Trade rumor rankings: Nikola Vucevic, Ricky Rubio and more

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Frank Urbina
·10 min read
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With eight days until the 2020-21 NBA trade deadline, it’s time for another edition of our trade rumor rankings series, where we rank the 10 players who have appeared most often in trade scuttle based on appearances on our Trade Rumors Page.

We have a lot to talk about this time, so let’s just jump right in.

Ricky Rubio (Minnesota)

According to our own Michael Scotto, as their youth movement continues, the Minnesota Timberwolveshave received calls on several of their veterans, including experienced floor general Ricky Rubio. That report was followed up by two other reporters, Jake Fischer and Chris Mannix, who both mentioned the Orlando Magic as a potential landing spot for the playmaking Spaniard, the former as part of a larger trade for Aaron Gordon, who will come up later in these rankings (via Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated). Rubio's play has picked up in a big way recently after a slow start to the campaign, as the Wolves guard is averaging 14.0 points, 8.8 assists and 1.6 steals over his last five games, certainly raising his value on the trade market along the way. For the latest on the Ricky Rubio trade front, click here.

John Collins (Atlanta)

The scuttle continues about John Collins' availability on the trade market, led by The Athletic'sSam Amick this week reporting the following:

Collins turned down an extension worth more than $90 million last offseason, making it clear along the way that he sees himself as a max-salary player heading into restricted free agency (sources say he’s pursuing an annual deal in the $25 million range). The Hawks, sources say, have long since begun talking to teams about moving him and appear to have become more motivated recently.

Veteran NBA reporter Jackie MacMullan added to the smoke by saying on a podcast with Bill Simmons:

“Minnesota wants him bad,” MacMullan told her former ESPN colleague Bill Simmons (now of The Ringer) Friday on his podcast. “They really want him. I think there are other teams too, but from what I understand, Minnesota particularly.”

And Shams Charania then mentioned the frontcourt-needy Boston Celtics as having an interest in Collins, too. Collins is the prototypical modern power forward on the offensive end, capable of posting up, finishing out of the pick-and-roll and shooting, so it makes sense why multiple parties would be interested in the 23-year-old, though the fact he's about to hit free agency does complicate matters. For the latest on the John Collins trade front, click here.

George Hill (Oklahoma City)

Oklahoma City point guard George Hill hasn't played since late January due to injury, but he's still a popular trade candidate thanks to his playoff experience (over 125 games of postseason action under his belt) and his team-friendly salary (he makes $9.6 million this season and has a non-guaranteed final year of his deal next season), as well as due to the fact that he's on an obviously rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder team. Amick reported this week that contenders will express serious interest in Hill, while Charania and Bleacher Report'sJason Dumas mentioned the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers as two teams who specifically have asked about the 34-year-old, respectively (via The Athletic and Bleacher Report). As long as Hill is healthy, expect his name to continue to pop up in rumors until he does get traded. For the latest on the George Hill trade front, click here.

Harrison Barnes (Sacramento)

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings

Although Harrison Barnes has been a popular name in trade rumors in recent weeks, especially when it concerns the Celtics, the latest this week, courtesy of Amick, indicates the Sacramento Kings may not be as willing to move him as many once thought. What's more, according to ESPN'sTim Bontemps, league sources are split as to whether Barnes will get traded in the next eight days, as one East executive said he believes Barnes will be "in play" while a scout in the East and a Western Conference executive both said they believe the veteran swingman will be staying put through the trade deadline. For what it's worth, Barnes is taking all the scuttle in stride, telling The Ringer:

“Honestly, It’s so funny especially with my relationship with the trade deadline in recent years. Honestly, I have no idea. I check Woj’s Twitter just as much as you probably do, and I mean, he would probably be the first person to let me know if I got traded, so I honestly have no idea. I mean every rumor, you know, sometimes when there’s smoke, there’s fire, a lot of times it’s a smokescreen. So I would say it’s up in the air.”

Regardless, the Kings are struggling this season and Barnes would seriously help a contender if one does pick him up, so expect the rumors surrounding him to continue for the time being. For the latest on the Harrison Barnes trade front, click here.

Victor Oladipo (Houston)

HoopsHype's Michael Scotto shared the following on a recent podcast regarding Victor Oladipo's availability on the trade market, saying: "In speaking with other executives around the league, they definitely think he’s going to get moved at some point." That makes total sense, too, considering Oladipo was reported to have turned down a max extension offer from the Houston Rockets and has already been connected with the New York Knicks and Miami Heat for when he hits free agency this offseason. Speaking of the Heat, a popular theorized landing spot for Oladipo, the Miami Herald insinuated this week that Miami wouldn't be too keen on trading a young piece – meaning a Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson or Precious Achiuwa – for Oladipo, knowing that they can just sign him outright this summer without having to give up anything of value for him. That complicates matters for Houston, but don't be surprised to see the two-time All-Star traded for a second time this season within the next eight days. For the latest on the Victor Oladipo trade front, click here.

