The current NBA season is setting up one of the most interesting offseason periods in league history. Kevin Durant’s argument with Draymond Green put it out there that many people in the Golden State Warriors organization believe Durant will want to leave for a new start in the offseason. Recent interviews have seen LeBron James reveal he wants Anthony Davis on the Los Angeles Lakers via trade. James is very meticulous with his words and there’s smoke to this fire. Many other big names will be available. The free agent market will have many names looking to change teams with everyone hoping to become contenders.
Other top talents will be available on the trade market. A few middle-of-the-road teams will want to upgrade their roster and get rid of bad contracts. We will look at some of the more interesting changes that could come from both free agency and trades. The landscape could change with superstars, all-stars and very good players looking to make moves. There is a good chance we could see new playoff teams, new MVP candidates and new title contenders by this time next year. Find out just what changes your team could make for the better or worse in the upcoming offseason. These are 20 moves that could happen to change the NBA in the summer of 2019.
20 Carmelo Anthony signs with the Lakers
Carmelo Anthony is currently on the Houston Rockets roster despite not having a role on the team. The status of Anthony has the team looking to make a trade for him, but no teams want to offer anything for him. It will be a tough sell for Anthony to find a new team via trade since the playoff teams don’t want to take a risk on him.
LeBron James has already revealed he’d love to have Anthony on his Los Angeles Lakers and believes he can help resurrect his friend’s career. There is a great chance the Lakers will trade at least two or three young players for a superstar. Anthony could have one more shot coming off the Lakers bench with the roster spots opening.
19 Thaddeus Young signs with the Warriors
The Golden State Warriors may see Kevin Durant leave them in free agency with the way things are trending. Golden State has seen inner turmoil with Durant’s potential to leave in the offseason. There will be a few interesting role players that will want to join the winning culture of the Warriors.
Thaddeus Young will likely have to find a new team due to Domantas Sabonis needing more time to progress. Young's defense, versatility, and veteran smarts could land him a chance on the Warriors. Golden State will have their big three and roster spots to add multiple secondary players. Young may be the perfect fit to play hard defense and hustle for loose balls.
18 Terry Rozier signs with the Pelicans
The future of the New Orleans Pelicans is unknown with Anthony Davis potentially wanting a trade in 2019 or leaving in free agency come 2020. One of the few things they can do is look for young players on the free agent market to build around, especially if Davis does get traded to free up more cap space.
Terry Rozier will be on the free agent market and it remains unlikely the Boston Celtics will pay what he wants. Boston is looking for cap space flexibility with their moves to add a bigger star. New Orleans could add Rozier to become their new starting point guard. Elfrid Payton is better coming off the bench for Rozier, who has shown potential in Boston.
17 Hassan Whiteside traded to the Wizards
Without spoiling a later pick on the lineup, the Washington Wizards have three stars on the losing team with huge contracts. One of them will be traded by next summer. The Miami Heat is one of the few teams that want to acquire a guard and can offer a big man.
Hassan Whiteside is a contract Miami badly wants to trade. Washington needs a big man and can risk it on Whiteside by giving up a bad contract as well. Whiteside is not a player most teams would want, but the Wizards could land him on a major trade in the offseason.
16 Trevor Ariza signs with the Rockets
The Houston Rockets are still feeling the pain of losing Trevor Ariza in free agency. Ariza received a big one-year contract from the Phoenix Suns, but they traded him within a couple of months. The Washington Wizards acquired him for a hopeful playoff run with no plans to re-sign him.
Ariza cashed in by playing for weaker teams this season, but he will want to play for a contender again. Houston was the team that best used him, and he was their key piece to contend for a title. Both parties are clearly missing each other right now. There will be a chance to right the wrong.
15 D'Angelo Russell signs with the Suns
D’Angelo Russell will become one of the most interesting assets in the free agent market. The Brooklyn Nets have seen Russell play well, but he often doesn’t get clutch minutes at the end of games. Kenny Atkinson does not trust Russell as much as Spencer Dinwiddie and believes he needs the ball to contribute.
