NBA Trade Rumors: Updates on Potential Blockbuster Deals Entering 2021 Draft
The NBA offseason rumor mill is already churning, with several contenders angling for moves that might help them knock the Milwaukee Bucks off their perch.
One insider told Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer he believes draft night could be full of trades. Teams could be hoping to move up or down the board, and it's also possible some organizations hope to leverage draft capital as a means of acquiring impact talent.
Two of the more intriguing names to watch ahead of Thursday's draft include Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons and Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal. Here is some of the latest buzz on Simmons and Beal, as well as some of the more notable rumblings involving the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sixers Trade Unlikely Before NBA Draft
The general expectation seems to be Ben Simmons will be dealt before the start of the 2021-22 season. Don't expect a big move before Thursday's draft, though.
Fischer reported it is unlikely Simmons is traded before the draft, despite rival executives believing Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey wanted to complete a deal by now. Fischer reported Philadelphia has been unable to make "serious traction" on a Simmons deal.
This is not to say Simmons is without suitors. Fischer reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, and Sacramento Kings have expressed some level of interest in Simmons. There appears to be a good deal of curiosity with the idea of employing Simmons as a playmaking forward, though it's unclear whether the three-time All-Star would embrace that role.
Morey and the Sixers are not going to move Simmons for the sake of moving him. Despite all the criticism he garnered throughout the playoffs, the fact remains that Simmons is an All-Star talent whose size, playmaking and defensive abilities make him a true asset.
Philadelphia might still shop Simmons extensively in the coming months, but it appears unlikely the team will finalize anything anytime soon.
Beal on Warriors' Wishlist
Bradley Beal's future with the Washington Wizards has once again come into the spotlight, and the Golden State Warriors are monitoring the situation.
Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic reported Beal is at the "top" of Golden State's offseason wishlist if he is available. Thompson added Warriors stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have expressed a sense of urgency to management, with the Dubs possibly trying to package their two first-round picks.
Shams Charania of The Athletic was among those to report Beal is uncertain of his future in Washington, with the distinct possibility he could ask for a trade before the end of the week. This could open the door for the Wizards to make an aggressive offer.
The Warriors could start with the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in the upcoming draft. They could supplement the offer by including 2020 first-round pick James Wiseman, with Andrew Wiggins also being thrown in for salary considerations.
Whether that kind of offer would appeal to the Warriors is unclear. What is clear is Beal would instantly galvanize Golden State's title hopes.
Beal is one of the top scorers in basketball. He can create for himself and make plays off the bounce. Beal is also capable of playing off the ball. He averaged 31.3 points and shot a career-high 48.5 percent from the field despite playing alongside a ball-dominant point guard in Russell Westbrook last season.
The Warriors would surely have steep competition for Beal if he were made available. However, they might be able to offer the Wizards the best return package.
Lakers, Kings Discussed Deal Involving Kyle Kuzma, Buddy Hield
The Los Angeles Lakers are desperately looking for ways to get back to the mountaintop.
Shams Charania reported L.A. is likely to pursue free agents such as Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Spencer Dinwiddie. However, if the Lakers want to add a star free agent, they probably have to do so via the sign-and-trade route.
Los Angeles might instead try to go the more conventional trade route, and Kyle Kuzma could be on the market.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (h/t Jacob Rude of SB Nation) reported the Lakers have offered Kuzma to numerous teams. The Sacramento Kings are among them, as Charania reported L.A. and Sacramento discussed a package centered around Kuzma and Buddy Hield.
Hield would give the Lakers a much-needed boost from the perimeter. Los Angeles ranked 24th in three-point attempts and 21st in three-point percentage. Hield, meanwhile, is shooting over 40 percent from deep for his career and was over 39 percent on 10.2 attempts per game last season. The 28-year-old also displayed better playmaking, averaging a career-high 3.6 assists per game.
The Lakers might still exhaust all their options in pursuit of a star point guard. That said, Hield would give them a big boost with his shooting and can take LeBron James off the ball a bit.
All stats obtained via Basketball Reference.