NBA Trade Rumors: Latest on Possible Raptors Deal, Kyle Korver and MoreJuly 24, 2018
The NBA rumor mill has started to pick up again following the shocking trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors last week. One verified recent example is the Jared Dudley-Darrell Arthur swap between the Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
But there are more interesting nuggets floating in the unverified pool, though one has to think with Leonard and DeMar DeRozan in new locales, it's only a matter of time before more transactions go official.
For now, these are the biggest rumblings on the mill.
Let's start small and work up.
Two rather active teams are doing it again, with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics seeking each other out for an interesting reported deal featuring young players.
According to a report, the Celtics will ship Abdel Nader to the Thunder in exchange for Rodney Purvis:
This is another case of the Boston front office pulling off some smooth under-the-radar moves. As the report noted, the team had already decided to part ways with Nader, yet end up getting some compensation in return for his departure.
The Thunder don't come out of this reported deal looking too shabby either. Nader has been a nice underdog story so far after being the 58th selection in the 2016 draft, impressing below the NBA level before appearing in 48 games with the Celtics last season.
For Boston, the team would add an interesting younger player and come out ahead on the financial side of things:
Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42
The Celtics will save roughly $675K towards the luxury tax and $450K in salary by sending Abdel Nader to Oklahoma City and by not outright waiving the former second-round pick. The Celtics now have 14 guaranteed contracts and a tax bill of $3.8 million... https://t.co/866yffTHy0
Raptors on the Hunt?
It's only natural the Raptors remain on the market in search of ways to round out the roster and shed salary.
After all, it sounds like Leonard might warm to staying with the Raptors, at least according to the following nugget from Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune: "Here's what someone who knows Leonard as well as anybody told me privately: 'He's going to fall in love with Toronto—it's going to happen. He's not going to leave, I'm telling you.'"
If that's the case, the Raptors will need to get creative with cap space. Some within the league have already suggested this plan is underway:
Two names have to come up right away. One is Serge Ibaka, the owner of a two-year contract. Then again, if the Raptors want to go small and play him at center, the likelier trade candidate is actual center Jonas Valanciunas.
While the 7'0" big man shot 40.5 percent from deep last season, he only averaged 22.4 minutes per game and has a player option after this year's arrangement. The trade market won't be massive, but some team out there would view him as a way to absorb free cap space in the future.
The Raptors could go a few different ways here, though much of it will hinge on the vibe they get from Leonard and the approach they want to take with him on the hardwood next season.
Kyle Korver on the Move?
Kyle Korver is one of those small moves a team makes that doesn't grab major headlines but ends up paying major dividends once the playoffs begin.
So it seemed to be the case last year, as Korver's second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers saw him put up averages of 9.2 points and 2.3 rebounds per game while shooting 43.6 percent from deep over 21.6 minutes.
The Philadelphia 76ers seem to want this sort of production now, per a new report:
The New York Times' Marc Stein followed up by noting a deal is "far from certain."
Certain or not, it makes sense for all parties. The 76ers have an eye on the Eastern Conference crown with LeBron James out of the way and a little extra sharpshooting and leadership from a 37-year-old veteran is the type of move capable of helping a team get over the top.
As for those Cavaliers, selling off assets for the long-term outlook makes sense, even if the franchise wants to proclaim it still has eyes for the playoffs. Jerryd Bayless, 29, is a buyout candidate after a few years of regression and a way for the Cavaliers to clear some cap space.
Barring another team jumping into the fray for Korver, though, this is one of those deals that could take some time because there's no rush to get something done.