The NBA trade deadline started off slow but soon picked up and started going off like firecrackers for a solid three hours. Woj was sitting on his phone dropping bombs all over us like we were Japan in the 1940’s. With everything flying around like that it’s hard to keep track of who went where and what each trade means for each team and player. We took each deal and broke down why the deal was done for each side, how it benefits them or hurts them. Some were home runs and others were headscratchers, but then again, that’s the beauty of the NBA trade deadline. a roller coaster of emotions for everyone involved and refreshing Twitter every three seconds.
Side note: If you don’t have post notifications on for both Woj and Shams on then don’t talk to me about being an NBA fan.
Cavaliers trade Isaiah Thomas in package to Lakers (Dave)
TO CAVALIERS: Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance
TO LAKERS: Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, 2018 first-round pick (Cavs’ own)
This was the deal that set the tone for the day. With an almost completely dead trade season up to about 11 am today, this deal was the first unsuspecting domino to fall. Honestly, this deal works for both teams. The Cavs probably won this deal in the short term, but the Lakers hit an absolute home run in the long term. This deal freed up enough cap space for the Lakers to sign two max contracts this summer. Which was their goal since the day Magic Johnson was hired. Insert any combination of Lebron, Boogie, Paul George.
IT and Frye are both expiring contracts and there is a 0% chance either will be back next season. The other part of this deal that’s going somewhat unnoticed is the Cavs first round pick this year. Sure the Lakers could use it draft a player to replace the first round pick of their own they lost this season, but I don’t think that’s their best option or what they have in mind. I think what they will ultimately end up doing is using the pick in a trade this offseason to entice a team to take on Luol Deng’s contract, which outside of Joakim Noah’s is the worst contract in the NBA right now.
For the Cavs, they get rid of the terrible Isaiah Thomas experiment before it knocks them out of the playoffs, literally. They are able to hold onto the coveted Brooklyn pick and acquire two young athletic players with manageable and tradeable contracts. This move improved their team but it doesn’t in any way make them a title contender. What this does it creates the foundation for a much better future both on the floor and in the front office for a future which does not include LeBron James that they will inevitably have to deal with next season.
Winner: Lakers because of the exponentially higher ceiling with the cap flexibility
TO CAVALIERS: Rodney Hood, George Hill
TO JAZZ: Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose
TO KINGS: Joe Johnson, Iman Shumpert, 2020 2nd-round pick
Woah, woah, woah! After the Cavs get rid of IT you figure they’re done right? Since they’ve been adamant about not giving up that Nets first rounder. Then out of the blue shortly after Woj drops this bomb on us! To say Rose has been a shell of what he once was would be a compliment he can barely get himself to the games and is a defensive liability. When Crowder was brought in from the Kyrie trade you figured he’d be the guy to guard KD in the Finals but man he has been putrid. He can’t shoot, he can’t defend, he can’t rebound, and he doesn’t play with energy.
Then in come Rodney Hood and George Hill for these bums! George Hill is a guy I’ve liked for a while, a Pop-product who is a real solid two-way player at point guard. Hill’s numbers overall are down splitting time with future star and rookie De’Aaron Fox. But don’t let that fool you Hill LEADS the NBA in 3-point shooting at 45.6 %. Yup, look it up if you don’t believe me- Hill is a guy you want on your team, a 3 and D player who can play both on and off the ball. Then we have Rodney Hood from Utah who is averaging a career high 16.8ppg and 38.9% from three. Hood is a streaky shooter but can go off- think of him as JR Smith if he wasn’t terrible. The JR Smith from a few years back. Oh yeah, JR not gonna be playing much because of Mr. Hood.
From the Kings point of view, this clears cap room for them and lets Fox get the lions share at point guard while they add a second rounder and get a good defender in Shumpert. For the Jazz, this is a peculiar move to say the least after winning 7 straight they climbed to just 2.5 games out of the eighth seed. Also, Hood made just over 1M a year as well so the contract value is amazing and he was locked up for 2019 as well. Really don’t understand it as they get back no picks and just two bums in Crowder and Rose.
Winner: Cavs win BIG in this trade and now have a younger revamped squad which can compete for the eastern conference championship again. Kings finish second and quietly do a good job here.
TO HEAT: Dwyane Wade
TO CAVALIERS: Lightly-protected future 2nd-round pick
As a lifelong heat fan, I Love seeing D-wade back in his county. Wade is a heat lifer even if missed a couple year it doesn’t matter considering what he’s done for the franchise. But the question is will he help that much? Wade is 36 and an old 36 at that and is posting career lows in essentially every statistical category. Yes, his minutes are down but he is not the same player he once was. But still, he is shooting 45.5 % from the field and is surprisingly playing solid defense. And of course, he is D-Wade, my mans is a leader in the locker room and can show stretches of brilliance. I’m sure the team will feel a lot better with Wade having the ball at the end of the game rather than Dragic, Richardson, or the Kelly-O show. I’m sure he will also give them a much-needed lift in spirit as the Heat have fallen down to the seventh seed and have looked dead in the water of late.
Winner: Give the dub to the Heat for bringing the legend home for just a future second rounder.
TO BULLS: Noah Vonleh, Cash
TO BLAZERS: Rights to Milocan Rakovic
FINALLY!! The Blazers have finally admitted Noah Vonleh is a bust and given up on him. I always found it beyond incredible he got so many starts throughout his career. Vonleh has started in 109 of his 210 games as an NBA player and averaged a pedestrian at best 3.6pts and 5.1 rebounds. This is great for the Blazers for not only getting rid of Vonleh but it also brings them under the luxury tax for this summer. I don’t know what the Bulls see in this other than a guy who has a great rebounding rate in limited minutes but can’t buy a bucket for his life.
