It has been a hectic NBA season so far. This year, like most years in this league we have witnessed some surprising developments, predictable outcomes, and were met with some new stories that could turn out to be great or tragic based on what takes place over time. We've had some great developments like the story of the Houston Rockets season and what they have been able to accomplish with the addition of Chris Paul. Or even the Philadelphia 76ers, who in a one-year span has gone from a developing bottom-feeder to a legitimate conference championship contender. On the other hand, we've seen some things not work out as hoped like the OK3 experiment, or the new-look Cavaliers in the first half of the season, some star players being not too happy about where they are, and the injuries that have sidelined guys like Gordon Hayward, Mike Conley, Kawhi Leonard, Isaiah Thomas, and others.
If you were to ask me, simply for the fact that there is a good chance of a fourth straight finals featuring the Cavaliers and the Warriors not happening, I'm mostly satisfied. With all these new-look teams and everything that we've seen become of them, these upcoming playoffs should be fun to watch. What I can't help but really be excited for, though, is the upcoming offseason that follows the postseason. If last year was any indication, then this summer has the potential to be an even crazier one in the NBA than last year's. There are so many moves that could be made that would shake up the league even more and set us up for a very interesting 2018-19 season. In this article you will read on 15 possible trades and signings that could have huge implications on the season to follow. Here are 15 possible offseason moves that would be real game-changers.
15 Aaron Gordon Traded To Phoenix
Based on what this article is supposed to be about, you probably aren't very impressed with this entry. Why would you be? This would be Aaron Gordon going from one bad team to another. Let me explain: I've said before that Phoenix isn't as far away from being a playoff team as you think. Look at all their pieces: Devin Booker, Elfrid Payton, Dragan Bender, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, T.J. Warren, and a potential top pick in the upcoming draft. If you're Phoenix, you could flip some of those assets to get Gordon from Orlando via trade (probably not Payton though, that would be a little awkward).
In acquiring Gordon you would be potentially pairing him, one of the more promising young forwards in the league with the likes of Devin Booker, who is already a top 5 scorer in the league, and Josh Jackson, a potential stalwart two-way player in the making. That in itself is more than anything Orlando has ever given him in the four years he has spent there. If you're Gordon, based on everything that has happened with the Magic, why would you even want to stick around long-term? There's only one way I see him sticking around past next season: make the playoffs. How do you do that?
14 Kemba Walker Traded To Orlando
This is how. Not too long ago, Kemba Walker voiced his frustrations on how he and his Hornets have consistently been unable to make it to the playoffs. The farthest this team has ever gone with Kemba is a seven-game series in the first round with the Miami Heat in 2016, a series they still lost. To make matters even worse for the Hornets, they aren’t exactly in a good position to improve anytime soon. They are anchored down with bad contracts and being a middle of the pack team: a team that isn’t good enough to make a run in the playoffs, and isn't bad enough to get a top pick in a given draft. With that being the case, the Hornets should be selling everything they possibly can in an attempt to completely turnover the roster. This starts by trading Kemba Walker to the Magic in a rather generous deal.
It'll open up the rebuild and allow the team to tank next season as they will look to trade away other pieces on the roster. For Orlando, trading for Walker will give them a primary scoring option to open things up for guys like Aaron Gordon, Jonathon Simmons, Nikola Vucevic, and others on the team as well as put the Magic in great position to both become a consistent playoff contender and convince Gordon to re-sign with the team long-term. In this situation both teams get to move forward in a direction that will benefit both sides in the future.
13 DeMarcus Cousins Signs With Los Angeles Lakers
DeMarcus Cousins is probably the most intriguing free agent in the upcoming offseason. He could opt in to the final year of his contract and give it another go with Anthony Davis and the Pelicans, or he could opt out and be an unrestricted free agent. If he decides to go the ladder route, I think one team he should strongly consider is the Los Angeles Lakers. As many of you probably know the Lakers will have enough cap room to sign two max deals this offseason. Most of you are probably thinking that LeBron James will be the one taking that other spot instead of Cousins. However, on the off chance that James either stays in Cleveland, moves to Philadelphia or Houston, I can absolutely see Cousins signing there, especially if Paul George joins as well.
12 Paul George Signs With Philadelphia
Speaking of PG13, the majority of people look at his current situation as so: he's either re-signing with Oklahoma City, or he is joining the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. Assuming that to be the case makes a lot of sense, but there are a couple of other teams that could definitely get his attention this summer. We have the Houston Rockets, who expressed interest in Paul George when he was available in trade talks last year, and there's our entry on this list, the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly has enough cap room to sign a max deal this offseason and PG should at least consider the move. They have plenty of young talent (better than LA's if you ask me), are already a big threat in the East, and with the addition of George to their team they could be reaching for a title sooner than expected.
