1 Course-Changing Trade Every NBA Team Could Actually Make
With more time than ever for NBA front offices to evaluate their rosters, coupled with weaker than usual draft and free-agency classes, we could be heading toward an offseason with a higher volume of trades.
We're also getting a clear picture of who will be picking at the top of the draft. With teams like the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks destined to land a top pick, both could be looking to trade their prized rookies for stars.
Forget the little deals. Here are trade ideas for all 30 teams that would significantly change the course of their franchises.
Thunder Trade Chris Paul to Spurs
Spurs Receive: PG Chris Paul
Thunder Receive: PF Rudy Gay, PG Patty Mills, PF Trey Lyles, 2020 second-round pick
The Spurs' title window is probably closed, but Paul gives Gregg Popovich's group a fighting chance at winning a playoff round or two.
Assuming DeMar DeRozan picks up his player option or returns on a new long-term deal, this gives the Spurs a core of Paul, DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White to build around, all while pushing the development of Lonnie Walker IV and Keldon Johnson.
For Oklahoma City, this move saves $44 million in cap space before the summer of 2021, resetting the franchise that already owns the most future first-round picks.
Gay and Mills can help keep the team competitive next season before their contracts run out, and Lyles is a 24-year-old power forward who is hitting 38.7 percent of this threes.
The Spurs load up for one or two more years of playoff runs before Popovich retires, and OKC sheds some serious money.
Warriors Trade Top Pick for Collins, Huerter
Warriors Receive: PF/C John Collins, SG Kevin Huerter (if pick lands No. 1 overall)
Hawks Receive: 2020 first-round pick
Golden State may land the first overall pick, and it should be looking for players who can contribute immediately to a dynasty on pause.
LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards would make for an awkward fit in an already set backcourt. The Warriors should seek out a floor-stretching big man instead.
Collins is averaging 21.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks and shooting 40.1 percent from three at age 22, and he could play power forward or center next to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and company. Thompson would be perfect for Huerter to learn under as a fellow 6'7" shooting guard who can splash it from deep.
For Atlanta, getting a top pick in the draft means putting together one of the best young backcourts in the NBA with Trae Young.
Edwards would be a perfect fit—a dynamic scorer with size (6'5", 225 pounds) who wouldn't have to travel far from the University of Georgia to his new Atlanta home. A lineup of Young, Edwards, Cam Reddish, De'Andre Hunter and Clint Capela could be the best in the East in a few years.
Knicks Get Devin Booker, Suns Receive Package with No. 2 Overall Pick
Knicks Receive: G Devin Booker
Suns Receive: 2020 first-round pick, PF Julius Randle, G Frank Ntilikina
Booker is a phenomenal young scorer, but the Phoenix Suns have yet to see a winning season in five years with him on the team.
New York is desperate for a star, so much so that trading its first-rounder for someone who can step into that role right away would be worth it. Phoenix probably only considers this deal if the Knicks land one of the top two picks in the 2020 draft, giving the Suns the chance at either Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball.
Phoenix would naturally want more, and Randle (25) and Ntilikina (21) are still young enough to fit into a rebuild beside Deandre Ayton. Getting Edwards or Ball would give the Suns a new dynamic guard to pair with an athletic frontcourt of Ayton, Randle and Kelly Oubre Jr.
For the Knicks, Booker can play either guard position and would make a terrific scoring combo with RJ Barrett.
If Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox II can reach their potential, the Knicks may finally have a core worth building around thanks to Booker.
Magic, Kings Swap Aaron Gordon and Buddy Hield
Magic Receive: SG Buddy Hield
Kings Receive: PF Aaron Gordon
The Kings could use a high-flying forward in their frontcourt.
The Magic are forward-heavy and need a sharpshooting guard.
Need we say more?
Hield could regain a starting job in Orlando, sharing a backcourt with Markelle Fultz, whose primary weakness is outside shooting (25.4 percent from three this season).
Hield would provide the perfect balance for Fultz while keeping the floor spread for his point guard. The move would also mean no more small forward minutes for Jonathan Isaac, who would thrive if given the opportunity to play the 4 full-time alongside Nikola Vucevic.
Gordon and Marvin Bagley III would give Sacramento one of the league's most athletic young frontcourts, providing De'Aaron Fox with a lot of lob opportunities. The deal would also eliminate any drama caused by benching Hield for Bogdan Bogdanovic, who wouldn't have to worry about getting yanked from the starting lineup.
Pistons, Sixers, Pacers Agree to Trade of Big Men, No. 7 Overall Pick
Pistons Receive: C Myles Turner, SG Jeremy Lamb
Sixers Receive: PF Blake Griffin
Pacers Receive: C Al Horford, 2020 first-round pick (via Pistons)
Starting with Philly, getting Al Horford off the books needs to happen, even if it's for Griffin's deal that runs a year shorter.
