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10 NBA Players Who Could Be Traded If Their Teams Disappoint During The Playoffs

10 NBA Players Who Could Be Traded If Their Teams Disappoint During The Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are underway, with 16 teams competing in the First Round. Several squads see themselves as championship contenders. The Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Brooklyn Nets are among the Eastern Conference teams capable of making the Finals. Although the Suns are clearly the favorite out west, the Grizzlies, Warriors, and Mavericks have the talent to push toward the penultimate round.

What happens when one of the nine teams with title aspirations flops? How about the other seven playoff teams looking to make a jump next season?

The 2022 offseason will feature a flurry of activity. A number of players currently in action could find themselves on a new squad next year.

Below we’ll list 10 players who could be traded this summer.


Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris

- If The Sixers Lose In The First Two Rounds, They Could Look To Upgrade Their Roster By Unloading Their Starting Power Forward

Tobias Harris averaged 17.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG while connecting on 36.7% of his attempts from deep in 2021-22 as a starter for the Philadelphia 76ers. He also held his assignments on defense to a 46.2% clip from the field, 0.7% under their typical hit rate. Harris is a solid top-50 NBA player on a contract better suited for an All-Star that will pay him $38.5 million next season and $41 million during the 2023-34 season.

The 76ers have jumped out to a 2-0 series lead against the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference First Round. Philadelphia should have no problem dispatching Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and company. However, the competition will pick up significantly in the semis with a potential series with the Heat looming and then the Celtics or Bucks waiting in the Eastern Conference Finals. If the 76ers bow out meekly before the Finals, Philadelphia management will almost certainly look to upgrade their roster. Bradley Beal’s name has surfaced in a potential sign and trade with the 76ers. GM Daryl Morey could look to send Harris along with some combination of Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, Georges Niang, and draft compensation for Beal.


Will Barton

Will Barton

- The Nuggets Starting Shooting Guard Has One Year Left On His Contract, And Denver Management Could Look To Move Him For A Better Defender

Will Barton is a solid offensive shooting guard who averaged 14.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.9 APG, and 36.5 3P% throughout the 2021-22 season. He’s entering the last year of his four-year, $54 million contract and is set to make a reasonable $16.5 million next season. Barton is seen as a nice piece around the league, a player capable of hitting at an above-average clip from deep and attacking the rim with an excellent first step. Despite Barton’s offensive exploits, he’s a subpar defender with a career -0.5 Defensive Box Plus/Minus starting for a Denver Nuggets squad that just finished 15th in Defensive Rating.

Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., two excellent offensive contributors, are expected back next season. Nuggets management could look to upgrade their team D by trading Will Barton for a defensive specialist capable of harassing the top scoring options in the league. The Knicks could shed Cam Reddish’s contract for Barton, or perhaps the Nuggets could work out a trade with the Cavs for Cedi Osman. It’s difficult to predict which direction Denver Nuggets management will take. However, it doesn’t take a genius to see they are loaded with offensive talent but lack the defenders necessary to make actual noise in next year's postseason.


Mike Conley

Mike Conley

- The Jazz Could Look To Move Their Aging Point Guard If They Bow Out Early From The Playoffs Again

Mike Conley, 34, is past his prime, with his peak basketball days behind him. Still, he was the Jazz’s second-best perimeter player in 2021-22, averaging 13.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 5.3 APG while hitting 40.8% of his deep bombs off 5.2 attempts per contest. Conley has lost some of his side-to-side agility, but he is still an above-average point-of-attack defender who held his assignments to a 44.1% clip from the field while posting a 0.7 DBPM during the regular season.

The Jazz are tied 1-1 against a Mavericks team that is missing superstar Luka Doncic. Utah might edge out Dallas in the First Round, but Phoenix is on the horizon. It's hard to see the Jazz winning four games against a Suns team that went to the Finals last season and looks better and more motivated this time around. If the Jazz do succumb in the First or Second Round, it will be the fifth season in a row that Utah has failed to make it out of the semifinals with Donovan Mitchell at the helm. Jazz management will have to alter the roster. Mike Conely is owed a reasonable $22.7 million next season and $24.4 million in 2023-24. Utah should look to move their point guard for one or two wing defenders who can help bring the Jazz’s sub-par team defense up a peg.


