The NBA trade deadline isn't until February 7 at 3 p.m. ET, but rumors have already surfaced this season.
Many of them surround Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler, but a few other players have been discussed as well. We'll take a look at the latest NBA chatter below.
Butler's displeasure with the Wolves has been reported ad nauseam, with the breaking point coming during an October 10 practice where he was "boldly challenging teammates, coaches and front-office executives in the practice session," per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
As noted by Wojnarowski, Butler had requested a trade three weeks prior and had not yet reported to the team until the practice.
Something has to give in Minnesota, and on Wednesday, Wojnarowski provided a list of three teams that have interest in Butler, among other information:
"The Timberwolves remain stagnant in trade talks for Butler. While Houston, Miami, Philadelphia are among the teams struggling early that have an interest in Butler, there is a collective belief that Timberwolves president and coach Tom Thibodeau isn't ready to seriously negotiate a trade yet, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski."
Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice had a scoop on the Philadelphia 76ers' stance in particular:
"Despite reports insisting the Sixers' interest in Jimmy Butler has picked up, sources who spoke to PhillyVoice insist the team's lukewarm stance on the Minnesota star has not changed despite Philadelphia's tough start. ... Sources familiar with the situation insist the Sixers' interest in Butler has been overstated throughout the process."
A four-time All-Star, Butler has averaged 21.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.8 steals in his last four full seasons. He's also a two-time All-NBA Third Team member and a four-time representative on the All-Defensive Second Team. The 29-year-old is one of the best two-way players in the game and would be an excellent fit elsewhere.
Butler makes a lot of sense on all three aforementioned teams, but he could be the best fit in Miami, where he'd immediately become the team's star player. The Heat should be playoff contenders this season (they finished just outside of the postseason last year at 41-41), but Butler should vault them from middle-of-the-pack Eastern Conference team to a top-five one rather quickly.
Adding Butler to Philadelphia would give the 76ers a scary defensive team, but as Neubeck wrote, the interest there may not be strong.
Houston makes sense, and Wojnarowski wrote that the team offered four first-round picks for Butler. However, the Wolves weren't too interested, apparently, which makes sense because those selections could end up being lower in the draft provided the 1-5 Rockets make a rebound with a healthy James Harden and Butler alongside point guard Chris Paul for a dominant big three.
Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez
If you look at the Chicago Bulls' roster, two players are not like the others.
Shooting guard Justin Holiday (29 years old) and 30-year-old center Robin Lopez are the only two above 26. In fact, only two others (guard Shaq Harrison and center Cristiano Felicio) are 25 and older.
Of course, Holiday and Lopez have a lot of basketball left in them at their respective ages, but the Bulls are clearly going in a different direction and want to build around their younger talent.
That's why it's no surprise K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported in a Wednesday mailbag that "Holiday and Robin Lopez are available all day, every day for the right asset."
The 6'6" Holiday is a decent three-point shooter (36.0 percent in the last two-plus seasons) who can play guard or forward.
Michael Walton of NBC Sports praised his efforts last season: "Justin Holiday was one of the more consistent players on last year's Bulls squad. You always knew you could expect quality defense, 3-point shooting and a general veteran presence when he was on the floor."
Center Robin Lopez is healthy but has only seen the court for three games this year at 17.7 minutes per game.
A full-time starter from 2012-2018, the apex of his career arguably came during a two-year stint with the Portland Trail Blazers from 2013-2015, when he helped the team win 105 combined regular-season games and make two playoff appearances. Overall, Lopez averaged 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds during that six-year starting span.
At this point in the regular season, it's hard seeing either player being moved barring an injury to a team's rotation, but they could certainly be dealt by the deadline and provide good veteran help off the bench to contending teams.
Kyle Korver/Cleveland Cavalier Veterans
The Cleveland Cavaliers' season is off to an ugly start. Head coach Tyronn Lue was fired after the team started 0-6. Star big man Kevin Love is dealing with foot soreness and has missed three of the team's seven games. Per Basketball-Reference, the team is last in defensive rating.
A 1-6 start isn't a good sign in a top-heavy Eastern Conference, where the fifth-place team (the Detroit Pistons) sits just one game above .500. The Cavs need to start a rebuilding process.
Brian Windhorst and Wojnarowski of ESPN reported some potential movement:
"Meanwhile, the Cavs have initiated testing the trade market for guard Kyle Korver in the past several days, sources said. There was some trade interest in Korver last summer, and the Cavs are circling back on those talks. The Cavs could become more active in looking to trade other veteran players in the coming weeks, sources said."
A phenomenal three-point shooter, Korver has hit 43.1 percent of his shots outside the arc during his 16-year career. He'd led the league in that category four times and most recently made 43.6 percent of his threes for the Eastern Conference champion Cavs last season.
Korver is shooting a career-low 33.3 percent from three this year and seeing the court just 15.2 minutes on average. However, he's only played 91 minutes so far, so he could turn this season around and be a marksman off the bench like he was last year.
As for the Cavs' other veterans, the team is probably looking to get younger (per RealGM, the average age of the roster is 27.9 years old, which is fifth-oldest in the NBA).
Of note, moving 32-year-old point guard George Hill to a contending team might make sense, as that would free up a starting spot for 2018 first-round draft pick Collin Sexton. Hill has averaged 13 points per game.