A healthy Griffin would raise the ceiling of this Sixers team, and the 31-year-old has already turned in All-Star seasons playing next to big men like DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond. Putting Griffin in a starting unit with Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons would not only give Philly the biggest lineup in the NBA, but the strongest as well.
For Indiana, Turner's production is slipping to the point that it's time to be concerned. Horford gets to return to the center position full-time, giving Indiana a good defender next to Domantas Sabonis and someone who is playoff-tested.
For taking on Horford's contract, the Pacers would also get the Pistons' first-rounder (currently projected at No. 5 overall), where players like Deni Avdija, Obi Toppin and Killian Hayes could be available. Indiana doesn't have a first-round pick after sending it to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Malcolm Brogdon sign-and-trade.
For a rebuilding Pistons team, Turner is just 24 years old and has already led the NBA in blocks per game. While giving up a high draft pick hurts, it rids them of the remaining two years and $76 million of Griffin's contract.
Bucks Go for Title with Holiday, While Pelicans Get Bledsoe, DiVincenzo
Bucks Receive: G Jrue Holiday
Pelicans Receive: G Eric Bledsoe, G Donte DiVincenzo, PF Ersan Ilyasova
The Bucks are running out of time to put a championship-caliber roster around Giannis Antetokounmpo, if they haven't done so already.
With Bledsoe known to disappear in playoff games, adding someone of Holiday's talent and experience is a no-brainer.
The three-headed monster of Antetokounmpo, Holiday and Khris Middleton would be among the best in the NBA on both sides of the ball, giving the Bucks a roster worthy of a title.
For New Orleans, DiVincenzo is the prize of the deal. The 23-year-old shooting guard would pair nicely with Lonzo Ball in the Pelicans backcourt. The 2018 first-round pick was shooting 38.6 percent from three over his last 24 games.
Bledsoe lets New Orleans stay competitive as a veteran sixth man, and Ilyasova keeps the floor spread as a backup to Zion Williamson.
Lakers, Nets Swap Kuzma, Allen
Lakers Receive: C Jarrett Allen
Nets Receive: PF Kyle Kuzma, 2022 second-round pick
Allen and Kuzma are both good enough to be starters yet sit behind veterans on their current squads.
Benched in favor of DeAndre Jordan, Allen is a terrific rim-running center who would be perfect as a screen setter and lob finisher next to LeBron James in L.A. With JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard both potential free agents this offseason, Allen would be an upgrade and is only 22 years old.
Kuzma is the best trade piece the Lakers have left, although there's no room for him in the starting lineup with Anthony Davis around.
With Allen's ceiling a little higher than Kuzma's, the Lakers would have to throw in a future second-round pick as well.
Heat Trade Adebayo, Herro to Wizards for Beal
Heat Receive: SG Bradley Beal
Wizards Receive: C Bam Adebayo, SG Tyler Herro, F Andre Iguodala
If the Wizards trade Beal, they'll need a young All-Star in return.
For Washington, Adebayo gives them a 22-year-old center who can anchor a defense, rebound and is among the best passing big men in the game. Paired with Rui Hachimura in the Wizards' frontcourt, Adebayo is set to grow into one of the best overall centers in the NBA.
Herro gives Washington a potentially elite shooter from the wing, giving John Wall a kick-out option for his drives. Iguodala probably isn't happy unless this team starts winning right away, and he could be rerouted to a team more ready to contend.
Losing Adebayo really hurts Miami, but getting the No. 2 scorer in the NBA comes at a price. The Heat aren't good enough to compete with the Milwaukee Bucks at the top of the East and need more firepower next to Jimmy Butler.
With Butler and Beal attacking and Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn spacing the floor, Miami can become an elite offensive team with cap space to add a third star in 2021.
Love, Sexton to Nuggets; Barton to Blazers; Porter Jr., Harris to Cavs
Nuggets Receive: PF Kevin Love, G Collin Sexton, F Nassir Little
Blazers Receive: G/F Will Barton
Cavaliers Receive: PF Michael Porter Jr., SG Gary Harris, F Trevor Ariza
With Paul Millsap hitting free agency, the Nuggets need another power forward who can step in and help win right away.
Kevin Love and Nikola Jokic would be an offensively devastating frontcourt, able to run all sorts of high-low action and create open shots for others.
Collin Sexton would give Denver another 20-point-per game scorer, allowing the Nuggets to use Jamal Murray both on and off the ball. Nassir Little was the Blazers' first-round pick last season, offering upside as a multi-positional defender off the bench.
