In my last post, I talked about my predictions for the 2021 NBA Playoffs. At the time of writing, the NBA playoffs are ongoing and nearly halfway through. As the playoffs come to an end, teams will also participate in the NBA Draft, where they can select players from high school and college.
The draft lottery is on the 22nd (by the time you are reading this, it already happened!), which decides the order that teams will draft. Teams that ranked lower this season will have higher chances of getting the top picks, and teams that ranked higher this season will get some of the lower picks.
After the draft, the offseason begins. This allows players to rest and train for the next season, while also allowing teams to move around their players and make new acquisitions. For example, the Washington Wizards traded John Wall and a future draft pick (first round) for nine-time all star and 2017 MVP Russel Westbrook. This helped the Wizards strengthen their core with Westbrook and Bradley Beal, and it helped the Rockets acquire a strong player in John Wall.
Although small trades happen very often, blockbuster trades can also happen (like the one mentioned above). Here are some NBA trades that could change the league;
Bradley Beal to the Warriors
Warriors get: Bradley Beal
Wizards get: Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr., 2021 first-round pick (from Minnesota Timberwolves, top-three protected).
This trade has been discussed frequently, but it may seem like the most unlikely. With Klay coming back next season, the Warriors are nearly a superteam. They have arguably one of the best Point Guards in the league (Stephen Curry), and the “Splash Bros.” isn’t complete without Klay Thompson (Shooting Guard). Draymond Green plays Power Forward, and rookie James Wiseman can become a great Center with experience.
Which leaves them with one missing position: a Small Forward. Sure, they have Kelly Oubre Jr., but his shooting slump at the beginning of the year as well as the lack of offense in the later stages of the season shows that Oubre doesn’t fit that well with the Warriors.
Bradley Beal is a win-win for the Warriors. Not only can he play Small Forward, he can also play Shooting Guard to take the place of Klay when he’s on the bench. This can increase Beal’s minutes, but it would help the Warriors.
He also takes the place of Wiggins well, so trading Andrew Wiggins alongside Oubre Jr. in this deal would make a lot more sense.
Damian Lillard to the Knicks
Trailblazers get: RJ Barret, Immanuel Quickley, Frank Ntilikina, Obi Toppin, future draft picks
Knicks get: Damian Lillard
Just by looking at the trade, it seems very unrealistic that the Knicks would offer 4 players as well as draft picks just for Damian Lillard.
But remember, this is “Dame time” Lillard we’re talking about here.
Lillard to the Knicks has been a rumor going on for a while. The Blazers lost to the Lakers in the first round in 2019, and this year lost to the Nuggets four games to two in the first round as well. They made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2019, but were swept by the Warriors in four games.
After they parted ways with former coach Terry Stotts, the Blazers may look to have a rebuild process (similar to the 76ers) and trade Damian Lillard for a young new core. The Knicks also benefit from this trade, as pairing Lillard and Randle together would make an amazing duo, and could go very far in the playoffs.
Kawhi Leonard to the Hawks
Clippers receive: Kevin Huerter, John Collins, Danilo Galinari, future draft picks
Hawks receive: Kawhi Leonard, future draft picks
After bringing the Toronto Raptors their first championship in the 2019 Finals (and being named Finals MVP), Kawhi Leonard surprisingly decided to leave the Raptors to join the Clippers. Him and Paul George have made an excellent duo, but they have been unable to make it far in the playoffs.
This year, however, the Clippers were able to make it to the Conference Finals to face the Suns. At the time this is being written, the series is ongoing, so this trade depends on how far the Clippers go on.
Even if the Clippers don’t win the championship, they made significant progress by making it to the Conference Finals this year, so they may not want to just give up this year. In future years, however, the Clippers may want to trade Kawhi Leonard if success doesn’t come their way.
Pairing Kawhi Leonard and Trae Young would make the Hawks a formidable opponent in the East.
A Third Star to the Lakers
LeBron James and Anthony Davis carried the Lakers to the 2020 Championship. However, they failed to go back-to-back this year, as both James and Davis faced injuries. Even though they got eliminated in the first round, the Lakers will come back even stronger next year.
However, the Western Conference is getting tougher and tougher. The Lakers’ rivals, the Clippers, are already a title-contending team. The Suns are on a run for a championship, behind Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The Jazz, led by Donovan Mitchell, showed that they were an amazing team.
If the Lakers want to get another ring, signing a third star would make the most sense. Although they signed Andre Drummond, he didn’t help the Lakers too much, as LeBron and Davis were absent for the later part of the season.
What trades do you think are going to happen in the NBA? Tell us down below in the comment section. Don’t forget to like this post and follow Fremont Forum!