Every NBA Team's Dream Offseason Trade Target
With a weak 2020 draft class and a salary cap that could end up decreasing due to revenue lost from the league going on hiatus, more NBA teams may be turning to the trade market for help this offseason.
All 30 teams should be assembling their trade big board, starting with the players who could reasonably become available for the right price.
Even dream trade targets have to be grounded in a little bit of reality, of course. Young franchise players like Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson, Trae Young and Jayson Tatum certainly aren't going anywhere, and veterans like LeBron James, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard would have to demand a trade from their current franchises (and likely still wouldn't be moved).
Free agents are fair game here, as well. Even teams without cap space can orchestrate sign-and-trade deals as we saw with Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat last offseason.
While the star power of every team's dream trade target can vary, these are the top guys each one should be calling about.
Atlanta Hawks: SG Jrue Holiday
In order to be considered true playoff contenders in the East next season, the young Hawks will need to develop quickly or trade for an All-Star guard who's one of the best two-way players in the league.
A backcourt of Trae Young and Jrue Holiday would be among the best in the conference. A terrific defender, Holiday could take on the toughest assignment every night while allowing Young to save his energy for the offensive end.
Head coach Lloyd Pierce could stagger the minutes between the two, allowing Holiday to play some backup point guard, as well. Playing alongside Lonzo Ball with the New Orleans Pelicans this season, Holiday still ranked 17th in the NBA with 6.7 assists per game, second-best among all shooting guards and trailing only James Harden.
Holiday's 36.4 percent mark on catch-and-shoot threes would help improve Atlanta's league-worst 33.3 percent three-point shooting as a team, and his veteran leadership would also be valuable for a squad losing Vince Carter to retirement.
Boston Celtics: PF John Collins
Power forward remains an area of need for the Celtics as Jayson Tatum's future is on the wing.
If the Celtics want to keep their spacing and add a lob target for their talented collection of guards, John Collins would be an ideal fit.
The 22-year-old forward shot a career-high 40.1 percent from three this season, scoring 21.6 points while pulling down 10.1 rebounds per game. He's still on his rookie contract, so the Celtics wouldn't be forced to flip one of their big deals for him and could instead build a package based around draft picks and young players.
Collins isn't a particularly good defender, so keeping starting center Daniel Theis to do the dirty work is a must. When Boston needs some offense, however, going small with Collins at the 5 and shooters all around would certainly generate some points in a hurry.
If Atlanta is hesitant to give Collins a big contract extension, the Celtics should make an offer.
Brooklyn Nets: SG Buddy Hield
As tempting as trading for a player like Bradley Beal may be, the Nets just need someone who can knock down threes while Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie all handle the ball.
Enter Buddy Hield, one of the NBA's best marksmen who canned 41.3 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes with the Sacramento Kings this season.
While the 27-year-old can create for himself as needed, a whopping 59.2 percent of his shots came from three last season. Playing between Irving and Durant would provide the kind of spacing he could only dream about while in Sacramento, and getting a starting shooting guard job back should help kickstart his overall play.
Given Irving's and Durant's recent injury histories, durability matters here, too. Hield has missed just two games in his entire four-year career, suiting up all 72 times for the Kings this season.
With Joe Harris hitting free agency and the Nets in need of floor spacing around their stars, Hield would be the perfect trade target.
Charlotte Hornets: C Jarrett Allen
Assuming the Hornets don't draft a center at No. 3 overall (and maybe even if they do), Charlotte needs to find a big man of the future.
With rookie power forward P.J. Washington showing plenty of floor-spacing ability, the Hornets only need someone who can rebound, protect the rim and be a good pick-and-roll partner for Devonte' Graham at center.
Enter Jarrett Allen, who may or may not have a starting job with the Brooklyn Nets, depending on who the franchise hires as head coach. DeAndre Jordan had previously taken his spot in the opening lineup before the NBA went on hiatus.
