In our first week without NBA basketball and with just a week to go until free agency kicks off, the trade rumors have begun to get rampant, ranging from scuttle about role players to superstars.
And due to the nature of free agency this year, with many teams lacking cap space and only a few game-changing players set to be available, there’s an expectation out there the trade market could get wild this offseason.
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.
Joe Ingles (Utah)
Although The Athletic’s Tony Jones mentioned that he hadn’t heard Joe Ingles’s name brought up in trade scuttle recently, over the past week, we’ve gotten two reports from separate sources about the Utah Jazz potentially shopping their talented Australian swingman.
The first came from Action Network’s Matt Moore, who reported the following:
However, sources suggested that Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles were also bandied about as available if the Jazz could get a significant upgrade, which would be a major shakeup for the team, especially with Mike Conley headed to unrestricted free agency this summer.
And that was pretty much reiterated later on in the week by Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer:
League personnel most often mention Joe Ingles as the Jazz wing to watch, and Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale are also considered available for trade as Utah narrows its focus towards building a contender around Donovan Mitchell. The Jazz are also open to discuss trading their No. 30 pick, sources said.
It’s somewhat difficult to understand why Utah, coming off a year where they led the league in net rating and win-loss record, would want to rock the boat so violently, though perhaps their whimper of a playoff exit in the Western Conference semifinals, as well as the fact that Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic play somewhat similar roles, could be motivating such a decision.
Either way, Ingles, with one year left on his deal paying him $12.4 million in 2021-22 (which will barely put him in the Top 100 in the league, salary-wise), should garner a ton of interest on the trade market if he really is available, especially from contenders.
For the latest Joe Ingles trade rumors, click here.
Kyle Kuzma (LA Lakers)
It’s no secret the Los Angeles Lakers want to make a splash this offseason, and understandably so, considering LeBron James and Anthony Davis are championship-level players who could use some help on the periphery of the team’s roster.
But to do so, they’ll need to attack the trade market, as the purple-and-gold franchise won’t have much cap space to pick up marquee free agents, which could be a problem considering their most tradeable pieces have seen their values crater over the past season.
One of those potential trade assets is Kyle Kuzma, who’s been one of the most popular names in trade rumors pretty much since joining the Lakers.
The latest we have on the matter came from Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski, the former who reported that Los Angeles has discussed a Kuzma-to-Sacramento deal that could net the Lakers Buddy Hield while the latter reported that L.A. has offered up Kuzma to just about every team in the league.
That jives with pretty much everything that’s been reported about Kuzma since the season ended.
We’ll see if it leads anywhere.
For the latest Kyle Kuzma trade rumors, click here.
Damian Lillard (Portland)
Now, time for the big names, the first of which belongs to Damian Lillard, who has been hotly speculated about as a potential trade candidate this offseason.
However, most of the recent reporting on the matter indicates that Lillard is going nowhere this summer, with there being a chance if he does demand a trade, that comes midseason ahead of the 2021-22 trade deadline, and not this offseason.
That reporting comes courtesy of two Bleacher Report media members, Fischer and Eric Pincus, the latter of whom reported the following recently:
A public trade demand has yet to arrive, but executives around the league are closely monitoring the Portland Trail Blazers as the NBA edges closer to the draft and free agency. “It sounds like he is not getting moved anytime soon,” one Eastern Conference source told Bleacher Report. “From what I’ve heard, [Lillard is] going to give it a chance and then decide closer to the [trade] deadline.”
And Fischer reported he’d heard similar recently:
Beal’s potential availability has sparked significant discussion among league personnel, but there appears to be less confidence Lillard will seek a different team prior to training camp. Warriors officials have expressed doubt Lillard would eye Golden State as a destination.
Those reports jive with what we’ve heard all along, even from Lillard himself. The superstar lead guard feels an extreme sense of loyalty to the Portland Trail Blazers but wants to win big now that he’s entered his 30s, so it makes sense why he’d give Portland another few months to see if they can legitimately form a championship contender around him or if first-year head coach Chauncey Billups can change things for the club immediately in 2021-22.
If things go south quickly for the Blazers next season, don’t be surprised to see the trade demand many have been waiting for come late in the fall or early in the winter.
But for now, it appears the trade request from Lillard isn’t coming over the next couple of weeks.
For the latest Damian Lillard trade rumors, click here.
