The NBA season is not even close to being over, but there is already a buzz around the league about what moves could be made in the off-season. Any time LeBron James is up for free agency it is bound to be a historic off-season and there are plenty of other marquee names that could be on the move as well. The last two times James’ contract was up he changed teams and the team he went to eventually won a championship. That is why other teams will be making moves based on where he ends up going. However the only teams with money to spend in free agency are the Lakers, Hawks, Bulls, Pacers, and Mavericks and they will be the ones able to offer big money to available free agents.
There are plenty of reasons why a team shakes up their roster and signs a big free agent or makes a trade. The majority of the time they want to get better as a team on the court, but other times the move is due to financing issues because a player is making too much money compared to their production. Some of the moves on the list are minor but they could rejuvenate a player’s career in a big way. Other moves make the list because they are blockbusters that could change the entire NBA landscape. Here are some moves that could happen in the crazy world of the NBA off-season.
16 Trade: Kemba Walker And Marvin Williams For Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson, Luke Kennard, And A Piston’s First Round Pick
The Pistons and Stan Van Gundy seem to be in win now mode considering they just traded for Blake Griffin this season. This trade could be a good way for them to get a little bit better quickly. Adding Kemba Walker to a roster that already includes Griffin and Andre Drummond would create another big three to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.
Walker’s name was floated around before the trade deadline this season and the Hornets are having a rough season with him as their best player.
Michael Jordan said he would not trade Walker unless he got an All Star player back in return. However now could be the best opportunity for them to get as much as they can for their All Star point guard.
15 Signing: DeMarcus Cousins Signs With The Lakers
DeMarcus Cousins' free agency bidding war took a major hit when he tore his achilles and went out for the season. In the past it has been hard for players to get back to the same level of play when they return from an achilles injury, so teams might be more reluctant to sign the star big man.
The Lakers have had their sights set on the big man even before he was traded to New Orleans.
They will still probably make him an offer even with his injury. Cousins would be the latest star big man to come to the purple and gold following in the footsteps of Wilt, Kareem, and Shaq some of the best big men to ever play the game. Pairing him with the young core of the Lakers would immediately make them a playoff team and would make them more attractive for other players as well.
14 Trade: Jeremy Lin For Lance Thomas And A Second Round Pick
It has been a long time since Linsanity was running wild in New York as a Knick, but the Knicks would be a perfect place for Jeremy Lin to rejuvenate his career. It would be a chance for him to play with Kristaps Porzingis who is one of the best young players in game.
Lin would provide some outside scoring temporarily until the Knicks find their point guard of the future.
The Brooklyn Nets would do just about anything to get rid of Lin’s lousy contract, so they might be willing to part ways with a second round pick and a player off their bench. Lin has been a disappointment and has been mostly injured since he signed a three year deal with the Nets and they do not really need him anymore with Spencer Dinwiddie having a surprising season and having just traded for DeAngelo Russell last off-season.
13 Signing: Isaiah Thomas Signs With LA Clippers
Isaiah Thomas has played decent during his time with the Lakers, but since they are going after the big names on the market they are unlikely to go after him this off season. Thomas will be looking for big money in free agency, but he is unlikely to get it from any team because he has not been the same player since returning his hip injury he sustained last season. It is rough for anyone to move their family around and if he moves teams this off-season it would be the fourth time in two seasons. Thomas could stay in Los Angeles if he inks a deal with the Clippers who are still looking for a point guard since Chris Paul left to go to the Rockets last season. Thomas could provide a notable name to put fans in the seats while Jerry West figures out what to do with the rest of the Clippers roster.
