Once the NBA Finals conclude, training camps will be opening up and teams will begin their quest towards becoming the champions of the 2021-2022 season. For some teams like the Lakers, Heat, or Warriors, making one move could be the difference between another ring or an early playoff exit.
The offseason will likely hold some more offseason movement, as there are NBA stars that are likely to be moved. Teams will look towards adding role players or All-Star talent, so here are 15 players that could be traded this season.
It will all depend on what happens with the slew of free agents that the Lakers have. With Andre Drummond, Alex Caruso, Dennis Schroder, and Talen Horton-Tucker up for new contracts, the Lakers do not own a lot of assets to trade unless a sign-and-trade happens.
If the Lakers bring back half of those players, they could package Kuzma to make a deal for a higher-end All-Star player. Kuzma averaged 16.1 and 18.7 points in the league his first two seasons, but those numbers took a dip when the team added players like Anthony Davis and Schroder. In a starting role, those numbers could exceed 20 points, which is what could entice some teams to make a move.
If the Miami Heat wants to add a player like Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, or Bradley Beal, the team will have to part with Herro. After a sensational rookie season that saw Herro show flashes of an All-Star player, his sophomore season slumped and brought distractions about his work ethic.
His value may not be as high as a year ago, but Herro did average 15.1 points and 5.0 rebounds at the age of 21 years old. Some Miami fans can give up on him, but plenty of scouts will tell you those are pretty solid numbers. The Heat have a smaller window to make it back to the NBA Finals. A player like Westbrook, Lillard, or Beal could get the Heat back to the top.
The Celtics already moved Kemba Walker this offseason, but are rumored to not be finished. Rumors are circulating that the Celtics want to add a superstar talent to help Jaylen Brown and Jayston Tatum compete in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics don’t have a lot of money, so Smart would have to be a part of that package because of his salary. Not only that, Smart is a starting-caliber point guard in this league. If the Celtics pry away a point guard from another team, they will want someone to fill the void and that void will have to be filled by Smart.
The Kings will likely trade Hield because he has shown that he doesn’t want to be there anymore. Since Luke Walton has taken over as head coach, his numbers have consistently dropped. After averaging a career-high 20.7 points two years ago, he has averaged 19.2 and 16.6 points per game.
There will be teams looking for outside shooting. Hield is a career 40.6% shooter from behind the arc. With where the Kings are at, future assets are a must.
Another Cavalier that needs to be on the move is Kevin Love. It’s just a matter of time when this is going to happen. If not a trade, a buyout could be on the horizon. By the time the Cavaliers are competing again, the 32-year-old will not be a part of the team.
Injuries have limited Love to 103 games in the last three seasons since LeBron James left. Love was an integral part of the championship team in 2016, as well as other years. Now, it’s time to get some closure and let both parties live on.
Speaking of the Celtics, Sexton has been linked to the Celtics for weeks now. Rumors are that the Cavaliers are looking to trade Sexton to add a lottery pick for this year’s draft to go with their No. 3 overall pick. The Cavaliers are very high on Darius Garland, who is in the final year of his contract this season.
Sexton scored 24.3 points per game and would be a perfect fit in Boston. There are concerns about his short size, but in Boston, he wouldn’t have to be the primary scorer. Sexton has a high ceiling at 22 years old, so the Cavaliers could get a decent package in return.
Porzingis has potentially one of the worst contracts in the sport for the production that he is giving. There is a feeling around the league that the Mavericks haven’t been using Porzingis the right way, or that this partnership with Luka Doncic just doesn’t work.
Regardless, a team like the Celtics has been linked to Porzingis dating back to his playing days with the Knicks. The Mavericks would love to get the $30 million annual salary off their books with a potential $200 million contract looming for Doncic on the horizon.
There are a lot of teams that want Turner. The Lakers, Clippers, and Celtics have all been linked to his services. It’s easy to understand why. Turner was the leader in blocks at 3.4 per game before an injury forced him to miss too much time to qualify in the leaderboard.
