Realistic Trades We Could See During NBA Draft Week
With the 2021 NBA draft less than a week away, trade season is open for business.
Don't expect Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Ben Simmons or others stars to be on the move just yet, however. It's unlikely any big names go anywhere until after the draft and free agency have wrapped and teams have a better idea of where their rosters stand.
That being said, we could see a flurry of smaller moves, as some teams work their way up the draft board to take higher-upside players and others go down the board to obtain additional picks.
It's also the first opportunity for every team to agree to deals now that the postseason has wrapped, although no sign-and-trades are allowed yet.
The following five trades all contain at least one 2021 draft pick and should benefit every team involved.
Tristan Thompson Joins Spurs Frontcourt, Celtics Shave Payroll
San Antonio Spurs Receive: C Tristan Thompson
Boston Celtics Receive: 2021 second-round pick (No. 41 overall)
Even though Thompson served as Boston's starting center in 43 of his 54 games last season, the 30-year-old big man may have fallen all the way down to fourth on the depth chart following the Celtics' latest trade.
Swapping Kemba Walker for Al Horford and Moses Brown added a veteran center and a 21-year-old to Boston's frontcourt, one that already contained Robert Wiliams III.
The Celtics just don't need Thompson anymore, and they should be happy to move his $9.7 million expiring salary off the books before free agency begins.
San Antonio, on the other hand, is in need of frontcourt help.
Thompson would compete with Jakob Poeltl for the starting center job for a Spurs team who ranked just 24th in rebounding last season (48.5 percent). San Antonio can have up to $49.1 million in cap space, so it would have room for a max free agent even if it takes on Thompson.
The Celtics get the Spurs' second-round pick, but this is more of a salary dump for Boston.
Lu Dort, Kenrich Williams Beef Up Warriors Defense
Golden State Warriors Receive: SF Luguentz Dort, F Kenrich Williams, 2021 second-round pick (No. 34 overall)
Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: 2021 first-round pick (No. 14 overall), 2022 second-round pick, F/C Alen Smailagic
Wing defenders are a necessity in the playoffs, where the Warriors expect to play in 2021-22.
Dort and Williams can both guard multiple positions with their size and strength, which would provide Golden State with two defensive weapons off the bench. They would give the Warriors the option to go small with Draymond Green at center and either one on the wing, a lineup that would smother opponents at the point of attack.
Dort, 22, averaged 14.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.9 steals this past season and is on an extremely team friendly contract, owed just $3.7 million total over the next two years. For a Warriors team who's already $35 million over the luxury tax line, finding productive players on such small deals is extremely important.
Williams provides more of an outside threat, knocking down 44.4 percent of his three-pointers on 117 total attempts. Both players made a positive impact on both ends of the ball, with Dort registering an on/off rating of plus-5.6 while Williams finished the season at plus-7.9.
For the Thunder, this is the chance to add yet another first-round pick, this one a lottery selection that will contribute immediately next season. Players projected to go around No. 14 overall include Davion Mitchell, Chris Duarte and Keon Johnson, according to Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman.
Smailagic, 20, gives OKC some more size up front following the trade of Al Horford and Moses Brown to the Boston Celtics.
Cavs, Magic Swap Lottery Picks and Big Contracts
Orlando Magic Receive: 2021 first-round pick (No. 3 overall), PF Kevin Love
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: 2021 first-round pick (No. 5 overall), 2021 first-round pick (No. 8 overall), SG Gary Harris
The Magic have already made an offer to move up to No. 3 overall with Cleveland, per The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor.
Cleveland also hosted G League Ignite forward Jonathan Kuminga for a private workout, a player who's expected to go in the 5-to-8 range where the Magic are selecting. While this may have just been the Cavs doing their due diligence, one source told Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor that Kuminga "had a really good day" and was "really intelligent and really engaging."
If the Cavs are willing to move back and give up the chance to draft Evan Mobley or Jalen Green, however, they should ask for some salary relief in return.