12 Trade: Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum, Al Horford, And The Lakers First Round Pick For Anthony Davis And E’Twaun Moore
Any team that makes a deal with the Celtics and Danny Ainge should be worried their getting fooled into a bad deal because they have won the past few trades they have made. They have stock piled so many assets that they could go after the best young player in basketball Anthony Davis. Davis could be tired of playing on a losing team because he has yet to win a playoff series in his career and he could force his way out of New Orleans because of it. A package of Brown, Tatum, Horford, and a lottery pick still might not be enough to pry the brow from the team that drafted him. Yet it could be best for both Davis and New Orleans if they parted ways. Davis could go to a title ready team and New Orleans would be able to start a solid rebuild around a young core of Brown, Tatum, and a lottery pick.
11 Signing: Jabari Parker Signs With Chicago Bulls
Jabari Parker has been somewhat of a bust since being the number two pick in the draft by the Bucks in 2014. He is a restricted free agent this season, so any team will be able to make him an offer that the Bucks will be able match if they want to keep Parker. Chicago is Parker's hometown, so he would definitely want to go their to rejuvenate his career with a new franchise.
The Bulls also are need of a go to scorer and they are looking for the face of their franchise moving forward.
Parker could fill that role if he was able to to the Bulls and stay healthy. Injuries have been his biggest problem during his time in Milwaukee and that could be the reason why the Bucks would not match an offer that Chicago might throw Parker's way.
10 Trade: DeAndre Jordan For Caleb Swanigan, Zach Collins, Evan Turner, And A First Round Pick
The Blazers have been a surprising team this season and with their success they could try to add another piece to their team to try to make a run at the title next season. The Clippers on the other hand seem to be trying to rebuild their team after unloading their star forward Blake Griffin this season. This move could be similar for the Clippers and they could get younger while getting a draft pick in return as well. This could be a rare trade in which both sides win because the Blazers want to get better and the Clippers are building towards the future. DeAndre was on the trading block at the deadline and the Blazers were reportedly interested. Pairing Jordan with Lillard and McCollum would not be enough to beat the Warriors, yet they would be a lot closer if they made this move.
9 Signing: LeBron James To The Houston Rockets
The Cleveland Cavaliers made a huge mistake when they let their star point guard Kyrie Irving force his way out of town because he was sick of playing with LeBron. Since then the Cavs have had a disappointing season and they even had to make a major trade to rejuvenate their team in the middle of the season. If LeBron wants to build his legacy and continue to win championships and then his best chance to do that is with the Rockets.
With Harden and Chris Paul he might be able to pass up Michael Jordan's 6 NBA titles and get into the conversation for the greatest player of all time after winning titles with 3 teams.
LeBron narrowed his options down to the Cavs, the Rockets, the Lakers, and the 76ers and the best team on that list basketball wise is definitely the Rockets. The rest of the teams lack a player that comes close to the caliber of Harden and CP3 so it is a no brainer.
8 Trade: Mike Conley For Markelle Fultz, Jerryd Bayless And A First Round Pick
It could be too soon to for Philadelphia to give up on their first overall pick from last years' draft Markelle Fultz, but if they were able to trade for an established point guard like Mike Conley then they might be willing to give him up. Fultz has not played a single game for the 76ers in the regular season because he has been hurt so it is more likely that they will wait and see how well he plays before trading him. However with him being an unknown quantity to most teams in the league right now could be their only opportunity to trade him before it is too late. The only reason Memphis would do this deal would be to get rid of Mike Conley's ridiculous contract because they are one of the worst teams in the league and are in need of a massive rebuild. This trade would kick start their rebuild with a younger franchise point guard and a first round pick and Conley would be able to go to a playoff team in the East.
7 Signing: Tyreke Evans Signs With Boston Celtics
Tyreke Evans has found a way to rejuvenate his NBA career in Memphis, the same place where he had a great college career. He will be a free agent this off season after signing a one year deal with Memphis and since he will be looking for more money it is unlikely they resign with them.
The Boston Celtics flirted with the idea of trading for Evans at the trade deadline, so this off-season they could make a run at signing him as a free agent instead.
The big reason he could be an option is because Marcus Smart will also be a free agent and Evans could be better for the Celtics who are in win now mode. Putting Evans in a back court with Irving along with Gordon Hayward coming back next season would certainly put them in the drivers seat to be the best team in the East next season.