11 Dwight Howard Traded To San Antonio
Following up on the Hornets trading away their players, you should expect D12 to be on his way out of Charlotte too. Especially since this season has seen Dwight Howard have a bit of a career renaissance, the former All-Star has shown that he still has much to bring to the table for any team willing to take him on, and the Hornets should capitalize on that resurgence and trade him while his value is elevated. This is something most analysts would agree on. The issue is where do you trade him, who has the cap space to take him, and who needs him to make their team better?
Now I don't have all the answers to those questions but I do have an idea as to where he would fit, and that is in San Antonio with the Spurs. This season hasn't been a very good one by The Spurs’ usual standards. They failed to reach the 50-win mark for the first time in nearly two decades, and have appeared to distanced themselves from their best player, Kawhi Leonard. One way I believe that they could improve on what they already have is to find a way to acquire Howard. At the moment Pau Gasol is starting at center for the Spurs, and while he's done a pretty good job he probably shouldn't be starting given his age. Still with something left in the tank, Howard should fit nicely, especially if Kawhi sticks around...
10 Kawhi Leonard Traded to Milwaukee
In the slight chance that Kawhi doesn't want to stay, there are plenty of suitors who would be chomping at the bit just at the chance to acquire him from San Antonio. Leonard prior to his injury was universally considered to be on of the five best players in the NBA. The addition of a player like him on a given team would bolster anyone's roster and put many teams in championship contention. Now there are probably teams who have more to offer for Kawhi's services but I would love him in Milwaukee. The Bucks have enough depth pieces to offer but I'm not sure if what I would put in the deal would come to San Antonio's liking. That aside, if Leonard were to be sent to the Bucks it would not only bolster the Bucks roster, but also definitely usher them into title contention, as well as create a devastating duo in him and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
9 Jabari Parker And Khris Middleton Traded To San Antonio
As for who Milwaukee gives up in this potential trade, in general both Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker are highly talented players and acquiring them both should mean nothing but good things for anyone who gets them. There is a small issue though: both players have a history of injuries that have plagued their careers and their team's success. That being the case, San Antonio probably won't be very willing to take both on in exchange for a top player in the game. However, the upside to both players could prove highly beneficial to the Spurs moving forward. When either of them are healthy, both are borderline All-Stars and under coach Gregg Popovich, it can do all the more in their development and contribute to San Antonio's success. Don't knock it just yet, Spurs fans.
8 LeBron James Signs With Houston
Here's the biggest fish in the free agent pond this summer, LeBron James. In his 15th NBA season, King James continued to make a strong case for being considered the greatest of all-time as well as this year's league MVP. The way he's been able to lead this Cavaliers squad through all the turmoil this year is awe-inspiring. To be this great this deep into your career is simply incredible and it is why he is on the top of everyone's list this offseason. For most, even though his list says Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, or Cleveland, fans and analysts are arguing between LA and Cleveland. However, I wouldn't count out the other two teams yet, especially Houston. It's quite simple. Take everything that the Rockets have been able to accomplish this season, everything that Chris Paul has brought to the team and how great James Harden has been, then add LeBron to the mix. I'm just saying, it would be devastating.
7 Andrew Wiggins Traded To Miami
When Minnesota acquired Jimmy Butler in last year's draft, many of us thought this could mean nothing but good things for everyone on Minnesota's part. Coach Tom Thibodeau gets a player he coached back in Chicago on the team, the team as a whole gets a top flight two-way player, and both Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins get another scorer to help them offensively... or so we thought. What appears to have happened instead is that Wiggins has fallen into the third option trap, and he reportedly isn't happy about it. Since then rumors had been swirling on how several teams plan to field offers to Minnesota to acquire Wiggins. One of those teams should be the Miami Heat. Trading for AW would give the Heat a definitive primary option on offense and give Wiggins a much desired bigger role on his team. Seems like a good fit to me. Who does Miami give up in this trade, you ask?
