1 No-Brainer Trade Target for Every NBA Team

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    The general lack of cap space and a free-agent class short on stars means NBA teams looking for upgrades in the 2022 offseason may need to shift their focus from who they can sign to who they can acquire via trade.

    The targets here should be difficult to get but still belong near the top of the club in question’s board because they obviously address a key need. Naturally, there’ll be some overlap. That’s bound to happen when every team could use another three-and-D wing or floor-stretching big, so we’ll limit duplications to no more than two.

    Even though we’re focusing on a lot of pie-in-the-sky targets, not every name will be of superstar caliber. We have to let a little realism creep in by at least considering whether the pursuing team has enough assets to make an offer that wouldn’t get laughed out of the negotiating room.

    These are the names that should head each team’s offseason trade priority list.  

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    Why They Need Him

    The Atlanta Hawks defense has ranked 26th or worse in four of the past five seasons, essentially giving back all the gains Trae Young gets them on the other end. There are other ways to address such a glaring area of weakness, like by seeking out multiple wing and guard defenders. But the quickest fix would involve the addition of a three-time DPOY in the middle.

    Young is among the league’s singular offensive forces, the rare class of player whose mere presence on the floor all but guarantees a quality offense. Gobert is the same type of difference-maker on the other end.

    Can They Get Him?

    The Hawks can package a number of their low- and mid-priced wings and forwards, plus Clint Capela and draft considerations in an offer for Gobert. And it doesn’t hurt that the long history of reported strife between Gobert and Donovan Mitchell may put the Utah Jazz in a position where they’re willing to accept a little less than full value in the interest of improved team chemistry.

    Add to that Gobert’s daunting contract, which will pay him $169.7 million over the next four years (player option on the fourth) and the Hawks should have a legitimate shot to pull this off. Utah shouldn’t want any part of that $46.7 million salary in 2025-26. 

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    Why They Need Him

    They don’t.

    The Boston Celtics have one of the most complete rotations in the league, and teams that make the Finals don’t tend to exhibit standout problems. It’s not even as if Payton Pritchard, whose minutes Malcolm Brogdon would likely diminish, is a weak link. Pritchard is a 41.2 percent three-point shooter across two seasons, and his low-mistake game makes perfect sense in a backup point guard role.

    Brogdon, though, would be a clear upgrade. He could initiate the offense as a playmaker or move off the ball as a floor-spacer who’d be much more dangerous attacking closeouts than Pritchard, whose lack of size makes finishing in traffic tricky.

    Perhaps most importantly, Brogdon is an adept and able-bodied switch defender. At 6’5″, he holds up just fine against everything from point guards to small-ball power forwards.

    Can They Get Him?

    The Celtics sent their 2022 first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs in the Derrick White trade, but they could move their 2023 selection on draft night and own all of their own future firsts. Assuming the Indiana Pacers are in rebuild mode, which seems safe after their own deadline deal that sent Domantas Sabonis to the Sacramento Kings for Tyrese Haliburton, those picks should be enticing.

    Matching salary would be tough. Brogdon will make $22.6 million in 2022-23, and Boston can’t get close to that number without including Grant Williams or another member of its rotation. Daniel Theis and Aaron Nesmith only combine to make $12.4 million in 2022-23.

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    Why They Need Him

    Skill is enjoying a real renaissance these days as NBA teams try to get as much shooting, passing and defense onto the floor as possible. But as long as the basket remains 10 feet above the floor, size will always matter.

    The Brooklyn Nets just don’t have enough, and that may still be true if Ben Simmons returns to the court and Joe Harris is healthy after missing nearly all of 2021-22 with ankle trouble. Too often during its short playoff run Brooklyn leaned on lineups that featured three of its four small guards: Kyrie Irving, Patty Mills, Goran Dragic and Seth Curry.

    Anunoby is a five-position defender with supreme physical strength and the bulky 6’7″ frame teams covet. He and Simmons could wreak havoc on D and ensure the Nets don’t find themselves at such a size disadvantage in next year’s playoffs.

    Can They Get Him?

    Per B/R’s Jake Fischer, “Word has circulated among rival front offices that Anunoby grew dissatisfied at times with his role in Toronto” this past season.

    That’s a start.

    Toronto is long on wings and forwards but could use backcourt playmakers and a more conventional center. The Nets could build a sign-and-trade package including restricted free agent Nic Claxton, picks and a couple of guards. Anunoby will have loads of suitors if he hits the market, but the Nets could at least post a decent offer.

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    Why They Need Him

    Four straight years of allowing a bottom-10 opponent attempt frequency at the rim leaves no mysteries about where the Charlotte Hornets need help. An interior presence of some kind is a must.

