NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Chris Paul Trade, JR Smith, More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 17, 2019

Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) drives around Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors (15) during the first half in Game 5 of an NBA basketball playoff series, in Houston, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Veterans are the best players available as possible additions to the rosters of NBA contenders at this point in the offseason. 

Since he was dealt to Oklahoma City, Chris Paul has been the topic of persistent trade rumors, as the Thunder try to find the best possible solution for all parties. 

Andre Iguodala is in a similar situation with the Memphis Grizzlies, as they try to maximize their return for the three-time NBA champion they acquired from the Golden State Warriors. 

While Paul and Iguodala are bound by the trade demands of their current employers, JR Smith has more freedom to explore his next destination following his release from Cleveland. 

                         

Latest NBA Buzz

Chris Paul 

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Miami is the preferred destination for Paul, but there are some complexities to Oklahoma City and the Heat getting a deal done (h/t NESN's Chris Grenham). 

"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 an interest in giving one of those picks back but they would want another pick farther off into the future. So I do think that these teams have a lot to talk about." 

The unprotected 2021 first-round pick and protected 2023 first-round selection have been hot commodities on the trade market, especially the one in 2021.

The 2021 pick was initially traded by Miami to Phoenix in the Goran Dragic deal, and it has been swapped between the Suns, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Clippers before landing with the Thunder. 

The 2023 selection was in possession of the Clippers before they made the Paul George deal with Oklahoma City.

From Miami's perspective, it makes sense to try to recoup draft assets along with Paul as compensation for taking on his large contract. 

Paul has a contract that balloons to $44 million for the 2021-22 campaign, and it could constrain Miami's future roster decisions with Jimmy Butler's four-year, $140 million deal on the books already. 

Combining Paul and Butler makes sense if the price is right since Miami would likely boost itself into the top five or six teams in the Eastern Conference, especially if it holds on to some of its young talent. 

Oklahoma City has done well collecting assets in the George and Russell Westbrook trades, but it may have to take a hit in order to make the Paul transaction happen.

The Thunder might have to take on expiring contracts of Goran Dragic, James Johnson or Meyers Leonard, who are all making over $10 million, for the Heat to justify bringing on Paul's massive deal. 

Since general manager Sam Presti has been so successful collecting draft picks for the Thunder in the offseason, it is hard to imagine him wanting to part ways with both of Miami's selections currently in his possession. 

If Miami is unable to agree to terms with Oklahoma City, it has a solid group of players in Butler, Dragic, Leonard plus 2019 first-rounder Tyler Herro and young players Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow that could come together to make some noise in the Eastern Conference. 

Acquiring Paul is not make-or-break for Miami's progress as a franchise during the 2019-20 season, but if a deal can be struck, it could improve its chances of joining the East's elite. 

                     

Andre Iguodala

Eric Gay/Associated Press

There are fewer complexities when it comes to a potential trade for Iguodala, but it is still a difficult process for the franchises that want to acquire him. 

According to The Athletic's Kelly Iko, the Houston Rockets remain interested in trading for Iguodala, and the belief is Memphis wants at least first-round compensation for the 35-year-old.

Stadium's Shams Charania reported the Los Angeles Clippers have also shown favor in acquiring Iguodala.

"The two teams strongly pursuing Iguodala are the Rockets and the Clippers, I'm told," Charania said. "Both teams seem to be at a standstill in talks with the Grizzlies." 

The problem for both the Rockets and Clippers is Iguodala is set to make over $17 million during the 2019-20 season in the final year of his contract. 

In order to acquire Iguodala, the Rockets would have to go deeper into the luxury tax, which Charania reported they are uncomfortable with. 

"The Rockets, I'm told, are still not comfortable and have been resisting going that deep into the luxury tax for a guy like Iguodala," Charania said. 

The Clippers are in a bind as well since they shipped the majority of their draft assets to Oklahoma City to obtain George. 

Charania reported the only contract that makes sense for the Clippers to deal to Memphis is one of Maurice Harkless, but they do not want to move the forward who was recently acquired from Portland. 

"I'm told they do not want to part with Harkless in any type of a deal for Iguodala," Charania said. 

Since the Grizzlies are in rebuild mode, it would be wise of them to get some type of return for Iguodala instead of cutting him loose and making him a free agent.

However, the asking price of a first-round pick and the salary gymnastics certain franchises would have to do in order to make the forward fit could keep him on the Grizzlies roster for quite some time. 

                       

JR Smith

Scott R. Galvin/Associated Press

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers are an unlikely destination for Smith once he clears waivers. 

Smith was waived by the Cavaliers Monday after they failed in their attempts to trade the 33-year-old.

From Cleveland's viewpoint, it made sense to cut ties with Smith since it is in rebuilding mode and the player was set to make over $15 million next season. 

The Lakers seemed a potential fit because Smith won a championship with LeBron James in Cleveland, but they have filled out their roster with other veterans since Kawhi Leonard opted to join the Clippers. 

With Jared Dudley, Danny Green, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo on the roster, the Lakers do not have a need for another veteran to join up with James and Anthony Davis. 

Smith still holds some value in the NBA since he is a career 37.3 percent shooter from three-point range and averaged over 10 points per game in 10 seasons. 

Although he played 11 games last season, Smith's three-point percentage ranged from 35 to 40 percent during his time in Cleveland. 

Smith will likely have to settle for a drop in pay for the 2019-20 season, but he could still be an interesting piece to add to a contending roster because of his success in an area of the court that carries more importance by the year. 

                      

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference

Contract information obtained from Spotrac  

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