As it happens every year at the time of Free Agency and player trading among NBA teams, there are almost as many rumors floating around the league as there are players to create rumors about. Things aren’t any different this year and, if anything, there is more chatter since the break between seasons has been substantially shortened. The 2021 NBA season is going to get started on December 22, and there’s a lot of work to do before then.
NBA Trade Hotlines Are Busy
Power forward Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic is rumored to be ripe for the trading block before the next NBA season gets underway. In 2014, he was the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft after staring for the University of Arizona basketball team and has been with the Magic ever since.
However, rumors are flying around that Gordon, who averaged 14.4 points per game for the Magic with 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 43.7% from the field and 30.8% from behind the arc, might be available. But he only managed an unimpressive 67.4% from the free throw line, and some possible suitors might see this as a drawback.
Power Forward Kyle Kuzma almost got traded last summer, but apparently, no one made the LA Lakers an offer good enough to snag the young star out of Utah. So, Kuzma was able to remain a Laker and the team went on to win the NBA Finals championship, giving Kuzma a nice ring. The expected improvements in his play never really materialized, and Kuzma will be entering the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles club, and, rumor has it that the 2017 first round pick in the NBA Draft will be back up for grabs this time around if some other team wants him badly enough.
Other rumors have it that the Lakers will use Kuzma as a trading piece to wheel and deal for another top star player, as if they need another one.
The New York Knicks have been looking to trade for some star power for years now, but it never seems to work out for them. Perhaps it will happen this time around. Rumor is they have an eye on point guard Chris Paul if they can pry him lose from the Oklahoma City Thunder, where word out of the Thunder front office is that a major rebuild is underway and this could well be the best time for them to take full advantage of his star power trade value. Paul had a dominant year for OKC in 2019-2020 so that trade value might be quite high at this point.
Chris Paul is also rumored to be the principal target for the Phoenix Suns who have actually had discussions with the Thunder about the potential trade. After the terrific season Paul just put up for Oklahoma City, the asking price must be staggering.
Is Westbrook Leaving The Rockets?
Russell Westbrook, like Paul, is one of the stellar players in the NBA and has been a major asset on every team he has played for and any trade to acquire his services will be quite costly. Current playing point guard for the Houston Rockets, rumors have it that both the New York Knicks and the LA Clippers would like to make a deal with Russell if they can pull it off. Some believe that Westbrook might be open to a trade, other say no. In any case, he will be one of the major story lines when the trading actually begins later this month.
Doc Rivers is the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers and, along with Daryl Morey from the front office, is actively looking for some star power to bring the Philly team back to life. One rumor has them trading for James Harden and getting rid of Al Horford who has an untenable contract. Another talks of a potential trade for Ben Simmons or perhaps Joel Embiid – Doc has high hopes in his new job.
Expect the phone lines to be tied up all day, every day until the start of the new season. The league may not yet be fully operational, thanks to COVID-19, but it’s determined to make everything work as close to normal as possible.