The NBA is just too unpredictable at this point. Gone are the days where players have loyalty to the team that drafted them or gave them their first chance, as players now take matters into their own hands. They force trades, play with their friends, and do whatever it takes to win championships as quickly as possible.
But teams are also making massive trades that shake up the core of the league. While Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers trade was the most successful one this season, here are 10 perfect trades that can happen this offseason to shake up the entire NBA.
10. Chris Paul To New York Knicks
Trade Package: Julius Randle, Kevin Knox, two future first-round picks for Chris Paul
Chris Paul has probably been the player that has been most involved in trade talks. He is a veteran with plenty of playoff experience that can contribute to a winning culture immediately. For the lowly New York Knicks, they could use a player of his caliber even though he won’t deliver a title to New York on his own.
But it’s a start. Paul had a great year when everyone thought he was down and out for the count as an aging player. Paul proved he is still one of the best leaders in the NBA and almost led the heavy underdog Oklahoma City Thunder past the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. Chris Paul is still an All-NBA talent and his value is still very high across the league. CP3 averaged 17.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 6.7 APG while making the All-NBA Third Team.
His clutch performances and also his leadership were critical to a young OKC team and he is a culture-changer immediately. By packaging Julius Randle and Kevin Knox along with first-round picks, the OKC Thunder get some more quality rebuilding pieces while giving New York a Hall of Famer for the first time since Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks need a change of culture, and Paul can spearhead that.
9. Russell Westbrook To Charlotte Hornets
Trade Package: Nicolas Batum, Devonte’ Graham, Cody Zeller for Russell Westbrook
The Russell Westbrook and James Harden experiment failed in the Playoffs, mainly because the team dealt with unfortunate injuries and lack of size against the Los Angeles Lakers. Russ is the most likely star to be moved out of the two, and a great landing spot could be with Michael Jordan in Charlotte.
Make no mistake about it, Russell Westbrook is still one of the 5 best point guards in the NBA. He averaged 27.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 7.0 APG this season, focusing on what he does best by pushing the pace in transition and also scoring in the paint. He took fewer threes and was a very dominant player this season, yet again. While Westbrook looked hobbled in the playoffs, he did enough to show that he is still an All-NBA player and one of the 15 best on the planet.
By sending 3 talented players to Houston, the Rockets get rid of Westbrook’s enormous contract while also getting a young star in Graham and a 3-and-D specialist like Batum. Zeller addresses Houston’s size issue, while Charlotte gets their superstar point guard to build around. This is a blockbuster move that just might work.
8. Donovan Mitchell To Denver Nuggets
Trade Package: Michael Porter Jr., Garry Harris, Will Barton, future first-round pick for Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell is slowly becoming a superstar in front of our very eyes. He is simply too talented to be failing in the first round of the playoffs and needs to move on from Utah. The Denver Nuggets made the Western Conference Finals this year and clearly needed another star to help out Jokic and Murray. Donovan Mitchell gives them just that.
Donovan Mitchell had a terrific season by averaging 24.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 4.3 APG while showing glimpses of his improvement as a leader. He is always in control and never forces anything because he knows he has the skill to make an impact on any game. His showdown with Jamal Murray was legendary this season, but unfortunately, his teammates let him down as they couldn’t match his intensity. Mitchell is on his way to being a superstar in this league, and Denver should do anything to pair him with Murray and Jokic.
By shipping away potential All-Star forward Michael Porter Jr and two starting-caliber guards, Denver can have a Big Three while Utah rebuilds around Porter Jr and Rudy Gobert. Denver is one piece away from seriously contending, and Mitchell gives them a very good chance.
7. Devin Booker To Minnesota Timberwolves
Trade Package: No. 1 overall pick, James Johnson, Jarrett Culver, Josh Okogie, 2020 first-round pick (from Brooklyn) for Devin Booker
The Minnesota Timberwolves have Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, so adding a third banana boat buddy in Devin Booker makes a ton of sense. They are all young, developing into stars, and can be the building blocks to an NBA title with the right coach. By shipping away the valuable number one overall pick to Phoenix, the Timberwolves can have their Big 3 for the future while also giving Phoenix their rebuild.
