Written by: John Bray (@44ShadesOfBray)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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After a relatively calm morning, things picked up in a MAJOR way come 1 PM this last Thursday. This wound up being the craziest trade deadline in NBA history. As the clock struck 3 PM, a total of 38 players and 7 first-round draft picks were traded.
Without further ado, let’s see what happened…
Blazers Make Necessary Move for Title Push.
The Blazers were the first team to pull the trigger, sending guard Will Barton, forwards Victor Claver and Thomas Robinson, and a lottery protected first-round pick along with a second-round pick to Denver for guard Arron Afflalo and forward Alonzo Gee.
Everyone in the league knew that Portland was one move away from becoming a serious title contender. This move solidifies that Rip City is all-in.
While Afflalo was the main piece, Gee will also provide the Blazers with some much needed wing depth. Afflalo’s production has dipped since last season, scoring only 14.5 points per game, while shooting 42.8% from the field, and 33.7% from long range, but he provides the Blazers with a legitimate scoring threat off the bench. The Blazers hope to see those percentages increase since LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard will create open shots for Afflalo.
Losing Robinson will deplete the frontcourt depth, but injuries to Joel Freeland and Chris Kaman was the main reasoning for Robinson’s role in the rotation. With those two healthy, Robinson’s presence should not be missed. You do have to feel bad for the former #5 overall draft selection though – this will be his 4th team in 3 years.
Wizards Add Guard Depth.
Washington trades 38-year-old guard Andre Miller to Sacramento for 28-year-old guard Ramon Sessions.
The Wizards were actively exploring younger options for John Wall’s backup and Sessions appears to be the answer.
Miller reunites with his former coach, George Karl, and will mostly act as a player/coach for the young Kings. His familiarity with Karl’s system is without a doubt his most valuable asset.
KG Returns to Minnesota.
Minnesota sends forward Thaddeus Young to Brooklyn for the former face of the franchise, Kevin Garnett.
Everyone get your Starter Jackets out cause we are about to kick it OLD school! Now if only the Timberwolves can find a way to get Stephon Marbury back, then it’d be a real party.
But in all seriousness, the Nets wanted to dump Garnett’s $12 million contract and Flip Saunders wanted to bring KG back for one last go around, and to teach the young Timberwolves a thing or two.
Denver Trades JaVale McGee and First-Round Pick for…
I just want to preface this with a screenshot from NBA.com.
Yes, you read that correctly. Denver sent the polarizing McGee and a heavily protected first-round draft pick to Philadelphia for nothing.
In reality, the Sixers sent the rights of Cenk Akyol to Denver. For those (EVERYONE) who aren’t familiar with Akyol, he was drafted in 2005 and has played overseas ever sense with no intentions of ever coming to the NBA.
I get Denver wanting to dump McGee’s $11.25 million contract for their rebuilding efforts, but for the price of a first-round pick? That, to me, was ridiculous.
And that basically rounds out what happened before I decided to take a nap. I even had a nice little write-up about the day’s events going. Then I was rudely awakened by my NBA Gametime app informing me that just about everyone was traded. Just had to get that off my chest. Now back to the good stuff!
Dragic Bros. Take their Talents to South Beach
Phoenix, New Orleans, and Miami settle on a three-team trade, sending Goran and Zoran Dragic to Miami; Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton, and Shawne Williams to New Orleans; while Danny Granger, John Salmons, and 2 first-round picks (2017 and 2021) head to Phoenix.
I would NOT want to face the Heat come playoff time. Barring a healthy Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat will be a tough matchup for anyone at the top. The Heat’s starting lineup is as tough as it’s ever been (yes, you read that correctly). The recent developments of Bosh’s blood clot, while not life-threatening, will most likely force him to miss the remainder of the season. That hurts. No two ways around it. But Dragic is probably the best point guard to come to Miami during the Wade era.
