There is nothing that shakes up the NBA likes a blockbuster trade near the trade deadline. It takes time to gauge the repercussions of the trade but as a fan, watching big pieces move from one team to another is exhilarating. For some of these teams, their squad is just one major piece away from potentially bringing home an NBA championship.
For some of these teams, playoff contention, future success, and win-now mode highlight their thoughts around making these moves. With that said, these are five blockbuster trades that we want to see before the trade deadline.
5. Kevin Love - Dallas Mavericks
2020-2021 Statistics: 9.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Trade Package: James Johnson, Maxi Kleber, 2022 first-round pick, 2024 first-round pick, 2025 second-round pick
You're probably asking yourself this is the best trade offer on the landscape right now? Why would the Mavericks want Love, who has played in only two games this season due to injury. For starters, this trade would be all about 2022 for both teams. The Mavericks are contending for playoff contention but are clearly not ready to contend for an NBA championship this season. Last year, Love averaged 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and shot 45% from the field. Love remains a valuable power forward in this league and would bring a true rebounder to the floor that can also shoot from outside. Paired with Luka Doncic, Tim Hardward Jr., and Kristaps Porzingis, this team would not look too shabby.
As for the Cavaliers, this would take off the $31.2 million in 2022 and $28.9 million in 2023 owing to Love. The Cavaliers have a solid young foundation but are not going to contend with Love on the roster. James Johnson's money would come off the books, freeing up nearly $15.8 million in salary. Maxi Kleber is a solid backup and could fill in at power forward, while the draft compensation would be necessary. Both teams would benefit from this trade even though the immediate results would not come in 2021.
4. Kyle Lowry - Philadelphia 76ers
2020-2021 Statistics: 18.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 7.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Trade Package: Danny Green, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, Mike Scott, 2021 first-round pick
Lowry would have the biggest reception if this happened. Lowry is a Philadelphia native that played his college years at Villanova. He is a six-time All-Star that brings grit and a hard work ethic to the floor. His entire career image is what Philly stands for. Bring his toughness and leadership to this team, and the 76ers would be contenders in the East.
Joel Embiid is having an MVP season. Ben Simmons is the ultimate compliment. Tobias Harris is growing to be closer. None of these players truly know how to win in the playoffs. Lowry does though. He has been on both sides of the spectrum and used that to help lead Toronto to a championship in 2019. The Raptors would get a great defender in Thybulle and a future Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Milton as well as a first-round pick. The Raptors are teetering between rebuild and purgatory. It might be time to get something in return while Lowry's value is up.
3. Zach LaVine - Denver Nuggets
2020-2021 Statistics: 28.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.1 SPH, 0.4 BPG
Trade Package: Michael Porter Jr., Will Barton, Monte Morris, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 first-round pick
Imagine having to stop Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, and Zach LaVine on the perimeter. It would be nearly impossible. In this trade, Denver would be able to retain Gary Harris, who could be the team's sixth man and provide big offense off the bench. With LaVine's ability to score at nearly any part of the floor, he would be the offensive star to help get Denver over the hump in close games.
As for the Bulls, this trade would bring back the best overall package. The Bulls are fighting for the playoffs in the watered-down East and have a chance to qualify. However, will LaVine be apart of the team when the team starts contending? After making his first All-Star team, his stock is at an all-time high. Michael Porter Jr. and Monte Morris are two young, controllable players that could mesh well with Coby White and Wendell Carter Jr. With two first-round picks, the team could continue to develop through the draft or use those picks to bring in another star.
2. Karl-Anthony Towns - Golden State Warriors
2020-2021 Statistics: 22.0 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 3.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.7 BPG
Trade Package: James Wiseman, Kelly Oubre, Eric Paschall, 2021 Timberwolves pick, 2022 first-round pick, 2024 first-round pick, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick
The Golden State Warriors are trying to qualify for the postseason in the loaded Western Conference Finals. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves are on their way towards receiving the No. 1 overall pick for the second straight season. With both franchises needing upgrades, could the Warriors make a move with the Timberwolves for the second straight season? Last year, the Warriors swung a deal that landed, Andrew Wiggins, in exchange for D'Angelo Russell and a 2022 first-round pick. The Warriors could flip that pick back to the Timberwolves, as well as combine two more first-rounders, as well as James Wiseman and Kelly Oubre to land a star center.
Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, has the tools to become a player like Towns but the Warriors are in win-now mode. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are entering their 30s. There is no time to wait and let Wiseman develop. Towns would bring the play of Tim Duncan to this team and give the Warriors their first real inside that in over a decade. A starting rotation of Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Green, and Towns would be hard to stop in 2022.
1. Bradley Beal - Miami Heat
2020-2021 Statistics: 32.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Trade Package: Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, 2025 first-round pick, 2027 first-round pick
The Miami Heat have clawed their way back to playoff contention after going 7-3 in their last 10 games. This mini-streak of adrenaline might be enough for Pat Riley to pull the trigger on young assets to solidify this team. The Heat made the NBA Finals last season but are missing one piece to get the team over the hump.
For now, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are not playing as well as last season. Kendrick Nunn is an interesting young option with potentially explosive power offensively. This core, plus three first-round picks, could be enough to entice Washington. Herro and Nunn would give the Wizards their starting backcourt for the future. As for Beal, the NBA's leader in scoring, a "Big 3" of Beal, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo might be enough to pull Miami into the Eastern Conference Finals again.