There were rumors; lots of ‘em. Always have been; always will be. It’s customary to think that one big trade sets a domino effect around the league where other organizations will follow. But nope. That didn’t happen last night. It was mainly Westbrook going to the Lakers, and that was mostly all, at least for that level of player movement. Collin Sexton is still in Cleveland. Bradley Beal is still in Washington. Ben Simmons is a Philadelphia 76er. Damian Lillard remains in Tokyo (Portland). All is fairly standard in the NBA… for now.
But it was evident that teams elected to bypass the draft as a date to determine the sizable moves needed to put together their rosters. The focus appeared to be on the draft itself. Even in terms of trading up and down between picks, the first team to move up became the Houston Rockets, selecting Alperen Şengün at No. 16 overall after acquiring the pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Two teams who we’re not expecting to hear much from this season as it relates to their potential playoff aspirations.
For Sexton, in particular, the thinking was something could happen on Draft Day up until recently with Adam Borai of 5 Reasons Sports reporting that the Miami Heat were willing to wait until after the draft for any possible Sexton deal. Things could’ve changed, obviously, but didn’t... obviously. Other teams, like the Knicks, have been interested and elected not to pull the trigger on draft night. For what it’s worth, Sexton also welcomed Mobley to #TheLand.
There were reports about Ben Simmons potentially being traded on draft night. The Sixers have been aggressively fielding offers and trying to find a resolution on the situation, but it appears they’re going to stick to their guns regarding what Simmons’ value truly is to them. The Sixers went to the Golden State Warriors and reportedly asked for James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, No. 7 overall, No. 14 overall, and two future first round picks for Simmons, which was declined.
The Sixers even reportedly turned down a Toronto Raptors offer of Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and the No. 4 overall pick. Subsequently, the Raptors used No. 4 on Scottie Barnes, a forward from Florida State. The Warriors chose Jonathan Kuminga of the G League Ignite with No. 7, and Arkansas swingman Moses Moody at No. 14. As of now, it appears that each pick will remain with their respective teams. Buddy Hield nearly got traded to the Lakers for a similar package to the one commanded by Westbrook, and theoretically could still find himself in L.A. depending on how creative the front office could get, though it will be much more difficult now.
Virtually all the chips are still on the table: even ones lesser mentioned like Pascal Siakam, Tyler Herro, Kristaps Porziņģis, and Marvin Bagley, and the expectation is at least some of those guys are on the move. The league mostly operated in a standstill, focusing on the influx of rookies, but it also set the stage for a potentially historic week — the beginning of free agency — which just begins in a few days.