NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Potential 2021 Draft-Day Moves

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2021

NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Potential 2021 Draft-Day Moves

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    The 2021 NBA draft is nearly upon us. On Thursday, the league's 30 teams will gather in Brooklyn to conduct the 75th talent grab, selecting from a talented pool of prospects.

    While there is still no certainty about who the Detroit Pistons will take at No. 1—or if they'll still hold the pick on draft night—they are likely to get a franchise-altering player with the selection. Fortunately for those teams picking after the Pistons, several such players are likely to be available.

    While many previous drafts have been top-heavy—often with a single premier prospect and then a big drop-off—the 2021 class is perceived as both talented at the top and deep. Therefore, we could see teams willing to move down as well as up on draft night.

    What sort of movement might we see on Thursday night? Let' dig into some of the latest trade buzz.

Rockets Looking to Trade Up to No. 1

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    While we don't know who the Pistons are eying with the No. 1 overall pick, the Houston Rockets apparently know who they would take given the opportunity. Houston, which holds the No. 2 selection, is reportedly looking to move up a spot on draft night.

    According to Shams Charania of Stadium, the Rockets are interested in swapping spots with Detroit.

    "I'm told they're aggressively pursuing Detroit's No. 1 overall pick," Charania said on Draft Decisions. "The Rockets have done extensive research on presumptive No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, and that's a player they would target if they were able to land the No. 1 overall pick.

    While Oklahoma State's Cunningham appears to be the front-runner for the No. 1 spot, Detroit has not yet locked in its selection.

    "Detroit's internal meetings are still revolving around three players for the No. 1 pick on Thursday night—Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted. "...Detroit isn't fully there yet on committing to Cunningham with their first overall choice."

    The fact that Detroit isn't 100 percent sold on Cunningham adds an interesting element to this potential deal. Theoretically, the Pistons could trade down a spot and still land the player they would target at No. 1.

    This potential draft-day trade may hinge on whether Detroit decides that Cunningham is far and away the best option for its franchise.

Lakers Looking to Move Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Lakers currently hold the 22nd overall pick in Thursday's draft. While they may look to snag a future contributor with the selection, they may also look to package the pick in a trade for more immediate help.

    After all, the window with LeBron James and Anthony Davis is beginning to close. If Los Angeles can land a player who can contribute in the 2021-22 season, it may be willing to surrender its first-round selection—along with some current players—to make the move.

    And the Lakers are willing to move current players.

    According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers have already offered Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to multiple teams.

    "They have literally offered Kyle Kuzma and KCP," Wojnarowski said on ESPN's Woj and Lowe: Trade Deadline Special (h/t Jacob Rude of SB Nation). "Almost every team I've talked to in the league has been offered some combination of Kuz and KCP, sometimes both of them, sometimes one of them."

    Wojnarowski went on to speculate that Los Angeles wouldn't get a point guard of Dennis Schroder's caliber by trading Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope and that the team may find a way to keep Schroder, who is a pending free agent.

    With both Kuzma and KCP on the trade block, though, other options could be on the table. A draft-day trade involving one or both of them could be in the works.

Warriors Seeing 'Cool' Market for Picks No. 7 and No. 14

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    The Golden State Warriors could also be looking for immediate help and therefore not looking to develop a pair of first-round picks. The Warriors were a playoff team this season and are expected to have a healthy Klay Thompson in 2021-22.

    Maximizing the window with Thompson, Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins by adding an established player would make a lot of sense.

    However, Golden State appears unlikely to get a premium return by packaging the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in a draft-day trade. According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, the Warriors are likely to have as much luck moving the selections as the Philadelphia 76ers are going to have moving Ben Simmons.

    "Bob Myers' front office has felt a similarly cool market for their package of picks Nos. 7 and 14 as Philadelphia has for Simmons," Fischer wrote. "Canvassing sources around the league, it seems few veteran impact players are considered to be available at the moment."

    The issue seems to be that teams aren't looking to part with premier veteran talent, not that Golden State's selections aren't viewed as valuable. If this is indeed the reality, a draft-day trade could still happen—especially if a team covets a prospect who is still on the board at No. 7 or No. 14.

    The Warriors appear willing to part with one or both of their first-round picks, and they will be a team to watch on draft night.