1 Trade for Every NBA Lottery Team If It Wins No. 1 Pick
The 2020 NBA draft lottery is this Thursday, which means teams left out of the Florida bubble (and the six squads eliminated from the playoffs during the regular-season restart) can get a sense of hope for next season.
Of course, there's no guarantee that whichever team wins the lottery will actually keep the No. 1 overall pick.
With no consensus top prospect for the first time since 2013, there's a strong chance we could see a trade of the first overall pick.
Teams like the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns may be more interested in trying to win right away than in developing a rookie. Others like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans are already backcourt-heavy leading up to a draft in which guards Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball are considered the best prospects.
With the top pick potentially up for grabs, here's who every team should try to flip it for.
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, PF John Collins, F Cam Reddish, SG Kevin Huerter and C Dewayne Dedmon to Washington Wizards for SG Bradley Beal
Staying at No. 1 and taking Anthony Edwards would be perfectly fine for Atlanta, but pairing an All-Star like Beal with Trae Young in the backcourt may be too good to pass up.
The Wizards have been unwilling to part with Beal to this point, but an offer of Collins, Reddish, Huerter and the No. 1 overall pick could change their minds. Washington could take Edwards to replace Beal at shooting guar or swing for the fences with a prospect like James Wiseman at center.
A trade for Beal would give the Hawks two of the top four scorers in the NBA this season; he and Young combined for 59.6 points per game. Defense would obviously be an issue, but Clint Capela is a proven rim protector, and keeping De'Andre Hunter would give Atlanta a versatile forward who can defend multiple positions.
A core of Young, Beal, Hunter and Capela would create a rising playoff team in the East, and Atlanta would still have significant cap space to add more talent in free agency.
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick and Nicolas Batum to Golden State Warriors for 2020 first-round pick, SF Andrew Wiggins, PF Eric Paschall and SG Jordan Poole
The Hornets need far more young talent to complement a core of Devonte' Graham, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington. Getting the No. 1 overall pick would be great, but moving back a few spots to pick up even more help is the smart play here.
The Warriors make sense as a trade partner, a team that could use the No. 1 overall pick to select an immediate contributor to a championship-hopeful team. Assuming the Warriors are picking in the Nos. 2-5 range, the Hornets should be comfortable moving back and still getting a player like James Wiseman, Onyeka Okongwu, LaMelo Ball or Killian Hayes.
By agreeing to move back, the Hornets would get two more young rotation players in Paschall and Poole, both of whom played big roles as rookies for the injury-plagued Warriors.
Wiggins is the wildcard here. Flipping the expiring contract of Batum (assuming he picks up a $27.1 million player option) would help the Warriors' long-term finances while still letting them use his deal as the baseline for future deals. Few teams are in better salary-cap shape than the Hornets, which means taking a chance on the 25-year-old Wiggins and his remaining three-year, $94.7 million contract isn't as big a risk.
For a team like Charlotte that needs talent, agreeing to move back a few spots in order to pick up Wiggins, Paschall and Poole would be worthwhile.
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, G/F Zach LaVine, PF Lauri Markkanen to Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons
The Bulls' new front office has already made its first major move by firing head coach Jim Boylen. Making a big offer for All-Star Ben Simmons would certainly send the message that this team is ready to make a serious playoff run.
While the Sixers will likely refuse any trade offers for Simmons, maybe they'd at least consider listening now that the point guard/power forward is out following knee surgery. A strong playoff performance with a team fully led by Joel Embiid could certainly make Simmons more likely to be traded, as well.
LaVine and Markkanen could step in and help Philly right away, with the former averaging 25.5 points per game this season, 11th-highest in the NBA. A lineup of Shake Milton, LaVine, Tobias Harris, Markkanen and Embiid would feature plenty of scoring and would be the best outside-shooting lineup since the Process began.
The Sixers would then have their choice of any prospect on the board, likely leaning toward a playmaker like LaMelo Ball to help make up for the loss of Simmons.
