I know we’re still early in the playoffs, but significant things are already happening that will affect the offseason. Portland getting swept, the Pelicans playing better without Boogie Cousins, the Thunder on the brink of elimination and the Cavaliers looking lethargic all will heavily impact the offseason. Only about six teams have real money to spend this summer, but you can still expect a lot of movement. The movement may come in the form of trades rather than free agent signings. Several star players may be traded this offseason. Here are five bold trades that may happen this offseason and the ramifications they have for both teams.
1.Damian Lillard to the Suns
Phoenix Gets- Damian Lillard, Myers Leonard
Portland Gets- 1st round pick, TJ Warren, Dragan Bender, Brandon Knight, Tyson Chandler
Why Portland would do it- Portland flamed out of the playoffs after getting swept by the Pelicans. It is clear the Lillard C.J McCollum pairing is nothing more than a first-round exit. Portland also has no means of improving the roster as they lack financial flexibility and draft assets. The only young player on their team with promise is Zach Collins, every other player we know who they are. This trade allows them to potentially get the first overall pick and draft a game-changing player. Plus they save a little money and improve their depth. Knight can be a stop gap(don’t laugh), Chandler can fill in behind Collins, Bender and Warren are still young and improving. Portland may also lose Jusef Nurkic, Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton in free agency.
Why Phoenix would do it- Phoenix has stunk for a long time. Lillard instantly makes them credible. A Lillard and Devin Booker backcourt would be lethal along with the rapidly improving Josh Jackson. Losing their pick would hurt, but Phoenix still has Miami’s pick so they would still have a first-round pick. Plus they get rid of some players they have no use for like Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight. They would even have cap space to attract other free agents and Lillard will help with that.
2. Kawhi to the Clippers
San Antonio Gets- Two 1st round picks, the Clippers, and the Pistons pick, Tobias Harris, Patrick Beverley, Sindarious Thornwell
L.A Gets- Kawhi Leonard, Derrick White
Why the Spurs would do it- The Spurs still have some leverage as they can offer Leonard the most. However, it has become clear that Kawhi does not want to be in San Antonio and the Spurs would rather trade him than lose him for nothing. This trade would give them two first round picks, plus there own giving them three in the draft. They can finally get younger. Plus they get an excellent player in Tobias Harris and two tenacious defenders in PAt Beverley and Sindarious Thornwell.
Why the Clippers would do it- Kawhi gives them star power. He also helps them attract other free agents. Leonard with Deandre Jordan, Austin Rivers, and Lou Williams is already a solid core if they can add another piece they can instantly make noise. Losing two first round picks hurts, but they still have young and improving players on their roster. White gives them another point guard with some upside.
3. Kemba to the Cavs
Cleveland Gets- Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Frank Kaminsky
Charlotte Gets- Brooklyn pick, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Cedi Osman, Ante Zizic
Why the Cavs would do it- Things are not looking good in Cleveland right now, and the Cavs have to make a move in the offseason to get LeBron some help if they want him to stay. This is a start. Getting Kemba Walker would help replace the Kyrie Irving hole the Cavs still have not filled. Kaminsky is a solid shooter who can be a bench scorer for them, and Howard gives them some defensive toughness despite his issues. They’re not playing Osman or Zizic now anyway, and they would be happy to get rid of Hill.
Why the Hornets would do it- The Hornets need a rebuild as they are in cap hell and Kemba is by far their most tradeable asset. This trade they get another lottery pick, which will help with the rebuild and they lose Dwight’s contract which makes them more financially flexible in the short term. Clarkson can help replace some of Kemba’s scoring, and Osman and Zizic are solid young players who can grow with the other young Hornets. Hill is nothing more than a player to match salaries and can be a stop gap.
4. Three team trade for Hassan Whiteside
Orlando Gets- Hassan Whiteside, Jon Leuer, Stanley Johnson
Miami Gets- Evan Fournier, Langston Galloway, Khem Birch
Detroit gets- Nikola Vucevic, Dion Waiters, 2nd round pick(from Orlando)
Why the Magic would do it- Whiteside can use a fresh start, and the Magic can use a center who can block shots and be useful on offense. Basically, a center who is not Bismack Biyombo. They also get Stanley Johnson who is a young player with some upside and may be better with a fresh start. Leuer will help their bench.
Why the Heat would do it- It is clear Whiteside wants out, so they have to trade him. Getting Fournier and Galloway gives them some more shooting, which they need and some more depth at the wing and guard spot, which they also need especially if Dwayne Wade retires. Also getting rid of the Waiters contract would be huge, and Birch has potential to be a solid backup center.
Why the Pistons would do it- Detroit doesn’t have a first-round pick so they would love the good second-round pick from Orlando. Vucevic is an excellent backup big to Drummond that the Pistons can run the offense through. Waiters would give them some scoring punch off the bench.
5. Marc Gasol goes to Washington
Memphis Gets- Wizards 1st round pick, Tomas Satoransky, Martin Gortat, Markieef Morris
Washington Gets- Marc Gasol, Wayne Selden
Why the Grizzlies would do it- The Grizzlies need to accept a rebuild finally. This is the year to do it with a top pick, and in this deal, they would get another first rounder. Gortat and Morris both can contribute right away, and if they don’t work out, they are only on the books for two years. Satoransky is good and still improving, can play and defend multiple positions. He will fit right in.
Why the Wizards would do it- In the last two games of the playoffs, the Wizards are showing how good they can be when they are healthy and engaged. They are still a great big man away from seriously contending and they want another un with the Wall/Beal core. Gasol makes them instant contenders. A starting five of Wall, Beal, Porter, Oubre Jr and Gasol can contend in the east. Selden would be a nice bench piece who can play the two or the three and defend.