The NBA trade deadline is passed but that doesn't mean teams are looking ahead to this summer. For many teams, the season is a wrap, and are looking to make big moves to shake up their rosters.
The Brooklyn Nets showed how big acquisitions can lead to improved title chances, and every team wants a chance at acquiring a dominant player. There are a couple of players who could be out the door soon, and we have compiled a list of them. Here are the 10 players that are likely to be traded this summer.
10. Buddy Hield
Swingman Buddy Hield is not having his best season with the Sacramento Kings in 2021. After averaging 20.7 PPG and 19.2 PPG over the last two seasons, Hield is putting up 16.7 PPG on a relatively inconsistent 40.1% shooting from the field. Hield is playing more minutes than ever this season, but his time might be coming to end.
The emergence of Tyrese Haliburton at the shooting guard position will slowly push Hield out of the lineup. Haliburton is averaging 12.8 PPG and 5.0 APG in his rookie season and is even draining 41.1% of his threes. Everyone with the right kind knows that a 21-year old stud like Haliburton will replace 28-year old Hield by next season.
The Kings need to explore trade value for Hield. He can be a very effective shooter when he's healthy and motivated, as shown by his campaign in the 2019 season where he drained 45.8% of his threes. Shooting is at a premium in the NBA, and teams will be willing to take on Hield's $ 23,000,000 salary for a low trade package.
9. Myles Turner
Myles Turner is one of the most effective centers in today's NBA. He is one of the few big men who can hit the outside shot, run the floor pretty well, and be a dominant shot-blocker. Through 46 games this season, Turner is averaging 12.7 PPG and a career-high 3.5 BPG.
But the issue with Turner in Indiana is his fit with Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis and Turner occupy much of the same space in the paint, and there is no question that Sabonis is the cornerstone of the franchise. Sabonis is averaging 19.9 PPG and 11.5 RPG and made his second All-Star Team this year.
In order to maximize the impact of Sabonis and build around him, the Pacers need to move Turner. Luckily, teams will be interested in Turner as he can nail outside jumpers and also defend the rim. Turner is making an average salary of $20 million so his value is high in today's NBA.
8. Kevin Love
Kevin Love isn't the same player he was during the NBA championship team with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. But he is an accomplished veteran with a skill set that can be fit into any lineup in today's NBA. In 12 games this season with the Cavaliers, Love is averaging 11.0 PPG and 5.9 RPG while shooting 35.2% from three.
Kevin Love's numbers are way down this season, but he is playing the lowest minutes in his career. Love is also coming off nagging injuries which will likely never make him an All-Star again. Paired with his $30,000,000 salary, Love seems like a very difficult piece to trade for.
But teams need shooting and veteran experience. Love is 32 years old, which means he probably has 2 more years as a starter. Even as a 6th Man, Love can be effective for contenders and also up-and-coming teams. For a return for young players and picks, the Cavs can move Love this summer.
7. Lauri Markkanen
Lauri Markkanen was expected to be one of Chicago's building blocks alongside Zach LaVine and Coby White, but the arrival of 2-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic will push Markkanen out. After all, Vucevic is one of the game's best stat sheet stuffers averaging 24.1 PPG and 11.4 RPG.
It is unlikely that Markkanen will put up those kinds of numbers that Vucevic has put up over the past 3 seasons. Markkanen is playing his role averaging 15.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG, but his time will become more limited. Markkanen has plenty of potential as he will reach 24-years old this season, and he is on a team-friendly salary of $6.7 million.
The Bulls have a great thing going with Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic as a dynamic duo, so they should move Markkanen to not lose him for nothing. Markkanen might be available for a sign and trade, which could place the Bulls in a strong place to get a solid return.
6. Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker is a 4-time All-Star and a capable scorer who can bring instant offense to any team. He was a great fit for the Celtics in his first season in 2019, but injuries have placed a ton of doubt on his future in Boston. Averaging 17.6 PPG and only playing 36 games so far, the Celtics might look for a new team for him.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are becoming an untouchable duo, and Boston needs to build the team around them. The days of Kemba Walker being the franchise player as a replacement for Kyrie Irving are officially over. Walker still has All-Star scoring ability so his value will be high across the league, but the Celtics need to act fast.
