Who is the Next NBA Star to be Traded?

Mike Fanelli | June 19th, 2019

On Saturday the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans finally agreed on a trade that will send six-time All-Star Anthony Davis to the Lakers. In return, the Pelicans will receive Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks, including the fourth overall pick in Thursday night’s draft. For months the rumors and reports have been swirling that Davis would become a Laker and now it’s finally done.

Davis has wanted out of New Orleans for months and finally got his wish. While many expected Davis to get traded sooner than later, it is unlikely that he is the only star player to get traded this offseason. The NBA offseason is arguably better than the regular season because of all the rumors, drama, and eventual trades. With the Davis trade in the history books, I came up with seven other star players who could be on the move this summer, along with potential landing spots.

Jrue Holiday to the Boston Celtics

Much like Conley and the Grizzlies, the Pelicans could get a strong return should they decide to move Holiday. After trading away Davis for a package that included Ball, Holiday could be the next veteran to go. However, the team wants to remain competitive and coming over a career year, Holiday is more likely to start the season in New Orleans than anywhere else. Should the Pelicans decide to go young and fully rebuild, Holiday would become the top trade target for teams that strike out in free agency.

The Celtics are expected to lose Kyrie Irving in free agency and to make matters worse, sixth man Terry Rozier is also a free agent and may not re-sign. The Celtics will need to find a replacement point guard this offseason and Holiday would be an excellent fit in the backcourt next to Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown. While Holiday isn’t the scorer Irving is, he is a much better defense and would be a more natural fit in Brad Stevens’ system.

Other possible trade destinations: Jazz, Pacers, Suns

Chris Paul to the Charlotte Hornets

According to a report, Paul wants out of Houston. More to the point, the Rockets have realized they screwed up, giving him that four-year extension last offseason. Paul’s play has dropped off and with James Harden as the alpha dog of the team, Paul has become a glorified role player. The Rockets are looking to shake up the roster and moving Paul would be ideal. Finding a trade partner for the 34-year old point guard will be hard.

Because of Paul’s injury history, age, and contract, very few teams will even entertain a trade for him. However, the one team that might be aggressive in acquiring Paul is his hometown Charlotte Hornets. If the Hornets lose Kemba Walker in free agency, they could entertain the idea of trading for the hometown kid in an attempt to sell tickets. Trading for Paul would be a foolish move basketball wise for the Hornets but the need to sell tickets might force their hand.

Other possible trade destinations: Lakers, Jazz, Timberwolves

Kyle Lowry to the Minnesota Timberwolves

The Raptors could very easily go from NBA Champions to a rebuilding project in under a month and it all depends on what Kawhi Leonard decides to do. If he stays in Toronto, the Raptors will make a push at repeating. However, if he leaves for Los Angeles (or somewhere else) the Raptors would be wise to trade Lowery (and his expiring contract) for assets to jump-start their rebuilding project around Pascal Siakam.

There will be several teams that test the trade market on point guards this offseason but the Wolves might be a dark horse team to make a move. Jeff Teague is in the last year of his contract and was outplayed by Derrick Rose much of the season. However, Rose is expected to sign elsewhere this offseason and the Wolves would like to upgrade over Teague. Lowry and Norman Powell for Teague and Andrew Wiggins swap would give the Wolves up upgrade at point guard without taking back any major long term salary. It would also give the Raptors the ability to bring back the Canadian native Wiggins to pair with Siakam as the team starts their rebuilding process.

Other possible trade destinations: Jazz, Suns, Celtics

DeMar DeRozan to the Charlotte Hornets

The former Raptor turned Spur may not be in San Antonio for much longer. Rumors are the Spurs are shopping DeRozan in hopes of freeing the cap space needed to be aggressive in free agency. While trading his big contract will be difficult, there are a number of teams that would be interested in the career 20-point per game scorer.

If Walker stays in Charlotte, it will only be if the team is determined to add a second star. During the trade deadline, they were close to acquiring Marc Gasol from the Grizzlies but the trade fell apart. On a nightly basis, Walker has to carry the team offensively as they lack a consistent second scorer. However, adding DeRozan would solve that problem. The Spurs might not want to take back matching salaries so a third team may be needed, but if a trade can be worked out, Walker would finally have some help in Charlotte.

Other possible trade destinations: Knicks, Nets, Pistons

Blake Griffin to the Brooklyn Nets

Much like DeRozan in San Antonio, Griffin hasn’t been in Detroit for very long. However, the Pistons barely got into the playoffs this year and Griffin hasn’t taken the Pistons to another level. The team may decide a rebuild is necessary and moving on from Griffin would bring back the best assets for the rebuild. When healthy, Griffin is one of the best offensive bigs in the league. Several times would be interested in acquiring Griffin in order to sell tickets or pair with another star.

The Nets are coming off an overachieving season and now the pressure is on to take the next step. After giving up two first-round picks to get rid of Allen Crabbe‘s contract, the Nets need to add two star players this offseason. Reports out there say Irving has already committed to signing with the Nets but what can they do with their other max slot? If the Nets strike out on Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler and other star free agents, making a trade for Griffin would give Irving a running mate and it would also help sell tickets.

Other possible trade destinations: Hornets, Wizards, Mavericks

Kevin Love to the Wizards

After LeBron left Cleveland last offseason, many expected the Cavaliers to trade Love, instead, they signed him to a big extension. A year after the extension, the Cavaliers may decide its time to turn Love into some assets to help their rebuilding process. Love is good enough to keep the Cavaliers from finishing with a bottom three record but not good enough to get them into the playoffs. Love isn’t getting any younger (or better) and the Cavaliers need to trade him this offseason.

Many expect the Wizards to tear down their roster and start rebuilding (more on that next), but what if they decide to in the opposite direction. The Wizards will have major cap space for the first time since the summer of 2016; however, they have several free agents they would like to bring back. Instead of trying to sign someone in free agency, they should turn their attention to the trade market, using their ninth overall pick in Thursday’s draft along with the expiring contracts on Ian Mahinmi and Dwight Howard in order to bring in a star like Love.

Other possible trade destinations: Celtics, Hornets, Mavericks

Bradley Beal to the Clippers

As a Wizards fan, I really hope Beal is on the opening night roster. However, the team may determine its time to rebuild and Beal would return plenty of assets as he is coming off a career season. John Wall is entering the first year of his supermax contract extension. Problem is, he is unlikely to play next season as he recovers from a torn Achilles injury. When healthy the all-star backcourt has had some success but not enough to meet expectations. With the Lakers no longer a trade destination for Beal, his odds of remaining in D.C. next year are high.

While the Lakers are no longer a trade partner for Beal, the other Los Angeles team would be a great landing spot. If the Clippers get Leonard, he will want a star talent to run with and they have plenty of young assets to trade. A package built around Danilo Gallinari‘s expiring contract, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and the two first round picks they could from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Tobias Harris trade could get the deal done.

Other possible trade destinations: Knicks, Mavericks, Thunder

Each of these players has different odds of being traded depending on what happens during Thursday night’s draft and where big name free agents land. However, given the Golden State Warriors’ fall, many NBA teams will be aggressive in trade talks to bring in a star player for a championship run. While the Davis to Lakers trade kicked off the NBA offseason, it is probably safe to say he won’t be the only star traded this summer.

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