It was only a couple of weeks ago when the NBA Trade Deadline just passed. Now, everyone is looking ahead to the playoffs and the potential matchups that will take place.
But it's fun to look even further down the line, right? And when you're talking about where players are heading next, it makes it even better.
This summer there will be a ton of stars that will be available. Some, of course, will be free agents — Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kyle Lowry, and others will all be looking to cash in on a lucrative contract. At the same time, there will be a ton of players on the trading block. Names like Andre Drummond, Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler, and Paul George will all rumored to be traded in February, only to stick with their current teams for the remainder of the season.
The offseason, however, is a different beast. Teams are more willing to trade away picks. They're also willing to bring in stars because it will give them a full season to work things out instead of a couple of months.
But who will be on the move? Let's take a look at 15 NBA players who will be on a new team by the time next season begins.
15 Iman Shumpert
When the New York Knicks drafted Iman Shumpert with the 17th overall pick back in 2011, many believed he had the ceiling on Jimmy Butler or Kawhi Leonard — someone with a tremendous defensive game that had the potential to improve across the board on offense. Unfortunately, a combination of injuries and inconsistent play as a scorer has hindered his potential — but at the same time, Shumpert is still a valuable role player on a contending team, as evidenced by his starting spot on the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers roster. But heading in next season, the Cavs will be looking to shed some payroll, and Shumpert will be one of the first players to be put on the chopping block. The 26-year-old drew interest from a number of teams at the trade deadline, and as long as he stays healthy, there will be a number of suitors in the running for his services.
14 Greg Monroe
When the Milwaukee Bucks inked Greg Monroe to a three-year, $50 million pact two years ago, it was seen as a coup because it's rare when small market teams attract some of the bigger names on the market. Unfortunately, however, the big man's traditional back-to-the-basket offense hasn't meshed well with Jason Kidd's fast-paced offense and has been a player that's been often mentioned in trade rumors. But just because the Bucks don't want him, doesn't mean he's not useful. Monroe is still young (26 years old), can play both power forward and center, and excels at two things that you want in big men — scoring and rebounding. His current averages of 12 points and seven rebounds a game don't equal his monetary value but will still catch the eyes of plenty of teams this offseason.
The Charlotte Hornets have long been rumored to have interest in trading for Monroe, and he could fill one of their holes this offseason.
13 Ricky Rubio
As the clock was ticking away on the NBA Trade Deadline, it was all but certain that Ricky Rubio was on his way out of a Minnesota Timberwolves uniform. With Tom Thibodeau looking at Kris Dunn as the future at point guard and more of a scoring punch coming out of the backcourt, Rubio is expendable — after all, while he is one of the top table-setters in the game, his career mark of 10 points per game underwhelm. With that being said, that doesn't mean he wouldn't be a tremendous fit on teams that are looking for a pass-first lead guard.
The New York Knicks were the team that was mostly linked to Rubio and want someone to dish to Kristaps Porzingis, not take shots away from him. It wouldn't be surprising to see the organization revisit those trade talks in the offseason.
12 Derrick Rose
As mentioned in the previous slide, Ricky Rubio was largely linked to the New York Knicks during the NBA Trade Deadline. Who was on the other end of the deal, you ask? Derrick Rose. Rose, of course, saw some of his best years under Tom Thibodeau with the Chicago Bulls, and the head coach/president of basketball operations believes he can get the best out of the point guard. At this stage of his career, Rose is someone who can score at a high rate but does little else — after all, he's averaging nearly 18 points per game but just four assists.
While he'll be looking to cash in this offseason, that money won't be coming from the Knicks — and at the same time, it remains to be seen if he will get that from anyone. But if Thibodeau still thinks Rose has something to offer, don't be surprised if he eventually finds his way to Minnesota.
11 Jahlil Okafor
Sticking with the theme of the NBA Trade Deadline, the Philadelphia 76ers made an odd decision. Since they've decided to build around Joel Embiid, one of Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor was expected to be traded. Noel looked like the perfect complement to Embiid while Okafor has the same sort of skillset, but the Sixers decided it was best to part ways with the defensive-minded Noel. Heading into the final days of trading, Okafor took a step back in production and wasn't in high demand — but at just 21 years of age, he can rebound his stock before the year ends.
Will the Sixers get a first-round selection like they have hoped? No. But teams will believe that they can steer the ship in Okafor's career. It's all but a guarantee that the center won't be playing in the City of Brotherly Love next season.
10 Jrue Holiday
With New Orleans pairing DeMarcus Cousins with Anthony Davis, the Pelicans have a one-two punch in the frontcourt that hasn't been seen since David Robinson and Tim Duncan were playing together with the San Antonio Spurs. But when you have two big men that thrive with the ball in their hands, you need a point guard to spread the love — and that's exactly what Jrue Holiday has brought to the Pelicans. The 26-year-old point guard is having one of the best seasons in his career, as evidenced by his 16 points and seven assists per game averages.
But Holiday is also due for a hefty contract this offseason — and with Cousins' contract expiring after next season, the Pelicans will need to save money in any way they can. Because of this, Holiday may be on his way out of New Orleans. With the 76ers looking for help at point guard, it would be an awesome story to see Holiday return to the team that drafted him with the hopes that he can take the team to the next level.