Love's and Harris' contracts are $10.8 million apart in 2021-22, with Love due $28.9 million next season. With the Magic also in a rebuild, they would almost certainly hold buyout discussions with Love immediately and try to save some money while letting the veteran forward hit free agency.
Cleveland swaps No. 3 for Nos. 5 and 8 with the chance to draft Kuminga and another impact rookie while also getting off Love's contract, while Orlando moves up with the chance to now select Mobley, Green or Jalen Suggs.
Myles Turner Joins LeBron James, Anthony Davis in Lakers Frontcourt
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: C Myles Turner
Indiana Pacers Receive: PF Kyle Kuzma, 2021 first-round pick (No. 22 overall), 2027 first-round pick (lottery-protected)
The Lakers' first-round pick will be trade-eligible at the draft, but they can agree to a deal involving the pick beforehand.
The Pacers finally appear ready to split up their frontcourt of Turner and Domantas Sabonis, as The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported that the Pacers are shopping Turner to multiple teams.
Turner has become one of the NBA's most dominant rim protectors, as he led the league with 3.4 blocks per game this past season and held opponents to 48.7 percent shooting from within six feet of the basket, 13.2 percent below the average field-goal percentage from that area.
He's a better three-point shooter than Anthony Davis (career 35.2 percent to 31.2 percent) and would make sure the star power forward would stay in his natural position and away from center, something he's been vocal about in the past.
For the Pacers, two first-round picks and Kuzma is solid value for Turner and would allow them to play Domantas Sabonis in a Nikola Jokic-type role at center for virtually all of his minutes. Sabonis is one of the best passing bigs in the league, and Kuzma has averaged 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and shot 45.2 percent in 146 career starts.
The Pacers would own the Nos. 13 and 22 overall picks in the 2021 draft, giving them the opportunity to try to package the two to move up into the top 10. Adding a future first from the Lakers gives them an additional trade asset as well.
Wolves, Kings, Mavericks Pull off Three-Team Blockbuster
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: F Harrison Barnes
Sacramento Kings Receive: PF Kristaps Porzingis, G/F Malik Beasley, G/F Jarrett Culver, 2025 first-round pick (lottery-protected, via Dallas Mavericks)
Dallas Mavericks Receive: SG Buddy Hield, PF Marvin Bagley III, 2021 second-round pick (No. 39 overall, via Sacramento Kings)
Let's start with the Wolves, who suddenly have a crowded backcourt and wing but could use a power forward who can defend and space the floor to make everything run more smoothly.
Barnes, 29, gives Minnesota another veteran to make a playoff push with, as he averaged 16.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and nailed 39.1 percent of his threes this past season. The Wolves could use Barnes as their starting power forward or go big with Jaden McDaniels at the 4 and Barnes at 3.
The Kings get Porzingis to be their new starting power forward, as the 25-year-old averaged 20.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and shot 37.6 percent from three in 2020-21. While his contract isn't great ($101.5 million over the next three years), Sacramento is shedding two of its three largest deals in this trade with Hield and Barnes.
Beasley, 24, averaged 19.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and made nearly 40 percent of his threes, giving De'Aaron Fox another perimeter threat alongside Tyrese Haliburton. Culver was the No. 6 overall pick in the draft in 2019 and should carve out a spot on the wing in Sacramento. The Kings also get a future first-round pick from Dallas.
For the Mavericks, this deal is about getting off Porzingis' contract while banking on the potential of Bagley.
Hield is a great shooter who can fill Tim Hardaway Jr.'s role should the veteran guard leave as a free agent this summer. He could also thrive with a change of scenery, especially with the amount of shooting space Luka Doncic can create.
Bagley was selected one spot in front of Doncic in the 2018 draft but hasn't stayed healthy enough to develop into a star yet. The 22-year-old averaged 14.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists and shot 50.4 percent from the field this past season and would compete for the starting power forward job with Porzingis gone.
Dallas, after previously trading both picks, works its way back into the 2021 draft with the 39th overall selection.