Latest rumors: Drummond to the Raptors, Vucevic to the Celtics

Three weeks after the NBA market closes, the rumors about signings are increasing in intensity. Blake Griffin's departure from Detroit is taken for granted.


There are three weeks until the NBA market close. The 25th of this month will be the date until which the teams will be able to make transactions between them and, as usually happens on these dates (which is usually more than a month before, but this year everything has been delayed due to the pandemic) the rumors they are growing in intensity. Although, yes, there is an important difference from any other season: the play-in. This is how Sams Charania explains it in The Athletic, which points out that this new formula to qualify for the playoffs (teams from seventh to tenth will play the last two places of the postseason in playoffs to a game) is motivating that there are fewer teams interested in sell.

Usually, by the middle of the regular league, there were already several franchises ruled out for the title playoff fight. The eighth place (the one that marked who played the playoffs and who did not) was a long way off. But this year that brand is ranked 10th, so most franchises are still confident in their competitive opportunities. And this is making players who would be on the market any other year, either not or are more expensive.

Detroit and Cleveland throw in the towel

Of course, there are teams that have given up their season, according to Charania. Take the Detroit Pistons, last in the East and with the second worst record in the league. According to league sources, Blake Griffin has all the ballots not to be part of his current team after March 25. But not because offers come to the Pistons offices for a player whose injuries have placed him far from his sporting prime. The Michigan franchise intends to terminate the power forward's contract, who would be free to go elsewhere.

Another franchise that is willing to move its own tree is the Cleveland Cavaliers. Leaving aside their young quartet on which they want to build the future of the team (Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro), they are willing to listen to offers for everyone else. And among all of them the most important piece is undoubtedly Andre Drummond. With half the league looking for a level center, Drummond is going to become one of the most sought-after players in the coming weeks. Charania says the Pistons have been in talks with the Raptors since last month to try a trade for center.

Two other franchises that may also be interested in selling are the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings. The former would have a player targeted by up to five title contenders, PJ Tucker. The Nets, the Bucks, the Heat, the Nuggets and the Lakers would have asked about him. In Californians, both Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica. Sixers, Heat, Warriors, Bucks and Celtics would have been interested in the Serbian.

Reinforcements in search of the ring

As the playoffs get closer, it is the teams that have the most options to fight for the title that usually move the most in this market (and later recruiting players who have remained free). If there is a team that is clear that it is going to fight for the ring at the same time that it needs to reinforce itself enough, those are the Brooklyn Nets. We mentioned before about his interest in PJ Tucker, without forgetting the need to get hold of an inside player. The good news for them is that they have another of the pieces that any title contender will be able to negotiate with the best. It's about Spencer Dinwiddie. Although the point guard has been out since December due to a partial tear of a knee ligament, his recovery is going well and it is not ruled out that he will play again before the end of the season. However, with the arrival of James Harden and the presence of Kyrie Irving his role would be greatly reduced, and Dinwiddie has proven to be a player worthy of many more minutes than he would have in Brooklyn.

Another favorite (at least before the start of the course) that seems eager to move is the Boston Celtics. His poor performance so far is causing Danny Ainge to consider changing his strategy and going on the attack in the creation of the squad. And according to the information that Charania has, they could star in the bomb in this market. The journalist assures that the Celtics (and the Hornets) would try to take Nikola Vucevic. The Magic center is starring in the best season of his career (24.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 41.8% shooting from three) and is going to be an all-star for the second time. The Orlando team is another disappointment of the year, although in this case with some justification for injuries. In any case, and from the penultimate place in the East that they occupy right now, it seems almost impossible that they will get into the playoffs again, so they could think about transferring some of their most valuable pieces. The issue is that Vucevic is the jewel in the crown and both Boston and Charlotte, as well as anyone who wants to bid for him, are clear that the offer has to be very important to convince Florida.

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