NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Chris Paul, Possible Dion Waiters Trade, More

mandela namaste@@mandiba13Contributor IDecember 16, 2019

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul looks to the bench after being fouled by the Denver Nuggets in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

With the unofficial December 15 deadline passing on Sunday, NBA trade season is now in effect. 

Over the next several weeks, most teams in the league must determine if they want to be buyers or sellers. Do they want to load up for the playoffs or sell high on in-demand players and prepare for the future? These are choices that not only define seasons, they define franchises. 

Here, we've rounded up a few of the latest and greatest rumors from around the league. Let's take a look at them.


Chris Paul Unlikely to Join Heat

Since Chris Paul was traded to the Thunder in mid-July, his rapid exit from Oklahoma City has been assumed by most of the NBA, and one of the most popular fantasy destinations for the nine-time All Star has been the star-loving Miami Heat.

However, that pairing is unlikely to happen now and was seemingly never in the cards.

NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh wrote about this in detail on Thursday, saying that

"Before trading Russell Westbrook to Oklahoma City, the Rockets tried to engage the Heat on a three-team deal to reroute Paul to Miami, but the Heat resisted, multiple sources told NBC Sports. The Heat's desire for Westbrook was "a level above" their interest in Paul, according to one high-level source involved in those talks. 

"As it stands now, the Heat aren't expected to make a run at Paul, per multiple sources. They like their locker room chemistry and aren't actively looking to shake it up. More importantly, Paul's contract complicates Miami's potential future. Paul will be 35 years old in May and is due $41.4 million next season and will be 37 when he's due $44.2 million. A glamour market like Miami doesn't need to make trades to acquire a star. Smaller markets like Utah, Charlotte and Portland do."

That line of reasoning to not trade for Paul makes sense. The Heat have been surprisingly competent to begin this season, and with a splashy free-agent signing in the summer of 2021 they could return to title contention. Acquiring Paul, however, would squash both Miami's short-term and long-term outlook. 

Whether or not Paul is traded before the deadline is another story, but it's safe to say that if he moves, it won't be to South Beach.


Waiters Wants Out, But His Way

While the Heat likely won't move heaven and earth for Chris Paul, they'll try to do so to get rid of another guard.

Dion Waiters has not played a game this season for Miami and has been in Erik Spoelstra's doghouse since early October. First, he lost his job to breakout rookie Kendrick Nunn and was suspended from the team for complaining about his diminished role.

Soon after his suspension ended, Waiters infamously had a marijuana-induced panic attack while on a team flight, leading to a second suspension from the team. He's currently in the midst of a third suspension, reportedly because he posted photos of himself on a boat to Instagram when he was supposed to be ill.

Now, both parties are looking for the exit.

However, the Heat have gained no traction on a potential Waiters separation, for several reasons. First, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, no team has shown interest in the mercurial guard, likely due to the combination of his off-court issues, streaky on-court play, injury history and large contract.

Secondly, Jackson reported Waiters is refusing to give up any money that he is owed in order to be bought out or otherwise divorced from Miami.

Jackson stated Waiters may be willing to sacrifice money on the front end if another team shows interest in him, but that seems unlikely. For the time being, Waiters will likely continue to stay away from the team until this stalemate is resolved.


Charlotte Not a Possibility for Drummond

Earlier this season, the overachieving Charlotte Hornets were connected to two-time All Star Andre Drummond in trade rumors. However, that could be mere conjecture. 

Per Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, the Hornets have no interest in acquiring the center. Their lack of interest makes sense given they would likely have to give up at least one of their prized trio of young players—Devonte' Graham, Miles Bridges or PJ Washington—as well as a future first-round pick. That is a steep price to pay for most players, let alone an impending free agent like Drummond.

Whether or not the Pistons should take or search for offers on their prized big man is another question. This past summer, Drummond stated plainly that he will be a free agent in 2020, with no elaboration on what he meant by that. Does that suggest he's specifically planning to leave Detroit, or just that he wants to go through the free-agency process?

Perhaps the Pistons have an internal understanding of Drummond's free-agency plans. But if they either don't know what he's going to do or believe that he will depart the team, they are obligated to at least try to trade him, or they could potentially lose one of their two best players without any compensation.