Nothing gets the juices flowing like the NBA trade market. Today, we’ve got even more to discuss in terms of NBA centers and their many, MANY associated rumors.
As a matter of fact, I’ve been borderline baffled by the number of centers to pop up on the NBA trade market this season. It’s almost like every day a new big man emerges as a trade candidate or a new team expresses interest in getting their hands on a frontcourt upgrade.
For example, we’ve already known that Spurs center Jakob Poeltl has been a consistent topic of conversation around the league. In fact, he might very well be the most popular trade target by the time Feb. 9 rolls around.
Likewise, Myles Turner has maintained his spot near the top of the “most likely to be traded” totem pole. While he is in the thick of a career year, Turner and the Pacers haven’t yet been able to agree on a contract extension. With the chance that he walks for nothing in unrestricted free agency this summer, it could be in Indiana’s best interest to find him a new home.
Those two have dominated a lot of the trade deadline talks thus far, but they now aren’t the only centers that could be on the move.
In Kevin O’Connor’s most recent piece for The Ringer, he mentioned that both Orlando’s Mo Bamba and New York’s Isaiah Hartenstein could be potential trade targets for the Los Angeles Clippers. Both have seen their roles decrease this season and are on relatively intriguing short-term deals.
Interestingly enough, both were also topics of conversation for the Chicago Bulls this summer. Does that mean they would pick up the phone? Eh, I’m not so sure, especially since the reason Chicago likely didn’t land either had to do with the contract they signed with their respective team.
But I guess we should also never say never in the NBA! Nikola Vucevic is an unrestricted free agent this summer, which means the Bulls do have to start considering what a world without him might look like moving forward. Who’s to say they don’t consider either Hartenstein or Bamba as an answer? It might at least be worth a phone call.
Another center to enter the mix in recent days has been Minnesota’s Naz Reid, per HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. The 23-year-old has shown a lot of promise during his four years with the Timberwolves in a reserve role. The energy and spacing he brings off the bench could be intriguing to a number of contenders, but it could also draw interest from cap space teams this summer looking to find a new starting big man.
Reid’s situation will be an interesting one to follow. I have to imagine the Timberwolves prefer to keep him and figure things out when he hits restricted free agency this offseason. But if they’re scared another team will outbid them, they may be better off finding him a new home ASAP.
Two final recent rumors revolve around two of the East’s top seeds. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported at the end of last week that Serge Ibaka and the Milwaukee Bucks will work to find him a new home. The reserve struggled to carve out a real role in the rotation, and Scotto has shared that there are several teams that have already emerged as possible trade partners.
As for Boston, while we don’t know exactly who they’re interested in targeting at this deadline, we do know they want to add frontcourt depth. According to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, the team desires better injury insurance for Robert Williams III and the 36-year-old Al Horford.
Again, I don’t expect the Bulls to be involved in this fruitful center market as of now. However, I also never expected them to trade for Nikola Vucevic or sign DeMar DeRozan. As quiet as they have been over the past year, this still is a front office that has blindsided us with big moves in the past. Not to mention, Vucevic’s contract situation most certainly matters.
The big man has put together a really solid bounce-back campaign after his first full year in Chicago. However, the lack of truly earnest contract extension discussions leaves the door wide open for the two to part ways this summer. With the market this abundant at the position, the Bulls wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t at least evaluate their options.
Speaking of which, I do wonder if Andre Drummond is on any team’s radar. He’s played extremely well at times this season and continues to rebound at an elite level. While last season showed how badly the Bulls need a traditional backup center, it might not hurt to at least see what he’s going for around the league with team’s this hungry for experienced bigs.
Plus, he seems to have fallen out of favor with head coach Billy Donovan. Drummond has averaged just roughly 12 minutes in his last 14 contests. He’s also registered DNPs in four of the team’s last 18 games. To be sure, I don’t see the Bulls moving on from him unless they add another backup center mid-season, but it’s at least something to think about.