Trade rumors have become part of the NBA's core fiber these days, and the chatter we've seen over the past few weeks during the 2013 NBA playoffs will pale in comparison to the amount we're going to see in the window between the draft and the lull after the chaos of free agency.
But deals are being discussed both internally and externally in anticipation for the movement to follow, and the draft adds a layer of complexity to any potential move because of today's desire for cap space and the luxury of building a roster without having to rely on the unpredictability of free agents.
While free agents like Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith and Monta Ellis will all be hot topics, trades for players unhappy in their current situation have just as much potential to completely shake up the framework of the league for the 2013-14 season.
That being said, here's the latest roundup of trade rumors to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.
Latest Rumors on Potential Offseason Moves
Granger for PG Swap Being Discussed
If you're the Indiana Pacers, would you rather have Los Angeles Clippers PG Eric Bledsoe or Milwaukee Bucks PG Brandon Jennings?
Both deals are floating out along the rumor mill following Indiana's disheartening Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat, as pundits everywhere have placed the oft-injured Granger and his large salary figure as a potential chip for Indiana to use to acquire a starting-caliber point guard.
According to Fox Sports' Sam Amico, a Jennings-for-Granger swap hasn't made it out of the "rumor" category yet, but in the next few weeks, don't be surprised if this deal for the two stars gains legs:
1. Brandon Jennings. 2. I predict 65-35 he is. RT @MichaelG_PG24: who do the Pacers go after this offseason, and u think Granger is gone?— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 19, 2013
Rumor that could reality. RT @massey_evan: Pacers seriously pursuing Jennings or just rumor?— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 21, 2013
As noted by AllSports247.com, any kind of trade for Granger involving Jennings would have to be for the sign-and-trade variety. Jennings is a restricted free agent, and to make salaries close enough to complete a deal, Jennings would need to sign a long-term extension before being shipped to the Pacers.
The move would likely push George Hill back to the Indiana bench, a role he had in San Antonio and during the first part of his Indiana career before earning the starting job from Darren Collison in the middle of the 2011-12 season.
The other move, one for Clippers PG Bledsoe, wouldn't be so cut and dry with respect to the Indiana starting lineup. As noted by ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, the Clippers are looking to move Bledsoe separately from any deal to get Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, simply because there is such a market for his services as an emerging player.
Which PG should Indiana target?
Granger's outside shooting, tenure with the franchise and ability to contribute would be a nice addition to the Indiana lineup next season, but his status as a free agent in the summer of 2014 and injury concerns make it unsurprising that Indiana might want to bolster the point guard position over keeping him around.
Granger has been connected to trades for much of the past six months with the emergence of Paul George, and he'll likely stay there until a firm decision comes down from the Indiana brass.
Trade Demand Awaits Kings if No Cousins Deal Reached
Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reported on Wednesday that Cousins and the Sacramento Kings were working toward extending his contract since the 2013-14 season will mark the end of his rookie salary, but a failure to do so could have drastic consequences.
Per the report:
His agent, Dan Fegan, has instructed Cousins not to speak on anything relating to the Kings team, management or ownership. Cousins is eligible for a contract extension this summer, and Fegan wants a maximum deal for his client with the threat of a trade demand looming if a deal isn't reached.
Cousins has averaged just over 16 points and nearly 10 rebounds so far during a three-year stint with the Kings, but the franchise has not reached the playoffs in those three seasons and didn't get any closer this year as it once again wound up with a lottery pick.
Speculation—including some here from ESPN's Chad Ford about potential suitors should he become available—about Cousins moving to a new franchise next season has been running rampant for quite some time, and there would be no shortage of official suitors should Sacramento sever ties following these negotiations.
The attitude problems and disappointing lapses in judgement from Cousins have marred an otherwise stellar start to his NBA career, but his future is very much in flux right now. We should know more when reports of the contract negotiations start leaking out in the coming days.
Gasol Back on the Block?
Pau Gasol has been seen as a non-fit in Mike D'Antoni's offense since the former Phoenix head man took over for the Los Angeles Lakers following the dismissal of Mike Brown at the start of the season.
While his value to both the Lakers and Kobe Bryant personally have been reasons for no deal being made so far, his contract ($19.28 million next year) has done the heavy lifting in scaring away potential suitors.
That being said, Amico claims the Lakers are using him as bait to both shed salary and buy back into the first round of the draft:
From everything I hear, they're trying. Dangling Pau to make splash. RT @JDMugno9: any chances lakers try to trade for a 1st round pick?— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 21, 2013
Gasol played in just 49 regular season games for the Lakers this year, and his per game averages of 13.7 points and 46.6 percent shooting were both career lows. Factor in L.A.'s first-round playoff exit, and it was a disappointing season for the two-time NBA champion.
With Bryant taking up a large portion of the salary cap, Dwight Howard's future uncertain and the harsh reality of zero flexibility setting in amongst Lakers brass, moving Gasol will be another priority for the franchise if it wants to find a way to keep Howard and revitalize the roster around him and Bryant next season.
Draft-day trades are part of the NBA these days, and there's no shortage of rumors surrounding teams who want to move up—or down—in the 2013 NBA draft.
According to Amico, the top three picks are all drawing significant interest league-wide:
Interest is building in the Cavs' No. 1 draft pick, but more so in the Magic's 2 and Wizards' 3, league sources say.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 19, 2013
Although that tweet is almost a given, the fact that no player has emerged as a clear-cut No. 1 choice and this is the kind of draft where value is going to be hard to determine from just college stats and pro projections, a tweet like that should tell you that no one is sold on making a mistake by reaching for someone it's comfortable with in the top five.
At the same time, there are franchises willing to surrender assets for certain players next Thursday.
While a potential Doc Rivers trade continues to dominate NBA rumor mills (via Shelburne and Stein), one thing to note is that the Clippers would likely surrender No. 25 in any move. Ford noted a potential draft target should a Rivers trade go through:
If the Celtics get the 25th pick from the Clippers in this potential Doc/KG trade, wouldn't be shocked to see them take Ricky Ledo at 25— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 18, 2013
Another team with a trade on the mind as the draft approaches is the Dallas Mavericks. Looking to shed cap for a run at the big-time free agents, Dallas has been rumored as a potential spot for teams to move up since the NBA draft lottery (h/t Ford via Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas).
Probasketballdraft noted on Twitter that there is a deal between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Mavericks (who executed a trade with each other during the 2012 NBA draft) that would net the Cavaliers a new wing for their starting lineup:
Dallas pick is available and Cavs appear to have parameters of a deal in place to move up from 19 for it. Target is Sergey Karasev.— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) June 20, 2013
Amico confirmed that the rumblings he's heard point to this move having legs:
Told it has some legs. Don't know what would be involved. Probably 13th pick. RT @kgreen6337: any new word on a potential Cavs/Mavs deal?— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 21, 2013
As the draft approaches, the chatter will continue to rise. Get ready for a feverish two months of NBA offseason discussion, months that will be juicy with player movement and even riper with rumors about others waiting to do the same.
Follow Bleacher Report FC Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.