imminent, but progress appears to have been made between the two parties (via ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps):

The Phoenix Suns have had discussions about acquiring All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder, sources told ESPN. Talks have been ongoing and have continued to gather traction, but there is no deal imminent, sources said.

The exact parameters of what a deal might look like haven’t been reported, though something like Rubio and Kelly Oubre for Paul would work financially as long as Phoenix isn’t over the cap – something they can avoid by renouncing Aron Baynes’ free-agent rights or not exercising Frank Kaminsky’s team option.

Now, one snag that a potential deal between the two parties could hit, according to John Gambadoro, is that the Thunder might not want to take back multi-year contracts. That would be a problem since Rubio is signed through 2021-22.

Regardless, it’s not like Rubio’s deal is some huge albatross, he’d only be a Thunder player for one season after this one and considering he’s a starter-level talent, Oklahoma City probably wouldn’t have trouble trading him elsewhere after acquiring him.

Nevertheless, we’ll just have to wait and see how this shakes out. We do know one thing, however: A CP3-Booker tandem would be a whole lot of fun to watch.

For more on the Chris Paul trade front, click here.

4
Spencer Dinwiddie

With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving set to return this upcoming season and Caris LeVert breaking out as a potential third scorer for the team, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie could find himself as the odd man out.

And based on how often his name is popping up in trade rumors these days, it would not be surprising whatsoever to see him get dealt at some point in the coming weeks.

SportsNet New York reported this week that multiple upper-echelon Western Conference clubs are interested in Dinwiddie while ESPN shared that Dinwiddie could be available for the right price.

On his end, Dinwiddie is having fun with the rumors, often sharing them on social media with his own thoughts on the matter:

Regardless, Dinwiddie has blossomed into a very solid scorer and a valuable asset to any team, so it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up if a trade were to happen.

For more on the Spencer Dinwiddie trade front, click here.

3
Jrue Holiday

One of the hottest names on the trade market over the past month, Jrue Holiday continued to pop up in scuttle this week, and scuttle that’s starting to get more and more specific, meaning a deal could soon be approaching.

Courtesy of The New York Times’ Marc Stein, we got word of a potential suitor for Holiday that no one was expecting: the Atlanta Hawks:

Atlanta brass likely feels some pressure to make a leap this upcoming season, particularly with an All-Star already in the fold in Trae Young, and two supremely talented young bigs in John Collins and Clint Capela also in the mix.

Adding Holiday to that core without losing any of the aforementioned players could help the Hawks make that jump into postseason contention in 2020-21.

The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner did refute Stein’s report…

…but it’s clear nonetheless that Holiday could be on the move this offseason, be it to the Hawks or elsewhere.

For more on the Jrue Holiday trade front, click here.

2
James Harden

James Harden, Houston Rockets

With rumors circulating about former league MVP Russell Westbrook wanting out of Houston and James Harden likewise questioning the direction of the team, many think that it’s only a matter of time before the southpaw superstar joins Westbrook in requesting a trade.

It may not happen right away, and for now, Harden is reportedly ‘locked in’ with the Rockets…

…but how long will that last after Houston trades Westbrook and potentially finds themselves struggling for wins in 2020-21?

Harden has already spent the majority of his prime with the Rockets and has nary a ring to show for it, so it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see the bearded 2-guard start to seek greener pastures at some point soon.

Harden was reportedly unhappy with being left out of the selection process for the team’s new head coach, who wound up being Stephen Silas, and has been ignoring calls from the team for weeks, according to now-ESPN talking head Kendrick Perkins.

A Harden trade might not be imminent, but it’s looking more and more like dark days might be ahead for the Rockets franchise.

For more on the James Harden trade front, click here.

1
Russell Westbrook

Unlike Harden, Westbrook has gone all in and requested a trade from the Rockets, citing culture and play-style concerns with the team.

Here’s what The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Kelly Iko had to report on the matter yesterday:

Rockets All-Star Russell Westbrook wants out of Houston, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Westbrook, who has three years and $123 million remaining on his deal, has expressed the sentiment to Houston officials, sources said. Westbrook has informed team officials that he has been uneasy about the team’s accountability and culture, and wants to join a team where he can have a role similar to his prior, floor-general role in Oklahoma City.

Westbrook’s deal is extremely expensive (it’ll make him the second-highest-paid player in basketball next year) and doesn’t expire until 2022-23 when he’ll be 34 and earning $47.1 million. His play doesn’t live up to those numbers either, as Westbrook ranked 49th in VORP last season, 61st in BPM and 101st in WS/48.

Whoever does the trade for Westbrook will be taking a huge gamble, though that doesn’t mean it’ll be impossible for the Rockets to find a suitor for him.

There will always be a team out there desperate enough to add immediate star power that they’ll make a short-sighted decision like trading for a Westbrook-type player.

For more on the Russell Westbrook trade front, click here.

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