The NBA held its annual draft lottery on Thursday, a tradition that gives organizations and their fans hope for the future as everyone anxiously awaits which team receives the best draft picks.
The Minnesota Timberwolves won the top pick, but the scarier occurrence was the Warriors receiving the No. 2 pick since they’ll get Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back healthy for next season.
Many think Golden State and some other teams could trade their high draft picks for players ready to help them win now. Although no one knows what teams will do leading up to and on draft night, here are a few blockbuster trades that could happen if teams at the top of the 2020 draft decided to deal their pick.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Bradley Beal
The Timberwolves have plenty of options to maximize their 2020 No. 1 overall pick. Prospects like Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball are enticing players to select, but the best option for Minnesota’s future may be to deal the pick for a star capable of helping the team win sooner than later.
The best player the franchise could realistically acquire is Bradley Beal. Beal doesn’t appear ready to leave Washington just yet, but the Wizards don’t have a clear direction as an organization and no one knows what to expect from John Wall as he returns next season from a torn Achilles tendon. For the right price, Washington could be convinced to deal Beal and stockpile assets to hopefully build a contender in the future.
Minnesota has lots of attractive assets to trade in addition to the No. 1 pick. Young, up-and-coming players like Jarrett Culver — the sixth overall pick in 2019 — Malik Beasley, Omari Spellman, Naz Reid, Josh Okogie, Juancho Hernangómez and Jake Layman have all shown potential and have team-friendly contracts. The Timberwolves could offer the Wizards a package of the No. 1 pick, any combination of the aforementioned players and even their second first-round pick in 2020 if needed.
Beal’s asking price is hefty, but he alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell would form one of the most offensively-skilled big-threes in the league. Minnesota shouldn’t waste any time with Towns and Russell signed for the next three seasons and seemingly happy for the time being.
The defense for this big-three is another story, though, yet it would make the team exciting and worth watching if nothing else.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Devin Booker
Like Beal, Booker is another elite wing the Timberwolves could realistically acquire with a trade package consisting of most of the previously mentioned assets. The main issue is that the Suns went 8-0 in the Orlando bubble and finally showed signs of promise, so Booker may now be willing to remain in Phoenix and give the franchise one more chance to build a winner.
If he still decides he wants to move on, however, Minnesota is a good situation to join. Russell and Towns are stars who are around the same age as Booker, so this big-three could grow together and eventually climb the ranks of the league.
Booker’s stock has never been higher because of his stellar performance in the bubble, so it may be more advantageous for the Timberwolves to wait until next season begins to make this trade. The Suns might very well stink again in the 2020-2021 season. Whether Booker publicly states he wants out or not, Phoenix returning to their woeful ways only helps Minnesota’s chances of trading for him.
Golden State Warriors - Ben Simmons
With Curry and Thompson both presumably coming back healthy next season, the Warriors likely want to use the No. 2 overall pick to try and acquire another great player and continue the team’s winning tradition. Adding a top prospect to a roster already headlined by two championship-caliber stars likely won’t help the Warriors win a title again next season. Trading for someone like Ben Simmons, however, thrusts the franchise into championship contention once again.
The 76ers have a big task ahead of them this offseason. They not only need to find a new head coach and potentially a new general manager, but the team’s roster also doesn’t fit. If the organization feels Simmons and Joel Embiid need to split up, making a deal with the Warriors might be the best option for the franchise to regroup and compete for a championship in the coming seasons.
Golden State has a belly of assets to offer Philadelphia for Simmons in addition to the No. 2 pick. Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Ky Bowman, Marquise Chriss, Kevon Looney and Damion Lee are all young and cheap players that could be included in a trade, while Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green are more talented and expensive options. The Warriors could also include a future first-round pick or two to sweeten the deal.
The 76ers currently have a jumbled and expensive roster, so trading Simmons — whose new max-contract begins next season — for cheap young players would not only help them remain competitive in the future but also possibly help dump Al Horford’s awful contract in a separate trade.
