Constant NBA movement has meant the best teams in the league improved in areas while rebuilding teams have made moves to get themselves into playoff contention. Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers acquired some quality players to improve their title bid, while teams like the Kings and Hawks are improving their playoff chances. The Chris Paul sweepstakes ultimately ended up in Phoenix where they have a potential for a Big Three.
But we have still not seen some expected trades that didn’t go down. In fact, it is quite shocking that some NBA players haven’t been moved yet. In order to rank them, here are the top 10 trades that never happened this offseason.
10. Steven Adams – Boston Celtics
Trade Package: Gordon Hayward for Steven Adams
The Boston Celtics needed a quality center, and they got one in Tristan Thompson out of free agency. That is a great pickup for Boston, but it was expected they would have made a deal for Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams. Adams is a big body who is athletic enough to run the floor and finish at the rim while being a fantastic interior defender as well.
Ultimately, Steven Adams ends up in New Orleans after Derrick Favors gets moved to Utah. Adams is likely to start alongside franchise star Zion Williamson, while Boston will have to make do with former NBA champion and quality rebounder Tristan Thompson.
9. Gordon Hayward – Indiana Pacers
Trade Package: Myles Turner, T.J. Warren for Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward was quietly one of the better free agents on the market because he had a pretty strong year last season. He averaged 17.5 PPG in his best season since his unfortunate injury a few years ago. Hayward wasn’t an All-Star, but he was certainly good enough to get a spot on the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers have great talent in Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo, so adding a player like Hayward made a lot of sense.
If Hayward became an All-Star, then the Pacers are on track for the Eastern Conference Finals. Instead, Hayward gets a massively overpriced deal with the Charlotte Hornets to play alongside the recently drafted LaMelo Ball. Funny how things work in the NBA…
8. Derrick Rose – Los Angeles Lakers
Trade Package: Danny Green, No. 28 pick for Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose is on his final legs, with probably 2 more seasons at a high level. He played well last year with the Detroit Pistons by averaging 18.1 PPG and 5.6 APG as the starting point guard. Rose was linked to the Los Angeles Lakers all year long, but it never materialized. It was all expected to go down this offseason but the Lakers acquired Dennis Schroder instead.
Derrick Rose was a perfect fit for Los Angeles because he brought playmaking and experience to a squad that will look to repeat. Instead, Rose is still in Detroit and the Lakers have a speedy younger point guard in Schroder. The Lakers might have been better off with the way things worked out for them this offseason.
7. Kevin Love – Portland Trail Blazers
Trade Package: Trevor Ariza, Mario Hezonja, Zach Collins for Kevin Love
For 2 seasons now, Kevin Love has been on the trade market. Rumors are always circulating and every NBA fan feels like it’s a matter of time before he is moved. The perfect fit for Kevin Love was with the Portland Trail Blazers because they could use his shooting alongside center Jusuf Nurkic. Love’s shooting and rebounding would have made Portland far more dangerous, but the Trail Blazers traded for Rockets forward Robert Covington instead.
Love is a better scorer and rebounder than Covington although Portland seems to want defense more than offense. This makes sense as both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are offensive forces without much defensive resistance. Portland look good with their lineup next season, but we are still wondering what will happen to Kevin Love.
6. Jrue Holiday – Denver Nuggets
Trade Package: Michael Porter Jr, Gary Harris for Jrue Holiday
For at least a few years now, the Denver Nuggets have been excellent but lacking that third star. The answer might have been Jrue Holiday, who is one of the best 2-way players in the NBA. Holiday averaged 19.1 PPG and 6.7 APG last season for the Pelicans, who had him on the trading block for a while now. The Nuggets could have acquired Holiday as an upgrade to Gary Harris who is a good player but can’t do what Holiday does on both ends.
