NBA Rumors: Latest on Potential Kyle Korver Trade, Luke Walton's Job Security

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 27: Kyle Korver #26 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts against the Indiana Pacers on October 27, 2018 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE  (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

The NBA season isn't even a month old, but that hasn't stopped drama from consuming several of the league's most notable teams. 

Below, we'll break down the latest buzz on a potential trade chip in Cleveland as well as internal turmoil that has come to define the start of LeBron James' first campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers. 


Report: Cavaliers Nixed Korver's Trade Request

Last week, JR Smith told reporters he would like the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him amid their messy rebuild. 

As it turns out, he's not the only one. 

According to The Athletic's Joe Vardon, sharpshooter Kyle Korver "asked for the Cavs to move him" after James signed with the Lakers at the start of free agency. 

However, Vardon noted the team "refused" because "they wanted him to play and for the team to try and win."

At this rate, it's clear the Cavaliers won't be doing much winning. They've started the season an Eastern Conference-worst 1-8, and Korver has only played 15.4 minutes per game with the coaching staff prioritizing minutes for younger players in need of a developmental run. 

Not surprisingly, the front office has taken action. 

According to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers "have initiated testing the trade market" for Korver. 

The 37-year-old likely won't net Cleveland any sort of lucrative return given his age and the $3.4 million partial guarantee attached to his 2019-20 salary, but at this rate, it's better to get any sort of asset than let him walk for nothing in free agency next summer. 


Walton, Front Office Clashing Over Tactics?  

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

On Friday, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin reported Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson "admonished" head coach Luke Walton following a 2-5 start to the season. 

Now, we may know why. 

According to the Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner, Johnson "was stern with Luke Walton during the meeting more about not having a system in place than the wins and losses." Turner added Johnson "wants to see Luke have the Lakers run an offense that he has yet to see."

The Lakers offense may not be operating the way Johnson likes, but the numbers show they've been quite solid on that end. 

According to NBA.com, L.A. ranks 10th overall in offensive rating (110.8). If there's an issue, it's on defense. There, the Lakers have allowed a 23rd-ranked 111.6 points per 100 possessions 

On the bright side, the Lakers held on for a 114-110 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday—a performance that provoked James to speak out in support of Walton. 

"Listen, coaching staff put us in a position to win, and it's up to us to go up and execute," he said, per ESPN.com's Ohm Youngmisuk

"Luke can care less about what's going on outside. We could as well. I'm the last person to ask about scrutiny or anything of that nature. So none of that stuff matters to me. The only thing that matters to me is what goes on inside this locker room, both home and away."

However, an embarrassing first-quarter performance and an eventual 121-107 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday heaped the pressure back on the Lakers and Walton. 

Tension should continue to simmer if the team can't make a determined move up the standings before the New Year, but with James and a talented young core in tow, it stands to reason they will start making incremental strides in short order.