Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons and more

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With the 2021-22 NBA season fast approaching, the trade market has only continued to heat up even more, with some of the biggest names in the league making up our latest installment of our Trade Rumor Rankings, which feature the five players who have appeared most often on our Trade Rumors Page over the previous seven days.

Dejounte Murray (San Antonio)

The only bit of news on the Dejounte Murray trade front we’ve received over the past week actually involves the much-discussed Ben Simmons trade drama.

According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Philadelphia 76ers aren’t “moved” by the idea of landing Murray in a theoretical swap for Simmons (via Bleacher Report):

The Sixers front office doesn’t appear to be moved by the prospect of landing Dejoute Murray and Lonnie Walker IV from San Antonio, either

Murray is a solid player in his own right, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s perfectly sensible that he, even packed with the talented Lonnie Walker, wouldn’t be close to enough to get Simmons in San Antonio.

Even with their hugely different salaries, Simmons is a far more valuable piece than Murray and Walker put together, and then some.

For the latest on the Dejounte Murray trade front, click here.

Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana)

Indiana Pacers guard Macolm Brogdon’s inclusion on these rankings also ties in with the Simmons trade drama, as, per multiple reports, there is potential interest from Philadelphia in the 28-year-old ball-handler.

First, ESPN’s Jordan Schultz reported that the Sixers had inquired about the 2017 Rookie of the Year:

Although Brogdon isn’t exactly the star-level player Philadelphia might want in exchange for Simmons, he’s a borderline All-Star, one who averaged over 21 points and nearly six assists per contest last season while shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc. His ability to shoot, create, defend and make players for others could be a great fit alongside Joel Embiid.

Nevertheless, The New York Times’ Marc Stein threw some water on that report, stating that the Sixers remain unmoved in a potential Brogdon package in exchange for their Defensive Player of the Year-caliber point guard:

Indiana has been a legitimate suitor for Simmons, league sources say, and really should have been cited more frequently by yours truly along with the other teams (Minnesota, Toronto, San Antonio and Cleveland) that have consistently registered interest in the unhappy Sixer. Indications persist, though, that Philadelphia has been unmoved by the Pacers’ ability to offer Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert as the headliners of a trade package. No matter how unrealistic it sounds, Portland’s Damian Lillard remains the type of starry target Morey seeks.

That brings us to the next player in our rankings.

For the latest on the Malcolm Brogdon trade front, click here.

Damian Lillard (Portland)

The latest on the Damian Lillard trade front is a lot of what we’ve been hearing all summer: The Sixers, led by Daryl Morey, badly covet him while the Portland Trail Blazers aren’t inclined to move him.

However, just yesterday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania discussed how the Blazers remain at risk of losing the superstar point guard long-term if they don’t get off to a fast start under first-year head coach Chauncey Billups via Sixers Wire):

The organization probably feels like it’s gone well so you have two different sides to this and I think rival teams still believe he will be moved, it’s just a matter of time and one player that Philadelphia has monitored throughout the last few months and I think it will continue and the ball will continue to be rolled is Damian Lillard with Portland. I think there’s going to be a light going into this upcoming NBA season on the future of Damian Lillard and if Portland gets off to a rough start, like, I’ll tell you guys this if they’re not improved under Chauncey Billups this year, they risk losing Damian Lillard long term.

No matter how badly the Blazers want to keep Lillard, another mediocre campaign in the Western Conference – one that ends with an early playoff exit – could spell the end of the lead guard’s time in the Pacific Northwest.

And who knows?

If Portland is under-.500 right around the trade deadline, his time with the Blazers could come to an end even sooner.

Billups and Co. face a ton of pressure early on in 2021-22, more than any other first-year head coach is facing.

For the latest on the Damian Lillard trade front, click here.

Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn)

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately – pointless contrarianism chief among them – and now, his future in Brooklyn is in major limbo.

According to Charania, the Nets have shut down talks of an extension with the former championship-winning point guard, and are now open to the idea of trading him, as “all options are on the table.”

Charania’s colleague at The Athletic also had a report recently on the matter, stating the following:

Rival teams believe the Nets would be open to a significant trade offer for Irving, but his openness to playing for other franchises is unclear. Irving will be fully eligible in all markets except New York City and San Francisco. Brooklyn is on a championship chase, wanting the commitment of every player on their roster, now dealing with the cloud of uncertainty regarding a member of its big three.

Of course, Irving still wouldn’t come cheap if a rival team does attempt to make a move for him, and there’s also the strong possibility that the former Duke standout abruptly changes his mind and agrees to get vaccinated, which would end all of this drama instantly.

But with Irving, it’s impossible to know what’s going to happen next.

Don’t rule out the Nets having to trade him in order to get players in who will actually be available for home games.

For the latest on the Kyrie Irving trade front, click here.

Ben Simmons (Philadelphia)

Ben Simmons and Rich Paul

Ben Simmons and Rich Paul

The top player on the trade market all summer long is done playing hardball and is now back in Philadelphia, perhaps ready to suit up for the Sixers.

Now, that doesn’t mean Simmons will be a 76er for the rest of his career, not by a long shot, but rather that he and his agent Rich Paul came to their senses and realized losing millions of dollars to sit out games was the wrong way to approach their trade demand.

Simmons suiting up and proving he’s still an All-Star-caliber point guard is the best way to get him shipped out and with a new team, and that could be the next step in this process.

The latest rumors on the matter state that the Minnesota Timberwolves, long-time admirers of Simmons, remain highly motivated to land the Australian point guard (via Marc Stein) and that there are as many as nine teams actively pursuing Simmons, including the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons, among others like the Spurs and Toronto Raptors.

Regardless, it appears Morey will hold out hope he can land his superstar to place alongside Embiid in a Simmons trade, which leaves us with just two teams who Philadelphia is truly interested in dealing with: Portland, for Lillard, and the Washington Wizards, for Bradley Beal.

The Simmons trade saga continues, and doesn’t appear to have an end in sight quite yet.

For the latest on the Ben Simmons trade front, click here.

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