Remember when we were worried about a slow trade deadline? Yeah, me neither. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant stunned the basketball world by successfully forcing trades to the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, respectively, within the past week. But should we really be stunned? Recent NBA history suggests that moves of this magnitude are almost inevitable.

Five of the 24 participants in the 2022 All-Star Game have changed teams within the past year. And that does not include Irving, a 2021 All-NBA selection. Dial the clocks back three more years and a stunning 15 of the 25 All-Stars selected in 2019 have moved at least once, and eight of those players have changed teams at least twice. This is the NBA in 2023. You may not always know who it's going to be, but recent league history tells us that there is always another blockbuster right around the corner.

So who's next now that Durant and Irving have moved? Here are five viable candidates.

Trae Young

We all know how the cycle works by now. In December, Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes reported that rival executives believe that Trae Young could be the next superstar to force a trade. This sort of preliminary volley is typically followed by months or perhaps years of cat and mouse reporting. It starts with denials. Then the noise gets louder. The team struggles. Perhaps there's a coaching change. Suddenly, the two sides have irreconcilable differences.

There are no guarantees on the superstar trade front. How many times did rival executives use the media to speculate about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander? But usually, once the train gets going, it doesn't stop until it reaches its destination. With the Hawks toiling around .500 for the second consecutive season, we appear to be well on our way towards significant changes in Atlanta.

In fact, the first domino has already fallen. Landry Fields has taken over for Travis Schlenk as head of basketball operations. His reputation isn't tied to Young as Schlenk's was. He does, however, need to deal with Atlanta's precarious roster situation over the next year and a half. The Hawks spent most of their trade assets on Dejounte Murray. Murray and Young have not fit cleanly together. Murray's below-market contract is virtually unextendable under current CBA rules, and he becomes a free agent in 2024. Atlanta has no other players even close to All-Star level. If the Hawks lose Murray for nothing, who will be left to play with Young? Even if they don't, how long will Young remain satisfied toiling in the play-in zone?

The Hawks need to do something significant before Murray's 2024 free agency arrives. Maybe that means moving Murray. Maybe that means finding a way to add a third major piece. Maybe a new CBA bails them out of their extension dilemma. But this version of the Hawks has an expiration date that's roughly 17 months away. If Atlanta hasn't righted the ship by then, don't be surprised if Young seeks a lifeboat.

Karl-Anthony Towns

It might not be fair to close the book on the 2022-23 Minnesota Timberwolves quite yet. After all, Towns has been out since late November and they're still holding onto a play-in spot. However the early returns on the Towns-Rudy Gobert duo have not been promising. The Timberwolves were outscored by 0.7 points per 100 possessions with the pair on the floor early in the season. They're not an ideal fit stylistically, especially on defense. Towns thrived on that end of the floor last season because the Timberwolves played an aggressive scheme that allowed him to maximize his athleticism on the perimeter. Gobert teams need to play drop-coverage in order to justify paying him the max.

There's not a pivot here. The Gobert trade was among the most destructive deals any NBA team has ever made. They have no more tradable first-round picks. They gave away most of their depth. They couldn't even keep rookie Walker Kessler, who will be better than Gobert in the somewhat near future. All the Timberwolves can really do for the time being is hope that they defy the odds when Towns comes back and find a way to genuinely compete despite their structural flaws. They dug the hole a bit deeper on Wednesday when they swapped the 26-year-old D'Angelo Russell -- a close friend of Towns' -- for the 35-year-old Mike Conley, a former teammate of Gobert's. That deal may ease some of the fit issues Towns and Gobert have experienced, but of Minnesota's three stars, is Gobert really the one to double down on?

They don't really have a choice. Moving Gobert would net pennies on the dollar. Trading Anthony Edwards is a nonstarter. He's the best player of the three and the youngest, and considering he's only in his third season, he comes with the most (and cheapest) team control.

That leaves Towns as the only possible domino if Minnesota decides to make a significant change. Such a trade is easier rumored than completed. Towns signed a supermax extension last summer that won't even kick in until 2024. That deal will pay him $60 million for the 2027-28 season, when he will be 32. No team would take on such a commitment lightly, but Towns is young enough for such a long deal to be considered as much a positive as a negative. At the very least, no team trading for Towns needs to worry about him leaving as a free agent any time soon.

It's sad that this is even a possibility. Towns has never given any indication that he wants out of Minnesota. It just might be a byproduct of a truly terrible trade. Eventually, the Timberwolves are probably going to come to the realization that they have no other way of rebuilding around Edwards when he hits his prime. That might come this summer. It might come later on. But eventually, Towns may just be a casualty of one of the worst deals in NBA history. 

Bradley Beal / Damian Lillard

Yes, we're covering the two of them together. In many ways they are mirror images of one another, though Lillard is and always has been the superior talent. Both have wallowed away on underwhelming teams on opposite coasts. Lillard has reached the Western Conference finals only once, but Beal hasn't even made it that far. The Wizards are in line to miss the postseason for the fourth time in five years. Portland is clinging to a play-in slot after missing the playoffs a season ago, and the Blazers haven't won a series since 2019.

