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NBA trades will be the name of the game this summer as some teams attempt to shed salaries of high-priced players. Other contending teams could very well look to find NBA All-Stars to team up with their already-elite players.
Could the Washington Wizards pull the plug on a Bradley Beal trade? Perhaps, the Brooklyn Nets attempt to get more pieces to surround Kevin Durant and James Harden by moving Kyrie Irving.
Get your NBA trade machine out, here’s a look at 20 star players who could be dealt this coming summer.
Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons
There was some talk that the 27-year-old Grant might be moved ahead of the March NBA trade deadline. This came with the former second-round pick in the midst of a career season and after having signed a modest three-year, $60 million contract last offseason. Grant has responded by averaging 22.6 points and 4.8 rebounds on 36% shooting from distance this season. Despite that, he does not fit into Detroit’s long-term rebuild and could potentially be had this summer.
Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers
There was surprisingly some talk of Indiana moving Brogdon ahead of the deadline this past March after acquiring him in a sign-and-trade with the Milwaukee Bucks back in 2019. Whether the 28-year-old combo guard fits into the Pacers’ future remains to be seen. He’s averaging 21.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists on 40% shooting from distance thus far this season. He also carries a $21.7 million cap hit for the 2021-22 season. That could force Indiana’s hands after it acquired Caris LeVert in the blockbuster James Harden trade.
Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
In the midst of a breakout season with Golden State, Wiggins has finally morphed into that three-and-D player most figured he’d be when he was the No. 1 selection in the 2014 NBA Draft. The 26-year-old forward is averaging 18.0 points and 4.7 rebounds on career-best marks from the field (47%) and three-point range (38%). He’s also playing elite defense. At issue here is Wiggins’ long-term fit in Golden State and the possibility that the Warriors pull off a blockbuster trade during the summer. If so, Wiggins and his contract would have to be moved.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
For what seems like ever, the 32-year-old Love has been on the NBA trade block. His advanced age coupled with a horrible contract ($60.2 million over the next two seasons) has made it nearly impossible for Cleveland to trade the five-time All-Star. With that said, the team could very well decide to take back another bad contract while offering draft pick compensation to rid itself of Love. If so, another contending squad might take a look at a still competent stretch-four.
Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
Just a year after signing a $140.79 million contract, Walker found himself on the NBA trade block ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. That’s primarily due to continued concerns over his knee. Here’s a guy who has been limited to 90 games since Boston picked him up. He’s also set to make a combined $73.6 million over the next two seasons. Despite this, there’s a chance another team picks him up on the cheap from a compensation standpoint. The All-Star is still averaging north of 19 points since the start of the 2019-20 season.
John Wall, Houston Rockets
Noticing a theme here? NBA teams are going to want to shed some major salaries during the 2021 offseason. Whether the rebuilding Rockets can move the remaining $91.6 million of Wall’s contract over the next two years remains to be seen. It’s going to be a tough sell for general manager Rafael Stone. With that said, we’ve seen the likes of Russell Westbrook moved in the past. There’s a chance that Houston opts to swap Wall out for a lesser contract while freeing up room by sending out multiple draft picks. After all, it’s going to be hard for the Rockets to go into full-scale rebuild mode with this albatross of a contract.
Jonas Valančiūnas, Memphis Grizzlies
With Memphis looking to build around youthful talent, it really does seem like the 28-year-old Valančiūnas is out of place. The former top-five pick of the Toronto Raptors is under contract for a mere $14 million in 2021-22. Despite some obvious limitations to his game, there’s a number of contending teams who might be interested in adding him to the mix. He’s averaging 17.0 points and 12.7 rebounds on 58% shooting from the field this season. This is one NBA trade most likely to happen during the summer.
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
The potential NBA Defensive Player of the Year this season, Simmons was offered up to the Houston Rockets in James Harden trade talks back in January. It’s the clearest indication yet that new 76ers front office head Daryl Morey doesn’t see Simmons as a long-term fit with franchise stalwart Joel Embiid. Offensively speaking, this makes sense. Simmons’ numbers are down from a season ago (14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.1 assists). Even then, he’s a dynamic all-around player and remains just 24-years-old. If Philadelphia can get another cornerstone that’s a better fit, Simmons might be on the move this summer.
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings
Yet another player who was the subject of trade talks back in March, the 28-year-old Barnes has morphed into one of the most-underrated wings in the game. He’s averaging 15.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists on 49% shooting for the Kings this season. Barnes is also set to earn a mere $38.6 million over the next two years. With Sacramento looking to move off him, it would not be a surprise if a contending team called.
Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks
Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has done a tremendous job to build a contender in Atlanta. By virtue of some solid off-season moves and great drafts, he has Atlanta on the upswing back East. Unfortunately, that future might not include this ascending talent. The Hawks drafted fellow big man Onyeka Okongwu No. 6 overall last year and have impending restricted free agent John Collins to consider re-signing. Still only 26, Capela is averaging 15.4 points and a league-best 14.2 rebounds. The Hawks will be able to get assets for him. That should lead to a trade.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
If you had asked us two years ago whether Green would be traded, we would’ve laughed you off. In the midst of a rebound performance, the three-time NBA champion could now be moved. The Warriors want to add a third star to go with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. They are not lacking assets. Unfortunately, salaries would have to match. That’s where Green and his $24.03 million figure comes into play. He’s still one of the best all-around defenders in the game and can distribute with the best of them. If the Warriors pull off a blockbuster this summer, Green could be involved.
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
The acquisition of All-Star center Nikola Vučević at the NBA trade deadline changes the dynamics here a bit. The idea is for the big man and LaVine to team up and form a legit contender back east moving forward. It could lead to Chicago’s brass pushing back against moving the 26-year-old wing. Then again, the Bulls would be able to net an otherworldly bounty for an NBA All-Star who is averaging 27.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists on the season. LaVine’s status as a free agent following the 2021-22 season will also play a role here.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
It could be said that Towns’ future in Minnesota will be dependent on whether the Wolves retain their top-three protected pick in the 2021 NBA Draft from the Warriors. Should that selection remain in the Wolves’ hands, it will be unprotected in 2022. The idea would then be for this fledgling franchise to team a top-end star from the 21′ class up with rookie No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards. They would then flip Towns for huge bounty, including picks to make up for the 2022 selection headed to San Francisco. It’s not an unlikely scenario at this point.
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
It’s still hard to understand why this two-time All-Star was the subject of trade rumors leading up to March’s deadline. Still only 24 years old, Sabonis has seen himself morph into an absolute star. He’s averaging nearly 20 points and 11.5 rebounds on 52% shooting and continues to develop an outside game. If the Pacers were looking to move the former Gonzaga star in-season, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be one of the names bandied about in NBA trades come summer time.
Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks
Yet another player who was speculated to be involved in one of the blockbuster NBA trades this past March, it’s not yet known whether Dallas views Porzingis as a truly elite second option to Luka Doncic. Injuries, inconsistency and a lack of improvement on defense has some thinking that the Unicorn could be on his way out of Big D. If so, there’s going to be some major interest on the market. The former No. 4 overall pick is still only 25 years old and remains a major force on offense. Since joining Dallas, he’s averaging 20.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
Blazers general manager Neil Olshey continues to push back against the idea of trading McCollum. Whether that changes moving forward will depend heavily on how Portland performs during the playoffs this season. If the campaign ends in an early exit for the fourth time in five years, Olshey might find himself in a position where he has to move McCollum and find another running partner for Damian Lillard.
Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets
Denver’s unwillingness to include Michael Porter Jr. in a deal for James Harden might be telling here. The team views him as a central part of a championship contender with Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. Even then, the recent acquisition of fellow forward Aaron Gordon might changed the dynamics here. The Nuggets are going to be in need of a star two-guard to team up with Murray if they hope to be legit title contenders out west. Moving a 22-year-old forward who is averaging 17.3 points and 7.8 rebounds could very well land Denver a proven generational star like Bradley Beal.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Speaking of Beal, if he were moved this summer, it would be one of the biggest NBA trades in recent memory. Preseason rumors of a blockbuster deal gave way to Washington initially contending for a playoff spot and pushing back against moving Beal. That might not be the case this coming summer. The 27-year-old guard is averaging 30.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game since the start of the 2019-20 season. It has not led to any success in the nation’s capital. Starting anew with a rebuild by receiving a massive bounty for Beal could make sense. As of right now, the Golden State Warriors are one of the favorites to land him.
Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard will likely opt out of his contract this summer. With that said, there’s reports surfacing that he plans on returning to the Clippers. Even after signing an extension with Los Angeles recently, that could spell an end to George’s tenure with the Clippers. Realistically, it’s all about how far this team goes in the playoffs. It entered each of the past two seasons with title expectations. Another second-round exit could force the Clips to move off George and find another running partner for Leonard.
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Drama. Drama. Drama. That’s been the name of the game for Irving in his two seasons with Brooklyn. It’s no different than what we saw during the latter part of his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers and during a recent run with the Boston Celtics. Despite Irving’s elite all-around play, there has to be some concern over his mentality. Add in the fact that the Nets acquired James Harden to team up with Kevin Durant, and it might make sense for them to move off Irving for other pieces.