It’s time for another edition of our NBA trade rumor rankings series, which takes the five players who have appeared the most often on our Trade Rumors Page over the past week and ranks them by order of appearances.
You’re going to see a lot of familiar names on this list, especially when it comes to recent trade scuttle, but it’s an interesting exercise nonetheless.
Check out the list below.
Bradley Beal (Washington)
Although things appear stable between Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards of late, that doesn’t mean opposing teams and players have stopped eyeing the elite 2-guard, or even trying to recruit him.
That’s according to Beal himself, who spoke to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor on the matter recently (via The Ringer):
All eyes are on Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving now, but everyone from team executives to opposing players continues to monitor the Washington Wizards. “Almost every game we play, someone says something,” Bradley Beal tells me over the phone, regarding how often players recruit him to leave. It brings you back to college. Which school is the right school? Which team is the right team?” Beal says. “You love the fact that people see your game and would love to play with you. But it’s also tough on the back end, because you have no idea what you want to do.”
Still, Beal appears content in the nation’s capital, even telling O’Connor that he actually tries to sell other players on joining him on the Wizards.
Beal’s name actually popped up in another trade rumor over this past week, one from Bleacher Report that indicated that the Philadelphia 76ers are still hoping the All-Star guard becomes discontent in Washington and ends up requesting a trade.
Nevertheless, for now, don’t count on a Beal trade going down anytime soon, if ever.
For the latest on the Bradley Beal trade front, click here.
Mavin Bagley (Sacramento)
Despite all the rumors surrounding Marvin Bagley and the Sacramento Kings, for now, the latest scuttle on the matter indicates that Bagley isn’t going anywhere, even despite his agent, Jeff Schwarts, releasing a statement criticizing the Kings for what he referred to as mismanagement regarding the former No. 2 overall pick.
Bagley has thus far just played 10 minutes all season for Sacramento.
Still, according to Brian Windhorst, the Kings aren’t actively shopping the 22-year-old (via ESPN):
Jeff Schwartz has attempted to get Bagley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, traded for more than a year without success, sources said. Last season Bagley suffered a broken wrist a month before the trade deadline which might’ve affected his trade market. As they guard their depth and monitor their new smaller style of play to start the season, the Kings aren’t actively looking to trade Bagley, sources said.
We’ll see what happens here, but all signs point to Bagley not being a King by midseason.
And considering his potential and age, rival teams will surely have interest in the former Duke standout.
For the latest on the Marvin Bagley trade front, click here.
Damian Lillard (Portland)
Things have quickly shifted on the Damian Lillard front from a potentially disgruntled superstar considering asking out to that same superstar being completely locked in.
According to Lillard himself, even if the Portland Trail Blazers hit some adversity early this season, he doesn’t plan to ask out and bail on first-year head coach Chauncey Billups:
A snippet of our interview with Damian Lillard on NBA Today: “I just wanted it to be clear. It’s not one of those situations where I’m waiting for some adversity to hit… The last thing I’m thinking about is waiting for it to get tough and then bailing out on (Chauncey Billups).” pic.twitter.com/vLecCHQcQz
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) October 22, 2021
Part of the reason for that shift in mindset is conversations the 31-year-old had with Billups over the offseason, that helped him see how much he and his new head coach see eye-to-eye (via The Athletic):
Lillard left the conversations inspired, encouraged and enamored. What he saw in his new coach was what he saw in himself. “I think a big part of (my change in mindset) was me and Chauncey’s conversations, and where we see things the same,” Lillard told The Athletic. “I’m not going to share details of our conversations, but it’s not often when I speak to people that they see what I see. Watching a game, observing people … there’s not many people who see what I see. But a lot of what I see, he sees. So that was very important to me. Like, that was a big deal.”
What’s more, those quotes came after Lillard emphatically told the press that he’s not leaving Portland:
Damian Lillard on speculation picking up if the team starts slow: “I’ll answer that the same way I answered it on media day. I’m not leaving Portland. … It’s an easy thing and a popular thing to say but it’s not gonna happen.” pic.twitter.com/zJJbSVuX8j
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) October 19, 2021
So fret no longer, Blazers fans, as it appears Lillard is back to being all-in with the team that drafted him and helped turn him into a household name.