For Chicago, getting Simmons would mean letting him have full control of a team for the first time in his career and unlocking his potential in whatever role the new head coach sees fit. The Bulls wouldn't have gutted the roster for him, either, filling out a starting lineup with Wendell Carter Jr., Coby White, Thaddeus Young and Otto Porter Jr.
Already playing in a major market, the Bulls would suddenly become a far more attractive free-agent destination and would project to open up max cap space in 2021.
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, PG Dante Exum to Atlanta Hawks for 2020 first-round pick, F De'Andre Hunter
Few teams fit better as a potential home for Anthony Edwards than the Hawks since he's an Atlanta native who played his lone college season at Georgia. If the Cavs land the No. 1 overall pick and Atlanta falls in the Nos. 2-5 range, some maneuvering would better fill the needs of both teams.
Edwards or LaMelo Ball would give the Cavs yet another young guard, a position on which they already spent three first-round picks in the past two years with Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr.
Center could be a need with Tristan Thompson hitting free agency and Andre Drummond having just one year left on his deal (assuming he picks up a 2020-21 player option for $28.8 million). Cleveland is also thin on the wing, and by moving down, it could still have its pick between players like Deni Avdija, Devin Vassell, James Wiseman, Onyeka Okongwu and Isaac Okoro.
Letting the Hawks move up to No. 1 would also mean getting Hunter, the No. 4 overall pick in 2019, to compete for the starting small forward job. A 6'7" versatile defender, Hunter improved the Hawks by 4.7 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor as a rookie this season.
Cleveland doesn't have to squeeze another guard into its already backcourt-heavy roster and could instead pick up two young and talented players at positions of need. The Hawks would get Edwards, hand the starting small forward job to Cam Reddish and use Exum as a backup point guard behind Trae Young.
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, PF Blake Griffin to New York Knicks for 2020 first-round pick, G Frank Ntilikina, PF Julius Randle and G Elfrid Payton
With Detroit trying to rebuild its roster and the Knicks looking for star power, both teams would get what they desire with a pick-and-player swap here.
Griffin's remaining two-year, $75.6 million deal no longer fits a young Detroit team, especially if his injuries continue to pile up. A healthy Griffin would give the Knicks an All-Star-caliber power forward, and his contract is worth taking on if New York could also move up to the No. 1 spot.
The Pistons need a point guard, and moving down slightly in the draft should still net them either Killian Hayes, Tyrese Haliburton, Cole Anthony or even LaMelo Ball if he goes on a mini-slide. Getting off Griffin's contract would be a huge win, and Randle, Ntilikina and Payton are all between 22 and 26 years old, offering some upside for a rebuild.
Getting the first overall pick would be great for Detroit, but parlaying it into another top pick while wiping Griffin's contract from the books would be even better.
Golden State Warriors
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, 2020 second-round pick (via Dallas Mavericks), 2021 first-round pick (top-three protected, via Minnesota Timberwolves), 2021 second-round pick (via Minnesota Timberwolves), SF Andrew Wiggins to Phoenix Suns for SG Devin Booker
First, let's go over an important disclaimer.
This is only a discussion if Booker ends up seeking a trade from Phoenix following five straight seasons missing the playoffs. If the Suns' encouraging 8-0 record in the bubble is enough to keep him happy (it probably is), then Phoenix wouldn't even pick up the phone.
The Warriors will also almost certainly throw this trade package at the Milwaukee Bucks for Giannis Antetokounmpo—or any other star who has a slim chance of becoming available—but Booker would certainly be a welcome consolation prize.
With Draymond Green already fined $50,000 for tampering while discussing Booker's future, it only makes sense that the Warriors would end up with the 23-year-old All-Star.
For Phoenix, getting the first overall pick to use on Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball, as well as what could be a top-five selection next year, would be a good starting point, and adding another scorer in Wiggins and some extra second-rounders would help ease the pain of a potential Booker trade request.
The Warriors would be cashing in most of their chips, but Booker would absolutely be worth it even if the fit may not be perfect between Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Even if the Suns end up killing any trade offers for their leading star, the Warriors should still shoot their shot.
