NBA Trade Rumors: Top Buzz On JaVale McGee, J.R. Smith Plus More

Marcio Jose SanchezAP Images

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers continue to be the teams to beat in the ongoing 2017-2018 NBA season. They have faced off in the Finals for the past three years and a fourth one is looming despite their rival teams’ efforts to improve.

As the NBA approaches midseason, the Warriors and Cavs are both expected to again fine-tune their respective rosters to prepare for another championship run. With that, here are some of the latest trade rumors regarding the two squads.

Warriors Talking To Bucks For Potential JaVale McGee Trade

The Warriors (27-7) take the top spot in the West once again after beating the Cavs, 99-92, during their Christmas Day meeting on Monday at the Oracle Arena. Kevin Durant led the Stephen Curry-less Warriors with 25 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and five shot blocks, including the game-winning defensive effort against LeBron James.

However, one noticeable thing about the game was the absence of both Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee. The two big men were with the team during the win, but head coach Steve Kerr decided to keep them on the bench for the whole game.

Pachulia and McGee’s DNPs triggered several trade rumors that said the Warriors could trade one or both centers in midseason as rookie Jordan Bell is starting to get more minutes from Kerr.

Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee
Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee (#1).Featured image credit: Harry HowGetty Images

Bleacher Report indicated that the Warriors have talked with the Bucks regarding a possible trade centered on McGee, who is currently in his second season with Golden State. McGee has proven himself valuable in Kerr’s system last season, even starting 10 times for the defending NBA champions, and shot a career-high 65.2 percent from the field at that time.

However, McGee has only played 8.1 minutes per game this year, averaging dismal numbers across the board with 3.7 points, 1.9 boards, and 0.7 blocks a night, all of them the lowest in his 10-year career so far.

Between Pachulia and McGee, the report noted that the latter is more susceptible to get traded as the former Nevada standout has only played once in the Warriors’ last three assignments.

Cavaliers Could Trade J.R. Smith Before Deadline

Out in the East, the Cavaliers are also trending in trade rumors even as the team remains in the third spot behind the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors. Cleveland had lost two of their last three games and it was enough to cause some trade suggestions from NBA analysts online.

The latest name mentioned in the Cavaliers rumor mill was that of J.R. Smith, who went 0-for-5 from the field against the Warriors on Monday.

Cleveland Cavaliers' JR Smith and Tyronn Lue
Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith (left) talks with head coach Tyronn Lue during a recent game.Featured image credit: Darron CummingsAP Images

Fansided’s King James Gospel’s Simon Hannig said that the time is right for the Cavaliers to “consider trading” their starting shooting guard.

Hannig said that Smith “has not looked the same” since he injured his knee in the same month last year. The reporter went on to say that Smith’s “shooting confidence is not there anymore,” which could be the reason why he is currently draining a dismal 34.5 percent of his shots from three-point range and 37.4 percent from the field overall this season.

Smith has not been a factor on defense as well, as his lateral movement is still being hampered by the knee injury from last season.

The report noted that if Smith’s confidence does not come back soon, then the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year awardee might find himself on another bench before the season ends.

Other Rumors

The Los Angeles Lakers’ young talents have continued to be in the latest NBA trade rumors, particularly Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.

After a 121-104 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Christmas Day, the Lakers are now on a three-game losing streak. They have lost six of their last seven games to slide to 12th place in the West, five-and-a-half games behind the last playoffs spot.

The team’s recent struggles have definitely not quelled the fire of speculations on Randle and Clarkson as the two fourth-year players have yet again made trade headlines.

Los Angeles Lakers players Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson
Los Angeles Lakers players Julius Randle (left) and Jordan Clarkson.Featured image credit: Jason MillerGetty Images

Kurt Helin of NBC Sports’ Pro Basketball Talk said that with the Lakers intending to empty “two max cap slots” before the next offseason, the names of Randle and Clarkson have both “come up in trade buzz.”

Helin said that the young players, unlike their veteran counterparts, could get distracted by the trade rumors. However, Lakers head coach Luke Walton confirmed that the coaching staff is able to handle them, saying that “every team deals with it (trade rumors)” and that they are “all true and all real” for all of the league’s clubs.