Duncan Robinson

Duncan Robinson

- The Heat Might Look For A Trade If Duncan Robinson Struggles During The Playoffs

Duncan Robinson floundered in 2021-22. He averaged 10.9 PPG, 2.6 APG, and 1.6 APG while shooting 37.2% from long range and 39.9% overall. Robinson was also a poor defender. He allowed his assignments to hit 2.0% over their normal average as Bam Adebayo supplied top-10 backline defense, and Jimmy Butler routinely took on the opposing squad’s best perimeter offensive weapon. As a result of Robinson’s lackluster two-way play, he saw his playing time decrease from 31.4 MPG the previous season to 25.9 MPG this year.

The Heat have only played one game in the 2021-22 postseason, an easy victory against a tired-looking Hawks squad that featured Duncan Duncan Robinson posting 27.0 points on an 8 for 9 three-point shooting outlier. If Robinson continues to rip the nets in the playoffs, Miami might think twice about trading their starting shooting guard. Still, if he slinks down toward his regular season marks, they might look to trade Robinson and his $90 million extension that runs through 2026. Several teams should be interested in acquiring Robinson. He is only one year removed from hitting 40.8% of his long distance bombs, and two seasons ago, in 2019-20, he connected on 44.6% off 8.3 three-point attempts.


John Collins

John Collins

- If The Hawks Lose To The Heat In The First Round, They Could Search For A Defensive Upgrade In The Frontcourt

John Collins averaged 16.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 1.8 APG for the Atlanta Hawks. He was one of the most effective inside-out big men in the league throughout the 2021-22 season, hitting 36.4% from deep and landing inside the 94th percentile as the roll man in pick and roll situations. He also displayed an impressive mid-range jumper, shooting 43.2% from 10 to 16 feet and 48.8% from 16 feet to the arc. Simply put: John Collins was one of the top offensive big men in the NBA during the regular season. Despite Collins’s impressive offensive repertoire, the Hawks were not better with him on the floor (0.0 point differential per 100 possessions).

The Hawks ranked 26th in the league in defensive rating during the regular season. While Jason Collins can’t take all the blame, he was far from a lockdown defender, and his rim protection was below-average throughout the year. The Hawks could look to cash in on Collins’s excellent offensive skill set and reasonable five-year, $125 million contract for a defensive upgrade. Perhaps the Lakers would be willing to trade Anthony Davis in a package with Collins, Hunter, Huerter, and draft compensation. Alternatively, the Suns might be prepared to deal Deandre Ayton in a sign and trade to the Hawks for Collins this summer. Either way, Atlanta would be wise to find defensive help in the frontcourt.


Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins

- The Warriors Could Move Their First-Time All-Star If They Struggle In The Postseason

Andrew Wiggins was named to his first All-Star team this season, averaging 17.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, and 39.3 3P%. He was a solid floor-spacing outlet for Stephen Curry, and he also played excellent perimeter defense for the Warriors, routinely hounding the opposing squad’s most potent offensive wing into submission, finishing the year with an exceptional 43.4 Defensive Field Goal Percentage.

Why would the Warriors trade their in-his-prime two-way All-Star?

Andrew Wiggins is entering the final year of his contract next season, and with his impressive play during the 2021-22 season, he might have priced himself out of a reasonable agreement with the Warriors. Golden State will have to pony up for guard Jordan Poole as soon as this summer, and they should also look to lock up defensive stalwart Gary Payton II during the offseason, making Wiggins’s contract situation dubious if he’s looking for All-Star money. Golden State might be smart to trade Wiggins while his value is the highest of his career. Maybe the Heat would trade Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson for Andrew Wiggins, or they could nab Terry Rozier and P.J. Washington in a deal with the Hornets.


Pascal Siakam

Pascal Siakam

- Toronto Management Could Move Their Forward For More Size On The Block

Pascal Siakam finished the 2021-22 season averaging 22.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 5.3 APG while shooting 34.4% from deep. Siakam is an excellent wing who made the All-Star team in 2020 but is probably a tier below the top-25 in the NBA. Siakam features a solid burst to the basket, which he uses primarily against opposing power forwards who are typically too bulky to stop him. Unfortunately, Siakam’s size and quickness, which are such a boon on offense, hinder him on the other end. Pascal Siakam was often bullied on the block during the regular season, giving up 10 to 15 pounds against the larger 4s in the league, allowing as many points as he gave.

The Raptors exceeded expectations in 2021-22, ending the season 48-34. However, reality has begun to set in during the playoffs. Toronto finds itself down 2 games to zero in the First Round against a 76ers team that’s looked dominant. The Raptors don’t have a player over 6-9 on their roster, and it’s nearly impossible to advance deep in the postseason without a genuine rim protector. Toronto could look to package Pascal Siakam along with OG Anunoby, or with Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa for a defensive anchor. The Jazz could be willing to part with Rudy Gobert for the right deal, or maybe the Spurs would be interested in acquiring Siakam for Jakob Poeltl and Keldon Johnson.


Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert

- The Jazz Might Break Up Their All-Star Duo If They Can’t Get Over The Second Round Hump

Rudy Gobert is the league's premier rim protector and weakside defender since an in-his-prime Dwight Howard roamed the lane in Orlando. Gobert is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year who finished third this season for the honor while ending the year ranked second in the NBA in contested shots at 13.2 per game and third in the league in opponent field goal percentage at the basket (minimum 150 shots defended) with a 50.7 DFG%. Rudy Gobert guarantees your squad an above-average defense, and he’s not merely a one-way player. He averaged 15.6 PPG in 2021-22, and he was the most effective screen setter in the association.

It’s no secret that Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have had their problems. The French Rejection has grown tired of Mitchell’s lack of attention on defense and inability to hit him with regularity when he rolls to the rim. The Utah Jazz are tied 1-1 in the First Round of the playoffs against a Mavs team missing superstar Luka Doncic. With Doncic due back in game three, things don’t look encouraging for the Jazz, and if they bow out again in the First Round, a shakeup is all but guaranteed. Utah management could trade Gobert for a more dynamic offensive big man to pair with Mitchell. Over a dozen defensive starved organizations would love to land Gobert, including the Hawks, Hornets, Lakers, and maybe the Nets.


Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell

- Utah’s All-Star Shooting Guard Is Tired Of Losing And Wants To Play In A Bigger Market, So He Could Demand A Trade During The Offseason

Donovan Mitchell is one of the most explosive offensive weapons in the NBA. He concluded the 2021-22 season averaging 25.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 5.3 APG. Mitchell is one of the most skilled pick and roll ball handlers in the league, a true wizard working around a screen. He was second in the NBA in points out of the pick and roll at 12.4 per game, and he was efficient, landing inside the 87th percentile in points per possession with 1.03. Mitchell’s skill set is incredibly valuable in a league that routinely falls back to the pick and roll inside bogged down half-court possessions. He is one of the few NBA players who assures your squad a high-quality look every time down the court, evidenced by the Jazz’s first place finish in offensive rating during the regular season.

The Jazz have looked lost since the All-Star break, slipping down to the fifth seed in the Western Conference with a real chance of getting eliminated by the Mavs in the First Round of the playoffs. Utah certainly doesn’t want to trade their All-Star shooting guard, but according to recent speculation, Mitchell could ask out. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few seasons with Anthony Davis, James Harden, and Ben Simmons, when a superstar demands a trade, they get what they want one way or another.


Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler

- The Miami Heat’s All-Star Forward Could Ask For a Trade If The Heat Disappoint In The Playoffs

Jimmy Butler averaged 21.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.5 APG, and 23.3 3P% during the 2021-22 season. Butler’s stats don’t jump off the screen and shout, “Superstar!”

Still, Jimmy Butler’s value can’t be judged merely by the numbers. Butler is a winner. He’s made the playoffs six seasons in a row, leading the Bulls, Timberwolves, and 76ers into the postseason before joining the Heat and helping them qualify for the NBA’s second season from 2020 through 2022. Butler is one of the few players in the NBA who is a top-10 playmaker and defender, the most valuable combination in the game.

The Heat don’t want to lose Jimmy Butler, but there are rumblings he’s beginning to chafe at Miami’s culture. If the Heat advance to the Finals, the rumors will descend back under the surface, and Jimmy Buckets will almost certainly suit up in South Beach next season. However, if the Heat flop early, Butler could demand a trade, looking to land on a team with a more player-friendly coach. Half the league would love to acquire Butler. There are several teams with star power and potential need to sign Jimmy Butler, including the Jazz, Celtics, and Lakers.


The 2022 Offseason Could Be Wild

Tobias Harris could be on the move this summer if the 76ers struggle during the postseason. Will Barton and Mike Conley could also find themselves on new teams, and Duncan Robinson and John Collins could switch locations as the Heat and Hawks look to upgrade their defenses.

Andrew Wiggins and Marcus Smart, two top-tier perimeter defenders, could be traded if their squads underperform in the playoffs. The Utah Jazz might have to break up their All-Star duo, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, and if the Heat struggle to get back to the Finals, Jimmy Butler could demand a trade.

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