The unofficial holiday of the NBA trade deadline has come and gone. I got to tell you this was one fun deadline and it surely didn’t disappoint. I’m going to briefly go over my initial thoughts about some of the moves that were made. I’m only going over the deals that I think were relevant. Sorry Skal Labissiere and Caleb Swanigan:
The Philadelphia 76ers acquire Tobias Harris, Mike Scott and Boban Marjanovic from the LA Clippers for Landry Shamet, Mike Muscala, Wilson Chandler, 2020 1st round pick, 2021 1st round pick (via Miami), 2021 2nd round pick and a 2023 2nd round pick (Story):
~ I like this trade for both teams but I love it more for the Clippers. The Clippers traded away a player that wasn’t going to be their after this season for expiring deals, a solid young prospect and multiple draft picks including two 1st rounders. I mean, that’s freaking amazing. The Clippers are acquiring draft capital, cap flexibility and young prospects. This rebuild is off to a great start and the Clippers are clearly headed in the right direction. The Clippers also ended up flipping Muscala to the Lakers for Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley. Another small deal that nets a solid young prospect for the Clippers.
Now, I like this move for the Sixers but wish they would’ve only gave up one 1st round pick. I just don’t know how many other competitive offers were putting up two 1st round picks for a guy that could leave in a few months. Would have it been better to trade for Harris and not trade for Butler to keep more depth with Saric/Covington? The new starting five the Sixers have is as talented a unit that there is in the league outside of the Warriors. But what makes the Warriors so special is fit, sacrifice and the fact that Draymond Green is the ultimate “glue guy.” How will the Sixers new starting unit gel? That’s why I bring up maybe the Sixers should’ve just traded for Harris and kept Saric/Covington since that might be a better fit. Either way this is obviously an “all-in” move by the Sixers. To quickly address some of the concerns about depth the Sixers also traded for James Ennis from the Rockets.
The Sixers also traded Markelle Fultz to the Magic for a protected 1st round pick (via OKC), a 2nd round pick and Jonathan Simmons. So maybe the Sixers were fine giving the extra 1st round pick away for Harris since they were trying to get one for Fultz. The Sixers also upgraded their bench with Jonathan Simmons. The Magic get a nice retread reclamation project at a position of need while the Sixers move on from one of the biggest draft blunders in recent memory. It’s going to be interesting to see how the buyout market turns out for the Sixers. With the added depth of Ennis and Simmons plus another player via the buyout market, the Sixers could have the best 8-man rotation in the East. Overall I do like the fit with Harris and with the amount of talent the Sixers have they should win the East but can the new starting unit make sacrifices for the greater good to be possibly the East champs? That’s something I need to see first before I believe. The Sixers have a world of potential but considering that Butler, Harris and Reddick are all free agents to be this summer, as of now, I’m skeptical.
In a three team trade, the Milwaukee Bucks acquire Nikola Mirotic, the Detroit Pistons get Thon Maker and the New Orleans Pelicans get Stanley Johnson, Jason Smith and four second round picks (Story):
~ At the start of the season I wasn’t buying the Bucks as a real contender. I thought they had improved their depth behind a great starting unit but didn’t think relying on Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and Pat Connaughton as their core bench was good enough to beat the Celtics or Raptors. Fast forward to now and the Bucks have made outstanding decision after outstanding decision. Whether it was the decision to start playing Sterling Brown and DJ Wilson more, trading for George Hill or making the deal to acquire Mirotic, I’ve been a huge fan of each move that the Bucks have made. No shade to Ilyasova, Connaughton or DiVincenzo but I just didn’t think they brought a level of versatility that you need come playoff time. But now with Brown, Wilson, Hill and Mirotic, the Bucks should be looked at as the favorite in the East. They might not have as much talent as the Sixers, Raptors or Celtics but I think the fit, everyone being secure with their role and overall versatility of style will give opposing teams trouble during the playoffs. Also for the Pelicans they get a nice retread reclamation prospect and a bunch of draft picks for a player that probably was leaving this summer. The Pistons make a lateral move moving on from one draft question mark to the another. Thon Maker is still only 21 years old so the potential is there.
