The 2021 NBA Offseason officially got underway with the 2021 NBA Draft. The draft class is one of the deeper ones in recent memory, as multiple players with first-round grades slipped into the second round, providing teams with a ton of depth.
There were also a ton of trades that went down. Teams were moving up and down the board at a furious pace. The New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans. Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets all made multiple deals on draft night.
The biggest trade of the night occurred between the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards. The Lakers acquired LA native Russell Westbrook from Washington in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
That deal came on the heels of the Lakers reportedly agreeing to a trade with the Sacramento Kings that would have netted them Buddy Hield in exchange for Kuzma, Harrell and the 22nd pick, but they pivoted to the Wizards and Westbrook at the last second.
To the surprise of some, Westbrook was the biggest name moved on draft night. The reported blockbuster deals that may go down never materialized, but those deals could still occur during free agency.
Here are five NBA stars that could be on the move next following the Westbrook deal.
5. Ben Simmons
The Philadelphia 76ers worked the phones feverishly throughout the 2021 NBA Draft but they made all three selections they had. They selected Jaden Spring out of Tennessee at No. 28, then Mega Bemax big man Filip Petrusev at No. 50 and Charles Bassey out of Western Kentucky at No. 53.
Philadelphia worked hard to come to an agreement on a Ben Simmons trade but ultimately made no deal.
A big reason for that is the asking price, as Daryl Morey and company are asking for the moon in deals for Simmons. From the Warriors, the 76ers asked for Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, picks No. 7 and 14 in the 2021 NBA Draft and two future first-round picks.
While a trade wasn’t consummated during the draft, it is clear that the 76ers are working hard to move him. The price is high, but that is exactly what they should be doing. Ask for as much as possible until they are incentivized not to.
Talks involving Simmons will likely continue throughout the offseason. With his name being mentioned so often, it seems like a foregone conclusion that he will eventually be traded. It would be tough bringing him back to the team for the 2021-22 season knowing the organization tried so hard to move him.
4. Kristaps Porzingis
The Dallas Mavericks didn’t make a selection in the 2021 NBA Draft, as they chose to not trade into the foray to make a selection. That may have been a financial move, as the Mavericks will assuredly be active during free agency.
Dallas has to start building this roster up around superstar guard, Luka Doncic. The Kristaps Porzingis trade has backfired on them, as he has been unable to consistently perform as Doncic’s sidekick. His performance in the playoffs may have been the last straw for Dallas.
There isn’t much interest in Porzingis right now is reportedly minimal, that could change depending on how free agency goes for teams. If a team’s Plan A doesn’t come to fruition, they could pivot to a Plan B that includes acquiring the high-prized Latvian.
Porzingis can still be a difference-maker for a team, it just doesn’t look like it will be for Dallas. He is reportedly unhappy with his role on the team, feeling that he is more of an afterthought than 1B to Doncic’s 1A.
That won’t help the Mavericks win games or get any closer to contending for championships. They will keep trying to move on from him this offseason to retool the roster around Doncic before their salary cap flexibility is gone.