Realistic NBA offseason trades that could still happen

We’ve officially entered the NBA trade season now that most of the top free agents have signed, with plenty of rosters still undecided across the league.

Yes, Damian Lillard and James Harden are the big names on the market, but there are other trade activities to keep an eye on.

The Toronto Raptors face an uncertain future after losing Fred VanVleet in free agency and with a couple of stars on the open market next summer. The Chicago Bulls could still use a point guard upgrade, and the New York Knicks have yet to address the woeful shooting that doomed their playoff run.

From some simple deals to a four-team blockbuster that would finally end the Lillard and Harden sagas, the following trades can (and should) still happen this offseason.

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Chicago Bulls receive: PG Tyus Jones, SF Corey Kispert

Washington Wizards receive: F Patrick Williams, SG Dalen Terry, 2026 second-round pick

The Bulls looked like one of the best teams in the East the last time Lonzo Ball played, but the veteran point guard will likely miss another full season due to knee surgery. Chicago helped cover his absence with the signing of Jevon Carter, but he’s more of a rotational piece instead of a full-time starter.

Jones was previously dealt to Washington this offseason in a three-team deal that brought Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies and Kristaps Porziņģis to Boston with the Celtics. However, the 27-year-old would be wasted with the rebuilding Wizards and could make a real difference in Chicago’s overall success as their new starting point guard.

Jones averaged 16.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 8.1 assists and 1.8 steals in his 22 starts with the Grizzlies last season while posting an efficient 50.0/41.5/77.8 percent shot gap. Kispert was one of the NBA’s best three-point shooters (42.4 percent, 2.2 makes per game), bringing some much-needed outside shooting to a Bulls team that ranked dead last in made threes per night (10.4).

A starting lineup of Jones, Zach LaVine, Kispert, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević could make some noise in the East, especially with Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, Torrey Craig, Coby White and Carter off the bench.

For Washington, trading Jones (a free agent next summer) and Kispert (already 24 entering Year 3) for Williams (21) and Terry (21) makes them younger, longer and with more upside.

Williams, the No. 4 overall pick in 2020, has shown high levels of three-point shooting and defensive potential, something a change of scenery could help unlock. Terry is a 6’7″ shooting guard who was the No. 18 overall pick a year ago.

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The New York Knicks receive: F Bojan Bogdanović

Detroit Pistons receive: Evan Fournier, 2024 first-round pick (top-10 protected via New York Knicks)

You must go back over a decade to find a team that shot so poorly from three during the postseason and still made it out of the first round, with New York’s 29.2 percent shooting from deep the worst since the 2011-12 Boston Celtics.

Trading Fournier for Bogdanović is a massive upgrade since the former wasn’t even part of the Knicks’ postseason rotation. Bogdanović, meanwhile, is coming off the best season of his career, averaging 21.6 points on 41.1 percent shooting from three with the Pistons.

The Knicks could use Bogdanović in several ways. Adding him to a starting lineup with Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson gives everyone more breathing room. The 6’7” forward can also play the backup 4 in smaller lineups, especially with Obi Toppin now dealt to the Indiana Pacers.

Fournier is just one season removed from averaging 14.1 points on 38.9 percent shooting from three and could join Joe Harris and Alec Burks as floor-spacing veterans around this young Pistons core. Fournier has just one guaranteed year remaining on his $18.9 million contract with a $19.0 million team option in 2024-25. If Detroit wants extra cap space next summer, it can reject his deal and pool the savings instead.

The Pistons get a first-round pick, which is important since their current 2024 pick is actually due to New York (protected for picks 1-18 in 2024, 1-13 in 2025, 1-11 in 2026, and 1-9 in 2027) . Detroit could ask for its own pick back instead, freeing up all future firsts to be used in potential trades.

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The Atlanta Hawks receive: AND Anunoby

Toronto Raptors receive: SF AJ Griffin, F De’Andre Hunter, 2024 first-round pick (via Sacramento Kings), 2027 second-round pick, 2030 second-round pick

If the Hawks can’t convince the Raptors to give up Pascal Siakam, getting Anunoby in return is a great consolation prize.

Atlanta still needs to improve defensively around Trae Young after ranking just 22nd.115.4 rating) last season. Anunoby, 25, led the league in steals (1.9 a game) and received the most first downs All-Defensive team votes (14) of any wing in the NBA last season.

At 6’7″ and 232 pounds, Anunoby is long enough to defend guards and strong enough to switch to most bigs. A starting five of Young, Dejounte Murray, Saddiq Bey, Anunoby and Clint Capela would be formidable on both ends of the ball .

For Toronto, this is protection against losing another star player in free agency, as Anunoby can choose to opt out of his final $19.9 million in 2024-2025 and become an unrestricted free agent next summer instead.

Griffin, 19, had a strong rookie season in Atlanta, shooting 39.0 percent from three for the year and averaging 13.4 points in his 12 starts. Hunter, 25, averaged 15.4 points and just entered a four-year, $90 million contract. Unlike Anunoby, there is no danger of him leaving anytime soon.

