The 2019 NBA offseason is very much still on, proving once again the Association is the league that never sleeps.
Trade talks have replaced free agency as the topic du jour, and despite all the players who have already passed through the trade market—Anthony Davis, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley and Chris Paul—the list of potential trade candidates is far from extinguished.
The latest buzz from the rumor mill features three household names who could be on the move.
Draft Picks at Center of Heat, Thunder Trade Talks for Chris Paul
With Pat Riley at the helm, the Miami Heat are on a perpetual star chase. So, despite having already landed Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade, South Beach's finest remains on the hunt for another possible difference-maker.
Chris Paul, who recently found himself in the Westbrook blockbuster and on the now-rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder, is the latest star to land in the Heat's crosshairs.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst broke down the possible complications of a Heat-Thunder deal for Paul on SportsCenter, via Bleacher Report's Rob Goldberg:
"When you talk about him potentially going to the Miami Heat, which is his preference, one thing I've been told in the talks, the fact that the Thunder hold the two of the Heat's first-round picks in the future—unprotected 2021, protected 2023—makes this a difficult conversation because the Heat want those picks back. The Thunder have expressed interest in giving one of those picks back but they would want another pick farther off into the future."
This could lead to some tense negotiations, but it doesn't come across as an insurmountable barrier.
With Butler in the fold, the Heat are very much operating in win-now mode. That not only decreases the value of the 2021 first-rounder—and presumably makes the Thunder more open to giving it back—it also potentially increases the likelihood of the Heat sacrificing a down-the-road asset for immediate assistance.
Riley is 74 years old and has never been particularly protective of his picks. If Miami thinks Paul could get this club closer to a deep postseason run—the nine-time All-Star finished 12th in ESPN.com's real plus-minus—it could deem letting go of a future first-round selection a necessary sacrifice.
'Growing Belief' Bradley Beal Will Leave Washington Wizards
While the Washington Wizards have stopped short of diving into a full-on rebuild, that plunge may prove inevitable sooner than later.
John Wall's supermax already appears an albatross contract, particularly with the athleticism-dependent point guard now working his way back from a ruptured Achilles. The Wizards are nowhere near title contention now, and they don't have the mega-high-upside prospects to conceivably lead them there in the future.
The easiest path to replenishing their asset collection would be a Bradley Beal trade. He is a two-time All-Star and coming off the best season of his career, highlighted by personal bests in points (25.6), assists (5.5) and rebounds (5.0). He's also under contract for the next two seasons, so he would come packaged with some degree of certainty.
All of the above could of course make the Wizards feel he's a keeper, and they can offer him a three-year, $111 million extension July 26. But Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reports the possible extension is "not viewed as a done deal."
"The team has indicated it plans to give Beal the offer, and both the player's camp and the franchise have remained in contact throughout the summer," she wrote. "Around the league, however, the extension is not viewed as a done deal, and there is a growing belief that Beal will not remain in Washington for his entire career."
An NBA source gave Buckner a blunt assessment of the situation: "[Beal's] out of there."
Still, as Buckner opined, the tone of this conversation changes if an extension agreement isn't reached.
The empowerment of the NBA star has been on full display this summer, and Beal could be the next to take advantage.
Considering how much Washington could use the caliber of picks and/or prospects a player of his ilk might fetch, the Wizards must at least entertain the idea of Beal not sticking around.
Andre Iguodala Trade Talks 'At a Standstill'
Any contending team could use a player like Andre Iguodala.
Even at 35 years old, the former All-Star and Finals MVP is proving razor-sharp instincts and lightning-quick hands tend to age like fine wine. This past season, he ranked sixth among small forwards in ESPN.com's defensive real plus-minus, and that was with the veteran saving his best work for the postseason.
At least five teams are interested in Iguodala, per Marc Stein of the New York Times, as ESPN's Tim MacMahon previously reported the Memphis Grizzlies are "actively exploring the trade market" for the versatile swingman.
The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers are "strongly pursuing" Iguodala, per Stadium's Shams Charania, but the two teams "seem to be at a standstill" with the Grizzlies. The Rockets are wary of adding to their luxury tax bill with Iguodala's $17.2 million salary, while the Clippers are hesitant to part with Maurice Harkless in a deal.
Given how rich the market seems to be for Iguodala's services, the Grizzlies are in no rush to accept a deal for less than they desire. They already added a first-rounder to take his salary off the hands of the Golden State Warriors, and it's possible they could pick up another while shipping him away from Beale Street.
If the market ever dries up, then perhaps Memphis could explore buyout scenarios. For now, though, hardball is the correct approach.