For the latest on the Damian Lillard trade front, click here.
Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn)
Due to Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated forcing the Brooklyn Nets to keep him away from the team for the time being, a lot of speculation has grown about Irving’s future with the club.
And with good reason, as other teams are reportedly calling Brooklyn asking about the enigmatic floor general (via ESPN):
Wojnarowski’s report surfaces in relation to the Philadelphia 76ers’ standoff with a trade of Ben Simmons. “Daryl Morey has called all over the league, talked to teams about star players everywhere to try to find a deal for Ben Simmons,” said Wojnarowski. “One team he has not called, I’m told, is the Brooklyn Nets. He has not lobbed a call to Sean Marks about Kyrie Irving. “Brooklyn, I’m told, has taken incoming calls from teams on Kyrie Irving. They have not themselves made any calls on Kyrie Irving.”
So it appears, for the moment, at least, the Nets haven’t grown so fed up with the situation that they’re trying to trade Irving themselves.
But if a great offer comes through the line, don’t be shocked if Irving does wound up getting moved, as the Nets have championship aspirations and probably aren’t thrilled with the latest drop on the Irving roller-coaster.
Especially as Brooklyn continues to realize they may not be able to count on Irving in the immediate or long-term future:
Woj, via his podcast:
"When the Nets made [the Harden] trade, they saw James Harden as a necessity. I think that they could already see that they may not be able to count on Kyrie Irving."
— Alec Sturm (@Alec_Sturm) October 16, 2021
Tricky situation for the Nets, one that could take some time to settle.
For the latest on the Kyrie Irving trade front, click here.
Ben Simmons (Philadelphia)
Things are starting to hit the fan in Philadelphia, as it’s been an especially tumultuous week in the Ben Simmons saga, one that began with his refusal to participate in practice, then getting suspended for one game, then telling the team he’s injured before then saying he’s just not mentally ready to re-join the club.
Then, Sixers shot-caller Daryl Morey publicly went scorched Earth, telling the media that fans should “buckle in,”, as he does not plan to trade Simmons for anyone but a difference-maker.
Morey: “You’re going to think I’m kidding, I’m not, this could take four years…we’re in the prime of Joel’s career…this is not a day to day [issue}]. Every day, we are going to expect Ben Simmons to be back here, or we trade him for a difference maker.”
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) October 21, 2021
Morey doubling down on not trading Simmons for role players: “People should buckle in, this is going to go a long time…if we can trade Ben Simmons for a difference maker, we will do it”
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) October 21, 2021
That led to the president of the NBA Players’ Association Michele Roberts for his insensitive comments (via Yahoo! Sports):
In an exclusive statement to Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill, Roberts urged everyone to be respectful and supportive of Simmons as he works through a tough time. She also called out Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey’s comments about continuing this standoff with Simmons for the four remaining years of his contract. “Really? Is it so hard to believe that Ben’s not mentally at a place to compete? Professional athletes — like the rest of us — have difficult periods in our lives that require time and energy to heal. We have and will continue to provide Ben with the support and resources he needs to work through this. Threatening the prospect of ‘another four years’ serves no one’s interests. Like Tobias [Harris], I say let’s respect Ben’s space and embrace him while allowing him the time to move forward. “So, take a breath and count to 10: We are all too good to continue to play this perpetual game of chicken.”
The week of drama culminated this morning with Marc Stein likewise basically telling everyone to buckle in, because we’re in the long game as far as a Simmons trade goes (via Substack)
Although league sources concur that no Simmons trade is imminent and that Morey is likely to wait until after Dec. 15 when more players are eligible to be dealt leaguewide before he pursues a deal with greater intent, we should also note that he vowed to take a so-called gap year with family members after his abrupt departure from the Houston Rockets in October 2020. Morey accepted the Sixers’ offer to take over their front office two weeks later.
If the Irving situation is tricky for the Nets, the Simmons ordeal in Philadelphia is straight-up day-time soap opera in terms of the level of drama and the number of twists and turns.
We kind of can’t wait to see where it goes next.
For the latest on the Ben Simmons trade front, click here.