NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz and Post-2021 Trade Deadline TalkApril 2, 2021
NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz and Post-2021 Trade Deadline Talk
The dust has settled in the week-plus since the trade deadline, with the buyout market also taking shape. So, what now?
Well, it's time for contenders to build momentum for the playoffs. Fringe teams will make their final runs at reaching the play-in tournament.
Here are some of the latest post-deadline rumors from around the league.
Kevin Durant Nearing Return to Action
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has not played since Feb. 13. But he is nearing his return to the hardwood.
Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported Durant is "closing in" on rejoining the Nets. Charania reported the former league MVP would be active if Brooklyn was in the playoffs. However, the team is exhibiting an abundance of caution with respect to his health.
Durant has been sidelined with a hamstring issue, an injury that now plagues James Harden. The Nets have been just fine in his absence.
Brooklyn improved to 18-3 since Durant went on the shelf with a demolition of the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday. Still, the Nets will be eager to get back to full strength ahead of the playoffs, especially with both Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge now in the fold.
Durant makes the Nets all the more difficult to guard. He was averaging 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists through his first 19 games, shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and 43.4 percent from beyond the arc. The 32-year-old was having plenty of success getting to his spots on the floor and pulling up for three in transition.
But Durant's biggest impact might actually come on the defensive end. He uses his length to disrupt things in the paint and the passing lanes. He can also rotate over to block shots from the weak side. The Nets could use Durant's versatility especially on the defensive end of the floor.
Charania reported Durant's timeline should begin to become clearer sometime next week.
Andre Drummond Not Expected to Miss Much Time
Andre Drummond's Los Angeles Lakers debut probably did not go quite as he envisioned.
Drummond signed with the Lakers after being bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He had been a big target for L.A. in the buyout market, one the Lakers likely believed could help add some frontcourt scoring in the absence of both LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The two-time All-Star donned the Lakers uniform for the first time on Wednesday. He played just under 15 minutes before exiting with a toe injury. However, that injury is not expected to be serious.
Dave McMenamin and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported there is "optimism" within the Laker organization Drummond will only be out "a game or two." McMenamin later reported Drummond will miss Friday's matchup against the Sacramento Kings. But it seems the Lakers believe he will be available for the final six games of the upcoming seven-game road trip.
Drummond really struggled when he was on the floor Wednesday night. He scored just four points on 2-of-6 shooting and also had three turnovers. But it was also his first game action in well over a month.
The 27-year-old is one of the best rebounders in basketball. He can dive to the rim for buckets and use his athleticism to make plays on the defensive end of the floor.
Los Angeles really just needs some energy infused into the rotation as it waits for James and Davis to return. The Lakers likely hope Drummond can provide said energy and get right back on the floor after sustaining the toe injury.
Dennis Schroder Turned Down Extension Offers from L.A.
Bill Oram and Jovan Buha of The Athletic previously reported the Lakers offered point guard Dennis Schroder to the Toronto Raptors as part of a potential package in their pursuit of Raptors veteran PG Kyle Lowry.
A deal was never finalized, mostly because—as Oram and Buha noted—Toronto wanted second-year Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker. Still, it was curious L.A. seemed so willing to include Schroder in a possible Lowry deal after acquiring him from the Oklahoma City Thunder last fall. Or was it?
Marc Stein of the New York Times reported there is a "gulf" between Schroder and the Lakers in recent extension talks. Sources familiar with negotiations told Stein the 27-year-old turned down a four-year offer around $80 million.
Schroder is in the final year of his current deal. Perhaps the Lakers thought, with negotiations stalling, they might as well move him so as to acquire Lowry, who is also on an expiring contract. But L.A. missed its opportunity there and now faces some uncertainty regarding Schroder's future.
Schroder has been a productive playmaker. He is averaging 15.4 points, 5.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds while providing the Lakers with a slashing option capable of creating his own shot off the dribble. But L.A. might not believe Schroder is worth more than $20 million a year.
It will be interesting to see how the Lakers approach contract talks with Schroder down the stretch. Would they consider simply letting him reach the open market while pushing hard for Lowry in free agency?
The answer to that question remains to be seen. What is known, however, is an extension appears to be at something of a standstill.
All stats obtained via Basketball Reference, unless otherwise noted.