Ranking the Top Realistic NBA Trade Targets Before 2019-20 Season

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterOctober 21, 2019

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love (0) dribbles around Indiana Pacers' Domantas Sabonis (11) during the second quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Scott R. Galvin)
Scott Galvin/Associated Press

There's one NBA player we know won't be available via trade, at least right away: Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, who just signed a two-year, $72 million extension.

That means the 26-year-old can't be traded for at least six months, pushing his trade eligibility past the February deadline.

Who do contenders turn to for help now?


7. Chris Paul, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- OCTOBER 10: Chris Paul #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dribbles up court against the New Zealand Breakers during the preseason on October 10, 2019 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackno
Zach Beeker/Getty Images

Age: 34

Remaining Contract:

  • $38.5 million in 2019-20
  • $41.4 million in 2020-21
  • $44.2 million in 2021-22 (player option)

No team is taking Chris Paul off OKC's hands unless a draft pick (or two or three) is attached. The money is that bad, and CP3 is well past his prime.

Of course, desperation can set in as the season progresses, especially for fringe playoff teams in the stacked Western Conference.

The nine-time All-Star should get a chance to improve his stock on this Thunder team. Paul should get all the shots and assist opportunities he can handle, something he didn't have playing alongside James Harden on the Houston Rockets.

Paul was fantastic when asked to run the show without Harden last season, as he averaged 22.5 points, 12.5 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists and shot 39.1 percent from three per 36 minutes. Even in his 14th season, Paul still finished third in assists (8.2), third in steals (2.0) and sixth in assist percentage (39.3).

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It may take a team with a clean salary situation and in ultimate win-now mode, but Paul could still be an asset.

Teams That Should Call: San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic


6. Andre Iguodala, SF, Memphis Grizzlies

TORONTO,ONTARIO - JUNE 10:  Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors defends against Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressl
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Age: 35

Remaining Contract:

  • $17.2 million in 2019-20

As long as the Grizzlies (justifiably) play hardball and don't negotiate a buyout with Andre Iguodala, he'll remain one of the most popular players on the trade market.

His raw stats don't jump off the page (5.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.9 steals in 23.2 minutes), but there's not a contender in the league that shouldn't try to get him on its roster before the postseason.

The 2015 Finals MVP, Iguodala is still a menace on the defensive end. Teams trying to figure out how to contain LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George or James Harden need only give the Grizzlies a call. In the 2019 Finals, Iguodala held Leonard to 6-of-17 shooting from the field (35.3 percent) and 1-of-8 from three (12.5 percent) in the 138 total possessions they were matched up.

The 15-year veteran is highly respected around the league and has no problem coming off the bench for the good of his team. It's why the Warriors gave him a three-year, $48 million deal in the summer of 2017 despite his seemingly unimpressive stats.

Matching salaries may be difficult for some of the top contenders looking to keep their own stars, but Iguodala will be worth whatever he costs for the postseason alone.

Teams That Should Call: Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets 


5. Danilo Gallinari, F, Oklahoma City Thunder

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 14: Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball during a pre-season game against the Dallas Mavericks on October 14, 2019 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledge
Glenn James/Getty Images

Age: 31

Remaining Contract: 

  • $22.6 million in 2019-20

Danilo Gallinari isn't the first or last member of the Thunder on this list, and his pure scoring and floor-stretching ability should mean a short stay in Oklahoma City.

Although durability remains a concern, the 6'10" 2008 sixth overall pick is coming off a career season with the Los Angeles Clippers. Splitting time between the forward positions, Gallinari averaged personal bests in points (19.8), rebounds (6.1), field-goal percentage (46.3) and three-point percentage (43.3). He remains one of the NBA's most accurate shooters from the charity stripe (career 87.1 percent) as well.

Teams that could come calling will likely be in need of a stretch big or offensive wing, and he'd be ideal as a No. 3 scorer and paired with a playmaking guard.

Even if nagging injuries continue to arise, his expiring deal means no long-term financial commitment. Gallinari is here to shoot your team into the playoffs this season and provide it with cap space next summer.

Teams That Should Call: Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves


4. Steven Adams, C, Oklahoma City Thunder

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Age: 26

Remaining Contract:

  • $25.8 million in 2019-20

  • $27.5 million in 2020-21

As the final Thunder employee who will attract buyer attention, Steven Adams is the youngest, and he's a potential anchor of a defense. Trading off Paul George and Russell Westbrook likely means everyone is available.

According to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, the Thunder are asking for a draft pick, a young player and salary relief for Adams. As one league executive said:

"They set the price too high. That's what you'd expect, and maybe it will drop as the year goes on. It's tough to take on his contract (two years, $53 million remaining) and give up picks and players. Most teams are pretty well set at the center spot now; you have a big guy, and you have your small lineup. You can't just take on a contract like that. There isn't a big number of teams who could take him."

