DeMar DeRozan for Chris Paul, Other Star Trade Ideas as 2019-20 NBA Season Nears
It's never too early to talk NBA trades, even if the 2019-20 season has yet to start. It's a time for unbridled optimism, but those feelings will quickly turn to desperation as teams begin to fall out of the playoff race.
While some star players are likely to be on the move ASAP if the right deal comes around (Chris Paul), others may only become available if their teams start struggling early.
Based on stars who could, and should, hit the trade market this season, the following deals would make sense for all involved as the year progresses.
Steven Adams to the Celtics
Celtics Receive: C Steven Adams, PG Dennis Schroder
Thunder Receive: F Gordon Hayward, SG Romeo Langford, 2020 1st-round pick (lottery-protected)
Adams may be the next guy shipped out after the Thunder dealt Paul George and Russell Westbrook. If they do make the bruising 26-year-old center available, the Boston Celtics should be the first team to make a call.
Boston desperately needs a defensive-minded big man following the departure of Al Horford in free agency. Backup center Robert Williams, 21, may be the answer in a few years, but signing a 29-year-old Kemba Walker means this team wants to win now.
Enes Kanter in one of the NBA's best rebounders but is limited athletically when trying to defend the pick-and-roll and protect the rim. Adams (13.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks) would be a major upgrade and allow Kanter to feast on the East's backup centers.
Schroder (15.5 points, 4.1 assists) gives the Celtics an offensive-minded sixth man—one who a rebuilding OKC team should be fine parting with.
The Thunder are forced to take on Hayward's remaining two years and nearly $67 million but shed a bad contract of their own in Schroder (two years, $31 million) and get to collect on yet another draft pick plus a young guard.
Langford was the 14th overall pick of the 2019 draft and averaged 16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists as a freshman at Indiana. At 6'6", he gives Shai Gilgeous-Alexander a backcourt partner with size the Thunder can confidently build around.
Kevin Love Joins Jimmy Butler in South Beach
Heat Receive: PF Kevin Love
Cavaliers Receive: SF Justise Winslow, C Meyers Leonard
Even though the Cavs probably shouldn't trade their best (and oldest) player at this stage of the rebuild, there may come a time when Love wants to play for a contender again.
Miami is looking to lock up a postseason spot after falling just short a year ago, led now by Jimmy Butler and the likely emergence of Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. Love would certainly help the cause.
A five-time All-Star power forward, Love could slide between Butler and Adebayo and become the second offensive option for a team that could struggle to score. The Heat lost both Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside through trade this summer, and starting point guard Goran Dragic's scoring dipped to 13.7 points per game in 2018-19.
In return, Cleveland could use a starting small forward like Winslow. Still just 23, the four-year veteran has shown off an all-around game with his improved passing and outside shooting. The former Duke star averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.1 steals while connecting on 37.5 percent of his threes last season.
Leonard gives the Cavs some depth in the paint with Love gone, and his $11.3 million salary expires this summer.
While losing Love would hurt, Winslow could be the team's starting small forward of the future and is on a team-friendly three-year, $39 million deal.
Bradley Beal Pushes Hawks into Playoffs
Hawks Receive: SG Bradley Beal
Wizards Receive: SF Cam Reddish, SG Kevin Huerter, 2020 1st-round pick (lottery-protected, via Brooklyn Nets)
The Hawks and Wizards are two Eastern Conference lottery teams heading in different directions.
While Atlanta could be a sneaky playoff team this season powered by Trae Young and John Collins, the Wizards could be among the NBA's worst while John Wall sits out the season with a ruptured Achilles.
Washington needs to trade Beal now with two years left on his deal to maximize his value. While contenders like the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans can make significant offers, the Hawks feature plenty of young talent and draft picks to dangle as well.
Beal, 26, and Young, 21, could form one of the league's most exciting backcourts for years to come. Add in Collins (19.5 points, 9.8 rebounds), Jabari Parker (14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds) and No. 4 overall pick De'Andre Hunter (15.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 43.8 percent three-point shooting as a Virginia sophomore) and this core should be at the top of the East soon.
For the Wizards, Reddish and Huerter give them the future of the franchise at both small forward and shooting guard, and picking up an extra first-round pick only adds to the rebuild.
