Several hours before the 2021 NBA draft started, Thursday produced plenty of fireworks for fans to enjoy.

For a minute, it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers might be packaging a number of assets to land the sweet-shooting Buddy Hield. Then, they apparently swerved into a trade for Russell Westbrook.

Plenty of smaller-profile deals went down between then and the end of the draft, but there are still a number of stars who've basically lived in the rumor mill this summer and might be available.

Will all the smoke rising around Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal or Ben Simmons lead to real trades? Will Hield get out of Sacramento, after all?

Now that the draft's dust has settled, let's look at some other moves that might land stars in new homes.


Damian Lillard to the Warriors

The Trade: Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, a 2023 first-round pick swap, a 2025 first-round pick swap and a 2026 first-round pick for Damian Lillard

When Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported June 27 that Lillard might push his way "out the door," it felt inevitable he'd demand a trade. Now, it's been over a month since that report, and Lillard is still a Trail Blazer.

That doesn't necessarily mean all is well in Portland, though, especially if it can't add a star to play with Lillard. If the superstar does ask out, The Athletic's Anthony Slater noted that Golden State might be interested in swooping in.

"They'd make a call and have already internally discussed the idea, as I'm sure most contenders have, considering the rising smoke out of Portland," Slater wrote.

There would be some concern regarding the skill and usage overlap with Lillard and Stephen Curry, but both have shown an ability to work with high-end scorers (Kevin Durant for Curry and CJ McCollum for Lillard). The talent level of that backcourt would be ridiculous.

Yes, it would put a lot of pressure on Klay Thompson (who's missed the last two seasons with a torn ACL and torn Achilles), Draymond Green and Kevon Looney to carry a decent defense, but the offensive firepower would be immense.

For Portland, entertaining any Lillard packages would almost certainly require a trade demand from the star. And receiving the seventh and 14th picks in this draft might've been more intriguing before the selections were made, but this is a rebuild starter kit for the Blazers.

Jonathan Kuminga hovered around the top five of mock drafts and big boards for months before sliding to No. 7 Thursday. His combination of 6'7" size and versatility is intriguing. There's plenty of that from last year's No. 2 pick, 7-footer James Wiseman, as well.

Throw in some future draft consideration and Andrew Wiggins' deal for salary-matching purposes (his contract expires after the 2022-23 season) and you can see why Portland would at least be intrigued.

A team like the New Orleans Pelicans or Oklahoma City Thunder could come over the top with their treasure troves of assets, but stars have increasingly had their say in their own trades of late. A chance to return to The Bay and compete for a title would almost certainly tempt Lillard, an Oakland native.


Ben Simmons to the Raptors

The Sign-and-Trade: Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, a 2023 first-round pick and a 2025 first-round pick for Ben Simmons and George Hill

There are a handful of disclaimers to get out of the way on this one. First, and probably most important, the Philadelphia 76ers' asking price for Ben Simmons is exorbitant. Actually, that might not even be a strong enough description.

According to The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor (h/t News 4 San Antonio's Jeff Garcia), Philadelphia asked for a whopping four first-round picks, three pick swaps and a young player for Simmons.

That's madness.

If the Sixers move Simmons, it will be next to impossible for them to get that much in return. They could still be posturing, though, as there's a good chance those demands will come down to earth.

If (or when) they do, the Toronto Raptors could move in.

Now, for the second disclaimer. Kyle Lowry is an impending free agent, so his inclusion in the deal requires sign-and-trade mechanics. And Philadelphia might have to include more outgoing salary to make that potential contract signed by Lowry more realistic.

However the intricacies shake out, the point would be the Sixers get a shooter in Lowry and a forward who can play on the perimeter in Siakam. And Philadelphia should (and likely will) prioritize spacing around Joel Embiid.

Now, this might feel like too much for Simmons. The inclusion of two picks is a reaction to the Sixers' stance. If Siakam is heading out, the Raptors would be within their rights to try to limit draft consideration.

But Lowry could've been on his way out anyway, and Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported that Siakam is "considered available for trade by sources around the league."

If Toronto emerged from all of this with lineups featuring Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Simmons and Chris Boucher, it'd be in good shape for a return to the postseason in 2022.