Russell will likely leave in free agency to find a situation where a team is willing to play him as the only top point guard on the roster. The Phoenix Suns are in a very poor spot, but they do have great prospects at every position aside from point guard. Russell will likely be the dream fit for the Suns.
14 Eric Bledsoe signs with the Nets
The Brooklyn Nets will have a lot of cap space to add two free agents to max contracts in the offseason. Many pundits believe the Milwaukee Bucks will not want to re-sign Eric Bledsoe to such a big contract and the Nets will lose D’Angelo Russell.
Bledsoe may be the ideal pickup for the Nets to play alongside Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. The defense of Bledsoe would improve the Nets chances at a playoff spot and doesn’t need to dominate the ball to be effective. Brooklyn wants to become a playoff team and established players will be needed to make the jump.
13 Isaiah Thomas signs with the 76ers
Isaiah Thomas is hoping to help the Denver Nuggets by joining the roster that has already found success in the early season. The past of Thomas has seen him put up huge numbers for multiple teams, including having an MVP-contending season with the Boston Celtics.
Thomas’ subpar season with the Cleveland Cavaliers hurt his reputation, with fears of injury ruining him. It remains unlikely Thomas will get major minutes on the thriving Denver team. Thomas will once again need to take a secondary role next season. The Philadelphia 76ers need another scorer for depth and may have to take the chance on someone like Thomas.
12 DeAndre Jordan signs with Heat
We have mentioned that the Miami Heat will look to trade Hassan Whiteside in the offseason. They may need a replacement to start the season with hopes of rebuilding into a contender. We will reveal which superstar they will trade for later in the list, but the replacement center signing may be DeAndre Jordan.
The controversy about his Dallas Mavericks teammates disliking him means Jordan will need to find a new team and there will be no max contracts available. Jordan is still putting up impressive numbers and may be the perfect fit for the Heat as they shake things up to move forward.
11 Goran Dragic signs with the Pistons
One of the most obvious situations for a player and a team in the 2019 offseason could land Goran Dragic on the Detroit Pistons. Detroit's inconsistent play sees them lacking a good backcourt to help set things up for Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin.
Dragic is likely going to need a new team since the Miami Heat want to upgrade at the point guard position. The play of Dragic is impressive, but he’s a middle of the pack point guard with the position being that loaded. Dragic should end up on the Pistons with the chance of becoming a secondary playoff contender in the East.
10 Marc Gasol is traded to the Mavs
The Dallas Mavericks are in a good spot right now with Luka Doncic looking like the superstar of the future. Dallas wants to add another superstar to pair with Doncic and hopes that Dennis Smith Jr., despite the trade rumors that recently surrounded him, will improve into a star quality point guard. There will likely be a trade for a center for the Mavericks.
Marc Gasol is the perfect candidate out there for Dallas, given his versatility. The improved shooting of Gasol will land him open shots and he doesn’t even need the ball to contribute. Gasol will make the Mavericks defense significantly better and could help give Doncic the kind of big man needed to get to the next level.
9 J.J. Redick signs with the Thunder
J.J. Redick has delivered two of his best seasons on the Philadelphia 76ers. The league's evolution into a "pace-and-space" style with three-point shooting being more important than prior eras means Redick is more valuable than he was as a youngster. However, he is reaching the end of his career as he quickly approaches his mid-30s.
Redick clearly wants to contribute to a title contender, but it seems unlikely the 76ers will be able to take him to the title. The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the top teams outside of the Golden State Warriors, but they lack a great shooting guard that can hit it from deep. Redick would be the perfect fit to replace the poor-shooting Terrance Ferguson as their starting two.
8 Tobias Harris signs with the Knicks
Tobias Harris is having one of the best breakout seasons. In previous years, Harris had some successful seasons, but this is the first time he is the best player on a good team. Harris is leading the Los Angeles Clippers with the hopes of holding down a playoff spot at the end of the year.
It is unlikely the Clippers will re-sign Harris since there are hopes to add bigger stars that essentially play the same position. The New York Knicks will have two cap space contracts available. They will have to settle for one secondary star like Harris to pair with a superstar to be named later.
