Since Kristaps Porzingas was dealt on January 31st, we saw 20+ trades ahead of today’s NBA Trade Deadline.
The 14 trades made today make this the most active deadline day in NBA history. Some deals were obviously more notable than others, so I’m not going to sit and break down Shelvin Mack for Tyler Dorsey. Instead, here are the most notable moves from today along with my thoughts as we look forward to all-star weekend and beyond:
Milwaukee Bucks acquire: Nikola Mirotic
New Orleans Pelicans acquire: Stanley Johnson, Jason Smith, four second-round picks
This move scares the shit out of me. Surrounding Giannis with more guys that can shoot the ball is exactly what the Bucks needed to do at the deadline. Mirotic isn’t lighting it up from three like he was last season, but he can still make or break a playoff series with his shot, especially if he gets hot to end the season.
As for what they had to give up to get him, I have no problem with it. Since Johnson and Smith were just acquired yesterday for Thon Maker, this is basically Maker and some picks for Mirotic. And considering Thon was begging to get out of there, this is a pretty good haul. Milwaukee did a great job with this one. It could sneaky end up being the difference in a series against Boston/Philly/Toronto.
Philadelphia 76ers acquire: Jonathan Simmons, first-round pick, second round pick
Orlando Magic acquire: Markelle Fultz
The Celtics aren’t involved in this at all, but Danny Ainge is the real winner here. This deal signals the end of the Markelle Fultz era in Philadelphia, something Ainge initiated by trading down with Philly so he could draft Jayson Tatum. Tatum has been far better than most of the guys in his rookie class, but especially Fultz. It was clear that Markelle and Philly needed to separate based on how rocky of a start their marriage got off to. Hopefully Fultz is able to figure it out in Orlando.
As for Philly, they win this trade hands-down. I think the saying goes “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” They got value for their trash, which I consider a victory. The Tobias Harris trade wiped out the little depth they had, so adding more guys to come off the bench must have been a priority for them before the clock struck on the deadline. I think Philly’s roster looks much better than it did a few days ago.
Toronto Raptors acquire: Marc Gasol
Memphis Grizzlies acquire: Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles, second-round pick
I think I like this trade for the Raptors? But only short-term. Gasol isn’t leaps and bounds better than Valanciunas right now, but if I had to pick one over the other, I’d probably go with Gasol. He brings some more versatility to Toronto’s lineup on offense that they just weren’t getting with Jonas on the floor. As for what they had to give up, CJ Miles is whatever to me. Delon Wright is a good young piece, but who knows what he’s going to turn into. Overall, not bad.
Long-term, I absolutely hate this trade. Gasol is owed a shit ton of money ($29M+) next season if he decides to opt into his contract. Opting into that money almost feels like a no-brainer, and if Kawhi ends up bolting for LA this Summer, the Raptors will be kicking themselves for doing this.
Boston Celtics acquire: Second-round pick
Atlanta Hawks acquire: Jabari Bird and cash
This might not seem like a huge trade, but hear me out. Bird was holding up a spot on the Celtics roster, as he’s been held out of the lineup due to an ongoing domestic violence case. By opening up that spot, the Celtics are now contenders on the buy-out market. Guys like Wayne Ellington, Enes Kanter, and Robin Lopez become instant targets for the Celtics following this deal.
As for Atlanta, they dumped Bird immediately. They basically were just doing the C’s a favor. So thank you, Atlanta.
Anthony Davis is still a Pelican
The most important thing to take away from this deadline is pretty simple, Anthony Davis didn’t get traded. This means that the Celtics are now in position to make their pitch for Davis this Summer.
The Pelicans know that Boston can make the best offer for Davis’ services once Kyrie re-signs. They also know what the Lakers “god-father offer” looks like, and that it most likely won’t be changing anytime soon. There wasn’t any urgency from their side to rush a deal right now.
Eastern Conference Contenders
As far as the Eastern Conference goes, I think it’s still up in the air. Three of the top four contenders (Milwaukee, Toronto, Philly) in the East made huge moves over the last few days. I’m just not so sure any one of them got put over the top by any of these deals. The race is still wide-open. I still feel like the Celtics are the best of the bunch if they end up playing up to their full-potential, but we haven’t seen that yet. Maybe we will soon?
The Rockets traded a first-round pick for Iman Shumpert
This move was made last night and I’m still kind of confused about it. Houston made a three-team trade in which they gave up Brandon Knight, Marqueese Chriss, and a first-round pick for Iman Shumpert. Then, they turned around today and dealt James Ennis to the 76ers. I’m not so sure Shump is any better than Ennis on either side of the ball, so I can’t wrap my head around this one. Maybe they’re banking on Shumpert’s playoff experience?
The Grizzlies still have Mike Conley
The Grizz went 1 for 2 in their attempt to split up Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Conley is now the lone player left from the grit and grind era out in Memphis. From a business standpoint, I thought they should’ve moved him for whatever they could get. But I’m sure their bond with the player made it hard to just dump him for whatever they could get. Conley could still get moved this Summer, and if/when that happens, I expect Memphis to be compensated fairly.
Overall, this was one of the more active trade deadlines we’ve had in the last few years. But at the end of the day, LeBron didn’t get Anthony Davis, and that’s the only thing that really matters here.
-Nick Cherico (@CouchGuyCherico)