The NBA trade deadline was Thursday at 3:00 PM EST and a lot of very interesting moves occurred. The Cavaliers were particularly active at the deadline acquiring George Hill and Rodney Hood from the Kings and Jazz in a three-way trade while sending Isaiah Thomas to the Lakers and Dwyane Wade back to the Heat. Other moves worth noting are the Magic trading Elfrid Payton to the Suns, the Nuggets trading Emmanuel Mudiay to the Knicks, and the Jazz actually parting ways with Joe Johnson in the Hood deal, which could result in Johnson going to a contender assuming the Kings buyout his contract. If you want a full recap of all the trades and moves that happened, check out any of the NBALord.com social media accounts (links provided at the bottom of the article). I posted all of the moves on there.
What I wanted to do in this post is quickly go over who I felt the winners and losers were at the trade deadline. I plan on analyzing some of the teams more closely next week.
The Lakers traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. to the Cavaliers for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a protected 2018 first round pick. Considering their need for a legitimate star player, I'd say the Lakers were winners in this trade. While Isaiah Thomas has been on the move a lot, that doesn't mean he's not a guy you'd want to have on your team. He was a borderline MVP candidate during his final season with the Celtics. To add a guy of his caliber has to have the Lakers excited.
Let's be real, Isaiah Thomas wasn't a good fit with the Cavaliers and they needed to get something in return for him. While Rodney Hood wasn't directly involved with the Thomas deal, he is a guy who'll bring quality three-point shooting to the team and an ability to score in a similar fashion as Thomas did. Plus, Hood should fit in personality wise with the Cavaliers and relish the opportunity to play alongside LeBron James on a team that is hoping to reach the NBA Finals. As for shipping off Dwyane Wade, that's kind of a bummer, but at the same time if it isn't working out, why hang onto him? The Cavaliers were wise to move him and not continue with an experiment that just wasn't working.
Emmanuel Mudiay strikes me as a guy who might just need a change of scenery. I like what he can bring to the table and the Knicks could really benefit from having a true franchise point guard. What's even better is the Knicks only had to give up Doug McDermott to get him. The Knicks were definitely winners at the trade deadline, though losing Kristaps Porzingis for the season due to a torn ACL overshadows this move.
The Suns acquired Elfrid Payton from the Magic for a second round pick, which is an absolute steal considering that Payton is averaging 13.0 points, 6.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. I've always liked Payton's game and believed in his ability to become a star point guard in this league. With Brandon Knight's future with the Suns in doubt due to the injuries he's had, this was a no brainer move for the Suns.
Note: Brandon Condron provided a good breakdown of this trade on YouTube and what it means for the Suns. Click here to check it out.
The Celtics made no moves at the trade deadline but are still considered winners simply because they got to watch the Cavaliers trade Isaiah Thomas away.
Getting Dwyane Wade back in a Heat uniform is pretty cool. Especially since the Heat are in the mix to get home court advantage in the first round. They're seeded 7th in the Eastern Conference right now, but that could change with Wade coming back.
Not a move that happened right at the trade deadline, but the Pistons are definitely winners for acquiring Blake Griffin from the Clippers. They needed a franchise player to build around and now they have one. If you missed my blog post on the Blake Griffin trade from the Pistons' perspective, click here. I go into more detail in there.
I know I'm kinda cheating by also listing the Cavaliers as losers, but here me out on this. While it is good that they got something for Isaiah Thomas and were able to shake things up a bit, the fact that they had to make those moves in the first place is very concerning. Hell, there was even some speculation that it might be good for the Cavaliers to trade LeBron James and totally hit the reset button for good. The bottom line is that while the moves the Cavaliers made were good for their present situation, it's never a good sign to be in a situation where you need to make a flurry of deals before the deadline in order to stay afloat.
I'm pretty indifferent to the moves the Jazz made at the deadline. Jae Crowder is a nice player and I understand why Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson needed to go as they probably weren't going to come back once they hit free agency. At the same time, Rodney Hood was supposed to be one of their bright young players to build around in a post Gordon Hayward era. To see him go is kind of a disappointment if you are a fan of the Jazz. Even worse, it feels like the Jazz are a team struggling to find an identity right now. Donovan Mitchell is becoming their man, but they're still a long ways off from being a serious championship contender.
When the Toronto Raptors selected Bruno Caboclo with the 20th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, they thought they had found a diamond in the rough. Everyone else was asking what drugs they were on for selecting him in the first place. At the deadline, the Raptors parted ways with their Brazilian draft and stash wonder, sending him to the Kings for Malachi Richardson. That 2014 first round pick is one the Raptors would like to have back. Rodney Hood, Joe Harris, Nikola Jokic, and Jordan Clarkson were all still available and would have been much better selections than Caboclo, who quite honestly shouldn't have been drafted in either round.
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