    Myles Turner isn’t much on the defensive glass, but he’s led the league in blocks per game twice in the last four seasons. Protecting the paint is about more than spiking layups out of bounds, and Turner also excels at limiting opponents’ accuracy inside. He held shooters to a 55.9 percent hit rate when designated as the primary defender inside six feet, a strong figure that only looks better beside his perennially elite block rates.

    Can They Get Him?

    Easily.

    Turner is on an expiring $18 million salary, and the Pacers need to either extend or trade him. That he’s been wrapped up in rumors for most of the last year suggests one option is likelier than the other. Charlotte’s No. 13 pick in the draft, plus some filler, might be enough to get it done. 

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    Why They Need Him

    Nikola Vucevic is a high-usage, offense-first center who’s posted effective field-goal percentages below the average for his position in six of the last seven seasons. Last year, he also allowed opponents to shoot 63.3 percent inside six feet, the fourth-worst figure among the 23 players who defended at least 400 such shots.

    What Chicago does with Vucevic is a separate question. There’s no doubt, though, that it needs a big man who can deter drivers at the basket and chip in efficient offense at lower volume. This team is built around DeMar DeRozan and free agent Zach LaVine on offense; there’s no reason to give so many of their touches to an inefficient center.

    Richaun Holmes will make a little more than half of Vooch’s salary next season, and he’s a proven lob-catching, rim-defending star in his role. He’s ranked in or above the 90th percentile in points per shot attempt in each of the last four years, and Holmes held shooters to a hit rate nearly 10 percentage points lower than Vucevic inside six feet.

    Can They Get Him?

    The Sacramento Kings already have Domantas Sabonis at the 5 and much more serious depth issues at other positions. Holmes should certainly be gettable. The problem is that Sacramento and Chicago aren’t great trade partners. The Kings need two-way wings, and the Bulls don’t have many to spare. Patrick Williams isn’t going anywhere in a deal for Holmes.

    If Chicago expands the trade and ropes in a third team to take Vucevic, Sacramento might have enough incentive to play ball.

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    Why They Need Him

    Darius Garland has the point handled, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have a towering duo up front in Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. It’s the in-between spots that need some help.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope might not be the starriest name, but his $14 million non-guaranteed salary isn’t cost-prohibitive. When it comes off the books after 2022-23, it’ll free up room so the Cavs can fish for a longer-term solution in a deeper free-agent pool.

    KCP is only 29, and he’s shot at least 38.3 percent from deep in four of the last five seasons—all while playing the kind of lockdown perimeter defense Cleveland needs. Until Isaac Okoro proves he can hack it on offense, the Cavs will need someone to play big two-way minutes on the wing.

    Can They Get Him?

    It might be more complex than necessary, but a Collin Sexton sign-and-trade would make sense for a Washington Wizards team short on young shot-creators. Okoro could headline a simpler trade package, and there’s always the appeal of an old-fashioned challenge trade that would one-for-one swap KCP for Caris LeVert.

    The Cavs also have two extra second-rounders from San Antonio and Miami in the 2022 draft, plus five more additional seconds between now and 2027 to use as sweeteners. The Cavs can get KCP. The only question is where they’ll draw the line on what they’re willing to pay.

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    Why They Need Him

    Remember that layup parade the Dallas Mavericks allowed in their conference finals loss to the Golden State Warriors? That’d be a thing of the past with Anthony Davis installed as their new center.

    The AD caveat of “health permitting” applies, of course.

    Dallas might be hesitant to embrace another injury-prone center so soon after terminating the Kristaps Porzingis experience, but the upside Davis brings on both ends would be well worth the gamble. We’re talking about a guy widely regarded as a top-10 player as recently as a year ago, not to mention someone who’d also scratch that “Luka Doncic needs a second superstar” itch.

    Can They Get Him?

    As the Los Angeles Lakers face the reality that they have few tradable assets to remake a disappointing and paper-thin roster, perhaps the notion of moving AD will become more attractive. The Mavericks have exactly the kinds of role-playing support pieces L.A. needs in Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock, Maxi Kleber and Jalen Brunson (who’d have to be part of a highly unlikely sign-and-trade), and you could imagine Los Angeles liking the idea of surrounding LeBron James with shooters who can defend.

    The Lakers’ faith in Davis staying healthy would have to waver for them to even consider this, and Dallas might not find the risk-reward proposition worthwhile after reaching the West finals with its current roster. Still, there’s a semi-plausible deal floating around in here somewhere.

