There was a time when it was common for players to stick around with the same franchise for the course of their career. But as the years go by, it has become a rarity with many opting to make the best decision for their careers in order to compete for a championship. In the past three years, we have seen a number of stars leave their respective teams for a new journey - some of whom made their exit via free agency while others requested a trade away from their team.
Some of the best players in the world have done so including LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and several more. Over the next three years, there will be many more stunning moves to come as players want to be in the best possible position to win it all. Considering that many All-Stars are set to be free agents, there will surely be more moves across the league that may significantly change the equation as far as contenders.
And while teams may not want to part ways with their franchise players, they won't have much of an option once they request a trade or make it clear that an extension is out of question. Needless to say, the next few years will continue to bring more excitement and roster changes for the NBA with new contenders arriving on the scene. With today's list, we look at 20 NBA stars who will change teams over the next three years.
20 Kevin Love
When Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers came to an agreement for an extension in the offseason, there was speculation that the team would look to trade him in the next year. His value had plummeted in recent times since he was no longer the first option with the presence of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, but now Love has the chance to retrieve his status as one of the better big men in the league. Now that he has earned a large contract, the Cavaliers will be hoping that Love lives up to it so they can trade him for valuable assets in the future.
19 Giannis Antetokounmpo
When Giannis Antetokounmpo tests the free agency in 2020, you can bet that many teams will attempt to recruit him aboard. He is already regarded as one of the best players in the league with many believing that he could be a future MVP.
While he has pledged loyalty to the Milwaukee Bucks through interviews, many reports have indicated that Giannis may be looking for a way out once he is eligible to do so.
There are reports that he would be interested in playing for a big market team, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Giannis get traded before he leaves for nothing.
18 Mike Conley
If the Memphis Grizzlies fall short off another playoff run, then it's likely that management finally blows up the core. Mike Conley would be a major addition to most NBA teams and there will be high demand for his services if he can remain healthy. As an all-around player who has shown the ability to lead a team, Conley could benefit from a change of scenery in the near future. And based on rumors around the league, it is looking like the most likely outcome for both sides as he gets to play for a winning side while the Grizzlies get back some assets.
17 Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard has recently switched teams when the Toronto Raptors traded for him, but rumors suggest that he could be on to the next one as soon as next summer. With Leonard reportedly having high interest in residing in Los Angeles, it makes the Clippers and Lakers as the favorites to land him.
The Raptors may be successful in their quest of convincing Leonard of staying with the team, but considering his exit from the San Antonio - there's a bigger chance that he ends up in L.A. after all. As one of the best players in the league, Leonard could change the landscape of the NBA with his free agent decision.
16 Andrew Wiggins
The Minnesota Timberwolves aren't thrilled with Andrew Wiggins' performances with the team thus far, as he has fallen short of living up to the maximum contract he landed last year. As one of the most hyped prospects in recent years, Wiggins could benefit from a change of scenery to get the most of out of him.
Despite his talent, Wiggins's career doesn't exactly reflect what he is capable of at full potential.
This season may be his final in a Timberwolves uniform since he could be on the trade market once again if he doesn't put up an impressive year.
15 DeMarcus Cousins
It's almost guaranteed that DeMarcus Cousins will dress up for a new team next season. This is considered to be a one year rental for the Golden State Warriors as both sides highly benefit from the recent agreement. Cousins gets a chance to prove his full health in hopes of landing a larger contract next summer, while the Warriors get one of the best players in the league on a cheap deal. Cousins could end up on a number of teams next year depending how the year plays out, and reports are already suggesting that he could join the Los Angeles Lakers.
14 Damian Lillard
The Portland Trail Blazers are in a tough situation as fans have increased their expectations thanks to an underwhelming showing in the postseason. Their star Damian Lillard has found himself in trade rumors with many members of the media speculating that he could be leaving the team.
A recent report claims that LeBron James has great interest in playing with Lillard, so there is a possibility that the Los Angeles Lakers land him in a trade - if the Blazers choose to split up their core. Lillard may be best suited to be a second option on a contending team, so a move away from Portland would also benefit him.
13 Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol was nearly traded away from the Memphis Grizzlies last year when he voiced frustrations towards management.
He has grown sick of losing with the team after some disappointing seasons, and may not be around for next season.
Gasol will be testing the free agency market in the summer, but there is also a good chance that he gets shipped out of town. Unless the Grizzlies opt to go all in hopes of returning to their winning ways, then Gasol is guaranteed to leave. He would be suitable for a number of teams in need of a center, so he surely won't find it difficult to earn another starting spot.
12 John Wall
Trade rumors revolving around John Wall have significantly increased in the past year. The Washington Wizards have failed to take the necessary next step to join the elite ranks of the Eastern Conference. Their ceiling seems to be the second round at this point as the duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal has been unable to push the Wizards any further. With four years left on his deal, the Wizards may struggle to find a trade partner for the time being unless their demands happen to be low. Barring major improvements from the Wizards, Wall will most likely leave the team within the next three years.
11 Draymond Green
When Draymond Green hits the market in the summer of 2020, he will command plenty of interest around the league. The all-around player could be a decisive piece for all teams hoping to take the next step as he is one of the most valuable All-Stars today.
