It’s unclear when the 2020-21 season will start, but that’s not slowing down the NBA trade Rumorsmill. Blockbuster trades remain a rarity, but they’re becoming more and more common as teams
embrace tanking (a situation when a team is not trying to make the playoffs so that they can have a
higher probability of getting good draft picks) and star players attempt to exert more control over the
direction of their careers. This offseason could see a slight upward trend in trades thanks to a few
The 2020 free-agent class doesn’t have a great amount of high-end talent available, and general
managers are alternatively prioritizing salary-cap space for 2021. Few franchises will have what you’d
consider meaningful flexibility in their spending. The financial ramifications from the COVID-19
pandemic around the world will arguably make a trade the most sensible way to improve the rosters
since the costs the teams incur are already clear.
NBA Trade Rumors
Here are three of the biggest NBA Trade Rumors at the moment.
NBA Trade Rumors #1: James Harden-Ben Simmons Swap ‘Not Happening’
With former Houston Rockets General Manager (GM) Daryl Morey’s departure and subsequent
move to the Philadelphia 76ers, it’s natural for many around the NBA to speculate on whether the
former Houston GM might try to bring the Rockets star James Harden with him on the East Coast.
A two-time NBA All-Star, Ben Simmons was out injured, but Philadelphia’s first-round sweep at the
hands of the Boston Celtics proved that the team needs a singular scorer capable of bossing the
game in critical moments. The three-time defending NBA scoring champion and a perennial MVP
finalist, Harden would fit that criterion, and acquiring Simmons would allow for the Rockets to
remain a playoff contender while building a bridge to their next phase.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN confirmed on Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective show, “I’ve already
been told with a few expletives included by somebody with the Rockets: ‘No, Daryl, James Harden
for Ben Simmons is not happening. Don’t ask.’”
There has been no news about Harden being unhappy at the Rockets, therefore, theoretically, the
only way the Rockets might be incentivized to consider a Simmons-Harden deal is if they feared the
loss of Harden without any compensation, as he can potentially enter free agency in 2022.
NBA Trade Rumors #2: Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks Explored Risky Victor Oladipo Deal
Shooting guard Victor Oladipo has one more year left on his contract before he becomes an
unrestricted free agent and the Indiana Pacers have reportedly floated him in trade talks with
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported the Bucks spoke to the Pacers but added that a deal centered
around Oladipo is “unlikely.”
Oladipo was one of the NBA’s best players in the 2017-18 season but the Maryland native dealt with
an injury-riddled 2018-19 campaign and a ruptured quadriceps tendon that ultimately led Oladipo to
miss more than a year of Basketball. The trouble for Indiana and any trade suitors is that the
28-year-old hasn’t been at his best since returning from injury in January.
Considering Oladipo’s contract situation, you can’t miss why any team would be cautious of giving up
too much. Of course, the price tag on someone who is the face of the franchise is bound to high,
with Oladipo set to earn $21 million in his last year of the contract.
The Bucks, in particular, seem likely to want to improve its supporting cast with Giannis
Antetokounmpo just one year away from the free agency but keeping faith on a bounce back from
Oladipo, after a tough run, to be the catalyst would be risky.
NBA Trade Rumors #3: Sacramento Kings Not Actively Shopping Buddy Hield
Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield has been in the rumor mill for a while as he has never seemed
to mesh with Luke Walton in the latter’s first season in charge. As per The Atheltic’s Jason Jones, the
player-coach relationship has reached a stage where Hield is no longer answering phone calls from
the head coach.
Forbes’ Sean Deveney spoke to an anonymous general manager who said the Kings aren’t yet
actively shopping the 27-year-old on the market:
“I think it makes a lot of sense, them trying to move him, start with a clean slate, they were better
without him in the starting five, all of that. The logic is there. But there does not seem to be a lot
of action there, not yet at least. It is not something where they seem to be shopping for him very
actively. Maybe it would be better to wait, to see how the season starts, but I don’t get the sense
that they’re out there laying the groundwork for a deal. They’re just not yet shopping him.”
Hield started all 82 games in the 2018-19 season but Walton, in his first season in-charge, relegated
Hield to the bench midway through the season. Hield earlier subtly hinted that he would like to join
the Philadelphia 76ers next season and with the Sixers team sorely needing to add more three-point
shooting, he would certainly fit well with them.
However, as the most recent updates about these rumors claimed, it seems like any momentum for
a Buddy Hield trade has been put on pause.