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    Why They Need Him

    A defense that includes Nikola Jokic, a post-ACL-tear Jamal Murray and whatever version of Michael Porter Jr. emerges following his third back surgery needs someone to fly around and clean up messes. Jonathan Isaac comes with no shortage of his own injury question marks, which will help him fit right into a Nuggets roster that has plenty.

    More importantly, he showed the kind of transformative defensive impact (when healthy) that could help the Nuggets get over the top as a true contender. Aaron Gordon did yeoman’s work last season, but he can’t guard everybody.

    Can They Get Him?

    Isaac’s health history is scary. He played just 34 games in 2019-20 and missed the next two full seasons while recovering from a knee injury. The Orlando Magic already have Wendell Carter Jr. inked to a long-term deal at center, Mo Bamba is a restricted free agent, Chuma Okeke remains promising and Franz Wagner looks like a high-end starter after just one season. Throw in the possibility of adding Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith Jr. with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft, and Orlando’s frontcourt looks awfully full.

    Once the franchise’s most prized foundational piece, Isaac may now be expendable.

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    Why They Need Him

    Cade Cunningham is all alone as a cornerstone, so the Detroit Pistons need someone else to share the load with their young star. Deandre Ayton will only be 24 when the 2022-23 season starts, so he’d fall into the right age band while also bringing the bonus of significant big-game experience.

    With career averages of 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds, Ayton is already a productive force in the middle. His phenomenal hands and touch around the basket would give Cunningham a trustworthy drop-off and lob target, and the Pistons could also catch Ayton just as his improving range extends out to the three-point arc.

    A team in the early stages of its rebuild—one that saw bad lottery luck dump it down to No. 5—could do a lot worse than constructing its plans around a pair of former top picks.

    Can They Get Him?

    One of the few teams with the ability to clear enough space to sign Ayton to an offer sheet in restricted free agency, the Pistons could also work out a sign-and-trade if the Phoenix Suns threaten to match. In the wake of their failure to reach an extension agreement with Ayton last offseason and following a disappointing 17-minute elimination-game stint, the Suns might be ready to move on.

    A swap centered around Ayton and Jerami Grant could leave all parties satisfied—except Jae Crowder, who’d find himself out of a starting job in Phoenix.

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    Why They Need Him

    Much like their Finals opponents in Boston, the Golden State Warriors don’t need their no-brainer trade target in the strictest sense. For the Dubs, who still have James Wiseman in the pipeline and who could easily turn to Jonathan Kuminga as a small-ball 5 in future seasons, Pascal Siakam would be a luxury.

    Still, the idea of adding more length and scoring to the frontcourt is intriguing. Golden State still struggles with spacing when Draymond Green and (free agent) Kevon Looney share the floor, and Siakam’s secondary shot creation would force defenses to divert attention from Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole.

    Siakam would also supercharge the Warriors’ transition attack. His full-speed spin moves are classified as deadly weapons in several states.

    Can They Get Him?

    Andrew Wiggins is the Warriors’ easiest path to matching Siakam’s salary, and his extension eligibility this offseason could force a decision. If Golden State doesn’t think it can retain him at a lower rate than he earned on his last (max) deal, a move could be in order.

    The Canadian homecoming angle won’t be enough to make this a one-for-one deal, so the Warriors would need to add sweeteners in the form of picks or prospects. Given their attachment to the young core they’ve assembled, the Dubs would probably take a firm stance against moving the guys they view as potential dynasty prolongers—even for someone as impactful as Siakam.

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    Why They Need Him

    You mean besides the above-the-square highlights a Miles Bridges-Jalen Green partnership would produce? Really, the analysis could stop there. But in addition to the fun factor, Bridges, 24, fits into the Houston Rockets’ youth movement and would fill the roster’s need for a playmaking combo forward.

    If Houston is serious about entrusting facilitating duties to Green and Kevin Porter Jr., neither of whom is anything close to a true point guard, Bridges’ secondary shot-creation would help the offense run more smoothly. His assist percentage climbed to the 83rd percentile at his position in 2021-22.

    Can They Get Him?

    Bridges is a restricted free agent, which means a sign-and-trade is the only real acquisition option for the Rockets. They don’t have the cap space to give Bridges a competitive offer sheet.

    Houston would have to get creative and cross its fingers, perhaps dangling Alperen Sengun in a deal that also includes Christian Wood and/or Eric Gordon. If the Charlotte Hornets wanted to address their center issues, add some backcourt punch or bring an intriguing prospect aboard, the Rockets could build out a package worth examining.

    The odds on this one are long.

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    Why They Need Him

    James Wiseman profiles as an ideal “second draft” steal, the kind of once-touted prospect who could still realize his potential with another team. That most of his issues with the Warriors could be chalked up to injuries robbing him of developmental reps only helps Wiseman’s case.