The Pacers are stuck in purgatory between average and rebuilding. With a new coach and pieces like Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon, the Pacers could have a competitive team. It’s possible that the team has seen enough of Sabonis and Turner together and could use Turner to gain pieces to help the Pacers go smaller.
Walker has already been moved once, but there is a belief that he may not even play a single game for the OKC Thunder. The Lakers are seen as a suitor if the team lets Schroder and others walk. Walker would give the Lakers a Big 3 and could finally be healthy once the season starts.
The Clippers are another team that could offer a young player like Terrance Mann and a draft pick this season. It would take some shuffling of salaries, but Walker, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George would be a dangerous combination. Either way, the Thunder do not need a player like Walker when they are trying to build around young players.
The first year without Kawhi Leonard in Toronto was a successful season. The Raptors were a No. 2 seed in the East and competed in the second round. This year, the Raptors were exposed and finished 27-45, and missed the playoffs.
Siakam was an integral part of the team’s championship season in 2019 when he won Most Improved Player of the Year. The problem is that Siakam has been asked to be a No. 1 option. He cannot handle that load and lead the Raptors to successful seasons. Plenty of teams could use a stretch forward like Siakam and the price would help accelerate the Raptors’ rebuild.
Ingram is an All-Star, but New Orleans has been linked as a destination for Lillard. There is growing tension around the city that Zion Williamson is not happy with the progress the team has made in building a team around him. While these issues may not have any direct link to Ingram, it would take a player of his status to receive a player like Lillard.
Ingram was the 2020 Most Improved Player of the Year and was an All-Star. Ingram averaged 23.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists this past season. At just 23 years old, there are even more prime seasons left.
This should feel pretty simple because at this point everyone knows why Ben Simmons could be traded. He can’t shoot. He can’t score. He gets paid over $30 million per season to play great defense. We could go on and on about the offensive skills of Simmons, but his rebounding, playmaking, and defense are all worthy of bringing in a high-quality player to Philly.
Even with Simmons shooting less than 20% from three-point range, he is a three-time All-Star. The 76ers could use his salary to bring in a player like Russell Westbrook. The process that has brought Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Tobias Harris landed the team a No. 1 seed in the regular season, but this was another failed postseason appearance that ended too soon in the second round.
After nine years, the Trail Blazers decided it was time to make a move as head coach. With Terry Stotts out and Chauncey Billups in, it’s unknown if either Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum is on the move. Out of the two, McCollum is more likely to be moved in a transaction that could bring back a superstar to pair with Lillard.
The backcourt of Lillard and McCollum has lost its flair. McCollum is a defensive liability and hasn’t made an All-Star appearance once in his career. That is a team like the 76ers that could use an offensive shooter at the expense of a player like Ben Simmons.
Westbrook could bring a top player and multiple first-round picks to Washington. The Wizards need to completely tear it down, or part with at least one of their two superstar players. The 76ers would be a perfect spot for Westbrook given the style of play. It would be the third team in three years for the 2017 MVP, but his time in Washington should come to a close after the team received the No. 10 seed.
The Knicks are another team that could make a bid for Westbrook, especially with the team leading the league in cap space this year. The Knicks could afford Westbrook and have assets at their disposal. We should expect to hear Westbrook’s name in the rumor mill plenty this summer.
If Beal asks for a trade, the Wizards will have a tough decision to make. The franchise could look to run it back with Beal and Westbrook one more time or capitalize on Beal’s full value. Beal could bring back a package similar to the likes of Paul George when he was traded from the Thunder to the Clippers. Multiple first-round picks and pick swaps would be the right way for the Wizards to go.
Washington has struggled in mediocrity for years since the injury to John Wall. Westbrook was supposed to be the filler for Wall, but the team remained average. After finishing runner-up in the scoring race, it’s time for the Wizards to make the most of their best asset.