As the NBA Playoffs roll right along into the conference semifinals, the attention of 22 different organizations has turned towards what their plans will be entering the 2024 offseason, specifically regarding trades. Rumors are already flying off the shelves as NBA fans around the world are vying for their team to make changes. Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Joel Embiid, the best of the best, are hearing their names in mock trades due to their respective teams' failures in the first round of the playoffs.

You just never know what will happen during the NBA offseason, which is why it is never too early to start talking about different trades and scenarios that could play out. Will any of the aforementioned stars be available? Who knows at this point? What we do know is that this upcoming offseason is going to bring a lot of action due to teams looking to set up their finances for future seasons.

The league's new CBA agreement regarding second apron tax rules goes into effect over the summer. This means the teams with the largest payrolls are going to be penalized. As of right now, the first tax apron is going to be set at $179 million for the 2024-25 season, with the second tax apron at $190 million. Essentially, teams that go above $190 million will not only be limited to 100 percent salary matching regulations in trades, but they will also be prohibited from combining multiple players’ salaries into trades for a single player making more money. These second apron teams also lose their mid-level exception immediately.

The future of the NBA is going to be changed by the trades that are made during the summer. What those deals could look like remains the ultimate question. Over the next several weeks, plenty of rumors and projections will unfold with the NBA Draft right around the corner. Which front offices will operate with caution, and which ones will go all-in to try and win a championship?

Here are five hypothetical deals constructed based on this upcoming offseason's projected financial situations that could play out. Regardless of how crazy they sound at first, give each one a chance, because you may just love what you read!

Kevin Durant returns to Golden State

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) and Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) talk during the second half at Chase Center.
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors receive: F Kevin Durant, G Eric Gordon, G Damion Lee, F Nassir Little

Phoenix Suns receive: G Chris Paul, F Andrew Wiggins, F Jonathan Kuminga, GSW 2025 1st Round Pick (Unprotected), ATL 2026 2nd Round Pick (Unprotected), GSW 2027 1st Round Pick (Top-10 protected)

Could Kevin Durant return to the Bay Area? After losing in the Western Conference Semifinals last season, Kevin Durant and the Suns were swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs this year. There are now a lot of questions about the fit of Durant alongside Bradley Beal and Devin Booker, as well as what the future holds for Frank Vogel after just one season in the desert. The Suns own the league's highest payroll, and they will be a second apron team.

Although owner Mat Ishbia made it very clear that he feels like the team is in a perfect spot despite their early playoff exit, maybe trading Durant isn't as crazy as it sounds. Seeing as the All-Star forward will be up for a contract extension in the offseason, this could be the best time for Phoenix to move him if they are having any doubts about his future with the team. At the same time, perhaps Durant is the one who is getting cold feet about wanting to stay with the Suns for the remainder of his career.

With the Golden State Warriors, Durant won two titles and was named the NBA Finals MVP in back-to-back seasons. Teaming up with Stephen Curry once more puts Durant in the best position possible to win as many titles as he can before entering the Hall of Fame. These two will be playing together for Team USA this upcoming summer, and there will most definitely be conversations about their futures in the NBA. If Durant can let bygones be bygones with Draymond Green, this trade is actually not as crazy as it may look.

“If there's a will to get it done, and if Kevin wants it done and the Warriors want it done, I think there is a way to do it,” Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area said on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco. “I mean, Joe Lacob never wanted him to leave. And so I believe that yeah, they can package a deal that would have to include Jonathan Kuminga, because he's young, 21 years old, and you see the upside there. But you have to go start with there and keep going from there.”

Before a trade like this could be made, the Warriors would need to guarantee the final year of Chris Paul's contract. Would the Suns want Paul back? More importantly, would he want to go back to the team that betrayed him? Maybe a third team would need to be involved here. Wiggins and Kuminga would keep the Suns in a position to compete right now, and they would still be able to go out on the market to see if moving Jusuf Nurkic is a possibility.

For the Warriors, they would be getting Eric Gordon and Damion Lee, Steph's brother-in-law, in addition to Durant. Sacrificing their future to go all-in for championships right now is the right move for the Warriors.

Spurs bring back Dejounte Murray

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks with Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) after the game at the AT&T Center.
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs receive: G Dejounte Murray

Atlanta Hawks receive: G Malaki Branham, G Devonte' Graham, LAL 2024 2nd Round Pick (Unprotected), ATL 2025 1st Round Pick (Unprotected), ATL 2027 1st Round Pick (unprotected)

There has been a lot of chatter about whether the San Antonio Spurs should pursue a trade with the Atlanta Hawks for Trae Young. However, why go after Young, who will make $43 million next season, when you could have Dejounte Murray, who is already familiar with the Spurs and gets the job done on both ends of the floor?

