Hoops Rumors Polls

Poll: Who Will Be Biggest Name Traded This Season?

No superstars are expected to change teams at this season’s trade deadline, but that doesn’t mean that former All-Stars or even All-NBA players won’t be on the move in the coming weeks.

Five-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA forward Kevin Love is among the players whose name has frequently come up in trade rumors in recent months. And while Love’s overall value to a franchise is up for debate as a result of his $30MM-per-year long-term price tag, the Cavaliers‘ veteran remains a positive contributor on the court, averaging a double-double (16.9 PPG, 10.3 RPG) with a three-point percentage north of 37% for the fifth time in his career.

Love isn’t the only All-Star big man in the Eastern Conference who looks like a realistic trade candidate. The Pistons have reportedly shopped Andre Drummond, a two-time All-Star who is leading the NBA in rebounding for a third consecutive season, with 15.9 RPG. Like Love, Drummond’s value is complicated by his contract situation – he can opt out this summer – but he’s still one of the league’s best traditional big men.

2019 All-Star D’Angelo Russell is a trade candidate, though the Warriors may be more likely to consider a move during the summer. LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Chris Paul, and Jrue Holiday have earned a combined 21 All-Star berths and 15 All-NBA nods, and have been at least mentioned in passing in trade rumors, but the Spurs and Pelicans remain in the playoff hunt in the West, and probably aren’t looking to trade their stars. The Thunder, meanwhile, firmly hold a playoff spot and might have trouble getting fair value for CP3’s contract even if they wanted to move him.

If none of those players end up changing teams, players like Marcus Morris, Kyle Kuzma, or Evan Fournier could be headliners at this year’s trade deadline.

On the other hand, if 2020 is anything like 2018 and 2019, it’s possible we’ll get an out-of-nowhere blockbuster that involves a bigger name later this month. Blake Griffin was acquired by the Pistons on January 29, 2018, while Kristaps Porzingis was sent to the Mavericks on January 31, 2019. Neither player was widely known to be on the trade block when those deals were made.

With the February 6 trade deadline inching closer, we want to get your two cents on who will be the biggest-name player dealt this season. Will it be Love? Drummond? Holiday? Russell? A lesser player? Or an even bigger-name star who hasn’t been at the center of many rumors so far?

Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Eastern Conference’s Top Six Teams

A year ago, four Eastern Conference teams had serious title aspirations and plenty at stake if they didn’t make deep playoff runs. The Raptors, Bucks, Sixers, and Celtics had set their sights so high that anything short of an Eastern Conference Finals berth would be considered a disappointment. And sure enough, after Philadelphia and Boston were knocked out in the Eastern Semifinals, they made major offseason changes, with Jimmy Butler, J.J. Redick, Kyrie Irving, and Al Horford all departing in free agency.

This season, the situation is a little different. Most Eastern Conference contenders have their core players locked up for the foreseeable future, so if they fall short of expectations in the postseason, that doesn’t necessarily mean roster shake-ups are coming. Still, the logjam near the top of the East’s standings will be fascinating to watch because there are now six strong contenders in the conference, with the Heat and Pacers joining the aforementioned four.

After struggling down the stretch last season when Victor Oladipo went down, Indiana has learned to win without him this season, posting a 22-13 record. It’s reasonable to assume the Pacers will be an even more dangerous team once Oladipo is back, which is expected to happen within the next month or so. As for Miami, the addition of Butler and young players like Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn has led to an impressive bounce-back season so far for the 25-9 Heat.

The Celtics (23-8), Raptors (23-12), and Sixers (23-13) are bunched together with those two teams, and they’re all looking up at the top-seeded Bucks (31-5).

Based on how well these six teams have played so far, it’s safe to assume they’ll all enter the postseason expecting to win at least one series — and potentially more. But the math is working against them. Only four teams can make it through the first round, so at least two of these aspiring contenders will be one-and-done in the playoffs.

That brings us to today’s poll question: Which of the East’s top six teams won’t make it through the first round this spring?

Vote for two teams below in our poll, then head to the comment section below to explain your picks and to weigh in on which teams you expect to make deep postseason runs.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Raptors At The Trade Deadline

Despite a flurry of player injuries, the Raptors remain firmly ensconced among the class of the Eastern Conference. Currently, they are seeded fourth with a 23-11 record.

