Rumor Roundup: Jakob Poeltl Watch, Lakers on the Prowl, Who's Ready to Sell? More

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Rumor Roundup: Jakob Poeltl Watch, Lakers on the Prowl, Who’s Ready to Sell? More

Chicago Bulls

Trade season is upon us … kinda.

While the deadline is still roughly two months away, Dec. 15 marked the day that many conversations could start in earnest. Why? This is the date that 74 players who signed free-agent deals in the offseason officially become tradeable.

Now, to be clear, this doesn’t include every single big name that inked a new contract. Some players – including the recently maxed Zach LaVine – have further restrictions that will not allow for them to be dealt until an even later date (for LaVine it’s Jan. 15). But 74 players is still a massive chunk of talent to become trade eligible, especially when we consider a bulk of that talent is of the affordable role player variety.

For more on the specific names that are now available, I’ll direct your attention to Bobby Marks’ latest work over at ESPN. What I’d rather do now is go over some of the major rumors that have come tied alongside this important date. To no surprise, there are a lot of them!

Two Big Men to Watch

I can probably go back into the BN archives to copy and paste this section. Two of the marquee big men who could be on the move this season are the same names that were thrown around last year. Jakob Poeltl of the Spurs and Myles Turner of the Pacers have already been brought up multiple times in the rumor mill, with Poeltl generating arguably the most interest.

San Antonio is in full-blown tank mode. While Poeltl could theoretically still contribute to their rebuild at just 27 years old, he continues to cement himself as one of the NBA’s better rim protectors. His progress has caught the eye of many teams around the league, including the very one that traded him away in the first place.

Here’s the latest from Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer:

The Raptors, sources told Yahoo Sports, have circled Poeltl seemingly ever since sending him South and continue to be mentioned by league personnel as a potential suitor on this burgeoning trade market. Boston has been linked to Poeltl in the past, however, the league-best Celtics don’t appear very active in the early trade chatter around the league.

Fischer went on to also name-drop the Chicago Bulls based solely on their reported interest from one season ago. I could certainly see a world where they re-enter the conversation for the more defensive-minded big, but it would surely have to come linked to the departure of starting center Nikola Vucevic.

More on the Bulls’ big man below …

Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus also recently discussed Poeltl’s availability, reiterating that there is a world where he simply stays in San Antonio. If that isn’t the case, however, he did point toward the Clippers, Warriors, and Lakers as teams to watch.

Speaking of the Lakers, one of the most popular names tied to their highly-coveted first-round picks has been Turner. The Pacers’ center has become a constant topic of conversation on the trade market, and things have only picked up now that he’s in the middle of a career year.

Both Pincus and Fischer reported that Indiana could remain a candidate to hand Turner his next contract, but whether or not negotiations have actually transpired is unknown. If one thing is for sure, though, teams will be calling about one of the best shot-blockers and better shooting big men in the league.

Ready to Sell

While some teams are hard to figure out, others appear completely open for business.

The same usual cast of tanking characters looks like they’re ready to offload veteran talent. We’ve already talked about the Spurs above, but Pincus also threw both Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson into the mix of possible trade chips for the organization. The two are each considered solid 3-point threats, with McDermott shooting 42.5 percent on the year and Richardson 36.8 percent. I know they may not be the most attractive names, but we know everyone needs shooting (*ahem* Bulls *ahem*)!

The Pistons are another team that looks destined to make more than one move. With news of Cade Cunningham having season-ending surgery, veterans Bojan Bogdanovic, Nerlens Noel, and Alec Burks are players to watch, per The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III. He also said the organization has taken calls on Saddiq Bey but what it would cost to acquire him is “unclear.”

Bogdanovic – who is averaging a career-high 21.1 points on 43.2 percent shooting from downtown – could demand quite the return. The Lakers have already tried to offer a deal for him, per Fischer, but the Pistons turned it down.

The other two teams we should keep an eye on are probably the Magic and the Rockets. Orlando has guys like Gary Harris and Terrance Ross who feel obtainable, while the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen said Eric Gordon is receiving a lot of buzz in Houston.

What’s Happening With Russ?

The Los Angeles Lakers are on the prowl.

With LeBron James not getting any younger and Anthony Davis returning to prime form, there are expectations that this organization will make plenty of mid-season moves. Previous reports have already stated the Lakers have had “internal discussions” about a hopeful run at DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic later this season. And Fischer of Yahoo Sports recently reiterated that they still have their eyes on Chicago.

With that said, The Athletic’s Sam Amick shared that a big-time trade that includes Russell Westbrook is becoming increasingly unlikely. Los Angeles is apparently happy with his recent play off the bench, and the organization could look for more complementary moves using the salaries of players like Kendrick Nunn and Patrick Beverley, as well as their highly-coveted future first-round draft picks.

“According to a source with knowledge of the Lakers’ plans, Westbrook’s play this past month has made it increasingly unlikely that he will be traded before the league’s Feb. 9 deadline,” Amick wrote.

I got to be honest, that sounds like a bunch of bologna to me. As Amick notes, the Lakers still hold a worse net rating when Westbrook is on the floor, and he has a large enough salary that can help bring back some seriously impactful talent if he’s tied to those first-rounders.

My guess is that this is the Lakers trying to make Westbrook seem more desirable than he is, which is silly considering any team that trades for him is likely to just buy him out. Anyway, if we know one thing for sure, this is just the start of many trade rumors for LA. Hope you’re ready!

And Ones …

  • The Raptors are a tough team to figure out. Currently 13-15 and 10th in the East, many are wondering whether or not they could look to shake up their roster in the coming months. Gary Trent Jr. has already been a popular name in imaginary trade conversations, but Eric Pincus points out that the futures of Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and O.G. Anunoby also need to be addressed soon. For more on the weird situation they are in, I’ll direct you to Michael Pina’s discussion over at The Ringer.
  • The Hawks continue to have lots of conversations about John Collins. But will they actually lead anywhere?

  • Some nuggets from HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto here:


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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.