Trade rumor rankings: Domantas Sabonis, CJ McCollum and more

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Time for another edition of our Trade Rumor Rankings series, in which we take the five players who have appeared most often on our Trade Rumors Page over the past week.

This week’s edition revolves mostly around two teams, the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers, both of whom have players heavily bandied about in trade scuttle recently.

Time to jump right in.

Domantas Sabonis (Indiana)

The scuttle on Domantas Sabonis began last week when it was reported by The Athletic that the Pacers are open to business and that that might include moving their All-Star big man for the right price.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Sabonis wants out of Indiana – quite the opposite, in fact, according to veteran Pacers reporter Scott Agness:

Sabonis is not trying to get traded either. He’s not trying to push his way out. He’s good with it here. He likes this team. He likes most of the people around it and playing for Rick Carlisle. He bought a house here over a year ago. He’s now a married man. He has a lot of frequent visitors. So I don’t think he’s looking to get out of here, doesn’t mean he wouldn’t embrace it.

The Athletic also reported recently that two of the teams interested in Sabonis are the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings, the former of which would be particularly interesting, considering their standing as is as one of the best teams in the league.

Adding another All-Star to that frontcourt could be really interesting for Phoenix, though it’s unclear how Sabonis would fit alongside Deandre Ayton considering his poor fit with the player coming up at No. 1 on this list.

For the latest on the Domantas Sabonis trade front, click here.

CJ McCollum (Portland)

The most tangible report on the CJ McCollum trade front over the past week featured talks between the Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers regarding the talented 2-guard.

However, it appears the Sixers set on holding out for the possibility of a Damian Lillard trade and aren’t interested in acquiring McCollum at this time. That’s according to ESPN’s latest on the matter, at least:

The Sixers have long targeted Lillard, who reaffirmed his desire to stay in Portland around the start of the team’s training camp. After the recent firing of president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, Cronin has publicly and privately said the franchise plans to keep building around Lillard. The Blazers have been open to discussing a deal for Simmons centered on guard CJ McCollum, but that conversation never gathered traction, sources said.

It’s somewhat of a shame, as it doesn’t appear Lillard is going anywhere this season, despite what Daryl Morey wants, but McCollum in Philadelphia – an actual realistic possibility – would be very interesting. McCollum’s off-the-dribble-scoring and spot-up shooting chops would be quite interesting alongside a talent like Joel Embiid.

Regardless, McCollum continues to block out the noise, as he’s a veteran in the league and no stranger to hearing his name come up in trade scuttle (via The New York Times):

Is it personally hard to hear your name in trade rumors? CJ McCollum: I’ve always focused on controlling the controllables. I can’t control any of the noise that comes with playing this game. I can say that as a basketball player you will be involved at some point in rumors regardless of the magnitude because you play a sport. The media kind of dictates the story line. Success and failure also plays a role.

We’ll see if Portland does decide to rock the boat a bit – and considering how poorly their season is going, maybe they should consider a major non-Lillard move – but for now, it looks like McCollum could be staying put.

For the latest on the CJ McCollum trade front, click here.

Damian Lillard (Portland)

Although the Blazers continue to reiterate that Lillard is going nowhere, with the superstar guard pledging his allegiance to the city whenever he can, teams continue to hold out hope things could change on that front over the coming months.

Bleacher Report reported as such just today, in fact:

Damian Lillard has preached his unwavering commitment to the Portland Trail Blazers, but the Sixers and other teams around the league remain optimistic he could eventually request a trade prior to the 2022-23 season. Philadelphia just needs one other All-Star to seek a new team.

Nevertheless, just this week, ESPN reported that the Blazers have continued to hold firm that Lillard is not available to be discussed in trade talks, so barring a major change in this story, don’t expect a Woj bomb to come out of the Pacific northwest anytime soon.

For the latest on the Damian Lillard trade front, click here.

Ben Simmons (Philadelphia)

Although the latest betting odds have the Blazers as favorites to land Ben Simmons as things stand…

…it appears we truly have no idea where the All-Star point guard might end up – if he gets traded this season at all.

It’s hard to see how the Blazers might acquire Simmons – if they’re even interested, that is – with Lillard being unavailable for trade talks and Philadelphia not interested in McCollum.

Speaking of lacking in interest, another player the Sixers don’t fancy in a potential Simmons deal is Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers (via HoopsHype):

Jake Fischer: The only outgoing call I confirmed was to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons… When I got the information that they called about Ben, the conversation pretty much was, “We’re interested in Ben. How would we get there?” The obvious solution is Russell Westbrook. He’s not a player on that Sixers list that they have.

Our own Michael Scotto also reported that the New Orleans Pelicans – a team not often mentioned as a potential destination for Simmons – are trying to sneak their way into those discussions, but without including Brandon Ingram:

Michael Scotto: I heard the Pelicans discussed trading future first-round picks and pick swaps with the 76ers for Ben Simmons, league sources told HoopsHype. Brandon Ingram was not involved in the talks, I’m told, at least as of now. With Zion Williamson’s latest injury setback, it’s unclear how that could move the needle for the Pelicans in their efforts to land Simmons.

We’ll see how that goes for New Orleans, but for now, we remain with little clarity as to what Simmons’ future might hold.

For the latest on the Ben Simmons trade front, click here.

Myles Turner (Indiana)

We already discussed how the Pacers appear to be open for business with the intention of initiating a rebuild. One of the names, along with the aforementioned Sabonis, to continue popping up in trade rumors is that of Myles Turner.

Turner is a rare big man in that he’s an elite shot-blocker who can also knock down threes at a respectable level, which should make him a hot commodity on the trade market.

There have already been three teams tied to Turner this week, two of which came from one report courtesy of Agness: the Lakers and Charlotte Hornets. Agness would go on to say that as of now, Turner hasn’t been shopped that hard by the Pacers, though that could change.

The third team that has popped up as a potential Turner suitor is the New York Knicks, according to SportsNet New York. With the Knicks struggling to the extent they are this season, trying to acquire a potentially game-changing big man to pair with Julius Randle would make a lot of sense.

Finally, unlike Sabonis, Turner did voice some displeasure with his standing with the Pacers, telling The Athletic that he doesn’t feel like he’s valued as more than a rotation player by Indiana:

While Turner enjoyed every component of what he is looking for Wednesday night, his struggles to find that place in the offense consistently have made him increasingly frustrated with his situation in Indiana. “It’s clear that I’m not valued as anything more than a glorified role player here, and I want something more, more opportunity,” Turner told The Athletic Tuesday. “I’m trying really hard to make the role that I’m given here work and find a way to maximize it. I’ve been trying to the past two, three seasons. But it’s clear to me that, just numbers-wise, I’m not valued as more than a rotational role player, and I hold myself in a higher regard than that.”

We’ll see how things play out with Turner, but for now, of all the names listed in this piece, it seems that this Pacers big man could be the likeliest player to be traded out of the five.

For the latest on the Myles Turner trade front, click here.

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