New Orleans gets another backup point guard, I guess? Cole gives the Pelicans five listed point guards on their roster, so something has to give there. However, Cole will be the best option off the bench.
While the Dragic situation was a sad twist in the Sun’s season, at least they were about to get some first-round draft picks for him.
How about John Salmons? It seems like every trade deadline this guy is somehow involved. Like does he own a house anywhere or does he just assume that he’s going to be traded midway through the season and rent?
Highflying Rookie K.J. McDaniels Ready to Take Off with Rockets.
Philadelphia sends guard K.J. McDaniels to Houston for guard Isaiah Canaan and a second-round pick.
McDaniels might have a tough time finding the floor in the Rocket’s loaded backcourt, but given the opportunity he just might thrive in Moreyball. For those unfamiliar with Moreyball, it’s named after Rockets GM Daryl Morey and his belief that the best shots on the court are 3-pointers and shots at the rim. McDaniels adds another athletic guard who can get to the rim and make plays defensively.
As for Philly, general manager Sam Hinkie continues to rake up the draft picks. He lives for the trade deadline – trading away current assets for future ones. Don’t worry, this isn’t the last we hear from him. But this trade makes no sense to me. McDaniels was having a great rookie season. He came out of nowhere and has wowed the league with his motor on both sides of the ball. He looked like he had a lot of promise, more so than Canaan and a second-round pick. But maybe Hinkie knows more than I do.
Houston Gives up more Draft Picks for a Backup Point Guard.
Houston acquires guard Pablo Prigioni from New York for guard Alexey Shved and 2 second-round draft picks.
Houston has been looking for a formidable backup for point guard Patrick Beverley all season. Prigioni is a cheap option for someone who will work the ball around, make smart passes, and basically serve as net neutral while Beverley grabs a breather.
More importantly, are the Knicks starting to understand how the current NBA works? Shutting down Carmelo Anthony, trading some current assets for future ones, and calling fans alcoholics (okay, probably not the best idea Mr. Dolan) for the most part seem like good moves. Teams no longer want to be in that grey area of being on the cusp of the playoffs. Be bad, build for the future by acquiring drafts and unloading ridiculous contracts (looking at you, Amar’e). That is how to rebuild.
Throw Back Thursday Continues as Tayshaun Prince Returns to the Palace.
Boston deals 2004 champion Tayshaun Prince back to Detroit for Luigi Datrome and Jonas Jerebko.
The 12-year-old me loves seeing Tayshaun back where he belongs even if this Pistons team has no discernable similarities to the hard-nosed Pistons of my youth.
Surprisingly, this was hardy the biggest splash made by the Pistons at the deadline.
Reggie Jackson Finally Gets Out of Oklahoma City.
In this three team trade, Detroit picks up Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City gets Enes Kanter, Kyle Singler, D.J. Augustin, and Steve Novak, while Utah gets Kendrick Perkins, Grant Jerrett, a future first-round pick from Oklahoma City, and a future second-round pick from Detroit.
For starters, this move kind of puts Brandon Jennings in an awkward position. Until his season ending injury, Jennings appeared to be really fitting into Stan Van Gundy’s system and now the Pistons bring in another point guard, one who has voiced that he should be a starter and one that the Pistons see as their long-term point guard according to multiple reports. I think Jackson is a little overrated. No doubt that he should get his chance to be a starter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s only average in that role.
DING DING DING! People we have found our winner! Let’s all take a minute and give a hand to the Thunder’s GM Sam Presti. He was able to move a disgruntled backup point guard, an atrocious backup center, and a future first-round pick for a much-improved bench. Besides injuries, bench play has clearly been the Thunder’s Achilles heel this season. Augustin was playing great in relief of Jennings in Detroit and I do not see his efficiency dropping. In fact, it just might rise with the increased talent around him. Plus he’s reunited with his college buddy, Kevin Durant. Kanter has improved his back to the basket game and shooting while in Utah, and now those skills will be put on full display. He should serve as a part-time starter until Steven Adams returns from injury, then he’ll continue to get a lot of minutes as a reserve big man. Singler and Novak add shooting threats on the wing for Westbrook to dish to when defenders converge on his drives (HA, Westbrook passing, if only you could imagine). But seriously, more so Singler, both can knock down big time 3’s for the Thunder, something they were lacking from the wing position.
