NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Possible Chris Paul Trade, Wizards and More

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 22, 2019

Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, March 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

With the 2019 version of NBA free agency almost going silent, the league might be entering its brief hibernation period.

A tinge of news might trickle in here and there, but at this stage, most reporting revolves around why things happened as opposed to what might still take place.

The latest dispatch from the rumor mill reflects on two of the most significant recent stories while shining additional light on the stalled-but-still-significant Chris Paul situation.

                     

Heat Seeking Multiple Firsts in Chris Paul Trade Talks?

While it's plausible the Miami Heat will be Chris Paul's next NBA destination, a move hardly seems imminent.

Efforts to move the veteran point guard have "parked," per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, as both he and the Oklahoma City Thunder have started to consider extending this relationship into (or even throughout) the 2019-20 season.

Among other issues, OKC "doesn't feel a need" to part with draft picks in order to unload the three years and $124 million left on the 34-year-old's contract.

As long as that remains the case, the Heat are reportedly out of the running.

"A source familiar with the Heat approach to Paul stressed that not only aren't the Heat looking at any sort of pick swap, they likely would want multiple first-round picks to take on the 2021-22 season on Paul's contract," Ira Winderman wrote for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Among the many picks OKC has collected during its rapid rebuild are two future firsts from Miami (2021 and 2023). Those selections potentially control the fate of these entire talks.

                 

Wizards Gave Tommy Sheppard a 'Trial Run' as GM?

In early April, the Washington Wizards split from longtime president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld. They went more than three months without hiring his replacement, although they ultimately settled on the person who's been steering the ship the entire time.

Interim general manager Tommy Sheppard, who's been with the Wizards for 16 seasons, had his interim tag removed last week. He may not have been the franchise's first choice—Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly turned them down—but Sheppard reportedly secured the spot through his handling of this offseason.

"How Sheppard navigated the Wizards through the draft and free agency was central in why managing partner Ted Leonsis decided to elevate him to the long-term post," NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes wrote. "The last several weeks were treated as a 'trial run,' according to a person familiar with the process."

Washington's summer was largely one of restraint. In an effort to clean up its bloated cap situation, the team let players like Tomas Satoransky, Bobby Portis, Trevor Ariza and Jeff Green all exit in free agency. The Wizards also drafted Rui Hachimura, re-signed Thomas Bryant and acquired Moritz Wagner as part of the Anthony Davis mega-deal.

But the most significant hurdle is still to come. On July 26, the Wizards can offer All-Star guard Bradley Beal a three-year, $111 million extension. The outcome of these talks could shape the organization's direction for years to come.

The Wizards, in other words, desperately needed solidity in the front office before handling Beal's situation. Sheppard did enough to grant them that.

                 

Kyle Korver Sweepstakes Came Down To Sixers vs. Bucks?

As the ninth-most accurate three-point shooter in NBA history, Kyle Korver probably could've landed with any contender of his choosing.

He apparently was only thinking about the East. Before agreeing to a one-year, $2.6 million pact with the Milwaukee Bucks, the 38-year-old had reportedly narrowed his choices to them and their biggest threat for the conference crown.

"Korver labored over a decision between the Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers," Wojnarowski wrote, "but his history and relationship with coach Mike Budenholzer played a significant role in his ultimate choice."

Budenholzer and Korver spent three-plus seasons together with the Atlanta Hawks. The tenure included the player's only All-Star selection (2014-15) and two of his three most accurate shooting seasons.

The Sixers had plenty to offer Korver. He played his first four-plus seasons with them, and given their need for spacing around the Joel Embiid-Ben Simmons tandem, they conceivably could've carved out a sizable role for him.

But Korver has seen firsthand how successful he can be in Budenholzer's three-happy system. Plus, the allure of playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo probably didn't hurt Milwaukee's chances.

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