NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Russell Westbrook, John Wall and More
As NBA free agency continues to unfold, it's important not to underestimate the impact the trade market can have on the proceedings. In a market that is relatively devoid of big-name talent—aside from Anthony Davis, who is largely expected to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers—many franchises will likely view the trading block as a superior option.
Trades were the centerpiece of last year's offseason, with Davis being dealt to the Lakers and Paul George being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. While we haven't seen any deals of that magnitude yet this offseason, a couple of notable trades have been struck.
The Lakers made a deal early in the week to acquire Dennis Shroder early in the trade window, while the Phoenix Suns acquired Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's highly unlikely that more significant deals won't materialize in the coming days and weeks.
Here, we'll dig into some of the latest NBA trade buzz with free agency now in Day 2.
Russell Westbrook Not Drawing Significant Interest
The Houston Rockets appear ready to close the book on the James Harden and Russell Westbrook experiment. However, they're not necessarily looking to keep one player without the other, and that could prove problematic.
According to ESPN's Chris Mannix, the Rockets aren't drawing much interest for Westbrook and they would prefer to have a trade for him lined up before moving Harden.
"The Rockets will engage on Westbrook but interest for the All-Star guard has been lukewarm, at best," Mannix wrote. "...It’s unlikely Houston deals Harden without having a landing spot for Westbrook, which could prove exceedingly difficult."
The inability to move Westbrook isn't from a lack of trying. Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported on Friday that the Rockets had discussed a potential deal with the Orlando Magic for Aaron Gordon but nothing materialized. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Houston has also discussed a deal for John Wall with the Washington Wizards.
Per Charania, discussions with the Wizards have also stalled.
Presumably, the Rockets will eventually find a suitor for Westbrook, though getting a significant return may not happen. Teams won't be eager to part with valuable assets when they know Houston is struggling to get a deal done.
Wall Wants out of Washington
While the Wizards aren't close to getting a deal done for Westbrook, they may be forced to move Wall at some point this offseason. According to Charania, Wall has "made it clear" that he wants a trade out of Washington.
According to Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill, Wall may be unhappy with Washington's desire to build around Bradley Beal instead of making him the centerpiece. Beal may also be the preferred trade target for teams looking to engage the Wizards.
"The Wizards have been building more around Wall’s backcourt mate Bradley Beal in the wake of his injuries, with many believing that’s what set Wall off," Godwill wrote. "In the days leading to the draft, teams like the Denver Nuggets were inquiring about Beal, according to multiple league sources."
As is the case with Houston and Westbrook, Washington may struggle to get a significant return for Wall. The former first-overall draft selection has played just 23 games over the past three seasons and missed all of this past season with a torn Achilles.
Trading for Wall would also involve a hefty financial commitment. He is set to carry a cap hit of more than $41 million for the 2020-21 season and could earn roughly $133 million over the next three seasons—if he exercises his player option for 2022-23.
Evan Fournier Hoping for a Trade
The Magic didn't send Aaron Gordon to Houston, and according to Mitch Lawrence of SiriusXM NBA Radio, Orlando also turned down a Gordon deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. A Gordon deal could still transpire, though, and teammate Evan Fournier is apparently hoping that he too can enter the trade market.
According to The Athletic's Zach Harper, Fournier "is trying to find his way" to a team like the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers or Denver Nuggets.
Fournier exercised his player option to remain in Orlando, and moving him may not be a top priority for the Magic. However, it's a move that the franchise at least appears open to making. ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective podcast that the Magic are not opposed to the idea.
While the move isn't necessarily connected to Fourner's trade desire, it is worth noting that Orlando recently added another shooting guard to its roster. According to Goodwill, the Magic have agreed to a two-year deal with Dwayne Bacon.
With Terrence Ross and now Bacon in the fold, the Magic will at least have some options if it does decide to move Fournier this offseason.