NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Intel on Zach LaVine, Kyle Kuzma, Fred VanVleet & Free Agency

NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Intel on Zach LaVine, Kyle Kuzma, Fred VanVleet & Free Agency article feature image
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Via Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls looks on during the game against the LA Clippers on March 27, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California.

Oooh! Bradley Beal! Ahhh! Chris Paul! Ohhh! Kyrie Irving! Zoinks! Damian Lillard! Yikesabees! Draymond Green!

While the NBA world will undoubtedly capture headlines, clicks, and đź‘€ emojis with the big names over the next two weeks in what has become the central focus of their league, in the craziness of player offseason movement, there are players who won't rank as highly in attention who will still matter a lot for win totals, playoff seeding, and division, conference or title odds.

Here's a look at the latest on the guys who aren't trending on Twitter, but are trending in NBA circles.

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Dorian Finney-Smith

The Nets are in a unique position. When you have no hope, you have a lot of options open to you.

I wrote about why the Nets are expected to be conservative with talks for Mikal Bridges on Sunday, but Dorian Finney-Smith is a different matter.

A 30-year-old defensive specialist with inconsistent shooting splits across his career, DFS is a high-value target for teams looking to contend now.

The Nets have fielded multiple calls for Finney-Smith, teams with interest told Action Network this week. The offers have opened the door for the Nets to move up in the draft. They have not found a deal that works for them in terms of returning salary yet.

The Nets are obviously interested in such deals, given their need for a franchise redirection and the absence of picks following the ill-fated James Harden deal two seasons ago.

Brooklyn owns two picks in the 20s and is looking to package those with DFS to move up. There is a belief that if the Nets can't move up, they'll look to trade the 22nd pick as they're not as interested in two picks in the 20s.

Kyle Kuzma

With the Wizards pivoting toward a rebuild after trading Beal, there's a strong possibility (though not definite) that Kyle Kuzma finds a new home in free agency. Belief among league sources is that Kuzma is looking for $30 million per season in talks.

Kuzma has evolved into a 20-points-per-game scorer on moderate efficiency, rebounds well, has shown some playmaking ability and is a quality defender. At 28, he's in his absolute prime.

The Jazz and Mavericks are among the teams known to have interest in Kuzma, with the Jazz said to be one of the few teams willing to put up big money in various talks early on.

Given the way teams struggled against the Nuggets' size in the playoffs, the 6-foot-9 combo forward should be one of the more attractive names on the market, especially for Western Conference playoff teams.

Zach LaVine

There's been conflicting information about the former All-Star. The Bulls looked at moving LaVine at last year's deadline and entered this summer with intentions to explore the market.

Longtime beat writer KC Johnson reported for NBC Chicago that the return demand from Chicago was steep:

"One league source said the Bulls would be focused on getting a good young player, multiple first-round picks and salary filler if they decide to trade LaVine. Another said one first-round pick and an established, high-end player might be sufficiently intriguing."

So far there's been nothing close to such an offer, prompting a feeling in league circles that the Bulls are set to run it back next season.

LaVine has three seasons at over $40 million per season left on his deal before a player option in 2027-28.

We're definitely in a "when, not if" situation with LaVine as far as the likelihood of trade, but if the asking price for LaVine remains essentially "a full rebuild package," it's unlikely anyone meets that level.

Pascal Siakam

Speaking of All-Stars, Siakam was heavily discussed with the Blazers in talks for the No.3 pick.

Yahoo's Jake Fischer reported Tuesday that the Blazers were not interested in either Siakam or OG Anunoby.

Some further context on that is interesting, however. Before I share that, a reminder that everyone is constantly spinning this time of year, and the truth is often a little obscured if not caked completely in mud.

With that said, there are two competing narratives on the talks. Portland has projected that they were unsure about paying Siakam a new max contract. League sources, on the other hand, have suggested that Siakam was unwilling to provide assurances he would re-sign next summer.

Regardless, with the Blazers off the table, there have been no other serious talks with the Raptors (that I've heard about, I'm sure there have been some). There's a belief that the Raptors will run it back yet again. Those things can change quickly, but that's where I believe we're at right now.

John Collins (for the 800th Time)

Sigh. Here we are again.

Once again, the Hawks have been exploring trade offers for Collins. This is literally the fourth year I've reported on such talks, and he still has yet to be traded.

Yahoo Sports reported that the Hawks offered Collins in talks for the Mavericks' 10th pick. Dallas had been interested in Collins for the past two years but seemed to have lost that appetite as they rejected the offer, league sources told Action Network.

Marc Stein reported that there's been "no common ground" between the two teams on a framework built around Clint Capela.

The Nets and Celtics are two teams that have been interested in Collins in the past and have fielded calls from the Hawks in recent weeks.

Fred VanVleet

The one Raptor who's likely to be gone, just as everyone expected at the deadline, is Fred VanVleet.

The 29-year-old former champion is part of the rotating musical chairs for point guards in this free agency class.

The two teams most strongly attached to FVV are the Rockets and 76ers. It would not be incorrect to describe FVV as the James Harden consolation prize at this point. If Harden returns to Houston, the Sixers will look to construct a sign-and-trade for VanVleet. If the Sixers re-sign Harden, which Houston has projected they feel is likely in recent days, then the Rockets will look to a big-money, short-term contract for VanVleet.

A potential hangup has been the Rockets' position against player options, sources said.

VanVleet is a seamless fit in either spot. He works as a quality shooter who doesn't need the ball next to Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey and can run the offense, yet he can also be the kind of veteran stabilizing point guard Houston has badly needed to find some level of structure with their impulsive youngsters.

Tobias Harris

Speaking of the Sixers! The way for the Sixers to make room to re-sign James Harden to whatever deal he's amenable to is to trade Harris.

The Kings have long been thought to be the most likely landing spot for Harris, not only because of the pre-existing relationship between Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey and Kings GM Monte McNair but also with the Kings looking for a small forward alternative to Harrison Barnes.

The logical expression looks like this:

IF Harden decides to stay in Philly and IF the Kings don't manage a trade for OG Anunoby (which again looks unlikely), then the Kings and Sixers could work out a deal for Harris. It's not known what either side wants to include in such a deal (at least by yours truly).

Austin Reaves

Honestly, every player who is any good for the Lakers is a "star," but we'll throw in Austin Reaves here.

There hasn't been any traction so far on potential offer sheets for the restricted free-agent wing. The reason?

"The usual. It's one of those 'why bother tying up cap space in an offer sheet just waiting for the Lakers to match' deal," one executive who won't be tendering an offer sheet told Action Network this week. There's such a widespread assumption that the Lakers will retain Reaves at any price that teams have been reluctant to swing.

So this might become a waiting game as the Lakers try and starve out the offers to lower the price and Reaves' representation tries to wait for a team to make a swing late (like the Pacers did for Deandre Ayton did for last year, though Reaves won't command that type of money).

Either way, it would be a major shock to everyone I've spoken to if Reaves was not a Laker next season.

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