The Spurs going after Murray this offseason is not a crazy scenario whatsoever, as they could simply undo the trade they made with the Hawks in 2022 involving Murray. Both first-round picks Atlanta traded away would come back, as well as a second-round pick in 2024, to make up for the lack of firepower they would be receiving with Devonte' Graham and Malaki Branham.

The Hawks, who want to cut long-term costs, would be able to get out of Murray's contract. They also give themselves flexibility to actually build a winning franchise and culture around Young. In this scenario, the Hawks would likely want Keldon Johnson from the Spurs instead of Graham, as Johnson is a player they could utilize as their second option alongside their All-Star guard right away. San Antonio has been hesitant to trade Johnson in the past.

Nets making shocking Zach LaVine trade

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) walks off the court after a basketball game against the Orlando Magic at United Center.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets receive: G/F Zach LaVine, G Alex Caruso

Chicago Bulls receive: G/F Ben Simmons, G Dennis Schroder, F Dariq Whitehead, PHX 2027 1st Round Pick (Unprotected), BKN 2028 1st Round Pick (Top-10 Protected), BKN 2028 2nd Round Pick (Unprotected)

Here is where these hypothetical trades start getting interesting. What kind of team is new Brooklyn Nets head coach Jordi Fernandez going to want? If there is one thing the Nets need, it is a pure scorer next to Mikal Bridges. In comes Zach LaVine, a super athletic scoring weapon who has proven to be able to play with or without the ball in his hands, next to DeMar DeRozan with the Chicago Bulls.

LaVine wants a change of scenery, and the Bulls want to get out of his contract, as he is set to make close to $140 million over the next three seasons. It would be risky for the Nets to take on LaVine, who is coming off of foot surgery, but if they can get something for Ben Simmons, why not swing for the fences here?

You know what type of talent you are getting with LaVine, which is more than Brooklyn can say about Simmons. Since coming to the Nets from the Philadelphia 76ers, Simmons has played in 57 games and has made over $100 million. What a bargain! Trading Simmons here gives the Nets not only LaVine but also one of the best perimeter defenders this league has in Alex Caruso.

Chicago salvages lost value for LaVine, they get instant cap space in 2025, and they receive a slew of future assets in the form of draft picks and a very underrated prospect in Dariq Whitehead. The Bulls need to realize that it is time to hit the reset button and regroup. Trading for Simmons gives them the ultimate flexibility after the 2024-25 season. Hey, who knows? Maybe Simmons turns out to be a diamond in the rough for the Bulls. Then again, he can't do anything if he doesn't actually show up and play.

Jarrett Allen, Anfernee Simons join Pelicans, Brandon Ingram trade to Cleveland

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) dribbles against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert (3) during the first half at Smoothie King Center.
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans receive: G Anfernee Simons, C Jarrett Allen

Cleveland Cavaliers receive: F Brandon Ingram, ATL 2026 2nd Round Pick (via GSW), GSW 2029 2nd Round Pick

Golden State Warriors receive: G/F Caris LeVert, C Robert Williams III

Portland Trail Blazers receive: G Chris Paul, G Dyson Daniels, G Moses Moody, NOP 2026 1st Round Pick (Top-5 Protected), CLE 2026 2nd Round Pick, GSW 2027 1st Round Pick (Top-5 Protected)

Let's get crazy. New Orleans Pelicans executive David Griffin was not shy in his end-of-season interview recently, as he insinuated that the team is going to be looking to make moves in the offseason.

“In the past, we’ve always erred on the side of continuity, and our takeaway has always been let’s see this group healthy,” Griffin stated, via Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “I think we’ve seen it enough.”

Is Griffin hinting at the idea of the Pelicans possibly trading Brandon Ingram? Entering the final year of his contract, Ingram has always been a steady presence on the wing, but he hasn't stepped up to the point of being the face of the franchise like the Pelicans have needed him to be through the years. Someone is going to need to be moved, and Ingram could make the most sense since he will be a free agent in 2025.

Now comes the interesting part, since the Pelicans have maintained a high level of interest in Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen. The Cavs want Donovan Mitchell to stay long-term, and they are going to do what it takes to make that possible. They are still in the playoffs, so there is no telling what the future holds quite yet. In order to assure Mitchell that Cleveland is the right place for him, the Cavs need to be able to pull off a move like this one for Ingram, another solidified All-Star who can carry the weight with or without him on the court.

Allen has been great, but the frontcourt pairing of him and Evan Mobley has long been questioned. The Cavaliers need a scoring weapon on the wing, and Ingram is their best shot at competing for a championship in the East. This is just the start of this hypothetical trade, though, as the Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers also get involved.