Charlotte has plenty of future cap space to offer Allen a big extension, something the Nets may not be willing to do with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert and Jordan on the books.
With Bismack Biyombo hitting free agency and Cody Zeller going into the final year of his contract, the Hornets need to target their center of the future.
Chicago Bulls: C Joel Embiid
The Bulls should be a fringe playoff team next year before setting themselves up as a possible free-agent destination in 2021. Getting Joel Embiid now would help them with both.
If the Philadelphia 76ers decide to break up their Ben Simmons-Embiid core, the Bulls should go all-in for the three-time All-Star.
Even his averages of 23.0 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 blocks this season seem modest compared to what Embiid could put up with the right type of roster around him.
Putting a floor-spacing power forward in Lauri Markkanen and some three-point-happy guards in Zach LaVine and Coby White around him would help maximize his room to work inside the arc, and his elite defensive potential could erase a lot of poor team play on that end of the floor.
For free agents considering joining Chicago in 2021, having one of the game's best centers as a selling point would be a huge recruiting tool, as well.
Cleveland Cavaliers: G/F Caris LeVert
Cleveland has a win-now frontcourt with Kevin Love and Andre Drummond, and the backcourt of Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. carries a lot of promise. That leaves the wing as the primary area of need.
No offense to Cedi Osman, who's made great strides as a shooter, but he projects more as a good reserve on a title-contending team than as a starting small forward.
Playmaking is also a need as neither Sexton nor Garland has shown the ability to set up teammates on a consistent basis.
LeVert would satisfy all these weaknesses in Cleveland, and the 26-year-old is still young enough to fit the timeline of the incumbent guards. Serving as the de facto point guard for a Brooklyn team missing Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie in the playoffs, LeVert averaged 20.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 1.3 steals while hitting 42.9 percent of his three-pointers.
With his size (6'6", 205 lbs), age, playmaking and outside shooting, LeVert would be the perfect starting small forward for the Cavaliers.
Dallas Mavericks: G Patrick Beverley
The Mavericks may not need a third star after all, especially if Luka Doncic continues his rise toward the NBA's best-player status.
The team also features a tremendous second option in Kristaps Porzingis, a terrific wing defender in Dorian Finney-Smith and shooters sprinkled all around.
While Dallas possessed a historically great offense this season (115.9 rating), the defense ranked just 18th (111.2 rating). If Doncic has a weakness, it's on-ball defense, which is something Beverley still thrives at.
The Mavericks were interested in signing him as a free agent last summer, and Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News wrote that "Dallas and Beverley regard one another as a 'perfect fit.'"
Putting Beverley in a backcourt with Doncic would prevent the 21-year-old from taking on the toughest defensive assignment every night, saving his energy for the enormous scoring and playmaking duties he regularly receives.
Denver Nuggets: G Marcus Smart
The Nuggets have one of the best young offensive trios in the NBA with Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., but they have dug themselves into a 3-2 playoff hole to the Utah Jazz thanks to an atrocious defensive effort.
While not having Gary Harris and Will Barton hasn't helped, the Nuggets will likely need to add more defensive pieces if they want to become title contenders.
Smart would be an ideal fit next to Jamal Murray, capable of shutting down the opponent's best offensive guard while taking on occasional ball-handling duties.
The Nuggets' defensive rating of 127.4 isn't just the worst in the NBA this postseason; it is the highest recorded rating in NBA.com's 24-year database. Smart can be the heart and soul of a team's defense, and no playoff roster needs his skill set more than the Nuggets.
Detroit Pistons: No. 1 Overall Pick
Moving down to the No. 7 spot was a tough blow for the Pistons, who need some franchise-changing talent to kickstart what's become a slow rebuild.
While Detroit could still grab a player like Tyrese Haliburton, Devin Vassell or Onyeka Okongwu at their current spot, all three project to be closer to solid starters than All-Stars.
Even with the top of the draft looking weaker than in most seasons, a player like Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball could be a game-changer in Detroit, breathing some fresh air into a franchise with little young talent to build upon.
