NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on John Wall Trade, Gordon Hayward, More

Jake RillFeatured Columnist INovember 22, 2020

NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on John Wall Trade, Gordon Hayward, More

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    It's been a wild week around the NBA. Some of the league's top stars requested trades. Various teams completed deals. The 2020 NBA draft took place Wednesday. And the free-agency negotiation period began Friday, with names quickly flying off the board as reports came out of many top players agreeing to contracts with teams.

    Things aren't likely to slow down. There's not enough time for them to do so. The 2020-21 season is quickly approaching with a scheduled start date of Dec. 22. It won't be long before teams begin holding training camps, so they need to construct their rosters and get the right players in place over the next few weeks.

    Where will the top remaining free agents go? Will any big names be involved in trades? We'll find out soon enough.

    Here's some of the latest offseason buzz from around the NBA.

Wall's Trade Request May Be Tied to Beal

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    On Friday, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that point guard John Wall has made it known he wants to be traded from the Washington Wizards. Apparently, there are some around the league who weren't surprised by the news.

    Wall hasn't played in a game since December 2018, as he suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon a few months later while recovering from heel surgery. In the meantime, Washington has built its team around shooting guard Bradley Beal, whose name has been heavily featured in trade rumors. However, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard has made it clear the team doesn't want to trade Beal.

    According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Wall was set off by the notion that Beal is now the centerpiece of Washington's team, leading to his desire to leave.

    "As soon as Tommy said it was Brad’s team, you knew it was coming," a league source told Haynes.

    So, that's where the Wizards currently sit with only a month until the 2020-21 season. It may be tough to trade Wall right now, considering he hasn't played in nearly two years and it's unknown how he'll fare when he returns to game action. And although the 30-year-old is a five-time All-Star and former All-NBA selection, he's also going to make $131.5 million over the next three seasons.

Will Hayward's Move to Charlotte Be a Sign-and-Trade?

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    Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

    Gordon Hayward is joining the Charlotte Hornets. On Saturday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the 30-year-old forward is signing a four-year $120 million deal with the team. However, there may be a bit more to it than that.

    Hayward had a $34.2 million player option with the Boston Celtics for the 2020-21 season, but he opted out and became a free agent. But there were still rumors that Hayward's next move could come via a sign-and-trade deal, which would allow his new team to clear cap space and get the Celtics something in return.

    As it turns out, Hayward's move to Charlotte could still be a sign-and-trade deal involving Boston, according to a report from Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. The Hornets were going to be tight on cap space, so this would be a way for them to create room on their roster for Hayward, rather than having to make another move.

    It would certainly become a better situation for the Celtics, who would get nothing if Hayward just signs with the Hornets and are already losing the veteran from their rotation. (Although Boston has wasted no time adding to its roster, agreeing to deals with center Tristan Thompson and guard Jeff Teague on Saturday, per Wojnarowski.)

    Regardless of how it happens, Hayward is heading to Charlotte for the next phase of his career following seven seasons with the Utah Jazz and three with Boston. He'll join a Hornets lineup that will feature rookie point guard LaMelo Ball and numerous other young players.

Batum Drawing Interest from Contenders

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    If Hayward's move to Charlotte isn't a sign-and-trade deal, then the Hornets will need to make a move to clear cap space. And if that's the case, then veteran forward Nicolas Batum is going to be waived, according to a report by Haynes.

    If that happens, then Batum may not be available for long, as Haynes noted that the 31-year-old is already "receiving interest from multiple contending teams." Batum is a 12-year NBA veteran, having spent his first seven seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers before playing in Charlotte the past five.

    Batum could be a bounce-back candidate in 2020-21, as he's coming off a down season. He was limited to 22 games due to injuries, and he averaged 3.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 23 minutes per contest. Batum had averaged at least 9.3 points per game in each of the previous 10 seasons.

    If Batum can stay healthy and return to being a better shooter (he shot 34.6 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point range this past season), then perhaps he could become a contributor for one of the contending teams that have reportedly shown interest in him.