Rumors surround every NBA offseason, but with top players and prospects like Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins reportedly on the trade block, there is a chance the league will look very different in 2014.
As if the departure of LeBron James from Miami weren’t enough to shift the balance of power, the possibility of other top names being traded in the wake of Cleveland’s epic coup has rumors flying.
Here are the latest rumors surrounding the biggest names in the NBA.
Cleveland Ready to Deal Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love?
The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off an amazing coup landing James via free agency, but the team is reportedly looking to make another blockbuster move by trading for Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love.
One of the reasons the reported deal hasn’t come to fruition has been Cleveland’s unwillingness to trade 2014 No.1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins. According to Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine, the Cavaliers may be ready to make the move:
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed a blockbuster trade centered on Kevin Love and the league's past two No. 1 draft picks, league sources told ESPN.
In an attempt to add Love, a three-time All-Star, the Cavaliers are willing to part with Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.
One source said the Cavs also are willing to give up a first-round draft pick for next season. Any other players involved in the talks are not known.
After the injury to Joel Embiid, it was clear that Wiggins was the No. 1 player in the draft this season. In his first year at Kansas, Wiggins averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 32.8 minutes per game.
While Wiggins could become a top star in the NBA, he needs time to develop, and the Cavaliers are in win-now mode with James and point guard Kyrie Irving. If Cleveland can add Love to the low post, the team will be a serious championship contender.
Love is a monster on the glass and in the paint. After averaging 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds last season, he would only see his numbers skyrocket on a team that features two other viable offensive threats.
If the Cavaliers are serious about winning a championship, the team must trade Wiggins for Love.
Phoenix Suns Targeting Greg Monroe?
The Phoenix Suns finished the 2013-14 regular season with a 48-34 record and look to continue getting better this season. While the negotiations with Eric Bledsoe continue, Phoenix may have a blockbuster deal up its sleeve.
With the need to add talent and depth in the low post, the Suns are reportedly considering making an offer to restricted free agent and Detroit Pistons power forward Greg Monroe, according to a report from Jordan Schultz on NBC Sports:
Hearing Suns may be considering a Greg Monroe offer. They have space to get both him and Bledsoe but would lose cap flexibility long-term.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 20, 2014
At only 24 years old and already with four years of NBA experience, Monroe has the potential to be a top player at his position for a long time. His 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game would make him a welcome addition to Phoenix’s roster, but there is no doubt that Detroit will look to match any offer.
The Pistons are looking to add depth and talent across their roster as new basketball czar Stan Van Gundy continues the rebuilding process, and letting Monroe walk via free agency is not something the team wants.
For a Suns team who ranked 21st in the NBA allowing 102.6 points per game, Monroe’s defensive presence would be a much-needed upgrade and would make any price the team has to pay on an offer sheet worth it.
Conflicting Reports Surround Detroit’s Josh Smith
One of the biggest names reportedly on the trade block this offseason has been Detroit Pistons power forward Josh Smith. With multiple sources reporting on the possible deal, though, the conflicting stories are muddying the water.
In a report from Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Detroit has engaged in trade talks with the Sacramento Kings involving Smith:
The Detroit Pistons and the Sacramento Kings have resumed trade discussions on a deal that could send Josh Smith to Sacramento, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.
Sources told ESPN.com the Kings have continued to express interest in Smith and the parties are on the hunt for a third team that could help facilitate the deal.
In another report, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports claims that the Pistons have not been involved in serious trade talks and that Smith has been informed that the franchise has no desire to move him:
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.
Sacramento had made calls about Smith in June, but Detroit never heard an offer that remotely interested them and never seriously engaged in discussions, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Smith didn’t have a great first season in Detroit, and he only managed to rack up 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 77 games. Those were his lowest totals since 2010, and it was partly due to the way Smith was used in the Pistons offense.
Van Gundy obviously wants to build a winner, but he has to make sure Smith is the kind of player he wants in his system. While Smith can be an absolute force in the offensive zone and a beast on the glass, his effort level can waiver, and his consistency is an issue.
If Sacramento puts together a package of young prospects and picks appealing enough, Van Gundy would be foolish not to consider it.
*Stats via NBA.com.