The postseason is far from over, but there are some juicy trade rumors afoot.
Let’s get straight into it.
Lakers Dream All But Over for Kyrie
Since Kyrie Irving was traded to Dallas on an expiring contract, rumors of him and LeBron being reunited at the Lakers have been widespread.
Despite Irving attending Memphis vs. Lakers Game 6 last week, one NBA Insider says seeing Irving in purple and gold won’t become a reality anytime soon.
“Of course, there’s nothing notable about an out-of-season basketball player attending a basketball game in the city known as this league’s summer home,” The Athletic’s Tim Cato said. “And no matter how close Irving might be to [LeBron] James, the Lakers are disinterested in pursuing him in free agency, say league sources…To acquire him would require jettisoning several deadline acquisitions who have helped revitalize their season and land them in a second-round series against the Golden State Warriors.”
Even though they couldn’t even clinch a play-in spot, Dallas are reportedly keen to re-acquire Irving’s services for next season.
“It’s not about Kyrie or bust, but we do want to keep him,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said recently. “I’m tired of giving players ultimatums like I did last year. I want to have him here and I think we have a good chance. I think he’s happy here, he told me he’s happy here.”
Irving is eligible for a maximum five-year contract worth $201 million but Dallas will need to consider Luka Doncic’s future at the franchise as well.
Simmons Atlanta Swap on the Cards
One anonymous league executive believes that swapping Nets guard Ben Simmons for Atlanta forward John Collins this summer could work for both teams.
“The Nets want some guys who can score, and (Collins) can score,” the exec told Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports. “But the only way they (the Nets) can really do something big, can really get someone who can score in there, is if they can get a taker for Ben Simmons. There aren’t a lot of teams where that would make sense, but Atlanta is one of them, because you need to build a defensive group around Trae Young.
“Now, if you’re the Nets, you still have to convince Atlanta that Simmons wants to play. Obviously, that is the question around him right now.”
It is an interesting scenario to consider. Simmons may well thrive beside Trae Young and Dejounte Murray to create a three-guard lineup.
By all reports, Simmons is in a better place mentally and physically, so a fresh start could be the best thing for him right now.
Ayton and Middleton Heading to Dallas?
Suns center Deandre Ayton and Bucks forward Khris Middleton are two names in the mix for Dallas to acquire.
“Some names that have been floated as possibilities include the Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Khris Middleton,” Cato wrote. “But whether either party has mutual interest, or whether Dallas has the resources to acquire them, won’t be answered until this summer.”
Last year, Ayton signed with the Pacers, only for it to be matched by the Suns but he has a publicly strained relationship with coach Monty Williams.
The 24-year-old’s game fitness has been brought into question as of late and despite retaining him in the Kevin Durant trade, Phoenix could look to offload him if he underperforms this postseason.
So far, he is averaging 15.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists in six games.
As for Middleton, he’s been with the Bucks since the 2013 season and is a three-time All-Star and helped the franchise to their first championship in 50 years (2021).
Milwaukee has an aging roster and if they want to retain Giannis, they will have to make some room in the cap, so players like Middleton may become available.
The Bucks exited this postseason in the first round at the hands of the Heat. In those five games, Middleton averaged 23.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists.
JJJ’s Cryptic Tweet Sparks Rumors
“Memphis I’m forever grateful,” was what Jaren Jackson Jr. tweeted after the Lakers eliminated the Grizzlies in Game 6 and fans were a little confused.
He may just be showing some love for the fans at the end of the season because he does have three seasons left on his current contract.
So unless Memphis can get a marquee signing, it would seem JJJ is set to stay, but crazier things have happened.
Jackson Jr. won the DPOY as he led the league in blocks per game (3).