Beal's situation is more urgent merely because of his contract. He's locked up for five years at supermax money, and yet, it's not even clear that he's still an All-Star. He didn't make the roster this season. Over the past two seasons he's averaged a mere 22.8 points per game on 32.4 percent shooting from deep. He offers little as a playmaker and far less as a defender. Right now, there are probably teams that still view him as a significantly positive asset. How much longer will that last?

Beal can exert more control over the situation than most stars thanks to the no-trade clause Washington inexplicably gave him, but at this stage, what does either side really have to gain by staying together? Beal has successfully bilked the Wizards out of the supermax deal only they were allowed to give him. He no longer has any financial motivation to remain in Washington. The Wizards have been trapped a level or two below mediocrity for the past half-decade, and moving Beal is their simplest escape hatch. Yet nothing Beal has ever done in the NBA suggests he's desperate to play for a winner, and everything the Wizards have ever done under Ted Leonsis suggests they are perfectly comfortable playing slightly-sub .500 basketball from now until the end of time. This trade should happen. It won't until either side admits it needs to. 

Lillard's case is more complex. He's accomplished more as a Blazer and is widely considered the best player in franchise history. He proves his loyalty to the franchise at every turn. As recently as Thursday's trade deadline, Portland was turning away suitors. Trading Lillard would be in Portland's best interests as a franchise whether he wants them to or not. It has become painfully clear at this point that nothing is going to happen until Lillard decides he's ready for it to happen. That may not happen.

But for the second consecutive trade deadline, the Blazers have acted as sellers. They tore down their roster last February. This time around, they moved Josh Hart and Gary Payton II, two of the three big additions they made within the last year in an effort to reorient Lillard's supporting cast around wings. Clearly, that effort failed. According to The Athletic's Jason Quick, Payton did not want to be in Portland and was ecstatic to get dealt. Hart was seemingly moved in part because of luxury tax concerns for next season. Their last significant addition left from last offseason is impending free agent Jerami Grant. Portland has reportedly offered him a $112 million extension, but he has not yet accepted it. According to Quick, winning is a priority for Grant. It's not going to be easy to convince Grant that winning in Portland is possible right after they traded two key role players in the middle of a playoff push. If Grant leaves? The Blazers go from a borderline play-in team to a clear lottery outfit.

If that disaster scenario plays out, neither Lillard nor the Blazers will be able to pretend that there is a viable short-term path to championship contention anymore. Maybe that pushes him out the door and maybe it doesn't, but when a player as good as Lillard is stuck on a team as mediocre as the Blazers are now, it tends to inspire trade talk. One more disappointment might be just the push these two sides need to finally divorce. 

Draymond Green

The Warriors seem to have worked through the drama that followed Green's preseason sucker punch of Jordan Poole. What they still haven't solved are their financial concerns. They shaved a bit of money off of next season's payroll by swapping James Wiseman for Gary Payton II, but they are still in line to pay roughly $454 million in combined salary and luxury taxes next season if Green picks up his $27.6 million player option. Last offseason, The Athletic's Anthony Slater reported that Green wanted a four-year max extension. Giving it to him would plunge the Warriors deeper into luxury tax hell for a soon-to-be 33-year-old forward that can't shoot.

The Warriors are 28-27. We'll have a far better idea of how good this team really is when the playoffs arrive and they are healthy and engaged, but they certainly don't look like a defending champion thus far this season. Golden State would almost need to continue winning titles to justify such a payroll. Here's another critical wrinkle: Bob Myers, the general manager who drafted Green, is on an expiring contract. If a new GM wants to put his own stamp on the team, moving Green is probably the simplest way to do it without sacrificing the team's long-term outlook. 

Green can use his player-option to control the situation, but it's not even clear how much trade value Green would have at this stage. His skill set is so uniquely valuable to a Golden State team that allows him to function as an offensive point guard and a defensive center that putting him onto practically any other team would mean fundamentally changing their entire playing style. How many teams are willing to sign up for that? Maybe Portland? Are other teams going to want to pay Green the money he now seeks? How would another deep playoff run change the equation here?

Green is a franchise icon. He might be the third-most important player in Warriors history. But Golden State just isn't going to keep paying half a billion dollars per year in player salaries if the team isn't justifying the investment with championships. Maybe Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson or Andrew Wiggins is the salary victim, but each of them have skill sets that are likely to last for several more years, and frankly, none of them have ever punched a teammate. In a perfect world, the trio of Green, Thompson and Stephen Curry would retire together as Warriors. The NBA is rarely a perfect world. Dwyane Wade left the Heat. Scottie Pippen left the Bulls. Somebody significant is going to leave the Warriors. There's a good chance it winds up being Green.