We are almost at the halfway mark in the NBA season and there have been a lot of rumblings about multiple issues across the league. We have Lavar Ball in Los Angeles seemingly taking away the spotlight from his son, Lonzo, in his rookie season with the Lakers. We have Gordon Hayward still vigorously trying to recover from a gruesome leg injury that has cost him basically his whole 2017-18 season. We also have the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have arguably been the biggest disappointment this season after acquiring all-stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in the offseason.
The second half will surely have a lot to talk about with the trade deadline, playoff implications, and MVP races. But there is always the speculations and wondering of where different players will end up in the off-season via free agent signings and trades.
There are some big names that will be hitting the free agency market as well as the trade block this upcoming offseason. We have heard some names such as LeBron James, DeMarcus Cousins as well as others. But where exactly will they end up? LeBron himself has been rumored to go everywhere from Los Angeles, to Philadelphia, to staying in his home state of Ohio. But where do we think he as well as other free agents will end up? This list takes a look at where they all could end up, trades and free agent signings galore. Without further ado, let's take a look at 8 NBA trades and 8 free agent signings that need to happen this offseason.
16 Trade: Julius Randle to the Bulls
The first trade that definitely needs to happen at some point during the 2018 offseason is Julius Randle packing his bags for Chicago. The Bulls have taken a step back this season of sorts after Jimmy Butler was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dwyane Wade went to play with his good friend LeBron in Cleveland. The Bulls do have a young power forward in Bobby Portis. But this trade for Randle would help both sides for a number of reasons.
First off, the Lakers are going to make a run for LeBron in free agency. That is inevitable. Doing a sign and trade with the Bulls could create more cap room to give James the max contract he would seek. For the Bulls, it would give them a chance to have more depth and young talent for a rebuild. They can play Randle and Portis at the same time on the floor which would give good scoring options and more rebounding ability. This would be an interesting trade to help potentially bring King James to Los Angeles.
15 Free Agent Signing: Chris Paul to the Rockets
This free agent signing isn't very creative or surprising, but it is one that just makes a ton of sense. Chris Paul spent years trying to make his way through the Western Conference playoffs with the Los Angeles Clippers. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to do much and people were wondering whether or not he would ever make a deep playoff run. Things took an interesting turn when he was traded to the Houston Rockets this past offseason. So far, it looks like things are working out well with him and James Harden sharing the floor. The Rockets and Chris Paul would be wise to work on a deal to bring him back.
Paul is a proven floor general who knows how to set up his teammates as well as hit open jumpers when the opportunities arise. Harden loves having Paul because he can get the ball more and shoot it without much conflict. This is a duo that can terrorize the NBA for the next few years if both sides can reach an agreement. Considering the Rockets have been on a hot streak lately, they would be really dumb to let Paul slip out of their fingertips.
14 Trade: Klay Thompson to the Heat
The "Splash Brothers" have been making headlines since the 2015 season when they helped the Warriors win the first of their two championships in three seasons. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were can't miss television. But Curry just signed a big deal this off-season and Kevin Durant has proven he will take a pay cut to stay with the Warriors. So Klay's days in Golden State could be numbered. One intriguing option for Klay could be the Miami Heat.
The Heat have a good point guard in Goran Dragic and good big men in Hassan Whiteside (when healthy) and Kelly Olynyk. In all likelihood, they'd have to trade one of those pieces to land Klay, but it'd be worth it. Having Thompson in that lineup would allow for the Heat to have a shooting guard that could be a popular face in Miami since Dwyane Wade left. Thompson is an unrestricted free agent in 2019, so trading him now would serve both sides well and allow for Thompson to have a bigger role with a contending team in Miami.
13 Free Agent Signing: Avery Bradley to the Pelicans
Avery Bradley was one of the essential pieces that brought the Boston Celtics back from a horrific rebuild to an Eastern Conference contender in the span of four years. He was then traded this past off-season to the Detroit Pistons in a deal that brought Marcus Morris to Boston. Now, he is helping a Detroit team become relevant again in the Eastern Conference. The only bad part is that Bradley will probably be taking his talents elsewhere once again. One intriguing option could be signing with the Pelicans.
The Pelicans are a team with questions. Will Anthony Davis be traded? Will Rajon Rondo be another one year and done player? The ideal scenario would be to keep both and then sign Avery Bradley. Imagine the back-court of Rondo and Bradley reunited along with Davis and DeMarcus Cousins in the front-court could be an immediate contender in the Western Conference. If the Pelicans don't pull this move off, it could be a long offseason.
