NBA Trade Ideas to Create the Next Superteams
The ingredients to building an NBA superteam are simple.
A roster must already contain at least one star player along with draft picks, young talent and/or cap space to use as assets to add more.
A superteam can't just have two stars, of course. We're being greedy here, but unless a roster features a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it's probably going to need a trio of high-level talent to win a championship.
For the following five teams, all of whom either missed the playoffs entirely or got bounced in the first round, putting together a star-studded roster isn't all that far away.
While it may interfere with the long-term success of the franchise, here's how all can add a third (or fourth) star to the roster and create their own superteams for the 2021-22 season.
Domantas Sabonis Joins Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum in Portland
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: F/C Domantas Sabonis
Indiana Pacers Receive: G Anfernee Simons, F Nassir Little, F Robert Covington, 2023 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick
Born in Portland, Oregon, while father Arvydas was playing for the Blazers in the mid-1990s, Sabonis going home would provide the Blazers with the perfect third star.
Arguably the league's best-passing big man outside of Nikola Jokic, Sabonis would do wonders to improve a Portland team that finished dead last in assist ratio this season (51.5 percent).
At age 25, Sabonis averaged 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.2 steals while shooting 53.5 percent from the floor. He's not a big-time rim protector like teammate Myles Turner, but the 6'11", 240-pound forward puts forth good effort on defense and plays passing lanes well.
A lineup of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Norman Powell (if he re-signs), Sabonis and Jusuf Nurkic could be the best offense in the NBA—one that moves the ball far better.
If the Pacers don't want to get stuck in the middle of the East, Simons is a high-upside scoring guard who shot 42.6 percent from three this season. Little, 21, can play and defend multiple positions, and Covington helps keep the Pacers competitive in the short term.
A lineup of Malcolm Brogdon, Simons, Caris LeVert, Covington and Turner is still pretty good, especially with T.J. Warren and Little off the bench and extra draft picks coming in.
Christian Wood Joins Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook in Washington
Washington Wizards Receive: C Christian Wood
Houston Rockets Receive: F Deni Avdija, C Daniel Gafford, 2023 second-round pick (via Chicago Bulls), 2024 second-round pick
If the Wizards keep Bradley Beal and want to convince him to return in free agency or sign an extension now, they'll likely need another All-Star talent on the roster.
Wood was a breakout star for the Rockets this season, putting up 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and shooting 51.4 percent overall and 37.4 percent from three. He's an incredible athlete who can drive, cut, run the floor in transition, work the post and space the floor as needed.
Just 25 years of age and with a terrific contract (two years, $28 million remaining), Wood should become a hot commodity on the trade market.
With this deal, Wood and Westbrook finally get to play together, something Wood thought he was signing up for when he agreed to a deal with the Rockets last offseason. While we never got to see James Harden, Westbrook and Wood together, getting Beal, Westbrook and Wood now is nearly as good.
The Wizards would go from a fringe playoff team to one that could make some serious noise in the East, especially with Rui Hachimura going into year three and Thomas Bryant returning from a torn ACL.
Houston could choose to keep Wood as part of its rebuild, but he'll be 26 by the time the season starts. Both Avdija (20) and Gafford (22) better fit a young roster and are on their rookie deals.
Avdija was the No. 9 overall pick in 2020 and flashed his potential as a 6'9" combo forward who can score, pass and defend. Gafford controls the rim on both ends with his shot-blocking and dunking (one per every 9.7 minutes he was on the floor in Washington), giving the Rockets a potential two-way force at center.
Throwing in a pair of future second-rounders to help the rebuild in Houston gets the deal done.
Kyle Lowry Joins Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic in Chicago
Chicago Bulls Receive: PG Kyle Lowry (via sign-and-trade)
Toronto Raptors Receive: PG Tomas Satoransky, 2025 first-round pick (lottery-protected)
Lowry should be in complete control of his free agency this offseason, either joining another team, re-upping with the Raptors or convincing them to trade him to a team without the necessary cap space so as to not lose him for nothing.
The Bulls started their all-in effort by trading for two-time All-Star center Nikola Vucevic at the deadline, and he responded with 21.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and a 38.8 percent mark from three in his 26 games.
LaVine had one of the all-time best scoring seasons when combining both (27.4 points per game) volume and efficiency (63.4 percent true shooting) and is only getting better at age 26.
What Chicago needs now is a floor general to pull everything together.
Lowry has the experience and production (17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 39.6 percent from three) to completely change the culture in Chicago, taking this from a good roster with potential to one that could be near the top of the East next season.
The Bulls get Lowry for a relatively low rate given Toronto isn't operating from an area of leverage (take Satoransky and a first or lose Lowry for nothing), and a core of Lowry, LaVine, Patrick Williams, Thaddeus Young, Vucevic and Coby White packs plenty of scoring, playmaking and defense.
Toronto could have gotten far more at the trade deadline, but it should be satisfied with a future first-round pick and a good veteran point guard in Satoransky.
Gordon Hayward Joins Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson in Golden State
Golden State Warriors Receive: SF Gordon Hayward
Charlotte Hornets Receive: C James Wiseman, SF Andrew Wiggins
Are the Warriors already a superteam with a healthy Klay Thompson? Or merely just another really good team in a Western Conference that's once again loaded with talent?
They shouldn't wait around this offseason to find out.
Hayward would be the perfect starting small forward for the Warriors, able to play on or off the ball, shoot at a high efficiency from three and set the table for the talented scorers around him.
The 31-year-old averaged 19.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals and hit 41.5 percent of his threes for the Hornets this season, looking very much like a $120 million player.
A lineup of Stephen Curry, Thompson, Hayward, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney would once again be good enough to chase a championship and keep the Golden State dynasty alive.
For Charlotte, this is a chance to get a player ESPN's Brian Windhorst said they were willing to move up to No. 1 in last year's draft to take. Pairing Wiseman with LaMelo Ball would be an incredible foundation, and Wiggins is still just 26 and coming off the best all-around season of his career.
Damian Lillard Joins Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram in New Orleans
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: PG Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, PG Lonzo Ball (via sign-and-trade), C Jaxson Hayes, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 first-round pick (via Los Angeles Lakers), 2023 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick swap rights with Los Angeles Lakers
There may be no team better prepared to form the next superteam than New Orleans.
The Pelicans already have an all-world talent in Zion Williams, an All-Star small forward in Brandon Ingram and are flush with draft picks and young talent stemming from the Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday trades.
They should also be aggressive this offseason when looking to add talent, as this is a group that needs to start making the playoffs to keep everyone happy.
If he requests a trade this summer, Lillard would be a perfect fit in New Orleans.
Lillard, Williamson and Ingram together would soon rival Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving for the best offensive trio in the NBA, especially if Williamson (27.0 points on 61.1 percent shooting) continues his incredible rise.
Lillard would also have the greatest roster he's ever been surrounded with, including Steven Adams setting hard screens and Eric Bledsoe taking on the toughest defensive assignment every night.
Portland will likely only trade Lillard if he asks out and could quickly rebuild on the fly with this package from New Orleans.
Lonzo Ball (14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.5 steals) would be a good fit next to CJ McCollum with his size and defensive chops, Alexander-Walker has star potential, and Hayes could be Portland's center of the future with Jusuf Nurkic entering the final year of his contract.
The Blazers also get New Orleans' lottery pick in the 2021 draft, two additional future firsts and the right to swap firsts with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2023 if they want.