If one were to project this present winning percentage across an 82-game schedule, Toronto would win 55 contests. Not bad for a team already missing its best player from the season prior.

Five of the Raptors’ top eight players in minutes logged per game this season (All-Star level studs Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, plus starters Marc Gasol and Norman Powell and integral reserve Serge Ibaka) have been lost to various maladies for at least nine games each, as we have noted previously on Hoops Rumors.

The ascent of Siakam to two-way superstar status, when healthy, has been a boon to the Raptors’ terrific start to 2019/20. 33-year-old Lowry’s ability to help shoulder more of the offensive burden left by departed fun guy Kawhi Leonard, along with the rise of Fred VanVleet as a major scorer, have helped plenty, too.

Provided Siakam doesn’t miss too much more time with his stretched groin injury, he and Lowry should both be All-Stars this season. The team’s various absences have doubled as showcases for young role players like OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Terence Davis to prove their mettle.

Assuming the team is healthy by spring, the Raptors’ depth, size and star power makes them a legitimate contender in the East in 2020, one year removed from winning it all. Or does it? Can they really best the Bucks, Celtics, or Sixers in a seven-game series? Teams like the Pacers and Heat have a realistic chance at advancing far, too. And do any of these teams have a chance against the two stacked Los Angeles squads or the Nuggets in a Finals series?

Before the season started, many pundits assumed Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri would tactfully rebuild his team, moving some of his solid veterans on good deals for future assets. Lowry has one season remaining this year; Gasol and Ibaka are both on expiring contracts.

The team has proven to be better than even some of the most devout occupants of Jurassic Park could have hoped. Should the Raptors blow it up? Or should they move some of their intriguing youth for a bit more veteran help ahead of another playoff push? The team will probably strive to avoid adding too many contracts that will extend beyond the 2020/21 season, as that summer promises to supply a stacked free agent class.

This writer believes that, barring some kind of collapse down the ranks ahead of the deadline, the Raptors should look to improve their team for 2020. The Raptors have bucked the odds to reach this point. Let them see this through. Though the Bucks, Lakers, and Clippers feel like the current cream of the crop in the NBA, the Raptors number among a host of talented squads nipping at their heels.

Should the Raptors be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline this season? Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your thoughts. We look forward to hearing from you!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: The West’s Last Two Playoff Spots

In an epic new piece published yesterday, The Athletic’s John Hollinger takes a look at the nine middling NBA teams vying for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference. Hollinger notes that the West used to be mighty across all eight of its playoff teams. It’s taken 45.4 wins on average for a team to make the playoffs since 2000.

A team with a losing record has not made the cut since 1997; all nine teams in the bottom of the West have losing records at this point in 2019/20. Last season’s eighth seed, the Clippers, won 48 games.

Hollinger feels that, while the 6-24 Warriors and 10-19 Grizzlies could each make theoretical runs for the final two playoff spots, it is not in their best interests to do so. Hollinger expects Memphis to instead gauge the trade market for its attractive expiring veteran contracts (Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill).

Hollinger also dismisses the 7-23 Pelicans as being much of a contender for the final two playoff spots in the West, observing that reaching just 38 wins would be a fairly Herculean task for a team that just lost a staggering 13 games in a row. The team would have to win 62% of its remaining games to reach even that benchmark. With Zion Williamson still in street clothes for the indefinite future, New Orleans may be best served moving off some of its best veterans (Jrue Holiday, J.J. Redick and Derrick Favors) and throwing in the towel.

The Spurs and Timberwolves have nursed eight- and nine-game losing streaks of their own (and Minnesota may yet add to its streak). San Antonio’s two $20MM+, 30+ ex-All Stars, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, may be difficult to trade thanks to their performances this year. Minnesota three-and-D specialist Robert Covington could be a terrific trade attribute, on just the second year of a very reasonable four-year, $62MM deal.

After being the darlings of the NBA’s first month, the Suns have lost five straight games. The Kings kicked off their season with five consecutive defeats of their own. Hollinger considers Phoenix candidates to make a trade with an eye towards roster improvement this season, while he thinks the Kings need to see how former top draft picks De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III, who have missed most of the year with injuries, will help goose the team’s lackadaisical offense.

