NBA Draft 2021: Five bold predictions, including Warriors trade

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Five NBA draft bold predictions, including Warriors trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 2021 NBA Draft is on the horizon.

The top prospects have been analyzed to death, the rumors have flowed steady and there should be no shortage of drama after the Detroit Pistons select Cade Cunningham at No. 1.

Can the Warriors find a trade partner to get Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green the help required to re-enter the title picture? Will Ben Simmons, Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard be on the move? How many trades will swap hands in the top 10?

Here are five bold predictions for what could be a wild NBA draft.

The stars don't align

Ben Simmons, Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard are the three biggest names who either currently are on the trading block or could be soon. The NBA draft presents a perfect opportunity for a contending team to make a splash and land a star via trade.

The 76ers reportedly want a package that starts with an All-Star-caliber player in return for Simmons. Beal reportedly still is deciding if he wants to remain in Washington and Lillard plans to return to the Portland Trail Blazers. Simmons is the most likely of the three to get dealt at the draft, but I don't see a team giving Daryl Morey the type of package he's looking for, at least not right now.

The draft comes and goes without any of the three marquee names changing addresses.

Grizzlies not done

The Memphis Grizzlies moved up to the No. 10 spot in the draft when they traded Jonas Valanciunas and the No. 17 pick to the New Orleans Pelicans, but reports suggest they have their eyes on getting even higher up in the lottery.

After the Orlando Magic select Scottie Barnes, a player they reportedly covet, with the No. 5 pick, the Grizzlies call Orlando and put together a deal to move up to the No. 8 spot. Memphis agrees to send the No. 10 overall pick and a 2022 top-six protected first (via the Utah Jazz) to the Magic to move up and select Franz Wagner, a versatile wing who will fit perfectly with Memphis' young core.

The Magic go on the clock at No. 10 and draft Arkansas guard Moses Moody, giving their roster some much-needed shooting.

OKC overpays to move up

What's the point of having all those future picks if you aren't going to use them? The Thunder already have a young star in Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, and Sam Presti makes a bold move up the board to get him a franchise running mate.

OKC sends picks No. 6 and No. 18, along with a top-12 protected first in 2022 (via the Phoenix Suns) and first-round picks in 2023 (via Denver) and 2024 (via the Los Angeles Clippers) to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 3 overall pick. The Thunder select USC center Evan Mobley, giving them two franchise cornerstones to start their rebuild around.

The Cavs select Jonathan Kuminga at No. 6 overall.

Lakers wheel and deal

After losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers have been connected to just about any player who might be available, looking to get LeBron James and Anthony Davis some more help to get back to the NBA Finals.

The Lakers don't have the assets to pull off a trade for a superstar like Lillard or Beal. It's just not in the cards unless one of them pulls a James Harden and holds his franchise hostage in order to get to LA.

But the Lakers still are expected to find a way to make some moves and they find two willing trade partners on draft night, both in the Western Conference.

First, the Lakers send Kyle Kuzma and the No. 22 pick to the Utah Jazz for Joe Ingles and the No. 30 pick. The Jazz like that Kuzma is under control for three more seasons, while Ingles will be a free agent next offseason. Utah then sends the No. 22 pick and Derrick Favors to the Thunder, allowing the Jazz to shed some salary. The Thunder select Ziaire Williams with the No. 22 pick.

Then, the Lakers and Kings agree to a deal that has Sacramento send Buddy Hield to LA in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the No. 30 pick. Since Harrell has to pick up his player option, the deal can't be completed until August.

The Lakers draft Joshua Primo at No. 30 for the Kings. Sacramento drafts Trey Murphy at No. 9

RELATED: Warriors in need of wings

With no blockbuster to be found, Warriors move up

The Warriors have their eyes on Beal, but with the Wizards star staying put (in this scenario) Golden State elects to zig, believing their best chance to add a player who can help next year's team lies in the top four.

Bob Myers deals the No. 7 and No. 14 picks along with a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2023 to the Toronto Raptors for the No. 4 pick to select Gonzaga star Jalen Suggs.

Suggs gives the Warriors another ball-handler who can initiate the offense, create his own shot, get to the rim and has All-Star upside.

The Raptors select James Bouknight at No. 7 and Cameron Thomas at No. 14.

Boldy predicted and likely incorrect top 10:

1. Cade Cunningham (DET)

2. Jalen Green (HOU)

3. Evan Mobley (OKC)

4. Jalen Suggs (GS)

5. Scottie Barnes (ORL)

6. Jonathan Kuminga (CLE)

7. James Bouknight (TOR)

8. Franz Wagner (MEM)

9. Trey Murphy (SAC)

10. Moses Moody (ORL)