NBA Trade Speculations
The 2019-2020 NBA season is finally over and before going straight into NBA offseason talk, a congratulations to the entire Los Angeles Lakers organization is in order. With that championship, the Los Angeles Lakers have now tied the Boston Celtics in total championships won. So once again, congratulations LA. Now, before we close out the hectic year that is 2020, we’ve been thrown one more curveball. The NBA offseason has been shortened greatly, and expected to return December 22. Meaning the offseason will be a total of only 71 days. With that being said, a lot of big moves are likely to be made soon. Whether it’s because they’re an upcoming free agent, or looking to be traded, key names rumored to be on the move include:
First on the list is James Harden. An MVP who led the league in scoring in 2018. At the moment, it appears the Brooklyn Nets are the frontrunners for landing the former MVP. It’s rumored the Nets are offering Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, a 2020 first round pick (via PHI), 2021 first round pick (Via BKN), 2023 first round pick (via BKN), and finally a 2025 first round pick. Seems like a lot but for an MVP caliber player, that’s the kind of offer they have to make to get the deal done. Personally, I find the idea of a super-trio in Brooklyn to be exciting but a poor fit. With both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant being ball dominant players, adding a player like James Harden would require all three of them to sacrifice more shots than I’m sure they are comfortable with. However, if they figure it out, Brooklyn will be a strong championship contender.
Russell Westbrook. Another league MVP. The Mr Triple Double. According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Westbrook has been uneasy about the Rockets’ “accountability” and culture. At the moment, It appears the New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, and LA Clippers are pursuing him the most. Out of the three teams, I personally believe the best fit for him is in New York. Charlotte is an organization that won’t be able to provide him with the necessary pieces for him to succeed. The clippers already have Kawhi and PG and I don’t feel as if their playstyles and personalities would mesh together properly. But New York, a city desperate for a superstar to boost them back into playoff contention could definitely put a convincing package together. They also have the cap space to absorb his contract and would allow him to play the way he likes. He’d be the number one option on offense, and be the floor general they need.
Speaking of floor general, Derrick Rose is next. The Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers are in pursuit of the former league MVP and three-time All-Star, but since the Clippers are already trying to acquire Westbrook, let’s focus more on the Lakers; who appear closer to sealing the deal anyway. So what would a trade between the Lakers and Pistons look like? To match the salaries and demands of the Pistons, the Lakers would most likely send Kyle Kuzma, and Javale McGee for Derrick Rose and probably a second round pick to even things out. Which for both sides, makes a lot of sense. Detroit clears cap space, gets younger, and a veteran with championship experience, while the Lakers fill the void in their backcourt. Derrick Rose is also a playmaker, which can allow an aging Lebron James to rest more.
Demar Derozan. A four time NBA All-Star and a solid veteran for any contending team, has shown interest in being traded to Los Angeles; his home town. The Los Angeles Lakers have come up with a trade package consisting of Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, and a 2022 first round pick. The Brooklyn Nets (if unable to obtain James Harden) have also shown a lot of interest in pairing Demar Derozan with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. The Nets in exchange are willing to send Caris Levert, and Taurean Prince. Sources say San Antonio would be more than happy to get Levert in return and team him up with their exciting young core in Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, and Keldon Johnson. So personally, I look forward to seeing where Derozan lands. If the LAL can acquire him, adding a third star to their roster could be exactly what they need to go back-to-back.
The first and only free agent on the list, Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors may be on the move as well. Now, Toronto is confident that they can convince him to resign but that’s not going to stop us NBA fans from speculating. A couple other teams that have shown a lot of interest in the 26-year old include the New York Knicks, and the Atlanta Hawks. The Knicks have the money, and definitely the open position with heavy minutes, but there is no guarantee of a playoff run of any kind. If he wants to keep winning, I’d personally recommend him signing elsewhere. The Atlanta Hawks have the most cap space of any team this free agency, so this may be their best chance to sign a high caliber player. Now even though the Hawks have Trae Young, VanVleet has proven he can play off the ball with another guard, as he's done time and time again with Kyle Lowry. But the same problem with the Knicks, occurs here as well. In my opinion, the raptors should do everything they can to resign him, and he should accept. Neither side should feel obligated to test free agency.
Victor Olidapo. Now, of everyone listed, I personally believe Oladipo is the least likely to be moved. Although his name has come up in a few rumors here and there, nothing has got any real momentum. Although he only has one year left on his contract, he’s likely to sign a contract extension with the Indiana Pacers after the season.
Last but not least, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards. A star wasting his prime in a franchise that hasn’t made any noise since 2014 (the last year they made a real run in the playoffs). Rumors of the wizards trading him to the Miami Heat have started coming up a lot more frequently but is still unlikely considering Beal signed a two year - $71.76 million contract extension that starts in 2021-2022. That basically means the wizards have no obligation to move the 27 year old star right away; nor has he reported any want or need to be moved. However, that’s not stopping Miami for making a big push for him. A trade package for Beal would probably look something like Andre Igoudala, Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Herro, and a first round pick. Although that seems a bit lopsided in Washington’s favor, it may be the price Miami would have to pay for adding another star next to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.