The week has already seen one fairly big trade go down, though not officially, with the Memphis Grizzlies sending Jonas Valanciunas and the No. 17 pick (along with more draft capital) to the New Orleans Pelicans for Steven Adams, the No. 10 pick and more draft assets.
Not a blockbuster by any means, but still a trade featuring two starting centers involving two franchises hoping to make the playoffs out West in 2020-21.
Now, we await to see what other moves might be made starting today, on the day of the Draft Day, and heading into free agency on Monday.
Below, check out the latest edition 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.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City)
It may be unclear to many why the Oklahoma City Thunder would be willing to trade a player as seemingly special as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is, but when looking at it from a broader perspective, such a move could make some sense.
For starters, Gilgeous-Alexander is extension-eligible this offseason and will likely command a max contract based on his age, upside and proven production, something the Thunder may not be willing to doll out yet considering how far away they remain from contention for even a playoff spot.
Moreover, Gilgeous-Alexander, now 23, entering his fourth season and a potential All-Star candidate in 2021-22, doesn’t remotely fit the timeline for an Oklahoma City team still in the midst of a full rebuild. The Thunder don’t have a single other player anywhere near Gilgeous-Alexander, production- or potential-wise.
That’s how a player as promising as the Canadian ball-handler winds up in trade rumors.
And the predominant one this week, that came courtesy of multiple outlets, including BasketballNews and Bleacher Report, is that Oklahoma City offered Gilgeous-Alexander and the No. 6 pick to the Detroit Pistons for the No. 1 pick, and, presumably, a shot at Cade Cunningham, who ironically enough has been compared to Gilgeous-Alexander in the past.
Our own Michael Scotto also reported that Oklahoma City had not included Gilgeous-Alexander in talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 3 pick in tonight’s draft… not yet, anyway.
Regardless, it looks like Gilgeous-Alexander could be on the move this offseason, and could wind up on the third team in just four years of his blossoming NBA career, which would be totally shocking considering what a talent he is.
For the latest Shai Gilgeous-Alexander trade rumors, click here.
Kyle Kuzma (LA Lakers)
Los Angeles Lakers swingman Kyle Kuzma continues to spout up in trade rumors all over the place, with one recent report, from our own Scotto, connecting him to the Indiana Pacers (via HoopsHype)…
Kuzma and the Lakers’ 22nd pick was also discussed with the Pacers. The talks centered around acquiring the 13th overall pick from Indiana and needed salary filler but was turned down, HoopsHype has learned.
…and another, from Amick, indicating that the Lakers’ most promising trade talks have come regarding a swap between the purple-and-gold franchise and the Sacramento Kings that would involve Buddy Hield (via The Athletic):
Of all the scenarios for a supporting player believed to be in play, one source to the situation indicated the Hield deal — which would involve forward Kyle Kuzma and would also likely require Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell to opt in to the final year of his deal (worth $9.7 million) and be included — appears the most promising thus far.
Wherever he does wind up this summer, it appears very likely we’ve seen the last of Kuzma donning a Lakers uniform, at least for the foreseeable future.
For the latest Kyle Kuzma trade rumors, click here.
Damian Lillard (Portland)
The most recent developments on the Damian Lillard trade front actually came courtesy of the superstar himself, when he openly scoffed at a recent trade rumor that popped up about him.
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) July 28, 2021
And you KNOW that ain’t true lol… it’s gettin outta hand bruv https://t.co/am5tmkIeDW
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) July 28, 2021
Lillard’s teammate CJ McCollum also joined in on the fun:
Bruh now he saying you giving bread back 😂😂 https://t.co/VpEEDhDct4
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) July 28, 2021
As far as actual reporting on the matter, The Athletic’s Sam Amick had the following to say about Lillard’s trade prospects this offseason:
On the Lillard front, sources say he’ll continue focusing on his Team USA experience while waiting to see how the Blazers’ roster looks later in the offseason before reassessing his situation.
So it looks like Lillard is going to give the Portland Trail Blazers a legitimate shot to reshape their roster this summer before deciding to do anything drastic, which is commendable, though could make a potential trade demand harder to come by if he does decide to make it later on.
Either way, a name like Lillard would command everyone’s attention on the trade market, so whether he waits or not, the Blazers will have their pick of the litter when it comes to big-time trade packages if the worst comes to worst in this situation.
For the latest Damian Lillard trade rumors, click here.
Bradley Beal (Washington)
Reports earlier this week were that Bradley Beal would be deciding on whether or not to demand a trade from the Washington Wizards by tonight’s NBA Draft.
If that is the case, the superstar 2-guard isn’t leaving himself much time, though one supposes a trade could come during the draft itself, much like when the Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2017.
If Beal does demand a trade, The Athletic reported the Golden State Warriors, Sixers, Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks could get in the mix for his services, while the Miami Herald reported the Heat, Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers would up the team’s most appealing to Beal.
However, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard confirmed yesterday that no trade demand from Beal had taken place by that point:
Tommy Sheppard confirms there has been no request from Bradley Beal about wanting to be traded.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) July 28, 2021
So really, we still don’t have much movement on this front, not until the official trade demand comes from Beal’s camp.
Until then, this is all very speculative.
For the latest Bradley Beal trade rumors, click here.
Ben Simmons (Philadelphia)
His future destination remains murky, but it looks like Ben Simmons could be on the move soon, as multiple reports indicate that not only are the Philadelphia 76ers canvassing the league looking for a trade partner for him but that Simmons and his camp would also welcome such a move.
That’s according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, at least, who reported as much yesterday:
ESPN Sources: Sixers continue to canvass the league for Ben Simmons trades — armed with a steep asking price. Simmons and his agent, Klutch CEO Rich Paul, are in step with a move elsewhere. Draft night is always an ideal vehicle for a deal, but talks could continue into summer.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 28, 2021
The issue here is, according to reports, the Sixers’ asking price for the talented but flawed point guard remains sky-high… like James Harden-to-the-Brooklyn-Nets level of sky-high.
On ESPN2, Woj says the Sixers are asking for a Harden-esque type trade package for Ben Simmons.
He says moving Simmons isn’t urgent, but Sixers will be active going into draft tomorrow.
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) July 28, 2021
Many might consider that notion farfetched, if not flat-out ridiculous, but when you think about it, what other 25-year-old, five-time All-Star, two-time 1st Team All-Defenders are available on the trade market right now? Until Lillard or Beal actually demand trades, Simmons is by far the best player on the trade block at the moment, so Philadelphia would be foolish not to ask for a huge trade package in exchange for acquiring him.
The Athletic reported the Toronto Raptors, Wizards and Miami Heat as potential trade partners for Simmons, though later walked back the Miami portion of that report, while The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that the San Antonio Spurs had turned down an offer from the Sixers for Simmons:
O’Conner says the 76ers wanted a haul from the Spurs that included the Spurs sending Philadelphia one of their young core players and much more. “There’s so much stuff floating out there right now about the Sixers having outrageous demands like wanting four first-round draft picks, and three pick swaps, and a young player from the Spurs they say now. All these deals you hear about are outrageous. Nobody will do it for Ben Simmons.”
Regardless, keep an eye on the Simmons trade front, because it appears like something could pop here soon.
For the latest Ben Simmons trade rumors, click here.