We haven’t seen another trade since the Cleveland Cavaliers sent Jordan Clarkson to the Utah Jazz, but that doesn’t mean there’s been a shortage of scuttle over the past week. What’s more, as we get closer to February, trade rumors will only start to become more frequent, a trend we’re already starting to see now, in early January.
Below, HoopsHype ranks the five players who have popped up the most in rumors on the site’s Trade page over the past week.
5. JRUE HOLIDAY
Despite scuttle over previous weeks about the likelihood of a Jrue Holiday trade, the smoke on that end has started to fade a bit, and it looks like the New Orleans Pelicans would prefer to keep their underrated floor general.
The latest we’ve heard on the Holiday trade front comes from Shams Charania, who reported the following last week:
“Holiday wants to win and cares most about being in a winning situation, league sources tell The Athletic. He and Griffin had agreed to push into a new Pelicans future over the summer and contend for a playoff berth, but that has not happened. When Griffin took over in New Orleans, Holiday wanted to stay and saw the possibility of being part winner right where he is. So far, the sides have not had any dialogue about his future.”
With New Orleans sitting at 11-23 and Holiday under contract for three more seasons, discontentment on Holiday’s end could begin to grow unless the team experiences a major turnaround.
If that were to happen, Charania listed the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat as two teams who could be interested in pursuing the two-way guard.
Holiday is averaging 19.9 points and 6.5 assists this season.
4. TRISTAN THOMPSON
With the Cleveland Cavaliers in the early stages of a complete rebuild and Tristan Thompson in his prime, on the final year of his deal and performing at a high level, it only makes sense for the team to consider trading their big man for more assets.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said as much after Cleveland dealt Clarkson, reporting that the Cavs, “plan to start uprooting veterans from their roster to gather more draft picks and young assets.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Chris Fedor reported that contenders have expressed interest in Thompson, but that the Cavaliers are contemplating whether to trade their best big man or sign him to a long-term contract.
That sounds like it could be a good bit of posturing by Cleveland, however, in hopes of driving up the asking price for Thompson, who is legitimately playing some of the best basketball of his career right now.
This season, the Canadian center is averaging 12.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He’d make a great addition to a top-notch playoff team lacking in toughness on the inside.
3. DENNIS SMITH JR.
There’s no question Dennis Smith Jr., a former Top-10 pick, has been a pretty big disappointment thus far in his career. And things haven’t improved upon his arrival to the Big Apple.
As a member of the New York Knicks, Smith is averaging 5.2 points and 2.7 assists per game, though he did miss some time due to the death of a loved one, which could have had an adverse effect on his form.
Now, Shams is reporting that teams around the Association believe Smith would prefer a move from the Knicks.
Despite his struggles this season, Smith still holds value as a trade target thanks to his age (22), upside and the fact that he’s under contract for one more season after this one, and at a team-friendly price. Maybe in more tenable situation, like one that doesn’t include a midseason coaching change, Smith might have a chance to flourish.
At least that’s the gamble some teams could be willing to make.
2. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS
There hasn’t been a full-out trade rumor regarding Karl-Anthony Towns yet, but the seeds of discontent began to appear last week when a report out of each coast came out, stating that two big-market teams were monitoring the star big man and his level of contentment with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are struggling again this season.
First, came a report from Marc Berman at the New York Post who stated that the New York Knicks are keeping their eye on Towns, in case he were to demand a trade. Then came the second report, courtesy of Ethan Strauss at The Athletic, who said that the Golden State Warriors are also eyeing Towns for the same reason, and that league execs at the G League showcase said Towns is unhappy in Minnesota.
A latter report had sources within both Towns’ and the Wolves’ camps downplaying concerns, but as the saying goes, where there’s smoke there’s fire. And as long as the Timberwolves continue to struggle despite having two max players on their roster, the team’s future will continue to be unsettled.
1. DEWAYNE DEDMON
The one player to actually demand a trade this season is Sacramento Kings big man Dewayne Dedmon, who went quite public with his displeasure regarding his current situation.
Dedmon told the Sacramento Bee:
“‘I would like to be traded,’ Dedmon told The Bee, speaking publicly about his trade request for the first time. ‘I haven’t been playing, so I would like to go somewhere where my talents are appreciated.’ The Kings are listening to offers and there appears to be a market for Dedmon’s services, but a league source told The Bee any deal would have to make sense for the team and its future.”
Dedmon hasn’t played in 11 of Sacramento’s last 13 games, and his lack of playing time overall this year has a lot to do with the emergence of Richaun Holmes and the development of Harry Giles. It makes sense why Dedmon, who is playing under 14 minutes per game this year, is unhappy in Sacramento, but at the same time, he chose to sign with a team that has a pretty deep frontcourt rotation, filled with promising up-and-comers.
On the other hand, what were the Kings thinking when they offered Dedmon a three-year, $40 million contract to begin with?
Dedmon’s contract, which pays him over $13 million annually, could make him a bit tricky to move, but his skill-set, that of a floor-spacing, rim-protecting center who would be a decent backup on a contender, could make him appealing to elite teams.
You can follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_.