The Trail Blazers at present are $12MM into the NBA’s luxury tax, and Hollinger expects them to move one of their several expiring contracts and/or future draft picks to either (a) get under the tax threshold, (b) improve the team, or (c) both. With All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard still operating at the peak of his powers, shooting guard CJ McCollum providing steady offense, and injured center Jusuf Nurkic expected back at some point this season, the Blazers may have enough talent to sneak into the playoffs even with a cheaper supporting cast.

Hollinger accurately points out that the No. 7-seeded Thunder, fronted by several veterans GM Sam Presti would love to offload, are currently the class of this underwhelming crop. Though Hollinger is confident Danilo GallinariChris Paul (having a potential All Star season if he stays healthy), and Dennis Schroder could be had for the right price. Steven Adams is not mentioned, but the same holds true for Oklahoma City’s $25.8MM center.

To this writer, the Trail Blazers and Suns feel like the teams with the right combination of talent and desire to be left standing when the dust settles. The Timberwolves and Thunder will be hard-pressed to not offload at least one of their more crucial starters. The Kings’ trade flexibility has been doomed by the four-year, $85MM summer contract they awarded to Harrison Barnes, who will never be an All-Star.

Which teams do you think will make the cut for these final two playoff spots in the West? Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Will An L.A. Team Win The 2020 NBA Finals?

Following the series of offseason moves that saw Anthony Davis team up with LeBron James for the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George join forces with the Clippers, NBA fans and observers spent the next several months anticipating a season in which both Los Angeles teams were legit contenders for the first time in years.

Through the season’s first two months, those two clubs have actually exceeded expectations. The Lakers were expected to experience at least a few growing pains as they incorporated Davis and the rest of their newly-added rotation players, but there has been no adjustment period — the team has a 24-4 record and is on pace to win 70 games.

For the Clippers, George’s lingering shoulder issue and Leonard’s load-management plan were potential red flags, and there was a widespread belief that the club may not hit its stride until later in the season. That’s still possible, but the early results have been pretty impressive too. The 21-8 Clippers are on pace for 59 wins.

With the Nuggets and Jazz playing inconsistent ball and the Spurs and Trail Blazers off to disastrous starts, the Lakers and Clippers have emerged as the Western Conference’s most dominant teams so far in 2019/20. In fact, a panel of ESPN analysts and reporters polled on this season’s outcomes unanimously predicted that the two L.A. teams will meet in the Western Finals.

That ESPN poll included another interesting question, asking its panelists whether they’d bet on one of the two L.A. clubs or one of the NBA’s other 28 teams to win the 2019/20 title. Only 30.4% of respondents took the field, with the other 69.6% forecasting a championship for Los Angeles.

We want to know what you think. If you had to make a prediction today, would you pick a Los Angeles team to win this season’s title, or are you betting on the field? And if you’re taking one of the L.A. clubs, do you view the Lakers or the Clippers as the frontrunner?

Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Will East’s Current Top Eight Teams Make Playoffs?

Entering the 2019/20 NBA season, oddsmakers considered the Bucks, Sixers, Celtics, Raptors, Pacers, Heat, Nets, and Magic to be the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference, in that order. Approximately 25 games into the season, it looks like they were almost exactly right — the East’s early playoff standings are nearly identical to that preseason projection, with Miami jumping up to No. 2.

Milwaukee, Miami, Boston, Toronto, and Indiana have all looked even better than we expected so far. Philadelphia has had a couple bumps along the way, but has stabilized as of late and appears to be a legit contender. It looks like a safe bet that those six teams will end up in the postseason.

Brooklyn’s spot in the top eight of the East isn’t quite so secure, but the club has had an impressive run with Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert on the shelf over the last month. The Nets’ 13-11 record gives them a comfortable hold on the No. 7 seed for the time being, with more reinforcements eventually on the way.

That leaves the 11-13 Magic as the only top-eight team with a tenuous hold on a playoff spot for the time being. However, Orlando has underperformed through the first quarter of the season and should be getting All-Star center Nikola Vucevic back in its lineup soon. The Magic look better positioned to claim that No. 8 spot than challengers like the Hornets (11-16), Pistons (10-15), and Bulls (9-17).

Still, with more than 50 games still to play, there’s more than enough time for one of those seemingly lottery-bound clubs to make a run and shake things up at the bottom of the Eastern playoff race. The Pistons may be the best candidate, but even current bottom-feeders like the Wizards (7-16) and Hawks (6-19) aren’t totally out of it yet — they could gain ground quickly if they’re able to string together some wins.

