NBA Trade Rumors: The Latest Buzz Surrounding LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay & More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2016

Would the Spurs really part ways with LaMarcus Aldridge?
Would the Spurs really part ways with LaMarcus Aldridge?NBA Photos/Getty Images

The start of the 2016 NBA season is less than a week away. Of course, this doesn't mean that teams are done prepping for the campaign ahead.

Even as the preseason winds to a close, teams are frantically moving to identify and address holes on their rosters. As is often the case, injuries and chemistry issues can make existing holes larger or create new ones altogether.

The reality is that few quality free agents are just sitting around and waiting for a call. Therefore, teams have to choose between turning to a developmental player and making a move for an established one.

Naturally, trade rumors become quite the fad at this time of year. We're going to examine some of the latest NBA rumors and what they could potentially mean for the coming season.

     

LaMarcus Aldridge

When the San Antonio Spurs first acquired LaMarcus Aldridge in the summer of 2015, it seemed that he would be an offensive centerpiece for the foreseeable future. Aldridge was a productive offensive piece last season—he averaged 18.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game—but it soon became clear that the future of the Spurs offense was going to revolve around Kawhi Leonard.

Now it seems that the 31-year-old Aldridge could be on his way out.

During an appearance on CSN New England, Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com reported that the Spurs could move Aldridge at some point this season.

"For instance, sources were telling me the other day that LaMarcus Aldridge may not even finish the year with the Spurs," MacMullan said. "That experiment hasn't quite worked out the way they hoped."

Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News has a different take on the situation. He believes that Aldridge is unhappy playing the role of Leonard's sidekick, and this could be the reason the Spurs are open to a deal:

Those close to the situation suggest Aldridge may not be happy at the moment. The belief is the Spurs pitched him on becoming the center of their offense when they recruited him in 2015, and that hasn't occurred with the rise of Kawhi Leonard. However, a team source said there are currently no problems with Aldridge, adding he is a part of the Spurs' future.

Moving Aldridge could net some quality returns for the Spurs. He is playing at a high level and will likely do so for the next several years. However, this only makes sense if friction persists throughout the regular season. According to Stephen Anderson of News 4 San Antonio, there might not even be friction now:

Don't expect the Spurs to shop Aldridge in the immediate future, if they do so at all.

    

Rudy Gay

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders recently reported that the Miami Heat and the Sacramento Kings have had discussions about a potential deal that would send forward Rudy Gay to Miami. Per Scotto, the deal would also involve Darren Collison and bring Goran Dragic to Sacramento.

As Scotto put it, the proposed deal has more to do with the Kings moving Gay than acquiring Dragic:

"Sacramento has to trade Gay," an Eastern Conference executive told Basketball Insiders. "He’s already informed them he doesn’t like it there. They can’t let him walk for nothing."

Gay can become an unrestricted free agent after this season since he has a $14,263,566 player option for next season. With that in mind, sources indicated that the Kings are ideally looking for a starting-caliber point guard in any trade proposal involving Gay.

The desire for a starting-caliber point guard is where Dragic fits into the equation. He has three years remaining on his current contract with a player option for the 2019-20 season. He is a guy the Kings could potentially build around, while moving him would clear cap space for the rebuilding Heat.

However, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that the Heat are not actively looking to trade Dragic. Per Jackson, the Heat "like Gay as a complementary player" but are "not trying to trade Dragic at this time."

Jackson went on to state that Heat president Pat Riley has every intention to evaluate his roster before trading away any pieces.

It sounds like this deal could rest on the back burner, but expect a few months of regular-season action to pass before anything comes to fruition.

     

Ben McLemore

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Though there are no concrete trade rumors involving Ben McLemore at the moment, it appears more likely that he could be on his way out of Sacramento.

Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reported that the Kings and McLemore are unlikely to come to terms on a rookie-scale extension before the Oct. 31 deadline. If a deal doesn't get done, McLemore will become a restricted free agent following the 2016-17 season.

As Haynes explained, this could be in McLemore's best interest.

"It is believed throughout NBA circles that McLemore's best playing days would come in a different uniform; his name has been linked to much trade chatter the past few years," Haynes wrote.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Kings have made it known that McLemore is available:

The question is whether any team values McLemore's outside shooting—he has shot 34.6 percent from three-point range in his career—enough to make a move before he becomes available on the market.

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