NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Updates on Kevin Love, D'Angelo Russell and More

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2019

D'Angelo Russell
D'Angelo RussellNoah Graham/Getty Images

After a few months of relative quiet on the NBA trade market, the rumor mill has suddenly become flooded with talented players.

Sure is more interesting this way, right?

While the marquee names are still Kevin Love and D'Angelo Russell, a couple of complementary pieces are new additions. Veteran wings Robert Covington and Marcus Morris won't necessarily be traded, but the leaguewide interest is clear.

Right now, though, the Portland Trail Blazers are seemingly the franchise to watch in trade negotiations.

According to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, Love would prefer a trade to his hometown team. The Blazers already had injury problems with Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, but a season-ending Achilles injury to Rodney Hood has increased the pressure on Portland to reinforce the roster.

More importantly, when considering salary implications and roster need, Portland is one of the few realistic possibilities for Love.

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

"The Blazers have the salaries to make a deal work with the expiring contracts of Hassan Whiteside ($27.1 million) or Kent Bazemore ($19.3 million)," O'Connor said. "Why not send both to Cleveland and also trade for Tristan Thompson? The Cavs center is also available and would like to play for a contender."

O'Connor noted the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns are also potential options for the 31-year-old, who is averaging 15.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists for Cleveland this season.

Until he's traded or the trade deadline passes, it's safe to assume Love will be mentioned on the trade market. And as Golden State Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell becomes eligible for a trade Dec. 15, he's certain to be involved in a few rumors.

But the 23-year-old says he isn't concerned about the buzz.

"I just don't care. Simple as that. I just don't care," Russell told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. "When you say max contract to come in and learn from these guys as much as you can as quick as you can—because you don't know when you'll be gone, shipped out—that's what I'm doing. I can't control that."

Slater added "nobody expects" Golden State plans to trade Russell as soon as he's eligible, so expecting an immediate move seems unwise.

However, one team previously linked to Russell is the Minnesota Timberwolves, and they have an attractive wing.

Robert Covington is a superb three-and-D player who averages 12.5 points with a 36.9 long-range clip. He also provides 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.

Golden State would probably be seeking Covington in return, and the Houston Rockets are also monitoring him.

According to O'Connor, the 28-year-old has attracted "serious interest" from the Rockets. Shams Charania of The Athletic previously reported Houston is willing to give up future assets in a trade and will most likely target wing players.

Since the Rockets are thin on options to match Covington's $11.3 million salary, a possible trade may include three or four involved teams. Still, Houston general manager Daryl Morey is no stranger to creative deals; this connection is worth watching.

One of the next-best wings available for a trade is Marcus Morris, a veteran toiling away for the hapless New York Knicks.

"The expectation is that, by the deadline, Morris' strong two-way game will garner acceptable offers from a contender," O'Connor said.

Despite the Knicks' 4-20 record, the 30-year-old is averaging a career-high 18.2 points with a scorching 48.4 three-point rate. That production could allow New York to acquire a first-round draft pick in return, according to Ian Begley of SNY.

Similar to Covington, the problem is matching salaries. Morris has an expiring deal worth $15 million, per HoopsHype, so no trade should be considered imminent. Teams are still trying to figure out whether the current roster simply needs a patient approach.

Nevertheless, when the February deadline is no longer a faraway time and hopeful contenders are desperate to stay in the playoff hunt, a trade may materialize.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR