After the blockbuster deal that sent James Harden to the Nets, the transactions within the league have died down. However, with an important deadline approaching for teams, players like Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball and Wizards guard Bradley Beal has popped up in the news as potential trade pieces. According to the Athletic, February 2nd is “the last day a player can be traded and still be aggregated in a multi-player transaction at the March 25th deadline”. With that in mind, here are the latest NBA trade rumors circulating the league.
Pelicans Listening to Offers for Lonzo Ball, J.J Redick, and Eric Bledsoe
The Pelicans’ intentions and goals for this season are unclear at this point. With a core of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, they traded away Jrue Holiday in exchange for Bledsoe and a haul of picks. A curious move given that the Pelicans roster already featured Ball, Nickiel Alexander-Walker, and rookie Kira Lewis Jr. They will look to move on from at least two of the four rostered point guards as well as the Pels marksman Redick
Moving Bledsoe and Ball makes the most sense. Bledsoe, a ten-year veteran, is 31 years old and doesn’t fit the timeline for the Pelicans championship window behind Ingram and Williamson. Between him and Ball, his contract will be the most difficult to move. He is in the second year of a four-year deal that is paying him $17.5 million annually. While Bledsoe is still a serviceable player at this point in his career, his annual pay is excessive given his performance so far this season. It would probably take a late first-round pick attached to Bledsoe to offload his contract. The Knicks, Thunder, and Bulls are teams that make sense as a landing spot for Bledsoe.
Lonzo Ball Trade Preview
Ball is the more intriguing of the two points guards on the Pels trading block. Since being included in the blockbuster Anthony Davis deal, Ball has found a home in New Orleans. His first year with the Pelicans was arguably the best of his young career. His 37.5% from three on significant volume was phenomenal for a player whose unorthodox shooting form was a question out of college. Ball’s percentages have significantly dipped so far this season. Bledsoe’s addition has hindered Ball’s development as a point guard. Bledsoe’s role on the Pelicans is converting Ball into a spot-up shooter when he is better served as a creator out of the pick and roll. Ball continues to be an aggressive defender with good lateral agility and active hands.
Financially, it makes sense to stick with Alexander-Walker and Lewis Jr. as the main guards. Ball is in the final year of his four-year rookie-scale deal that he signed back in 2017. The deal values his qualifying offer at roughly $14 million. This is slightly above Ball’s market value, which is probably around 10-12 million. Since Ball is up for a new contract, that makes his pool of potential landing spots a little bigger than Bledsoe’s. The Knicks, Clippers, and Warriors are teams that have been circulating in preliminary trade talks. Ball would most likely be worth a first-round pick in the 20-30s, given his contract situation and career production.
J.J Redick Trade Preview
Journeyman J.J Redick is the last of the three names the Pelicans have made available via trade. One of the best shooters in the game, Redick is an absolute sniper coming off screens and on spot-up attempts. A career 41% shooter from beyond the arc, Redick is valuable to nearly every team. This is the final year of a two-year deal that he signed with the Pelicans back in 2019. With Redick nearing the end of his career and most likely wanting to join a contender, it makes sense that the Pelicans move him for assets in return before he walks in free agency, and they lose him for nothing. The Pelicans won’t get a first-round pick for Redick, given that he is most likely a one-year rental. However, a high ceiling player or second-round pick may be enough for the Pelicans to send off Redick.
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal Will Likely Be Traded
The most talented player on the trade block, the rumblings out of the nation’s capital are that Bradley Beal is looking to move on from the Wizards. After acquiring Russell Westbrook from the Rockets, the Wizards appeared ready to challenge for the playoffs. Fast forward fourteen games into the season and Washington has fallen to the last place in the Eastern Conference. Westbrook has struggled to stay healthy, and the Wizards look atrocious on both sides of the floor. The only thing keeping them competitive is Beal’s offensive output.
Through 13 games, Beal is averaging 35 points per game. The next closest player is Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant, averaging 30.4 points per game. Beal makes everything go on offense for the Wizards. Beal’s 1.04 points per possession as the pick and roll ball handler ties Zach Lavine for third in the league (min 10 possessions per game).
At this point, it isn’t a matter of if Beal is traded but more a matter of when and to where. Beal’s two-year, 71 million dollar extension that he signed in 2019 will kick in. This deal includes a 15% trade kicker and a player option for the 2022-23 season. Beal is well worth the money remaining on the contract. However, only a few teams have the cap space to absorb such a contract.
Potential Trade Partners for Beal
A few of the names circulating for Beal are major market contenders. League executives have rumored that the Heat, Lakers, and Sixers all have trade interest in Beal. Both the Sixers and Lakers would struggle to create cap space for Beal. Philadelphia would have to move some combination of Danny Green and Seth Curry, a tall order given their performances so far this season. The Lakers would have to move Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrez Harrell, and Denis Schroeder to have enough space for Beal.
The Heat have a little more cap flexibility but would have to move Goran Dragic and/or Andre Iguodala to absorb Beal’s contract. On top of the salary cap limbo that Beal’s contract causes, these teams would have to give up a haul to acquire a player like Beal. The Wizards will not be willing to part with their best player for cheap. A young, ascending player, current starter, and a myriad of draft picks may be the package that is needed to force Washington to let go of Beal.
Other Notes From Around the League
Cleveland May Buyout Andre Drummond’s Contract
After receiving Allen in the James Harden trade, the Cavs now have an excess of big men on the roster. Allen, Drummond, Larry Nance Jr., and Kevin Love are all competing for minutes when, realistically, only two of them can be on the court at once.
Despite having another stellar statistical year, Drummond is the subject of buyout talks. The former Pistons big man is averaging 18.9 points and 14.7 rebounds per game. In just 17 games this season, Drummond has had two games with 20-20 double-doubles. His presence in the paint is a force to be reckoned with, and he is showing he still has a lot left in the tank even after nine years in the league. The Brooklyn Nets have been tabbed as the favorites to sign Drummond should he be bought out.
Oklahoma City Looking to Move Veteran Players
The Thunder remain in the early stages of their rebuild, but that hasn’t stopped them from being a competent team early on in the season. They are currently one game under .500 and have played competitive basketball early on. However, their ultimate goal does not include being competitive this season. With that in mind, the Thunder may be looking to move some of the veteran players on the roster.
George Hill and Al Horford are two players that have been named as potential trade pieces. Both players are shooting over 38% from beyond the arc and can be valuable bench pieces for teams looking to compete this year. The Thunder likely would accept some combination of draft picks or young players in return for either player.