Latest intel as the NBA marches towards Thursday’s trade deadline
Orlando, Houston and Oklahoma City are the top sellers
The Magic are committed to moving both Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier before the deadline, several rival executives tell SI. Orlando’s asking price has been high, but the Magic, in free fall since late-February, are more focused on draft compensation than bringing back players who can help them win this season.
It’s no longer a question of if Houston will move Victor Oladipo, but to who, with the Rockets motivated to move a player who is likely to exit via free agency this summer. The Knicks interest in Oladipo may be overblown, per league sources, and Miami is said to be lukewarm about packaging any of its young shooters (Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson) in a deal for a player they could pursue via free agency. Houston, though, will move Oladipo somewhere before Friday.
Oklahoma City is open for business on George Hill and Al Horford, though there has not been any traction on deals for either. The Thunder have sought second round compensation for Hill, who has a partial guarantee for next season. Horford has played well for the Thunder, who as SI reported are not in a rush to move him, with Horford providing a stabilizing presence in the locker room and a stretch five on the floor.
Miami is the frontrunner for Kyle Lowry
The Heat have been aggressively pursuing Lowry, showing a willingness to part with Robinson in a deal. Miami is limited with what it can offer in draft compensation, but rival executives believe a Robinson-headlined deal will be more appealing than anything Philadelphia, the Heat’s competition for Lowry, can offer. Robinson’s three-point shooting has tailed off this season (38.2%) and the 26-year old can be a free agent this summer. The Raptors has also ramped up conversations around Norman Powell, putting Powell in expected to be traded territory. It could be a fire sale in Toronto.
Boston in heavy in on Gordon, Barnes
Boston has appeared motivated to use some or all of its $28.5 million trade exception, per rival execs. The Celtics have swapped offers with Orlando and have shown a willingness to deal All Defensive team guard Marcus Smart. It’s unclear how much interest the Magic have in Smart, in part because Orlando has no interest in winning, in part because Smart may chafe at joining a rebuilding team. The Magic could acquire Smart and look to re-route him in a three-team deal that brings more draft compensation back.
There’s some chatter that the Celtics pursuit of Gordon could be a way to pressure Sacramento to come to the table. Boston covets Harrison Barnes but there has not been any traction in talks between the two teams. Kings GM Monte McNair has been empowered to rebuild the franchise, but rival execs don’t believe Kings ownership favors any deal that moves key players for draft picks—not with Sacramento, which has not made the playoffs since 2006, still within 3 ½ games of a spot in the play-in tournament.
Asking price for John Collins remains high
Atlanta is still discussing Collins, though it doesn’t appear the Hawks are willing to part with Collins for anything less than a combination of young players and draft picks. Collins made an impassioned plea to remain with the Hawks on Tuesday, and rival execs say Atlanta has not operated like a team eager to move him. A team to watch is Charlotte, which could cobble together a Devonte' Graham/Cody Zeller/draft pick package. The Hornets desperately need frontcourt help and likely would be willing to pay the 23-year old Collins, a restricted free agent this summer, more than the four-year, $90 million extension he turned down last fall.
· Atlanta has discussed deals for Malcolm Brogdon, but Brogdon’s contract (he is owed $44 million over the next two seasons) and injury history make a deal unlikely.
· The Clippers, as noted earlier this week, need point guard help, and it’s expected L.A. will zero in on Lonzo Ball and Ricky Rubio over the next two days. Ball, who is not in New Orleans’s long term plans, is likely to be moved somewhere before the deadline.
· The Nuggets have engaged the Magic on both Gordon and Fournier, per league sources. Denver has dangled Gary Harris and Will Barton in deals and has some interesting young talent (Bol Bol, R.J. Hampton) to trade.
· The 76ers remain engaged on Lowry, but Philadelphia has canvassed the league looking for more backcourt help, rival execs say.
· There continues to be little traction on trades for San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Cleveland’s Andre Drummond, with both likely headed for the buyout market. Expect heavy interest in both players if/when they become free agents.Latest intel as the NBA marches towards Thursday’s trade deadline