    The Indiana Pacers’ deadline trade of Domantas Sabonis brought back Tyrese Haliburton, their lead guard of the future. A young lob-thrower as accomplished as Haliburton could use a towering-yet-springy target like Wiseman. Those two together could form the foundation of a dangerous Pacers offense. Surround them with shooting and watch the alley-oop tally climb.

    Can They Get Him?

    The Warriors resisted the push to trade their young picks and players for short-term help, and now they’re taking a deserved victory lap on the success of their double-timeline approach. That said, Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody have already contributed more to winning than Wiseman. They could deal the injury-hit big man for, say, Myles Turner without sacrificing all of their future lottery tickets.

    On the Pacers’ end, a Wiseman acquisition would signal the franchise’s willingness to embrace a more protracted rebuild. That’s something Indy has long resisted but might finally be ready to seriously consider.

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    Why They Need Him

    For the capped-out, tax-hit, title-or-bust Los Angeles Clippers, more is more.

    More superstars. More iffy injury histories. More max salary slots. More risk and, potentially, more reward.

    This is a franchise that operates in the realm of excess and indulgence. It spends big and swings big. And it also happens to need an ace shot-creator to pair with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. L.A.’s roster is deep, but if it has a weakness, it’s at the point. Reggie Jackson and Terance Mann are fine players, but it’s hard to imagine them closing Finals games. Irving has already done that.

    Can They Get Him?

    Shockingly, the Clippers could add Irving relatively easily. They have several salaries that could combine to match Irving’s money, and the overall package would address the Brooklyn Nets’ depth issues at multiple positions.

    Ivica Zubac, Jackson, Robert Covington, Luke Kennard, Marcus Morris Sr. and Norman Powell all make between $7 and $17 million per season. Slap three or four of them together, and the Nets would walk away from this deal in possession of a rebuilt rotation that would no longer include the league’s flakiest star.

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    Why They Need Him

    Gordon Hayward could hardly be more different from Russell Westbrook, which is a good place to start when making the case for his fit on the Los Angeles Lakers. A career 37.1 percent shooter from deep, Hayward is also among the best passing forwards in the league. His assist rate at his position has been in the 90th percentile or better in five of his last eight full seasons. And unlike Westbrook, Hayward isn’t a ball-dominant assist-hunter. He supplements his setups with many more “pass before the pass” plays that serve as vital connective tissue to an offense.

    The Lakers need high-IQ weapons who can vibe with LeBron James without getting in his way or sabotaging possessions with hero-ball tendencies. Hayward comes with real health questions after playing no more than 52 games in any of the past three seasons, but he’s a far more balanced and reliable third option next to James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook ever was (or will be).

    Can They Get Him?

    If the Charlotte Hornets view one year and $47 million left on Russ’ deal as roughly equivalent to the two years and $61.6 million left on Hayward’s, there’s at least an opportunity for a conversation here.

    Among the many factors that make Westbrook-to-Charlotte a sketchy proposition, the risk of him stunting LaMelo Ball’s growth ranks highest. But team governor Michael Jordan might identify with Westbrook’s hard-charging competitive stubbornness and view Russ as a tone-setter his young team needs.

    This one’s far-fetched. But then, that’s true of every trade involving the Lakers and Westbrook.

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    Why They Need It

    The Memphis Grizzlies were the NBA’s fourth-youngest team in 2021-22, and they have 11 players on fully guaranteed deals set to return next year—plus Kyle Anderson and Tyus Jones, both of whom could be retained in free agency. This roster, which could improve on its 56-26 record, is basically set.

    That leaves little reason for the Grizz to add two more rookies with their pair of 2022 first-round picks (No. 22 and No. 29). Better to package those selections and ship them out for a future first-rounder from another team or a higher-end asset in this year’s draft.

    Memphis has quantity covered. It should be looking to consolidate in search of quality.

    Can They Get It?

    It’s hard to imagine two picks in the 20s allowing the Grizzlies to move into this year’s top 10, though including Dillon Brooks might up the feasibility of that plan. That’s not a problem. Memphis has a broad array of options.

    It could also target a future first-rounder, hopefully with limited protections, which would preserve a draft asset to use in a trade for a star down the line. The Grizzlies can also take on up to $19 million in another team’s bad salary, which isn’t the type of move you’d expect from a playoff team. But that’s often the best way to extract a valuable draft asset.

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    Why They Need Him

    The Miami Heat couldn’t quite score enough against a lights-out Celtics defense in the East finals, so the search for improvement has to come on offense. And when the Heat go looking for upgrades, they do not think small.

