The Brooklyn Nets are the closest squad to being a superteam in the NBA right now. With Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant slated to be teammates next year, the Nets should be heavily favored to win the championship in 2022.
The Lakers and Warriors are very close to forming a superteam, but with injuries to some of their best players, as well as question marks about free agency, the Nets have the closest squad out of any team in the league.
As teams look to the offseason to improve their respective teams, three superteams could be formed to challenge the Nets for the title. By analyzing the major blockbuster deals across the league, here are three teams that could be created this season with the best chance to knock off the competitive Nets.
Lakers Superteam: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard
Trade Package for Damian Lillard: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Talen Horton-Tucker (sign-and-trade), Alex Caruso (sign-and-trade), Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, 2027 First-Round Pick
The Lakers are expected to lose Dennis Schroder to free agency, which means that the team will have a huge hole at point guard. Schroder is expected to ask for a salary between $15-$20 million. The Lakers are approaching the luxury tax threshold and cannot afford to bring Schroder back. In order to fill the point guard position, but as well form a superteam, the Lakers can let Schroder walk and trade for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
There is growing uncertainty that Lillard wants to stay in Portland after Terry Stotts is removed. Even with a new head coach in Chauncey Billups, Lillard has not publicly stated that he wants to stay in town. With this package, the Trail Blazers could remain competitive as Billups gets his feet wet in the first years of his coaching career.
Horton-Tucker and Caruso would need to be sign-and-trade deals, while Harrell would need to pick up his player’s option. Caruso could assume the point guard position, while Caldwell-Pope, Horton-Tucker, and Harrell would provide depth for a team that lacks plenty of it. As for Kuzma, he could start or come off the bench.
Lillard, LeBron, and Davis would be a tantalizing trio. With the amount of All-Star appearances and All-NBA selections these three have, it would be hard to stop this team. With a two-year window in LeBron and his contract, this trade would give LeBron the help he needs to try and secure his fifth and sixth championships.
Heat Superteam - Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Bradley Beal
Trade Package for Bradley Beal: Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson (sign-and-trade), Andre Iguodala, KZ Okpala, 2024 First-Round Pick
After making the NBA Finals last season, the Heat fell flat on their face this season. The team didn’t look consistent and were eventually swept in the first round of the playoffs. Victor Oladipo didn’t play more than four games since coming to the team and he looks to be out the door. There are questions surrounding how much longer Jimmy Butler wants to stay, so if the Heat wanted to try and contend in the east, it would require one more star player.
When the Heat made the NBA Finals last year, Durant didn’t play and Harden wasn’t a part of the team. A superteam needs to be taken down by another superteam. The addition of Bradley Beal, the NBA runner-up in the scoring race, would allow the Heat to keep their defensive identity, but add an established scorer to help Butler.
Sharpshooting Duncan Robinson would need to be signed and traded, while Iguodala would need to be moved for salary purposes. The package would be centered around Tyler Herro, who averaged 15.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in his sophomore season. The 21-year old has plenty of high stock from his rookie year where he averaged 13.5 points and 4.1 rebounds but was the team’s second-best scorer on their run to the NBA Finals.
The Wizards have a rebuild on the horizon, so Herro would be a young player the team could build around. The same goes with Robinson (27) and a future first-round pick. As for the Heat, this would give the franchise a more complete team.
Warriors Superteam - Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Joel Embiid
Trade Package for Joel Embiid: Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, No. 7, No. 14 Picks
The Warriors have that “Last Dance” feel to them. Steph Curry is 33 years old, while both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are 31. After making five consecutive NBA Finals appearances and winning three titles, the last two years have been plagued by injuries to all three and two years of missing the playoffs.
Thompson hasn’t played a full season in two years, so there is no telling that he is a fraction of his All-Star self. The combination of Curry and Green isn’t enough to get this team to a No. 8 seed in the Western Conference standings. Between the injury and history, the Warriors are going to need to find a way to bring a player to pair with this group to get the Warriors back to the NBA Finals.
That player would be Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid. The Warriors have a need for a center and Embiid would mesh well with this group. When healthy, Embiid is an MVP candidate that averaged 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and shot over 37% from three-point range. James Wiseman has the potential to be a great player in this league, but the Warriors need to win now and they can’t wait for Wiseman to grow up.
The 76ers will have to decide if the team wants to roll the dice on Ben Simmons and Embiid for one more year. If they believe that Embiid would get more in return, the Warriors could offer Andrew Wiggins, Wiseman, and two first-round picks from this year’s draft.