The All-Benefiting Ten-Team Trade I Want to See Happen at the NBA Trade Deadline


Lucas Parent, Lion's Roar Staff

The trade deadline is among the most important days in the league’s year, carrying similar significance to draft day and the first days of free agency. The deadline grants team the opportunity to make an important decision and separates the league into buyers, sellers, and stayers. Some teams buy at the deadline, sacrificing depth and future draft picks to gain greater status in the present. The 2023 Dallas Mavericks are a prime example of this. In a trade on Sunday, the Mavericks acquired star (but controversial) guard Kyrie Irving, sending Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and multiple future picks to the Nets. Some teams will be sellers at the deadline, shipping off win-now players in exchange for young talent and draft picks. While this deadline has minimal sellers compared to past seasons, a result of the ultra-competitiveness and balanced rostering of the league, teams like the Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and Washington Wizards may send off players to contending teams in exchange for stock in the future.

The most teams ever to be involved in a trade in the history of the league is five, and the thirteen players swapped in a 2005 trade between the Celtics, Heat, Grizzlies, Jazz, and Pelicans are also a record. In my proposal, ten teams are involved, and 20 players are exchanged between them. In addition, 17 future draft picks are involved in this trade which shares one similarity by team: it is beneficial to all engaged. Featuring four Eastern Conference teams, and six Western Conference teams, this trade allows rosters to be retooled, and assets to be transferred to rebuilding franchises.

The Pistons are the first team in this deal, acquiring Russell Westbrook, a future second-round pick from the Kings and 76ers, and the highly valued Lakers’ 2028 first-round pick (with top-three protection). The Pistons, who move on from Bojan Bogdanovic, Nerlens Noel, and Marvin Bagley III, move on from some of the older players on the roster. In addition, the Pistons profit off a struggling Lakers squad; Desperate for anything, Rob Pelinka pulls out 2028 first and sends it off for a proven veteran scorer in Bogdanovic, while parting with former-superstar-turned-negative Russell Westbrook.

The Lakers will be buyers at the trade deadline, likely looking to acquire players to increase their title odds with soon-to-be all-time points leader LeBron James. In this trade, they part with Russell Westbrook after two seasons and acquire Bojan Bogdanovic, as well as versatile two-way guard Mike Conley from the Utah Jazz. These acquisitions will come at a cost, as the Lakers will be parting ways with their pair of future first-rounders, paving the way for an era of darkness after the departure of LeBron James in the near future. The Lakers will likely be in the market for a new starting guard, so acquiring a veteran averaging 11 points and eight assists per contest could be a remedy for the reeling Lakers. Also, salary restrictions force the Lakers to take on the contract of the Suns’ Bismack Biyombo, a functional veteran center to bring off the bench in aid to Thomas Bryant. 

The Jazz, who will be shipping Conley to the Lakers, will be selling more players at the deadline as a result of struggle arising following a magical start to the season. The Jazz, thought to be rebuilding after shipping out Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, started out the season 10-3 (.769), but have gone only 17-24 (.415) since. Continuing at this pace would see the Jazz finish at 36-46, likely out of the playoff picture but still accomplishing more than most fans expected this season. In this trade, the Jazz move on from not only Mike Conley, but ship Malik Beasley to the Mavericks as well. In return, the Jazz gained five veteran players: Alex Len, Furkan Korkmaz, Marvin Bagley III, Josh Richardson, and Sam Hauser (multiple of these players are likely to be bought out if acquired). Additionally, the Jazz receives substantial compensation: the Mavericks’ 2026 first-round pick (lottery protected), and the Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick.

The Kings and 76ers are among the simplest parties in this experimental trade. The tie between the two teams is Matisse Thybulle: an unorthodox defender in who the Kings are rumored to have an interest in. The 76ers ship Thybulle to the Kings, and in return they receive the Kings’ 2023 first-rounder. For salary reasons, the 76ers acquire backup center Nerlens Noel from the Pistons. The Kings, who give up Alex Len, also gain a 2025 second-round pick from the Utah Jazz.

Boston’s own are likely to be involved in a trade, eyeing bench depth at the center position. In doing so, they will likely have to part ways with Derrick White, as to not break the NBA’s trade rules involving finance. Rumor has it that the Celtics are also intrigued by the prospect of trading for the Suns’ Jae Crowder ( a former Celtic). By shipping off Derrick White, Sam Hauser, a trade exception, and three total pick before 2025, the Celtics acquire Crowder, as well as Jakob Poeltl and the Kings’ 2023 second-round pick.

The Suns have regressed this season, to say the least, and are now exploring options on how to regain the status of “contender,” making even future Hall of Famer Chris Paul available in trade discussions. By retaining Chris Paul, the Suns may be able to move on from Jae Crowder, and Bismack Biyombo, while acquiring more assets. In this trade, the Suns send future draft picks to Washington in exchange for the up-and-coming forward Kyle Kuzma. The Suns also receive a pair of second-round picks from Boston in exchange for Crowder.

While it may not be apparent to them right now, the Wizards are unlikely to contend for a title as long as Bradley Beal is on the roster unless drastic changes are made. For now, the Wizards will be retooling, sending off Kuzma while acquiring two amiable contracts in Reggie Bullock (expiring after this season) and Davis Bertans. For their service, the Wizards embrace the future, gaining protected first-rounders from the Suns and Mavericks, and four total second-round picks between Phenoix, Sacramento, and Detroit. 

The Spurs have already embraced a rebuild, and are expected to send off rostered veterans come Thursday afternoon (or sooner). Josh Richardson and Jakob Poeltl are part of this group. The Spurs send Poeltl to the Celtics, and Richardson to the Jazz, and receive Will Barton, Derrick White, and a lightly protected 2025 first-round pick from the Boston Celtics.

The last of the ten teams involved in this “mega-trade” is the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks, who traded for Kyrie Irving on Sunday, now find themselves in a position lacking bench depth. For the price of two lottery-protected first-round picks, the Mavericks pick up Malik Beasley from the Jazz, and Monte Morris and Taj Gibson from the Wizards. Beasley is yet another body for a Mavericks team that now lacks them, and has established himself as an elite three-point shooter in the NBA this season. Beasley is the type of player who will pair well next to superstar guard Luka Doncic, and the team will look to him in the postseason this year. Additionally, Monte Morris fills a vital sixth-man role, providing nearly 11 points and six assists this season so far for the Washington Wizards. 

The best part about this gigantic trade proposal is that it positively impacts all ten teams involved. The Pistons, Jazz, and Spurs are all rebuilding franchises, and through this trade are able to pick up draft picks in the coming years. The Pistons benefit heavily from this trade, as at the cost of veterans, they gain an expiring contract and three future picks. The Wizards are looking to contend, and that will not be a reality with this current roster. They are able to benefit from this trade, by gaining six total picks at the cost of three veterans.

The Lakers and Suns are in a predicament. With a roster of aging stars, both teams look to maximize the present before the faces of the franchise retire or become unserviceable, those being LeBron James and Chris Paul, respectively. In this trade, the teams embrace the present day, maximizing assets in return for win-now players. 

The Kings, 76ers, Celtics, and Mavericks are all playoff contenders and are expected to make trades like so. The Kings fill an interest in Matisse Thybulle, and the 76ers fill one in Nerlens Noel. Additionally, the Celtics fix both a stacked group of guards and a lack of bench centers, for Jae Crowder and Jakob Poeltl. The Mavericks, who have made it clear that they intend to send off future draft picks to get Luka Doncic current-day help, gain two versatile bench players in Monte Morris and Malik Beasley.