Here we are in Spring and the regular season is coming to a close. The most exciting part of the NBA season is approaching, the NBA playoffs. For some teams however, this season has not been very kind to some organizations. As some teams gear up for the second NBA season, others have to go back to the drawing board. Fans of the NBA know that if you aren't really competing to win it all, you may be better off "tanking" to improve your odds of getting a future all-star in the draft lottery. Other than the draft, teams get better in the summer via trade or Free Agency.
There is one notable Free Agent that may keep his eyes open regarding his future, and it's LeBron James. For teams without a chance to sign LeBron, other free agents will have the opportunity to switch teams as franchises hope to catch that lightning in a bottle. Last year, the Boston Celtics acquired Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed Gordon Hayward from the Utah Jazz. Their season didn't end how they hoped but the buzz and optimism in the off-season was limitless. Other teams hope for that kind of turnaround this summer heading into the 2018-19 NBA season.
From Chris Paul to DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas, there will be players available that can jump start a sleeping fan base. Every team has a chance next year when it's the summer, so today we will list 8 blockbuster trades set to happen this off-season and 8 Free Agent signings.
16 Free Agent Signing: DeMarcus Cousins To The Celtics
Entering this season, DeMarcus Cousins was supposed to have a trial run with the New Orleans Pelicans alongside Anthony Davis before he became a free agent this off-season. Before the All-Star break, Cousins suffered an unfortunate season ending achilles injury. That leaves options open for both the Pelicans and Cousins. Since Cousins went down, the Pelicans acquired Nikola Mirotic as a last minute replacement. Surprisingly, Mirotic has fit well alongside Davis, and he seems to be a good contingency plan.
The Pelicans will have to decide whether they will want to dedicate a ton of their cap space to a big man coming off a major injury. With that being said, Cousins will not return to the Pelicans next season. The Boston Celtics will take a gamble and sign Cousins this summer. With Cousins alongside Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and young players, the Celtics will be a top contender in the East as well as the entire NBA.
15 Blockbuster Trade: DeAndre Jordan To The New York Knicks
This is a trade that no one will see coming. The Clippers were talking calls for DeAndre Jordan this trade deadline and were not able to agree to a deal. They will try again this summer. The Clippers believe that DeAndre Jordan isn't as valuable to their team now that "Lob City" is no longer in Los Angeles. After acquiring John Wall, the Clippers will look to shed some salary and move DeAndre Jordan to the Knicks. New York will send Enes Kanter and Emmanuel Mudiay to the Clippers as the Knicks will use a draft pick this summer on their point guard of the future. The Clippers will have a serviceable big, a quality backup point guard and flexibility once their new stadium is ready for opening.
14 Free Agent Signing: Isaiah Thomas To The Suns
This year was one that many consider a lost season for Isaiah Thomas. After sustaining a hip injury last season and playing through the injury, Thomas was out until the end of December and only played 15 games for the Cavaliers. As you know, he was later traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and placed on the bench. Talk about a humbling few moments for Thomas, who was 5th in MVP voting last season.
For Isaiah, this summer was supposed to be when the Celtics "brought out the Brinks truck." Apparently, they had other plans (as did Cleveland) so IT will have to look for his max deal elsewhere. The Los Angeles Lakers have made it known that they already have their point guard of the future in Lonzo Ball, so if IT wants to start again it won't be in LA. Where Thomas signs this off-season will be in Phoenix where he played before Boston.
13 Blockbuster Trade: John Wall To The Los Angeles Clippers
When Chris Paul decided to leave the Los Angeles Clippers, it was his own decision. The Clippers have struggled with relevance in Los Angeles due to the huge shadow cast by the Lakers. The Clippers are the only team in the NBA that has to share an arena. Make no mistake about it, Staples Center will always be home of the Lakers.
Billionaire owner Steve Ballmer is looking to change that as the Clippers have their own arena being built in Inglewood. Without star power, it will be hard to fill seats in that arena and John Wall helps with that. While Wall was out with injury, the Wizards proved they didn't need Wall as much as everyone assumed. This summer, the Wizards will trade John Wall to the Clippers for Milos Teodosic, Danilo Gallinari and future draft picks. The Wizards add depth, and are able to let Bradley Beal be the team's new superstar.
