The NBA trade deadline is still over a month away, but some teams are already starting to make moves with potential deals in mind.
All-Star big men Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond are two of the biggest names on the trade block, and their respective teams have now decided not to play them as they try to trade them away.
Elsewhere, the speculation surrounding the future of promising young Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins continues to rumble on, while other names have also been popping up in potential deals.
Read on below as SBOTOP rounds up all the latest news and trade tidbits from around the Association.
Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond to sit amid trade talks
With James Harden deal already done and Bradley Beal looking unlikely to be traded by the Washington Wizards this season, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond appear to be two of the most high-profile players to be traded in the next few weeks.
And amid on-going talks regarding potential deals, both the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers have decided to sit Griffin and Drummond, respectively, until their futures are resolved.
The Pistons and Cavs are both rebuilding and would like to move on from their veteran big men to give more playing time to their younger players.
Griffin, 31, is having the worst season of his career as he continues to decline after multiple injuries. The six-time All-Star has not made many NBA 2021 highlights; he is averaging a career-low 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
However, Griffin is still hoping to join a contending team and challenge for a championship. If he is not traded, the Pistons are also discussing the possibility of buying out the remainder of his contract. Griffin has a salary of $36.6 million this season and has a player option worth $39 million for next season.
Meanwhile, Drummond – a two-time All-Star with the Pistons and was traded to Cleveland last season – is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds for the Cavs. The 27-year-old is in the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent next season. Drummond’s exit would free up more playing time for newly acquired centre Jarrett Allen.
Collins, Ball, Barnes also on the trade block
Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins is also a hot name on the trade market. The 23-year-old is in the final year of his rookie contract after failing to come to terms on an extension in the offseason.
The Hawks are willing to listen to offers for Collins, but they are reportedly seeking a high first-round pick in exchange.
Collins is averaging 18 points and 7.8 rebounds this year, which are both down after averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds over the last two seasons. He has reportedly been unhappy with his reduced role in the Hawks’ offence this season.
Other notable names who could be on the move in a trade are New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball and Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes.
The Chicago Bulls are reportedly interested in Ball, who is bouncing back after struggling with his shot for most of the season. Ball is also in the final year of his rookie contract after failing to reach an agreement on an extension with the Pelicans. The Bulls are 11-15 and are pushing to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics have been linked with Barnes, who is averaging 16 points and shooting 40 per cent on 3-pointers this season. The Celtics, who are just 13-13 on the season, need additional wing scoring after the departure of Gordon Hayward in the offseason.
Superstar trio goes down with injuries
A trio of superstars in Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, and Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers, have all gone down with injuries in recent games.
Davis aggravated an Achilles injury which had been causing him problems and will be reevaluated in 2-3 weeks.
Meanwhile, Durant strained a hamstring which will see him miss the next two games. Durant had just returned from another week-long quarantine after being exposed to a COVID-positive staffer.
Finally, Leonard suffered a left leg contusion and there is no timetable for his return. It’s another injury blow for the Clippers, who have already been without their other All-Star, Paul George, for the past few games due to a right foot injury.
None of these injuries looks particularly serious, but the Lakers, Clippers and Nets will still exercise utmost caution with the three. They can’t afford to lose their prized superstars, as their absence in the playoffs would completely derail their NBA 2021 odds for the title.
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