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, C Gorgui Dieng, F Kyle Anderson to Sacramento Kings for 2020 first-round pick and SG Buddy Hield
Floor-spacing is never a bad thing between a cornerstone point guard and big man, and getting Hield to knock down threes next to Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. would help make sure the Grizzlies don't fall short of the playoffs again next year.
Hield is a career 41.1 percent three-point shooter in his four-year career and could become even better off passes from Morant. The Grizzlies will likely be adding Justise Winslow to the starting lineup next season, and his lack of outside shooting (33.7 percent on 0.8 makes per game for his career) would be offset by the addition of Hield.
For Sacramento, it would end the debate of who starts between Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic, and the Kings would get their pick of any player in the 2020 draft. Dieng carries an expiring $17.3 million deal, giving Sacramento more money for a De'Aaron Fox extension next summer.
The Grizzlies rebuild has quickly made them playoff contenders, so moving down roughly 10 spots in the draft to acquire a player like Hield would be well worth it.
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, PF Jake Layman, C Naz Reid to Atlanta Hawks for PF John Collins and SG Kevin Huerter
The Wolves are finally putting a sustainable core around Karl-Anthony Towns and could now add Collins and Huerter alongside D'Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley.
Collins would give Minnesota its power forward of the future, a 22-year-old who averaged 21.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while shooting 58.3 percent from the field. While a frontcourt of Towns and Collins wouldn't be great defensively, they were the only two players in the NBA to average 20 and 10 while shooting 40 percent or better from three this season.
That kind of spacing, scoring and rebounding could help make up for a few extra buckets surrendered.
For the Hawks, this would mean getting the first overall pick in the draft to add to what will likely be their own top-five selection. Atlanta could take Anthony Edwards first overall and still have a pick left over for someone like Onyeka Okongwu, Deni Avdija or Obi Toppin, all while keeping a core of Trae Young, Cam Reddish, De'Andre Hunter and Clint Capela.
Minnesota needs to start making some playoff pushes soon to keep Towns happy, and flipping its draft pick for two young starters should help it do just that.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, SG JJ Redick, C Jaxson Hayes, F Darius Miller to Utah Jazz for 2020 first-round pick, C Rudy Gobert
No single player swung the success of the Pelicans this season more than center Derrick Favors, who registered an on/off rating of plus-9.0. If New Orleans was that good with Favors, imagine plugging Gobert into the middle of the defense instead.
With Favors set to become an unrestricted free agent, Gobert would give the Pelicans a two-time Defensive Player of the Year in the middle of the paint, finishing lobs from Lonzo Ball and making sure 6'6" Zion Williamson doesn't have to defend centers.
For Utah, any fear of Gobert leaving in 2021 free agency could be taken care of now while also picking up the No. 1 overall pick. With Mike Conley also about to enter the last year of his deal, the Jazz could groom a future long-term backcourt partner for Donovan Mitchell with either Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball, or they could find a new center of the future in James Wiseman.
Redick would give Utah another shooter, and Hayes could be ready for a starting center job as early as next season.
New Orleans should immediately look to lock Gobert into a contract extension and would still get to add a first-round pick via the Jazz at No. 23 overall.
New York Knicks
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, 2021 first-round pick (via Dallas Mavericks), C Mitchell Robinson, PF Bobby Portis, SG Wayne Ellington to Philadelphia 76ers for C Joel Embiid
The list of famous former clients of new New York Knicks president Leon Rose ranges from Allen Iverson to LeBron James to Chris Paul and also includes Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid. If Philadelphia decides to split up the pairing of Embiid and Ben Simmons this offseason, don't be surprised to see Rose make a call.
Embiid would give the Knicks the star they've been craving, creating an exciting new pairing with RJ Barrett. Even if Robinson were to blossom with a bigger role in New York, he wouldn't come close to matching Embiid's offensive game.