    Bradley Beal has made three All-Star teams and averaged over 30 points per game twice in the last three years. He’s exactly the kind of bucket-getting force Jimmy Butler and the Heat need.

    Can They Get Him?

    The answer may depend on how impressed Beal will be when Pat Riley dumps out a sack of rings onto his desk, which is pretty strong as far as negotiating tactics go. Assuming the Heat can entice Beal with promises of warm weather and championship chases, the seeds for an opt-in or a sign-and-trade could be sown.

    Miami has Lowry’s $28.3 million salary as the main matching tool, plus the appealing rookie-scale deal of Tyler Herro. Even Duncan Robinson and his remaining four years and $74.3 million might have some appeal. The Washington Wizards signed Davis Bertans to a deal of nearly equal value in 2020, so we know they’re cool with paying for shooting specialists.

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    Why They Need Him

    Khris Middleton’s knee injury exposed a thin wing and forward rotation during the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2022 playoff run. Wesley Matthews and Grayson Allen wound up logging more high-leverage minutes than was ideal, and neither filled the two-way void Middleton’s absence created. Matthews was good enough defensively, but his lack of mobility and lift rendered him ineffective whenever opponents ran him off the three-point line. Allen’s shot came and went, and he was a regular target on D.

    Harrison Barnes is as solid of a two-way combo forward as there is in the league. He’s a career 37.9 percent shooter from distance, and though some of his early-career athleticism is waning at age 30, Barnes remains in terrific shape and has always been a reliable team defender. Lastly, he got to the foul line a career-best 5.4 times per contest in 2021-22. Teams with championship designs need multiple something-out-of-nothing threats to squeeze extra points out of a possession when things bog down. Barnes can handle that role far better than any of the Bucks’ non-star pieces.

    Can They Get Him?

    Barnes will make $18.4 million on the last year of his contract in 2022-23, and you’d think he could be had for a protected future first-rounder and matching salary.

    The Sacramento Kings are in another one of their misguided win-now quests, and their forward rotation is even more barren than Milwaukee’s. Sacramento has a glut at center, which rules out Brook Lopez as a trade chip. So unless the Kings have interest in Allen, this one will be difficult to consummate.

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    Why They Need Him

    Even when he was with the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons made all the sense in the world as a trade target for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Karl-Anthony Towns’ unsurpassed three-point shooting would cover for Simmons’ lack of a jumper, and Simmons’ defensive versatility would plug holes up and down the lineup. The Wolves gave big minutes to Jarred Vanderbilt and Jaden McDaniels this past season, so we know they’re comfortable with the idea of defense-first non-shooters on the floor next to their scoring stars.

    Not to get too galaxy-brained, but D’Angelo Russell’s expiring deal should have the Wolves looking to trade him. If that comes to pass, Minnesota should consider entrusting Anthony Edwards with primary playmaking duties—and a certain 6’11” point guard would be an ideal supporting piece in that scenario.

    Can They Get Him?

    Simmons’ lost 2021-22 season and ensuing back surgery should make him gettable. The Brooklyn Nets might want to see what they’ve got in the mercurial former All-Star before shipping him out, but the Wolves could put together a package of role players that would get Brooklyn’s attention. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine Malik Beasley, Vanderbilt, McDaniels and even Patrick Beverley playing significant minutes for the Nets next season.

    If Brooklyn determines Simmons isn’t going to be the star cornerstone it needs alongside KD and Kyrie Irving, or if it isn’t convinced he’s interested in playing basketball in a big market ever again, there’s a non-zero chance these teams could work something out.

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    Why They Need Him

    Zion Williamson, CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram are all better known for their offense than their defense, and Herb Jones can only guard so many people at once. That’s why the idea of Jerami Grant slotting into a small-ball unit alongside those four players remains one of the most exciting possibilities for the 2022-23 season.

    The Pels’ late-season surge and strong playoff showing suggest they’ll be a team on the rise next year. The return of a healthy Williamson, a full season of McCollum and another step in the growth process for Ingram and Jones could mean we’ll see this group in the mix for a top-four slot in the West if everything breaks right. Adding a veteran like Grant could pay major dividends, especially in the downsized playoffs where all five players need to be competent on both ends.

    Can They Get Him?

    A deal sending New Orleans’ No. 8 selection in the 2022 draft, Devonte’ Graham and Jaxson Hayes to the Detroit Pistons for Grant checks a lot of transactional boxes. The Pistons get a great spot-up shooter and an athletic roll man to complement Cade Cunningham, plus another shot to find a cornerstone in the lottery.