Devin Booker is one of the best scorers in the NBA. He dropped 26.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 6.5 APG this season, tremendous numbers for the 23-year old sharpshooting shooting guard. Booker can be the number one option on offense if he has the right pieces around him to help him on defense and clear a bit of space for him so he can spot up or go one on one. Booker is already an All-Star talent and needs to improve his overall game before he reaches superstar status. But what he brings offensively is instant offense, as probably one of the 5 best scorers in the NBA.
The Timberwolves aren’t going anywhere with only Towns and Russell, so adding Booker gives them a chance to compete. Most importantly, they want to keep KAT happy, and trading for his friend will do wonders for that. A Big Three with Booker, KAT, and Russell makes immediate noise in the West as they hope to be contenders soon.
6. Bradley Beal To Los Angeles Lakers
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Avery Bradley (player option), No. 28 pick for Bradley Beal
The Los Angeles Lakers were simply the best team in the NBA playoffs this year. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are too good, and the rest of the league could not keep up with them. As long as LeBron James keeps playing like this, the Lakers are the favorites every year. But that doesn’t mean they should keep their roster the same, especially Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma was not the star the Lakers hoped for. He seemed disinterested and not focused on his NBA game, rather focusing on other off-court distractions. While he is young and clearly a talented boy, he is not on Bradley Beal’s level and might never be. Beal averaged 30.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 6.1 APG this season, mixing both sharpshooting and creativity in his offense. He has shown he can be the first option on offense, which is a blessing for LeBron as then he can be the 3rd scoring option while Davis and Beal do all the damage. The more LeBron focuses on his playmaking rather than getting beat up in the paint, the longer he can play.
By acquiring Bradley Beal from Washington (who are really bad), the Lakers are right there to win it again. LeBron needs 6 rings to shut people up about Michael Jordan, and Bradley Beal might just be the gift that LeBron needs to make it happen no matter how unfair it is for the rest of the league.
5. Karl-Anthony Towns To Boston Celtics
Trade Package: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis, two first-round picks for Karl-Anthony Towns
The Boston Celtics are always close to the Finals but are just lacking something. That something could be a superstar big man because Jayson Tatum can’t do it all on his own. Karl-Anthony Towns is a superstar caliber player who addresses Boston’s size and gives them a 20-10 guy at the minimum every night. Their Big Three with Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and KAT means Boston are the favorites to make the Finals next year.
A lineup consisting of Kemba Walker, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Karl-Anthony Towns is the favorite in the East without question. Towns had another great year posting 26.5 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 4.4 APG, as he is still a franchise player considering what he brings to the table. Towns also averaged 1.2 BPG showing he can be a force on defense, and we all know about his offensive ability. Boston can legitimately field 4 All-Stars with Hayward healthy, meaning no team in the East can match up with their talent. Most importantly, Boston can field 2 superstars in Tatum and Towns.
Boston has done exceptionally well with Daniel Theis as their starting big man, but imagine if they had KAT instead. Boston is right there and a superstar big man solves all their issues in one Blockbuster move that shakes up the entire league.
4. Paul George To Brooklyn Nets
Trade Package: Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen for Paul George
This move raises some eyebrows because of how Paul George looked this season. He struggled with injuries and personal issues, and that bled into the Playoffs. George was simply horrific in the postseason and Kawhi Leonard was without his superstar teammate as PG went missing completely.
George had a down year by averaging 21.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 3.9 APG although he had moments of brilliance especially on defense (1.4 SPG). Even though George was injury-ridden and was clearly distracted, he is still a star in this league. He might not be a Finals MVP caliber player, but he could be the best 3rd option in the NBA. George does everything well, and he is only one year removed from being in the MVP race. George can defend the opposing team’s best player, and also average at least 20 PPG with ease. He is simply a very good all-around player that can contribute to teams looking for the final piece to win it all.
In comes Brooklyn. They have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant and need one more star to be the favorites for the NBA title. Paul George, when healthy and playing up to his standard, is a top-10 player in the NBA and one of the best 2-way players in the world. George, Durant, and Irving give Brooklyn 3 superstars while the Clippers get a return of 3 starters to build around Kawhi Leonard. This is as perfect as it gets.
