NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on James Harden Trade, Ben Simmons, NBA Draft, More

Philip LindseyContributor INovember 1, 2020

NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on James Harden Trade, Ben Simmons, NBA Draft, More

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    With the 2020-21 NBA season approaching, news around this year's draft and the subsequent free-agency period continues to heat up.

    This isn't exactly the exciting offseason fans are used to given there is still so much uncertainty around the start date of the upcoming campaign. The reportedly targeted opening night of Dec. 22 would force an unusually quick turnaround, as the NBA draft is set to take place Nov. 18. However, the league still hasn't set a date for free agency to begin.

    Nevertheless, there are some noteworthy stories ahead of the draft, including a potential new destination for Victor Oladipo, the discussions around the Houston Rockets and the Philadelphia 76ers and more.

Chicago and Detroit Are in Search of a New Playmaker

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Let's start with some early predictions for the NBA draft, as Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer provided some new information on the pursuit of the new prospects. In his most recent mock draft, he suggested that the Chicago Bulls are looking for a new point guard despite what their depth chart looks like.

    "League sources say the Bulls are likely targeting a lead playmaker in the draft, which is why last week's mock had them taking Killian Hayes," O'Connor wrote. "But LaMelo is the most talented passer in this class and is a tempting pick, although one that would immediately raise questions about Zach LaVine and Coby White's futures in Chicago."

    Hayes would make for an intriguing addition to the Bulls backcourt, and this could signal some kind of trade because the team is already loaded with talented guards. Similarly, O'Connor reported that Detroit could have its eyes on a new floor general in Tyrese Haliburton:

    "The Pistons have interest in playmakers in this year's class, according to multiple league sources, and they'll have plenty of choices. Haliburton has been tied to Detroit, and he'd bring a veteran-style presence to the team."

    The Iowa State point guard is projected to be one of the most versatile options at the position in this year's draft. He could bolster Detroit's roster, with speculation about trades for Derrick Rose picking up steam.

Houston Is Uninterested in Trading James Harden for Ben Simmons

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia 76ers are in an increasingly interesting position following the hiring of Doc Rivers as head coach and executive Daryl Morey's impending arrival following his sudden exit from the Houston Rockets. However, don't expect the organization to try to move Ben Simmons to bring in James Harden. 

    On the latest Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported (h/t RealGM): "I've already been told with a few expletives included by somebody with the Rockets: 'No, Daryl, James Harden for Ben Simmons is not happening. Don't ask.'"

    It doesn't appear that this is because Harden is seeking a trade, as Windhorst asked, "It's not up to the Rockets, is it?" MacMahon responded, "The answer is no on that."

    It would seem that Houston's plan is to continue to build around the former MVP for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, a possible reunion with Chris Paul is one of many rumors surrounding Philadelphia now that Rivers and Morey are onboard.

Milwaukee Bucks Show Interest in Pacers' Victor Oladipo

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    The Milwaukee Bucks' early exit from the playoffs this year put a damper on an otherwise strong season and raised questions about the future of the organization. Its biggest star and the league's two-time reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has one year left on his contract, which means the pressure is on to revamp the team and entice him to re-sign next offseason.

    According to O'Connor, the Bucks are pursuing a trade with the Indiana Pacers for Victor Oladipo:

    "League sources say the Pacers have talked with the Bucks about a trade involving Oladipo, though at this point it seems unlikely. Oladipo could be acquired for the right price if the Sixers wanted to bet on a return to his pre-injury form."

    The 28-year-old missed most of the 2019-20 season after he suffered a ruptured quadriceps tendon. Nevertheless, Oladipo is hoping to follow up two impressive showings in the years prior and earn a max contract. He could conceivably help Milwaukee take the next step if this deal pans out.

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