What do you think? Are you just about ready to pencil in the current top eight teams in the East as the eventual playoff teams? Or do you think one of the clubs currently in the lottery can make a run in the second half? If so, which of those clubs do you like?

Vote in our poll, then jump into the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Will James Harden Average 40 PPG?

James Harden might make NBA history this season, the kind of history that only one all-time luminary has ever achieved before. James Harden might average at least 40 points a game.

The 30 year-old Rockets guard may scale a height only heretofore reached by the Big Dipper himself, Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt the Stilt averaged 50.4 PPG in 1961/62 for the then-Philadelphia Warriors. He reached a similarly insane 44.8 PPG the next season, after the team had relocated and rebranded itself the San Francisco Warriors. Keep in mind, the three-point line did not exist in the NBA until the 1979/80 season.

Harden is currently averaging an eyeball-popping 39.5 PPG in 2019/20, to go along with 7.8 APG and 5.6 RPG. Yes, it might just be a scorching hot start, just 13 games into this young season. But the reason Harden might really hit the big 4-0 is fairly simple: he actually is not shooting that well yet.

His 39.5 PPG tally is being achieved while he shoots 41.7% from the field and 33.2% from behind the three-point line. He is shooting 14.6 long-range attempts a night. For his career, Harden is connecting on 44.2% of his field goals and 36.4% of his three-point tries. That efficiency was not abetted by the 49 points Harden scored when the Rockets beat the Timberwolves 125-105 on November 15th. He connected on just 16 of a career-high 41 field goal attempts.

Harden was named his conference’s Player of the Week for his phenomenal offensive work last week (he received the same honor the week prior). His highest scoring average prior to this season was a league-leading 36.1 PPG, achieved last year.

Outside of the obvious big personnel change this season, why is Harden scoring so much? As was mentioned in today’s edition of the Brian Windhorst and the Hoop Collective Podcast on ESPN, a pace change has been key. In replacing half-court specialist Chris Paul with speed demon Russell Westbrook, the Rockets ramped up their pace, which has translated into more possessions, and thus more opportunities for Harden to score. Houston has transitioned from the 26th-fastest team in the NBA last season to the third-fastest so far this year.

Harden’s scoring has helped his Rockets keep pace in the chippy Western Conference as they battle through injuries to several core pieces. The team has won its last seven games in a row after starting out the season 3-3. They currently sit second in the West. Houston will try to strengthen its record when the Trail Blazers come to town tonight.

So will The Beard average 40 points a game in a season? Will he at least come close to that lofty number? Weigh in with our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Will Dion Waiters Play For Heat This Season?

Dion Waiters will serve the second game of his 10-game suspension on Tuesday night as the Heat host the Pistons, and the team wasn’t saying much about his situation on Monday, as Khobi Price of The South Florida Sun Sentinel details. With Waiters ineligible to return until December 1, we’ll have to wait and see what the next step is for the franchise and the 27-year-old guard, who has yet to play a single minute this season.

Assuming Miami isn’t hit hard by the injury bug during the rest of November, it’s probably safe to assume the club’s rotation will be relatively set by the end of the month, meaning there won’t be minutes waiting for Waiters when his suspension ends, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. If that’s the case, it will be interesting to see how Waiters responds, since his one-game suspension to open the season was related to expressing displeasure with his role.

According to Shams Charania of Stadium (video link), the Heat have made it clear to Waiters that they want him to earn a role, but he’ll have to get back in the team’s good graces before that happens. Even then, there’s no guarantee the former No. 4 overall pick would play regular minutes for Miami.

If there’s no path to a rotation spot for Waiters, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Heat could pay him to stay home. In fact, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel estimates there’s a 50-50 chance that it plays out that way, suggesting that the over/under for Waiters appearances this season might have to be set at zero.

Even if Waiters remains away from the Heat though, there’s “zero chance” the team will release him at this point, Winderman writes in a separate Sun Sentinel article. Waiters still has two years remaining on his contract, with a guaranteed $12.65MM cap hit for the 2020/21 season, so unless he agrees to give up some of his guaranteed salary in a buyout agreement – which he has no incentive to do – it makes more sense to keep him around. In theory, he could be used as a salary-matching chip in a trade at some point.