Nikola Vucevic (Orlando)

The Magic are going to smartly hold out for a monster offer if they were to trade All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic, which makes complete sense considering his play this season – he's averaging 25.0 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists – and the fact he's two-and-a-half seasons left on a reasonable contract that has him being compensated like the 43rd-highest-paid player in the NBA this year, a ridiculous value based on his ridiculous production. According to Bleacher Report's Fischer:

Vucevic’s market does not seem nearly as vast. Boston, Charlotte and San Antonio have all been rumored among league executives as potential destinations, but the center’s career season, and second All-Star selection, appears to have clouded these waters. “They’d have to get a motherload for him,” another league source with knowledge of the situation said. Orlando would likely require a starting player and multiple first-round picks as a baseline for any Vucevic haul, sources said.

Orlando really has no reason to trade Vucevic right now, as the team expects to be competitive in 2021-22 once they're healthy again, so a team is going to have to really blow the Magic away with an offer for that to change. For the latest on the Nikola Vucevic trade front, click here.

Aaron Gordon (Orlando)

A much likelier trade candidate out of Orlando, however, is swingman Aaron Gordon, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because he fills an archetype in defensive-minded power forward that the Magic would probably like to hand over to Jonathan Isaac and Chuma Okeke next season, and also has Al-Farouq Aminu to fill as is. That's one too many guys who fill similar roles, and the one who'd likely bring the highest return right now on the trade market is Gordon, so he appears like the best bet to get sent out. Among the teams reported to have shown interest in Gordon, according to Charania, are the Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers, while Fischer lists the Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Timberwolves and Blazers as teams interested in the explosive forward. For the latest on the Aaron Gordon trade front, click here.

PJ Tucker (Houston)

PJ Tucker, Houston Rockets
PJ Tucker, Houston Rockets

Another very likely player to get traded in the next week is PJ Tucker, who ESPN'sZach Loweexpects to be dealt rather than bought out due to the amount of interest that's being shown in the bruising forward by rival teams. Additionally, when talking to our own Scotto on an episode of The HoopsHype Podcast, The Athletic'sKelly Ikoshared what he has heard the Rockets' asking price for Tucker has been:

They want a young player back as well as draft compensation. That’s pretty much the standard for any Tucker deal. In terms of front runners, there have been deals that were on the table. The Rockets get calls about Tucker pretty much every day.

That seems like a lot for a player who is almost 36 years old and was averaging 4.4 points and shot 31.4 percent from three before being sat down this season, but it's certainly possible a contender gets desperate enough for defensive help to fulfill it. For the latest on the PJ Tucker trade front, click here.

Kyle Lowry (Toronto)

Opinions are split as to whether Kyle Lowry will be traded this season, with his enormous salary – his contract may be expiring, but the $30.5 million he's owed this year makes salary-matching for a trade complicated – as the primary factor why, along with the Toronto Raptors' asking price for their franchise's unquestioned GOAT. Nevertheless, Scotto shared this week that he has heard from league sources that the Heat and Raptors discussed a Lowry trade, with Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk and Kendrick Nunn discussed as the package going to Toronto. Despite getting up there in age, Lowry is still performing at an elite level and could help a team like Miami (or the Clippers, who have also been connected to the 2019 champion) raise their ceiling for this season, so even if it seems unlikely, a Lowry trade coming together in the next week wouldn't be totally shocking. For the latest on the Kyle Lowry trade front, click here.

LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio)

LaMarcus Aldridge tries to block Talen Horton-Tucker's lay up
LaMarcus Aldridge tries to block Talen Horton-Tucker's lay up

Reports this week vary on whether LaMarcus Aldridge will be traded or bought out, with Amick sharing that NBA sources have indicated the former is likelier, with five teams being in the trade mix for the veteran big man, and Mannix reporting that sources believe the latter – a buyout – is where this is headed. Either way, Aldridge is headed to contender within the next week-plus, but it'll be interesting to see if a team is willing to part with anything of value in exchange for him. Considering the 35-year-old's shaky play before being sat down this season (Aldridge was averaging 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds over 21 games), it really does appear like a buyout might be likelier here unless the San Antonio Spurs are willing to throw in another asset, be it a Rudy Gay or Patty Mills type or a draft pick, to sweeten the pot. For what it's worth, Scotto reported the Heat and Celtics as interested suitors for Aldridge while Charania also mentioned those two teams, along with the Blazers, as teams he's heard are part of the Aldridge sweepstakes, For the latest on the LaMarcus Aldridge trade front, click here.

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