The date for the NBA Draft has been set… again. The NBA and Players Association decided to move the draft back to November 18. The pre-draft process will certainly be unlike any other, and there may be more question marks leading up to draft day than usual. Regardless, there will be plenty of teams looking to make trades for a handful of different reasons. Here are five possibilities for some of the more major trades we could see this offseason.
- Warriors trade number two pick to form new super team
Golden State receives: Lamarcus Aldridge, Derrick White, #11 overall pick
San Antonio receives: Andrew Wiggins, #2 overall pick
The Warriors are in a truly interesting position. They had the worst record in the league last season, and have the second overall pick. Yet they are likely to be contenders next season with the return of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry from injury. They may not want to wait around for a rookie to develop.
There has been speculation for several months about possible teams looking to trade up for this pick. The one issue for the Warriors is their cap situation. They have over $148 million on the books for next year, giving them limited flexibility when it comes to taking on salary. For them to get an All-Star caliber player for their pick they will need to match salary, which would likely mean that Andrew Wiggins might have to go.
In this trade Golden State gets the final piece they need to be a real contender, and trade back in the draft for the 11th pick. Lamarcus Aldridge can be the perfect frontcourt mate for Draymond Green, and gives the Warriors an inside scoring presence to compliment the splash brothers. Derrick White also gives them another ball handler to take some of the pressure off of Curry, and provide him with a very formidable backup.
This trade also makes a lot of sense for San Antonio. After breaking their two decade playoff streak, the Spurs could be headed for a rebuild, which is a foreign concept to them this century. It is unlikely that their core of Demar Derozan and Lamarcus Aldridge will make them contenders in this Western Conference.
This gives them an opportunity to start their rebuild around a guy like James Wiseman or Lamelo Ball, while also getting a young complementary player in Andrew Wiggins. With Demar Derozan able to opt out this offseason and become a free agent, this trade might be the safest thing for the Spurs to do.
- Knicks trade up to take Lamelo
New York Receives: #3 overall pick, Cody Zeller
Charlotte Receives: #8 overall pick, Julius Randle, Frank Ntilikina
This trade is entirely dependent on how the first two picks shake out. If both the Timberwolves and Warriors make their picks at one and two, it is highly likely that Ball will still be on the board. This leaves the Hornets with the player that is widely considered the best overall prospect in the draft still on the board at the third pick.
If they needed a point guard, they would be more than happy to scoop him up at this pick. This is not the case. Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier are by far the most valuable pieces on this Hornets team, and with Graham in a contract year, they don’t want to scare him off. The good news for them is that if Ball is still available there will be plenty of suitors looking to trade up for their pick.
The Knicks and Ball have reportedly expressed mutual interest in one another, and the team is in dire need of a kickstart to their struggling rebuild. The 18-year-old guard might just be the perfect centerpiece for the Knicks. He has had the spotlight on him enough since a young age that the New York media shouldn’t scare him off, and he should compliment the team’s other young pieces well.
In this trade they also keep their cap situation flexible by getting rid of Julius Randle’s deal which still has two years left on it, and taking on Cody Zeller’s expiring contract. This gives them a lot of money to spend in 2021 free agency, which has no shortage of big names.
The Knicks make the big splash in this trade, but it makes a lot of sense for Charlotte as well. They are able to trade back to a spot where they can select players that make more sense positionally, such as Issac Okoro or Onyeka Okongwu.
At the same time they add Julius Randle, who had a rough season last year, but has shown that he is capable of All-Star level play, and can provide an interior presence on the offensive end that will make things a lot easier for their star backcourt. Frank Ntilikina is a relative throw-in for this deal, but is a low-risk high potential piece for them to add. This type of deal could put the Hornets in position to grab a playoff spot next season.
- Magic trade into the top 10
Magic receive: 6th overall pick
Hawks Receive: 15th overall pick, Al Farouq-Aminu, Aaron Gordon
This trade is mainly predicated on the Hawks not wishing to make yet another lottery pick, and rather add some veteran pieces to their team. They have a plethora of young players, and getting even younger probably isn’t the best thing for them right now, especially given the emergence of Trae Young. In this situation they trade out of the lottery, down to the 15th pick, in exchange for more proven, defensive minded players.
The Hawks were one of the worst defensive teams in the league last season, and this trade addresses that. Al Farouq-Aminu is the perfect veteran to help mentor Cam Reddish and Deandre Hunter, who both have superb two-way potential. Atlanta also picks up Aaron Gordon, who the Magic are looking to deal off.
He has plateaued in terms of his production as of late, but still has a high ceiling, and should definitely provide some much needed depth for the Hawks. This deal does mean that the team will take on another $27 million in contracts for next season, but given that the Hawks have over $50 million in cap space for this offseason it shouldn’t be a problem.
For the Magic this is truly a two birds with one stone situation for them. They have been rather transparent with their desire to move on from Aaron Gordon to give more room for their young frontcourt players to grow. There probably won’t be a huge market for him, so this is an apt use of his value.
They are also still in need of more young talent in the backcourt. Markelle Fultz has begun to show some flashes of the talent that made him the first overall pick in the 2017 Draft, but they certainly need more out of the guard position. This draft is full of elite guard talent, but most of it will be gone after the top ten. If the Magic want in on Killian Hayes, Tyrese Haliburton, or Devin Vassell they are going to need to get themselves into the top ten. This trade does that, and also sheds them from a significant amount of salary.
- Pelicans trade into the top 10
New Orleans receives: #6 overall pick, 50th overall pick, Kevin Heurter
Atlanta receives: Jrue Holiday
Yet another use for Atlanta’s immense amount of cap room emerges. The principle is similar to the last trade. The Hawks need proven veterans and defense to put around Young. Jrue Holiday provides both, and a perfect backcourt mate to the Hawks young superstar. Kevin Durant recently called Holiday the best perimeter defender in the NBA. On paper, there is no star that is a better fit for Atlanta than him. The only downside to this trade is that it significantly accelerates the Hawks timeline.
From the Pelicans point of view, this is probably the best they can do for Holiday. According to Shams Charania of the Athletic, Holiday requested for the team to trade him before the deadline in February. If Holiday still wishes to be traded, New Orleans does not have much leverage here.
The Pelicans have one clear need, and that is perimeter shooting. This trade not only nets them the sixth overall pick, but also Kevin Huerter, a textbook spot up shooter. Holiday will certainly be a huge loss on the defensive end, but he wasn’t the best fit alongside Lonzo Ball, where a true floor spacer would compliment the Pelicans starting lineup much better.
With a pick in the middle of the lottery they could do a lot of things. They could use it on a true big man like James Wiseman, but more likely a wing like Deni Avdija or Isaac Okoro. This is not an ideal trade for their franchise timeline, but given the circumstances they could do a lot worse.