The Perfect Offseason Trade Target for Every NBA Team
Every NBA team should be compiling a list of their potential trade targets this summer, regardless of whether they're still in the playoffs or not.
Of course, these have to be at least somewhat realistic.
Based on positions that need to be filled, team weaknesses, state of the franchise and championship aspirations, these are the perfect trade-target fits for all 30 teams.
Atlanta Hawks: G Marcus Smart
The Hawks don't need to be on the hunt for a superstar, but rather players who fit in well beside franchise player Trae Young as they continue their ascent to the top of the East.
While Young is already one of the league's best offensive threats, his physical limitations (6'1" height, 6'2" wingspan) mean he'll probably always be a lousy defender who opponents seek to attack.
Putting Smart on the floor next to Young allows the two-time All-Defensive team member to take on the toughest assignment every night. This means less strain on Young to defend, letting him focus his efforts on carrying the offense.
Smart's also become a better scorer and ball-handler with time, averaging career highs with 13.1 points and 5.7 assists this season.
Boston Celtics: C Jonas Valanciunas
With Tristan Thompson slightly past his prime and Robert Williams III still years away from entering his, the Celtics could use a win-now center at the top of his game.
Valanciunas, 29, put up career bests in points (17.1), rebounds (12.5) and field goal percentage (59.2 percent), all while playing tough defense and shooting a respectable 36.8 percent from three.
He's a proven playoff performer, starting 41 of his 48 total games over six seasons, another important factor for a Boston team that should still have its sights set on a title in the coming years.
Valanciunas keeps the floor spread for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown while doing all the dirty work necessary for others to shine.
Brooklyn Nets: C Chris Boucher
Brooklyn should continue to eye big men who can defend, although trying to match salary and assets to obtain a superstar is out of the question.
Boucher is probably the best the Nets could realistically get, a 28-year-old breakout center for the Toronto Raptors who's under contract for just $7 million next season.
He finished third in the NBA in block percentage (7.6 percent), even higher than Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert (7.0 percent). His 7'4" wingspan allows for a lot of shot challenging and denying around the rim.
Boucher also showed off an impressive offensive game, being able to dribble and shoot like a wing while nailing 38.3 percent of his threes.
Charlotte Hornets: C Mitchell Robinson
Center is easily the most important position for the Hornets to address this offseason.
While Charlotte could chase a player like Andre Drummond, Montrezl Harrell or Richaun Holmes in free agency, none carry the upside of Robinson.
Injuries and the strong play of Nerlens Noel prevented Robinson from looking like the franchise center most expected him to be for the Knicks this season, meaning the Hornets should at least get a feel for his availability.
At 23, Robinson is a tremendous athlete who can swat shots at one end and throw down some monstrous dunks on the other. He's an incredibly efficient player who rarely leaves the paint and has yet to even attempt a three-pointer three years into his career.
If he can stay healthy, Robinson would feast on lobs from LaMelo Ball while anchoring the Hornets' defense.
Chicago Bulls: PG Lonzo Ball
The Bulls were interested in trading for Ball before the deadline, offering Tomas Satoransky and second-round picks per Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer.
While that offer clearly wasn't enough, the two sides could still work out a sign-and-trade agreement with Ball now going into restricted free agency.
With Coby White looking more like a scoring guard than a true floor general, Ball could fill that role for the Bulls while setting the table for guys like Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, White and Patrick Williams.
Finding a salary that works for everyone is the first step ($18 million annually? $20 million? more?), and then working out a deal that brings something back to the New Orleans Pelicans in return makes this a tricky, but not impossible, scenario.
Cleveland Cavaliers: G/F Luke Kennard
The Cavs were the NBA's worst three-point shooting team this season (33.6 percent), and only the San Antonio Spurs made fewer per game (9.9 to 10.0).
Cleveland needs its existing core of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland to shoot more, but adding a knock-down threat on the wing would help lift the entire offense as well.