12 Free Agent Signing: Jabari Parker To The Bulls
In 2014, after a successful Freshman season at Duke, Jabari Parker was in the conversation for the top pick in the NBA Draft. He eventually was selected number 2 overall to the Milwaukee Bucks. Although Parker has shown promise with the Bucks, two ACL injuries for Parker has derailed his development alongside one of the best young talents in the NBA in Giannis Antetokounmpo. When healthy, it doesn't really seem that Parker and the Greek Freak have been able to win together and Parker has made it known that he will keep his options open this summer. When the dust settles, Jabari Parker will become a member of the Chicago Bulls. Parker is a Chicago native and since the Bulls have the space to do so, it's a match made in heaven.
11 Blockbuster Trade: Draymond Green To Portland
The Golden State Warriors will look to shake up their roster if the NBA Finals do not end with them as the last team standing. This season, Draymond Green has taken a step back in his production and will soon be due to another max contract. As teams win and win often, they become lazy and lose that desire to take the necessary steps to win a championship.
For Green, he may be better off suited elsewhere as the Warriors still want to be a championship winning organization. Golden State will trade Draymond to the Portland Trail Blazers for Jusuf Nurkic and Al-farouq Aminu . The Warriors will no longer have to worry about Draymond and his attitude while they can finally move away from Zaza Pachulia. Portland will have a facilitator that has the ability to defend and create shots for the Blazers' dominant backcourt duo.
10 Free Agent Signing: Julius Randle To The Grizzlies
The Los Angeles Lakers are going big game hunting in the hopes of signing two max salary veteran star players. In order to do that, the Lakers will have to let Randle walk and sign elsewhere. This season, Randle has turned the corner and showed glimpses of what made him a high lottery pick. In 2013 before attending the University of Kentucky, Randle was regarded as the number 1 player in the country.
After completing his rookie deal, Randle will be eligible for a mac contract this summer. If the Lakers indeed land a top free agent to join their young core of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, the free agent Forward will sign with the Memphis Grizzlies. One comparison Randle had as a young talent is Zach Randolph. Z-bo was adored in Memphis and if Julius Randle can bring that same mentality, he will be beloved in the Grind House as well.
9 Blockbuster Trade: Damian Lillard To The Pacers
The Indiana Pacers were robbed by the Oklahoma City Thunder if you read storylines last off-season. What people did not expect was for Victor Oladipo to fill in for Paul George and become an All-Star. Now the Pacers can try to compete in the East a lot sooner than expected. The Blazers are in their 5th year with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and they are still a ways away from the top of the conference. They will look themselves in the mirror this summer and make a deal. That deal will send Damian Lillard to the Indiana Pacers for Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison, and Myles Turner. After acquiring Draymond Green, the Blazers add a fill in at point guard and a big man to replace Jusuf Nurkic. Looks like a win-win to me.
8 Free Agent Signing: Chris Paul Back To The Rockets
After leaving the Los Angeles Clippers, Chris Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets. Most critics assumed CP3 and James Harden would struggle to co-exist as both are ball dominant guards. To much of a surprise, the Rockets won the most games this regular season and many people give them a shot to not only defeat the Golden State Warriors but to win the NBA Finals. If the Rockets do not go far into the playoffs, their season will be considered a failure. If Houston does go far in the playoffs, it will be the biggest stage CP3 has played on in his entire career. After all the dust settles no matter what happens in the post-season, Chris Paul will rejoin the Houston Rockets on a multi-year deal. Chris Paul has found a system that he fits and a co-star to help him try to capture that elusive NBA title.
7 Blockbuster Trade: Kemba Walker To The Milwaukee Bucks
Sports are a cutthroat business and during the off-season, players find out on their own that the NBA is a business. The Charlotte Hornets have signed General Manager Mitch Kupchak to lead their team early in April. To make a splash, Kupchak who had success with the Lakers, will try to make a splash right away. For him to do that, he will swap Kemba Walker the franchise leader in points with the Milwaukee Bucks' Eric Bledsoe. Walker has failed to reach the playoffs his entire career and sometimes a breath of fresh air can make a world of difference. The Bucks have not had the success they hoped for when originally trading for Bledsoe and a more dominant scorer should help them take a step.
6 Free Agent Signing: Tyreke Evans To The Heat
Right before the trade deadline, the Memphis Grizzlies deactivated Tyreke Evans as they attempted to find a landing spot for Evans via trade. There were also rumours of the Grizzlies buying out the contract of Evans, so he could sign with another team for the rest of the season. Neither plan worked and Evans remained with Memphis this season. It's safe to say that the two parties will not continue doing business together next season. Tyreke Evans will sign with the Miami Heat this summer. The Heat are not exactly a contender, but they do play on South Beach in income tax-free Florida. The market isn't what it was a couple years ago, so Evans will likely not sign for a huge payday. But the off the court allure should be tempting to not only Evans but any free agent.
5 Blockbuster Trade: Hassan Whiteside To The Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic will have a top pick in this year's upcoming draft. The Miami Heat have found their big man of the future and judging by Whiteside's public criticism of the coaching staff's decision to bench him late in games, the parties will part ways. The Orlando Magic will have a top pick in this year's upcoming draft. They will have their eyes set on Duke's Marvin Bagley and with the trade for Whiteside they can bolster their front line with Bagley, Whiteside and Aaron Gordon. The Heat will be glad they can get rid of the disgruntled Whiteside and move in another direction. Hassan Whiteside will be sent to the Orlando Magic for Nikola Vucevic, Shelvin Mack, and Jonathan Isaac. The Heat will have a deeper front court and can develop Bam Adebayo as their future Center.
4 Free Agent Signing: J.J. Redick To The Rockets
J.J. Redick was the back court mate of Chris Paul in Los Angeles a year ago and left for a large contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. The idea in the signing was to bring in a veteran to help with the development of the young roster. The Sixers have been a pleasant surprise this season and may be closer to competing then many people assumed. This will be the first post-season that this core of players have been a part of in their NBA careers.
The high price tag of Redick may be a reason that Philadelphia goes in a different direction and attempts to sign a bigger name free-agent. With the reasons previously stated, J.J. Redick will sign with the Houston Rockets this summer. The three point shooting system will be great for Redick and he will already have built in camaraderie with Chris Paul from their Clipper days.
3 Blockbuster Trade: Devin Booker To The Boston Celtics
The Phoenix Suns need to figure out a way to not be an embarrassment again. The development of Josh Jackson has showed the Suns that they may have drafted a good one. Danny Ainge knows that they will need to figure out ways they can manufacture points. The Celtics have struggled to score at times this year, and even though they will get back Gordon Hayward next year, they won't stop there. The Boston Celtics will send Brown to Phoenix along with one of their coveted first round draft picks for Devin Booker. Phoenix can build through the draft and sign DeAndre Ayton who many consider the best Center since Joel Embiid. The pairing of Brown and Jackson will give the Suns one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
2 Free Agent Signing: Derrick Rose To The Thunder
Once upon a time, Derrick Rose was one of the best young guards in the NBA and even became the youngest league MVP at 21 in 2011. Then, Rose suffered two major knee injuries and his career has never been the same. This summer, Rose signed a veteran minimum contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers to compete for an NBA championship. After a down year in Cleveland, Rose was traded away and landed in Minnesota with his former head coach Tom Thibodeau.
This summer Rose will be a free to sign with any team again, and he will likely sign with a championship contending team. After the Minnesota Timberwolves get eliminated in the playoffs, which is inevitable, Rose will change teams this summer. In a shocking move, Derrick Rose will sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Rose will back up Russell Westbrook in OKC, who his game favours. There are some people that question why Rose doesn't retire but his Adidas contract will give him $20 million reasons to lace his shoes back up.
1 Blockbuster Trade: Kawhi Leonard To Cleveland
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired the rights to the Brooklyn Nets' first round draft pick in the deal that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston. The Cleveland Cavaliers have another off-season to try to catch up with Golden State, keep LeBron James, and fend off the Eastern Conference competition. In order to do so, they need to add a talent that can help them right away. That player is Kawhi Leonard. The asking price will indeed be high, so the Cavs will send Larry Nance Jr, Cedi Osman, Jordan Clarkson and the Brooklyn Nets pick to San Antonio for the rights to Kawhi Leonard. With this addition, LeBron James will re-sign in Cleveland and form a new Big 3 in Cleveland. Alongside James and Kevin Love, Kawhi Leonard will make his third NBA Finals appearance.