There are plenty of reasons why a team would be seeking out a trade at a time of year where free agency is the primary focus. Some whiffed on coveted free agents and rely on a trade or sign-and-trade as a contingency plan. Others simply need to clear cap space for the coming season by trading away big contracts. Whatever the reason may be, we should expect quite a few more moves over the summer.
Of course, with anticipated deals on the horizon, plenty of rumors continue to surface around the Web. These rumors only continue to pick up steam as this year's top free agents are plucked from the open market, leaving few options remaining for squads in need of a boost.
So, here's the burning question: Which teams are likeliest to move assets in the near future, and which players are at the center of those scenarios? Let's take a look at a few interesting pieces of gossip regarding potential trades from trusted NBA insiders.
Wizards Shopping Nene?
Nene has been very productive throughout his 13-year career in the NBA; however, he's coming off a rather down season with the Washington Wizards. The 32-year-old Brazilian averaged 11.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 51.1 percent from the floor during his 2014-15 campaign. Those aren't bad numbers, but they are his lowest since the 2007-08 season.
Aside from his declining numbers, Nene is owed $13 million next season—the final year of his current contract. He's an expensive asset to keep around, and that may be part of the reason the Wizards are considering trading the power forward. ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted the details:
It's unclear as to which teams may be interested in obtaining Nene's services, but we can always speculate.
We can rule out the Dallas Mavericks after they agreed to a deal with DeAndre Jordan. The San Antonio Spurs or Phoenix Suns could be an option—it all depends on which team misses out on LaMarcus Aldridge. Aside from those squads, the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers could all be suitors here.
Sign-and-Trade for Kosta Koufos?
Kosta Koufos hit the open market after spending two seasons on the Memphis Grizzlies bench. The 7'0" center has played only one season (2012-13 with the Denver Nuggets) as a full-time starter but has since learned his craft from Marc Gasol. That shows in his numbers, as he finished last season averaging 5.2 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor in a rotational role.
Finding a new team via free agency isn't Koufos' only option at this time, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweeted Memphis' willingness to sign-and-trade the center:
Los Angeles could certainly be a final destination for Koufos, as Wojnarowski alluded to the notion that the Clippers could be interested. Also, the Lakers have shown an interest in the center in free agency, making Kobe Bryant's squad a possibility.
Knicks After David Lee?
The Knicks have whiffed on several free-agent big men to this point, and the team has apparently begun to look into a Plan B. Well, that Plan B may involve a trade with the Golden State Warriors for power forward David Lee, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post:
"Golden State has explored dealing ex-Knicks power forward David Lee, who wants to play in New York and has one year and $15.5 million left on his pact. According to a source, this scenario has been discussed among the parties."
So, why would the Knicks want to take on Lee's contract that will pay him $15.4 million this season? Well, for one, it gives the team a much-needed frontcourt presence. Lee spent last season coming off the bench with Golden State and averaged 7.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while shooting 51.1 percent from the floor. Those aren't bad numbers by any stretch.
Also, Lee is entering the final year of his contract, which means the Knicks would instantly clear $15 million of cap space entering the 2016 offseason. That's an enticing factor considering the expected cap increase of an additional $22 million at that time. New York would instantly have the ammo to make some major waves a year from now.