3. James Harden To Philadelphia 76ers
Trade Package: Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, first-round pick (Sixers via Orlando receive Thunder top-20 protected pick) for James Harden, PJ Tucker, Danuel House
The Houston Rockets had another disappointing end to their season this year, but at least they have James Harden. But if Harden wants a move or if Rockets management doesn’t trust his leadership abilities on the court, there is a very huge move that can be made in Philly.
There isn’t a better shooting guard in the NBA than James Harden. He averaged 34.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 7.5 APG this season, winning his 3rd straight scoring title and completely dominating opposing defenses. Harden is unguardable, especially in today’s NBA, and the team’s need to constantly throw 2 or 3 defenders at him every time he has the ball. What separates Harden from the rest of the guards is his ability to pick out any pass as well, so he is essentially an entire offensive machine on his own. Harden can play both shooting guard and point guard, and nobody does it better than The Beard right now.
By essentially swapping point guards, the Sixers get the best scorer in the NBA who can also be the primary playmaker. Tucker and House add defense and shooting also, giving Embiid the perfect recipe for success. Houston are back in the mix with Simmons, Russ, and Harris as they rebuild without their franchise player.
2. Joel Embiid To Golden State Warriors
Trade Package: No. 2 overall pick, Andrew Wiggins, Eric Paschall for Joel Embiid
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are healthy and coming for their throne next season. They still have Draymond Green and Steve Kerr as well, meaning the original Dynasty core is intact. Imagine if they add dominant low-post superstar Joel Embiid to the mix.
Joel Embiid averaged 23.0 PPG, 11.6 RPG, and 3.0 APG this season, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to the playoffs against the Boston Celtics in the first round. Embiid tried his best, but he didn’t have enough help without Ben Simmons who did not play with an injury. In terms of pure all-around talent at the center position, Embiid rivals Nikola Jokic as the best in the game. He can shoot, rebound, defend, and has proven he can be trusted to get buckets on the regular.
Embiid makes any team better and he walks into any franchise’s starting lineup with ease. The only problem was that he was never surrounded by shooters in Philly, something that Golden State has plenty of. With Joel inside, no team can stop the Warriors. Embiid can score every time one on one, and teams wouldn’t risk throwing a second defender with Curry and Klay open from deep. The Big Three with Curry, Klay, and Embiid will most probably win it all next season.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo To Miami Heat
Trade Package: Andre Iguodala, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn for Giannis Antetokounmpo
By far the most headline-grabbing and league-changing move would be Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Miami Heat. The Heat made it all the way to the Finals with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo as the core, and imagine adding the league MVP to that duo.
Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 29.5 PPG, 13.6 RPG, and 5.6 APG this season, winning both the MVP Award (2nd straight) and the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He is simply the best player in the regular season considering his 2-way play. Nobody has more potential to dominate the game than Giannis Antetokounmpo, especially when he finally develops a consistent jumper.
He has made improvements across the board and it is only a matter of time before he goes deep in the playoffs. What Giannis truly needs is more stars around him, because Kris Middleton and Brook Lopez are simply not enough.
The Heat are winners and they won’t settle for simply being 2nd place. Butler wants to win, Bam got a max contract and needs help in the front-court, and Giannis Antetokounmpo would make the Heat the favorites next year and every year going forward. Don’t sleep on the MVP, because this season’s embarrassing defeat will probably up his game even more.
The question then arises. Why would the Heat make a big deal to trade for Giannis Antetokounmpo when he becomes a free agent in 2021?
Much like the Raptors did in acquiring Kawhi Leonard, the Heat can take a gamble that can win a championship next year. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a risk worth taking considering he can be a major piece to a third title. Besides, he might love playing in Miami (who doesn’t) and opts to re-sign.
For the Milwaukee Bucks, they know Giannis can be out the door if they don’t win it this year. Looking at their roster, it could be difficult to win the title and they can get a huge package of return for Giannis Antetokounmpo instead of losing him for nothing in Free Agency.