Kennard, 24, finished eighth overall in three-point accuracy (44.6 percent), yet saw his playing time slashed to 19.6 minutes per game. He's only recently joined the Los Angeles Clippers' playoff rotation, meaning he could be available via trade.
Adding Kennard, an Ohio native, to the Cavaliers roster would help make sure they don't finish last in outside shooting again.
Dallas Mavericks: SG CJ McCollum
McCollum has proven to be an ideal No. 2 offensive option, as he's coming off a career year with averages of 23.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and a 40.2 percent mark from three. The 29-year-old also registered the lowest turnover percentage of his career (6.5 percent).
A backcourt of Luka Doncic and McCollum would be one of the NBA's best, with both able to play on or off the ball and put pressure on opposing defenses.
With current starting shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. set to become a free agent, the Mavericks could very well be in the market for help on the wing.
If Dallas can swap Kristaps Porzingis and filler for McCollum, the offseason will already be a success.
Denver Nuggets: G Malcolm Brogdon
With MVP Nikola Jokic, a pair of dynamic scorers in Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., and now Aaron Gordon doing a little bit of everything, the Nuggets should only need one more impact player to win the 2022 title.
Brogdon would be the perfect addition, a big guard at 6'5" who can both score and facilitate based on what the team needs on any given night.
Playing alongside a passer like Jokic would only open up more catch-and-shoot three-point opportunities, a shot that Brogdon hit 44.4 percent of the time this season.
A starting lineup of Brogdon, Murray, Porter, Gordon and Jokic may be the best in basketball.
Detroit Pistons: G/F Cam Reddish
Detroit shouldn't be going all-in on a playoff run just yet, instead developing players like Isiaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey and Killian Hayes while only looking to add to the young talent base.
Managing a sore Achilles has set Reddish back this season, but the No. 10 overall pick in the 2019 draft is still only 21 years old. He can play three different positions and has shown terrific defensive ability.
While Reddish hasn't shot the ball well in his 26 games this year (36.5 percent overall, 26.2 percent on threes), he showed real improvement towards the end of his rookie season. If Reddish can get his Achilles managed this offseason, we could see a huge jump in overall efficiency in 2021-22.
Now is the perfect buy-low time for Detroit with Reddish, who the Hawks haven't really missed throughout the playoffs thus far.
Golden State Warriors: C Christian Wood
The Warriors should be looking for an upgrade at center, as they simply can't afford to wait for James Wiseman to improve. The rookie's minus-16.9 swing rating ranked in the 1 percent of all NBA players this season, per Cleaning the Glass.
Myles Turner, Jonas Valanciunas and Wood would all be ideal targets, with the latter the only one playing on a rebuilding team.
The 25-year-old center averaged 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and knocked down 37.4 percent of his threes last season, giving the Warriors another big-time offensive threat to join Stephen Curry and a returning Klay Thompson.
Wood is on a great contract (two years, $28 million), meaning the Warriors could simply swap Wiseman and hang on to the rest of their core when matching salaries.
Houston Rockets: C James Wiseman
Well, this only makes sense.
If the Golden State Warriors ideal target is Christian Wood, the Rockets should love to take back Wiseman in return.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft didn't contribute much to winning last season, but still averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.9 blocks and shot 51.9 percent overall in his 21.4 minutes.
A true 7-footer with a 7'6" wingspan, Wiseman has all the physical tools to become an elite two-way player, including a capable three-point shot.
While Wood helps the Rockets win now, that shouldn't really be the goal in Houston, especially with 21-year-old Kevin Porter Jr. as the team's other main building block.
Houston can afford to be patient with Wiseman, whose ceiling is higher than that of Wood's.
Indiana Pacers: SF Gordon Hayward
Assuming the Pacers don't tear things down following a rare trip to the lottery, adding another scorer and playmaker on the wing would help make sure Indiana is back in the playoffs next season.
