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Dame’s demands & the latest action | The high profile NBA players facing off-season moves


NBA trade rumours, free agency, 2023-24, Beal, Lillard, VanVleet

With the NBA Finals done and dusted for another season and the NBA Draft now ticked off too, attention has shifted to the next pivotal part of the basketball calendar, the free agency period.

It can be a nervous time for fan bases, as rumours swirl about their team’s star player moving on. Alternatively, this time of year can bring unbridled optimism if ‘the missing piece’ arrives to offer belief a franchise can launch a genuine run for a championship.

That’s now the case with the Phoenix Suns and Bradley Beal; the former Washington guard landed in the Arizona desert to kickstart the off-season. Beal forms an intimidating trio with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. But more on that below.

NBA player movement, off-season trades
Bradley Beal’s in Phoenix colours from the 2023-24 season | NBA off-season trades

Washington’s been central to all the drama so far, with Latvian seven-footer Kristaps Porzingis now set to join the Boston Celtics. The Wizards gain Tyus Jones in the three-way move that also sees the Celtics sending Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The latest developments also include Chris Paul to the Golden State Warriors, with Jordan Poole going back to the Wizards.

And Boston wasn’t done after landing Porzingis; with Kristaps arriving, they’ve sent Grant Williams to Dallas in a three-way trade that also involved San Antonio bringing in Reggie Bullock.

Now that it’s the 2023 off-season, some of the NBA’s other big names are reportedly on the table, with both free agency and trade talks threatening to truly shake up the league. Here are the players with top level profile that are being talked about in trade and movement conversations, plus the team most likely to land them.

Lebron James next team NBA
IF Lebron was to head somewhere different, where might he land?

Most likely landing spots for NBA stars that might get moved

The biggest of them coming in the form of LeBron James, who has left his career very much up in the air following the Lakers’ exit from the playoffs. There’s been news surrounding Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson too, after his rollercoaster four years in the league.

Plus, there’s still the usual crew of rumoured stars on the move such as Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving. But with so much to play out through June and July, here’s where some of the NBA’s biggest stars could end up.

LeBron James – Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks have jumped to the favourite to lure James away from the Lakers where he had a historic season in 2022/23 where he became the all-time leading scorer.

Former championship winning teammate of LeBron’s, Kyrie Irving, has reportedly reached out to the four-time champion to bring him to Dallas to form a deadly big three with Irving and Luka Doncic.

Damian Lillard – Miami Heat

It’s an all-too regular occurrence – but more real than ever – that Dame Dolla gets linked to would-be contenders. Lillard’s been fiercely loyal and the centre piece in Portland for 11 seasons now. While it’s said that he relishes being the true #1 on his team, the Trail Blazers’ future has been complicated by landing guard Scoot Henderson with the third pick in the 2023 Draft – a piece worth building around with the side’s young core and surplus of backcourt options.

NBA Finalists the Miami Heat are initial front runners to be the landing spot for Lillard; they have assets and desperately need a scoring guard that can help them double down on a promising post-season run all the way to the Finals.


Miami’s uniquely positioned to land yet another star. So what is it about ‘Heat culture’?

Heat culture, Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard wants a piece of that Heat culture.

Tobias Harris

The 76ers forward is likely to get moved, with plenty of teams being mocked up in potential trades.

Zion Williamson – Charlotte Hornets

It would be a serious gamble from the Pelicans front office to trade their former first overall pick, but Williamson is slowly nearing the point of no return in New Orleans.

Charlotte may give up their second pick in 2023 NBA Draft in a deal for Zion, along with some role players, creating one of the most exciting duos currently in the league; Williamson and LaMelo Ball.

Zion Williamson, NBA trade rumours, trade talk, next team
Could Zion Williamson’s time in New Orleans be coming to an end? | NBA off-season movement

Russell Westbrook – New York Knicks

Russell Westbrook is becoming quite the NBA journeyman and the 2017 NBA MVP is once again being spoken about in trade talks.

New York has been one of the earmarked destinations for a while now. However, a more realistic option is that he remains in LA and re-signs with the Clippers.

James Harden – Houston Rockets

It was quite a messy end to James Harden’s time in Houston back in 2020, however he’s one of the greatest Rockets players of all time and is expected to be brought back in with open arms. That’s if something can be facilitated.

NBA trade rumours, James Harden

2023 NBA off-season moves

Bradley Beal – Phoenix Suns

Another regular off-season narrative is ‘will Bradley Beal leave Washington’ and finally, it’s going to happen.

Many franchises have shown interest in Beal’s services but the Suns are close to acquiring him in a trade to create a scary big three with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns, NBA
Phoenix star Devin Booker has a new backcourt buddy for the 2023-24 NBA season.

Chris Paul – Golden State Warriors

Chris Paul went the other way in the Bradley Beal trade with the Wizards, but has now shockingly been re-routed to Steph Curry’s Golden State. The Warriors decided to move on from enigmatic guard Jordan Poole and bring in a high-IQ veteran, doubling down on smarts ahead of their next campaign.

38-year-old Chris Paul doesn’t come with the same ego he once had, meaning he’ll likely fall into line and be fine playing the best role he can on this team. Because the reality is, it’s Curry’s team. Paul will lead the second unit, as coach Steve Kerr figures out ways to have the pair close games in unison.

Kristaps Porzingis – Boston Celtics

Washington are committed to re-loading in a big way, offloading the 7’3 power forward to a contending Celtics. The Clippers were also involved in the proposed trade framework; the LA-based outfit had eyes for Malcolm Brogdon out of the exchange. But those talks fell through, leading to Memphis stepping up as the third party.

The Wizards have taken Tyus Jones off the Grizzlies, while Boston guard Marcus Smart ends up as another piece for Ja Morant’s Memphis.

Kristaps Porzingis, NBA trades, Boston Celtics
Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis will join the Boston Celtics.

Draymond Green – Staying with the Warriors

It’s been a turbulent past 12 months for Draymond Green, who went from winning his fourth championship to punching a teammate in the pre-season.

His future in San Francisco was a little up in the air, declining his player option heading into next season. But Golden State and Green and drawn up a new contract and Draymond is set to stay with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson — a win for the romantics.

Marcus Smart – Memphis Grizzlies

As part of the three-way trade unpacked above, Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been moved to Memphis, in a bit of a bombshell move.

Smart played a huge part in Boston’s run to the Eastern Conference finals, but the storied franchise is keen to provide Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown more breathing room.

So Smart joins Ja Morant in the Memphis backcourt, as the Grizzlies look to fill the void left by erratically-behaved guard-forward Dillon Brooks who’s chasing a new contract somewhere.

NBA trade rumours, free agency, 2023-24, Chris Paul, Marcus Smart
Chris Paul and Marcus Smart have been two of the higher profile NBA off-season moves.

Fred VanVleet – Houston Rockets

Fred VanVleet is ready for a brand new challenge, with an emerging Houston team.

VanVleet stormed to prominence during the Raptors’ 2019 run to the franchises inaugural championship and is the type of guard that will show loyalty and provide stability; the inverse of Kyrie Irving.

Kyrie Irving – Staying with the Mavericks

It seems like ever since Irving left LeBron James on his own in Cleveland, the NBA community has just been waiting for their reunion; well, we’ll be waiting a little longer, it seems.

Although Kyrie has been reportedly asking James to come to him in Dallas, Irving going to LA seemed much more realistic. Irving has signed a new lucrative three-year deal with the Mavs, which is a major commitment for such a flakey player. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Lakers explore something as the season unfolds.

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