NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Lonzo Ball, John Collins, More

Martin FennFeatured Columnist IMarch 23, 2021

NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Lonzo Ball, John Collins, More

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    Thursday's NBA trade deadline is drawing ever closer. But it remains to be seen whether some of the top names will actually be on the move.

    There were plenty rumblings on Monday. But ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski noted much of the early chatter is meant to assess value both in offers and potential returns. He added some of the talks might not mean anything ahead of the deadline, instead serving as a sort of warmup for talks ahead of the NBA draft.

    Still, anything can happen at the deadline. Let's take a closer look at some of the latest rumors regarding New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball, as well as the Atlanta Hawks' upcoming decision on John Collins and a more unheralded player who could be a major asset in the coming days.

Ball's Market Continues to Grow

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    It feels like Lonzo Ball has been on the trade block forever.

    Shams Charania of The Athletic. first reported in January the Pelicans were showing an "openness" to discussing trades for Ball. The 23-year-old's season had gotten off to a slow start, and it appeared the Pels were willing to move Ball for the right deal.

    However, things have changed a bit.

    Ball has strung it together in the last couple months. He averaged 16.5 points, 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 15 games in February, while also posting a .625 true shooting mark. The former No. 2 overall pick has not been a terribly efficient scorer in March, but he is averaging 7.1 assists per game this month.

    The suitors are starting to flock to the Pelicans. Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets have expressed interest in Ball, adding the Nuggets reportedly offered Bol Bol in early talks. 

    New York and Denver join the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls as teams involved in Ball's market after Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported Atlanta and Chicago had interest. Fischer reported the Bulls had discussed a swap involving Lauri Markkanen but noted the talks are not yet "substantial."

    The Pelicans appear to be considering moving Ball in part because of his expected salary. Ball will be a restricted free agent this summer, and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported he is hoping to make around $20 million per year with his next contract.

    Perhaps that number is a bit large for New Orleans. Still, Fischer reported the Pels might not be as determined to deal Ball.

    The above would seem to suggest the Pelicans will try to sell high on Ball. Otherwise, New Orleans can match offers to keep him in restricted free agency or simply move on.

Hawks 'Reluctant' to Trade John Collins

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins is another whose name has been thrown around in trade rumors.

    But as is reportedly the case with Ball in New Orleans, the Hawks do not seem overly keen to trade Collins. In fact, Atlanta might even be described as hesitant. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported the Hawks are "becoming increasingly reluctant" to move Collins.

    Atlanta has won eight of its last nine, with the lone loss coming Monday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Interim head coach Nate McMillan has presided over that stretch after taking the reins from Lloyd Pierce earlier this month. McMillan's success, according to Haynes, has the team's ownership group hungry to build, rather than deal away one of its best young players.

    Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported the Hawks have received "significant" interest from a number of teams, including the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks. However, Atlanta could be more intent on making a possible playoff run. Collins is likely to play a crucial role in any such run.

    The 23-year-old was averaging 18.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game prior to Monday's win over the Clippers. He is a capable stretch 4 who is at his best as a roll man diving to the rim for easy twos and lobs. Collins is also growing more comfortable creating for himself off the bounce, which only makes sense considering his athleticism at the power forward spot.

    Atlanta could be an interesting team to watch at the deadline. The Hawks' recent success suddenly has the team looking like buyers.

    It could be tempting to move Collins for a big package given he is headed for restricted free agency. But the Hawks can possibly maneuver to move salary and get a deal done with Collins this summer.

Richaun Holmes Generating Buzz

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Ball and Collins are two of the more high-profile names in the rumor mill. But while those two could stay put, Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes might be a strong swing piece for a number of teams.

    Jordan Schultz of ESPN reported Holmes has "steadily" emerged as a top trade target. Shams Charania of The Athletic also reported Holmes has interest from "several" teams, including the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets. 

    Holmes is having a strong season. The 27-year-old was averaging 13.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks before putting up 17 points, 16 boards and a pair of blocks in Monday's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is on an expiring deal, making him incredibly valuable to a number of teams strapped for cash.

    However, Schultz reported Holmes has indicated he would like to re-sign with the Kings when his contract expires. That would appear to give Sacramento some leverage in negotiations.

    The Raptors especially make sense for Holmes as a team in need of added frontcourt scoring and rebounding. But Toronto may not be willing to part with draft capital for less than half a season of Holmes, especially considering they are struggling to even stay in the playoff hunt. 

    Charlotte could use Holmes' rim protection and presence on the glass. However, the young Hornets seem even less likely to deal draft capital for an expiring contract.

    Maybe the Raptors or Hornets can involve a third team in a potential deal. Or, perhaps the Kings will sell impossibly high in the hopes they get a home run type of offer.

    Regardless, Holmes is a name to watch in the coming days. 


    All stats obtained via Basketball Reference, unless otherwise noted.