The Pacers already admitted pursuing Hayward last offseason when he eventually agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets, as the Indianapolis native would have gotten to come home.
As questionable as his four-year, $120 million deal looked at the time, it really wasn't a talking point after Hayward put up 19.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals and shot 41.5 percent from three.
Even if it cost the Pacers Myles Turner in return, a lineup of Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Hayward, T.J. Warren and Domantas Sabonis would be a force in the East.
Los Angeles Clippers: F DeMar DeRozan
While the Clippers don't have the cap space to go out and sign DeRozan in free agency, a sign-and-trade with the San Antonio Spurs could always be arranged.
A USC Trojan who grew up in Compton, DeRozan would probably love a return home, especially if it means getting back to the playoffs.
The Clippers could use the four-time All-Star in a number of ways.
After putting up a career-high 6.9 assists per game this season, DeRozan could play the role of a 6'6" point guard or be a small-ball power forward like he did most of this season for the Spurs. Head coach Tyronn Lue could also use DeRozan as the ultimate sixth man if he was comfortable with that role as well.
For a Clippers team that ranked just 21st in team assist percentage this season (58.4 percent), having another star and playmaker makes them even more dangerous.
Los Angeles Lakers: PG Russell Westbrook
The Lakers simply couldn't survive an injury to Anthony Davis in the postseason, and LeBron James finally began to show his age this year with his own injuries.
L.A. could use a third star as insurance for both, but don't have the necessary draft picks or young talent to acquire one.
Westbrook could be the exception, especially if the Washington Wizards simply want to get off his two-year, $91.3 million contract should they eventually trade Bradley Beal. The contracts of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and player option of Montrezl Harrell would be enough to match salaries, and the Lakers own some future second-rounders they could throw in if needed.
Putting some shooters around a core of James, Davis and Westbrook would make the Lakers a championship-level team once again.
Memphis Grizzlies: F/C Domantas Sabonis
Finding a third star to complement Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. should be the goal for Memphis. While there's plenty of other young talent on the roster (Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, Xavier Tillman, Brandon Clarke etc.), none look like a future All-Star.
Sabonis would be a dream target, one of the NBA's best passing big men who could take over the starting center job for Jonas Valanciunas, a free agent next year.
A two-time All-Star, Sabonis is still just 25, so he fits the timeline of the rest of the young Grizzlies. He'd be worth trading Valanciunas and some of the team's young talent and picks, especially considering his contract runs until 2024.
While it's highly unlikely the Pacers would part with Sabonis, the Grizzlies have a good amount of assets to give up if Indiana undergoes a mini rebuild.
Miami Heat: SG Bradley Beal
Failing to trade for another star (James Harden, Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal) ultimately doomed the Heat in the playoffs when they were eventually swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.
Waiting for Tyler Herro and others to develop is an option, but Jimmy Butler is going to be 32 before the season starts and carries a lot of wear and tear from his early Chicago Bulls days.
Beal is the type of dynamic scorer the Heat need, someone to form a Big Three with Butler and Bam Adebayo to make another Finals run.
The 27-year-old finished second in the NBA in scoring this season (31.3 points per game) to go along with his 4.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.2 steals. The threat of him leaving in free agency next year may finally convince the Wizards to trade their star player, with the Heat able to offer a package based around Herro, Precious Achiuwa and future draft picks.
Milwaukee Bucks: PG Delon Wright
After trading away multiple first-round picks for Jrue Holiday, the Bucks are pretty limited in dealing for more help.
Wright would be a reasonable target, one of the NBA's best backup point guard who averaged 10.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals between the Detroit Pistons and Sacramento Kings.
The Bucks will need a reliable ball-handler off the bench with Jeff Teague set to become a free agent, and Wright is a big upgrade over the veteran guard.
Milwaukee should value Wright's off-ball talents as well, as the 29-year-old nailed 43.8 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes this year.