Bradley Beal (Washington)
As is sometimes customary when major players pop up in trade rumors, the national media is saying one thing and local beat reporters are saying another when it comes to Washington Wizards 2-guard Bradley Beal.
The national guys, namely Woj and Shams, reported on Sunday that Beal is mulling over whether to request a trade from the Wizards ahead of Thursday’s NBA Draft, with Shams reporting the following on Sunday:
Still: Beal has been seriously mulling his future in recent weeks, and at times has been very much on the fence about whether or not he wants to remain with the Wizards, sources tell The Athletic. The All-NBA guard is expected to use the weekend to continue giving his career some thought and could arrive at a decision during the upcoming week.
And with Woj, later on that same day, reporting:
Woj on Beal: “I believe he is legitimately torn… he wants to win and he’s got to look at the landscape of that roster and that team.”
— Adam Aaronson (@SixersAdam) July 25, 2021
Something that came up today which could explain this sudden shift in Beal’s thing, who previously seemed so loyal to Washington, is the situation looming with Russell Westbrook, who has come up a lot recently in trade scuttle, most of which has been attaching his name to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Philadelphia Inquirer Keith Pompey mentioned that situation as a reason Beal could look to ask out in a report on Monday morning:
A sense around the league is that would be contingent on what Washington does with point guard Russell Westbrook. The source said Beal may consider leaving if the Wizards opt to trade Westbrook this summer. There have been some reports about the Lakers having interest in Westbrook.
Nevertheless, The Athletic’s Fred Katz, who covers the Wizards year-round for the outlet, eased concerns from D.C. fans with what he reported Monday:
Bradley Beal hasn’t asked out. There is no trade demand or trade request, not even a timid suggestion, according to sources. But here we are, where the news of the week is an All-NBA talent deciding whether or not to make a decision.
We’re in wait-and-see mode with Beal’s trade prospects, though Katz did list teams like the Warriors, Sixers, Heat and Hawks as interested parties if the superstar scorer does demand a trade at some point.
There’s no doubt there’d be a major bidding war if Beal hits the market ahead of the draft, the question is: Will he?
For the latest Bradley Beal trade rumors, click here.
Ben Simmons (Philadelphia)
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the latest reports on the Ben Simmons front are telling us that the Philadelphia 76ers have been heavily shopping the All-NBA defender over recent weeks.
Woj says Sixers are engaged in trade talks, taking on offers and making offers.
Says the Sixers are looking for best possible player in return. Points out that Simmons has four years left on his deal, which means (A) the Sixers don’t have to do this now + (B) Ben has no leverage
— Adam Aaronson (@SixersAdam) July 25, 2021
Woj says things with Simmons could get “serious” this week.
— Adam Aaronson (@SixersAdam) July 25, 2021
Philadelphia trying to move Simmons makes complete sense, as his fit with star big man Joel Embiid is far from perfect and, if anything, the Australian ball-handler saw his form actually regress in his first year under Doc Rivers’ tutelage, something that can only be seen as troubling by Daryl Morey.
Bleacher Report’s Fischer reported the Cavaliers, Pacers, Timberwolves, Kings and Raptors as having shown interest in Simmons, though did state that the Sixers haven’t been offered an All-Star-caliber player in return yet for the big southpaw.
Meanwhile, local Philadelphia scribe Pompey had a lot more to report on the matter Monday reporting, writing that a Simmons trade is inevitable, according to what he’s hearing:
The 76ers’ quest to trade Ben Simmons hasn’t hit a crescendo yet … but it is stirring. It’s inevitable, according to league sources. It’s just not clear when it will happen, where he will go, and what the Sixers will receive in return. “Philadelphia has options,” a league source told The Inquirer. “They’re just not finite. The source added that more teams are interested in acquiring the three-time All-Star than have been reported because of this summer’s weak free-agency class. The lack of players available makes it more likely Simmons will inevitably be moved. While there’s still a chance the Sixers get something done sooner, several league sources believe it could happen in the preseason. It’s just a matter of dealing with potential trade partners with enough assets to be in the mix.
Simmons, despite his serious and obvious flaws, is still one of the best defenders in the league and an absolute terror in transition, so the Sixers pulling off a trade that nets them an All-Star in exchange for the 25-year-old shouldn’t be considered totally unlikely.
It might not happen this week, but keep an eye on the Simmons front going forward, as he seems to be the likeliest trade candidate out there among the star players.
For the latest Ben Simmons trade rumors, click here.