Draft Night is a moment of positivity and planning for all the teams in the NBA because of the possibility of drafting some of the nation's best young players. Especially this season, the draft is stacked with immensely talented prospects. But Draft Night is also an important night for teams looking to move up in the draft and that means trades are always expected.
We have already seen one blockbuster move in the wake of Draft Night with the Memphis Grizzlies shipping Jonas Valanciunas to the New Orleans Pelicans for Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, and a chance to draft a future star with the No.10 pick. But there is plenty more work to be done for some of the top teams in the NBA, and here are the 5 best trades that are expected to be made by draft night.
5. Luka Doncic Gets His Help In A Former All-Star
Trade Package: Josh Richardson, Dwight Powell, 2025 First-Round Pick, 2026 First-Round Pick for Kemba Walker
The Dallas Mavericks clearly need to find Luka Doncic some help. The Slovenian superstar is one of the best players in the world, fresh off a season averaging 27.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 8.6 APG. With Luka leading the way, the Mavericks found themselves in the playoffs yet again.
But the Mavericks can't rely on the Luka Show every game. They need to make moves, either by trading Kristaps Porzingis or finding a player that can fit with Doncic and Porzingis together. That player could be Kemba Walker, a former 4-time All-Star point guard. Walker had a tough season this year, only playing 43 games and averaging 42.0% shooting from the field. His health has particularly deteriorated over the past few seasons.
That is why the Boston Celtics pulled the trigger to send him to Oklahoma City to free up cap space. For a player who was expected to replace Kyrie Irving in Boston, he didn't quite perform. But Walker is a player that can create his own shot, and still averaged 19.3 PPG this season. For only giving away 2 future picks and some role players, Kemba is certainly worth the gamble because a bounce-back season from the point guard could bring Dallas past the first round.
4. Kings Build A Dynamic Duo With Ben Simmons
Trade Package: Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton, No. 9 Pick, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2023 Second-Round Pick for Ben Simmons
The Sacramento Kings have a budding star in De'Aaron Fox but everyone else on the roster is expendable. Fox had a strong season averaging 25.2 PPG and 7.2 APG and is ready to take the next step as an All-Star in the Western Conference. But the Kings need another star to pair with the speedy point guard.
That player could surprisingly be Ben Simmons, one of the best defensive players in the game. Despite the criticism that Ben Simmons received for his postseason performances, he is an impact player. Simmons averaged 14.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 6.9 APG and played some of the best defense of his career. Philadelphia might need shooters to pair with Joel Embiid, which means Simmons could be headed to Sacramento.
Simmons could handle playmaking responsibilities from Fox while also playing his original power forward position. Fox and Simmons would be deadly on the break and the team's defense would take a massive leap. Losing Rookie of the Year contender Tyrese Haliburton and valuable first-round picks hurt, but the Kings could be in the playoffs next year if they can acquire the Australian All-Star.
3. Celtics Land A Greate Scorer
Trade Package: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, 2022 First-Round Pick for Bradley Beal
Jayson Tatum is developing into a superstar before our eyes, and that means the future in Boston is very bright. Boston were consistent title contenders by making a few Eastern Conference Finals appearances, but they could never strike a deal for a superstar to take them to the Finals.
Acquiring Bradley Beal won't automatically take them to the Finals, but it is a start. It could cost the Celtics 24-year old All-Star Jaylen Brown to make this deal happen. Brown, Marcus Smart, and a future first-round pick could bring the league's second-highest scorer to the team. Beal averaged 31.3 PPG this season and his pairing with Jayson Tatum will be a force to handle in the East.
For Boston, this trade is only possible if Beal formally requests a move away from Washington. Jaylen Brown is a much better defensive player than Beal, along with being more athletic. So the Celtics might continue waiting to pounce unless Beal specifically commits to Boston. Otherwise, the Celtics could avoid the deal and wait until the next offseason when Beal could become a free agent.
2. Russell Westbrook Returns To Los Angeles
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Dennis Schroder (Sign and Trade), Talen Horton (Sign and Trade), No. 22 Pick for Russell Westbrook
The Los Angeles Lakers are dominating offseason rumors because knowing the franchise, they will not simply keep the same roster after a frustrating first-round exit in the playoffs. LeBron James will be 37 and Anthony Davis is often injured, meaning the Lakers need to find a ball-dominant superstar to relieve pressure off their stars.
Russell Westbrook faces a ton of criticism every year, but there is no question he is an impact player. He averaged a triple-double for the 4th time in his career, putting up 22.2 PPG, 11.5 RPG, and 11.7 APG. His all-around dominance means he can carry any team he's on to the postseason. Now imagine he gets a chance to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Westbrook with James and Davis will be the most physically imposing trio in the league. The Lakers will have the advantage in 3 key positions every night and could be on their way to the Finals with this acquisition. Westbrook can't shoot well, only 30.5% from three over his career, but he will instantly make the Lakers more deadly with his lane penetration and playmaking.
1. Warriors Acquire Superstar Damian Lillard
Trade Package: Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, No. 7 Pick, No. 14 Pick, 2022 Second-Round Pick for Damian Lillard
No player will make the Warriors title contenders better than Damian Lillard. Lillard averaged 28.8 PPG and 7.5 APG for the Portland Trail Blazers and is the best point guard in the NBA after Stephen Curry. Luckily for the Warriors, Curry is already on the team, which means Damian Lillard is the best trade target for Golden State right now.
Lillard is capable of carrying offenses on his own, which means the Warriors do not have to rely on a 33-year old Stephen Curry to initiate plays. Lillard is also the most clutch player in the league, which gives the Warriors a legitimate number one option when Curry or Klay is not open down the stretch. Of course, Lillard creates another superteam in Golden State with the formation of Splash Brothers 2.0.
Klay Thompson is one of the best two-way players in the league, which means he is very capable of playing small forward in an otherwise positionless lineup. Draymond is still there, and Golden State can simply find a rebounder to take up the center position like that did in the past with Andrew Bogut or Kevon Looney. With Lillard, the Warriors are back on top of the West and a showdown with the Brooklyn Nets could break viewer's records next year.