6 Trade: Damian Lillard For Kevin Love, Jordan Clarkson, And Brooklyn’s First Round Pick
When LeBron James was recently asked if Damian Lillard was under appreciated in Portland, he responded by saying, give me Damian Lillard and I'll show you how appreciated he will be. that should say everything about how much LeBron would like this move if it happened. Cleveland needs to make a move if they want to make sure James does not bolt in free agency this season. The Blazers could be reluctant to make this move because Lillard is having an MVP season, but if they see someone they really like in the draft they could pair them with McCollum and Love who is still an All Star level player. Chances are the Blazers would hang up on any team that mentions Lillard in a trade, but they currently do not have enough fire power to win a title so it might be worth the risk.
5 Signing: Paul George To The Lakers
Like DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George has been on the Lakers radar since he was with his old team. The Lakers showed so much interest in George that they were even charged with tampering before he was eventually traded to the Thunder. With the Thunder, George expected to be a top seed in the West but right now they currently sit in the middle of the pack at the 4 seed. George could seemingly get his wish to go to Los Angeles and be just as good as that with them next season. The Lakers plan all along has been to clear enough cap space to sign two max free agents and their plan could be completed if they were able to land George and Cousins this summer. Pairing those two with their young core or another star after a trade could catapult Los Angeles right into the title conversation next season.
4 Trade: Kawhi Leonard For Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, And A Cavs First Round Pick
The number one story for the Spurs this season has been Kawhi Leonard's injury and how that has caused him to grow apart from the franchise. He is a free agent next off season, so if the Spurs have any inclination that he could leave in free agency then they should try to get all they can for him now. The Lakers have been able to stack up a nice core of young talent so they are ready to trade for a super star in the middle of their prime. If they can sign some other pieces in free agency, then they could really be in the hunt for a title. Kuzma and Ingram are definitely the center pieces of the deal and under the coaching of Greg Popovich would certainly reach their potential. The only way the Spurs would deal Leonard would be if he forces is way out and the Lakers could be one of the only teams with enough assets to get a deal done.
3 Signing: Aaron Gordon Signs With Phoenix Suns
Aaron Gordon has been mostly known for his highlight reel dunks at All Star weekend but he has actually improved as a player each season he has been in the league. He is a restricted free agent this season and that means the Magic will have a chance to keep him if they want to. However if another team throws an enormous amount of money at him then the Magic could decide to part ways with the former fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft. This could be the perfect time for the Suns to pair another young rising star with Devin Booker. Those two alone are not enough to make the playoffs but it would be a step in the right direction for a franchise that has not been to the playoffs since Steve Nash played for them.
2 Trade: Andrew Wiggins For Justice Winslow, Josh Richardson, And A First Round Pick
The rumours out of Minnesota lately have been that Wiggins is growing unhappy being the third fiddle for the Timberwolves. If Wiggins does want out of Minnesota, then there would be plenty of teams that would want to trade for a young player that is just entering his prime. Pat Riley is always looking for a chance to make his team better and if the price was right he would go after the former number one pick in the draft. Justice Winslow is also a former lottery pick that makes this an even trade for the Timberwolves along with Josh Richardson and a first round pick that could add depth to their roster.
1 Signing: Dallas Mavericks Offer Julius Randle Big Money
Julius Randle is in the midst of the best season of his career and he is looking like a future star in the making. He is also an unrestricted free agent this off-season so it could be hard for the Lakers to match an offer for him after his break out season. The Lakers have made it clear that they intend to offer their cap space to max salary free agents and that would mean giving up Julius Randle. Dallas is Randle's hometown and they are also in need of talent in the front court help. They are also one of the only teams with cap space available this season, so it could make sense for them to go after a player that is ready to break into the prime of his career. The Lakers could regret letting Randle go if they are not able to spend that money elsewhere on bigger names like Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins.