The NBA season has delivered great entertainment already thanks to the expectations for the future. Fans not only enjoy the great games with impressive talent, but there are wild storylines moving forward. LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers squad is failing to rise to his level, which could lead to a big trade and/or free agent acquisition in the offseason. Many are speculating if Golden State Warriors will see Kevin Durant leave, following his locker room argument with Draymond Green. The future of Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving are unknown. Young teams like the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers are trying to rebuild with contention as soon as next season.
We will look forecast the future with things that will go down this season and this upcoming offseason. There are many moves that can realistically take place and the league can see multiple teams trend up or down quickly. Not all rumors will come true unfortunately due to how many reports are out there. Players change their mind or never wanted to do what reporters claim they did. Both things that will happen and rumors that will be inaccurate are going to be examined here. Find out just what to expect from your favorite players and favorite teams. These are ten NBA moves that will happen soon along with ten reported changes that won’t happen.
The trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors was a bold move. Many reports indicated Leonard only wanted to play for the Los Angeles Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers moving forward. Toronto made the drastic decision to trade their franchise player DeMar DeRozan to take the chance on Leonard.
It has been a huge success so far, with the Raptors looking like the team with the best chance to end the Golden State Warriors' NBA Championship streak. Leonard has shown he is still a superstar and he appears to be enjoying his time in Toronto. Look for Kawhi to extend long-term with a max contract if they do well in the postseason.
Kyrie Irving created the report on his own that he plans to re-sign with the Boston Celtics. The future of Irving will see him commit to Boston or another team long-term as a free agent this summer. Irving is a man of his own opinion and is known for making a bold move of leaving a good team if he isn’t happy.
There have been quite a few comments from Kyrie already this season expressing frustration with his teammates. Irving has claimed that the Celtics often play too selfish to succeed. A recent incident showed him having an argument with Gordon Hayward on-court for not passing it to him for a final shot. Irving does not appear to be happy in Boston and the winds of change may be coming.
The team that has a chance to steal Kyrie Irving away from the Boston Celtics is the New York Knicks. Irving’s trade request to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 featured the Knicks along with three other teams on his preferred destinations. Boston came in and delivered a great trade offer to land him.
Irving will be the one in charge of his destination this time around in free agency. If the problems with the Celtics continue, Kyrie may leave and decide that the Knicks are the team for him. Irving has shown the desire to be “the man” that leads a franchise on his back. New York will be the place for him if Boston doesn’t turn it around quickly.
The Milwaukee Bucks are in a nice spot right now. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a strong MVP candidate and one of the top superstars in the league. The sky is the limit for Antetokounmpo with the potential to get even better with his young age.
There is a rumor that Milwaukee will choose to let Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe leave in free agency. The thought process is that the Bucks would go after another superstar rather than two very good secondary stars. It remains unlikely any of the major names will want to head to Milwaukee. Expect them to refuse to risk losing their talented players for nothing, as Middleton and Bledsoe should re-sign.
A new rumor is claiming that the Chicago Bulls are holding on to Robin Lopez instead of buying him out as a way to keep him away from the Golden State Warriors. Golden State's superteam is the overwhelming favorite to win a third NBA Championship in a row this year.
There is one glaring weakness for the Warriors is the center position. DeMarcus Cousins has just returned as the starter, but there should be some insurance for a potential injury or his current minutes limit. Lopez is the perfect player to add, as he would enjoy the chance of playing a smaller role to win an NBA Championship.
The Miami Heat have reportedly been exploring trades for Hassan Whiteside since the last offseason. Whiteside had a terrible postseason series against the Philadelphia 76ers and was benched often due to Joel Embiid outplaying him. The Heat entered the season with Whiteside still starting, but there are rumors about him getting traded.
Miami’s biggest problem here is that Whiteside’s contract is huge, and no one wants to take the risk on him. The best centers have developed an outside shooting game. Whiteside has yet to do that and that makes him a weakness for a team looking to contend. Miami will not be able to move him no matter how hard they try.
The most likely scenario for the Portland Trail Blazers will be another first or second round playoff elimination. Portland always plays well in the regular season, but they lack the depth to contend with the elite teams in the Western Conference.
One problem for the Blazers is that their two best players Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are too similar in their playing styles. Lillard is too good to part with, which means McCollum will be the one traded away once Portland decides to blow it up. Many teams would love to have an explosive scorer like McCollum on the roster and the Blazers could get better pieces to place around Lillard.
D’Angelo Russell has started to heat it up for the Brooklyn Nets. The best games of Russell show superstar potential that make Nets fans excited and adds regret to the Los Angeles Lakers fans after they traded him.
It was previously expected that the Nets would not offer Russell a max contract and he would jump to a team that wanted him more like the Phoenix Suns. Brooklyn can’t afford to let a young rising star like Russell leave in free agency. Expect them to offer him one of their biggest contracts while keeping the other slot open for a potential superstar.
The Washington Wizards are desperately trying to find a solution to their current problem. Washington has failed to become a legitimate contender for an NBA Championship despite the three top players getting superstar money with max contracts. John Wall’s injury is likely going to have them miss the postseason for a huge failure.
Once his extension kicks in, Wall'scontract will be the largest and the Wizards may offer him to other teams for little in return come the offseason. A few teams desperate for a superstar like the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks or Los Angeles Clippers could offer some solid secondary pieces to add Wall as their next star. Despite the bad contract, Wall is still one of the top point guards when healthy.
The belief is that DeMarcus Cousins will leave the Golden State Warriors in free agency. Steve Kerr even implied the team would not be in contention to maintain his services if he does play well. However, there are a few variables making it more likely for Cousins to stay in Golden State.
Kevin Durant wants to test free agency and the controversial season so far could drive him to a new team. Draymond Green is having a terrible season that could erase his chances of landing a new max contract in 2020. Cousins is already on the roster as a potential third superstar to keep with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. A recent interview even featured Cousins saying he could see a scenario where he sticks with the Warriors for the long term.
Kemba Walker will be one of the most interesting names on the free agent market in the summer. The Charlotte Hornets have no realistic path to contending for an NBA Championship any time soon. Walker currently has no help with zero teammates anywhere near to an All-Star level.
There have been a few quotes from Walker indicating he will want to stay long-term in Charlotte since it’s the only franchise he’s ever played for. However, another disappointing season will end with zero progress towards contention. Expect Walker to say enough is enough and join a better franchise like the Miami Heat or Los Angeles Lakers.
Andrew Wiggins is having a disappointing season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. It started with Jimmy Butler calling out Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns for essentially being soft and not showing enough passion. Towns has started to play like a superstar again after the Butler trade.
Wiggins, however, is still inconsistent and has even received boos at some points in the losses. There is speculation that Minnesota will try to trade Wiggins either during the season or during the upcoming offseason to give the Wolves a better sidekick to Towns. Between his contract and the lack of fair deals to be offered, Wiggins and the Timberwolves are likely stuck with each other.
The Dallas Mavericks have a situation set up with Luka Doncic already proving to be the new face of their franchise. Doncic is performing at a high level that has the Mavericks in the playoff picture. Dallas will also have a lot of cap space to sign another big name or two in free agency.
Doncic’s versatility in playing multiple positions and contributing on many levels is a huge help to the team. Tobias Harris offers the same things as he contributes in every aspect of the game and can play multiple positions if needed. Dallas will likely invest in a younger rising star like Harris once the big names like Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard sign elsewhere.
The Cleveland Cavaliers gave up on trying to remain competitive just a handful of games into the season without LeBron James. Kevin Love sustained an injury and the rest of the team was terrible. Cleveland is now one of the worst teams in the league and appears to be tanking for a high draft pick.
Love is the only relevant player on the roster that has been rumored to be on the trade block. Many expect Love to join a contender like the Los Angeles Lakers or Houston Rockets. No one will want to add his contract given the health issues unless desperate. Love will likely end up on a middle of the pack roster hoping he can be the game changer for them.
Dwight Howard joined the Washington Wizards with the expectations of being the missing piece that leads them to contention in the Eastern Conference. However, he has missed most of the season due to injury and the team has already given up on contending.
Howard’s injury is serious, and it has been speculated that he may never play in the NBA again. This is the third team in as many years that will move on from Dwight after just one season. It is hard to imagine another team giving a chance to an aging injured center that can’t shoot and has a reputation for being a locker room headache.
Anthony Davis is currently one of the biggest stories in the NBA world. The New Orleans Pelicans are having a disappointing season that is trending towards missing the playoffs. Davis will be a free agent in 2020 and a trade could be made in 2019 if he doesn’t want to commit to the team long-term.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the hottest rumor for Davis after LeBron James admitted he would love to play with the big man. However, the young Lakers have looked horrible playing without James. It is tough to envision New Orleans being content with the assets that the Lakers would offer for a generational talent.
The Boston Celtics have way more assets than the Los Angeles Lakers to make a big trade. Boston must wait until the offseason to pull this off. New Orleans likely will not make a move until then which helps the Celtics get in the conversation.
Jayson Tatum is a stronger prospect than any of the players that the Lakers can offer. Even if Boston refuses to trade Tatum, there are a few valuable draft picks they own from other teams that are also more valuable than the Lakers assets. The Celtics may lose Kyrie Irving, but they’ll have the best chance to land Anthony Davis as the face of their franchise.
Kevin Durant is clearly the biggest name on the free agent market in the offseason. Every team with cap space will want to add Durant after the rumors of him looking to find a new NBA home. The New York Knicks are the franchise most mentioned when pundits talk about Durant’s best option.
However, there is the issue of the Knicks being among the worst run franchises in recent memory. Owner James Dolan has a horrible reputation around the league, and it is unlikely Durant will commit to playing there moving forward. The team would also need Kristaps Porzingis to be a top star in this scenario, and no one knows how he will progress from his injury.
The better bet for Kevin Durant finding a new NBA team would be the Los Angeles Clippers or Brooklyn Nets. Both teams are known for being the second team in their own cities, but that would change if they ever won an NBA Championship.
Durant would find the best path to redemption from his critics by leading a franchise of young players to contention. The Clippers and Nets each have rosters of very good young talents and cap space to add two max contracts. Durant and another star joining either roster could set him up for a great future without the criticism of joining a 73-win superteam.
LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers with the expectations of another superstar or two joining him at some point. This is the first season James is playing without two huge stars alongside him like his days with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lakers management wants to add a big name in free agency or trade. It is unlikely Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard will sign there. Anthony Davis is the best option via trade, but that even remains difficult. The Lakers may have to settle for adding a secondary star like Bradley Beal or Marc Gasol rather than going for another elite player, with the way things are shaking out.