Walker is making over $34 million which may mean moving him difficult. But Boston are shrewd operators, and by targeting the right teams and the right pieces, Walker could generate nice value for Boston who must build around 24-year old Brown and 23-year old Jayson Tatum.
5. Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam has had a rough season with the Raptors. The team is currently 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 22-34 record and have been dealing with trade rumors all season long. It seemed the team's leader Kyle Lowry was going to get traded, but that didn't happen. Now all eyes are on Pascal Siakam.
He is having a rough year from three, only shooting 28.2%, and a falling out with head coach Nick Nurse was reported to cross the line. During a game with the Jazz earlier this month, Siakam threw a heated choice of words that resulted in him being fined $50,000. For a franchise player, that is really ugly.
For a team that is snowballing, the Raptors can move Siakam immediately because he is 27-years old and is still putting up decent numbers at 20.8 PPG and 7.2 RPG. Teams needing that final piece to the puzzle can acquire Siakam because as he showed with the Raptors in 2019, he is a championship-level player.
4. CJ McCollum
The Portland Trail Blazers have a superstar in Damian Lillard, a luxury that most teams don't have. Lillard is putting up 28.7 PPG and 7.7 APG and is increasingly looking like the best point guard in the NBA when you overlook Stephen Curry's recent splurge from deep.
The Trail Blazers made a straight swap of Gary Trent Jr for Normal Powell, but they might look to replace McCollum with a more 2-way minded starter. McCollum is a solid scorer putting up 23.3 PPG this season, but he offers no defensive resistance alongside Damian Lillard.
Offense is the norm in today's NBA but defense is arguably just as important. Teams seeing two small guards in Lillard and McCollum is an immediate advantage for them, so exploring McCollum's trade value could be in Portland's best interest.
3. Kristaps Porzingis
Mark Cuban came out and admitted Porzingis is a hot prospect in the NBA, but he is slowly returning to his best form. Porzingis is averaging 20.7 PPG and 9.3 RPG while also blocking 1.6 shots per game. He is an effective two-way big man who can score and also defend the paint, so, normally, teams want a shot at acquiring him.
The duo of Doncic and Porzingis hasn't quite worked out, however. The Mavericks are 7th in the West with a 30-24 record but they haven't taken the jump expected from them. The key could be improving the role players on the team, but what about exploring the trade value of the former All-Star Porzingis?
Luka is easily one of the top 10 players in the world and the Mavericks need to show they can surround him with winning players. Porzingis is nearly 26 so time is on his side to reach superstar status, so Dallas should think about maximizing the return for him.
2. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is a very polarizing star in the NBA. Critics point out that he is not a player who can win championships while his supporters are stating the fact that he is averaging a triple-double for the 4th time in his career. In 47 games with the Wizards, Westbrook is averaging 21.8 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 10.9 APG.
Westbrook is a stat sheet stuffer, but his partnership with Bradley Beal has been a disaster. There is no excuse for a team with that much talent to have a 21-33 record. Some will blame the coach, others will blame Westbrook. But make no mistake, Westbrook can be a dominant point guard.
Teams with go-to scorers needing a playmaker and rebounder can aggressively push for Westbrook. He might not be a number one option, but if he can play his role and be content with it, he will generate interest. Bradley Beal is the priory of Washington so if moving Westbrook for better parts is the key, it has to be done.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns has quietly put up All-Star numbers yet again this season. If his team was in the playoff hunt, he would be an easy All-Star selection. Averaging 25.0 PPG, 11.1 RPG, and 4.6 APG; Towns is showing he is a franchise player.
He gets it done on both ends, and he deserves a chance to be on a better team than the 14-42 Timberwolves who hold the worst record in the entire NBA. For Minnesota, the arrival of new owner Alex Rodriguez could mean big changes. Of course, losing Towns would cause an uproar in Minnesota, but it could be time for the star to want out.
Towns had a difficult year in terms of his personal life so a change could be on his wish list. If it is, we all know superstar players have the power in the NBA. Towns is worth max money and every team in the NBA would be willing to offer a boatload of picks and young assets to acquire him.