We have just barely a month to go before this season’s March 25 trade deadline, so action on the market should start to get more interesting at some point soon.
We already know of two separate star players who are being benched by their teams as they try to find them new homes, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see at least one of them get traded over the next few weeks.
Regardless, there are various names popping up in trade rumors right now.
Below, we have taken the five players who have appeared the most often in our Trade Rumors Page over the previous week and rank them by order of appearances.
John Collins (Atlanta)
Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins has seen his numbers drop across the board this season, from 21.6 points to 17.6 points per game, from 10.1 rebounds to 7.5 rebounds per contest and from a tidy 58.3 field-goal percentage to a more ordinary 53.1 percent mark.
Whether or not that has to do with the fact that Atlanta passed up on the opportunity to extend him last offseason, no one knows, but it could be a factor in Collins’ regressed play.
As such, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that this has led to Collins coming up in trade rumors this year (via The Athletic):
Even if there was a quality deal to be had that added future assets, his production in the present is so crucial that it appears unlikely that he’ll be on the move. Nonetheless, sources say the Hawks have shown a willingness to listen to offers for Collins (this should surprise no one).
Shams Charania expounded further on the rumors last week, saying that even if Atlanta did move Collins, it would cost any team who wants to acquire him something as valuable as a “high first-round, lottery-level pick” to get him.
The New York Post’s Marc Berman also reported that NBA executives believe it would take a “whopping offer” for the Hawks to actually consider trading Collins, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason (we currently rank him as the eighth-best free agent of the 2021 class).
Collins’ upside as a floor-spacing, face-up power forward with elite athleticism remains quite high, so if the Hawks do end up moving him, it won’t come cheap, which all the reports on the matter have reiterated to this point.
It’s just a bit shocking that Atlanta is even considering such a move this early on in his blossoming career.
For more on the John Collins trade front, click here.
Nikola Vucevic (Orlando)
Nikola Vucevic has been one of the most productive players in the NBA on the season, with averages of 24.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, and has looked like a lock to reach his second All-Star Game this campaign.
That has meant that even though the Orlando Magic boast a paltry 13-18 record this year and look like a team that could consider hitting the reset button at some point, they’re still not interested in trading their best player.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported as much today:
Executives around the league say Orlando has shown no interest in moving Vucevic. He’s a favorite of Steve Clifford’s coaching staff and a centerpiece of their offense; though the 30-year-old may not be part of their long-term future, he’s an important piece to facilitate development of their young players.
For what it’s worth, on his end, Vucevic recently said on a podcast that he’s happy as a member of the Magic, though he did add the caveat “for now” before saying that (via The Ryen Russillo Podcast):
“For now, I’m happy here. And I think that this year if we’re full strength we would definitely be a playoff team and playing for something, and we would have a chance to fight in the playoffs and do something significant now. […] Honestly, I’ve been in like, not the last two seasons, but before that I’ve been in like so many trade rumors. I think one year I was in almost every rumor every day, like every day there’s something else or it would be like the same team but just you know different things. And it doesn’t really affect me because for example, something like a trade I don’t have any control over it. So I don’t like to think about it because I can’t do anything about it.”
It doesn’t look like Vucevic is going anywhere, especially considering the fact the Magic clearly want to remain competitive for the foreseeable future, but who knows? Maybe a team swoops in and offers a monster package to get the super productive big man out of Orlando.
Far stranger things have happened in the NBA.
For more on the Nikola Vucevic trade front, click here.
Bradley Beal (Washington)
This week has brought more of the same on the Bradley Beal trade front, with all reports indicating that the superstar 2-guard is going nowhere this season.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski went on the network and said so just yesterday:
Per @wojespn on NBA Countdown:
— The Jump on ESPN (@NBATheJump) February 22, 2021
And O’Connor further reiterated that today (via The Ringer):
Unless something changes between now and the deadline, Bradley Beal won’t be available. All indications are that he and the front office will wait until the offseason to sort out their future.
Plus, with the Washington Wizards finally starting to hit their stride this season, winning four games in a row behind strong play by Beal and Russell Westbrook, the odds of Washington changing course and actually listening to trade offers for Beal over the coming weeks is likely pretty close to zero.
Regardless, Beal is playing so well this season, leading the league in scoring at 32.9 points per game, that his name will continue to pop up in trade talks until the deadline passes.
For more on the Bradley Beal trade front, click here.
Blake Griffin (Detroit)
The Detroit Pistons made waves last week when word came out that they’d be sitting Blake Griffin in hopes of finding his next home, whether that be through trade or perhaps through a buyout.
This would have been enormous news had it came out in 2018-19 when Griffin last made an All-Star team. But this year, Griffin has looked like a shell of his former self, averaging 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while shooting 36.5 percent not from three, but from the floor.
Couple that with Griffin’s outrageous salary that pays him $36.8 million this season (he’s the league’s eighth-highest-paid player for 2020-21) and $39.0 million next year, with a player option on top of that 2021-22 salary, it looks extremely unlikely anyone will be trading for Griffin, unless Detroit attaches multiple assets to the deal.
Our own Michael Scotto talked to NBA executives about the prospects of a Griffin trade last week, and one said the Pistons have been struggling to find a taker for the former star for “months” now:
“I know they’ve been trying to trade him for months and can’t find a taker,” a Western Conference executive told HoopsHype. “Part of it is Blake also saying there are certain teams he would prefer to go to. This is a weird one. Non zero chance they buy him out, which just seems crazy.”
For what it’s worth, one betting site has the Miami Heat as the favorites to land Griffin if Detroit does trade him:
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) February 16, 2021
But even with the Heat struggling this season, it would be downright shocking to see them trade anything of value to land the almost-32-year-old.
This situation between Griffin and the Pistons appears headed straight for a buyout.
For more on the Blake Griffin trade front, click here.
Andre Drummond (Cleveland)
Like the Pistons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have decided to bench their own big-name big man, Andre Drummond, in this case, as they try to find a trade for him.
However, unlike with Detroit, the Cavaliers actually have a chance of finding a trade for their big man, considering Drummond is still in the midst of his prime, as evidenced by him averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds before being sat by Cleveland.
Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor said on a podcast last week that “eight to 10 teams” have already reached out to the Cavs about a potential Drummond trade, while The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie had a league executive tell him a Drummond acquisition could prove savvy by a theoretical suitor:
“If he got on the right team or the right situation, you could see him play one or two months with really great motivation where he makes an impact,” one NBA executive said. “It would take a good team and a good coach. I could see getting the best version of Drummond we’ve seen in a while and not getting exposed until he gets matched up with Joel Embiid or someone else like that in the playoffs.”
Drummond being on an expiring contract could also help matters as far as the Cavs finding a trade for him, but the fact that it pays him $28.8 million is a bit of a hindrance since it would take a lot of salary-matching by an interested team to make a deal work.
Regardless, Drummond remains the likeliest big-name player to get traded over the coming weeks, so keep an eye on this situation. A buyout for the 27-year-old is also certainly possible.
For more on the Andre Drummond trade front, click here.