NBA Rumors: Post-Draft Updates Around the League
The 2013 NBA Draft has come to a close, but there are still teams looking to make some moves. With the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce-to-Brooklyn deal all but finished, the door is open for other big trades to be made.
Free agency is a few short days away and there will be a lot of wheeling and dealing to make room for marquee free agents such as center Dwight Howard and point guard Chris Paul. The draft may be over, but the rumor mill is still alive and well.
From Houston's Thomas Robinson to New Orleans' Eric Gordon, let's take a look at the latest word on the NBA's trading block.
Eric Gordon Could Be on the Move
New Orleans Pelicans shooting guard Eric Gordon being on the trading block shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. The team has been shopping around its franchise guard since this past season's trading deadline.
Prior to the draft, RealGM.com's Andrew Perna reported that the Pelicans made Gordon "very available" for anyone wanting to pick up the three years and nearly $45 million left on his contract. Naturally, there was some reservation from teams in regards to adding someone who has played just 51 games in two seasons.
That didn't stop New Orleans from making a blockbuster trade on draft night, though. When Kentucky shot-blocker Nerlens Noel slipped to the Pelicans at No. 6 overall, the team jettisoned the big man to Philadelphia along with a top-five protected 2014 first-round pick in exchange for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday.
If the Pelicans plan to be players in this year's free agent market, the need to move Gordon increases. Holiday is in the first year of a four-year, $44 million deal. He will make $11 million annually.
That means New Orleans enters free agency with a backcourt that will make a combined $25 million next season. With a huge hole at small forward, the team needs to find a way to free up some cap space.
As of right now, there aren't any reports of a pending deal for the oft-injured Gordon. However, the lack of cap space and needs elsewhere might force GM Dell Demps to press a little harder to make a deal.
Bucks Shopping PG Brandon Jennings
It makes all the sense in the world for the Milwaukee Bucks to start shopping point guard Brandon Jennings, as The Journal Times' Gary Woelfel tweeted before the draft.
After all, Jennings is a restricted free agent looking to play in a bigger market and the Bucks would prefer to keep Monta Ellis anyway. However, the NBA draft came and went without a new home for Jennings.
What will eventually make things harder for Jennings' request to play in a big city is the fact that there aren't many large markets with a need for a point guard. Boston has Rajon Rondo. Chicago has Derrick Rose. Steve Nash and Chris Paul headline both Los Angeles teams.
Most recently, Philadelphia replaced Jrue Holiday with rookie Michael Carter-Williams. The other options are the New York Knicks (already on tap to spend $73 million next season) and the Dallas Mavericks, who could view Jennings as a Plan B if (or when) they miss out on CP3.
The Houston Rockets would be an interesting option, but they seem to have their sights set on center Dwight Howard. However, if they can't nab D12, they do have the assets to make a Jennings trade work. It just depends on whether they willing to give up on Jeremy Lin after just one season.
LaMarcus Aldridge Wants out of Portland
An interesting name to watch on the trading block is Portland big man LaMarcus Aldridge. According to Jason Quick of The Oregonian, the All-Star forward is looking for a change of scenery because the Blazers are "too small" and "too boring."
A deal for the former Texas Longhorn didn't happen on draft day, but it would have been interesting to see what Portland could have got back for their franchise big man. If Jrue Holiday was essentially worth two first-round picks from New Orleans, the Blazers probably could have been received a pretty penny for Aldridge.
Now, Aldridge hasn't come right out and said, "Trade me," but he didn't rush to throw cold water on Quick's claims, either. The Cavaliers looked into acquiring Aldridge in April and even offered the No. 1 and No. 19 picks to in this year's draft to nab him.
Portland eventually passed on the offer, but it will be interesting to see how they handle things if Aldridge forces the issue. The Blazers are still in rebuilding mode and a couple years away from being a contender.
Aldridge is a crucial part of the organization's title chances, but he might not be willing to wait around for this small, boring team to develop.
Rockets Offering Up Thomas Robinson
The Houston Rockets seem like they are willing to do whatever it takes to free up enough space to land free agent center Dwight Howard. Mark Deeks tweeted before the draft that Rockets were trying to dump the salary of point guard Jeremy Lin to free up some more money.
Another member of the Rockets reportedly on the trading block is former No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson. ESPN's Marc Stein mentioned that the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers as potential suitors, with both potentially giving up a first-round pick for the ex-Jayhawk.
As it turned out, Robinson stayed put. Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald claimed that there was never anything to the Robinson rumors and that "the Bulls don't need a bump in salary from the No. 20 pick."
Robinson's name on the trade block shouldn't be too surprising. The Rockets have had their eyes on bringing in Howard since last summer and have been acquiring pieces to either trade or build around their potential franchise center.
With a return to the Lakers unlikely, Houston and Dallas will be in a dogfight to land the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. To do that, someone will have to go. The most likely candidate is Robinson, who still has potential and a cheap contract ($3.5 million next two seasons, $4.6 million in 2015).
Robinson may not have found a new home at the draft but, with free agency approaching, it should only be a matter of time before Houston rushes to shed his salary.
Eric Bledsoe on the Way out of Los Angeles?
The Los Angeles Clippers have been able to resist the urge to trade prized young point guard Eric Bledsoe so far. They managed to keep him out of a trade for head coach Doc Rivers and they escaped draft night with him still on the roster.
That doesn't mean a trade won't still happen.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, multiple teams have expressed interest in Chris Paul's potential backup (assuming CP3 re-signs). The Magic, Pelicans, Raptors and Mavericks were all rumored to be willing to make a move for the former Kentucky Wildcat.
The Pelicans inevitably traded for Jrue Holiday, so they are out of the running. Toronto is an interesting candidate, as they already have Kyle Lowry entrenched at point guard. The Mavericks make a lot of sense, but they don't have a ton of assets to trade.
The front-runner would appear to be Orlando, who could offer up shooting guard Arron Afflalo. With the team using the No. 2 overall pick on Victor Oladipo, Afflalo is expendable. ESPN's Marc Stein, Ramona Shelburne and Chad Ford reported that a deal was in the works between Orlando and Los Angeles, but one never came about.
A deal for Bledsoe would give Orlando a great young defensive backcourt. Oladipo was a fine defender at Indiana and averaged 2.2 steals a game for the Hoosiers. Bledsoe averaged over a steal per game for the Clippers last season as well.
The biggest hurdle to any Bledsoe trade could be new head coach Doc Rivers, who is said to be a Bledsoe fan. The sooner Rivers can be talked into letting his backup point guard, the sooner you will see Bledsoe in a new uniform.