With only 20 some games left in the season, this moves puts the Thunder in an interesting place. There’s no doubt that they now have one of the league’s most talented rosters, top to bottom. But they are only going to be able to climb to the 6th, 7th, or 8th seed. If I’m a team sitting at 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, I am doing everything in my power to play someone other than the Thunder come playoff time. Yes, that means even tanking some games down the stretch.
Lastly, kudos to Utah as well for turning a tough situation with Kanter into a first-round draft pick. But… Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! Let the Rudy Gobert hype begin in Utah!
Suns Send Another Point Guard to the Eastern Conference.
Phoenix acquires guard Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first-round pick (via Cleveland) from Boston in exchange for point guard Isaiah Thomas.
This was an absolutely fantastic trade for the Celtics. Brad Stevens runs one of the fastest paced teams in the NBA and guess which point guard thrives in fast break and isolation situations? That’s right, Isaiah Thomas. No coaches have really understood or utilized Thomas’ skills, but I think Stevens will be able to get the most out of his new point guard.
This move further solidifies that Phoenix is building for the future. Instead of struggling through the dynamic of Dragic, Thomas, and Eric Bledsoe, which wasn’t working, the Suns went out and tried to fix that problem. Plus they pick up another future first-round pick in the process.
Milwaukee Trades an All-Star Reserve for a Long-Armed Point Guard.
In another three team trade, Milwaukee acquires Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis, and Miles Plumlee; Phoenix gets Brandon Knight, and Kendall Marshall, and Philadelphia snags another protected first-round draft pick.
The Michael Carter-Williams experiment in Philly has come to an end. The reigning Rookie of the Year clearly did not prove his worth to Hinkie. I believe that his stats were inflated due to the Sixer’s laughable roster, and maybe Hinkie thought the same thing. I mean, somebody had to score. So, I do not hate the Sixer’s trading their young point guard, especially since they were able to get another first round pick (Top-5 protected), which could become a better player.
I do not really understand why the Bucks would want to get rid of All-Star reserve Brandon Knight, unless they did not want to pay him come the offseason. They are still in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race, and I am not entirely sure that his move helps them. Coach Jason Kidd may be able to mold Carter-Williams into a more legitimate point guard, but he is going to have to cut down on his turnovers. However, snagging Miles Plumlee will prove to be the biggest immediate impact since he can step in and fill the shoes of Larry Sanders. Also, now the Bucks roster is filled with a slew of long armed 6’7” guards and forwards. So if their aim was to only add to that number, then this trade was fantastic.
After trading away two point guards earlier in the day, the Suns went out and got themselves two more. Kendall Marshall is out for the year, but was originally drafted by the Suns so it’s a situation that he’s familiar in. Hopefully Knight can continue his strong play out West, but don’t look for the Suns to compete for that coveted 8th seed.
What a day. Honestly, has there ever been this much action at the trade deadline in any sport? The Blazers, Rockets and Thunder built for a postseason push. The Wild, Wild West is really living up to the hype and these transactions only add to it. These teams are without a doubt going to beat themselves up during the playoffs while either the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Atlanta Hawks systematically beat the rest of the Eastern Conference. Speaking of the East, many of its teams remained mediocre, while the Sixers continued their overhaul. Thirty-four-year-old Jason Richardson is the only current Sixer to have been on the team’s roster before Hinkie’s hiring, and he’s lucky (or unlucky) to be in that spot. That man clearly has a plan and he is relentlessly executing it. Who knows how the rest of the season plays out, but if this was any indication, it’s going to be an exciting ride.