Given that it seems evident that the Warriors will have to part ways with at least one, if not two, of their All-Stars - Green may end up being the odd man out.
He has already been linked with the possibility of going through a new venture elsewhere, so it wouldn't exactly be surprising to see Green in a different uniform.
10 Blake Griffin
Given that Blake Griffin was only recently traded to the Detroit Pistons, fans may expect him to stick around for at least a few seasons. But if the remaining of his stint turns out to be anything like his first season with the Pistons, then it is nearly guaranteed that Griffin will be playing for a different team in the next three years.
Griffin could end up proving his doubters wrong by returning to his old form with the Los Angeles Clippers, but at this time, he hasn't shown to be worthy of his current contract with the Pistons.
9 Paul George
This summer, Paul George re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder for four years in a surprising move as the majority of media members and fans were expecting him to join his hometown Los Angeles Lakers. George has chosen to give it another go alongside his partner Russell Westbrook, as the duo hopes to compete for a championship in the near future.
Based on what we have seen from OKC thus far, we are inclined to believe that the team will split up the duo within the next three years with George being the most likely candidate to either request a trade or be shipped out of town.
8 Karl-Anthony Towns
The Minnesota Timberwolves have shown their commitment towards Karl-Anthony Towns by opting to keep him around while exploring a trade for Jimmy Butler.
Since their relationship seems to be beyond repair at this point, the Wolves will be hoping to keep Towns around for as long as possible.
But given the team's disappointing performances, as well as rumors linking Towns with a move to a different team - then it seems like that will be the most likely scenario in the next three years. If Towns doesn't request a trade prior to his contract expiration, then he may choose to move elsewhere through free agency.
7 Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond has been an integral piece for the Pistons since joining the team at the 2012 Draft. But he has failed to lead them to the next level with the Pistons remaining a treadmill team that always fall short of expectations. Major changes could take place if this season concludes with disappointment once again as the trade rumors may finally come to fruition.
Over the years, many teams have expressed interest in acquiring the two-time All-Star although the Pistons have been reluctant to give up on him. Barring a major turnaround, Drummond will be gone from the Pistons via a trade or free agency in 2021.
6 Kyle Lowry
Kyle Lowry has had a tremendous run with the Toronto Raptors but the two sides could be heading for a divorce in the future. Not only will he be 34 years old when his current contract expires, but Lowry may also be looking to compete for a championship. Unless the Toronto Raptors can retain Kawhi Leonard next offseason, chances are that the team will be undergoing a rebuild - meaning that Lowry would be on the way out. He remains one of the best all-around point guards in the league as evident by his impressive start to the season, so Lowry won't be short of potential suitors.
5 DeMar DeRozan
The DeMar DeRozan experiment will be interesting to watch as he isn't exactly the type of player that San Antonio Spurs usually build around. His Playoff struggles have been well-documented at this point with DeRozan receiving criticism for the Toronto Raptors' disappointing performances in the postseason.
While the Spurs were keen to land an All-Star for Kawhi Leonard, it wouldn't be a stunning move for Gregg Popovich to deal DeRozan down the line.
And while fans are hoping that Pop could work his magic on DeRozan, it would take improvements in many areas for him to be around for a long time.
4 Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker has been a member of the Charlotte Hornets since the team drafted him 2011. Despite having been linked with a potential exit over the years, the Hornets chose to retain his services after all as they continue to build around him. Now that he is set to become a free agent in the summer, Walker may find it tempting to go elsewhere for a chance to join a better core.
The Hornets have failed to surround him with significant talent, as they have been a treadmill team for the past seven years. There are also rumors that Walker is interested in joining the New York Knicks, making him a strong candidate for a new venture.
3 Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler will not be a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves for too long. During an interview with ESPN, Butler dismissed the possibility of a reconciliation with the team due to some tension between him and several players on the Timberwolves. Many teams have engaged in negotiations with the Timberwolves ever since Butler requested a trade with the Miami Heat being at the forefront. Even if Butler plays out the remainder of the year with the team, it's guaranteed at this point that he will be signing with a new team once he becomes a free agent next summer.
2 Anthony Davis
All eyes are currently on Anthony Davis as he may be the next top star to switch teams. While the New Orleans Pelicans have had moderate success in recent years with their best showing coming last postseason, Davis has been linked with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics - as both teams have shown high interest in acquiring him.
Unless the Pelicans manage to take a major step in the near future, then Davis may sign elsewhere in the summer of 2021.
By that point, he will truly be at his peak and he will be eager to compete for a championship - as other situations may offer him just that.
1 Kevin Durant
Next summer, Kevin Durant will once again be a free agent although he has vowed to take a different approach this time around. His previous decision to join the Golden State Warriors made him one of the most disliked players in the league, although Durant got his wish of becoming an NBA Champion with two titles to his name. Reports already suggest that Durant is eyeing a move away from the Warriors where he could lead his own team with the Lakers and Knicks being the most likely candidates. Since Durant seems eager to prove all doubters wrong, then it would make sense for him to embark on a different journey.