Winner: Huge win for the Blazers here.
TO HEAT: Luke Babbitt
TO HAWKS: Okaro White
Okaro White has been a promising player for a couple years in the D-league but a season ending injury mad this deal possible. Atlanta immediately waived White and just wanted to clear cap space with this deal. Although as a Heat fan I am far from a fan of Luke Babbitt-a power forward who averages about two rebounds a game for his career. Yikes. However, Babbitt is shooting 44% from three this year and can stretch the floor with the Kelly-O show on the pine because of a growing concern over his shoulder injury. He’s a poor man’s Olynk essentially.
Winner: Slight edge to Heat here as Babbitt only has value as long as Olynk is injured.
TO PISTONS: James Ennis
TO GRIZZLIES: Brice Johnson, future 2nd-round pick
This is definitely one of the more minor trades of the day. James Ennis is nothing more than a decent bench player but will give the Pistons some depth at small forward. The Grizzlies clearly need to rebuild and Brice Johnson at this point looks like a project so why not take him in a second. Still scratching my head that they didn’t trade Tyreke Evans after sitting him. When someone has an answer for me on that let me know.
Winner: Give a slight edge to Grizzlies as they get a pick out of it.
TO SUNS: Elfrid Payton
TO MAGIC: 2018 2nd-round pick (via Memphis)
Elfrid Payton was rumored to be a part of a number of deals, it was more of matter of where he would be traded rather than if he would be traded. Payton is an RFA at the end of the year and clearly wasn’t part of the Magic’s future plans. Orlando saves themselves the trouble of making that decision, cuts their losses and gets a second round pick for them.
Phoenix gets a cheap tryout for a young point guard with motivation and still some potential. After the Bledsoe trade they have been pretty flat at that position, but with this deal, they give up almost nothing and have a chance to find their point guard for the future to pair with Devin Booker and create a solid backcourt in the Western Conference.
Win: Suns based on low-risk high reward potential.
TO KNICKS: Emmanuel Mudiay
TO NUGGETS: Devin Harris, Knicks 2018 2nd-round pick via Clippers
TO MAVERICKS: Doug McDermott, Nuggets 2nd-round pick
For three teams that were rumored to be making a lot of moves on deadline day, this was the only deal any of these teams were involved in. The Nuggets were no longer satisfied with Mudiay, he had fallen out of the rotation after being drafted just three years ago, three picks behind Kristaps Porzingis. They needed a refresh and a more traditional experienced backup point guard, with Harris they get that. Will he have enough left in the tank to be the guy they need is the question?
The Mavs took the opportunity to get younger a pick up another pick to held their rebuild. McDermott is an RFA at the end of the year but could very well stay in Dallas for the stability and the familiarity as him and Harrison Barnes were high school teammates.
The Knicks grabbed the young athletic guard they were searching for. They flirted with dealing for Payton because of GM Scott Perry’s affinity to him, but ultimately Mudiay presented the better deal. Even though the Knicks now have four point guards this was too good of a risk to pass up. Mudiay is still only 21 years old, was a top ten pick three years ago and a change of scenery could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Mudiay is under contract through next season and an RFA after that. The best part about this deal is that both Mudiay and Knicks rookie Frank Ntlikina are big guards that can play point guard and off the ball. So while they are both true point guards, playing them together won’t be an issue at all and can be the reason both of them are able to stay on the team long term. McDermott wouldn’t be resigning anyways so this was a win-win for the Knicks.
Winner: Knicks, based on the potential, age and contractual control of Mudiay.
TO HAWKS: Sheldon Mac
TO WIZARDS: Future 2nd-round pick that’ll never convey
This was a straight money saver for the Wizards. With the Hawks going nowhere anytime soon, it’s fine for them to take on money and roster spots. They acquire a quietly solid role player and great locker room guy for essentially nothing. Wizards gain some financial flexibility.
Winner: Wizards, both teams are helped by this deal, but the luxury tax saving will mean more to the Wizards than Mack will to the future of the Hawks.
Kings, Raptors exchange prospects (Dave)
TO RAPTORS: Malachi Richardson
TO KINGS: Bruno Cabocolo, who will be released
This was another cap clearing move for the Kings, who I’m assuming will take their young core and boatloads of cap space into Free Agency and Draft season again in hopes of making some significant signings. For the Raptors, this is a flyer on a young motivated kid whos been a journeyman in his young career. Richardson improves the bench depth in Toronto for what is already the best bench in the NBA.
Winner: Raptors, gave up nothing and added a young player who could potentially give them some pop off the bench.
TO PISTONS: Jameer Nelson
TO BULLS: Willie Reed, right to swap 2022 2nd-round picks
Poor Jammer Nelson traded twice in one week. For the Pistons this gives them a solid veteran presence in the locker room as they make a push in the Eastern Conference this year. A smart backup point guard with legitimate playoff experience to help along the rest of this younger core.
The Bulls use this to continue to slowly compile assets during their rebuild. Willie Reed is irrelevant in this discussion and might be waived. Nelson wasn’t going to do anything for them aside from filling minutes while Kris Dunn was off the floor. Why not grab another second rounder for him while they could?
Winner: Pistons, because guys like Jameer Nelson are what puts teams like the Pistons over a certain hump for a younger team.