    Meanwhile, the Pels add a versatile combo forward who can defend multiple positions and score 20 points per game if necessary. With plenty of young talent already on hand and 14 players under contract, New Orleans should be looking for exactly this type of consolidation trade.

    The Pistons will have lots of offers for Grant, but this package will be hard to top.

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    Why They Need Him

    The New York Knicks desperately need a star-level, first-option playmaker. RJ Barrett isn’t there yet, and Julius Randle’s fall back to earth in 2021-22 made it clear he can’t be counted on in that role.

    Donovan Mitchell is a 25-year-old three-time All-Star whose usage rate has ranked in the 93rd percentile or higher at his position four years running. Quietly, he logged more minutes at the point than any other position last season, which indicates he’s completing the transition to full-time on-ball floor leader.

    Every team needs a star offensive engine who’s just entering his prime, but the Knicks’ total lack of high-volume playmakers (unless Derrick Rose happens to be healthy) puts them at the head of the line.

    Can They Get Him?

    Under normal circumstances, New York wouldn’t have the assets to get Mitchell without including Barrett. Even then, the Jazz might scoff. But the connections between Mitchell and the Knicks could be a factor in their favor.

    Mitchell is represented by CAA, the agency that used to employ Knicks president and former agent Leon Rose. Plus, Mitchell’s father is a Mets exec, and the guard grew up in New York.

    We’ve seen small-market stars work their way to preferred destinations before, and the Jazz’s offseason is riddled with uncertainty. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Mitchell turn up the heat with a trade request, in which case a blockbuster deal could really gain steam.

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    Why They Need Him

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been the NBA’s most prolific driver two years running, and Josh Giddey is hard-wired to hand out highlight assists. If only the Oklahoma City Thunder had a hulking finisher to catch lobs when SGA breaks the paint or Giddey flings one of those “how’d he even see that dude?” dimes.

    At some point, the Thunder will have to support their stellar guard tandem with some high-end potential up front. Potential is certainly the key word with Wiseman, whose undeniable physical tools, size and speed have yet to yield much production—or playing time for that matter. The No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft has had an injury-hit start to his career, which has cost him key reps everywhere from summer league to the regular season.

    Nonetheless, all the promise that made him such a high pick remains. OKC and its extreme rebuild culture is the perfect place for Wiseman to thrive.

    Can They Get Him?

    A package including Kenrich Williams, Lu Dort and a couple of picks from Oklahoma City’s overflowing stockpile might be enough to get the deal done. Golden State could lose several of the bargain-bin free agents it signed and slotted into the rotation this past season, with Otto Porter Jr. and Gary Payton II very likely to command offers above the minimum. Williams and Dort would see major playing time.

    If the Dubs decide Wiseman is no longer worth the wait, one could imagine them viewing OKC’s picks as a viable way to keep their two-timeline strategy on course. Toss in two rotation-ready pieces for the trouble, and the Thunder could pry their center of the future out of a reluctant Golden State’s hands.

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    Why They Need Him

    The Orlando Magic shot 33.8 percent from distance last year, the third-worst accuracy rate in the league. No wonder they were a mere tenth of a point from ranking dead last in offensive efficiency.

    Buddy Hield has his faults on defense, and it’s generally an adventure when he puts the ball on the floor. But he’s a career 39.8 percent sniper from beyond the arc, and nobody has made more treys over the last five seasons.

    It’s still early in the construction process, but Orlando needs to know if Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz are pillars or just a handful of ho-hum guards. Hield’s defense-warping gravity would clear the floor for them to operate more freely, giving the team a better idea of their long-term value. He and Orlando are a hand-in-glove fit.

    Can They Get Him?

    The Magic and Pacers are both cap-space teams, which means salary-matching isn’t a concern here. Orlando could package its pair of second-rounders (No. 32 and No. 35) with Terrence Ross, who’s on an expiring $11.5 million salary. Or it could sweeten the pot with forward Chuma Okeke, who might be expendable with Franz Wagner emerging and another blue-chip big man likely coming aboard via the No. 1 pick.

    Indiana’s willingness to part with Hield, who’ll turn 30 two months into the 2022-23 season, may depend on how serious it is about a full rebuild. 

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    Why They Need Him

    James Harden isn’t a top option anymore. Joel Embiid said so himself. And if those two weren’t good enough to get the Philadelphia 76ers out of the second round, the search for a third star has to top the list of offseason priorities.

    Beal struggled with injury last season, but he was among the league’s very best scorers in 2019-20 and 2020-21. His development as an off-ball threat alongside John Wall early in his career should prepare him for life with Harden, though Beal has never played with an attention-drawing big man like Embiid. Opponents would have to honor Harden on the ball and stay locked on Beal away from it, leaving limited resources to double Embiid inside.

