It’s your 8th birthday. You throw off your Chicago Bulls comforter, throw on your Spongebob slippers, and make a break for downstairs. You slide down the banister and dismount like a pro gymnast.
Ready to greet you in the living room are adoring parents with the present you’ve always wanted. How could it not be the new bike? The outline of the wrapping makes it clear as day: Two wheels, a seat, some pedals. This summer is about to be lit!
You begin to tear apart the wrapping paper. All you can think about is the fun chaos that is about to ensue. Rides to the park. Rides to Seven Eleven for slushies. Rides … back to the park. Before you know it, all the paper is on the ground and you step back to bask in the birthday glory.
Where the best bike in the world should be is a pile of vegetables. Broccoli, carrots, squash, radishes. The opposite of fun. WHAT THE F***!?
That’s my long-winded metaphor for this offseason’s trade market. Despite two of the biggest names in the game sitting on the trading block – Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell – reports about either have been few and far between. The news on guys like Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, and Myles Turner has also slowed to a stop. What seemed like it could be one of the craziest summers in quite some time has turned into a snoozefest, and it doesn’t look like things will change any time soon.
The last we heard about the Durant situation revolved around a possible deal with the Boston Celtics that centered around Jaylen Brown. However, that has failed to gain nearly any traction after the initial report surfaced. As for Mitchell, the Knicks have loomed as the likely landing spot, but conversations have yet to pick up steam.
Indeed, HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto didn’t inspire much confidence that a Mitchell deal is on the horizon:
The New York Knicks have the necessary draft pick compensation to acquire Mitchell, including a maximum of eight first-round picks over the next seven years they can include. However, New York has been reluctant to give up a treasure chest of draft picks thus far, with trade talks stalling over the past few weeks.
Scotto also commented on the potential movement of Westbrook. He reported that a potential three-team deal between the Knicks, Jazz, and Lakers was discussed in the past. The deal would have netted the Lakers some necessary role players while sending Westbrook to the rebuilding Jazz (who would have bought him out). Mitchell, duh, would have ended up in New York.
As crazy as that sounds, Scotto also didn’t seem to suggest this is an active discussion. The Lakers have long been hesitant to part ways with their two remaining first-round picks (2027, 2029), which I have to imagine is part of the reason this deal has failed to get off the ground. Anyway, make sure to read Scotto’s comments on those players – as well as other veterans who have been in trade rumors – here.
To be sure, whether it be for Durant, Mitchell, or Westbrook, a deal can still come to fruition. As training camp gets closer, the reality of where teams stand will start to set in. We could see the sense of urgency for those looking to trade players, as well as those looking to acquire players, increase significantly as they hope to enter a new season with a clear game plan.
With that said, it feels like the possibility of a blockbuster trade could go down significantly the moment the ball is tipped in October. Adding a player like Mitchell or Durant midseason would be quite the complicated adjustment, especially when we consider the sheer amount of assets teams are looking for in exchange for either’s services. So while some teams might decide to go for the big move after seeing their on-court product in the coming months, is it possible those moves might be deemed too big?
If teams do choose to wait until the next offseason to revisit certain conversations, then the whole trade market might continue to be stuck in the mud. Even smaller-scale deals could be difficult for teams like the Chicago Bulls to pull off midseason, as prices remain inflated and certain teams are hesitant to move tradable assets.
Conversely, if these superstar players were moved midseason, teams like the Bulls could find themselves with several intriguing options. Perhaps the Jazz or Nets enter full sell-mode and it becomes that much easier to land some impact veterans. But, again, this feels like the less likely outcome right now … which kind of stinks.
I guess all I’m trying to say is that I can’t remember the last time we walked into a regular season with the future of this many big names in question. And I’m left wondering what kind of impact it’ll have on how front offices approach the season as a whole. I guess all we can do is wait and see.