NBA Rumors: Mario Hezonja, Eric Bledsoe, Jahlil Okafor Highlight Trade Buzz

Orlando Magic's Mario Hezonja (8) drives past Brooklyn Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

John Raoux/Associated Press

A day after the NFL sent social media into a frenzy with a surprisingly active trade deadline, the NBA’s trade buzz remains characteristically stagnant for the moment.

The Eric Bledsoe-Phoenix Suns fiasco has entered a second week without resolution, and it does not appear the team is acting with particular urgency.

“We are open to doing a deal whenever the best offer presents itself,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said, per Scott Bordow of AZCentral. “Any other comments or thoughts from me would be pure speculation at this point.”

Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times reported the Suns have asked for Malcolm Brogdon in talks with the Milwaukee Bucks. The reigning Rookie of the Year is off to a stellar start to his sophomore NBA campaign, continuing to do work on both ends of the floor as an all-around player. The Bucks are hesitant to part with Brogdon in any talks at this point.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the Suns are attempting to attach Tyson Chandler to any Bledsoe deal. Chandler told reporters Monday that he’s heard the rumors but is unconcerned.

“At the end of the day I’m a professional, and this is my team,” Chandler said. “So until anything changes, I’m going to give them everything I’ve got every single day.

“Just like everybody else, I hear the rumblings. I hear my name being involved in things and trade rumors but I’m at the point where I couldn’t care less. I go out there and do my job until the time somebody tells me different. Then I’ll have to address it.”

Two guys who appear unlikely to be moved but have come up in trade discussions are Jahlil Okafor and Mario Hezonja. The fiasco between the Philadelphia 76ers and Okafor has reached its nadir this season, with the former No. 3 overall pick completely out of a jammed big-man rotation. Okafor had 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes during his lone appearance this season.

Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reported the Sixers and Okafor were working on a trade together but nothing has surfaced.

A conclusion to their relationship in some facets came Tuesday, with the Sixers declining their fourth-year option on Okafor’s contract. He will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

While that seems like a formality in some ways, it also could even further cool trade talks. Under NBA rules, any team that trades for Okafor this season would be limited to a starting salary of $6.3 million in 2018-19—the equivalent of his fourth-year option salary.

Other teams would not have such limitations. That means Okafor could have a return to form with another team, hit the market as a hotter commodity and leave that team for financial purposes.

The most likely scenario at this point may be Okafor playing out the entire 2017-18 campaign on the bench and entering a tepid market next summer. 

A similar situation could play out with Hezonja, whose fourth-year option was also declined by the Orlando Magic on Tuesday. Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders reported the Magic had discussed a trade of Hezonja to the Sacramento Kings for Malachi Richardson and a second-round pick, but those talks “stalled.”

The option deadline pbaded, with Hezonja now set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. 




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