    Can They Get Him?

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And a couple of separate rumors suggest both Beal and Embiid want to work something out.

    Shortly after the trade deadline, The Ringer’s Bill Simmons reported on his podcast that Embiid “really wanted” Beal “and was pushing really hard for it.”

    In March, Andrew Bogut reported on his Rogue Bogues podcast (via Pro Basketball Talk’s Dan Feldman) that the “rumor” is Beal “is trying to get to Philadelphia in the offseason to team up with Harden and Embiid.”

    Practically speaking, the Sixers would have to find a taker for Tobias Harris’ salary in order to sign Beal or work out a highly improbable trade. But there’s at least a little smoke to suggest a fire is possible.

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    Brian Babineau/Getty Images

    Why They Need Him

    If the Suns are as convinced now as they were prior to the season that Deandre Ayton isn’t worth the max, and if they also don’t want to drive the wedge between themselves and the former No. 1 pick deeper by playing hardball on his next salary, a sign-and-trade for a replacement center would be a sensible option.

    Turner’s expiring $18 million salary would surely be less than Ayton’s annual rate on a new deal, and the pick-and-pop dimension Turner brings might open up a Phoenix offense that seemed to run out of options in its West semifinals loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

    It’s possible the Suns believe they can survive with minimum-salaried centers just fine. That they got quality production out of scrap-heap pickup Bismack Biyombo last year is good evidence for that theory. But Phoenix is a contender, and if it’s going to lose Ayton, it can’t come away with nothing in return.

    Can They Get Him?

    The Pacers are exactly the type of team that should want a young center to build around. At 23, Ayton is three years younger than Turner and has already done more to prove his worth in big games. He and Tyrese Haliburton would become one of the league’s best young pick-and-roll combinations.

    Because Turner’s deal is expiring and because Ayton is the real prize of this deal, the Suns could ask for an additional rotation player without coming off as greedy. Indiana should be willing to part with Buddy Hield or even Chris Duarte if it means landing a potential franchise center.

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    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Why They Need Him

    If the Blazers retain Anfernee Simons in restricted free agency, as seems likely, they’ll be recommitted to several more years of an undersized and defensively iffy backcourt. When Damian Lillard was flanked by CJ McCollum, Portland needed as many big, defensive-minded wings as possible. That need will persist in the Lillard-Simons era.

    Anunoby was one of just six players to log at least 1,700 minutes and post a defensive versatility score of at least 88.0 last season. Translated into English, that means he’s among the most portable high-volume problem-solvers in the league. If the Blazers need several fires put out at once, which they probably will, Anunoby is the guy to get.

    Can They Get Him?

    Anunoby would fit conveniently into the $20.9 million trade exception Portland generated in the deal that sent McCollum to New Orleans. If the 24-year-old’s discontent grows, the Blazers could swoop in with a tantalizing offer of their No. 7 pick. If Portland wanted to preserve that exception for another move, Eric Bledsoe’s partially guaranteed salary would work as trade ballast as well.

    A fringe star at a coveted position and still young enough to improve, Anunoby might command offers above what the Blazers are comfortable with. It shouldn’t be easy to get a player of his caliber (and potential), but Portland and its lottery pick can at least compete with the market.

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    Brian Sevald/Getty Images

    Why They Need Him

    Harrison Barnes is a quality starter, but the Kings’ options behind him are extremely limited. Justin Holiday and Moe Harkless are the only forward/wing players currently under contract for next season, and neither projects as a rotation piece on a winning team—something the Kings are always hoping to be.

    Adding Jerami Grant would give the Kings badly needed defensive punch and versatility, and he might even be the best self-sufficient shot creator on this hypothetical roster. De’Aaron Fox would still be Sacramento’s primary ball-handler, and Domantas Sabonis profiles as a hub in the middle of it all. But Grant would fit well between those two, whether working on or off the ball.

    Can They Get Him?

    If the Kings were willing to put their No. 4 pick (and matching salary) on the table, they could beat just about any other realistic offer the Pistons get for Grant. That might even be too much for a player on an expiring contract who has expressed reluctance toward being anything but the primary offensive option.

    Even for the present-obsessed Kings, surrendering such a valuable draft asset for a rental would be a bad look.

    That’s more of a statement on whether Sacramento should part with No. 4 for Grant. The relevant fact for our purposes is that it could.

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Why They Need Him

    Zach LaVine might as well have been created in a lab to be Dejounte Murray’s perfect backcourt partner. Murray handles the defense, distribution, rebounding and mid-range work, while LaVine bombs away and attacks the rim. That undersells LaVine’s skill as a passer, but you get the idea. These two Seattle products were made for each other.

