The NBA trade deadline is still two months away but rumours are already heating up, with plenty of interest in what moves the Los Angeles Lakers could make.
A report has revealed the “likely” plan for the Lakers while rival NBA executives have predicted the league’s next star who could demand a trade.
That and more in the latest NBA Rumour Mill!
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PLAYERS TO ‘WATCH’ AS LAKERS’ REALISTIC TRADE PLAN REVEALED
The Los Angeles Lakers remain one of the more intriguing teams to follow ahead of the deadline.
A pre-season report from NBA insider Marc Stein claimed that James was promised that the Lakers would use their draft assets to improve the roster.
The Lakers though, particularly after Anthony Davis’ latest injury, face a tricky balancing act of both acting to capitalise on James’ prime right now without losing sight of the future.
In this case, the Davis injury may only further work against the Lakers’ hopes of contending this season and thereby cast doubt over whether they are better holding onto those picks.
The Athletic’s Jovan Buha echoed a similar sentiment this week, writing that the Davis injury has “increased” the chances the Lakers are more likely to make a “smaller trade” which would involve giving up a first-round pick “at most”.
Buha reported that the “most likely trade outcome” for the Lakers is “some form of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and either the 2027 or 2029 first-round pick (likely protected) for a 3-and-D wing or combo forward that fits well next Davis and James” according to sources.
It is highly unlikely that Russell Westbrook will be moved, with the Lakers pessimistic that they will be able to make any trade that would immediately transform their title hopes.
Buha also went on to report that Jae Crowder, Eric Gordon, Alec Burks, Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington, Kelly Oubre Jr., Josh Richardson and Jakob Poeltl are among names “to watch”.
“The biggest swing factor,” Buha wrote, “will ultimately be which teams decide to become sellers; as of now, there aren’t many teams who seem willing to part with starting-caliber veterans”.
There is another name worth monitoring though according to The L.A. Times’ Dan Woike — Cam Reddish.
Woikes reported there are people in the organisations that are “very intrigued” by the Knicks forward, particularly given the team’s need for size on the perimeter.
League sources told The Times that the Knicks are after a protected first-round pick for Reddish, who is currently not in their rotation and seemingly falling out of favour.
IS TRAE YOUNG THE NEXT STAR TO WANT OUT?
Is Trae Young growing tired of the Hawks?
Rumor has it the All-Star point guard could be forming his exit plan as the Hawks continue to struggle.
Rival executives in attendance at the NBA’s annual G League Winter Showcase this week believe Young could be the next star player to request a trade if the team “doesn’t make inroads come postseason time,” according to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, who cited anonymous sources.
Young is in the first of a five-year, $207 million rookie maximum extension with the Hawks that he signed last August. The 24-year-old is under contract through the 2026-27 season, but has an early termination option after the 2025-26 season.
The report came after the Hawks fell to 16-16 following a 110-108 loss to the Bulls on Wednesday. Young led the Hawks with 34 points, adding six rebounds and six assists.
That same day, the Hawks reassigned President of Basketball Operations Travis Schlenk to an advisory role, per Haynes.
The Hawks have lost six of their last 10 games. They’re in a three-way tie for seventh in the Eastern Conference with the Heat and Pacers.
Another indicator of potential trouble in Atlanta took place earlier this month when Young missed a game against the Nuggets after a reported spat with head coach Nate McMillan. The coach later told reporters that Young did not play due to a “miscommunication.”
The Hawks have struggled with chemistry since reaching the Eastern Conference finals two years ago. Last season, they didn’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs, losing in five games to the Heat.
Atlanta bolstered its backcourt in the offseason with the addition of All-Star guard Dejounte Murray in a move that was backed by Young. But so far it has only added up to a .500 record with trade rumours now swirling.
— New York Post
COULD BULLS STAR WALK IF DRAMA CONTINUES?
Elsewhere, one of the more interesting teams to follow ahead of the deadline is the Chicago Bulls.
Will they tear it down if results continue to dip, or perhaps the better question is are they prepared to do so and admit how far things have fallen?
Currently Chicago has a 13-18 record, sitting 11th in the Eastern Conference just behind Toronto, who is in a similar position.
As it stands both teams have underachieved and while they are still in the playoff picture, they also need to be mindful of capitalising on trade assets that may not be always be this valuable.
For the Bulls, DeMar DeRozan is the perfect example and rival executives told Bleacher Reporthe could be out the door if the internal dysfunction does not improve by the offseason.
There was also a report from The Athleticearlier this week that claimed DeRozan and Chicago’s other big name, Zach LaVine, are dealing with a disconnect on the court.
It is far from at breaking point though, with both players said to have held one-on-one sit-downs where they have tried to work through the issues.
LaVine, of course, is another player to watch having re-signed with the Bulls this past offseason on a five-year, $215 million max deal.
The Athletic reported that LaVine and the Bulls are “not seeing eye-to-eye” while NBC Sports also claimed “multiple teammates” were frustrated at him during halftime of their heavy defeat to Minnesota last week.
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