With the 2014 NBA draft on approach, which just so happens to feature a stellar overall class—not to mention a bevy of big names in search of new homes around the league—the trade market has been anything but silent.
Whether it is teams looking to move around in the draft to give themselves a better shot at prospects they covet or front offices looking to add superstars that are allegedly available, the fact of the matter is that this very moment is one of the most entertaining of the NBA calendar.
So strap in, because things can only get crazier from this point forward as teams do whatever it takes to improve. Here is a look at the latest updates on the trade hotline.
Kevin Love's Camp Makes a Push
Of course, Kevin Love will be the biggest name of the offseason until something happens (or doesn't) given the fact it has been made readily apparent he wants out of Minnesota.
With one year left on his deal and a surefire departure in free agency once it expires, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insider suggests those around Love are willing to do what it takes to ensure that final year is spent in another locale:
The word in NBA circles is that Love’s agent is pushing hard for a trade for his client and has been trying to urge interested teams into making aggressive offers to the Timberwolves, trying to get something down around the NBA Draft so Love can focus his attentions on his new team.
Perhaps the most underrated superstar in the league at the moment, it makes sense Love wants to both get out of a smaller market and have a better chance at winning in comparison to the odds the hapless Timberwolves give him at a title.
For perspective, note the comparison Numbers Never Lie provides:
Kevin Love averaged 55.9 Pts + Reb + Ast per 48 minutes last season. Most by an NBA player since Jordan in 1990. pic.twitter.com/0ZPdAK2jT3— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) June 2, 2014
Teams such as Boston and potentially the Los Angeles Lakers are sure to be in the conversation for Love this summer. A trade seems inevitable at this point, at least if the front office in Minnesota is ready to give up on a pipe dream and get some compensation in return.
The Predictable Roy Hibbert Predicament
So a team with alleged chemistry issues after an up-and-down year may want to get rid of one of the culprits, and said culprit would not have any issues with a change of scenery?
Shocking. That is said to be the state of affairs in Indiana, per ESPN's Mark Stein:
There is said to be some thought on both sides -- management and Hibbert's -- that a fresh start would be beneficial for everyone after the big man's second-half decline.
Hibbert's camp hasn't outright asked for a trade, sources say, but word is that it wouldn't exactly oppose one if the Pacers decide to actively shop their center.
Good luck with that, Pacers.
Not only is Hibbert a potential distraction, he has two years left on his current contract that pays him in the neighborhood of $30 million, per Spotrac. The final year, which would be his aged-29 season, is a player option—meaning that thing isn't going anywhere.
As the numbers show, Hibbert received his All-Star bid this past season and proceeded to fall off a cliff:
|Before All-Star Game||30.6||.464||11.8||7.7||2.5|
|After All-Star Game||28.2||.390||8.9||4.7||1.8|
Hibbert is not a horrible asset by any means, but his collapse, the stigma around the issues the Pacers faced and a cringe-worthy contract equate to an excruciating offseason littered with potential buyers and little action.
The State of the Lottery Picks
Now that the pingpong balls have settled, all chaos can break free after a season ripe with potential tanking to get near the top of a loaded draft class.
Except perhaps there was no tanking involved.
According to ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required), teams as high as No. 5 overall are willing to part with their precious selection for the right price:
After pick No. 5, however, things are much more fluid. Sources say the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns are all open to offers.
While the Celtics, Lakers, Kings, Hornets, Wolves and Suns aren't likely to get All-Stars for their picks, they should be able to score players or multiple assets to help their teams right now. Look for the Bucks, Hawks, Mavs, Blazers and Raptors to be especially busy trying to move up or acquire a second pick.
It is not wildly out of the ordinary to see so many teams near the top willing to give away a pick, but it is a tad strange considering the general narrative this year suggested teams neutered their efforts to land a high selection.
But clearly some franchises near the top are willing to roll the dice, move back in a deep class and potentially add a proven veteran in the process. Don't expect much traction until draft day, but that won't stop rumblings from popping up.