    From a team perspective, the San Antonio Spurs ranked 28th in three-point attempts per 100 possessions and 18th in accuracy from long distance. What better addition could they make than LaVine, whose 39.6 percent hit rate on triples over the last three seasons trails only Duncan Robinson among players who attempted at least 1,400 deep shots during that span?

    Can They Get Him?

    The Bulls can offer LaVine a fifth year and more total money than anyone else, but K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reported the two-time All-Star’s “return to the Bulls no longer is considered the slam dunk it once was.”

    LaVine is an unrestricted free agent, and the Spurs could simply sign him. So it’s dicey to even include him as a trade target. But if he decides he wants to leave Chicago and the Bulls aren’t keen on losing him for nothing, a sign-and-trade deal could materialize. Much bigger names have agreed to go that route as a favor to their former teams.

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Why They Need Him

    We’re operating on the assumption that NBA teams still actually need centers, a premise the 2021-22 Toronto Raptors did not accept, and one that may be rejected league-wide by 2025. Still, though, wouldn’t it be nice if Toronto had someone taller than 6’9″ to toss out there against, say, Joel Embiid in a playoff series?

    This past season, the Raptors ranked in the bottom 10 in defensive rebound percentage and opponent free-throw rate. Only eight teams allowed opponents to shoot a higher percentage at the rim. That’s a trio of poor statistical performances that could be traced to a lack of size inside.

    Jarrett Allen is a shot-swatting, board-inhaling interior force—one who can survive just well enough on switches to satisfy the Raptors’ obsession with versatility.

    Can They Get Him?

    A straight swap of Allen for OG Anunoby is one of my favorite fake offseason trades, and that was true before whispers circulated that Anunoby was less than pleased with his role in Toronto. The deal just works: Anunoby gives the Cavs the big two-way wing they need, while Allen fills the yawning chasm in the middle for Toronto.

    We can worry about which side would have to sweeten the deal another time. Toronto can absolutely go get Allen if it wants to.

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    Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

    Why They Need Him

    Andrew Wiggins’ All-Star season and strong playoff run solidified him as one of the NBA’s best wing defenders. Perhaps you observed the Utah Jazz’s lack of such a player in each of their last two disappointing postseason eliminations.

    Though pricey at $33.6 million next year, Wiggins is still only 27 years old and in the prime of his career. He comes off the books after 2022-23, and the Jazz could either extend him ahead of time or see how free agency plays out. And when you factor in the alarming cost of Rudy Gobert’s deal (four more years and $169.7 million), Wiggins’ lone remaining season doesn’t look quite so costly.

    Can They Get Him?

    It’s tough to imagine the Warriors parting with such an integral piece of their roster, though one could see them being interested in adding Gobert to a defense that was already second-best in the league this past season. Utah would need more than just Wiggins, and Golden State could include one of its young rookies. James Wiseman would be a logical piece to replace Gobert in the middle.

    The Dubs have generally shied away from paying centers. Kevon Looney made just $5.2 million this season, and Draymond Green tends to play the 5 in the moments that matter anyway. Dealing a valuable wing for an expensive big man would cut against their principles, but it’s also possible that an organization known for taking the long view may simply prioritize the starrier name whose contract provides more team control.

    File this under “highly unlikely,” but don’t let that distract from Utah’s clear need for a Wiggins type.

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    Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

    Why They Need Him

    The Washington Wizards’ point guard depth chart was as ugly as anyone’s last season, and Ish Smith (non-guaranteed) is the only player at the position currently under team control for next season. If the Wizards intend to make any noise, they’ll need a major upgrade. And even if all they want to do is put their young players in the best position to develop, more juice at the 1 is a must.

    Two seasons isn’t enough to pigeonhole Tyrese Maxey as a speedy straight-line driver who lacks the instincts of a true facilitator. The glass-half-full view of Maxey reveals a 21-year-old who averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists while shooting 42.7 percent from deep. Any analysis of Maxey’s game has to start with the fact that he might be the fastest end-to-end sprinter in the game, but he’s more than just a transition force.

    Can They Get Him?

    When you’ve got Bradley Beal (a logical Sixers target) and plenty of players on rookie-scale deals, Philly isn’t going to duck your trade calls. If the Wizards are willing to take back Tobias Harris’ salary as part of the bargain, there’s a clear path to a deal involving Maxey.

           

    Stats courtesy of NBA.com, Basketball Reference and Cleaning the Glass. Accurate through 2021-22 season. Salary info via Spotrac.