NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Anthony Davis, Jabari Parker and More

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 21:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers guards Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans during a 112-104 Laker win at Staples Center on December 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  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. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The NBA's trade rumor mill always seems to be churning around Christmas. But comments from LeBron James on Anthony Davis has it moving even more than usual in 2018.

The idea of a LeBron-AD pairing has had the internet buzzing for days. And it's not difficult to see why: It would instantly be one of, if not the, best duos in the NBA.

That's not the only rumor floating around. Jabari Parker's name continues to make the rounds. And Markelle Fultz may still be moved as well.


LeBron to AD?

Just imagine the pick-and-rolls with James and Davis, flanked by whichever player is left over after a trade. That could be a recipe for title contention as early as this season.

And it may be something those two are already talking about, as they met up for a postgame dinner in the wake of LeBron's admission that he would like to play with AD, per Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes:

"On Friday night after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Pelicans 112-104, James responded to those concerned executives, saying, 'They can't control me at all. And I play by the rules.'

"And then when James exited the Staples Center, the 16-year veteran demonstrated why he's unstoppable on and off the court.

"With the Pelicans staying overnight before traveling to Sacramento, James and Davis met up for a postgame dinner in Los Angeles, league sources told Yahoo Sports."

Sure, they could have discussed plenty of topics unrelated to trade rumors, playing together and dominating the rest of the league, but you can't blame Haynes for publishing that report.

That's especially true when you consider that Davis told Yahoo "I'd take legacy over money," after Friday's game.

Following the game, the Los Angeles Lakers moved to 19-13 and fourth place in the West. The New Orleans Pelicans are 15-18 and in 13th place.

And while Davis' supporting cast feels like one of the better ones he's had in New Orleans, no Pelican is LeBron. And if the Lakers added Davis, they would join the Golden State Warriors as the one of the only two teams in the NBA that could reasonably claim to have two top-five players.

Being on that kind of roster would give Davis an immediate shot at building up his legacy.


Jabari Parker to the Utah Jazz?

After signing a two-year, $40 million deal with the Chicago Bulls this summer, Jabari Parker found himself out of the lottery team's rotation earlier in December.

The Bulls were wise enough to structure the deal for 2014's No. 2 pick to include a team option for the second year. So he's essentially an expiring contract. They can simply allow him to walk this summer, but it looks like they might be gauging whether they can get anything back for him rather than losing him for nothing.

Longtime NBA writer Chris Sheridan reported that there may be one team interested:

Chris Sheridan @sheridanhoops

Good intel tonight: #Jazz in the mix fot @JabariParker. Deal with #Bulls that makes sense is @dfavors14 plus a sweetener, but Favors has a Jan. 15 trade restriction.

This report backs up another from The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor that essentially relayed the same thing. But it's difficult to see incentive for the Utah Jazz.

Asset-wise, Jabari's expiring deal probably isn't terribly intriguing, at least not if it's swapped for Derrick Favors'. Like Parker, Favors is on a two-year deal that includes a non-guaranteed second year.

And in a vacuum, Favors has unequivocally been better than Parker over the course of the latter's career:

Andy Bailey @AndrewDBailey

Since Jabari Parker entered the NBA... JP: 18.8 PTS, 7 REB, 2.6 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.4 BLK & .058 Win Shares per 75 team possessions, .543 TS%, -1.7 Box +/- Derrick Favors: 18.5 PTS, 10.2 REB, 1.8 AST, 1.2 STL, 1.7 BLK & .135 Win Shares per 75 team possessions, .564 TS%, 2.3 Box +/- https://t.co/r6OV1VMz9J

The idea of having more of a Stretch 4 alongside Rudy Gobert is intriguing, but Favors' ability to both start at power forward and play backup center for Gobert has made him a valuable piece for the Jazz over the past two seasons.


Where Will Markelle Fultz Play Next?

This season, the Philadelphia 76ers are minus-0.1 points per 100 possessions (48th percentile) when Fultz is on the floor, per Cleaning the Glass. They are plus-3.2 points per 100 possessions (68th percentile) when Fultz is off the floor.

That's not a huge swing, but it's clearly negative. And in concert with all the off-court peculiarities, it's not difficult to see why 2017's No. 1 pick may be on the trading block.

"Teams that have indicated interest in acquiring Markelle Fultz that Liberty Ballers has been able to confirm so far includes Detroit, Orlando, Cleveland, Miami, and Phoenix," Liberty Ballers' Dave Early wrote. "With the Suns having supposedly 'cooled' off recently."

All of those squads make sense as potential landing spots for Fultz. His shoulder issues notwithstanding, he's just a couple years removed from averaging 23.2 points (with a 41.3 three-point percentage), 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks for the Washington Huskies in 2016-17.

If his problems are just physical and a complete recovery is in play, he's probably a risk worth taking for a lottery team like those listed above.


Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of NBA.com, Basketball Reference, Cleaning the Glass or ESPN.

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report and SLC Dunk. Follow him on Twitter (@AndrewDBailey) and listen to his Hardwood Knocks podcast, co-hosted by B/R's Dan Favale.