5 Blockbuster NBA Draft Trades For Lakers, Cavs, Celtics, Knicks, Suns

5 Blockbuster NBA Draft Trades For Lakers, Cavs, Celtics, Knicks, Suns
D’Angelo Russell Keith Allison / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

The NBA Draft is barely a week away. Free agency begins on July 1. It’s that time of the year when general managers scrutinize all possibilities to try and improve their rosters ahead of next season. With the offseason almost underway, we explore 5 blockbuster NBA Draft Trades.


ESPN’s renowned scout, Chad Ford, has compiled a list of five trades featuring five top-10 picks, six All-Stars and 11 teams – including the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.

Ford clarifies that while these are only “trade talks”, the teams involved have been rumored to be “talking about various scenarios” ahead of the big day on June 23.

Let’s dive into them, shall we?

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NBA Draft Trades
# 1 Cavs get Melo, Suns get Irving and Love

Knicks send: Carmelo Anthony and Robin Lopez to Cleveland
Cavaliers send: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Mo Williams and Sasha Kaun to Phoenix
Suns send: Eric Bledsoe to Cleveland & Brandon Knight, Alex Len, PJ Tucker, Archie Goodwin and picks Nos. 4 and 13 picks to New York
ESPN Trade Machine: Approves

Why the Cavs would do it: Kevin Love will be on the trading block this summer. That’s no longer a secret. During Monday’s Game 5 victory, Love was a non-factor for most of the game. During the ongoing finals, Love has aggregated 17 points (Game 1), 5 points (Game 2), 11 points (Game 4) and 2 points (Game 5), besides missing Game 3 due to a concussion. Earlier this year, LeBron James spoke of his desire to play alongside buddies Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade in a Super Team before the end of his career. Eric Bledsoe, too, is a close acquaintance of James.

“This deal brings in two players LeBron has wanted to play with for a while in Anthony and Bledsoe. Would this be a talent upgrade too? Maybe, maybe not,” notes Ford.

Why the Knicks would do it: The Knicks would love to get rid of Carmelo Anthony’s hefty contract. Of course, Anthony would have to waive his no-trade clause to accept the deal. Also, the Knicks have been desperate for quality guards; Knight would fill an immediate hole. Also, they could possibly draft Dragan Bender or Jamaal Murray with the No. 4 pick.

Ford explains: “Given his (Anthony’s) friendship with LeBron and his desire to compete for a NBA championship, it’s quite possible he would endorse this deal. The Knicks would get multiple pieces for Melo and speed up the rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis. The big prize would be the No. 4 pick in the draft. That pick should be able to net them Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray, Marquese Chriss, Jaylen Brown or Buddy Hield.”

Why the Suns would do it: Phoenix is ready to hand the keys to Devin Booker. But they have too many backcourt players. By getting rid of Bledsoe and Knight, Booker would become the focal point of the offense.

Ford explains: “Owner Robert Sarver has been anxious to avoid a total rebuild in Phoenix. This would give him a chance to make a big splash right now. Irving has a higher ceiling than Bledsoe and is two years younger. Love would fill a huge gap at the 4.”

NBA Draft Trades
#2 Celtics get Russell, Lakers get No. 3 pick

Lakers send: D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle
Celtics send: Picks Nos. 3 and 16 along with Jonas Jerebko, R.J. Hunter and Jordan Mickey
ESPN Trade Machine: Approves

Why the Lakers would do it: The Lakers have a choice to make between D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson as the PG of the future. Even though the front office expects Russell and Clarkson to become the backcourt of the future, it’s easier said than done.

Ford explains: “The Lakers hold the No. 2 pick in the draft, likely to be Brandon Ingram, and are enamored with two other prospects: Kris Dunn and Marquese Chriss. Adding either player — along with another mid-first round pick, plus other young prospects like Hunter and Mickey — would give them a stronger base to build upon.”

