With the Golden State Warriors winning their second straight NBA championship (and third in four years), the 2017-18 season is over. Now fans, teams, and players are all looking forward to the NBA Draft and the following free agency that will heat up in this summer. However, the offseason is also a common time for some major trades to occurs. If last summer’s insane trade explosion was any indication, we could be in for even more blockbuster moves in 2018, as every team tries to figure out how to spot the Warriors dynasty. Here are a dozen high-profile players that we could see getting dealt in the next few months.
12. Nikola Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic is a solid big man, especially on the defensive end. But he doesn’t really fit with the Orlando Magic anymore. With Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon being the big men of the future, the Magic could look to move Vucevic in exchange for more pressing needs. Also, his contract will expire after next season, and there is a good chance someone will pay him more than the Magic are willing to. Teams that could be interested in acquiring Vucevic include the Celtics, and even the Warriors. He will be a good fit on a successful team that needs help in the middle, as he can likely get acquired for pennies on the dollar.
11. Dennis Schroder
While he is capable of putting on a scoring clinic from time to time, Dennis Schroder is not the answer for the Atlanta Hawks at point guard. He was linked to a move back at the trade deadline and is seemingly going not a big part of the Hawks rebuild. He is a better-than-average point guard with a decent contract, so the Hawks should be able to find a team willing to take him. Teams that are interested in him will vary, but the Magic or the Clippers could look to bring in the talented German point guard.
10. Jonas Valanciunas
Trade talks have been surrounding Jonas Valanciunas since he was drafted by the Toronto Raptors a few years ago. He is a solid player, but there simply aren’t enough minutes for him in Toronto to justify his price tag. He is paid $16 million a year, and hardly plays 20 minutes a game. With Serge Ibaka being the starter and Jakob Poetl being a solid backup, look for the Raptors to move on from Valanciunas if they can. Look for a rebuilding team with a need for big men (like the Hawks, Kings or Nets) to potentially take a stab at the seven-foot Lithuanian center.
9. Kemba Walker
The Charlotte Hornets are in a very difficult scenario with Kemba Walker. He is a premier player, who has already played seven seasons in the NBA. Unfortunately, he’s not enough to make the Hornets a good team all by himself. The team has only made the playoffs twice in Walker’s time there, and they were bounced out in the first round both times. It might be time to move on. Another thing that might cause Charlotte to trade Walker sooner rather than later is his team-friendly deal. Once that runs out, he will likely be signed to a much more expensive deal. If the Hornets re-sign him, it will be tough to trade him down the road. If they don’t offer him a new contract, they’ll get nothing for him. As a result, look for them to move Walker this offseason. I could see a point-guard-needy team like the Knicks or Bulls to potentially try make a move for him.
8. Kenneth Faried
Kenneth Faried has seemingly been on the trading block for the better part of the last few years. With the existence of Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic on the Nuggets, there simply isn’t enough room for Faried. He has been vocal about not liking his bench role and would love to go to a team who would give him an opportunity to play more minutes. A team like the Rockets, Warriors, or even 76ers could be good spots for him, as they would be fine with Faried being a defense-first players, since they all have enough scoring threats.
7. Reggie Jackson
When the Pistons brought in Blake Griffin, the makeup of the team changed dramatically. They are likely to rely (on both side of the ball) on Griffin and Andre Drummond. So an underachieving point guard earning $17 million doesn’t really fit anymore. Instead, look for the Pistons to find a more affordable replacement to ensure they can afford to keep Drummond and Griffin for the foreseeable future. Jackson could be a solid fit on the Pacers, the Knicks, or the Magic, but his price tag might scare some teams.
6. Hassan Whiteside
After this last round of NBA playoffs, it seems Hassan Whiteside is all but finished with the Heat. He barely played against the Sixers, but was very vocal about his reduced role. That probably won’t sit well with management. He doesn’t offer you much on offense, but can be a beast when it comes to rebounds and blocks. Frankly, he doesn’t fit the mold of a modern big man. Even still, there are still teams that will be interested in him, as he shows flashes of brilliance. He has a massive salary, however, and I only see a team with a weakness at the position and a lot of cap space (such as the Lakers or the Bulls) taking a run at him.
5. Kevin Love
This one is contingent on Lebron James leaving Cleveland. If he stays, I think Kevin Love will remain a Cavlalier as well. But if Lebron hits the road, like many think he will, I see the Cavaliers moving on from Love too. This would be in an effort to start a true rebuild in the post-James era. There would be plenty of teams lining up to trade for Love, but they would have to offer a significant return in the form of solid draft picks or young prospects. He could return to California and join the Lakers, but I could also see him get dealt to a team like the Jazz, who seem to be very close to being able to make a run. While he could leave even if James stays, I don’t see it happening — he is clearly their second best player.
4. C.J. McCollum
The Portland Trail Blazers have one of the best backcourts in the NBA, and it would be tough to break it up, but I see it potentially happening this summer. This is because outside of the guard position, the Blazers are pretty weak. I don’t see them parting ways with Damian Lillard, so that leave C.J. McCollum as the biggest trading chip to improve their squad. I see him being dealt to a team like the 76ers or the Cavaliers, and in return, the Blazers would be looking to fill their needs at multiple other positions.
3. Klay Thompson
While this might seem crazy to some, hear me out. There is almost no way that the Warriors can keep their core together for much longer, unless they all take a significant pay cut. So instead of chancing it and risking losing Klay Thompson or Draymond Green for nothing in free agency, look for them to deal one when their value is the highest. I think Thompson’s value is higher, which is why he is on this list. Every team would love to have his shooting in their lineup. In terms of where he might end up, I could see a team like the Pelicans, Lakers, or even the Clippers going after Klay. But in reality, almost every team would probably make the call and try get him. Its just a matter of whether the Warriors are ready to face some of their difficult roster decisions now, or later.
2. Kawhi Leonard
This last season was a very strange one for Kawhi Leonard. He was very quiet about his future while missing most of the year with nagging injuries. There have been plenty of reports that the team thought he was healthy enough to play, but he refused, creating a rift between Leonard and the coaching staff. If that is the case, we could see one of the consensus top five players in the NBA get traded his offseason. As to where he will go, it will likely be to a good team (such as the Cavs or Celtics) or a team with the cap to pay him (Lakers or 76ers). But again, everyone will make a call to the Spurs about the availability of Leonard, if they’re given the chance.
1. Anthony Davis
In a couple of years, we could be saying that Anthony Davis is the best basketball player on the planet. He can do it all and isn’t even in his physical prime yet. There have been some rumblings about the Warriors trying to acquire him, and you can be sure other contending teams like the Rockets, Celtics, and Spurs have reached out (or are considering reaching out) to the Pelicans about his availability. The asking price for Davis should be astronomical and a team would likely part with several high-quality pieces and picks to bring him in. While this is far from a sure thing, it could really shake up the league in a way we haven’t seen in a while.