The Toronto Raptors acquire Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles and a 2024 second round pick (Story):
~ I honestly don’t know how I feel about this trade for either team. If you were to tell me that the Raptors were getting the Gasol who during the month of November averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists on 50% from the floor and 39% from three then I’d say overwhelmingly this was a grand win for the Raptors. But since November it’s been downhill for Gasol, whether it be due to an injury or old age. During the month of January Gasol averaged 15 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, on 44% from the floor, 30% from three and not nearly the defender he was at the start of the season. Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I saying this was a bad trade for the Raptors. Gasol is a better shooter and defender in comparison to Valanciunas plus Delon Wright is a prospect that hasn’t developed the way the Raptors have hoped he would. So on face value it was a solid move for the Raptors. I guess my issue is that I didn’t think making an upgrade at center was what the Raptors needed and instead making an upgrade at secondary ball handler and shot creator was more important since I’m worried about Kyle Lowry’s health. Maybe they pick someone like that up via the buyout market. If they do that then I’m probably more enthused about this trade for the Raptors. For the Grizzlies, I don’t know what the market was for a 34 year old declining center but if this was all that there was then I’m just not that impressed with the return.
The Dallas Mavericks trade Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings for Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson (Story):
~ I like this deal a little more for the Mavs then the Kings but I like this deal for both teams nonetheless. The reason why I like this deal a little more for the Mavs is because they realized that Barnes wasn’t the right fit next to Doncic/Porzingis and they wanted to be a player in free agency this summer. This deal allows them to potentially go after a max salary player that would fit better long term with Doncic/Porzingis. Also this summer was booming with available talent in comparison to the next available time the Mavs were going to have cap space, the summer of 2020, which looks much weaker. I love this move by the Mavs.
The Kings obviously make an upgrade at wing but I’m concerned about fit and locker room chemistry. Barnes is really just a glorified 3-and-D wing who is a solid scorer and an overrated defender. He’s also not a good playmaker and there’s question about how much impact he has on offense when he doesn’t have the ball. The trio of the future in Sacramento is clearly Fox, Hield and Bagley. With a high-usage player like Barnes coming in how does it affect team chemistry? The Kings have played so well this season in part because of an improved locker room morale, how does the addition of Barnes effect that? The Kings also traded Iman Shumpert to the Rockets in a three team trade in exchange for Alec Burks from the Cavs. I mean, in terms of talent the Kings get better with Burks/Barnes over Shumpert. But Shumpert was acknowledged as having a big influence on the young Kings. He was considered a good locker room guy. I just wonder how the loss of Shumpert shakes up the young Kings morale? The Rockets meanwhile get a 3-and-D wing they desperately needed after the Danuel House contract impasse and the Cavs get a protected first round back.
The Washington Wizards trade Otto Porter jr to the Bulls for Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis and a 2023 2nd round pick (Story):
~ After the news of John Wall rupturing his Achilles tendon the Wizards went into fire sale mode. Otto Porter is a good player who is having a down year on a bloated contract. The Bulls could’ve been somewhat of a player during free agency this summer but with so many teams having cap space they probably figured it was best to make a move now instead of overpaying for contracts they don’t want this summer. This deal ultimately is up to how Porter plays. If he snaps out of his funk and starts playing up to his potential then the deal it’s a clear win for Chicago. Even if Porter doesn’t make improvements the risk was giving up on Portis and trading away a player they weren’t playing that much. Portis is a solid young prospect but the Bulls wanted a wing to pair with Wendell Carter and Lauri Markkanen. Even though Porter is not on the same age timeline as Carter/Markkanen, the upside is still present for a great frontcourt for years to come. The Wizards just wanted to be out of the tax. They also traded away Markieff Morris to the Pelicans for Wesley Johnson, another salary cap saving move. The John Wall contract could overtake the Chandler Parsons contract as the worst in the league. Getting under the tax penalty is all they can do at this point.
The LA Lakers acquire Reggie Bullock from the Detroit Pistons for Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2021 second round pick (Story):
~ The only reason why I’m mentioning this trade at all is because I like Bullock. I think he’s going to be a good fit around Lebron especially for a playoff push. They did have to give away a second round pick which could’ve been used for Anthony Davis this summer. They also gave up on Mykhailiuk who wasn’t a contributor for the Lakers. He holds some upside as a shooter but so far hasn’t displayed that. Bullock is a free agent this summer so I’m assuming the Pistons weren’t going to re-sign him but again, I really like Bullock so this could be a loss for the Pistons when it’s all said and done.