1 Bold Prediction For All 30 Teams Entering 2022 NBA Draft

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
NBA Analysis Network

New Orleans Pelicans – No Zion Williamson Extension

There were a ton of rumors throughout the 2021-22 season about what the future holds for Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans. A lot of reports are that Williamson wants to play elsewhere, but he has to prove he can stay healthy before he can start making demands.

Entering his fourth season in the NBA, Williamson is eligible for an extension this offseason. While he would likely benefit from some long-term security, the Pelicans will not offer him any unless it is on their terms. They will likely make a low offer, which will lead to Williamson declining and no extension being worked out.

New York Knicks – Trade For No. 4 Pick

The New York Knicks are one of the handful of teams aggressively pursuing a deal to move up in the 2022 NBA Draft. The Sacramento Kings, who own the No. 4 overall pick, have been mentioned as a potential trade partner, but their asking price is reportedly astronomical. Discussions will continue to be held up until they come on the clock and the Knicks will eventually get the deal done.

New York has their eyes on Purdue stand-out guard Jaden Ivey and will make the deal as long as he is on the board. The No. 11 overall pick, future draft picks and one of their young players, potentially Cam Reddish, could be on the move. For how long the Knicks have been looking for a point guard, this is a worthwhile deal to make.

Oklahoma City Thunder – Trade Lu Dort

The Oklahoma City Thunder are in a great spot in the 2022 NBA Draft as they own the No. 2 overall pick. They will be guaranteed the chance to add an impact frontcourt player to the mix unless they surprise some people and swerve toward selecting someone such as Jaden Ivey. 

Oklahoma City also has the No. 12 and 34 selections in the draft. With an eye toward moving up into the top-10, the Thunder will create a package with those selections and Lu Dort to accomplish that goal. The New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers are two teams inside the top-10 that are reportedly looking to make a deal.

Orlando Magic – Trade No. 1 Pick, Still Land Jabari Smith Jr.

In the 2017 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics pulled a fast one. Knowing that teams coveted Washington’s Markelle Fultz, they took advantage of the situation by making a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, who moved up into the first spot to select him. The Celtics moved down to No. 3 with their sights still set on Jayson Tatum.

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Knowing the Los Angeles Lakers would be taking Lonzo Ball, the Celtics were comfortable making the move to still land the player they wanted. The Orlando Magic will execute a similar move this year, making a trade with one of the teams that covet either Chet Holmgren or Paolo Banchero, moving down and still landing the player they want in Jabari Smith Jr. 

Philadelphia 76ers – Sign P.J. Tucker

The 2022 NBA Postseason did not go according to plan for the Philadelphia 76ers. After acquiring James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets ahead of the deadline, they had championship aspirations. Unfortunately for them, they were defeated by the Miami Heat in the second round.

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Looking to exact some revenge, the 76ers will make a sizable splash in free agency, signing P.J. Tucker. Tucker was an integral part of the Heat’s rotation this season, providing 3-point shooting, toughness, defense and veteran leadership. He will bring all of that to the City of Brotherly Love, as the 76ers kill two birds with one stone, upgrading their team and diminishing their rivals.

Phoenix Suns – Sign-and-Trade Away Deandre Ayton

A lot of people were surprised when the Phoenix Suns and Deandre Ayton were unable to work out a rookie extension. Ayton was seeking a max contract and ownership didn’t believe he was worth that much money. As a result, he will be entering restricted free agency this summer.

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The Suns will now have the ability to match any offer sheet that he may sign. However, it doesn’t sound like they intend to match a deal if it is near a max offer as they still don’t think his value is that high. That will lead to a team signing him to an offer sheet and the Suns attempting to work out a sign-and-trade deal so that they aren’t left empty-handed with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft departing.