It’s been quite a strange summer in the NBA the past month. More than a couple of big names have already switched teams and we’re not even done with the offseason yet. Though the heat may have died down on the trading and free-agency frenzy for now, there is no reason for general managers to relax and rest on their laurels. If there is a way to improve their team, you can bet that these men in suits will work out the best deal they can find.

Just as DeMar DeRozan was blindsided by the Toronto Raptors organization when they traded him for the San Antonio Spurs Kawhi Leonard, other superstars can’t be too comfortable where they are unless they have a no-trade clause in their contract. And even if they do have no-trade clauses, they can sign off on any deal that they like since players sometimes demand a move to a specific team only.

Who are the players most likely to be traded to another team by the trade deadline or much earlier? We’ve got 10 stars that could be on the move soon!

Lonzo Ball, LeBron James

10. Lonzo Ball

Alright, so Ball isn’t a star yet but you have to consider that, because he was the No. 2 pick last year and he is expected to be one, he should be on this list.

The incoming sophomore is on a team that that has another point guard who plays just like him and can’t shoot a lick, too, in Rajon Rondo. Rondo has proven himself to be a smart, hard-nosed veteran who won a championship ring as a starting point guard for the Boston Celtics in the 2008 season. After last season’s playoffs, Rondo has shown that he has a lot left in his tank.

Could Ball prove himself worthy of playing alongside his new superstar teammate, LeBron James? That remains to be seen and with James looking to win now, the UCLA alum will have to prove himself early and often next season from the start. If not, Rondo will take his place and Ball could be headed elsewhere.

Hassan Whiteside
Hassan Whiteside

9. Hassan Whiteside

Whatever happened to Whiteside? After a spectacular return to the NBA in 2014-15 and improving every year since then, the 7-foot center became a liability to the Miami Heat and was benched a lot in the playoffs while playing against Joel Embiid in their first-round matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Whiteside is talented, but he lacks the focus and the dedication necessary to elevate his game to the next level and lead a team. His stats may look good on paper but if they don’t translate to wins, they don’t mean squat.

The mercurial center appears to have shown some humility this offseason, hoping to return to the Heat rather than be traded, but the Heat can only afford one last slip up from Whiteside and he’s out of Miami for sure.

8. Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown

Brown is one of the key pieces for the Boston Celtics but GM Danny Ainge will not hesitate to ship any of his young guys in exchange for a superstar. As good as Brown was last season, he had moments in the playoffs where he totally disappeared, most notably in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Had he shown up, the Celtics would have been the one facing the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals instead.

Live and breathe sports?

🚨 Get viral graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

The 21-year old can chalk up his inconsistent play to being young, but he will have to prove himself to Ainge who has no compunctions about trading any of his stars. Just ask Isaiah Thomas what happened last year. It’s all about “what have you done for me lately” for Ainge who wants to win now in the suddenly wide-open East. If Brown doesn’t develop into the superstar that he is expected to become this season, Ainge may deal him quickly to capitalize on the window of opportunity afforded him to own the weakened conference and perhaps win a championship along the way.

7. Marc Gasol

Mike Conley, MArc Gasol

One of the few traditional centers left in the game, Gasol could be headed elsewhere if the Memphis Grizzlies realize that they would be better off going for younger players and letting them develop alongside 2018 lottery pick Jaren Jackson Jr.

Gasol is on the downside of his career so he should be playing for a title contender by now rather than helping a few kids grow up and mentor them to become superstars in their own right. If he is going to move on, the Grizzlies could find the right situation where they can get a draft pick or two to build a young foundation around Jackson.

I can see Gasol going to a team like the Celtics, Lakers 76ers or probably even the Milwaukee Bucks who are a dark horse pick to make it out of the East.

6. Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin

The Detroit Pistons thought they were going to be playoff contenders when they received an All-Star forward in the form of Griffin from the L.A. Clippers for some of their key players. But Stan Van Gundy’s questionable coaching moves and an injury to Griffin (one that sidelined him for the final eight games of the season) derailed what should have been just Detroit’s second playoff appearance in nine seasons.

Instead, the Pistons are heading into the season with plenty of questions and if they don’t get answered, expect Griffin to be the player who gets shipped. Because as good as he is, there’s no way the Pistons are trading Andre Drummond as the blame for another poor Pistons performance would fall on Griffin’s shoulders.