For the Sixers, it would mean a transition into letting Simmons run the show while surrounding him with more perimeter talent. Philly could grab Anthony Edwards first overall to pair next to Simmons, and Robinson or Al Horford could take Embiid's old starting job. An extra first-round pick next year would give the Sixers another asset, and Bobby Portis and Wayne Ellington represent $23.8 million of expiring salary.
With the Knicks looking for free-agency success in a star-studded 2021 class, it would be a great recruiting tool to have an All-Star center in Embiid.
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, PG Ty Jerome, F/C Frank Kaminsky to Chicago Bulls for 2020 first-round pick and PF Lauri Markkanen
With an already set backcourt of Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio, the Phoenix Suns should be looking to fill other areas of need—something they can easily do by moving back in the draft.
With the Chicago Bulls projected to have the seventh overall pick, dropping six spots to pick up a new starting power forward in Lauri Markkanen would be worth it for Phoenix. At 23 years old, Markkanen has averaged 16.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 35.6 percent from three.
Chicago could use LaMelo Ball as its starting point guard with Coby White as a scoring 2-guard or select Anthony Edwards and move Zach LaVine to small forward full-time. Ty Jerome would give it a backup point guard, and Frank Kaminsky can provide floor spacing off the bench.
The Suns could still get a player such as Obi Toppin, Isaac Okoro or Devin Vassell around No. 7, which would help improve the team's low-post scoring or wing defense.
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, F Harrison Barnes to Orlando Magic for 2020 first-round pick, F Aaron Gordon
With a loaded backcourt, the Sacramento Kings should be comfortable dropping down in the draft if it means getting Aaron Gordon.
The 24-year-old can claim either starting forward job and averaged 16.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 35.5 percent from three over his final 20 games this season. He remains one of the NBA's best athletes and would provide a great lob target for point guard De'Aaron Fox. Trading down would also mean getting off of Harrison Barnes' contract, which has three years and $60.9 million remaining.
A team stuck in purgatory, the Orlando Magic would get the chance at a star at the top of the draft who could finally make them a threat in the playoffs. Markelle Fultz would benefit with another playmaker or scorer in the backcourt, and Barnes would be a useful veteran on the wing.
The Kings would also get the No. 15 pick, where RJ Hampton, Patrick Williams or Tyrese Maxey could all be available.
San Antonio Spurs
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, PF Rudy Gay, PG Patty Mills, F Keldon Johnson to Cleveland Cavaliers for PF Kevin Love and G Collin Sexton
The San Antonio Spurs' 22-year-playoff streak is over, and they need to add significant talent to start another run next season.
Kevin Love, a five-time All-Star, and Collin Sexton, a 20-points-per-game scorer, would spark a starting lineup that could also include LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan if DeRozan picks up his player option or signs a new deal.
LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards would make more sense for the Cleveland Cavaliers with Sexton gone, and either would join 2019 No. 5 pick Darius Garland in a revamped backcourt. The Cavs would save significant future money by swapping Love's contract for the expiring deals of Rudy Gay and Patty Mills, and Keldon Johnson would provide wing depth.
San Antonio likely won't commit to a rebuild with Gregg Popovich still coaching, so moving the first overall pick for established talent would be the right choice.
The Trade: 2020 No. 1 overall pick, C Thomas Bryant, PG Ish Smith to Indiana Pacers for 2022 first-round pick (unprotected) and C Myles Turner
If the Washington Wizards don't trade Bradley Beal and are serious about competing next year, the defense will need a vast improvement.
Washington was 29th in defensive rating this season (114.7), per NBA.com, and could use a rim protector such as Myles Turner to provide insurance behind Beal and John Wall. Since the Pacers previously traded their own 2020 first-round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks in a deal for Malcolm Brodgon, the Wizards would get a future unprotected first to help even up the deal.
The Indiana Pacers have to be concerned about Victor Oladipo's free agency next year and could draft his replacement in Anthony Edwards. Thomas Bryant would give them a new starter at center if they wish to keep Domantas Sabonis at power forward, and Ish Smith would provide another ball-handler off the bench.
With the Wizards backcourt already set for next season, it would better serve them now and over the next few years to trade the first overall pick for a defender such as Turner.