NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Potential Damian Lillard Trade, Dennis Schroder, More
There have been some huge moves made this offseason around the NBA. Russell Westbrook was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Los Angeles Lakers. Kyle Lowry was dealt from the Toronto Raptors to the Miami Heat. Lonzo Ball went from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Chicago Bulls in a sign-and-trade.
The landscape of the league looks different. And things may not be over yet, considering the start of the 2021-22 season won't come until October.
It's possible that more significant trades could take place, and there are still some noteworthy players who are available on the free-agent market.
Here's some of the latest buzz from around the NBA as the offseason continues.
Is 76ers' Primary Goal to Trade for Lillard?
Many might think the Philadelphia 76ers' primary objective this offseason is to trade point guard Ben Simmons. And while there have been rumors about a potential move, that may not be the motive driving the Sixers' trade discussions.
According to Derek Bodner of The Athletic, Philadelphia has "kept a watchful eye" on the status of Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard since the end of the season. If he can be acquired by trade, it seems the 76ers would want to try to pull off a deal.
"From the Sixers' perspective, it would be fair to say the goal is less to trade Ben Simmons and more to acquire Damian Lillard," Bodner wrote.
There had been rumors that Lillard wanted to be traded by the Trail Blazers, but he stated last month that he had hoped to be in Portland for his entire career and to lead it to an NBA title, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst. And considering the 31-year-old is a six-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA selection, he'll be the Blazers' star player as long as he stays on the team.
But would Portland consider dealing Lillard to Philadelphia and would it have interest in acquiring Simmons in exchange? Perhaps there will be more to come regarding this speculation later in the offseason.
Celtics Waiting for Answer from Schroder on Offer
Dennis Schroder is one of the top point guards still on the free-agent market, but he may not be there for much longer.
On Monday, Brian Robb of MassLive.com reported that the Boston Celtics have offered the 27-year-old a one-year deal and are awaiting a response. Robb added that there's also the "possibility of a two-year deal with a player option as well for Schroder being considered."
There had been rumors that Schroder was looking for a large deal, but the Celtics' best offer would include their full $9.5 million mid-level exception, per Robb. Considering he turned down a four-year, $84 million extension offer from the Los Angeles Lakers in March, per Windhorst, he'd be making much less than in 2021-22 than he could have if he went to Boston.
However, it's possible the German doesn't have a ton of potential suitors at this point in free agency, with many teams already set at point guard. The Celtics would likely give him substantial playing time after they traded Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder in June.
Schroder would be a solid addition to Boston's lineup after he averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists in 61 games last season, his first (and potentially only) one with the Lakers.
Pelicans Looking to Acquire Markkanen from Bulls?
The Pelicans and Bulls have already worked together on a deal once this offseason, when Chicago landed Ball in a sign-and-trade agreement that sent Garrett Temple and Tomas Satoransky to New Orleans. Now, it's possible the two teams could arrange another deal before the offseason is over.
According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, the Pelicans have "expressed interest" in Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen, who is currently a restricted free agent. As Stein noted, New Orleans has a $17 million trade exception it could use to bring in the Finn and give him a sizable deal.
However, if a deal is going to happen, the Pelicans may need to part with a valuable asset, as Stein reported that the Bulls would want a first-round draft pick in exchange for facilitating the move.
Markkanen has spent his first four NBA seasons with Chicago, and he's been a solid player throughout that period. This past season, the 24-year-old averaged 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 51 games while shooting a career-best 48 percent from the field.