NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz and Post-2020 Trade Deadline Talk

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2020

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 12: Aaron Gordon #00 of the Orlando Magic handles the ball during the game against the Detroit Pistons on February 12, 2020 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

The 2020 NBA trade deadline saw a flurry of transactions as it came and went, but it hasn't stopped the rumor mill from turning. 

There were plenty of transactions that shaped teams by Feb. 6. However, the things that didn't happen at the deadline can be just as important as they shape what the offseason will look like. 

The buzz around the league turns to two things now: The buyout market for contenders looking to fill out their roster and the possibility of huge trades in the offseason for stars who weren't involved in deals at the deadline. 

From a possible Joel Embiid trade to the Lakers' pursuit of a buyout candidate to fill out the roster, here are some of the biggest stories making the rounds. 


Magic 'Tried Hard' to Trade Aaron Gordon

For all the deals that went down at the deadline, there are still plenty of names who could have been moved but weren't. 

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

One of the most prominent of those is Aaron Gordon. The 24-year-old has shown off a versatile skill set in his six seasons with Orlando, but he may no longer fit in with the Magic's long-term future. 

Sean Deveny of reported the franchise was actively shopping Gordon at the deadline. He listed the Timberwolves and Warriors as teams who were interested in acquiring his services. He also noted executives believe the forward will be available again in the offseason. 

Gordon is the kind of asset who should attract offers. The Magic seem to be favoring Jonathan Isaac as the power forward of the future, with Mo Bamba and Nikola Vucevic getting the lion's share of the minutes alongside him. 

Gordon could be extremely useful on another roster, though. He has the size and athleticism to guard both forward spots and had a strong offensive showing in the 2017-18 season, averaging 17.6 points on 50 percent effective field goal percentage.

Since then, his numbers have taken a hit with the Magic. He is now averaging 14.2 points per game with a 47 percent effective field goal percentage. His rebounds, blocks and field-goal attempts have all taken a hit as well. 

Gordon is still young, has a reasonable contract (cap hit of $18.1 million in 2020 and $16.5 million in 2021) and has never really played for a winner. He should have suitors in the offseason and figures to be one of the bigger names to find a new home next summer. 


Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid Tandem in Trouble

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 11: Joel Embiid #21, Josh Richardson #0, and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers react against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Wells Fargo Center on February 11, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The marriage of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid has yet to break out for the 76ers. The pairing is in its third season and, after two postseason second-round exits, they sit at No. 5 in the Eastern Conference. 

The lack of progress this year has been frustrating, and Embiid's enigmatic personality and up-and-down results haven't made things any easier. The star center was booed by the Philly crowd after a cryptic social media post and exchange with former teammate Jimmy Butler. 

While those kinds of things often find a way of cooling down, there are reports Embiid could be on his way out in the offseason. 

Brian Windhorst of ESPN noted on his Hoop Collective podcast that the Sixers possibly trading Embiid is a "conversation people are starting to have."

However, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports reported the conversation around the league has focused on how difficult it is to trade a superstar:

"Sources I have spoken to around the league painted this picture (and Windhorst mentions it): It's too hard to get two elite players, trading one (and certainly not getting full value back) is the absolute last resort. The more likely pattern is Brett Brown gets fired after the season and another coach is brought in. However, if in a year or two that coach cannot get Embiid and Simmons to blend at a championship level, then the Sixers will start to explore trades."

While the sentiment of getting full value for a star is true, it's also possible that moving Embiid could be the best move. The fit on the court has always been questionable for Embiid and Simmons. The former is someone who needs and wants touches in the paint and the latter's lack of shooting means he needs spacing to succeed. 

A lot of this likely comes down to what the Sixers look like in the playoffs. If they're able to compete for the title with what they have, all of this will be forgotten. If not, the offseason could get really interesting in Philadelphia. 


Lakers Still Looking to Round Out Roster

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 28:  Dion Waiters #11 of the Miami Heat in action against the Boston Celtics during the first half at American Airlines Arena on January 28, 2020 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers did not end up being a player in the trade deadline, but that doesn't mean they are done with their roster. 

The team figures to be a player in the buyout market as they prepare for a Finals run. One of its biggest needs is another ball-handler to take some of that load off of LeBron James and there's a feeling that Rajon Rondo is not the right fit to get it done. 

"He overdribbles," a Western Conference executive told Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. "The team needs another guard who can handle but who can also play off of LeBron as a shooter. That's not Rondo."

Instead, the team might look to Dion Waiters. The guard was included in the Miami-Memphis deal that sent Andre Iguodala to the Heat and the Grizzlies promptly waived him. Now, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has reported the Lakers have discussed a deal to bring him on board. 

Waiters' agent—Rich Paul—also represents LeBron and Anthony Davis, giving him a link to the franchise. 

Waiters has been a divisive player throughout his career, but as former NBA star Kendrick Perkins noted, he would bring a lot to the table for the Lakers:

Unlike Rondo, the 28-year-old could add some shooting and the ability to play off-ball alongside LeBron. He already did it in their time together in Cleveland, and he's a career 34.8 percent shooter from three. 

Waiters isn't perfect, but he's an interesting "heat check" guy who would add another element to their offense off the bench. At this point in the season, that's about as good as it gets in terms of improvements to the roster.