6 Hassan Whiteside Traded To Minnesota
Much like Andrew Wiggins, Hassan Whiteside has voiced his frustration towards the Heat for his appearing role on the team. Whiteside seems to feel that he isn't being used as much or as well as he could be. I think a trade to Minnesota would gift him with all those perks that he is seeking for. He fits well with the Timberwolves, as head coach Tom Thibodeau is known for playing his starters heavy minutes, and he adds a strong defensive edge to the roster. While Wiggins' offensive capabilities would be missed at times, Whiteside would be able to make up for it with his defensive prowess. With Whiteside the Wolves could have a starting lineup featuring him, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, Tyus Jones, and Jeff Teague while still having some nice pieces off the bench like Derrick Rose, Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson, Gorgui Dieng and others.
5 Isaiah Thomas Signs With Utah
There have been plenty of downfalls in the NBA in seasons past, but I can honestly say that I've never seen anything quite like this. In a one-year span, Isaiah Thomas went from being an MVP candidate who was the starting point guard for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, to backing up a rookie point guard on a non-playoff team. The fact that the conversation pertaining to this man went from "is he a max dollar player" to "should anyone sign him at all in free agency" is startling. I've never seen someone's value drop off that hard, that quickly. If there was anyone who didn't deserve all that, it was Isaiah Thomas.
All that said, moving into this offseason, Thomas will probably look to sign a short-term deal with a team that presents the best opportunity for him to successfully rebuild his value and I think that team is the Utah Jazz. Whether it's in the starting lineup or off the bench, Thomas can be an offensive spark for a Utah team whose primary offensive option was a rookie guard this season. Being the great defensive unit that they are, the Jazz should be more than capable of making up for Thomas' lacking defensive ability.
4 Blake Griffin Traded To Brooklyn
Now this may be a little far fetched, but hear me out for a second. I just got done talking about Isaiah Thomas, a guy who believe it or not, was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. He spent such a short time there largely because the pairing between him and the rest of the team didn't work out too well and he was traded again to Los Angeles. What if Detroit comes to a similar conclusion about their latest acquisition, Blake Grifin? I don't think it is outside the realm of possibility that the Pistons blow it up. If that's the plan I can definitely see Detroit taking on some of Brooklyn's bad contracts and trading Blake to the Nets. It is a move that will definitely hurt Blake Griffin's value even more, but I have faith that he'll be able to rebound in Brooklyn. Moreover, it is a more that will give teams the signal that the Pistons are selling.
3 Andre Drummond Traded To New York
Staying on the topic of teams with dead weight contracts, the New York Knicks have one of their own that they could use to trade for another one of Detroit's key pieces, Andre Drummond. For the Pistons, if you really want to move forward here and actually make something of your franchise you should look to trade Andre. I bring up the Knicks as a good suitor for two reasons: they have the bad contracts that you can take on as you look to tank for the next few seasons, and they can also acquire a future first rounder or two from New York to draft key pieces of the franchise somewhere down the road in the rebuild. On New York's side of things, you're getting one of the best centers in the league to compliment your star power forward as well as the other prospects on the team. Looks like a no-brainer to me.
2 Marc Gasol And Mike Conley Traded To Cleveland
Then again, this could happen. I know what you're thinking now: "Okay, now you're dreaming. There's no way Cleveland can land both of these guys." Actually they can. This is one of the advantages of having an incredibly large payroll on your team. The Grizzlies had to deal with injuries to both Marc Gasol and Mike Conley that kept them sidelined for a significant portion of the season, and it served to the detriment of the team in the worst way. They were awful this year. They tanked this season and appear to have started their rebuild. What's interesting about Cleveland here is their possession of Brooklyn's first round pick in this year's draft. Especially if that pick lands in the top 5 in the lottery, Cleveland should send it along with some of their overpriced players to Memphis in exchange for the star duo of Conley and Gasol. It works out for the Grizz because the deal will give them two top five picks, and with the pieces they pick up from Cleveland they will be able to rebuild the team and accumulate young talent in the next few seasons.
1 Anthony Davis Traded To Boston
Now this is one scenario you've probably heard all too many times already. Anthony Davis himself has all but debunked any chances of him getting traded from New Orleans not too long ago. So why would I even bring this back up? Let me ask you something. If DeMarcus Cousins does decide to leave New Orleans because of contract disputes or whatever, what reason would AD have to want to continue to stay? Seriously, we have all already seen what happens when he is the soul star player who has to carry the majority of the load for his team (all due respect to Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo). It hasn't gotten him very far.
All that said, the Boston Celtics even now still have to assets to trade for AD this offseason in a way that serves to the benefit of both sides. Boston gets another big three with Kyrie, Hayward, and AD and New Orleans could get a year of Al Horford and then gain cap space, plus a Jayson Tatum who has shown flashes of future greatness all season long, in addition to future picks. Can't see where New Orleans drastically drops off here.