The NBA Trade Deadline passed on Thursday, February 9th. This was probably the craziest deadline we have seen in a long time, if not ever. There were teams like the Suns and the Mavericks who made splashes, teams like the Thunder and the Nets who were sellers, and teams like the Celtics and the Bucks who made smaller moves that they are hoping will make a huge difference. So here are the winners and losers of this season’s NBA Trade Deadline.
When you have a trade deadline and your favorite team trades for Kevin Durant, it’s pretty hard to argue whether your team won the deadline or not. Not only this, they traded for him without giving up any of their top three players, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, or Deandre Ayton. They also traded away Jae Crowder, who was not playing at all, so being able to trade away a player like that in return for KD is huge. With this being said, they also traded away their defensive anchor in Mikal Bridges, so they will have to make a few adjustments there. In addition, their depth now is super thin, so they cannot afford many injuries, but these are risks you have to take when you trade for a top-15 player of all time.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers did not make any massive moves, but they made a couple of small moves, which can be huge for them. For years Ivica Zubac was the only big man for the Clippers, and when he wasn’t playing, they always had to go small ball and put Marcus Morris or Robert Covington at Center. This will not have to be the case anymore now that they traded Reggie Jackson and picks for Mason Plumlee, who was having an awesome season for the Hornets. They also received Bones Hyland in a 3 team deal with the Lakers and Nuggets for picks. Lastly, they also traded for Eric Gordon and gave away John Wall and Luke Kennard. So, while none of these are “Wow!” moves, they still have the potential to be huge for them.
Los Angeles Lakers
Even if you do not consider the Lakers contenders (I’m not sure myself), they undoubtedly improved a ton. They finally traded the guy they had been trying to trade for months, Russell Westbrook, and got a great return for him. They received D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley in return for Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, and draft picks. In addition, they also received Mo Bamba and Rui Hachimura for Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, and draft picks.
So just like the Clippers, while they did not make any big moves, they got rid of most of their negatives in exchange for positives which is always a massive plus. Whether or not they are contenders is questionable, but a team with a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis with a solid supporting cast is hard to count out.
Things were going pretty well for the Nets up until a few weeks ago. They were second in the East and were certainly contenders. However, the inevitable happened where there had to be more drama in the clubhouse. Kyrie Irving requested a trade which led to the Nets wanting to hit the reset button completely and trade Durant too. Optimists will tell you it will be nice to get a fresh start and that they still have a solid core. Still, the reality of the situation is the Durant-Irving experiment was an absolute disaster. One playoff series win in three and a half years together is nothing to be proud of.
It’s not that the Heat got fleeced in a bad trade; they sat on their hands, and the only thing they did was salary dump Dewayne Dedmon for draft picks. The Heat are coming off a year of being the one seed and were one game away from making their second NBA Finals in three years. Then over the summer, they let P.J. Tucker walk in free agency and had no suitable replacement for him. They are currently sixth in the East, and no one really fears them. This will probably be another year of the Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo experiment, and with more parity in the league than ever, they should have made at least a good move or two to improve their roster.
The Kings didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t make any bad trades, and there were no good trades that would have moved the needle for them. However, they currently sit at the third seed in the West, and though no team saw them as a threat to win the West in the first place, the West got so much better, and there are probably at least five or six teams that have a better shot at winning the West than them at this point.
This NBA Trade Deadline is probably the craziest deadline we have ever seen. Usually, there are only a few small moves here and there but certainly not this one. Also, the trades that are made typically do not have too big of an effect on the playoffs, but it would be really surprising if that were the case this year.
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