With no Westbrook, we could see a spike in stats from the 26-year-old this season.

After putting up 13.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for the Thunder last year, Adams seems ready to take on a bigger role. His defensive rebound percentage jumped from 12.8 percent to 15.2 percent when Westbrook went to the bench, while Adams' assist percentage doubled as well (5.4 percent to 10.8 percent).

The Thunder would be wise to let Adams inflate his numbers first and then take calls closer to the deadline.

Teams That Should Call: Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings


3. Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Indiana Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - OCTOBER 15:   Domantas Sabonis #11 of the  Indiana Pacers shoots the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 15, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Age: 23

Remaining Contract:

  • $3.5 million in 2019-20

  • $4.8 million qualifying offer in 2020-21 (restricted free agent)

Domantas Sabonis and the Pacers can't seem to agree on numbers for a contract extension.

As Sam Amick of The Athletic wrote: "With Domantas Sabonis and the Indiana Pacers far apart in discussions about a possible contract extension, and with a deal looking unlikely as the Monday night deadline looms, sources say the Pacers have engaged in active trade talks with several teams this week about the fourth-year forward."

Every team in the league should be making a call.

As one of the league's best young big men, Sabonis has largely been a backup center to Myles Turner before likely beginning this year as the team's starting power forward. The 23-year-old isn't a great three-point shooter or shot-blocker, but he has few other weaknesses.

Sabonis is constantly active, whether it be with a hard roll to the rim or opening up a teammate with a pick-and-pop. He's a terrific passer for his 6'11", 240-pound size, and he pulled down a whopping 29.8 percent of all available defensive rebounds last season.

Even if the Pacers and Sabonis agree to an extension, a future trade wouldn't be completely off the table.

Teams That Should Call: Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks


2. Kevin Love, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 07:  Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives down court during the first half of a preseason game against San Lorenzo De Almagro at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on October 07, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User exp
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Age: 31

Remaining Contract:

  • $28.9 million in 2019-20

  • $31.3 million in 2020-21

  • $31.3 million in 2021-22

  • $28.9 million in 2022-23

Kevin Love doesn't want to be traded. The Cavaliers feel he's important for the development of their young guards and don't want to deal him.

But still...

"There's always going to be that noise. ... I think there's always going to be that idea to restart and go younger," Love said this preseason. "Until that time comes, or if it ever comes, I'm just going to continue to be me and play great, stay healthy and try to get the best out of myself and the other players on this team."

If Love stays healthy this season, he'll hear his name in rumors more and more on what should be a lousy Cavs team. Cleveland also needs to finish with a top-10 pick to keep its selection, stemming from a 2017 Kyle Korver trade with the Atlanta Hawks (now owned by the New Orleans Pelicans). Dealing Love would help in that pursuit.

Should Love stay on the court, he's worth his current four-year, $120 million extension. He's averaged 22.2 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists and shot 38.7 percent from three per 36 minutes over the past three years and should be an All-Star this season on a young Cavs team that needs him to score.

While his desire to play for a championship may eventually lead to a trade request, Cleveland should hope he stays happy and healthy while the bidding war inevitably increases.

Teams That Should Call: Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz


1. D'Angelo Russell, PG, Golden State Warriors

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Age: 23

Remaining Contract:

  • $27.3 million in 2019-20

  • $28.6 million in 2020-21

  • $30.0 million in 2021-22

  • $31.4 million in 2022-23

While no one on the Warriors will admit they traded for D'Angelo Russell just to deal him again, this is still Stephen Curry's team. If Russell and Curry don't mesh and Klay Thompson is nearing a return from his torn ACL, Russell could be the most sought-after name before the deadline.

Unlike with CP3, team's should be lining up to pay Russell's contract if he matches his All-Star production from last season. While his scoring reached a career high (21.1 points per game on .434/.369/.780 splits), his most impressive stat was finishing second in the NBA in assist percentage (41.3).

At 23, his four-year contract should only be lifting him into his prime. He could stand to cut down on his mid-range shots, and his defensive interest can wane, but Russell is finally looking like 2015's No. 2 overall pick.

The only problem with trying to get him off Golden State? The price.

Russell is the key to keeping the Warriors dynasty alive, either through his play or his trade value, and it would likely take a star player in return at either small forward or center for Golden State to consider a deal.

Players who are good, young and on relatively affordable long-term deals don't come around often. With Bradley Beal off the market, Russell may be the best the 2020 deadline has to offer.

Teams That Should Call: Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves


Former NBA GM Wes Wilcox joins Howard Beck on this week's Full 48 podcast to discuss the biggest storylines of the upcoming season.


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