Minnesota Timberwolves: PF Pascal Siakam
Jaden McDaniels is a nice, young power forward prospect for Minnesota, but this is a team that needs to win now to keep Karl-Anthony Towns happy.
Siakam, 27, has already been an All-Star starter in his career and would fit nicely beside Towns in the Wolves frontcourt. The pair were just two of nine total NBA players this season to average at least 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
Depending on who they'd have to give up for Siakam in return, a lineup of D'Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Malik Beasley, Siakam and Towns would finally get the Wolves into the playoffs, likely behind one of the best offenses in all of basketball.
New Orleans Pelicans: C Myles Turner
There is no more perfect trade target in all of basketball than Turner is for the Pelicans.
New Orleans was held back by a 23rd-ranked defense last season, and Turner looked like a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate early in the year.
The 25-year-old is the best shot blocker in the entire NBA (3.4 per game, 8.8 block percentage, both first overall) and is under contract until 2023 at $18 million per year.
Turner also gives the Pelicans more spacing than Steven Adams can provide, a career 35.2 percent shooter from deep. With Zion Williamson needing driving lanes to unleash hell on the rim, Turner is the perfect partner to share the floor with.
New York Knicks: SG Zach LaVine
LaVine is likely considered off limits by the Bulls for now, but his impending free agency and an ever-possible trade request could change things at any time.
If Chicago feels like LaVine will walk in free agency, the Knicks should pounce.
LaVine has the type of electric game perfectly suited for Madison Square Garden, and LaVine and RJ Barrett on the wing could become one of the best young duos in the league.
At age 26 he finished seventh in the NBA in scoring this season (27.4 points per game), doing so on a career-best 63.4 percent true shooting. The only other guard in NBA history to score at this high of volume and on this efficiency? Stephen Curry.
Oklahoma City Thunder: G Collin Sexton
The Thunder should be looking for a long-term backcourt partner for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, eyeing players who can play a combo guard role with both scoring and playmaking ability.
Sexton had a terrific junior season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 24.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.0 steals on 47.5 percent shooting. While the Cavs clearly value Sexton, the hesitation to give him a max contract extension or the opportunity to draft Jalen Suggs or Jalen Green may put him on the market.
OKC has enough draft ammo to make a competitive offer for nearly any player they want in the league, and a lineup of Gilgeous-Alexander, Sexton, Lu Dort, Darius Bazley and Moses Brown is a rock-solid foundation to build on.
Orlando Magic: G/F Jarrett Culver
After gutting the roster at the trade deadline, the Magic should continue to be patient and try to unearth young talent throughout the league.
Culver has been buried on the Wolves roster, but was the No. 6 overall pick in 2019. Still just 22, he can spend time at shooting guard and small forward, perhaps Orlando's biggest areas of weakness moving forward.
Letting Culver develop along with Cole Anthony, Jonathan Isaac, Wendell Carter Jr., Markelle Fultz and others may help extract his talent now that he no longer shares the floor with ball-dominant scorers in Minnesota.
With two years remaining on his rookie deal, Culver is worth trading for and taking a chance on for a young Magic team.
Philadelphia 76ers: PG Damian Lillard
If the 76ers fall short of a championship this season (and maybe even if they don't), a trade for Lillard is worth exploring.
The third-highest scorer in the NBA at 28.8 points per game, Lillard would be a devastating force playing next to Joel Embiid, the fourth-highest scorer.
A deal for Lillard would have to cost the Sixers either Ben Simmons or Tobias Harris just to match salaries, and Philly has young players like Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle it could offer as well.
Even if Simmons went to Portland in return, a lineup of Lillard, Seth Curry, Thybulle, Harris and Embiid would provide plenty of scoring, defense and outside shooting, potentially making Philly the title favorites in the NBA.
Phoenix Suns: PF Jerami Grant
The Suns don't have many weaknesses right now, especially if Chris Paul keeps his player option or re-signs in Phoenix next year.