Anfernee Simons is another player the Pelicans have thought highly of through the years, and his addition makes sense for several reasons. Not only would he assume the lead point guard duties for New Orleans, but he would team up with CJ McCollum, whom Simons played with in Portland during the first four seasons of his career. Simons is a scorer and a playmaker at the point guard position, giving the Pelicans exactly what they need alongside McCollum and Zion Williamson.

The Warriors get involved in this trade by sacrificing future assets for win-now players. Caris LeVert would be departing Cleveland in the event that they landed Ingram. Golden State would be the ideal landing spot for LeVert, seeing as he could thrive as their sixth man. LeVert is a natural scorer on the wing who would provide the Warriors with a sense of comfort on their bench, something they did not have this season after trading Jordan Poole last summer. In addition to LeVert, the Warriors can upgrade their frontcourt with Robert Williams III at the cost of Moses Moody, draft picks, and Chris Paul's $30 million contract.

The only reason the Blazers would do this deal is if they decided to take a page out of the Oklahoma City Thunder's book and build for the future. Right now, Portland is in no position to contend whatsoever. They may have some good players, but what's the point of hoarding them if there isn't any real chance for growth? The Trail Blazers are at least two or three years out from being a playoff threat, which is why adding versatile, youthful talents like Moses Moody and Dyson Daniels makes a ton of sense. The Blazers have always liked Daniels' potential, dating back to the 2022 NBA Draft, when he was taken eighth overall by the Pelicans.

There is also the possibility that this trade turns out to be exactly what the Blazers need. Chris Paul as their floor general, plus Malcolm Brogdon coming off the bench, provides stability. Portland would also be a much more athletic team with depth at every position. The Blazers build for the future, the Cavs get their win-now All-Star, the Pelicans upgrade their point guard and center positions, and the Warriors receive two experienced talents who can help them still compete for a title.

The more you look at and consider this trade, the more it makes sense for all parties involved.

Lakers beef up roster around LeBron James, Anthony Davis

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) plays for the ball against Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso (6) uring the first half at Arena.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers receive: G Alex Caruso, C Clint Capela

Chicago Bulls receive: G Gabe Vincent, G Jalen Hood-Schifino, LAL 2029 1st Round Pick (Unprotected), LAL 2031 1st Round Pick (Unprotected)

Atlanta Hawks receive: F Rui Hachimura, LAC 2024 2nd Round Pick (via LAL), LAC 2025 2nd Round Pick (via LAL)

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to have to revamp around LeBron James and Anthony Davis this offseason if they have any chance of winning another title before James retires. They have already fired head coach Darvin Ham after two winning seasons, and the Lakers also cleared their entire coaching staff. General manager Rob Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss are ready to do what it takes to compete for this franchise's 18th title, which is why going after Alex Caruso needs to be their priority.

No matter what time of the year it is, if there is an All-Star player on the trade block, the Lakers are mentioned as the first team that should trade for him. Sure, a player like Trae Young or Donovan Mitchell would obviously be a fantastic addition for Los Angeles, or any franchise for that matter, but the fact of the matter here is that the Lakers don't need another All-Star. At 39 years old, LeBron is still playing at an All-NBA level. Davis is still arguably the best two-way big man in the entire NBA. This team only needs smart players who can make an impact on both ends of the floor.

After all, more All-Stars don't necessarily translate to success because only one guy can have the ball at any given time.

Caruso was a major part of the Lakers' championship run in the 2020 NBA Bubble, and he received All-Defensive honors for the second consecutive year. The Bulls aren't going to magically turn into a contender overnight with all of their problems, which is why trading Caruso while his value is high is the way to go entering the offseason.

Another player that the Lakers could really benefit from adding is Clint Capela. The soon-to-be 30 year old center has always been one of the better pick-and-roll centers in the league, plus he would take a lot of pressure off of Davis' back to do everything in the frontcourt. Trading for Capela ensures Davis' durability, something the Lakers need to consider as the big man ages.

The best thing the Lakers can do this offseason is go after Caruso and Capela while keeping D'Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves. In the event that they could find common ground with the Hawks and Bulls, Los Angeles would be able to have Reaves come off the bench with Jarred Vanderbilt and possibly Taurean Prince if he stays around. Their starting rotation would be Russell, Caruso, James, Davis, and Capela.

All of a sudden, the Lakers have size, they have two-way capability with virtually all of their players, and they have the makings of a roster that could wear down a vast majority of teams in the Western Conference. Two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and three rotational players for two instant-impact talents would be a great move by Pelinka and his front office.