If Philadelphia could move Horford’s contract with the help of some new young prospects, acquiring Wiggins or Green in the deal for the 76ers could help the team remain competitive for the foreseeable future. Or they could simply trade Simmons and Horford, stockpile picks and younger players and hope to make a run at a title in the coming seasons with newfound cap flexibility.
Golden State has the assets to accommodate whichever route Philadelphia chooses. The main roadblock would be convincing the 76ers to trade Simmons if they still want to give him and Embiid another year or two together under a new coach, which is likely the case as of now.
Golden State Warriors - Giannis Antetokounmpo
Depending on how Milwaukee finishes these playoffs, Antetokounmpo may be more available to trade for than Simmons. Antetokonmpo could want out of Milwaukee if they come up short once again in the postseason, especially if the team doesn’t make it out of the Eastern Conference. Khris Middleton’s performance, being that he’s now on a max-contract and stuck with the organization for the foreseeable future, will also play a role in Antetokonmpo’s belief in the Bucks’ chances to win a title.
If Antetokounmpo decides he wants out, Golden State has the assets to realistically acquire him and is a well-run organization that any player would want to play for. Wiggins, Green, the No. 2 pick and the necessary combination of the previously mentioned trade assets should be enough to get Antetokounmpo. Honestly, no price is too high for the 25-year-old superstar who would revive Golden State’s dynasty.
With Green and Wiggins gone in addition to whichever other players the Warriors would have to give up, the team would have room to sign Antetokounmpo to the max-contract he’ll be owed after the 2020-2021 season. This means he’ll be with the team likely until Curry and Thompson are in their mid-30s and likely no longer top-end players. This approximately five-year window would surely give Antetokounmpo the chance to win multiple Finals that he desires.
Chicago Bulls - Joel Embiid
Like Simmons, Embiid could be on the trading block if Philadelphia decides it needs to split the pair up this offseason. While this is unlikely, Chicago could offer the 76ers an enticing package that would not only help replace the big man but also allow them to trade Horford’s atrocious contract.
The Bulls are a mess of a franchise despite having several young assets. Zach LaVine recently said he’s tired of losing and didn’t like Chicago’s (now former) coach, so he may want out of Chicago. Pairing LaVine with Simmons is an intriguing idea for Philadelphia and one the team should consider if the rest of the trade package for Embiid is sufficient.
Chicago can offer the 76ers a combination of the No. 4 pick in 2020, a 2022 first-round pick, LaVine, Kris Dunn, Tomas Satoransky, Denzel Valentine, Ryan Arcidiacono, Chandler Hutchison and either Wendell Carter Jr. or Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls wouldn’t give up both young big men or Coby White simply because they need some pieces around Embiid other than Otto Porter Jr., but if this trade package can help Simmons thrive and get rid of Horford, Philadelphia should consider it. It would also give the 76ers some much-needed guard depth and more cap flexibility.
Atlanta Hawks - Zach LaVine
Atlanta is in a good position moving forward. It has a bunch of young, talented players and plenty of cap space to work with. With Trae Young now a star, John Collins on one of the best contracts in the league and the newly-acquired Clint Capela controlling the paint, the team’s main pitfall is youth and perimeter playmakers besides Young.
Adding LaVine solves this issue, and the Hawks have enough assets to realistically trade for the disgruntled Chicago star. Atlanta could offer a combination of the No. 6 pick, either De’Andre Hunter or Cam Reddish, Kevin Huerter, Bruno Fernando, Skal Labissière, Damian Jones and DeAndre' Bembry. A future first-round pick may be necessary, but Atlanta’s best assets are so young and full of potential that they’re more valuable than even a solid starting-caliber player.
LaVine would pair spectacularly alongside Young. They’re both prolific shooters and capable of handling the ball, and although defense would be an issue, Capela’s interior presence and Hunter/Reddish’s length and athleticism on the wings help compensate. This trade makes both LaVine and Young happy.