The beginning of this NBA-dominated summer was all about where the biggest free-agent stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony would take their talents. With the league-altering decisions out of the way, one would think that a brief respite from potential player movement was in order.
Not so, as the rumors and rumblings from around the Association have yet to dissipate as the conversation moves from potential signings to potential trades, and even potential sign-and-trades.
Here is the latest roundup of NBA trade rumors.
Are the Cavaliers Willing to Trade Wiggins?
The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to add talent to their roster and immediately contend for an NBA championship now that James, the prodigal son, has returned to northeastern Ohio.
It appears a favored course of action would be to bring in Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves. According to The News-Herald's Bob Finnan, the Cavaliers may be looking to engineer a trade that doesn't include the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, Andrew Wiggins:
The Cavaliers insist rookie swingman Andrew Wiggins has not been offered in a possible trade for Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love.
No one involved would guarantee it wouldn't happen at a later date, but for now the Cavaliers will proceed in Love negotiations without using the mercurial Wiggins as a trade chip, a source told The News-Herald.
It would be incredibly difficult to justify trading a player with so much potential, but Love could be worth the price. According to ESPN Insider (subscription required), the three-time All-Star ranked third in the NBA in player efficiency rating (PER) last season, directly behind James.
Love averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and a career-high 4.4 assists per game last season. His ability to crash the offensive boards and play unselfishly makes him a prime teammate for James. However, the Cavaliers will be hard-pressed to come up with a compelling offer that doesn't include Wiggins.
There is no shortage of opinions on this potential blockbuster. Grantland contributor Chuck Klosterman offered up a cogent take on why he thinks the Cavs should stick with Wiggins:
I am not totally convinced Love is much more than an incredibly skilled fantasy player. He certainly might be, but how could we possibly know (based on experience)? Such a move would still be a gamble. He doesn’t protect the rim. He seems inordinately interested in numbers. And those aforementioned full-court outlet passes evaporate in June.
The Timberwolves would almost assuredly have to go into rebuild mode should they trade Love, making a combination of draft picks and young players like Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson a strong option for the Cavaliers to consider sending over.
Pistons' Greg Monroe Not Generating Interest From Other Teams
According to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Detroit Pistons aren't getting very far in sign-and-trade talks involving restricted free agent Greg Monroe: "The Pistons have been willing to engage teams in sign-and-trade scenarios for Monroe, but those talks have gained little traction, sources said."
Should it really be so difficult to shop a 24-year-old guy who put up 35 double-doubles just last season (per ESPN.com)? The thin market for Monroe's services is puzzling. The 24-year-old center has shown remarkable consistency and durability over the past three NBA seasons.
It's possible some executives believe that he's already hit his ceiling, but not many big men can reach such lofty heights in the first place.
Detroit Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy reached out to forward Josh Smith to tell him that reports of the franchise engaging in substantive trade talks with Sacramento centered on Smith have been inaccurate and—barring an unexpected turn of events—Smith will be in training camp with the Pistons this fall, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
If the Pistons are unable or unwilling to move either one of these players, it is difficult to see how the team will be able to improve upon last year's middling results. The frontcourt would remain crowded with Smith, Monroe and Andre Drummond all still in the fold.
A team like the Boston Celtics could use Monroe, as he would be an upgrade over Brandon Bass and his versatility could allow Jared Sullinger to play power forward.
Knicks Looking to Clear Backcourt Via Trade
The New York Knicks got some of the best news of the summer when Anthony decided to remain in the Big Apple. In the team's quest to eventually repay Melo's faith and become an Eastern Conference contender, the backcourt is vulnerable to some upper-management machinations.
Via ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley: "Working to clear the logjam in the backcourt, the Knicks are discussing their potential trade options with guards J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Shane Larkin, a league source said Sunday."
There is indeed a deep imbalance on the Knicks roster. Besides the three players mentioned by Begley, the team also has perimeter players in Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington and Shannon Brown on the roster, among others.
Smith could be likely to go after a rough 2013-14 campaign marred by a downturn in scoring and lackadaisical defense.
Smith even admitted midway through July that he wouldn't have blamed team president Phil Jackson for trading him after his performance last year.
"No, absolutely not,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take, per Peter Botte of the New York Daily News. “The way I was playing, I was playing like a person who didn’t want to be there, not looking as focused as a person should be in the situation we were in. I wouldn’t blame him at all."
Which of these Knicks players is most likely to be traded this summer?
His words could yet prove to be prescient, although Iman Shumpert and Shane Larkin were also mentioned in the report from Begley.
Begley did note that Tim Hardaway Jr. was "virtually untouchable," according to a league source. Hardaway dominated the NBA Summer League In Las Vegas, averaging 22.8 points in five contests. He has the potential to become an excellent volume scorer and provide a contrast to the newly acquired Calderon in the backcourt.