How Much Are Star Players Worth in a Trade?

How Much Are Star Players Worth in a Trade?

Regardless of the sport, it’s very hard for a team to win without talented players. Star players can often change the outlook of an entire team. There have been numerous teams in every sport that have needed one just elite player to emerge as a championship contender. How much should a star player be worth when they are on the trading block?

Let’s take a look at some of the recent trades in both the NBA and NFL that included a big-name player. How did the teams that received the trades best player fare?

NBA:

2019 offseason:

Los Angeles Lakers receive: Anthony Davis.

New Orleans Pelicans receive: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks.

The Lakers missed the playoffs in the 2018-2019 season. After the season, they traded Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, arguably the team’s second and third-best players. Along with those two, the Lakers also gave up Josh Hart and three first-round picks for Anthony Davis. After trading numerous pieces for the former Pelican, the Lakers went from missing the playoffs to winning the NBA title in one season. The Lakers could win a couple more championships with Davis.

2019 offseason:

Los Angeles Clippers receive: Paul George.

Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and five first-round picks.

Unfortunately for the Clippers, this trade has not gone the way they had hoped. After acquiring Paul George, the Clippers were viewed by many as the favorites to win an NBA championship. However, they shockingly lost in the second round to the Denver Nuggets in the 2020 NBA playoffs. During the postseason, Paul George underperformed when it mattered the most. In the most important game of the season, Game Seven against the Nuggets, Paul George scored just 10 points and had four rebounds and two assists while shooting 4-16 from the field. To make matters worse, the Clippers gave up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the Paul George trade. Gilgeous-Alexander has emerged as a 20 point per game scorer and is just 22 years of age. The Clippers gave up far too much for Paul George. 

During the 2020-2021 regular season:

Nets get: James Harden.

Rockets get: Victor Oladipo Dante Exum, Four first-round picks, Four Brooklyn 1st-round swaps.

Pacers get: Caris LeVert, second-round pick.

Cavs get: Jarrett Allen,Taurean Prince.

The Brooklyn Nets were viewed as championship contenders entering the season. However, they must have felt that they were not good enough to dethrone the Los Angeles Lakers before this trade. The Nets gave up two important players and Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen along with a boatload of draft picks for James Harden. The former Houston Rocket is a former MVP winner, three-time scoring champion, and has been named to the All-NBA First Team six times. The Nets had to give up alot in order to acquire Harden. 

NFL:

During the 2019 regular season:

Los Angeles Rams receive: Jalen Ramsey.

Jacksonville Jaguars receive: Two first-round picks and a 4th round pick.

Before this trade, the Rams badly needed to improve their secondary. They went out and acquired arguably the best cornerback in football, Jalen Ramsey. Thanks to the help of Ramsey, the Rams allowed the fewest points and yards in the league during the regular season. The Rams traded alot to acquire the former Florida State Seminole and they have not regretted it. 

2019 offseason:

Seattle Seahawks receive: Jamal Adams and a 4th round pick.

New York Jets receive: Bradley McDougald, two first-round picks, and a third-round pick.

The Seattle Seahawks reached the divisional round of the 2019 playoffs. When you reach that far and give up two first-rounders for arguably the best safety in football, you don’t envision losing in the first round the following season. However, that’s exactly what happened. As of now, the Seahawks should regret giving up two first-round picks for Jamal Adams.

It takes alot to acquire a star player in a trade nowadays. Deshaun Watson might be the next star player in sports to be traded. Watson is only 25 years old and was one of the best quarterbacks in the league this past season. Let’s compare his stats to Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen, the three players that might be at the top in the upcoming MVP vote.

Deshaun Watson: 4,823 yards, 33 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 8.9 yards per pass attempt.

Aaron Rodgers: 4,299 yards 48 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 8.2 yards per pass attempt.

Patrick Mahomes: 4,740 yards, 38 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 8.1 yards per pass attempt.

Josh Allen: 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 7.9 yards per pass attempt.

Based on those stats, I would argue that Watson has been the second-best quarterback in the entire league this season, only behind Rodgers. We have to remember that Mahomes and Allen both have far better-supporting casts than Watson. Not only is Watson a very good quarterback, but he’s also only 25 years old. The team that acquires Watson may have their franchise quarterback for the next 12-15 years. 

Quarterback is the most important position in all of sports. Jalen Ramsey and Jamal Adams aren’t as valuable as Deshaun Watson and they both got traded for two first-round picks respectively. Watson is 25 years old and a proven franchise quarterback. He has made it clear that he no longer wants to be a Houston Texan. When was the last time that a quarterback as good and as young as Watson was on the trading block? This might be an unprecedented situation. 

Let’s take a look at what a trade could look like for each of the top four teams favored to get Watson.

Panthers receive: Deshaun Watson.

Texans receive: 2021 first-round pick 8th overall, Christian Mccaffrey, Panthers 2022 first-round pick, Panthers 2021 third-round pick, and Panthers 2022 third-round pick.

The Carolina Panthers currently lack a proven franchise quarterback. To change that, they would give up two first-round picks, one of the best running backs in football, and two third-round picks.

New York Jets receive: Deshaun Watson.

Houston Texans receive: 2021 first-round pick 2nd overall, 2021 first-round pick 23rd overall, 2022 Seattle first-round pick, Mekhi Becton.

The New York Jets hold the 2nd overall pick in the 2021 overall draft and three more first-round picks over the next two seasons. Additionally, Watson is a fan of the Jets’ new head coach, Robert Saleh. Because of those things, the Jets might be the team best suited to pursue Watson in a trade. However, if the Jets don’t acquire Watson, he could get traded to their AFC East rival, the Miami Dolphins. That potential outcome could convince the Jets to trade even more assets for Watson.

Miami Dolphins receive: Deshaun Watson.

Houston Texans receive: Tua Tagovailoa, 2021 first-round pick 3rd overall, 2021 first-round pick 18th overall. 

Watson has reportedly expressed interest in being traded to the Miami Dolphins. In this trade, the Texans would receive a potential future star in Tua Tagovailoa, the 3rd overall pick in this upcoming draft and another first-rounder. Do the Dolphins want to stick with the 5th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft or trade for Watson?

Atlanta Falcons receive: Deshaun Watson.

Houston Texans receive: Matt Ryan, 2021 first-round pick 4th overall, 2021 second-round pick, 35th overall, 2022 first-round pick.

Matt Ryan will be 36 by the start of next season. It’s unclear how much longer the Atlanta Falcons want to keep him as their starter. In this trade, they will acquire their new franchise quarterback. On the other hand, the Texans will receive Matt Ryan, the 4th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, another first-round pick, and an early second-round pick. The Texans could start Ryan next season and pick his eventual successor with the 4th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. 

The team that receives Watson in all of these potential trades is giving up alot and rightfully so. The asking price for a 25-year-old proven franchise quarterback should be extremely high. Those types of players don’t get traded often. This might be an unprecedented situation. Star players can change the outlook of an entire team and Deshaun Watson fits that description.

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