The Four Teams Likely to Make a Move on Draft Night
Zion Williamson will go first overall in the NBA Draft on June 20th, of this we are certain.
Other than that? Insert shrug emoji here. The only other thing you can guarantee is that there will be trades: last year’s premier trade was the Luke Doncic-Trae Young swap between Dallas and Atlanta. There is no guarantee that there will be one of that magnitude this year, but teams are actively looking to either bolster their present roster or build for the future. Let’s look at five.
Atlanta Hawks: Trade Up
Speaking of the Doncic-Young trade, the Hawks received not just Young, but the Mavericks’ 2019 first-rounder as the fee for moving down. Now holding the 8th and 10th picks, the Hawks are unlikely to stay put. New York, Los Angeles, and Phoenix have all been rumored to be shopping their picks and Atlanta could be an attractive suitor. There is a generally acknowledged drop from the top tier of the 2019 class, and with the Hawks on the way up, this may be their last chance to get a true blue-chip player at the top of the draft. Swapping #8 and #10 for #3 may seem steep, but the temptation of getting a player like RJ Barrett may be too great to resist.
New York Knicks: Trade Down (or out)
To get to that third pick and RJ Barrett, the Hawks would have to do business with the Knicks, who are reportedly high on both Jarrett Culver and Cam Reddish, and could trade down a couple spots for an additional pick, while still getting their target player. This off-season could go a number of different ways for the Knicks - they could get Kevin Durant, another star, and trade for Anthony Davis, or they could swing and miss and continue a youth movement. If they don’t vault into insta-contention via free agency, it might do well for them to get an extra bite at the apple. In addition to Atlanta, Phoenix and Chicago are other possible suitors.
Los Angeles Lakers: Trade Out
Will LA actually use the fourth overall pick? It doesn’t look like it. Even if they do, the odds are higher that the prospect will be sent off in a trade. The Lakers are in ‘win-now’ mode and the pick has been made available in potential trade packages along with players like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Kyle Kuzma. Bringing a superstar (or two!) to Los Angeles to pair with LeBron James is the organization’s main priority, with Anthony Davis the most likely trade target, and Chris Paul also being a possibility. Now that the Pelicans have reopened trade discussions for Davis, expect the Lakers to go all-in.
Phoenix Suns: Trade Out
The Suns are looking to fill their point guard needs this offseason, whether it be in the draft or free agency. Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland would be ideal, but he might not even make it to the 6th overall pick, and there have been rumors of the organization shopping the selection for a veteran point guard, such as Chris Paul, Jeff Teague, or Mike Conley. Since they still have a way to go before they’re contending, expect the Suns to ultimately take Garland as the point guard of the future - or the top available point guard at least - but a proven veteran in the right deal may be too appealing to turn down for an organization that desperately needs a competent lead guard.