For now though, the plan is ostensibly for Waiters to serve his time, rejoin the Heat, and work to earn minutes. In today’s poll, we want to know if that’s how you think this saga plays out. Will Waiters play another game for the Heat or not?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Will The Magic Make The Playoffs?

The Magic were one of the NBA’s best teams during the last two months of the 2018/19 regular season, finishing the year on a 23-9 run and earning the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. However, that second-half success hasn’t carried over to the 2019/20 season so far.

Through eight games, the Magic are just 2-6, with their only two wins coming at home against Eastern lottery teams Cleveland and New York.

The defense that keyed the Magic’s late-season run in the spring is still the team’s strength. Orlando’s 101.0 defensive rating ranks fifth in the NBA, and Jonathan Isaac is emerging as one of the league’s most impactful players on that side of the ball — in the early going, he’s averaging 1.6 steals per game to go along with a league-high 3.0 blocks per game.

However, the Magic’s offense has been dismal this season, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes. Orlando’s 96.6 offensive rating is easily the worst in the NBA, well behind the 100.1 mark posted by the 29th-ranked Knicks.

While Lowe acknowledges that the team’s 27% conversion rate on three-point shots figures to improve, he points to several other red flags, such as a lack of corner threes and free throw attempts. As Lowe notes, the Magic have too many power forwards and not enough shooters or play-makers, especially with D.J. Augustin regressing after a career year and Markelle Fultz still not a reliable shot-maker.

The Magic could experiment with some different lineups and hope that their excellent defense helps create a few more fast-break opportunities and easy baskets. But barring a trade, there doesn’t appear to be a quick fix for their offense. And if that’s the case, the club’s ceiling will be limited.

Still, being dominant on one side of the ball could be enough to earn a playoff spot in the East, where average teams like the Hornets (4-4) and Pistons (4-5) currently rank in the top eight. The Magic and the 3-4 Nets are among last year’s playoff teams looking to make their way back into that postseason mix.

What do you think? Will the Magic make the postseason again in 2019/20, or will they be unable to repeat even last year’s modest success?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Is Phoenix For Real?

The injury-depleted Warriors’ shocking stumble (2-5 and fading fast) out of the gate isn’t the only Western Conference development to stun many in the early throes of this NBA season. A positive surprise has been the remarkable early run by the Suns (5-2). Phoenix’s management and ownership groups in recent years have been notoriously dysfunctional (shout-out to Kevin Arnovitz), but suddenly, the team’s production may be catching up to their promise.

Heading into the season, expectations for Phoenix were low. The team has won 24 or fewer games in each of the last four seasons (i.e. every prior year of Devin Booker’s NBA career). The Suns’ talented young core of Booker and 2018 No. 1 draft pick Deandre Ayton (currently serving a 25-game suspension after violating the league’s drug policy) underwhelmed together last season. But that was last season.

Now, under the stabilizing stewardship of new head coach Monty Williams, and with the Suns’ solid offseason veteran additions in point guard Ricky Rubio and center Aron Baynes exceeding expectations, things are finally looking sunny in Phoenix.

Phoenix currently stands at second place in the Western Conference and could move into a tie for first if the Lakers lose tonight. The Suns have racked up quality wins against the Clippers and Sixers (still formidable, even sans a suspended Joel Embiid).

As The Ringer’s  noted today, Phoenix has been impressive on both ends of the floor. The Suns are among just two teams (the other being the 5-1 Miami Heat) currently occupying the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating. Their plus-8.6 point differential ranks fourth in the league. Booker, perpetual All-Star-in-waiting, appears to have taken another leap. New young forwards Dario Saric (acquired in a summer trade) and Kelly Oubre (added in a trade last season) have offered other competent scoring options.

Baynes, though, has been a particular revelation, as Cody Cunningham details on Suns.com. The Australian center’s three-point shooting has taken an astronomical leap. He is currently connecting on 48.4% on his looks from deep across 4.4 attempts per game, far eclipsing his career averages of 33.3% from long distance on 0.3 tries per contest. His scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks are all at career marks. His numbers will come back down to earth once he returns to the bench, but his terrific start makes him look a steal for Phoenix nevertheless.

What do you think? Can Phoenix make the playoffs this season?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your prediction.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.