The former Clipper was brought in to make a difference on the team. If Detroit continues to underperform, then there’s no reason to pay superstar money to someone who doesn’t elevate his team’s play.

5. Jimmy Butler

Mavs, Jimmy Butler

Just one year into his Minnesota Timberwolves tenure and Butler is already rocking the boat of his new team. The All-Star forward questioned one of his teammate’s desire to win ballgames and he has been rumored to be joining Kyrie Irving on a team that has a chance to rule the East.

To his credit, Butler was able to help the Timberwolves notch their first postseason appearance in more than a decade after they made it to the playoffs on the last game of the regular season. But having three star players on the team doesn’t always work out. Andrew Wiggins may be discontented with his numbers going down on Butler’s account, too. Karl-Anthony Towns is also reportedly at odds with management and possibly with Butler as well.

If a harmonious relationship can’t be found between these three, don’t be surprised to see Butler wearing another jersey by midseason.

4. John Wall

John Wall, Wizards

Wall has been associated with the Washington Wizards since he was drafted by them in 2011. He has been at the heart of the team’s rebuilding efforts and their recent string of playoff runs is the result of their continuous effort to surround him with complementary talent such as Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and now, Dwight Howard.

However, the Wizards were able to win consistently without Wall in the lineup late last season, prompting many to wonder if the team was actually playing better without their starting point guard. The team is hoping to build on their strong showing last season and management expects them to make it past the first round of the playoffs next year. But if the Wizards aren’t in the top four teams in the wide-open East, Wall could be their scapegoat for their misfortune.

It may not be fair but he’s the most likely player to be moved who can bring in another All-Star, someone the likes of the Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard.

Speaking of Lillard…

damian lillard

3. Damian Lillard

The jury is still out on Lillard after his poor showing in the playoffs last April. He was primarily responsible for Portland landing the third-seed in the ultra-competitive West and he is also the one responsible for their ouster in the first round to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Blazers are a mediocre team that sometimes shows signs of being an elite team. They overachieved in the regular season but were exposed for what they truly were in the playoffs. They have had too many first and second-round dismissals that the team may be concerned that the team and the coach are settling for less than a championship.

The front office is going to want results and the playoff flame out is going to weigh heavily on the players’ shoulders. They either get better next season or they forget how to win games. If the latter happens, then Lillard is on his way out and Washington may come calling.

2. Kyrie Irving

Brad Stevens, Kyrie Irving, Gordon hayward
Brad Stevens, Kyrie Irving, Gordon hayward

Just a year after Irving was traded to the Celtics, the ballhandling wizard may be headed to another city before the trade deadline if Boston doesn’t feel confident that they can keep his services in the future. The speculation is that he wants to play in front of the bright lights of Madison Square Garden where all superstars shine. The New York Knicks may not have the right pieces for a trade with the Celtics but a three-way trade could work.

The only question is, which team would be willing to help facilitate that trade?

Ainge may not be willing to risk not getting anything out of their superstar if his point guard continues to refuse to sign an extension. It’s almost a certainty that Irving will not be wearing Celtics green before the trade deadline in February. With the emergence of Terry Rozier as a lead guard after Irving’s season-ending injury last season, there’s no reason why the Celtics shouldn’t pull the trigger on a trade that would give them more draft picks or perhaps an additional All-Star such as Karl-Anthony Towns.

That reminds me…

1. Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl Anthony Towns

One of the best young players in the league could be one of the league’s most wanted by another team. Towns is a top talent but one who could be on the move if his relationship with the organization, including coach Tom Thibodeau, doesn’t get better this offseason.

Butler seemed to be attacking Towns and his lack of competitive will. That relationship needs to be addressed, too. The most simple answer for the T-Wolves is to keep Butler and trade Towns. Then again, what if Butler doesn’t want to stay in Minnesota next season? Don’t look now but the Timberwolves might blow this whole thing up!

There should be no shortage of suitors for the very talented Towns. From the Celtics to the Sixers to the Rockets and the Lakers, the 7-footer will be a hot commodity if he ever becomes available. Could the Timberwolves suddenly lose their best players at the same time?

We’ll have to wait and see.