Moving up in the draft may not cost as much as in most years, either, given there's not a consensus No. 1 overall pick.
Detroit may even wait until draft night itself to see if either Edwards or Ball falls a spot or two before putting together a small trade package in order to move up.
Golden State Warriors: G/F Ben Simmons
While the Warriors will inevitably throw everything outside of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson at the Milwaukee Bucks for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ben Simmons may actually be a better fit on the roster.
Simmons' skill set has become a super-charged version of Draymond Green's, able to defend at a DPOY level and making any pass necessary on the court. With his brief move from point guard to power forward, he could be inserted anywhere in the Warriors starting lineup and head coach Steve Kerr would figure out a way to make it work.
Also, putting a player whose only real weakness is outside shooting next to the greatest three-point-shooting backcourt of all time feels like a natural fit as Simmons seems perfectly happy as a table-setter who may never be a 20-point-per-game scorer.
The Warriors may have to bring in a third team to send some established talent toward Philadelphia (the New Orleans Pelicans' Jrue Holiday would be a good start), and they have the No. 2 overall pick in this draft and the Minnesota Timberwolves' top-three-protected selection in 2021 as primary trade bait.
Houston Rockets: F Marcus Morris Sr.
If the Rockets stay committed to their small-ball ways, they'll be looking for wing help that can switch defensively and knock down open threes.
While it would take the Los Angeles Clippers agreeing to a sign-and-trade, Marcus Morris Sr. would be a huge addition to Houston.
At 6'8" and 235 pounds, Morris can play anywhere from small forward to small-ball center, perfect for the Rockets' system. He's still a talented and aggressive defender who hit 42.5 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes this season, a higher mark than that of current Houston forwards Robert Covington (33.0 percent) and P.J. Tucker (36.1 percent).
Originally drafted by the Rockets with the 14th overall pick in 2011, Morris would help make a championship push nine years later.
Indiana Pacers: SF Gordon Hayward
A healthy Pacers squad would have been one of the best in the East this year, but it likely still needs another impact player to get by teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics.
Hayward is an Indianapolis native who could start at small forward or come off the bench as one of the NBA's best sixth men. He looked like his former All-Star self this season, averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 50.0 percent from the field.
Putting up those numbers despite being fourth among Celtics rotation players in usage rate (21.1 percent) bodes well for a trade to Indiana, where his role would likely only increase.
Even if getting Hayward cost the Pacers a starter like Myles Turner, an opening lineup of Malcolm Brogdon, Victor Oladipo, Hayward, T.J. Warren and Domantas Sabonis would feature plenty of balanced scoring and playmaking and push the Pacers toward the top of the East.
Returning to his home state wouldn't just be for nostalgia as Hayward could play a major role on an Indiana team that needs more help after it was swept out of the playoffs by the Heat.
Los Angeles Clippers: C Myles Turner
The Clippers possess one center with size (Ivica Zubac) and another with a non-stop motor (Montrezl Harrell). While both bring good qualities to the table, neither spaces the floor or combines size and rim protection.
Myles Turner would be a tremendous fit with the Clippers and recently shined in the postseason series against a tough Miami Heat team. A career 35.7 percent shooter from three at 6'11" and 250 pounds, Turner averaged 15.5 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.9 blocks and shot 56.8 percent overall and 42.9 percent from three in four games against Miami.
Assuming the Los Angeles Lakers re-sign Anthony Davis, the Denver Nuggets keep Nikola Jokic and Kristaps Porzingis stays in Dallas, the Clippers will need someone with size and mobility to keep the Western Conference's big men in check.
If the Pacers feel they need to choose between Domantas Sabonis and Turner, the Clippers should try to bring in the former Texas star.
Los Angeles Lakers: SG JJ Redick
While the Lakers locked down the No. 1 seed in the West this season, L.A. still has a lot of room for improvement.
