NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kemba Walker

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 3, 2021

NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kemba Walker

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    NBA teams are talking, and hoop heads everywhere will want to listen.

    The latest batch of rumors involves household names only. And in case you're suffering from any Ben Simmons fatigue on the trade front, rest assured the Philadelphia 76ers floor general isn't one of them.

    Let's dig in to find out who teams are talking about and why.

Nets Open to Taking Trade Calls on Kyrie Irving

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    The Brooklyn Nets are still awaiting the season debut of Kyrie Irving, but at this point they shouldn't be holding their breath. The New York City vaccine mandate that has kept him off the floor is seemingly going nowhere, and Irving is reportedly "not anywhere closer to getting the vaccine," The Athletic's Shams Charania said Thursday on the "Pat McAfee Show."

    Brooklyn can't be thrilled about the situation. It built this team to be top-heavy, which isn't an issue when Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden are all available. Take Irving out of the equation, though, and there's suddenly a heavy burden on the other stars and a ton of offensive chances trickling down to the less qualified role players.

    It comes as little surprise, then, to hear the Nets are "open to talking trades involving Irving," per SNY's Ian Begley. They aren't actively shopping Irving, but if their phone rings, they'll answer it.

    The tricky part is knowing what Irving's trade market is and what the Nets should reasonably expect to get for him. On the one hand, he's a seven-time All-Star who should still be in the prime of his career at 29 years old. On the other, he has missed a massive amount of games in his career and could hit the open market by declining his player option for 2022-23.

Brooklyn 'Well Aware' Philadelphia Looms as James Harden Suitor

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    Philadelphia's infatuation with James Harden is apparently as noticeable as the bearded baller's signature facial hair.

    76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey once brokered the blockbuster that brought Harden to the Houston Rockets, then tried to pry him out of Space City last season. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported the Sixers would love to get Harden in a Ben Simmons swap, and the Nets knew this was coming.

    "Even before those reports, Nets people who would need to be aware of Harden's future were well aware that Philadelphia loomed as a potential suitor for the guard," Begley wrote.

    A Harden-for-Simmons deal almost certainly isn't happening anytime soon, as the Nets need Harden to contend. But Harden only has a player option left on his deal after this season, so it's possible the Sixers could make a serious push to land him in a sign-and-trade next summer.

Knicks Expected to Shop Kemba Walker; John Wall a Possible Target

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    So much for a Big Apple return bringing the best out of Bronx native Kemba Walker.

    His offseason move to his hometown New York Knicks was supposed to be a dream, but it has quickly turned into a nightmare. With his scoring stalling and his defense bordering on disastrous, the four-time All-Star was recently pulled from the starting lineup and removed from the rotation entirely.

    His tenure with the team could be coming to a close, too. League sources believe "the Knicks will look to trade Walker," per B/R's A. Sherrod Blakely, who heard from someone close to the Knicks that the Houston Rockets might line up as a trade partner in a move for John Wall.

    That would be...shocking. Not the trade winds around Walker, which kind of feel inevitable given his rapid fall from grace and New York's backcourt depth. But a deal for Wall would be tricky for anyone. The 31-year-old, who has played just 113 games (a little less than a season-and-a-half) since the start of 2017-18, is making $44.3 million this season and holds a $47.4 million player option for next season, per Spotrac.

    Matching Wall's money in a trade alone is hard enough. Justifying the cost could prove impossible for any front office.