Trade Packages for Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal and NBA's Top Targets

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2021

Trade Packages for Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal and NBA's Top Targets

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    The NBA's 2021 offseason is mostly over.

    Draft day produced a mega-trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers. The young players taken that night have shown plenty of talent at Summer League. And free agency is pretty much in the books.

    With the exception of the Westbrook deal and a few other moves around the league, though, this was a quieter summer than some of the past. Fewer superstars switched teams. It was more about shoring up rotations and looking for that key role player that might nudge a team up a tier.

    But in the NBA, that next blockbuster is seemingly always around the corner. And with the amount of buzz that has surrounded a few players—namely Ben Simmons, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Lauri Markkanen and Pascal Siakam—we're likely to get another deal or two before the regular season tips off.

Bradley Beal to the Warriors

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    The Trade: Bradley Beal for Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, a 2022 first-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick swap and a 2026 first-round pick

    Whether it's for Lillard, Beal or Simmons, the Golden State Warriors' superstar trade package will probably look the same. And it may not be the best rebuild starter kit available (just check out the stash of draft picks held by the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder).

    But if a few dominoes fall in the right direction, including Beal or Lillard actually asking for trades, the Warriors could throw their hats in the ring. And fortunately for them, recent draft picks Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga have both looked solid in Summer League. That may not mean a ton, but it also doesn't mean nothing.

    Again, if Beal asks out, the idea of adding Kuminga and Moody to a young core that includes Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Deni Avdija and Kyle Kuzma could be intriguing.

    And though Andrew Wiggins' contract isn't exactly the kind you'd identify with a rebuild, he's the same age as Kuzma. He also may have shown enough with the Warriors last season to allow the Wizards to flip him to another team in need of a wing scorer.

    For the Warriors, the appeal is obvious. That much young talent and draft consideration is a lot, but Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all between 33 and 31 years old. If this core is going to make another go at legitimate contention, it has to happen now. And Beal raises the ceiling much quicker than Moody or Kuminga will.

    Golden State would be undersized and have plenty of defensive limitations, but the firepower of a 1-3 trio made up of Curry, Beal and Thompson would be nearly impossible to stop.

Lauri Markkanen to the Mavericks

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    The Sign-and-Trade: Lauri Markkanen for a 2025 first-round pick

    Markkanen is a restricted free agent, but the lack of spending power around the league means he's not going to get anywhere near his value without a sign-and-trade.

    There are plenty of traded player exceptions into which a decent salary could be absorbed, and the Dallas Mavericks have reportedly considered doing just that.

    "The Mavericks have joined New Orleans in registering interest in restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen," Marc Stein tweeted. "...but Dallas' flexibility in a sign-and-trade to take Markkanen in, through its biggest trade exception, tops out at roughly $11 million per season for four years..."

    The exception Stein is referring to was created when Dallas moved Josh Richardson to the Boston Celtics, and the New Orleans Pelicans' can offer around $17 million with their own exception. That doesn't necessarily mean the latter will go that high, and if the numbers are close, Dallas could hold the tiebreaker with generational playmaker Luka Doncic.

    In his four seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Markkanen hasn't played with a distributor anywhere near Doncic's caliber. The three-point looks he'd get in Dallas would be open and plentiful.

    Of course, there would be a bit of redundancy with Markkanen and Kristaps Porzingis. Two bigs who space the floor and don't rebound might be tough to play extended minutes together. Porzingis' decline as a rim protector makes it seem especially untenable on the defensive end.

    But a spread floor with Doncic in the middle, Porzingis and Markkanen in the corners and Tim Hardaway Jr. and Reggie Bullock on the wings would be a nightmare to defend.

Pascal Siakam to the Kings

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    The Trade: Pascal Siakam for Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III, Davion Mitchell and a 2022 first-round pick

    Sacramento Kings fans may balk at the inclusion of both Davion Mitchell and a first, but the Toronto Raptors appear to be playing hardball with Pascal Siakam right now.

    "A source with knowledge of the situation in Toronto said the Raptors are receiving numerous calls about Siakam, and team president Masai Ujiri is 'listening like a good negotiator,'" Jason Anderson wrote for the Sacramento Bee. "The Kings, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers are said to be particularly 'enamored' with Siakam. A trade is possible, but not likely, the source said..."

    Team stances can change in a jiffy in the NBA. The Kings could play hardball too. After all, Siakam has played barely above-average basketball since his lone All-Star appearance, according to box plus/minus (BPM is "...a basketball box score-based metric that estimates a basketball player's contribution to the team when that player is on the court," according to Basketball Reference).

    But let's operate under the assumption that the Kings are desperate to end their playoff drought and feel they have enough in the backcourt with De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton.

    A lineup of Fox, Haliburton, Buddy Hield (assuming he's not moved too), Siakam and Richaun Holmes would be dynamic offensively. Siakam is more of a playmaker than Barnes, which could open up 4-5 pick-and-rolls, kickouts to the aforementioned guards and the opportunity for them to attack more closeouts.

    Of course, that group would struggle on defense, but Siakam has the versatility to guard multiple positions

    It's fair to wonder if the switch from Barnes to Siakam nudges the needle enough to justify moving Mitchell this early in his career, but it'd be hard to argue it's not a win in the short term.

    As for the inclusion of Marvin Bagley III, he may still have some untapped potential, but it seems unlikely that the Kings will find it. His availability has been rumored for some time.

The Damian Lillard-Ben Simmons Swap

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    David Dow/Getty Images

    The Trade: Damian Lillard for Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, a 2022 first-round pick and two first-round pick swaps

    The Philadelphia 76ers have set a lofty asking price for Ben Simmons. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported an offer that may have included four first-round picks and three pick swaps from the San Antonio Spurs (h/t NBC).

    San Antonio obviously turned that down, but the message was clear: Sixers president Daryl Morey is doing everything he can to drive up the value of his team's 25-year-old multi-time All-Star.

    And, as was the case in the Beal slide, if Lillard eventually asks to be moved, Morey is likely hoping he's done enough to pounce.

    "All teams covet the biggest stars, but Morey is especially obsessive about it," Marc Stein wrote. "He will surely tune out the naysayers who suggest Simmons can no longer be the centerpiece for the acquisition of a Bradley Beal-type superstar. Portland's CJ McCollum has been mentioned often as a potential Sixers target in a Simmons deal; rest assured that Morey longs for Damian Lillard if he is targeting any Trail Blazer."

    For the Blazers, again, this deal is contingent on Lillard wanting out. This is undoubtedly a short-term downgrade. But if the face of the franchise does indeed leave, Portland could do far worse than Simmons as the foundation of a rebuild.

    If he's surrounded by four shooters to keep defenders out of the paint, Simmons still has a chance to be a perennial All-NBA contender. He's that talented. And his defensive versatility could instantly change the culture of the Blazers. The path forward with him on the roster would be relatively clear. Certainly clearer than those of some other teams who've recently torn things down.

    As for Philly, well, the addition of Lillard wouldn't demand much analysis. Adding one of the game's current top 10-15 players to Joel Embiid, fresh off a top-two MVP finish, just makes sense. On top of the pure talent play, Lillard is an all-time great perimeter scorer. The attention he'd pull away from Embiid would make the big man's life easier than it's ever been.

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