Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, and Norman Powell are just a few of the names who got moved during this year's trade deadline. And while we're still waiting to see how those moves will impact the teams, there is something else, and much bigger, that has the attention of NBA GMs everywhere.
According to a report by TrueHoop's Tom Haberstroh, the potential availability of two superstars this summer has teams saving up their best assets: Kawhi Leonard and Bradley Beal.
A round of phone calls with front-office executives clarifies this tremendously: Teams didn’t offer their best assets now because Bradley Beal and Kawhi Leonard could be available this summer, and if you empty the cupboard now you’ll never be in position to get them then,” TrueHoop’s Tom Haberstroh reported.
Kawhi is, objectively, one of the league's best players. As a two-way star who makes an enormous impact on the game, he has the power to swing title hopes in favor of any team he joins. While he has not expressed any desire to leave the Clippers, a failure to win the title this season could prompt Kawhi to consider a change of scenery. The final year of his deal (2021-22) is a player option, which he can turn down and become an unrestricted free agent.
Beal, meanwhile, is widely considered one of the most loyal players in the game, and it still seems unlikely he'll force his way out of Washington like Harden, Kyrie, and Kawhi did before him. But if the Wizards feel like hitting the reset button (amid their struggles), Beal could be let go y his team to make way for a major rebuild. Beal, 27, is averaging 31.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game on 48.4% shooting.
Those are two really big fish, and it's clear to see why teams are preparing to make a run for them. The question is, where will they be by the beginning of next season?