Reddish, 20, could thrive as a top offensive option for the Wizards, something he never got a chance to do while sharing the court with Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett at Duke. He has ideal size (6'8", 218 lbs) and athleticism for an NBA wing.
Huerter, 21, started 59 games for Atlanta as a rookie, averaging 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists while drilling 38.5 percent of his threes. At 6'7", he's far from just a catch-and-shoot guard, able to bring the ball up the floor and get others involved.
The Hawks make the leap from playoff hopefuls to postseason locks, while the Wizards pick up three key rebuilding pieces.
Spurs, Thunder Swap DeRozan, Paul
Spurs Receive: PG Chris Paul, C Nerlens Noel, 2020 1st-round pick (top-10 protected, via Denver Nuggets)
Thunder Receive: SF DeMar DeRozan, SG Marco Belinelli
Paul, 34, is still a very good point guard when healthy, even if he's overpaid. He's best suited for a team in favorable salary-cap position that wants to win now. For the Spurs and 70-year-old head coach Gregg Popovich, Paul would be a great fit.
Getting Paul would mean pairing one of the smartest players in the NBA with its best head coach—and opening up a potential title window for at least a season or two.
The Spurs could start Paul and Derrick White in the backcourt while allowing Dejounte Murray to play limited minutes in his return from a torn ACL. Moving DeRozan and Belinelli opens up more minutes for high-upside guys in Lonnie Walker IV, Keldon Johnson and Bryn Forbes, while Paul's vision and passing helps get everyone open looks.
While DeRozan put up big numbers for the Spurs last season, San Antonio was 5.0 points per 100 possessions better with him on the bench, a number that ballooned to 25.8 in the playoffs. The last time Paul didn't make his team better was his rookie season of 2005-06.
Noel gives the Spurs a starting-caliber center who averaged 12.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 3.3 blocks per 36 minutes last season. He would have to agree to the trade, which should happen given the Thunder's plunge into mediocrity.
For taking on Paul's remaining three-year, $124 million salary, the Spurs get the Nuggets' first-rounder from OKC this season as well.
For the Thunder, this is about getting Paul's contract off a rebuilding team without sacrificing multiple draft assets. Getting back DeRozan is a huge plus, as his presence gives the Thunder a fighting chance in the West. OKC could even flip him again for draft picks or young players. Belinelli has an expiring $5.8 million deal, one the Thunder could try to sell to a contender or just enjoy the cap space next summer.
D'Angelo Russell Joins Motown, Andre Drummond Heads to the Bay
Pistons Receive: PG D'Angelo Russell, C Willie Cauley-Stein
Warriors Receive: C Andre Drummond, SF Sekou Doumbouya, 2020 1st-round pick (lottery-protected)
While the Pistons get their long-term answer at point guard, the Warriors address the only two non-All-Star spots in their starting lineup.
Russell should start the season as a needed offensive option for Golden State while Klay Thompson recovers from a torn ACL, but the Warriors ultimately need to complement Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and a healthy Thompson with pieces that fit better.
Enter Drummond, who has led the NBA in rebounding three of the past four years and scored a career-high 17.3 points per game last season. Even though Curry and Thompson are knockdown shooters, Drummond can get them plenty of extra chances while keeping opposing bigs off the glass.
Doumbouya, 18, is a massive wing (6'9", 230 lbs) who projects to become a quality two-way small forward. The Pistons' 15th overall pick, Doumbouya could be a key piece in keeping the Warriors dynasty alive. Golden State also picks up a lottery-protected pick from Detroit to help bolster its bench.
The Pistons are stuck in NBA purgatory, and adding a young All-Star point guard in Russell, 23, raises the ceiling. The No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft averaged 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.2 steals last season, leading the Brooklyn Nets to the playoffs following a dreadful 28-win season the year before.
Current Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson only has one year left on his deal, and Derrick Rose has averaged just over 38 healthy games per season over the past eight years. Russell is under contract for the next four years and could create one of the Eastern Conference's best one-two combos with Blake Griffin.
Getting Cauley-Stein (11.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists) gives the Pistons a solid Drummond replacement who's still only 26. If injuries bite the Pistons and they miss the playoffs, the lottery protection allows them to keep their first-round pick.