The 2019-20 NBA season is likely going to resume at some point in July after it was suspended back on March 11 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This means that the offseason likely won’t get going until some time in October with a targeted Christmas opening day for the 2020-21 season.
Behind the scenes, there’s numerous teams already looking ahead to what will be a truncated offseason. Said teams will be looking to trade veterans or a combination of youngsters and draft picks. It’s in this that I check in on eight NBA stars likely to be dealt after the 2019-20 season eventually concludes.
Julius Randle, forward, New York Knicks
New York’s decision to sign Randle to a three-year, $54 million contract last July caught a lot of people off guard. What was the plan? Sure Randle is a good player. But after missing out on the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, it seemed like New York would sit out the top-end free-agent market. That did not happen.
Randle, 25, responded by averaging 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 46% from the field prior to the season being suspended. He’ll have a very active trade market with the Golden State Warriors making a lot of sense due to their $17.19 million trade exception.
Draymond Green, forward, Golden State Warriors
Speaking of the worst team in the NBA, there’s a darn good chance that Golden State will look to move on from this three-time champ when the season comes to a conclusion. Despite his bloated four-year, $99.7 million contract, the 30-year-old Green could reportedly land Golden State multiple first-round picks.
Green has struggled big time with both Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry sidelined this season. Though, he is still averaging 8.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. That type of all-around ability will not go unnoticed. With Golden State boasting a solid young big in Eric Paschall to replace Green, the latter will likely be traded. If so, keep an eye on a team like the Dallas Mavericks.
Kevin Love, forward, Cleveland Cavaliers
Yet another player who has been bandied about in trade talks over the past calendar year or so, Love should want out of Cleveland. The team is rebuilding with the backcourt combo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Love, 31, is said to want a trade.
Expect that to happen after the season. Despite some injury issues, the NBA champ is still averaging 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds. His ability to shoot as a stretch-big makes the veteran an attractive option on the trade market. Love’s $28.9 million annual salary might be a sticking point. That doesn’t mean someone like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban would likely look past that.
Jrue Holiday, guard, New Orleans Pelicans
One of the most underrated point guards in the NBA, Holiday doesn’t get enough credit for what he brings to the table on a nightly basis. The 29-year-old veteran is averaging 19.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.7 steals on 45% shooting from the field. Those are some great splits.
As we noted earlier in the year, Holiday is firmly on the trade block. Lonzo Ball’s emergence since Zion Williamson’s return to the court magnifies this further. He will be moved after the season. Look for Holiday’s original Philadelphia 76ers squad to potentially make a play for him. They could obviously use some outside shooting.
Blake Griffin, forward, Detroit Pistons
After moving Andre Drummond for pennies on the dollar during the trade deadline back in February, it’s rather clear that Detroit is going into full-scale rebuild mode. From top to bottom, it boasts one of the worst rosters in the entire NBA.
Moving Blake Griffin and his $34.4 million annually salary won’t be easy. That’s especially true given that he’s appeared in just 18 games this season due to a knee injury. However, the Pistons are not going to be able to start anew with him on the roster. Even if it means sweetening the pot with a draft pick or a young player, moving Griffin after the season concludes has to be Detroit’s top priority.
Buddy Hield, guard, Sacramento Kings
By now it’s well known that Hield and embattled Kings head coach Luke Walton have not seen eye to eye during their short time together. From Walton benching the sharpshooter late in close game to limiting Hield’s minutes, things are not going swimmingly here.
Despite his own struggles as the Kings’ head coach, Walton’s job appears to be safe. If that is indeed the case, it would not be a surprise if Sacramento traded the centerpiece it acquired in the DeMarcus Cousins trade. Hield, 27, would be of major interest on the trade block. He’s still averaging 19.8 points and shooting 40% from distance on the season.
Aaron Gordon, forward, Orlando Magic
There had been some talk that Orlando was interested in moving Gordon to the Golden State Warriors for D’Angelo Russell prior to the latter being dealt back in February. This seems to be a clear indication that the Magic are hellbent on moving their ultra-athletic forward.
Gordon, 24, has taken a step back this season. He’s averaging just 14.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Even then, someone his age with the athleticism to grow into an elite-level player would draw interest on the trade market. It’s really all about what Orlando might be able to get in return.
C.J. McCollum, guard, Portland Trail Blazers
It’s becoming clear that Portland’s star-studded backcourt of McCollum and Damian Lillard will not be enough to get this team over the top. Last season’s series sweep at the hands of the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals coupled with major struggles this year leads me to believe this duo needs to be broken up.
Lillard is going nowhere. We can put an end to those rumors right now. Though, the idea of moving McCollum for other chess pieces and draft pick capital makes a lot of sense for Portland. It’s not like the star guard wouldn’t have a strong market. McCollum is averaging 21.8 points while shooting a robust 38% from distance on the season. His somewhat small $27.5 million average salary would also be enticing to other teams.