9 Andre Drummond
The Detroit Pistons have looked like a team that's on the cusp of making noise in the Eastern Conference, only to see things not go their way. That situation has continued into this season, and it looks like Andre Drummond is someone who could be on the move. In a surprising twist, Stan Van Gundy had trade talks about the center, so it's expected that those efforts will be ramped up during the offseason. Why is that a surprise? Drummond is still young (23), is a double-double machine, and is considered one of the best shot blockers in the game.
While he should be a focal point for the Pistons, plenty of teams will be vying for his services. A team like the Boston Celtics — who not only need a legitimate rebounder but have pieces to pull off a trade — could be a strong fit.
8 Andre Iguodala
When looking up and down the Golden State Warriors roster, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green steal all the headlines. But their success isn't stat driven — and Andre Iguodala is a huge part of that. His stats are far from gaudy — Iguodala is currently averaging seven points, four rebounds, and three assists per game — but his leadership, ability to defend multiple positions, and consistent play makes him a force night in and night out.
As an impending free agent, he will receive a number of offers from contending teams — and with the Warriors looking to free up space for their own stars, he may not be an option for the club. It remains to be seen who would be interested, but don't be shocked if clubs like the Spurs, Rockets, and Jazz look to add him.
7 Paul Millsap
When looking up and down all NBA rosters, there may not be a more underrated player than Paul Millsap. The forward is a do-it-all-for-you type of player — and most importantly, he's a model citizen off the court. This season has been no different, as the 2017 All-Star has averaged 18 points and eight rebounds per game while keeping the Hawks in a playoff position despite losing some key contributors. But for whatever reason, the organization has continuously shopped their top talent — and the situation will come to a head this offseason.
The Houston Rockets have long been linked to Millsap and can use a two-way player on their offensive-heavy roster. He could be the perfect complement to James Harden and could bring another dimension to the team.
6 Gordon Hayward
It has taken years of losing, but the Utah Jazz finally have what it takes to compete in the Western Conference — and Gordan Hayward is a huge part of that. The six-year veteran has gone from a slick-shooting guard to a do-it-all-for-you type of player. He can still make it rain from three but can also drive to the basket, rebound, act as a playmaker, and defend at a high level. This season has been Hayward's best, as he's averaging career highs in points and rebounds and will be a highly sought-after free agent this offseason. While the Jazz will be doing their best to retain his services, nearly all teams will be targeting him. One organization where he'd be a tremendous fit is the Boston Celtics, as they're one player away from competing for a championship. Hayward can be that player — don't be surprised if they dump all the money they can on his front lawn.
5 Carmelo Anthony
I'm not sure what's more surprising — the fact that Carmelo Anthony hasn't forced a trade or that he's still on the New York Knicks altogether. But even though he still has a full no-trade clause, it's hard to believe he's playing in New York when next season begins. While he's getting up there in age (32) and has some injury concerns, there's no denying he can score at a high rate, as evidenced by his average of 23 points per game. It's noted that he would only accept trades to the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Clippers, so expect him to wind up with one of those three teams this offseason.
The Celtics have the best assets but it's hard to imagine the team surrendering young players in their own division. Instead, expect Anthony to join his best friend Chris Paul out in L.A.
4 Dwyane Wade
When Dwyane Wade signed with the Chicago Bulls this past offseason, there was a mixed reaction across the league. While it was awesome to see a future Hall of Famer play for his hometown team, it was odd to see Wade suit up in any other uniform but a Miami Heat one. Unfortunately, however, the homecoming has been anything but fun as the Bulls have gone through a number of off the court incidents which have translated to a sub .500 record.
With a player option in his contract, Wade could leave Chicago to head to a winner — and what better place than Cleveland? Years ago, LeBron James joined Wade down in South Beach to capture a title. It's only right that Wade reciprocates the action next season. As they always say, "the rich get richer..."
3 Jimmy Butler
When the Chicago Bulls signed Dwyane Wade, he was supposed to be a mentor to Jimmy Butler, the organization's rising star. By all accounts, the two have been great teammates — unfortunately, however, the rest of their team doesn't appear to be on board. Butler is one of the premier two-way players in the NBA, as he's an elite defender while averaging 24 points, five assists, and six rebounds per game. He was linked to the Boston Celtics during the Trade Deadline, but there may be a team that's a better fit — the Minnesota Timberwolves. With former coach Tom Thibodeau leading the charge, he has the assets to trade for one of the league's top talents — and Butler has the ability to take them to the next level.
2 Blake Griffin
Throughout his career, Blake Griffin has become a star due to his awe-inspiring dunks and because he's played in a big market like Los Angeles. But that's not all Griffin is about, as he's improved as a defender and shooter at the power forward position. While injuries have been an issue, the power forward still puts up strong numbers (22 points and nine rebounds per game) and at 27 years old, is still in the prime of his career. But if the longtime rumor of Carmelo Anthony to the Clippers does happen, Griffin will look elsewhere for work. What better city than his hometown of Oklahoma City? Russell Westbrook needs a new partner in crime after losing KD and Griffin would have no trouble playing second fiddle to Westbrook.
1 Paul George
It's been no secret that Paul George has grown frustrated with the situation in Indiana. The Pacers seem to have gone one step forward and two steps back in the last few years, and their championship window seems to have closed, with the Cavs still dominating and the Celtics looking poised to return to championship glory in the near future. NBA Insider Sam Amick has said time and time again that George is "hell bent" on joining his hometown Lakers in free agency in 2018. While the Lakers don't seem to be close to contention, perhaps George just wants to play in front of friends and family.
When it's that obvious that a player wants out, it makes sense to trade him while you could still get something for him.