The NBA realm is currently a madhouse with the 2014 draft approaching and a wealth of trade rumors surrounding major stars making the rounds as big names appear set to find new homes.
Thanks to a league in flux that may look remarkably different by next season's tipoff, this offseason certainly does not lack for excitement.
While top stars like LeBron James of the Miami Heat may opt out of their deals and make free agency a must-see affair, the trade market perhaps holds even more intrigue as rebuilding teams unload superstars and would-be contenders attempt to land big fish in order to mimic Miami's Big Three approach.
In other words, do not stop spamming the refresh button as the trade market develops. Let's gawk at the latest batch of rumblings from around the league.
Rajon Rondo's Future in Boston Is Murky
As he enters the final year of a five-year, $55 million contract that represents a $12.9 million cap hit, per Spotrac, Rajon Rondo will remain one of the top names to monitor this offseason thanks to the state of the Boston Celtics.
The financial numbers are not too ridiculous, but throw them in a sweltering pot of staggering factors, and they can be viewed as an issue for a franchise coming off a 25-57 campaign.
Boston is in a rebuild and clearly still willing to spend cash but perhaps on a safer option like Minnesota's Kevin Love. In fact, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald notes that Rondo's future with the franchise may coincide with Love's status:
If the Celtics cannot get Love, they are planning to continue with the longer and more methodical rebuilding process, a process that would likely see Rajon Rondo traded. (An NBA source said they would also have a taker for Jeff Green if they chose to move him.)
So far, according to a source, they have offered the Nos. 6 and 17 picks in this year’s draft, Kelly Olynyk and one of their own future No. 1 picks. They also own two more first-rounders from the Nets and one from the Clippers after this season, and the Celts are said to be certainly willing to discuss different combinations of their assets.
Celtics fans are surely aware that Rondo wants the team to make changes, as captured by Jay King of MassLive:
"Hopefully this summer we're going to make some big changes," said Rondo. "Get the ball rolling and get back to the Finals pretty soon. I know Danny Ainge is doing his job, and I'm going to go out every summer and do my job and get better."
Rondo may get what he wants, just not in the way he envisioned. Now 28 years old and potentially due another mega contract the Celtics may be uncomfortable dishing out—perhaps especially after the team went 6-24 with him in the lineup last year—Rondo might just be part of a bigger plan.
As great as a Rondo-Love duo seems, the market for the star forward is so competitive that the Kentucky product may want to preemptively pack his bags for a move.
Chicago Willing to Move on From Young Talent?
An extremely easy bet to be a breakout star next season with Carlos Boozer presumably out of the picture, the Chicago Bulls would not be willing to move forward Taj Gibson—right?
According to several NBA sources Sunday, the Bulls have been actively looking to improve the starting lineup at almost any cost, with Derrick Rose the only untouchable player — and not by choice.
“They are looking to exhaust as many assets as it will take,’’ one source said of general manager Gar Forman and head of basketball operations John Paxson.
Cowley specifically centers on Gibson, who was apparently untouchable at one point thanks to the urges of center Joakim Noah. That has changed as the front office muses pursuing big stars like a Carmelo Anthony.
After absorbing most of the key minutes down the stretch, finishing second in Sixth Man voting and posting averages of 13 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, Gibson is obviously a big name on the market and a big loss for Chicago.
But if the front office is truly willing to move an integral piece of the playoff equation in an effort to gamble on taking the next step, there is value to be had on the market in exchange for the 28-year-old USC product.
Golden State to Win Kevin Love Sweepstakes?
As hinted, the market for Love is quite large.
If ESPN's Mychal Thompson is to be believed, Golden State may have the offer the Timberwolves simply cannot refuse, per ESPN.com's Joe Kaiser (subscription required):
According to a report on Thursday from a source with a unique angle, the deal between the Wolves and Warriors may be on. Here's what it involves.
Mychal Thompson, sports radio host and father of Warriors guard Klay Thompson, reportedly said on ESPN LA 710 that Love and Kevin Martin will go to Golden State for David Lee, his son (Thompson) and a future 1st round pick.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders added further details:
Warriors trying hard to find third team to facilitate a Kevin Love trade with Wolves, but source close to talks said it's been "difficult."— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 21, 2014
Do not expect to see a conclusion to this saga any time soon. Love is still under contract for one more season, and even though that is a $16.7 million cap hit, per Spotrac, it is not like Minnesota needs the cash at the moment in the middle of a major rebuild.
Adding a forward like David Lee (18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season) and a shooter like Thompson (18.4 points per game) would do wonders for a rebuild, but the brass in Minnesota will surely want to wait this one out in order to get the best possible value from what can be a full-blown bidding war as the trade deadline nears.