NBA Trade Rumors: Examining Who is on the Block Entering 2020 Free Agency

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 22, 2020

Washington Wizards guard John Wall works out prior to an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The NBA trade rumor mill has been churning at a fast rate over the last week. 

Washington Wizards guard John Wall was the latest superstar to be mentioned in a trade possibility after the NBA draft concluded. 

While the Wizards have some talent around Wall with Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, they are far down the Eastern Conference pecking order. 

If Wall wants to chase a championship at this juncture of his career, he will have to go elsewhere to do so.

However, moving Wall out of the nation's capital would require plenty of salary gymnastics because of his massive contract. 

Russell Westbrook appeared to be in a perfect spot to win with the Houston Rockets, but he could be on the move one year after joining forces with James Harden

Similar to Wall, Westbrook's massive deal could make him hard to trade, but if he wants to leave Texas, he may get his way.

         

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Players On NBA Trading Block

John Wall

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Wall made his intentions of a trade known to the Wizards organization. 

"Washington Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall has made it clear he wants to be traded after talks regarding a possible trade with the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook stalled," Charania reported. 

Combining Wall and Westbrook in Washington, D.C. would have made the Wizards a potential player in the Eastern Conference. 

But now it looks like Washington may attempt to trade its superstar instead of gaining another one to make a push up the standings. 

The problem with dealing Wall is finding a potential suitor willing to take on his massive contract. Wall is scheduled to make $41.2 million during the 2020-21 season, per Spotrac, and his salary increases until the deal ends in 2023. 

Before any trade is finalized, Washington must feel comfortable with the potentially large compensation package headed back its way. 

It may make the most sense for the Wizards to deal Wall after he returns to the court since some contenders may be skeptical of spending a large price on a guard that is coming off an Achilles injury. 

Wall's value could increase a bit if he thrives in his return to the court, but Washington also runs the risk of him not looking like himself and the value decreasing. 

Regardless of how you look at it, Washington is in a precarious situation and it will not deal Wall right away just because he wants out. 

The Wizards should evaluate a potential franchise-altering deal from all angles before signing off on one, if it happens. 

        

Russell Westbrook

A handful of teams have been mentioned with Westbrook's name over the last week. 

On Friday's Yahoo's Chris Haynes reported the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic explored talks that had Aaron Gordon as part of the return package. 

Charania reported before the NBA draft that the Rockets and Wizards looked at a deal focused on a Westbrook-Wall swap. 

The negotiations around Westbrook's departure from Houston could be as precarious as any trade talk buzzing around Wall.

Westbrook is also set to make over $41 million in the upcoming season and his salary rises before he becomes a free agent in 2023. 

Most potential suitors would have to clear a significant amount of cap space and trade either draft picks, an abundance of young talent, or a combination of both to please Houston's potential demands. 

If Westbrook really wants out of Houston, the Rockets may have no choice but to ship him away in a trade, but the process will be far from simple with his elevated contract in place.