An upgrade at power forward could be an option, however, as Jae Crowder has essentially just become a three-point shooter at this stage in his career.
Grant would give Phoenix a better overall four to place between Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton, one who can play and defend multiple positions and dropped 22.3 points per game this season.
With four starters already locked in, Grant is a near All-Star caliber power forward who keeps Phoenix at the top of the West.
Portland Trail Blazers: PF Draymond Green
With a 29th-ranked defense this year, it should come as no surprise the Blazers got bounced in the first round.
Getting Damian Lillard's input on the roster is probably important to keep him happy this summer and moving forward. According to previous tweets from both he and CJ McCollum, Green seems to be a guy both would be interested in playing with.
It's hard to imagine the Warriors trading the heart and soul of their roster, however.
While his offense has fallen off a cliff in recent years, Green remains one of the NBA's best and most versatile defenders at age 31. He also averaged a career-high 8.9 assists per game this year, a skill that would come in handy for Portland team that finished last in assist percentage.
It almost certainly won't happen, but the Blazers should at least inquire about Green for Lillard's sake.
Sacramento Kings: F Robert Covington
If the Portland Trail Blazers shake up the roster this offseason, Covington would be a good fit for a Kings team that desperately needs defensive help.
Sacramento was dead last in defensive rating this year (116.5 rating), despite having a good rim protector in Richaun Holmes at center. While Covington isn't a great one-on-one defender, he plays good team defense with his ability to switch and disrupt passing lanes.
Covington, 30, also hit on a career-high 37.9 percent of his three-pointers this season and can play either forward position.
San Antonio Spurs: PF Kristaps Porzingis
The Spurs need frontcourt help if they want to break a two-year playoff drought, and Porzingis could come at a cheap price from Dallas.
San Antonio has the cap space to take on Porzingis without matching any salary at all, and the 25-year-old power forward fits the young core that's now taken over with DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay and Patty Mills hitting free agency.
With Porzingis reportedly frustrated with his limited role in Dallas, Gregg Popovich certainly has enough experience with skilled big men to appease the former All-Star.
Porzingis is still quite talented when healthy, and this could be a chance for the Spurs to snag a star on the cheap if the Mavericks would prefer cap space instead.
Toronto Raptors: C Mo Bamba
The Raptors will almost certainly waive Aaron Baynes and his non-guaranteed salary in favor of cap space, opening up a hole at center. Chris Boucher was great last year, but at 28 and going into free agency next year, the Raptors could use a younger option to go with him.
If the Orlando Magic view Wendell Carter Jr. as their franchise guy, Bamba could be available.
The 23-year-old center averaged 18.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per 36 minutes last season, filling up the stat sheet when given an opportunity to play.
Toronto should be back in the playoffs next season with a core of Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., and Boucher, with Bamba serving as the center of the future.
Utah Jazz: PF Larry Nance Jr.
The Jazz don't need any big changes with a roster that had the best record in the NBA this season, and should only be looking to add high-level rotation players instead.
Nance is the perfect role player in today's NBA. He's primarily a power forward but has the versatility to play on the wing and even defend some centers.
His 1.7 steals per game would have tied for third-most in the NBA had he played enough games to qualify, and Nance is a good scorer, rebounder, defender and passer who has little overall weakness in his game.
Nance would start at power forward for Utah or come off the bench, joining former Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Jordan Clarkson.
Washington Wizards: SF Terrence Ross
If the Wizards want to go deeper into the playoffs behind Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, adding one of the best bench scorers in the NBA would certainly help.
Ross, 30, put up a career-high 15.6 points per game for the Orlando Magic this season. With Orlando very much in a rebuild, Ross should be available for the right price.
Washington's offense ranked just 17th overall this season, with Davis Bertans serving as the only reliable scoring threat in the second unit. He's very reliant on receiving passes from others, however, so adding Ross gives the Wizards a scorer who can create his own shot.