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5 blockbuster NBA trade scenarios for the 2021 draft

It would not be a major surprise if we saw some big NBA trades during the annual draft this coming summer. Some teams picking within the lottery are going to look to add proven pieces. That includes the Golden State Warriors with two lottery selections (7th and 14th overall).

Below, we look at five blockbuster NBA trade scenarios that would make a ton of sense during the 2021 draft.

Detroit Pistons trade Jerami Grant to the Washington Wizards

Jerami Grant NBA Draft trade to the Washington Wizards
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
  • Wizards get: Jerami Grant
  • Pistons get: Davis Bertans, Anthony Gill, 15th pick

Grant, 27, was absolutely phenomenal in his first season with the Pistons after being acquired in a sign-and-trade during the 2020 NBA offseason. The three-and-D wing averaged 22.3 points and 4.6 rebounds on 35% shooting from the field. With Detroit in obvious rebuild mode and boasting the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, rumors suggest that it could move him for other parts.

That’s where the Wizards come into play. They must upgrade a decent roster if the organization is to retain star guard Bradley Beal long-term. A trip to the playoffs this past season was a start. But it’s not enough. By moving off the underperforming Bertans for a great two-way player, Washington would be showing Beal and Russell Westbrook that it’s in it to win it. Trading a mid first-round pick to make it happen would be seen as a win.

Minnesota Timberwolves trade Karl-Anthony Towns to the Toronto Raptors

Karl-Anthony Towns NBA Draft trade to the Toronto Raptors
Feb 10, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) looks to make a pass around Toronto Raptors forwards Pascal Siakam (43) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (4) in the first half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
  • Raptors get: Karl-Anthony Towns
  • Timberwolves get: Pascal Siakam, Malachi Flynn, fourth pick

Would Minnesota even consider a blockbuster NBA Draft trade involving Towns? At this rate, it might actually make the most sense with the downtrodden organization set to build around guards Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell. With the Wolves’ first-round pick in 2021 headed to the Golden State Warriors, they would also love to get back into the lottery. Perhaps, someone like stud wing Jalen Green could make sense.

Adding a 20-point per game scorer in the underrated Siakam and a backup point guard (Malachi Flynn) would just be icing on the cake.

As for the Raptors, they struggled big time this past season with Siakam as their top scoring option. In fact, Toronto won 27 games en route to putting up its worst performance since the 2011-12 campaign. Perhaps, adding KAT to the mix to go with Fred VanVleet would help change things for a Raptors squad that has no intention of rebuilding.

Sacramento Kings trade Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III to the Los Angeles Lakers

Harrison Barnes NBA Draft trade to the Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
  • Lakers get: Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III
  • Kings get: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, 22nd pick, two future second-round picks

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka might believe that it makes sense to keep their core together. With that said, it became clear during Los Angeles’ ugly first-round exit in the 2021 NBA Playoffs that it needs a better supporting cast behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Without much to offer up as it relates to acquiring a true star player like Damian Lillard, the Lakers go with an underrated three-and-D wing in Barnes. He’s capable of scoring 20 points on a consistent basis, hit on 39% of his threes last season and is an elite perimeter defender. Adding a young and disgruntled Bagley III to the mix for depth makes sense, too.

Sacramento is moving off both Barnes and Bagley III during the NBA offseason. That much is known. Acquiring Kyle Kuzma to team up with the star-studded backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton would be a win. The Kings could also potentially package the pick they acquire in this trade with their original first-round selection (projected to be ninth overall) to move up for wing Jonathan Kuminga. Get it done.

Philadelphia 76ers trade Ben Simmons to the Golden State Warriors

Ben Simmons NBA Draft trade to the Golden State Warriors
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
  • Warriors get: Ben Simmons, second-round pick in 2021, future first-round pick
  • 76ers get: Andrew Wiggins

It has become abundantly clear that MVP runner-up Joel Embiid needs a better No. 2 option behind him if the Philadelphia 76ers are going to be consistent NBA title contenders. What we saw from Ben Simmons during the playoffs adds another layer to this. At this point, I have no idea what Simmons’ value actually is. That’s the problem.

However, he could make sense for the Warriors to team up with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Simmons’ all-around game would easily make up for his lack of scoring with the Splash Brothers capable of combining for 60 on a nightly basis. This would also enable Curry to move to a more off-ball role as he enters the back end of his prime.

As for Philadelphia, picking up Wiggins for Simmons would be a win. He turned into an elite perimeter defender with Golden State last season and can be a 20-point scorer. Wiggins also shot 38% from distance in 2020-21. This hypothetical trade would likely require Philadelphia throwing in multiple picks to entice the Warriors. Boy, how things have changed.

Portland Trail Blazers trade Damian Lillard to the New York Knicks

NBA Draft trade scenarios: Damian Lillard to the New York Knicks
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
  • Knicks get: Damian Lillard
  • Blazers get: R.J. Barrett, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, two 2021 first-round picks, three future first-round picks

Oh boy. Talk about a blockbuster NBA trade to end blockbuster NBA trades. The Knicks are now favored to land Dame if the Portland Trail Blazers are forced to trade him. Coming off a surprisingly successful 2020-21 season, these Knicks are also now suddenly a prime landing spot for big-name players. Boasting a ton of assets to make a move of this ilk, Lillard to the Big Apple makes sense.

The idea would be to team him up with with Julius Randle to form a elite duo. New York would also have enough cap room to add a max-contract type player on the NBA free agent market. The interesting dynamic here is that it would likely come in 2022 with roughly 10 future Hall of Fame players potentially set to hit the open market.

For Portland, this would be all about starting anew with a rebuild. If the team is forced to trade Lillard, it also would likely move off C.J. McCollum. If so, acquiring three potential core players and five future first-round picks would help expedite said rebuild.