The NBA off-season is officially underway and there are plenty of trades that could rock the league, maybe even before the draft Thursday night
It seems as though every off-season some major trades shake the league or rock the media world. This off-season is no different…
Even though some NBA players are overseas representing the United States there is still business to be done stateside.
Some of that business involves high-caliber players like Damien Lillard, Ben Simmons, or Bradley Beal. but there are certainly other big names that could be wearing new jerseys sooner rather than later.
Typically there is a flurry of small trades before the NBA draft but with the massive trade capital that is at bay, there could be some major players moving to new cities before Thursday night.
In fact, just the past two days there was a three-team trade which sent 8-year veteran Steven Adams to Memphis and 10-year veteran Jonas Valančiūnas to New Orleans.
So what other big names could be in new places? Could a trade be made before the draft clock starts ticking? Which teams have the most to gain?
Damian Lillard to the Eastern Conference
The one thing that the Trailblazers do not want to do is trade Lillard within their conference for fear that he may be the one to beat them in future playoffs with his eye-raising performances.
Philadelphia is the best landing spot for Lillard for multiple reasons: they have more to offer (Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, Danny Green) and they are a “win now” team that is smack-dab in the middle of their championship window.
The 76ers are also the most complete team (in the East) that could grab Lillard. Their backcourt is full of excellent defensive players and their All-Star center Joel Embiid was an MVP candidate last season, making Philly the prime location for number zero.
Miami has also been thriving in the East but unable to capture the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy, could Lillard help close that gap?
The Bucks swept the Heat in the first round of these past playoffs, causing some to be skeptical about the talent that Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn actually bring to the team.
Lillard and Jimmy Butler would be a lethal combination, especially if Bam Adebayo continues to grow as a scorer as well as a defensive center. The only problem is that Miami does not currently own a pick in the 2021 draft and only two picks over the next two drafts.
Lillard could thrive in the Eastern Conference if Portland ends up trading him there but the returning package has to be just right for the Trailblazers to get rid of their best player in recent history.
Kristaps Porzingis to the Hornets
LaMelo Ball came out swinging last season on his way to winning Rookie of the Year. In addition, Ball also made it clear that the Hornets could be contenders shortly making the trade for Porzingis very possible.
Porzingis struggled to get back to his 22.7 ppg average that he had before tearing his ACL in 2018 but he still has a high enough ceiling that Charlotte could make a move.
This would not come as a surprise considering the Hornets shelled out $30 million per year for Gordon Hayward just last off-season. However, to get Porzingis into a Charlotte uniform it may just take another blockbuster trade from a team for Hayward to do so.
The Hornets’ salary cap would likely be at its tipping point if they decided to tack on Porzingis’ $32 million per year but they could make it work.
Their cap would almost definitely be in the red once Devonte’ Graham’s contract expires in the next two seasons as well, meaning this is a “now, not later” type of situation.
Buddy Hield to the Lakers
LeBron James and Anthony Davis have tasted success now and knowing “King” James the last postseason performance has probably left a sour taste in his mouth.
James is always in a “win now” mentality but with his body obviously aging he is more determined to get special talent beside him than ever before.
Hield would be one the best trades that the Lakers could grab, and for a somewhat cheaper price, because of how much he has grown as a shooter.
It’s also important to note that, apparently, Hield has reportedly already been a topic of conversation between the Kings and Lakers’ top brass.
The former Oklahoma Sooner is in the middle of a relatively inexpensive contract compared to the needs of Laker Dennis Schröder, who turned down $21 million/year in March, which should be music to Lakers’ fans’ ears.
The 28-year old would be a consistent, and healthy, addition to the team that struggled with injuries in the playoffs along with inconsistency from three-point range and the free-throw line.