For Cleveland, Michael Porter Jr. has star potential and could become the starting power forward for the next decade alongside Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., giving the Cavs a talented trio to build around. Harris is still just 25 and instantly becomes the team's best wing defender, and Ariza carries an expiring $12.8 million contract.
Portland gets an upgrade on the wing by flipping Ariza for Will Barton, even if it means giving up Little in the process.
Jazz Trade Rudy Gobert to Mavericks
Mavericks Receive: C Rudy Gobert
Jazz Receive: F/C Maxi Kleber, SG Seth Curry, C Boban Marjanovic, F Justin Jackson, 2020 first-round pick
Losing Dwight Powell to an Achilles injury meant a need at center for the Mavericks. Who better to fill that need than the back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year?
Gobert would be a devastating force inside, giving the Mavericks two 7-footers in the starting lineup. Luka Doncic would have a new lob target to throw to, and Dallas' defense would instantly become of the league's best while keeping Kristaps Porzingis from ever having to guard centers.
For Utah, getting Kleber as a floor-spacing big would help keep driving lanes open for Donovan Mitchell. Curry is one of the NBA's best three-point shooters (45.3 percent this season), and Marjanovic certainly gives the Jazz some size inside.
While Utah wouldn't be as good defensively, they'd have one of the best shooting rosters in the NBA and could look for a rim protector with its newly acquired first-round pick.
Timberwolves Get Lauri Markkanen, Bulls Receive No. 5 Overall Pick
Timberwolves Receive: PF Lauri Markkanen
Bulls Receive: 2020 first-round pick
For Minnesota, Markkanen is the one who got away.
Dealt to Chicago in the 2017 Jimmy Butler trade, Markkanen had terrific rookie and sophomore seasons before taking a step back now in Year 3.
This would be the Timberwolves' chance to get him back, and the Bulls' opportunity to get a really good, young player with a pick projected to be No. 3 overall.
The Wolves need a franchise power forward beside Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarrett Culver, and Markkanen is just 22 and could grow with the young core. He's already had proven success in the league (18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds per game last year) and is more ready to step in and help a team win than anyone the Wolves would draft.
For Chicago and its new front office, this is a chance to get two top-five picks, adding to a core of Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter and Coby White.
Terry Rozier Becomes Rockets Sixth Man, Eric Gordon Joins Hornets
Rockets Receive: G Terry Rozier
Hornets Receive: SG Eric Gordon, 2021 second-round pick
Gordon wasn't trade eligible at the deadline following an offseason extension, but he is free to look for a new home now.
The Hornets should be looking to break up their undersized backcourt combo of Rozier and Devonte' Graham, and Gordon's 6'3", 215-pound frame would fit better next to Graham in the Hornets backcourt.
Rozier gives the Rockets a dynamic sixth man, letting James Harden and Russell Westbrook rest more during the regular season while putting pressure on the defense and finding open shooters around him.
Neither contract is very good, but given that Gordon is five years older and has two extra years on his deal means Houston gives up a draft pick as well.
Celtics Get Clarke, Grizzlies Acquire 1st-Rounder and Langford
Celtics Receive: PF Brandon Clarke
Grizzlies Receive: SG Romeo Langford, 2020 first-round pick
Clarke was a terrific draft pick for Memphis just a year ago, but he's never going to be anything more than a backup for the Grizzlies with Jaren Jackson Jr. around.
Moving Clarke gives Memphis the 14th overall pick from last year in Langford, a scoring wing who has a better shot at a starting job for the Grizzlies long term. It also allows Memphis to get back into the first round after previously trading their pick to the Celtics in a deal for Jeff Green.
For Boston, the guard and wing spots are already loaded, with power forward remaining a position of need.
Clarke gives the team an athletic stretch-four who can complement Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and others for the next decade or more.
Kyle Lowry Rejoins Kawhi Leonard on Clippers, Raptors Get Lou Will, Pat Bev
Clippers Receive: Kyle Lowry
Raptors Receive: Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Ivica Zubac, Rodney McGruder
The Clippers sacrifice depth for star power here, adding Lowry to make a Big Three with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Lowry has the playoff and championship experience the Clippers need, and the veteran point guard instantly becomes the best passer on the team. The chemistry with Leonard is already there, and the addition of Lowry pushes all of L.A.'s title-hope chips to the middle of the table.
For Toronto, losing a franchise icon like Lowry only happens if the return is significant.
Both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka can leave in free agency, so getting a starting center like Zubac back is a must. Fred VanVleet can also walk as a free agent, so adding a pair of talented guards in Williams and Beverley helps keep the Raptors stocked around Pascal Siakam.
With so much talent potentially walking out the door this offseason, moving Lowry for three starters helps keep Toronto as a force in the Eastern Conference.