The 2021 NBA Draft is less than a week away.
Fireworks are always set off (one way or another) on draft night,
making it one of the best dates on the Association’s yearly
calendar. This year looks to be no different, as certain teams have
been very aggressive and plenty of trade rumors have been surfacing
Matt Babcock, our NBA Draft analyst, has been
hearing the same rumblings.
“There seems to be a lot of trade chatter this
year, so do not be surprised if we have some deals involving
lottery picks,” Babcock tweeted.
So, who will shake things up once they’re on the
clock? Which players could be on the move? When looking around the
league, six names stand out as possible trade chips.
Turner, Indiana Pacers
What will the Pacers do with their big-man duo
of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner? I recently wrote about
whether Indiana’s jumbo-big-man duo can coexist. The numbers
show that they shouldn’t play Sabonis and Turner together (and Rick
Carlisle has talked about staggering them), which means Indiana
should definitely shop one or the other on draft night.
Knowing the value of Sabonis as an offensive hub
(similar to Nikola Jokic and Nikola Vucevic), the Pacers would be
wise to find the best value out there for Turner instead.
Many teams around the league would be clamoring
for a win-now piece like Turner, who can be an elite shot-blocking
anchor for a defense, while also spreading the floor adequately
from three-point range. Multiple teams showed interest in Turner
last offseason. For example, the Boston Celtics were in talks with
Indiana about a potential Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade involving
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the
Golden State Warriors have entered into discussions with Indiana
surrounding Turner. The fit for Turner with Golden State is
amazing. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have always missed a big
man with the talents of Turner. Golden State’s stars are reportedly
pushing for a win-now move, and
the team has been trying to deal their two lottery picks (No. 7 and
No. 14) for a player who can help elevate them back into the
Western Conference’s elite tier. Adding Turner alongside Curry,
Thompson, and Draymond Green would do just that.
A trade package revolving around Andrew Wiggins
and multiple picks could potentially get the job done for Indiana,
who would also send out Jeremy Lamb for salary-matching
Golden State receives: Myles
Turner, Jeremy Lamb, No. 13 pick
Indiana receives: Andrew
Wiggins, No. 7 pick, No. 14 pick
Walker, Oklahoma City Thunder
Kemba Walker is in a weird spot right now. After
leaving Charlotte for Boston, which didn’t go well in terms of the
on-court fit alongside the Celtics’ young core, Walker and the No.
16 pick were shipped to Oklahoma City in
exchange for Al Horford, Moses Brown and a second-round pick.
A player of Walker’s caliber shouldn’t be long
with the Thunder, though. Oklahoma City is in a full-fledged
rebuild with countless picks over the next five-plus years. Even
with three years remaining on his lucrative contract, Walker should
intrigue some teams who are looking to bolster their playoff
How about Kemba finally playing full-time in
Madison Square Garden for the New York Knicks? New York will likely
want to wait to see what happens with Damian Lillard in Portland
before making any decision, but Walker’s fit next to their young
core is actually pretty interesting. Trotting out a starting lineup
featuring Walker, Julius Randle, and R.J. Barrett fortifies the
Knicks as a strong playoff team entering 2021-22.
As seen in the Celtics-Thunder trade, Walker’s
value is not high at all. New York could get the deal done sending
one of their first-round picks plus a player to shed some of their
New York receives: Kemba Walker, No. 34
Oklahoma City receives: Kevin Knox, No.
Hield, Sacramento Kings
Buddy Hield’s tenure in Sacramento has been a
roller coaster ride, to say the least. Bouncing back and forth from
a starter to a sixth-man role, Hield’s frustration with the
organization feels like it’s reached a boiling point. At times, he
hasn’t even tried to hide his
displeasure. With three years remaining on Hield’s contract and
this divorce seeming inevitable, perhaps the Kings will look to
deal him this offseason.
Looking back at the Kings’ decision, choosing
Hield over Bogdan Bogdanovic was a big mistake. Still, if Hield
does become available, many teams would be calling to inquire about
the sharpshooter. As one of the best three-point marksmen in the
NBA, hitting 40.9% over his last four years, Hield could seemingly
fit on any roster.
After a surprising first-round exit in this
year’s playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers make so much sense as a
potential suitor for Hield. Los Angeles has been floated in almost
every rumor surrounding big free agents (from Chris Paul to Kyle Lowry to DeMar DeRozan), but Hield’s
floor-spacing gravity would open up the offense even more for
LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Just imagine Hield as a third or fourth option,
running around the perimeter while LeBron and AD do their damage on
drives. This is something that Los Angeles should seriously
explore, while also keeping their options open in free agency for
potential sign-and-trades for a new starting point guard (*cough,
Kyle Lowry, cough*).
