NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Kevin Love, Marcus Smart, More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 13, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love shoots during an NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, May 30, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. The Cavaliers face the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday in Oakland. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The NBA trade market woke up from its dormancy Thursday night, but the news that broke didn't involve the names that have been mentioned in potential deals for weeks. 

While Carmelo Anthony and Kawhi Leonard remain in Oklahoma City and San Antonio, respectively, Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and Jeremy Lin have new homes, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. 

Not much has changed on the Anthony and Leonard trade fronts, but one surprise team is emerging in speculation, especially surrounding a potential swap for San Antonio's star forward, as the Raptors became the betting favorite to land Leonard Thursday, per OddsShark

Outside of the names we've seen in trade rumors for most of the offseason, a few new ones have popped up over the last 48 hours. 

Below is a look at the latest buzz surrounding the Raptors' potential plans and where Kevin Love, Marcus Smart and others may land for the 2018-19 season. 

        

Kevin Love, Kyle Korver Not Untouchable

What the Cleveland Cavaliers do with their roster after LeBron James' exit remains one of the most intriguing storylines of the offseason. 

The Cavs could easily stay put with the roster they have and hope Kevin Love combines well with rookie point guard Collin Sexton to keep the franchise in the Eastern Conference playoff mix. 

However, there's another scenario in which the Cavaliers blow up the roster and start from scratch by trading its most valuable asset in Love. 

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst during an appearance on ESPN Cleveland, the Cavs don't want to trade either Love or Kyle Korver, but they aren't untouchable like Sexton: 

Of course, if the Cavs listened to any offers for Love, they would have to bring in respectable returns comprised of either young players or draft picks to build the franchise around Sexton. 

Love is under contract until 2020, as are most of the Cavaliers' remaining core players, including Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, George Hill and Korver. 

In order to become a player for one of the top free agents next summer, the Cavs would have to clear some salary, which would leave a potential deal for Love in play. 

Cleveland's identity in the second post-LeBron era still has to be determined, and the answer won't come overnight, as it has a legitimate chance to still contend in the weakened Eastern Conference. 

       

Teams Looking Into Sign-and-Trade Deal For Marcus Smart 

The general understanding across the league is that the Boston Celtics are the favorite to take over the Eastern Conference crown vacated by the Cavaliers with James out of the picture. 

Before the Celtics can even think about making a charge toward the 2019 NBA Finals, they need to figure out what they're going to do with restricted free agent Marcus Smart. 

With the Celtics and Smart not communicating much, if at all, a few different options could be on the table, including a sign-and-trade deal, which a few teams have inquired about, per Yahoo's Jordan Schultz: 

The Memphis Grizzlies were specifically mentioned in the report, as well as the Nets, but Brooklyn is most likely out of the running for Smart, as they have $2.6 million in cap space left after taking on salary in the trade with Denver, per Wojnarowski

In the sign-and-trade scenario, the Celtics would either ink Smart to the qualifying offer they extended to him, or give him a one-year deal or a multi-year contract that would then be taken on by their trade partner. 

With few teams left on the market with cap space, including Atlanta, Sacramento and Chicago, Smart's best option might be returning to Boston for the 2018-19 season before becoming an unrestricted free agent. 

    

No One On Toronto Roster Untouchable

The Raptors enter the 2018-19 season in a peculiar situation. 

After being swept by the James-led Cavaliers in the second round of the 2018 NBA playoffs, the Raptors fired Dwane Casey and replaced him with Nick Nurse. 

Even with James leaving and the duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan on the roster, the Raptors aren't receiving as much buzz as Boston and Philadelphia in the discussion of Eastern Conference favorites. 

While nothing significant has come about in a potential deal for Leonard, HoopsHype's Alex Kennedy reported no one on the Raptors roster is untouchable: 

Speculation shifted toward DeRozan recently, as he scrubbed his Instagram page, but despite the rampant social media buzz he might be on the move, that is not what the deletion of the posts is trying to indicate, as Rogers Sportsnet's Michael Grange noted: 

While it wouldn't be a terrible idea for the Raptors to insert themselves in the Leonard sweepstakes just to see what a potential deal would look like, they'd presumably have to offload Lowry or DeRozan, which won't be an easy decision to make if negotiations get to that point. 

         

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Salary cap information obtained from Spotrac  

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