NBA draft picks, exchanges make deadline day thrilling
It has been over a week now since Thursday, Feb. 19, when 37 players and several draft picks were exchanged on one of NBA’s most exciting trade deadline days in recent memory. It took a while to comprehend the madness, but now that players have completed their moves and settled into their teams, we can begin to look at all the major trades and see how they panned out for all parties involved.
Portland Trailblazers acquire: forward/guard Arron Afflalo and forward/guard Alonzo Gee
Denver Nuggets acquire: forward Thomas Robinson, forward/guard Victor Claver, and guard Will Barton, a protected future first round pick, a protected future second round pick
This was probably the only trade of the day that actually affected a major contender.
Portland got their much needed wing help with Afflalo.
On paper this seems like a great move for Portland, considering the limited assets they gave up.
Claver and Will “The People’s Champ” Barton were end of the bench wings who rarely ever saw game time, upstaged by the likes of guard Allen Crabbe.
With the emergence of center Meyers Leonard this season and the signing of center Chris Kaman this offseason, Robinson was always expendable.
The first round pick is probably going to land in the low 20s, provided the Blazers manage to keep their starting unit together this offseason.
They probably should have made the same trade for Memphis Grizzlies forward Jeff Green instead though, given Afflalo’s lack of concern about defense and attitude issues he displayed recently in Denver.
On the flip side, this is a decent move for Denver, too. Afflalo was clearly being wasted there and they had excess wing depth anyway.
Trading a veteran for a potentially useful pick in the future was a smart idea.
They, however, waived Robinson, whose energy and hustle they could have used to give something for their fans to cheer this season.
Besides, this is not a trade that is going to have a large effect on the direction of their franchise, so it made sense for everyone involved.
Detroit Pistons acquire: guard Reggie Jackson
Oklahoma City Thunder acquire: guard DJ Augustin, forward/guard Kyle Singler, forward Steve Novak, forward/center Enes Kanter
Utah Jazz acquire: center Kendrick Perkins and forward Grant Jerrett, a first round pick from OKC, a second round pick from DET, draft rights
The first blockbuster trade of the evening was a quite a win-win-win situation.
The Thunder managed to get the biggest haul from this trade, as they turned an unhappy backup point guard and a washed up center (plus a first rounder) into two skilled shooters, one of the best backup PG’s in the league and a talented offensive center.
In one trade nearly all their problems got solved as they now have a player (Augustin) who wants to backup Russell Westbrook, shooters to back up Kevin Durant (Singler and Novak) and a center to play next to Serge Ibaka who can actually get buckets.
The Pistons filled a huge void since the injury to guard Brandon Jennings, and managed to do it without surrendering any future assets.
Stan Van Gundy is having a fantastic season at the helm as he retools his roster.
What this means for their PG rotation in the future, though, remains to be seen.
Utah managed to get a first rounder for a player they considered expendable since the emergence of Rudy Gobert.
However, their lack of offense from the front court could be an issue down the line.
Miami Heat acquire: guard Goran Dragic and evil twin Zoran Dragic
New Orleans Pelicans acquire: guard Norris Cole, forward Shawne Williams, Justin Hamilton
Phoenix Suns acquire: forward Danny Granger, forward/guard John Salmons, first round picks from Miami in 2017 and 2019
Miami definitely won this trade as they solved a problem in their rotation lingering from the James era by getting a quality point guard to run the show.
They didn’t surrender any rotation players of note besides Cole, but those two first rounders could be an issue as their roster ages.
They won’t be able to turn to the draft to infuse new talent. But the Bosh-Dragic pick-and-roll in the future makes for an exciting image.
The Pelicans shed Salmons and added a legit rotation piece in Cole, a feisty defender and a decent point guard to back up guard Jrue Holiday.
Phoenix lost big in this trade as they lost one of their premier point guards for two picks and Granger.
The former all-star is too washed up to contribute, unless their famed medical department manages to make a player out of him again.
The first round picks could be valuable if they hit, or as trade chips if they manage to become real contenders over the next couple of seasons.
They could and probably should have tried to replace Dragic with a player who could contribute right away if they want to make the playoffs.
Milwaukee Bucks acquire: guard Michael Carter-Williams (MCW), guard Tyler Ennis, center Miles Plumlee
Philadelphia 76ers acquire: A top-five protected Lakers first round pick
Phoenix Suns acquire: guard Brandon Knight, guard Kendall Marshall, forward Marcus Thornton, a first round pick from Cleveland via Boston
Boston Celtics acquire: guard Isaiah Thomas
The most unexpected trade to go down on deadline day threw many surprises, beginning with the Bucks dealing Knight.
Knight was having a career year, was nearly an all-star, and had led the surprising Bucks to 30 wins by the all-star break.
Trading him at this juncture seemed to be an afterthought, but the reasons can be seen in the assets acquired and what it means for the Bucks future. Knight was the only hole in a stout Bucks defense, and MCW solves that problem.
He was also prefers scoring to passing, which became an issue as the likes of forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton did not get enough shots.
MCW and Ennis are purer point guards and players who have the potential to excel defensively as well, with MCW’s length and Ennis’s quickness being important factors.
Plus the coaching of Jason Kidd should help them develop as well and the Bucks don’t have to worry about overpaying Knight in the summer any more. Plumlee adds some much needed big man depth since center Larry Sanders got waived.
Many were surprised that the Sixers were willing to trade Carter-Williams in the first place, since the reigning rookie of the year was supposed to be an integral part of their future. But with a another top-five pick coming this year, which can easily pick Emmanuel Mudiay or D’Angelo Russell and the juicy Lakers pick, which could be top six this year or top five next year.
MCW’s shooting issues and sometimes iffy decision-making probably played a part.
The Suns made a great decision by adding Knight to replace Dragic, and he is probably a better fit, given his penchant to score and not necessarily pass while also being good as an outside shooter.
However, giving up Thomas to get a washed up Marcus Thornton doesn’t make sense unless they manage to pick a valuable point guard in this year’s draft or sign someone with the cap space they will now free up.
This will give forward/guard T.J. Warren more game time, though, and his development could also be important.
The Celtics made a great move by getting something in return for Thorton’s salary and maybe a valuable bench point guard for the next few years.
They did surrender a first rounder, but they have too many of those to worry about giving away one.
There were several other minor trades while the Wizards acquired Ramon Sessions and Philly got another first rounder to take on JaVale McGee.
The Rockets also got in on the action by acquiring Pablo Prigioni from the Knicks and K.J. McDaniels from the Sixers. While there was no serious action by any of the top contenders (the Warriors, Hawks, Grizzlies, Cavs), this was still a day likely to have a huge implication on the future of the league and maybe some outcomes of this season