As far as star NBA players being traded, James Harden registers as one of the best in the modern history of the Association. The four-team deal that sent Harden from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this week is also one of the biggest trades in NBA history.
While nothing will match this blockbuster heading up to the March trade deadline, some star NBA players could end up being moved. Here’s a look at five of them.
NBA players who could be dealt ahead of trade deadline
Zach LaVine, guard/forward, Chicago Bulls
One of the most-underrated NBA players of his generation, LaVine is slated to become a free agent following the 2021-22 season. It has led to speculation that Chicago might trade its best player. The wing is averaging 27.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists on a ridiculous 49% shooting from the field this season. He’s morphed into a legit star after being seen as more of an athlete leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft.
Any LaVine trade would net the struggling Bulls a massive return. A team like the Dallas Mavericks would make sense. They have been looking for another star to team up with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Under this scenario, LaVine would play small forward. He’s been utilized in that role at times in Chicago.
DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs
Despite some recent success, the Spurs are headed for a complete rebuild. The 31-year-old DeRozan could ultimately be one of the trade chips that brings back a return that would enable San Antonio to expedite said rebuild. Still one of the most-gifted NBA players today, DeRozan will likely opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer. It would enable him to cash in on one final long-term contract.
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As for a potential trade, who wouldn’t want a veteran who is averaging 21.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 7.0 assists from the two-guard position? Previous rumors linked DeRozan to his hometown Lakers. However, the Kyle Kuzma extension likely throws that possibility out the window. Perhaps, the Clippers get involved. The issue here is that they lack assets. The more-likely scenario is that DeRozan is dealt to a contending team back east such as the Boston Celtics or Philadelphia 76ers.
Ben Simmons, guard, Philadelphia 76ers
Following the Harden blockbuster trade, reports surfaced that Philadelphia offered up Simmons in a package for the former MVP. That contradicts a public stance from front office head Daryl Morey indicating that Simmons was off the table. Now that this is public information, it’s possible Simmons could become a malcontent with Philadelphia.
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Even if that’s not the case, a trade could make sense ahead of the NBA trade deadline in March. Perhaps, the Sixers call up the Washington Wizards about Bradley Beal. Heck, a trade to the Golden State Warriors for Andrew Wiggins and the protected Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round pick in 2021 could make sense. Philadelphia would then hypothetically use that pick to bring in another star player to team up with Joel Embiid.
Draymond Green, forward, Golden State Warriors
As far as NBA players go, Green is not seen as a star in the truest sense of the word. That’s just fine to the three-time champion. He does the dirty work, can run an offense with the best of them and remains one of the top all-around defenders in the Association. These are things that will not be lost on contending teams.
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Reports earlier in the season surfaced that indicated Golden State could look to move off Green should things snowball following the latest injury to Klay Thompson. And while the Warriors have righted the proverbial ship, trading Green could make sense. They have a younger and cheaper version of him in that of impressive youngster Eric Paschall. If this were to come to fruition, pretty much every contending team would be interested in Green’s services.
Bradley Beal, guard, Washington Wizards
It’s not yet known whether Washington will put Beal on the trade block after he signed a two-year extension back in 2019. With that said, the high-scoring guard can opt out of his contract following next season. That could very well expedite a departure from D.C., especially given the team’s continued struggles despite trading for Russell Westbrook.
One of the best pure NBA players of his generation, Beal is averaging an NBA-high 34.9 points to go with 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists on 49% shooting from the field this season. At just 27 years old, there’s an argument Washington could net a larger return than the one Houston received for Harden. The team will have to think long and hard about it if that were indeed true.