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NBA Swing: Five Stars Likely to be Traded this Offseason

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As the NBA gets closer to the end of the second round of the playoffs, the rumors surrounding this offseason are starting to heat up. Rumors surrounding multiple big-name free agents are going around, but with several stars facing early playoff exits, trades could be on the horizon. For the following five stars, the rumors of potential trades have become the hottest they have in recent weeks. While it’s not guaranteed any of these players will be on the move this offseason, these players are some of the most likely to be moved in trades. 

 

Donovan Mitchell

 

On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals. Mitchell would miss Game 3 and Game 4 due to a calf injury suffered in Game 3 against the Celtics. Rumors going back to last year’s playoffs have suggested that Mitchell does not want to be in Cleveland and would not be signing an extension with the team unless they made the Eastern Conference Finals this postseason. 

 

As soon as reports of Mitchell being out for Game 5 came out, further reports came out that several teams have offers ready to go for the Cavaliers’ star. The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets were the two named in the report. The Lakers could offer a package including Austin Reaves and draft picks from the post-LeBron era Lakers that could be extremely valuable to add a third star alongside LeBron and Anthony Davis. The Nets have several promising young players they could trade as well as future draft picks from Phoenix and Dallas could become valuable in the next few years. With Mitchell unlikely to opt into his player option for the 2025-26 season, Cleveland’s best option would be to trade him instead of letting him leave for nothing. 

 

Darius Garland 

 

If there is a scenario where Donovan Mitchell signs an extension with the Cavaliers, teammate Darius Garland could be the Cavs player on the move. In an article from Shams Charania, Joe Vardon Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, it was reported that Garland’s agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul would discuss a potential trade out of Cleveland if Mitchell ends up signing an extension with the team. 

 

The duo of Mitchell and Garland has not been perfect on the court, with their compatibility being in question at times. During the regular season, the Cavs went 12-15 when Mitchell was not playing and went 17-8 when Garland was not playing this season. With Garland being a former All-Star and having four seasons left on his contract, a trade could bring back a solid haul. With the Cavaliers almost being at a crossroads, one of their stars will likely be on the move this offseason. 

 

Brandon Ingram

 

Following their first-round sweep by the Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin addressed the media, and said there would be changes heading into next season. In what has felt inevitable, rumors of New Orleans exploring trades for Brandon Ingram have begun to circulate. Ingram had a rough run in the playoffs after returning from a bone contusion, putting up 14.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.3 APG in the first-round series. 

 

With the team’s focus being on superstar Zion Williamson, the move for New Orleans would be to move on from Ingram. Having a year left on his contract, trading Ingram is their only option over letting him leave next offseason for nothing. In a report from Yahoo’s Jake Fischer, league sources expect Ingram to have a bigger trade market than some of the other stars expected to be on the market, including Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young.

 

Trae Young

 

The future of the Atlanta Hawks changed this past weekend when the team landed the first overall pick of the 2024 NBA Draft, with only a 3% chance. Going back to the NBA trade deadline in February, rumors came out suggesting the Hawks were looking to trade their stars, with Young specifically being linked to the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers. The rumors of Atlanta looking to move on from one of their stars goes back to last offseason, as the future of the team looked bleak. 

 

Young has several years left on his contract and has proven to be one of the best guards in the Eastern Conference. For a team like San Antonio, a trade for Young would be great to pair with superstar Victor Wembanyama, while giving Atlanta back the draft picks they traded for Dejounte Murray several years ago. For the Lakers, a trade for Young would add another star next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With the Hawks being in the middle of the pack the last handful of years, their best option to take a step in the right direction is to move on from one of their stars. Landing the first pick in the NBA draft has only fueled the rumors of the Hawks moving on from one of their stars. 

 

Kevin Durant 

 

Of the players likely to be traded this offseason, it would be more surprising to see Kevin Durant moved. Following the Suns’ first-round sweep by the Minnesota Timberwolves, reports of Durant’s frustration within the offense began to circulate. With the Suns locked into their roster for several more years due to the Bradley Beal no-trade clause, the Suns may be forced into a move if they want to improve. The 35-year-old has already moved several times in the last handful of seasons, with stops in Brooklyn and now Phoenix after leaving the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 offseason. 

 

Still one of the best players in the NBA, Durant would be a much sought-after player by many teams. Even after suffering an Achilles injury in the 2019 Finals, an injury that few players have returned the same from, Durant has looked better than he did before. In the 212 games Durant has played since then, he has averaged 28.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 5.5 APG. If Durant requests a trade this offseason, teams like the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and even his former teams in the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder could be interested in the superstar. Each team has their own reasons to be interested in Durant and they could all offer Phoenix draft picks they desperately need.

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