Outside shooting has been a weak point all year, a critical component for a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers ranked just 21st in three-point accuracy during the regular season (34.9 percent) and are next-to-last during the playoffs (33.1 percent).
Even at age 36, JJ Redick can solve a lot of shooting woes by himself as his 45.3 percent mark from deep was good for second overall in the entire NBA. He also knocked down 47.2 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes, a number that may even go up while receiving passes from James.
After picking up Dion Waiters and JR Smith from the bargain bin this year, the Lakers need to target Redick for some floor-spacing help this offseason.
Memphis Grizzlies: SG Victor Oladipo
The Grizzlies can choose to do nothing this offseason and may still see a big improvement next year, but even that may not be enough to get them into the Western Conference playoffs.
Bringing in a veteran shooting guard with an intense work ethic who can set the tone for the rest of the team would certainly help push Memphis into the postseason and help take scoring pressure off Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Following a disappointing sweep out of the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers face an uncertain future with Victor Oladipo, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021. If Memphis can get him and make a playoff run, why wouldn't he want to return to a team with such a bright future?
After he averaged 17.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals against the Miami Heat, a few months off should help Oladipo return to his All-Star form. At 28, the 2013 No. 2 overall pick is still young enough to be a part of the Grizzlies' future while helping them compete now.
Miami Heat: PF Giannis Antetokounmpo
Few teams possess the trade assets to make a serious offer for Giannis Antetokounmpo, and even fewer also have a market and structure that would convince him to stay in free agency.
While Miami could wait until 2021 to try luring Antetokounmpo away from the Milwaukee Bucks, that's another year of Jimmy Butler's prime that could be spent seriously competing for a title. The Heat have trade assets throughout the roster in Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn, while Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk represent over $28 million in expiring salaries.
Between Butler, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, the Heat have been pretty good at convincing free agents to either sign or re-sign over the past decade, so letting Antetokounmpo experience the team's culture for a full year would certainly give them a leg up on the competition.
The Los Angeles Lakers could have waited for Anthony Davis to become a free agent in 2020, but trading for him early has put them in first place in the West, and he's a near certainty to re-sign. The Heat should make the same gamble with Antetokounmpo if they can.
Milwaukee Bucks: PG Kyle Lowry
Eric Bledsoe is mostly fine as a starting point guard, but getting a six-time All-Star like Kyle Lowry would greatly increase the Bucks' title chances.
Milwaukee only has one season left with Giannis Antetokounmpo under contract, and a championship would go a long way toward getting him to sign another long-term deal.
Chris Paul would qualify here, but he's set to earn over $11 million more than Lowry in 2020-21 and is a year older. The Bucks could match up contracts far easier for the Raptors' veteran point guard, assuming Toronto would even entertain such a deal.
Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Lowry were all All-Stars this season and would form arguably the best Big Three in the East.
Minnesota Timberwolves: SG Devin Booker
The Wolves already granted Karl-Anthony Towns one wish when they traded for D'Angelo Russell. With the No. 1 overall pick, they could now put together a package for former Kentucky teammate Devin Booker.
Such a deal only becomes a remote possibility if Booker demands a trade, which seems unlikely with the Phoenix Suns riding high following an 8-0 record in the bubble.
Towns, Booker and Russell are all 24 or younger and already on their rookie extensions. They might put up 120 points per night, but defense would certainly be an issue.
If and when the Suns say no to a Booker deal, the Wolves should instead target defensive-minded power forwards like PJ Tucker, Paul Millsap or Aaron Gordon next to Towns and give Malik Beasley a new contract instead.
New Orleans Pelicans: C Rudy Gobert
If Derrick Favors leaves the Pelicans in free agency, New Orleans could make another phone call out west to get its next starting center.
As good as Favors was for the Pelicans this season, Gobert would take the team's defense to a new level. The first time All-Star averaged 15.1 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks and shot 69.3 percent from the field, holding opponents to just 48.4 percent shooting from within six feet.
