The 2021 off-season could see many NBA All-Stars moving to other teams based on the trade rumors circulating among the league’s front offices. Teams are gearing up for what could be one of the busiest off-seasons in recent memory.
Aside from the free agents, disgruntled NBA All-Stars could switch teams in the off-season, paving the way for a shift in power in the Eastern and Western Conference depending on where these players land.
NBA All-Stars and the difficulty of trading them
One of the problems with trading away NBA All-Stars is getting their value back. Just look at the Houston Rockets. They traded away Russell Westbrook and James Harden in a matter of months, and they didn’t get the best deal in both cases.
Even if it’s a swap of NBA All-Stars, it’s still a tricky situation because they aren’t always equal in value. One could be a franchise player, while the other may not. Nonetheless, this would be the best-case scenario for the teams involved. What’s interesting about the players on our list is how their teams might actually trade their All-Star for another one.
With trade rumors aplenty abounding this time of the year, here's a look at the five NBA All-Stars who could be on the move this summer:
#5 Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
Jaylen Brown has been mentioned in trade talks involving the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard.
The Celtics swingman was a first-time NBA All-Star this season, and he could be part of a package to lure Lillard to Boston. Brown averaged career highs in points (24.7), assists (3.4), steals (1.2), field-goal percentage (48.4) and 3-point percentage (39.7).
He could grow into a franchise player in Portland if the Blazers come to an agreement with the Celtics. In turn, Boston would have a franchise-altering star to pair with their own franchise player, Jayson Tatum.
This would be a win-win for both ball clubs, but it remains to be seen if the Celtics will pull the trigger on a 24-year-old player with vast potential for a proven superstar who’s in his prime now at the ripe age of 30. The two NBA All-Stars would be in different situations, but this trade should benefit both teams.
#4 Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets)
There have been rumblings that some members of the Brooklyn Nets' front office were unhappy with Kyrie Irving’s off-court issues and no-shows in some of the games due to 'personal reasons'.
If the Nets decide to trade the seven-time NBA All-Star, they could fetch an outright star in Lillard or Ben Simmons. However, because of all the off-court baggage that would come with a trade for Irving, it will be trickier to move him to another team that isn’t to his liking. After all, he signed with the Nets two summers ago because of Kevin Durant, so he could be quite incensed if he is let go this off-season.
Nevertheless, the Nets are reportedly willing to listen to offers for Irving. This off-season could be a big one for the team if they send the player to another team in a potential trade for other NBA All-Stars.
#3 Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Some NBA All-Stars aren't necessarily disappointed with their current situations to be considered in a trade this off-season.
Bradley Beal’s situation, for example, is difficult to ascertain. He’s due for an extension, but he may decline the option so that he could get more money in 2022. If that happens, the Washington Wizards will risk losing him. That’s not a situation the Wizards would like to be in, given how the three-time NBA All-Star seemed mostly unhappy in Washington this season.
Had it not been for fellow NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook and their late run to the postseason, it was almost a sure deal that Beal would have moved out of Washington.
Now, there’s a 50-50 chance the Wizards would retain him given his close relationship with Westbrook and the fact that they’ll try out a new coach to help them get over the hump next season. Nevertheless, one has to wonder if that would be enough to keep Beal in a Wizards uniform.
#2 Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
There’s plenty of smoke coming out of the Blazers, and when there’s smoke, there’s fire. Portland would love to keep Lillard on their roster and try for a new approach with a new coach. But the six-time NBA All-Star has not-so-subtly questioned his future with the team after too many disappointing playoff runs.
His disappointment is warranted, and it’s building, so much so that teams are lining up for a shot at acquiring one of the top NBA All-Stars who could be on the market this off-season. The best offer might be coming from the Golden State Warriors with a package that includes James Wiseman along with the No. 7 and 14 picks from this year’s draft.
If trading Lillard is a foregone conclusion, the Blazers might consider this trade very carefully, as it could trigger a full rebuilding mode for the franchise.
#1 Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
The player most likely to be traded this off-season is Ben Simmons. His disastrous postseason coupled with Joel Embiid’s resentment of Simmons’ refusal to shoot the ball against the Atlanta Hawks could be the final straw that breaks this tandem apart.
The two NBA All-Stars were supposed to be the foundation of the team's rebuild years ago. But now, it appears that their friendship may not be strong enough to account for their recent playoff failure. The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly listening to offers but aren’t going to give him up for just any package of players.
Despite Simmons’ value going down to all-time low levels, the Sixers could look for the best deal available in the off-season that nets them an NBA All-Star or two.