NBA Trade Rumours: Top draft pick stalling potential Cavs blockbusters

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives against Brooklyn Nets' DeMarre Carroll (9) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 119-109. (Tony Dejak/AP)

With all-star talent like Kemba Walker joining a growing list of NBA players who could be on the move prior to the NBA’s Feb. 8th trade deadline, here’s a look at the latest trade buzz from around the Association:

Shooters for sale

For weeks it seemed as though big men would dominate the trade market at this year’s deadline, with names like DeAndre Jordan, Derrick Favors, Julius Randle, Nikola Mirotic, Dewayne Dedmon, and even DeMarcus Cousins showing up on the rumour mill.

But over the past few days a number of swingmen who can do damage from deep are reportedly being shopped aggressively.

One such player is Orlando Magic shooting guard Evan Fournier, a near 40 per cent three-point shooter who is on the books for three more seasons at $17 million per. At just 25, Fournier is averaging 18 points per game and would offer a bona fide scoring threat for a team looking to add production from the backcourt or off the bench.

More recently, Rodney Hood has appeared in trade rumours and the Utah Jazz have “increased efforts” to deal the 25 year-old shooting guard. Although Hood is in the midst of his best season as a pro, averaging just shy of 17 points per game on 39 per cent from deep, he lost his starting job back in December and the emergence of rookie Donovan Mitchell— the future and current face of the franchise— leaves Hood’s role up in the air.

Hood joins Favors as two featured Jazz players of recent years on the block as the team looks to rebuild on the fly around Mitchell.

With Brooklyn’s pick up for grabs, Cavs setting their sights on LouWill?

The sticking point in any potential Cavaliers deadline deal— LeBron’s team is expected to be the most active buyer— is whether or not the team is willing to include the Brooklyn first-rounder acquired from the Celtics via the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade last summer.

The pick is expected to be in the top 10, and although Brooklyn is playing well of late, it could end up closer to the top seven, where there will be a handful of potential gems available in the draft. James’ future in Cleveland is obviously a determining factor in whether or not they’ll keep the pick— with James in the fold it’s a great asset to acquire supporting talent to help fuel another Finals run, yet if he flees in free agency that pick suddenly becomes their biggest (only?) form of hope for the future.

According to the Plain Dealer, Cleveland is willing to part with the draft pick for the right player, an “elite” level talent.

Over the weekend reports were swirling about Cleveland’s interest in Jordan— a surefire antidote to their defensive woes— as well as Sacramento Kings point guard George Hill, another top-end defender at his position.

But a new name emerged from the Cavs reported target list: Lou Williams.

The Los Angeles Clippers star sixth man is enjoying the best season of his career, emerging as a go-to player and helping to carry L.A. back into playoff contention. He has a real shot at making the all-star team this season and if the Clips are willing to deal him (he’s in the final year of his contract), he should be considered the top hired gun available.

But is LouWill the “elite” player the Cavs would trade their coveted draft pick for? It seems that would be the asking price on the part of the Clippers, and could be what keeps this trade’s wheels stuck in the mud.

The Curious Case of Willy Hernangomez

Last season, rookie centre Willy Hernangomez was a pleasant surprise for a Knicks team (and fan base) in desperate need of hope for the future. In 72 games, the 23 year-old seven-footer averaged eight points and seven boards.

This season has been a different story altogether. Despite being healthy, Hernangomez has been DNP-CD’d in 27 games so far this season, and in the 20 games he has played is seeing just eight minutes of action — about half as many as last season.

So what happened?

Hernangomez is reportedly on the trading block, but that question is said to be scaring off prospective buyers. He has talent — Raptor fans may recall his rock-solid 23-point, 11-rebound performance against Toronto in their final meeting last season — but do the Knicks know something that the rest of the NBA’s GMs don’t? Or is Hernangomez a prime candidate to be bought for cheap only to flourish in a new environment, like Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic did last season?

Hernangomez says he wants to stay in New York, but also wants to play. It seems like he won’t be able to get both.

Bucks backup plan

Alongside Cleveland, the Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly frontrunners in the Jordan sweepstakes.

But if a Bucks-Clippers deal falls through (FYI: I don’t think Jordan is a good fit in Milwaukee, who can use three-point shooting more than a big man who will clog Giannis’ space in the lane), then former Bucks first-overall draft pick Andrew Bogut is said to be the backup plan.

Bogut was released by the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season so he could have a chance to sign with a contender, and there is reportedly mutual interest between Bogut and the team that drafted him.

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