12 Trade: Kenneth Faried to the Spurs
The Denver Nuggets have been a surprising team this season. They weren't expected to do much, but then went out in the offseason to acquire star power forward Paul Millsap. Millsap unfortunately got injured to end his season, but he will probably be back next season and be the star Denver expects him to be. With that being the case, a guy like Kenneth Faried will probably have to go. But where can he go? Perhaps San Antonio wouldn't be a bad fit for him.
Faried is an unrestricted free agent in 2019. So if the Nuggets decided to go out and trade Faried, it should be to San Antonio. The Nuggets could clear cap room to make another big signing in the offseason. San Antonio might be a good fit for Faried considering he has the reputation of being a good rebounder. If he came off the bench, he could provide a spark or you could have him pair up with LaMarcus Aldridge to form an outstanding rebounding duo. It could be a great second career for Faried to play under Popovich and be in contention for a title.
11 Free Agent Signing: Jabari Parker to the Raptors
Sometimes, injuries play a big factor into the career of a potential can't miss product coming out of the 2014 NBA draft. The Milwaukee Bucks thought they had a future star in Jabari Parker. But with injuries taking a big factor, he has taken a step back to where he should be. Now that Giannis Antetokoumpo is becoming the star in Milwaukee, it might be time for Parker to start over with this free agency. One team that should inquire about Parker's services is the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors have quite the back-court in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. They would have an interesting situation with Parker in the fold at the forward position. Parker needs a change of scenery and a place like Toronto that is a contender might be exactly what he needs. This could be a low risk, high reward deal that could benefit Toronto in the long run.
10 Trade: Tobias Harris to the Pacers
The Indiana Pacers have been one of the most surprising teams in the NBA this season. A lot of people immediately wrote them off after trading Paul George in the off-season, knowing that they weren't going to re-sign him after this season. They got Victor Oladipo in return who has seemed to flourish in Indiana, having his arguably best season. One interesting name that the Pacers could go out and trade for is Tobias Harris.
Harris is having a good year in what is viewed as a revival year for the Pistons. He is averaging close to 18 points a game along with five rebounds a game. He definitely could be a piece that Indiana could use next season. He is very athletic and his shot continues to get better. Being paired up with Oladipo could be putting the Pacers in a good position to take a top spot in the East potentially next season.
9 Free Agent Signing: Nerlens Noel to the Suns
The Phoenix Suns are a team that doesn't have much direction. They have a shooting guard in Devin Booker that can put up good scoring numbers at any moment's notice. The only problem with that is Booker is about the only bright spot in a woeful Suns organization. They are past the Charles Barkley finals days for sure, so they need somebody to compliment Booker. So why not sign a guy like Nerlens Noel?
Noel hasn't risen to the success we thought he would quite yet. But imagine the fun that Noel would have playing with Booker. They both can play above the rim and Noel's shot blocking abilities can be the defensive presence the Suns have needed. Noel doesn't look like he is going to be remaining in Dallas. So rebuilding and making the Suns relevant again could be just the motivation Noel needs to flourish next season.
8 Trade: Marcin Gortat to the Nuggets
The Washington Wizards time for competing in the Eastern Conference could be coming short. Sure, they have a fantastic back-court duo in John Wall and Bradley Beal. They also have a big man in Marcin Gortat that has been very serviceable down low as well. Gortat is an unrestricted free agent in 2019. So with a year left on his deal, don't be surprised if the Wizards look to move him. He could end up going to a team like the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets have Paul Millsap coming back next season. With a duo of him and Gortat, it could be a great defensive pairing which can lead to contending in a loaded Western Conference. The Wizards can clear cap space to sign or trade for another young big man. Everyone would seemingly win in this trade, and Gortat would have more of a secondary scoring role in Denver as opposed to third or even fourth in Washington.
7 Free Agent Signing: Brook Lopez to the Wizards
So we just talked about how the Wizards should get rid of Marcin Gortat to get some younger big men in their system. We also said they have such a short window to make a run through the Eastern Conference and eventually to the NBA Finals. They should try their best to lock up both John Wall and Bradley Beal for the long-term and get that young, talented big man. If that is not possible for whatever reason, they should consider big man Brook Lopez.
Lopez is a more than serviceable big man. He is proven and he wouldn't be breaking the bank when offering a deal to him. Matching him up with Wall and Beal would give them a top three that is hard to stop. Add a few more pieces and Washington can keep competing for years to come. But Lopez would be a very good start to building up the roster via free agency.
