The 2021-22 NBA season is more than 30% complete, and it’s been 11 months since a true superstar was traded. That streak isn’t likely to last for much longer, given how much player movement the league sees each year.

No matter how hard he tries, Damian Lillard can’t escape speculation that he’ll ask out of Portland. For some time, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal has been viewed as the next superstar that will be dealt. It’s clear that the relationship between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers isn’t going to be repaired.

Which All-Star is most likely to be traded in the near future?

If you ask Lillard, it’s not him. The Trail Blazers’ star continues to insist that he wants to stay in Portland.

“I’m not asking for a trade,” Lillard told reporters Wednesday. “I don’t know how many times I gotta say it.”

In the summer, Lillard publicly denied a report that he would try to force his way to another team. After the Blazers fired general manager Neil Olshey, The Athletic reported that the organization didn’t grant Lillard’s wish to make significant changes to the roster, raising more questions about his NBA future.

Lillard has been dealing with an abdominal injury and is having one of the worst seasons of his career. With the Blazers out of the latest playoff picture, there’s a chance Portland’s next GM could look to move Lillard, even if the point guard isn’t ready to leave. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, some potential candidates for Portland’s GM opening would be more interested in the Blazers job if ownership allowed them to pursue trades for Lillard “sooner than later.”

The Athletic’s report stated that Lillard would like to play with Simmons. Portland and Philadelphia reportedly discussed a deal that would send C.J. McCollum to the 76ers, but the teams were far apart regarding draft compensation to be included in a potential trade.

Philadelphia has been trying to trade Simmons since the offseason, but no team has been willing to meet its lofty asking price. It doesn’t appear that the 76ers are ready to significantly reduce their demands in trade talks involving Simmons, nor is there any indication that the 25-year-old will rejoin the team anytime soon.

Without Simmons for the entire season, Philadelphia has gone 14-11 through its first 25 games. The 76ers are the No. 6 seed in the East and three games out of the top spot in the conference.

The Wizards are a half-game ahead of the 76ers in the standings. Washington’s strong start to the season ended any notion that Beal might be moved soon. If the Wizards fall out of contention, however, Beal could become a realistic trade candidate.

While Simmons and Lillard are signed for four seasons, Beal can become a free agent this upcoming summer. Washington’s leading scorer is in no rush to sign a four-year, $181.5 million extension that has been offered to him by the organization.

“I got time, so I kinda hold the cards right now. And one, I’ve never been in this position. I’m kinda embracing that, being able to kinda dictate how I want my future to be and where I want it to be,” Beal recently said on the "Posted Up with Chris Haynes" podcast. “And at the same time, I’m not gonna make that grand commitment and it doesn’t work. Ultimately, you have to be selfish at some point and for probably the first time in my career, Year 10, I am. And so I’m kinda taking advantage of it in a way.

“Obviously, my full commitment is to the team. I want it to work. I’ve contributed to being here. I’ve committed to being here twice. Now, I want to see that commitment to me, as well, that we can create a winning team here, a winning environment here. And granted, I’m a part of that, so I gotta make sure that I’m stepping up and doing my thing, too, just as well.”

Beal finished second behind Stephen Curry for last season’s scoring title.

Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal admits being flattered about interest on him but is thankful he remains a Washington Wizard. Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball in front of Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Indiana Pacers during the second half at Capital One Arena on January 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. Getty Images/Patrick Smith