NBA Trade Rumors: Examining Who Is on the Block Entering 2021 Free Agency

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 5, 2021

NBA Trade Rumors: Examining Who Is on the Block Entering 2021 Free Agency

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    Perhaps due to the NBA's accelerated 2021 offseason calendar, the annual roster reshuffling process is moving at warp speed.

    Free agency erupted with signings from the maximum to the minimum on Monday, and the player pool has continued thinning ever since.

    With fewer hoopers-for-hire available, teams have taken a longer look at the trade market for upgrades. Let's focus on that front and dissect the latest discussions.

Spurs Had Interest in Lauri Markkanen, but Not at His Desired Price

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    With the Chicago Bulls making major changes around him, it's feasible to think restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen might covet a ticket out of town.

    He reportedly had a chance to take his talents to the San Antonio Spurs, but he may have torpedoed those talks by eyeing a bigger salary than their budget allowed.

    ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective (h/t RealGM) the Spurs were interested in a sign-and-trade for Markkanen, but he asked for more money than they were willing to give.

    The Spurs and Bulls came together on a sign-and-swap sending DeMar DeRozan to the Windy City, but San Antonio opted for a Markkanen-less return. The Spurs' side of the exchange instead brought Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu and a future first-round pick to the Alamo City.

    Markkanen, the seventh overall pick in 2017, remains unsigned. He offers potentially substantial appeal as a 7-footer with a lethal long-range shot (40.2 percent in 2020-21), but he has battled the injury bug and struggled to grow his game beyond scoring. Windhorst didn't rule out Markkanen returning to the Bulls on a one-year deal, presumably on his qualifying offer.

Kings Interested in Pascal Siakam—If He's Available

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    Now that the Toronto Raptors are forging ahead without longtime floor general Kyle Lowry, the franchise's future is up in the air.

    Should the 2019 champs sign off on a long-term rebuild, that could presumably put 27-year-old Pascal Siakam on the trade block. That's apparently how the Sacramento Kings hope this will go.

    The Kings "definitely" have interest in Siakam, but are "waiting for clarity" on Toronto's willingness to let him go, The Athletic's Sam Amick said on the Deuce & Mo Podcast.

    Toronto just spent the No. 4 pick on a potential Siakam replacement in 20-year-old forward Scottie Barnes out of Florida State. The question, then, might hinge on the Raptors' interest in what the Kings have to offer. A package built around Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III seems suitable in terms of asset value, but the Raptors could seek out a more future-focused return.

Cavs Mulling Josh Hart Sign-and-Trade

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    So far this summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers have traded for a point guard (Ricky Rubio) and spent the No. 3 pick on a big man (Evan Mobley).

    They now are setting their sights on the wings with fourth-year swingman Josh Hart reportedly in their crosshairs.

    The Cavaliers are on the "hunt for a shooting wing" and have held "recent discussions about a sign-and-trade" for Hart, per cleveland.com's Chris Fedor.

    Hart, a restricted free agent, spent the past two seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans after arriving from the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2019 Anthony Davis megadeal. Hart hasn't been the most efficient shooter to date (career 43.2/34.8/72.8 slash line), but he's a great rebounder (career-high 8.0 per contest this past season) with a jack-of-all-trades skill set reaching most other areas.

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