Why the Celtics would do it: The Celtics are aggressively shopping their No. 3 pick. Through this trade, they get a guard with high upside and an athletic point forward that they are after.

Ford explains: “It’s clear the Celtics would prefer to package these picks along with other players on their roster for a veteran superstar. But that trade might not be available.

This would give the Celtics two players who are a little more ready to come in and contribute right now and grow with a team full of young veterans.”

More NBA Draft Trades: Knicks To Offer Jose Calderon For 24th Pick?

NBA Draft Trades
#3 Timberwolves get Jimmy Butler

Bulls send: Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson
Wolves send: No. 5 pick, Zach LaVine, Gorgui Dieng and Nikola Pekovic
ESPN Trade Machine: Approves

Why the Timberwolves would do it: Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau were very fond of each other during the latter’s days in Chicago. Butler, who was drafted with the 30th pick in the 2011 draft, turned into a bona fide superstar under the tutelage of Thibodeau. However, Butler’s game hasn’t translated under the leadership of Fred Hoiberg, who replaced Thibodeau as Bulls coach last offseason.

Earlier on Tuesday, there were reports that Timberwolves were interested in trading for Butler. According to Ford, “(Thibodeau) has plenty of elite young players on the roster. He wants to put them in a winning culture and Butler would help tremendously with that.

The Wolves won’t be the only team pursing Butler and this package may not be enough, but if Thibs could get this done, it’s a slam dunk.”

Why the Bulls would do it: The Chicago Bulls are entering the reset button. With Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol expected to bolt this summer, and with Derek Rose expected to leave next summer, they need a haul of young players to start their rebuild.

Ford explains: “Getting the No. 5 pick — they really covet Kris Dunn — along with LaVine and Dieng, to go along with their own No. 14 pick, would allow the Bulls to start the rebuild process quickly.

The Celtics may be able to make a better offer, so keep an eye on that. Either way, the Bulls are likely missing the playoffs again next year. But this kind of deal would give them significant hope for the future.”

NBA Draft Trades
#4 Pelicans get Jahlil Okafor

76ers send: Jahlil Okafor
Pelicans send: No. 6 pick and Alexis Ajinca
ESPN’s trade machine: Approves

Why the 76ers would do it: The Sixers are convinced that Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel can’t coexist together in the front court. Several reports suggest that Okafor is on the trading block.

Ford explains: “In addition to likely taking Ben Simmons with the No. 1 pick, the Sixers would love to add a guard in the draft. At No. 6, at least one of Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray or Buddy Hield should still be on the board.”

Why the Pelicans would do it: Ford explains: “Pairing Anthony Davis and Okafor gives them a powerful front court. It also allows them to shop Omer Asik for another potential backcourt player.

New Orleans isn’t a perfect fit for Okafor — I’m not sure there is one — but I think this is the best the Sixers will do if they want to land another top pick.”

NBA Draft Trades
#5 Kings get Jeff Teague

Hawks send: Jeff Teague and Thabo Sefolosha
Kings send: No. 8 pick, Kosta Koufos and Ben McLemore
ESPN’s trade machine: Approves

Why the Hawks would do it: Ford explains: “The Hawks are shopping Teague hard. It looks like Dennis Schroder is their point guard of the future. This would give them a chance at a prospect like Jaylen Brown, Buddy Hield or maybe Jamal Murray to pair with Schroeder. Or they could go in a different direction and take a big man like Jakob Poeltl or Skal Labissiere.

McLemore hasn’t been great in Sacramento, but maybe a chance of scenery would do him good.”

Why the Kings would do it: Ford explains: “The Kings are in playoff-or-bust mode. The last thing they want is another rookie (especially given their awful track record in developing them).

Teague would give them a very good starting point guard and keep them from overpaying Rajon Rondo. Sefolosha would give them a veteran 2-guard to help as well.”

Stay tuned to this space for the latest NBA Draft Trades.

More NBA Draft Trades: Celtics To Land All-Star For No. 3 Pick?