Instead, the Nuggets didn’t acquire him and the Bucks snatched him up for a whopping 3 first-round picks and Eric Bledsoe. Holiday would’ve made the Nuggets a much more valiant team, especially with the loss of forward Jerami Grant. Holiday will look to help Milwaukee make the NBA Finals alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
5. John Wall – Philadelphia 76ers
Trade Package: Al Horford, Josh Richardson, No. 21 pick for John Wall
Whenever we hear trade rumors, John Wall’s name often jumps to the front. After all, he is being paid a ridiculous amount of money for not even playing a single game. While he didn’t ask to be injured and not his fault, Wall has not been convincing enough to warrant that kind of money when he has been playing. Washington should rebuild, and it was expected they were going to strike a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Wall in Philly meant the Sixers had another playmaker to start alongside Ben Simmons and another man to feed Joel Embiid the ball. Al Horford’s contract was a massive headache for new GM Daryl Morey, but he was ultimately moved to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a salary dump. It seems Washington did not want Horford, Richardson, nor the No. 21 overall pick for Wall and the Sixers will most likely enter the season with Embiid and Simmons as their two stars.
4. Chris Paul – Los Angeles Clippers
Trade Package: Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Ivica Zubac, Mid-Level Exception for Chris Paul
The match made in heaven for the Chris Paul sweepstakes was with Los Angeles. After all, the recipe was there. The Clippers need playmaking and leadership, and Chris Paul needs to play for a contender as he is still one of the best point guards in the world. If only this happened.
Chris Paul was ultimately traded to the Phoenix Suns where he will look to help Devin Booker become a superstar player instead. Paul with Kawhi and George in Los Angeles would have made the Clippers just as good as the Lakers because their Big Three usurps what the Lakers bring to the table. The Clippers are still scrambling for a playmaker and losing Montrezl Harrell certainly hurts as well. For now, Chris Paul and the Suns are expected to be making the NBA playoffs next season.
3. Ben Simmons – Houston Rockets
Trade Package: Russell Westbrook for Ben Simmons
It is quite sad to see how far the Rockets have imploded during the offseason. Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey step down, and both Russell Westbrook and James Harden request trades. They all seem to have given up on what was a very promising team. If there is one thing for certain, moving Russell Westbrook immediately makes the most sense for Houston. A deal with the 76ers made the most sense, but it never happened.
The Rockets instead traded Robert Covington and signed Chris Wood, while Ben Simmons is sat happily in Philadelphia. A Westbrook- Simmons swap was in the cards as Philly needed more scoring and aggression next to Joel Embiid and the Rockets needed a new franchise player. Ultimately, Ben Simmons looks untouchable in Philly and Westbrook will continue to be shopped around with John Wall as the major target.
2. Joel Embiid – Golden State Warriors
Trade Package: Andrew Wiggins, No. 2 overall pick, Eric Pachall, future first-round picks for Joel Embiid
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s return meant that the Warriors are right back where they left off as NBA champions. The Warriors also had the No. 2 overall pick to package for a third All-Star (without disrespect to Draymond Green). The name thrown around was Joel Embiid because a Big Three with him and the two sharpshooters meant NBA Finals for most people. But it never materialized.
Klay Thompson goes down with yet another season-ending injury while the Warriors drafted James Wiseman to replace Thompson’s absence. While we can’t knock the Warriors for drafting Wiseman, a young talented star, it would have been major news across the NBA if Joel Embiid would be suiting up alongside Stephen Curry this year. Ultimately, the dynamic duo won’t happen and Curry will look to carry the Warriors to success this season.
1. James Harden – Brooklyn Nets
Trade Package: Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, No. 19 overall pick for James Harden
Since James Harden rejected his $50 million player option, his move to Brooklyn has been almost a foregone conclusion. Or so we thought. Rumors circulated that Harden wants a move to Brooklyn and the Nets fittingly have the best possible trade package for the Rockets to accept. This is why Harden to Brooklyn seemed so likely, but it seems Houston want to keep hold of their franchise star.
James Harden is a spectacular offensive player and we all know this, so it makes sense why the Rockets want to hold onto him for dear life. If Harden gets traded, championship aspirations are out of the window for the foreseeable future. A Brooklyn Big Three of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden would be the best tandem ever and it looks like we will be robbed of seeing that this season.
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