Tired of puny fake NBA trades that only include a handful of teams at a time? Boy, do we have a treat for you — all 30 teams, rolled into one mega-trade.
The 30-team mega-trade is undoubtedly the dumbest and most ostentatious feather in my basketball-writing cap. I created the first iteration in 2017 but hadn’t been able to keep it up the past two years as early trades ruined the masterpiece as it was being created.
This year, I tried to go a bit early so that no pre-deadline shenanigans disrupted the master plan. As in the past, I am actually not sure if this is legal under the CBA but my proposal at least works for every team from a salary-in and salary-out perspective.
As with any NBA trade, there are winners and losers here. I did my best to solve at least one problem for each team but I varied the degree to which I succeeded (and, to be fair, it’s arguable whether I succeeded at all). I also tried to consider long-term salary cap issues but I’m sure I’ve overlooked numerous luxury tax implications (it’s not my money!) If you’re looking at your team and wondering why they would agree to what I’ve proposed, the answer is: I needed to involve every team because that’s the silly framework I set for myself. Relax, I’m not your team’s actual GM.
What does each team get and give up in this 30-team, NBA mega-trade?
Sending out: John Collins, Justin Holiday
Bringing in: Christian Wood, Jae Crowder, Dario Saric, 2023 1st-round pick (PHX)
There’s a good chance the Hawks could find a better return for Collins if we weren’t rolling them into this 30-team morass but they get a chance to audition Christian Wood as a replacement frontcourt scorer for Collins, and could theoretically re-sign him for a lot less than they’re paying Collins. Crowder and Saric may not be long-term pieces but they could help for a playoff push this year and the Hawks do pick up a first-round pick from the Suns that could fall towards the middle of the round.
Sending out: Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre Jr.
Bringing in: Danilo Gallinari, Evan Fournier, Grayson Allen, Justise Winslow, Romeo Langford, 2023 1st-round pick (WAS via NYK), 2028 1st-round pick (LAC)
The Hornets begin a rebuild shipping out Oubre and Hayward and taking back a bunch of rougher contracts in exchange for some additional draft picks. None of the players they’re returning are likely to be of any long-term value and Fournier is expensive with one more year after this. But they can decline his player option for 2024-25 and they pick up Washington’s 2023 first-round pick (via the Knicks) which should be pretty valuable, as well as the Clippers’ 2028 first-round pick.
Sending out: Duncan Robinson, 2023 1st-round pick (SAS), 2027 1st-round pick (WAS)
Bringing in: Kyle Kuzma, TJ McConnell
The Heat are taking a gamble trading out multiple first-round picks to unload Duncan Robinson’s contract. But they also some win-now pieces that can hopefully help re-open their championship window before Jimmy Butler really ages out. McConnell is an excellent backup point guard option with pesky defense at the point of the attack. Kuzma is the real prize, a versatile wing scorer who can really juice their offense and be re-signed as a bridge to the next iteration of this team.
Sending out: Mo Bamba
Bringing in: Devonte’ Graham
Bamba has become the odd man out with the emergence of Bol Bol rounding out the big man rotation with Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr. But his floor spacing and rim protection, underdeveloped they may be, are still enough to land Orlando a backcourt scoring upgrade . In theory, the Magic have their point guard rotation set with Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs. But they’re still lacking creation ability in that group and Graham can help, even if he’s undersized.
Sending out: Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, Raul Neto
Bringing in: James Wiseman, Nikola Vucevic, Doug McDermott, 2027 1st-round pick (MIA), 2029 1st-round pick (LAL)
The Wizards go big with the rebuild, finally trading Bradley Beal and shedding his massive contract. It’s a tough choice since they don’t return a player anywhere near his caliber but they aren’t winning with him now and there’s no reason to think that’s going to change. In exchange for him and Kuzma, the Wizards get a pair of veterans (Vucevic and McDermott) that they can try to flip again or simply let come off their books. They also get a pair of first-round picks pretty deep in the future and a chance to try out James Wiseman and see if they can build him into a foundational piece. They’d like to get a lot more for Beal (especially with Kuzma rolled in) but his contract severely limits their options.