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NBA trade rumors: Lakers’ potential Dejounte Murray move losing steam, Cavs not making big man available

Another day, another dispatch of the latest NBA trade rumors as we near the Feb. 8 deadline. OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Terry Rozier have all already been dealt, but they’re far from the only names that could be switching teams as every squad tries to improve for a playoff push, or get their ducks in a row before free agency and this summer’s draft. As has been the case in the last couple of trade deadlines, there’s more buyers than sellers, in part because of the Play-In Tournament incentivizing teams to remain competitive later into the season. 

But while the list of sellers looks to be low, that won’t stop something crazy from happening before Feb. 8. With that in mind, here’s all the latest rumors circulating around the league.

Lakers chances of landing Dejounte Murray may be slim

The Lakers have been the team most linked to trading for Murray, but Marc Stein reports that L.A. pulling off a trade for the Hawks two-way guard is “unrealistic.” It’s already been reported that Atlanta wasn’t interested acquiring D’Angelo Russell if they were to trade Murray to the Lakers, so that would likely mean a three-team deal would need to be done. Another factor, per Stein, is that Russell’s play as of late has been part of why the Lakers are starting to climb the standings in the West. In the last six games, Russell is averaging 27.8 points, 6.2 assists, and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 52.2% from the field and a ridiculous 57.4% from 3-point range. In that span the Lakers have gone 6-2, and sit 2.5 games out of the No. 6 spot in the West. The Lakers may view this situation as trading Russell for Murray may not be a worthwhile move when it also requires parting ways with draft assets that could be used for something else down the line. This could all change as we get closer to the trade deadline, but as of right now, Stein says there hasn’t been much communication between the Hawks and Lakers on this deal.

Rockets expressing interest in Robert Williams III

Despite being out for the rest of the season due to shoulder surgery, the Rockets are interested in trading for Williams, per Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes. Similar to Houston’s previously reported interest in Malcolm Brogdon, this ties to Rockets coach Ime Udoka, who coached both players while with the Celtics. Williams would obviously be a longer term commitment, given he won’t see the court this season, but trading for him now, while his value is lower than it would’ve been if he were healthy, would be a smart move from a Houston team that is slowly turning things around. Williams could provide some much-needed frontcourt depth behind franchise cornerstone Alperen Sengun, who is having a breakout year, and if the Rockets wanted to, they could run a two-big lineup with Sengun and Williams.

Williams would cover some of Sengun’s defensive shortcomings, and would give the Rockets a legitimate rim protector who would only improve a team that already ranks fourth in limiting opponents’ points in the paint. It also gives Fred VanVleet another pick-and-roll partner, though playing Williams alongside Sengun for long periods of time wouldn’t be ideal as it would clog the paint for the Turkish big man who thrives in pick-and-rolls and driving toward the rim. Having Williams come off the bench when he’s healthy next season would probably be the best option for him and the Rockets, as it would lessen the load of Williams who has struggled to stay healthy, and it still gives Sengun the space to operate on offense. 

Cavaliers not making Jarrett Allen available in trades

The Cavaliers were one of just two teams at the trade deadline last season that didn’t make a single move, and while it remains unclear exactly what their plan is for this one, a guy who likely won’t be included in trade talks is big man Jarrett Allen, per Haynes. The Cavaliers sit pretty comfortably in the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference, and should be getting Evan Mobley back soon so doing a drastic change to the front court would be surprising. Allen is averaging 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and three assists, and his presence in the paint is a big reason why Cleveland has the third-best defense in the league. While Allen may not be on the trading block, the Cavaliers likely need to pull off a move or two to improve their offense, primarily their 3-point shooting. Max Strus‘ 3-point shooting is a career-low 33.6%, and while Sam Merrill’s shooting from beyond the arc (42.8%) has been a pleasant surprise for the Cavaliers, as a team Cleveland’s 3-point shooting ranks 20th in the league. That will need to improve if this team wants to make it out of the first round of the postseason this year. 

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