As long as Zion Williamson continues to develop his outside shot, the fit between him and Gobert should be good enough, and the two-time Defensive Player of the Year will make sure he never has to guard centers.
Gobert and Jrue Holiday would be the foundation of a great defense, and New Orleans would have no excuse not to make the playoffs next season.
New York Knicks: Literally Any Star
Bradley Beal? Ben Simmons? Heck, even Chris Paul will do at this point.
As the Knicks prepare for another venture into free agency in 2021, trading for a star now would help break the ice for others to eventually follow suit.
Keeping RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson should be a priority, but all options will be on the table for team president Leon Rose as he tries to reshape a once-iconic franchise. Even going after a semi-star in Zach LaVine, Kevin Love or Blake Griffin would be an upgrade and sell some tickets.
The Knicks should be placing calls to every team around the league that's willing to listen while making the No. 8 overall pick and all future firsts available.
Oklahoma City Thunder: PF Lauri Markkanen
It's time the Thunder start cashing in all those juicy first-round picks from the Paul George trade.
As good as OKC has been this season, there isn't a sustainable future built around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander just yet. Chris Paul is 35, Danilo Gallinari is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and Steven Adams and Dennis Schroder have just one year left on their deals.
Markkanen would give the team a high-upside power forward and pick-and-pop partner with Gilgeous-Alexander, and a revamped Chicago Bulls front office should be happy to collect on an extra pick or two.
No team is better positioned to trade for stars, and the Thunder could set a new foundation while still staying competitive in the West.
Orlando Magic: SF DeMar DeRozan
The Magic should have interest in any shooting guard or small forward who can score, defend or pass if they ever want to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.
Should he opt out, DeRozan could be acquired by completing a sign-and-trade with the San Antonio Spurs. If he picks up his $27.7 million player option, a straight-up deal would work instead.
Primarily operating at small forward for the Spurs this season, DeRozan averaged 22.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists while shooting a career-high 53.1 percent from the field. He would take some playmaking responsibilities off starting point guard Markelle Fultz, but Orlando would need to find a lights-out shooter to put between them.
With continued improvement from a young-ish core, DeRozan, Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Fultz could help push Orlando into the second round.
Philadelphia 76ers: PG Chris Paul
If the Sixers plan on keeping both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, they'll likely need another ball-handler.
Paul may be well past his prime at age 35, but he's carried the Thunder to the playoffs this season and changed the culture in what many assumed would be a rebuilding year in OKC. The Sixers are in desperate need of a makeover, and Paul would only need to serve as a table-setter and locker room leader.
Matching his $41.4 million salary could be difficult, but using either Al Horford or Tobias Harris as the base of a deal would free up future cap space for Philly. A starting lineup of Paul, Josh Richardson, Harris, Simmons and Embiid is talented enough to make an NBA Finals, especially if the team can find the right head coach.
At some point, Paul's play has to decline, but averages of 21.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.5 steals on 50.0 percent shooting from the field this postseason suggest he's still got some time left.
Phoenix Suns: PF Kevin Love
The Suns are an All-Star power forward away from becoming a serious playoff contender in the West, and Kevin Love is still playing at a high level at age 31.
Averaging 17.6 points, 9.8 rebound and 3.2 assists while shooting 37.4 percent from three for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, Love can help keep the floor spread for Devin Booker and already carries years of experience with Ricky Rubio from their Minnesota Timberwolves days.
While Love shouldn't be counted on to be more than a solid No. 3 option on a good team, that's all Phoenix would need him to be with Booker and Deandre Ayton making strides each season.
Instead of overpaying Dario Saric in free agency, Suns general manager James Jones should look to bring in his former teammate instead.
Portland Trail Blazers: PF Aaron Gordon
With Jusuf Nurkic back and Trevor Ariza under contract for next season, the Blazers need to solve their power forward problem.
