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6 NBA Stars That Need to Be Traded in 2021

| January 10, 2021 7:39 am PDT
6 NBA Stars That Need to Be Traded Fast

The 2020-21 NBA season is still pretty young. It’s still January with 2020 turning into 2021, after all.

Reacting too positively or too negatively to anyone’s start after just a few weeks is probably reckless. If the 2020-21 NBA season ended as I write this, a whopping six teams that made the playoffs last year would be sent home.

Heck, the New York Knicks are in the playoffs right now. The Phoenix Suns have the second-best record in the league.

Things can change, for sure. 

That said, some slow starts should be relatively eye-opening. A slew of NBA traded candidates rumored to be on the trade block before the season won’t see the chatter quiet down, either.

Which players are on the move? Who knows. Which NBA stars should be traded? Well, that’s something I have a take on.

With that, here’s a look at the top 6 NBA stars that need to be traded fast.

James Harden, SG, Rockets

There are a lot of ways to make money from betting on the NBA. One is correctly predicting where superstars play next.

Does anyone hold a candle to Harden in regards to NBA stars that should be traded? In terms of star power, actual value, and both sides probably benefiting from a divorce, James Harden understandably takes the cake.

Harden has been reckless and loud in his pursuit for a trade. The franchise already sent Russell Westbrook packing, marking the third-star guard they traded out of town to appease their franchise player.

But that wasn’t good enough. Harden likely saw a franchise in decline after the team let their GM and head coach go, and he probably grew tired of willing this team to victory.

Harden wants out, and the Rockets should oblige. His value will never be higher, and there will be teams lining up to nab the elite scorer (33 points per game so far this year).

There are a lot of potential destinations for Harden, but one stands out above the rest; Miami.

Miami is part of a four-pack of teams that Harden is known to be interested in.

The Heat have a pool of players to dangle in trade talks, including Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, and others. It may take a third team to hop into the deal to make the financial aspect work, but both sides could be motivated.

The point isn’t that it’s easy to connect the dots here, but that Houston doesn’t have a future with Harden and needs to pull the plug. Miami probably offers the most enticing package out there.

Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors

A less enticing player that should be on the move is Toronto Raptors veteran point guard Kyle Lowry, who is actually putting up career-best numbers as a playmaker.

Lowry’s supporting cast isn’t getting it done, however, and as I write this, the Raptors are an ugly 1-6.

It’s clear that Lowry is already a little upset, too.

Toronto remains a pretty good team with the potential to turn things around, but they aren’t title contenders like they were two seasons ago. The organization knows this.

Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam are guys Toronto is invested in for the future. An aging Lowry is not.

And if you think the Raptors wouldn’t “do Lowry like that,” just remember that they shipped DeMar DeRozan off to San Antonio.

Lowry can still play very well on both ends of the floor, but Toronto isn’t winning anything with him at this point. It could make sense to get something back in return for him while giving him a chance to contend elsewhere.

DeMar DeRozan, SG, Spurs

Speaking of DeRozan, it may be time for the Spurs to move on from him, too. DeRozan opted into the final year of his contract (because, duh), but that was a financial decision.

DeRozan won’t be here come next summer, and San Antonio has to know that. The Spurs also have to know that they aren’t going anywhere this year, and a 3-4 start perfectly illustrates that.

Can DeRozan play well and keep the Spurs somewhat competitive? Sure, but the Spurs have a lot of interesting young talent, and DeRozan is occupying a slot that one of them could fill.

Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Lonnie Walker IV are three guys that come to mind that have already proven they deserve big minutes. Johnson has specifically stood out as a budding star.

DeRozan needn’t be sticking around clogging up their path to the court.

San Antonio needs to expedite their rebuild by trading away their stars while they still hold value. That includes LaMarcus Aldridge, but it’s pretty arguable he’s not quite as attractive in trade talks.

DeRozan still lacks range as a shooter, but he’s evolved as a playmaker and is one of the better midrange scorers in the league. Someone could use that to fuel a title run. 

The only question would be what teams would be giving up for a likely one-year rental.

Blake Griffin, PF, Pistons

Another NBA star that needs to be traded is Blake Griffin. I am a big fan of Griffin’s physicality, athleticism, playmaking, and expanded range.

He’s worked really hard to become a complete player, and over the years, he’s gone from a pretty poor shooter to an above-average asset in that regard.

Griffin’s contract is horrific, he’s aging, and he can never stay healthy. Those are among the reasons for the Pistons to consider a move.

It’s likely he’ll just hit a wall and further decline in the near future, but he’s still technically in his prime. In theory, Griffin would make whoever trades for him better. He just needs to stay on the court.

Not many teams can explain away the notion of eating his albatross of a contract, while a trade, in general, will likely be difficult to complete. Detroit should be motivated, though, as they’re 1-7 to start the year and are stuck waist-deep in a rebuild.

The contract is bad, and Griffin is a risk, but he remains capable of being part of a winning team. Teams that could use him that may have the pieces to swing for the fences include the Warriors, Knicks, and Blazers.

Kevin Love, PF, Cavaliers

Love is another big man that is on borrowed time with his current NBA franchise. His is another gross contract when you start considering the actual return for a team spending copious amounts of cash on one player.

That and Love literally isn’t even a healthy contributor for Cleveland as I write this.

The Cavs are much like the Pistons in that they’re just rebuilding and seeing what sticks. With Andre Drummond and Larry Nance on board, there’s little reason for the Cavs to hold onto the 32-year old.

While Cleveland doesn’t have much use for Love, other teams might. Love can still hit the outside shot, he’s a strong overall scorer, he rebounds well, and he’s an excellent passer.

The question is just how much value he offers for a title contender. Boston and Golden State again stand out as teams that could make a deal happen, but executing a Love trade – as much as it needs to happen – could obviously prove difficult.

C.J. McCollum, SG, Blazers

I may be alone here, but I don’t really see the point of McCollum in Portland – especially if his elite scoring isn’t going to actually translate into winning.

Damian Lillard is guilty of bad defense just as much as McCollum, but the two together accomplish nothing on that end of the court. They’re tough to defend, but scoring only gets you so far.

Portland has lived this dream for years, but things are reaching a boiling point with another slow start. It could finally be time for the Blazers to send one of their star guards packing, and something tells me the more one-dimensional McCollum would be the odd man out.

Again, McCollum is a fantastic scorer, and at the moment, he’s dropping career-high numbers.

But the Blazers need to get bold if they’re going to take things to the next level. They still have unanswered questions at forward, so maybe they could target guys like Griffin or Love in an effort to balance things out a bit more.


There are a lot of NBA stars that need to be traded fast. The players detailed above just stand out the most.

As I mentioned, it’s still early. The 2020-21 NBA season has no clue what it is yet. So many teams are off to shocking starts, and some really good teams aren’t even playing .500 ball yet.

A brief off-season plays into that, while some teams just aren’t healthy or maxing their guys out. Once we get closer to the NBA trade deadline, there should be a lot more answers.

Regardless of what happens, the players above may be nearing the end with their respective teams, and that list could grow. Keep in mind how that may impact how you bet on the NBA moving forward, especially on markets such as player awards.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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