The Raptors also pick up a 2024 first-round pick via the Kings (lottery-protected) and a few future seconds for their trouble.

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The Dallas Mavericks receive: F/C Karl-Anthony Towns

The Minnesota Timberwolves receive: F/C Christian Wood (via sign-and-trade), G/F Tim Hardaway Jr., SG Jaden Hardy, 2027 unprotected first-round pick

Even after making some upgrades this summer, the Mavs’ frontcourt still seems a little underwhelming.

Grant Williams and Richaun Holmes have mostly been backups in their careers, and first-round pick Dereck Lively II averaged just 5.2 points in 20.6 minutes as a freshman at Duke. Expecting him to be a major contributor to a team with championship aspirations right away is probably too much.

Dallas should check the price of Towns in an attempt to form the best offensive big three in basketball with Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving.

Adding Towns as an elite floor-spacer who can also put the ball on the floor would take the Mavs’ scoring offense to the next level and help keep Dončić happy (and rested), which is the ultimate goal for this franchise. Dallas also keeps Josh Green and Maxi Kleber in the deal, making sure the team plays at least a little bit of defense as well.

As great as Towns is, Anthony Edwards is the future of basketball in Minnesota.

Entering his fourth year, Edwards is still just 21 years old and is coming off a playoff run in which he averaged 31.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Getting a five-year max was just the beginning for Edwards, a player who will soon become a fixture in the MVP discussion.

Move cities before his massive supermax extension starter (four years, $234.6 million) is the smart thing to do for a team that is now going to pay Edwards (max) and Rudy Gobert (near max) big money going forward.

Wood signs an expected three-year, $36 million deal here. He replaces some of Towns’ production (20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.3 blocks, 37.1 percent from three in 17 starts), while his defensive deficiencies are covered by Gobert.

Hardaway is a proven wing (14.4 points, 38.5 percent from three), and Hardy, 21, gives Minnesota another young scoring guard with upside. After giving up four first-round picks for Gobert, the Wolves get one back here in an attempt to start rebuilding their cabinet.

Minnesota is going all-in on Edwards, making him the face of the franchise while adding several complementary pieces, a future draft pick and financial flexibility.

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Miami Heat Reception: PG Damian Lillard, PF Marcus Morris Sr.

The Los Angeles Clippers receive: G James Harden, PF PJ Tucker

Philadelphia 76ers receive: G Tyler Herro, F Caleb Martin, F Robert Covington, 2028 and 2029 second-round picks (via Miami Heat)

The Portland Trail Blazers receive: 2027 and 2029 unprotected first round picks (via Miami Heat), 2028 and 2030 unprotected first round picks (via Los Angeles Clippers), PG Kyle Lowry, F Nic Batum, F Nikola Jović, PF Kobe Brown, SG Amir Coffey, PG Jason Preston

While we wait for Lillard and Harden to reach their likely destinations, why not make everyone happy with a big four-team deal?

Miami receives Lillard and finally meets Portland’s asking price thanks to drawing additional teams here. Getting Morris is the icing on the cake here, as he will likely become the new starting power forward as an upgrade over Kevin Love.

The Clippers also get their guy in Harden, who returns to his hometown of Los Angeles and creates a dangerous Big Three with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Tucker is also included in the deal, giving LA a big starting five of Harden, George, Leonard, Tucker and Ivica Zubac with Russell Westbrook, Norman Powell, Terance Mann, KJ Martin, Mason Plumlee and Bones Hyland off the bench.

The 76ers, not wanting to deal an unhappy Harden but also needing some significant talent in return, are allowed to reshuffle the roster around Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris here.

Herro, 23, returns to his best role as a sixth man after averaging 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and shot 37.8 percent from three last season. Martin averaged 12.7 points and shot 42.3 percent from deep during Miami’s run to the Finals and is likely to become Philly’s new starting small forward. Covington returns to the 76ers as a rotation player, and Philadelphia also collects a pair of second-round picks. With the dust settled, the Sixers now have De’Anthony Melton, Maxey, Martin, Harris and Embiid as the starting five with Herro, Covington, Paul Reed, Patrick Beverley, Mo Bamba and others off the bench.

Of course, this deal only works if Portland likes the return for Lillard, one that now includes four future unprotected first-round picks and some serious salary reductions.

The Blazers get two future first-rounders each from Miami and Los Angeles, while the expiring deals of Lowry and Batum open up $41.4 million in cap space next summer. Jović, Brown, Coffey and Preston average 23 years old, giving Portland some additional building blocks for its rebuild. The most intriguing is Jović, a 6’10”, 20-year-old with strong passing skills.

The deal can’t be completed until Aug. 2 (30 days after Brown signs his rookie deal with the Clippers), though that would still give everyone plenty of time to settle into their new home before training camps begin.

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