NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Potential Kent Bazemore Trade, Patrick McCaw and More

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2018

Atlanta Hawks guard Kent Bazemore (24) plays against the Indiana Pacers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. The Pacers defeated the Hawks 116-93. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

While the NBA continues stretching toward a yearlong calendar, there's typically still a short hibernation period between late summer and early fall.

The deceleration of the rumor mill is evidence we're nearing that point. However, the fact it's still moving proves we're not all the way there yet.

The latest rumblings include the Houston Rockets' hunt for wing reinforcements, a possible conclusion to Patrick McCaw's free agency and the latest focus of the Toronto Raptors' busy offseason.


Rockets Interested in Kent Bazemore?

After losing both Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute to free agency, the Rockets are still trying to plug perimeter gaps.

They're chasing defensive wings, specifically, and would love to get their hands on Atlanta Hawks stopper Kent Bazemore, a source told Kelly Iko of Rockets Wire.

ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst previously reported Houston is "active in the trade market" and searching for more defenders, via SportsTalk 790's Ben DuBose:

Ben DuBose @BenDuBose

Brian Windhorst on ESPN regarding potential #Rockets moves beyond Carmelo Anthony: "They are active in the trade market." Says Houston is showing some willingness to take long-term money back for Ryan Anderson. "They have been talking to teams about adding defenders."

Bazemore would fit that bill.

Armed with boundless energy and a 7-foot wingspan, he has a rich history of embracing basketball's less glamorous end. His collegiate career featured two conference defensive player of the year awards and 2011's Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year honor. He's produced a positive defensive box plus/minus each of the past four seasons and ranked sixth among shooting guards in ESPN.com's defensive real plus-minus in 2017-18.

The 29-year-old is also coming off the best offensive campaign of his career. Among the career highs on his stat sheet were 12.9 points, 3.5 assists, 1.7 three-pointers and a 39.4 percent perimeter conversion rate.

He'd be a good getif the Rockets can pry him loose.

The Hawks like the idea of having him help with their rebuild, per Iko, but they might let him go for the right price. Iko mentions a package of Ryan Anderson, Chinanu Onuaku and Houston's 2019 first-rounder as a possibility, albeit with the caveat Atlanta doesn't see Onuaku as a "move-the-needle type prospect."


Patrick McCaw Signing Qualifying Offer?

It wasn't too long ago that McCaw seemed destined to strike it rich during free agency.

He looked like a second-round steal almost from the moment the Golden State Warriors landed him on draft night 2016, and he only strengthened that status by making 15 playoff appearances (three of them starts) en route to the 2017 world title.

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 8:  Patrick McCaw #0 of the Golden State Warriors poses for a portrait with the Larry O'Brien Trophy after winning Game Four of the 2018 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 8, 2018 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, O
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

But McCaw suffered through a horrific sophomore slump that saw him battle injuries and inconsistent shooting while ceding floor time to the always-erratic Nick Young. McCaw tied for last season's ninth-lowest player efficiency rating (7.4, minimum 750 minutes), and his wallet may soon pay the price for the plummeting production.

A potentially lucrative journey into free agency is now expected to end with McCaw signing his $1.74 million qualifying offer, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

That would be a welcome development for the Warriors, who lacked wing depth last year and have only added rookie Jacob Evans and shooting guard Damion Lee on a two-way contract. A healthy McCaw has proved to be a reliable contributor, and if his three-ball comes around (career 29.6 percent), he'd offer loads of versatility with few discernible weaknesses.

While this wouldn't be the payday McCaw probably envisioned, there are worse consolation prizes than collecting nearly $2 million while chasing a possible three-peat. And if he forces his way into consistent floor time, he'd have a big enough platform to boost his value ahead of a return to free agency next summer.


Raptors Searching for Bench Bigs?

For all the reshuffling the Raptors have done this summer, their power rotation still demands attention. With Jakob Poeltl sacrificed in the Kawhi Leonard-DeMar DeRozan swap and Lucas Nogueira still unsigned, Toronto has only three traditional(ish) bigs in Jonas Valanciunas, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam.

TSN's Josh Lewenberg reports the Raptors are hunting for another big and that league sources say Greg Monroe is one of many players in their sights. HoopsHype's Alex Kennedy added that Toronto worked out several free-agent bigs:

Alex Kennedy @AlexKennedyNBA

The Toronto Raptors are working out free agent big men, including Thomas Robinson and Christian Wood, according to league sources.

Monroe is the highest-profile player mentioned, which probably doesn't say much about this group. He's a steady scorer and passer from both the high and low posts, but his skills look increasingly antiquated in the modern game. As such, he's seen his playing time trimmed each of the last five seasons down to a career-low 20.4 minutes in 2017-18.

That might not be a tremendous concern for Toronto, though, especially if Ibaka gets pulled from the starting group and anchors the reserves. Monroe, then, would likely fill only a part-time role, scoring on subs whenever matchups allowed him to play.

Thomas Robinson and Christian Wood offer more athleticism but less defined NBA roles. Neither played in the Association last season, with Robinson heading to Russia and Wood suiting up in China and the G League.

Lewenberg added that the Raptors "haven't completely ruled out" a reunion with Nogueira, though he deemed it "unlikely." Chris Boucher, who had a two-way deal with the Warriors last season and played summer ball for the Raptors, is another possibility.


Statistics used courtesy of Basketball Reference.