6 Trade: Kemba Walker to the Timberwolves
The Charlotte Hornets are a team that has been on the upswing for years now. They have a terrific player in Kemba Walker who has proven to be one of the upper scale point guards in the NBA. But unfortunately, his team is going nowhere. One move the Hornets could do is trade him and start a total rebuild. One team that should be on the phone right away is the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The T-Wolves are a team that made a splash last offseason by acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls for Zach Levine. Now they have their own big three with Butler, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Imagine if the Wolves decided to go get Kemba? That would be a team ready to compete with the likes of the Rockets and Warriors if everything came together. For Minnesota to take another step, they should get on the phone this off-season and make this trade happen.
5 Free Agent Signing: DeMarcus Cousins to the Cavaliers
This is a rumor that has been going around for the past year now. The Cleveland Cavaliers could be in big trouble this off-season. They could lose their franchise player in LeBron James (again) via free agency and take numerous steps backwards just like when it happened the first time. One name that has speculated coming to Cleveland has been DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins has proven to be a powerful center and a scoring machine. He has also proven to be quite the handful when he was a part of a consistent losing situation with the Sacramento Kings. He is a free agent at the end of this season and him going to Cleveland can mean a few things. First of all, his signing could help convince LeBron to stay and finish his career in Cleveland. Second, it helps Cleveland not have to give up an assets in a trade including the Celtics draft pick that could be a number one overall pick. Finally, if LeBron goes elsewhere, Cousins and Love could be a fun tandem to watch play and make Cleveland a competitive team in the East.
4 Trade: DeAndre Jordan to the Bucks
The Los Angeles Clippers lost Chris Paul this past off-season to the Houston Rockets in a trade. They could be on the verge of losing another one of their star players via a trade as well. The Clippers will not be trading Blake Griffin anytime soon as they locked him up long term, essentially making him a franchise player. The guy to watch out for is DeAndre Jordan and one team to keep a close eye on is the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks have an interesting team. They have their superstar in Giannis Antetokoumpo. They also have their role players in Khris Middleton and Matthew Dellavedova. They are missing that big man in the middle and Jordan could fit the bill. He is a big rebounding and shot blocking center that the Bucks could utilize. The Clippers could get depth and picks which would help both teams if this trade were to happen, which it should.
3 Free Agent Signing: Isaiah Thomas to the Magic
While everyone has been on the court this season, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas has been trying to work his way back into the starting lineup from a hip injury. He had two great seasons with the Boston Celtics before being traded this past offseason to Cleveland in exchange for Kyrie Irving. Isaiah is a free agent at the end of this season and is expecting the big money. One place where he could get that big money is in Orlando with the Magic.
Thomas would be a great fit in Orlando along with Aaron Gordon. Plus, the Magic will be searching for a point guard if Elfrid Payton chooses to leave Orlando. This would be a great move for Thomas. He could be one of the main guys like he was in Boston and forget about the team that traded him when he gave his heart to the city. It's a business at the end of the day and Isaiah Thomas will be doing business this off-season to try to get the biggest deal possible.
2 Trade: Anthony Davis to the Celtics
This is a name that has been circulating for multiple seasons now to be traded. Anthony Davis has been one of the best power forwards and a top ten overall player in the league since the first time he took the court to play for the Pelicans. Davis has been rumored to be unhappy with New Orleans and their lack of postseason success. One option would be having Davis traded and one team that is hungry to get him is the Boston Celtics.
What an offseason the Celtics had in 2017! They signed Gordon Hayward, and traded for Kyrie Irving while losing guys like Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley. But who is to say the Celtics are not done yet? The Celtics have so many draft picks and good young talented players to pull off a trade for Anthony Davis. Imagine a lineup of Kyrie, Jaylen Brown, Hayward, Davis, and Al Horford for the Celtics in 2018-19? That would be a team that would be very hard to stop. Look for the Celtics to be very aggressive this offseason to bring "The Brow" to Boston.
1 Free Agent Signing: LeBron James to the 76ers
Perhaps the biggest name and most looked at name in this upcoming off-season has to be LeBron James. James has had many experts, fans, and reporters predicting where he will go when his potential final season in Cleveland is over. Will he go to L.A.? Will he remain a Cavalier and stay this time? One team that also has a unique way of enticing him to play for their team is the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers have a vast majority of young talent like Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, and Ben Simmons in the fold. They also made a good signing in the off-season of getting J.J. Reddick to serve as a veteran leader and a shooter from the outside. Adding LeBron would instantly put Philadelphia over the edge and put them in instant Finals contention. Look for LeBron to be the most coveted free agent this off-season and to potentially change teams once again.