For Sacramento, receiving a first-round pick
along with a young player who fits their timeline in Kyle Kuzma
feels like a win considering their current situation with
Los Angeles receives: Buddy
Sacramento receives: Kyle Kuzma,
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, No. 22 pick
Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
Golden State feels destined to make a move on
draft night, no matter what size deal it may be. With two lottery
picks at No. 7 and No. 14 overall, the Warriors are trying to make
one final push for another championship in the Curry era.
Andrew Wiggins’ $31.6 million salary for the
2021-22 season puts the Warriors in any discussion for star-caliber
players. Already included earlier in a hypothetical Myles Turner
trade, Wiggins also makes sense in another scenario.
Pascal Siakam rumors have bubbled up
occasionally over the last few weeks, as Toronto decides on their
long-term vision. Siakam is “considered available for trade by
sources around the league,” according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
Holding the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, should the
Raptors re-tool or rebuild?
If Toronto decides to blow it up, leaving behind
only OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, and their top-five pick, a deal
with Golden State makes way too much sense. The Warriors can send
Wiggins, last year’s No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman, and their
two lottery picks, which is an enticing package that’s hard to pass
up. This deal also allows both teams to embrace their current
directions (with Golden State in win-now mode and Toronto
Toronto receives: Andrew Wiggins, James
Wiseman, No. 7 pick, No. 14 pick
Golden State receives: Pascal Siakam,
Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers
Darius Garland is the prioritized member of the
Cavaliers’ young backcourt, so Collin Sexton looks to be on the way out soon. Cleveland
is not comfortable paying Sexton a big chunk of money on his
looming second contract, so finding the best potential deal on
draft night could be the route they’re headed.
Sexton is a score-first combo guard who averaged
24.3 points this past season for the Cavaliers. Many teams should
be interested in acquiring the 22-year-old, but some organizations
will be worried about whether those are empty-calorie stats.
One team that has already been rumored to be
interested in Sexton is the New York Knicks. Sexton is a strong fit
for the culture that head coach Tom Thibodeau is trying to build in
New York, and he’s another tantalizing piece to add to their young
core alongside R.J. Barrett and Immanuel Quickley. Also, Sexton
could be used later on as a trade piece for the next disgruntled
superstar who asks out.
Sending Cleveland Obi Toppin, Kevin Knox, the
No. 19 overall pick, plus a top second-round pick (No. 32 overall)
feels like a fair package for both sides in this scenario.
New York receives: Collin
Cleveland receives: Obi Toppin, Kevin
Knox, No. 19, No. 32
Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Something has to give in the city of Brotherly
Love this offseason. After an awful playoff performance, the Sixers
must explore moving off of Ben Simmons’ massive max contract. For
years, many have questioned the long-term fit between Simmons and
Joel Embiid. After losing to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern
Conference Semifinals, once again coming up short of an NBA Finals
appearance, Philadelphia needs to make some tweaks to reach their
Longtime NBA insider Marc Stein reported earlier this month that
all of the following teams have inquired about Simmons’
availability: Indiana, Cleveland, Minnesota, Sacramento, and
Out of those five teams mentioned, who makes the
most sense to pay the hefty price needed for Simmons? Sacramento
strikes me as the one who’s desperate enough to pay whatever it
takes (outside of their young backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese
A package revolving around Buddy Hield, Harrison
Barnes, and three first-round picks (including the No. 9 overall
pick in the 2021 NBA Draft) could make Sixers GM Daryl Morey
seriously consider pulling the trigger.
For Sacramento, a young big three consisting of
Simmons, Fox, and Haliburton is their last-ditch effort to try to
escape the proverbial abyss. Missing the playoffs for 15-straight
seasons, a massive move needs to occur in order to keep Fox happy
long-term, while also trying to jump another tier in the loaded
In return for sending Simmons to the Kings,
Philadelphia adds a ton of shooting in the short-term, while
holding golden tickets in draft capital long-term. If the Sixers
are serious about making a Finals push while adding security past
that window, this deal makes so much sense.
Sacramento receives: Ben Simmons, George
Philadelphia receives: Buddy Hield,
Harrison Barnes, No. 9 pick, 2023 1st, 2025 1st