7 DeMarcus Cousins signs with the Nets
We have referenced that the Brooklyn Nets is one of the few teams with cap space to add two max contacts and will be aggressive on the free agent market. DeMarcus Cousins is hoping to rebuild his reputation as a superstar with full health on the Golden State Warriors.
It remains to be seen if Cousins will prove he’s worthy of a max contract. The Nets are one of the few teams that would be inclined to risk it on him. Cousins would slide into the starting spot to pair with the young stars and, assuming they sign him, Eric Bledsoe. That roster would not contend for a championship, but they would be a dangerous playoff team.
6 C.J. McCollum traded to the Magic
The Portland Trail Blazers are one of the more interesting teams in the second half of this season. Portland must prove they can get to the next level or a change must be made. The belief here is that the Blazers will once again get eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for more disappointment.
Someone will have to get traded, and Damian Lillard is clearly more important than C.J. McCollum. Both guards are great players, but Lillard is better and more valuable to the Blazers. A team like the Orlando Magic badly needs an established shooting guard. McCollum would run the offense in Orlando and could lead them back to the playoffs in exchange for someone like Nikola Vucevic, who is an upgrade over the inconsistent Jusuf Nurkic and still-raw Zach Collins.
5 Kemba Walker signs with Spurs
Kemba Walker is off to an amazing start to the season and is making fans believe he’s reaching superstar status. The problem is he has the worst supporting cast in the NBA with no one else better than above average. Charlotte wants to keep Walker, but he must chase winning at some point before his prime years are over.
The San Antonio Spurs could be in the market for another star player if they can make a few moves. Dejounte Murray is an impressive prospect, but nothing has shown he can be a star. Don’t be surprised if the Spurs trade Murray along with big contracts to free up space to sign Walker as their point guard of the future.
4 John Wall traded to the Heat
The trade we referenced earlier that could land Hassan Whiteside on the Washington Wizards would see John Wall sent back to the Miami Heat. Wall is on a bad contract that most teams would not want to trade for. However, he is still a superstar and Miami would be tempted.
The Whiteside for Wall trade would see both teams change their roster by exchanging bad contracts. Wall’s contract is not helpful, but he could improve the Heat quite much. Miami could get by with Wall as their point guard if they believe in him enough to make the face of the franchise.
3 Kyrie Irving signs with the Knicks
Kyrie Irving did claim that he was planning to re-sign with the Boston Celtics in free agency, but it is still up in the air once the offseason starts. There have been quite a few complaints by Irving about his teammates playing selfishly and causing the disappointing start to a season where they had championship hopes.
If Boston fails to make the NBA Finals, past rumors of Irving wanting to leave the Celtics could come back. The New York Knicks are the team that Irving has reportedly been most interested in. Here’s a bold prediction that Irving will get tired of the Boston roster and take the risk to try to make the Knicks relevant again.
2 Anthony Davis traded to the Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as the favorite to land Anthony Davis in a trade. It remains unlikely the New Orleans Pelicans will trade him during this season, but things could get interesting in the offseason. Davis will have one year left on the contract and the Pelicans will be forced to decide if he doesn’t agree to an extension.
This season has seen the young Lakers like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma along with a few others, showing signs of great play. New Orleans could land three or four young prospects with high potential in exchange for Davis. LeBron James speaking publicly about wanting Davis shows just how much he wants the top big man as his teammate.
1 Kevin Durant signs with the Clippers
The biggest name on the free agent market in the offseason will be Kevin Durant. The tension in Golden State makes it look like Durant wants to leave the Warriors after three strong years. Durant has also taken a couple of surprising shots at LeBron James in interviews.
The most interesting scenario would see Durant take one of the max contract spots on the Los Angeles Clippers. Durant joining the other team in Los Angeles would take his rivalry with LeBron to the next level. The potential of making the Clippers a contending title would erase all the criticism from Durant joining the Warriors if he can win as the main superstar on a team like this.