While we wait to see where Kevin Durant ends up following his trade request from the Brooklyn Nets, sometimes smaller deals can make all the difference for teams as well.
Be it P.J. Tucker bringing toughness to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021, Marc Gasol helping the Toronto Raptors capture the 2019 title or Channing Frye's chemistry cleanse of the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, simply adding a veteran starter or rotation player can allow teams to make a big leap overall.
The following five trade ideas don't contain a player who made the All-Star team last year. Yet if any of these players are traded to the right destination, it could have a huge ripple effect on the rest of the league.
Myles Turner Joins the Raptors
Toronto Raptors Receive: C Myles Turner
Indiana Pacers Receive: F/C Precious Achiuwa, C Khem Birch, G Malachi Flynn, G/F Svi Mykhailiuk, 2023 first-round pick (top-five protected)
While the Raptors weren't on Durant's supposed wish list of teams to join, Toronto boasts some of the best assets to acquire him. Masai Ujiri obviously isn't afraid to swing for the fences with his 2018 trade for Kawhi Leonard, a move that delivered a championship 11 months later.
So what can the Raptors do to help convince Durant to push Brooklyn into orchestrating a trade? A deal for one of the NBA's best rim protectors should help.
Getting Turner gives Toronto a potential supersized lineup, one that could feature four starters (along with OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam) that stand 6'7" to 6'11". If acquired, the 6'10" Durant fits this mold as well.
While the Raptors give up a first-round pick in this deal, they keep all of their starters and own all of their other future first-round picks, meaning the Nets could still pick from a talent pool that features Gary Trent Jr., Anunoby, Barnes and Siakam.
Getting another first in 2023 would give Indiana three total (its own plus one owed from the Cleveland Cavaliers) in what projects to be a terrific draft. Achiuwa, 22, is a good young building block in the frontcourt the Pacers should covet as well.
What Changes: Toronto becomes a more attractive destination for Kevin Durant without giving up any starters.
Mike Conley Makes Pelicans a Contender
New Orleans Pelicans Receive: PG Mike Conley
Utah Jazz Receive: F/C Jaxson Hayes, PG Devonte' Graham, 2027 first-round pick (via Milwaukee Bucks)
The Pelicans were one of the feel-good stories after the trade deadline, turning what looked like another lost season into playoff experience with a competitive first-round series against the Phoenix Suns.
The truth is, New Orleans isn't that far away from contending for a championship, especially if Zion Williamson comes back healthy next season.
Another key to pushing the Pelicans toward the top of the West? Acquiring a veteran point guard who can tie everything together.
With the Utah Jazz having already traded Rudy Gobert, Conley could be the next vet to go while they retool the roster around Donovan Mitchell. The 34-year-old point guard averaged 13.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals and just 1.7 turnovers per game for Utah last season, and his 40.8 percent mark from three would do wonders for a Pelicans team that finished 27th overall in outside accuracy (33.2 percent).
With so many big-time scorers already on the roster, joining a starting five consisting of CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas would mean simply setting guys up and hitting open threes for Conley. With a bench that features Herbert Jones, Larry Nance Jr., Jose Alvarado, Trey Murphy III and others, New Orleans could be in the championship hunt with a proven playoff point guard like Conley.
Hayes, 22, gives the Jazz a young center to potentially build around with Gobert gone, while Graham takes over point guard duties next to Mitchell and is seven years younger than Conley. Utah also adds another first-round pick to a now massive collection thanks to the Gobert trade, giving it more options to add talent around Mitchell.
What Changes: Pelicans go from a 36-46 eighth seed to serious contender in the West.