Sexton in the City: Knicks are in hot pursuit of Cavs point guard
As the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns duel for the NBA title, the rest of the league is preparing for the 2021-22 season. General managers are trying to swing deals, agents are working the phones, and players are nervously checking their Twitter feeds.
Let’s look at some of the top trade rumors from around the Association.
Sexton in the City
The New York Knicks had a breakout season, earning the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference before falling to an underrated Atlanta Hawks squad that made the Conference Finals. They were a surprise success story, and were led by Most Improved Player of the Year Julius Randle.
Randle led the team in points, rebounds, and assists, but he couldn't do it all on his own in the postseason. One potential source of support is Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton. Sexton led the Cavs with 24.3 points per game in 2020-21, and has a work ethic that would fit nicely with the Knicks.
In one of the most bizarre on-court scenarios I’ve ever seen, Sexton played the final 10 minutes of a college game while at Alabama with a 3-on-5 scenario. It was a testament to his confidence in himself, and that's something that Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau would absolutely love.
Is "Dame Time" over in Portland?
Without a doubt, the biggest star that may find himself moving this offseason is Portland Trail Blazers guard, Damian Lillard. Lillard has been essential to the Blazers’ success, but there is growing concern Portland is incapable of building a championship-caliber team around him.
Lillard to the Golden State Warriors is the latest rumor that doesn’t just seem appealing to Dame, but seems logistically possible as well, as the Warriors have James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, and first round picks to offer.
Lillard has yet to request a trade, but that's hardly surprising as so much of his reputation has been built on his commitment to Rip City. This is a situation that definitely bears watching as the 2021 NBA Draft approaches.
Are Lakers offering Kuzma for a point guard?
Kyle Kuzma hasn’t been directly linked to highly plausible trades yet, but the Lakers are clearly in the market for players to pair with Anthony Davis and LeBron James to revitalize their championship hopes.
One year after winning a title in Orlando, the Lakers looked out of sorts against the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 playoffs. Part of that was the lack of solid point guard play. James led the team in assists, and no other player had more than three dimes per game in the first round series.
Kyle Kuzma believes he’s capable of averaging 25 PPG and reaching All-Star status— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 8, 2021
"I definitely can. I definitely believe that, too. I don't really care what nobody thinks or says. I know myself, and I know my ability. It's hard to be consistent in an inconsistent role."
Kuzma could fetch the playmaker the Lakers sorely need. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio is one possibility, and the Knicks’ Derrick Rose is another. Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz and Kemba Walker of the OKC Thunder could also be options. It wouldn't be shocking if Kuzma gets picked up by a team willing to part with a veteran in exchange for a player that hasn’t fully reached his potential.
Rockets could dangle Gordon on Draft Day
The Houston Rockets are very interested in acquiring the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft to select Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham.
To get to that spot, the Rockets would presumably need to surrender additional draft capitol, but they might also look to give up existing talent on the team. Eric Gordon has been with the Rockets for five years, but is effectively the holdover of a bygone era. Now a 32 year old vet, he may not fit into the Rockets’ plan for revamping the roster and could potentially be included as part of a draft day trade package.