Zach Collins can't catch a break from injuries, and Carmelo Anthony will be an unrestricted free agent. If the Blazers want to fill the position with a multi-talented and athletic 24-year-old, they should look no further than Aaron Gordon.
Averaging 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists this season, Gordon would be a fun pick-and-roll partner for both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. His excellent passing for a big man would help a Blazers team that ranked dead last in assist percentage (48.8 percent), and Portland has young guards in Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. that Orlando could use in return.
The Blazers are in win-now-or-never mode with Lillard recently turning 30, and a move for Gordon would help push the team toward the top of the West.
Sacramento Kings: C Steven Adams
More so than just looking for a star or another young player to add to the core, the Kings need some culture changers. They have to find players who carry playoff experience and will lead by example for a team that's suffered yet another disappointing season.
Enter Steven Adams, arguably the league's toughest player and someone who would change the feel of the team from day one.
Having previously played alongside Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Paul George and now Chris Paul, Stevens would bring a ton of experience operating with stars.
He would lock down the starting center job, setting hard screens for De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield before battling for rebounds and protecting the rim. For a Sacramento team that needs more accomplished vets to help set the tone, Adams would be a terrific pickup.
San Antonio Spurs: SG Bradley Beal
If the Washington Wizards ever decide to make Bradley Beal available, expect all 29 other teams to at least make a phone call.
One dark-horse suitor? The Spurs.
San Antonio is stuck between embracing a rebuild behind guys like Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker IV and Derrick White and trying to compete now with LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.
If DeRozan agrees to pick up his $27.7 million player option and return or opt outs and signs a new deal, the Spurs should go all-in for Beal.
The NBA's second-leading scorer this season at 30.5 points per game, the 27-year-old shooting guard also chipped in 4.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game for a Wizards team that flirted with the playoffs even without John Wall.
There's no doubt Gregg Popovich could maximize Beal's all-around game, and putting him with DeRozan and Aldridge would signal the beginning of another playoff streak in South Texas.
Toronto Raptors: C Mo Bamba
While Nikola Vucevic is more prepared to help a team win now, Mo Bamba carries significant upside as a rim protector with his 7'0", 241-pound frame and massive 7'10" wingspan.
He averaged 13.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per 36 minutes off Orlando's bench this season and would form a terrific defensive combo with Pascal Siakam in the Raptors frontcourt. Toronto's history of player development suggests it could squeeze out the potential that made Bamba the No. 6 overall pick in 2018, as well.
Toronto should also have interest in Vucevic and make an offer for whichever player the Magic value least.
Utah Jazz: G CJ McCollum
Even with Mike Conley's strong play this postseason, the 32-year-old will be entering the final year of his contract next season. The Jazz need to find a long-term answer next to Donovan Mitchell, either a true point guard or a combo guard who can share ball-handling responsibilities.
That's where CJ McCollum comes in.
At 28 and under contract for the next four seasons, McCollum would give Mitchell a terrific guard to play off and grow next to. He brings years of experience playing with one of the best guards in the league in Damian Lillard and has perfected the role of a No. 2 scorer.
McCollum averaged a career-high 4.4 assists this season to go along with his 22.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, and his 46.0 percent shooting on catch-and-shoot threes would come in handy next to Mitchell for years to come.
Washington Wizards: C Andre Drummond
The Wizards were the worst rebounding team in the NBA this season (47.8 rebound percentage). Andre Drummond led the league in boards for the fourth time in the past five years (15.2 per game).
See where we're going?
If the Wizards want to keep Bradley Beal and see how far a healthy John Wall can take them, they'll need some additional roster help. Assuming Drummond picks up his $28.8 million player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the only way he's going to D.C. is with a trade.
Drummond's size and athleticism allow him to get elite positioning for boards, and his ability to finish around the glass led to a career-high 17.7 points per game this season.
If Cleveland and Drummond don't see a future together, the two-time All-Star would be a fit alongside Beal and Wall in Washington.