Deadline Deal Grades
Deadline Day has come and gone in the NBA, and while the buy-out market might make some of the deals make more sense than they do at this moment over the next week, let’s make some snap judgements and grade the deals that were done before the deadline hit!
Mavericks get: Kyrie Irving, Markieff Morris
Nets get: Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2027 second-round pick, a 2029 first-round pick (unprotected) and a 2029 second-round pick
I said this on the podcast last week, but I firmly believe Irving will re-sign this off-season and that Dallas will have no issues paying him. It gives them the best running mate Luka has had since he entered the NBA and while history would suggest at some stage Kyrie will burn this bridge too, I’m willing to bet both sides can get a harmonious relationship for the next 12-18 months.
For Brooklyn, this was the first step in tearing down the team (more on Durant later). Dinwiddie provides a veteran leader whose best seasons came with the team some years ago, while Finney-Smith is a solid 3-and-D guy which all teams are looking for. The draft picks are all gravy for a guy who was never sticking around anyway.
Jazz get: Russell Westbrook, Damian Jones, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick (protected 1-4)
Timberwolves get: Mike Conley Jr., Nickeil Alexander-Walker, 2024 second-round pick, 2025 second-round pick, 2026 second-round pick
Lakers get: D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley
The Lakers smashed this deal out of the park, and that’s something I hate to admit. Ridding themselves of Westbrook (who I still believe can be a legitimate asset in the right situation) and picking up Russell, Vanderbilt and Beasley in the process was elite level management given the limited resources they had to work with.
The Wolves moved on from Russell and bought in Rudy Gobert’s former pick’n’roll partner in Mike Conley along with young guard Alexander Walker, and I like both moves. I’m a little concerned about the age profile the team now has with franchise cornerstone Anthony Edwards at the opposite end of his career to Gobert and Conley to name a couple, but I think the addition of three second round picks as a sweetener was a good return.
The Jazz are the wildcard in this deal for me. LA obviously needed competent role players and while shipping Conley out to Minnesota doesn’t matter, giving up Vanderbilt and Beasley might well put them out of contention for the Play-In this season. Whether the team surprised even themselves to be sitting around .500 to this point in the season and wanted to reset is a valid question, but the first-round pick they acquired is several years away and it would shock everyone to see Westbrook ever suit up for the team.
Knicks get: Josh Hart
Blazers get: Cam Reddish, Svi Mykhailiuk, Ryan Arcidiacono, a 2023 first-round pick (lottery protected; if it doesn’t convey, it turns into four second-rounders)
Let me put this out there – I love Josh Hart as a player. The Knicks have been surprisingly competent as a front office in recent seasons and this deal isn’t a bad one either. I am puzzled that they packaged a first round pick (likely to be multiple second rounders in reality) to off-load a guy they traded for a year ago, but Hart will help this team. The Blazers might be waiving the white flag on their season with this and hoping to build and develop for next season already.
Suns get: Kevin Durant and TJ Warren
Nets get: Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and four unprotected first-round picks (2023, 20225, 2027 and 2029), plus a pick swap in 2028
The big deal to come out of the trade deadline, Durant makes his way to the Suns on the down-low after asking for a deal during the off-season. The ceiling of the Suns goes up in the immediate future as they look to head back to the Finals for the second time in three seasons, at the cost of their future.
Chris Paul and Durant are not young by any means and while both extremely productive, Paul’s age and Durant’s current injury will mean the team will have to wait to truly see what this combination can be on the floor together. TJ Warren gives them a nice peripheral piece too as someone who can guard multiple positions and add a scoring punch when needed. It does however deplete their depth and that could be an issue if they go deep into the post-season.
As for the Nets, they get an absolute HAUL for KD. Bridges is arguably the best defender in the League, Cam Johnson has shown flashes of brilliance and the franchise also receives a boat-load of picks to help re-build going forward. A week ago, Kyrie and KD weren’t even on the block. Now, they have neither and are well and truly pushing toward the future.
Kings get: Kessler Edwards and cash
Nets get: David Michineau
Cash considerations the main factor in this decision for the Kings, and I doubt many mainstream fans have ever heard of David Michineau. Let’s move on.
Spurs get: Dewayne Dedmon and a 2028 second-round pick
Heat get: Cash
Cash considerations gets an honourable mention here for the Heat, and the Spurs are getting another asset to help build going forward in the second-round.
Raptors get: Jakob Poeltl
Spurs get: Khem Birch, 2024 first-round pick, two second-round picks
Much like their deal with the Heat, the Spurs again acquire assets to help with their rebuild. They part with Poeltl who is an effective big man, but isn’t in their future plans.
The Raptors move on from Khem Birch and send draft capital to San Antonio in an attempt to re-tool towards the post-season. The Raptors were one of the teams rumoured to be sellers at the deadline, but this deal makes it seem like they are at least postponing that decision for the time being.
Nuggets get: Thomas Bryant
Lakers get: Davon Reed, three second-round picks
Let’s not proclaim Thomas Bryant to be anything more than he is, but this is a solid move for the Nuggets. Their back-ups bigs haven’t been getting it done and Bryant has shown this season he can not only play spot minutes, but can also contribute in larger stretches like he did when Anthony Davis went down. Three second round picks helps the Lakers get something back which they can look to move on from in the off-season if they wish to re-rool and all in all, it’s hard to argue with the logic from both sides.
Celtics get: Mike Muscala
Thunder get: Justin Jackson, two second-round picks
Mike Muscala is a great three-point shooter and provides a bigger body which the Celtics need given Robert Williams’ injury history and Al Horford’s age. His ability to stretch the floor in spot minutes should also help Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum go to work. Sending two second round picks away along with Justin Jackson is a small price to pay for a peripheral piece who can help in certain situations.
For the Thunder, the draft pick treasure chest continues to grow.
Bucks get: Jae Crowder
Nets get: Two second-round picks
Pacers get: George Hill, Serge Ibaka, Jordan Nwora, three second-round picks
Jae Crowder is a bit of an unknown commodity in some respect given he hasn’t played this season after wanting out of Phoenix during the off-season, but if things work out right for Milwaukee, he can bring the toughness the team has been missing since PJ Tucker left during after their Championship run. It cost them a bunch of second round picks, but given how good the Bucks are, those mean little at this point.
The Nets continue their pick acquisition fetish and pick up another two second round picks, while Indiana get a bunch of veteran players and three second-round picks for their troubles to help facilitate this deal.
76ers get: Jalen McDaniels
Hornets get: Svi Mykhailiuk, second-round picks
Blazers get: Matisse Thybulle
The 76er’s moved on from defensive specialist Matisse Thybulle in favour of Jalen McDaniels – a swiss army-knife forward who can help out in a number of ways if utilised correctly. The price to acquire the 25-year old was pretty minimal too for a team in their Championship window.
The Hornets pick up Mykhailuk and second-round picks to help facilitate the deal while the Blazers will take a chance on Thybulle who might help them fill a defensive hole with the departure of Josh Hart to the Knicks.
Hawks get: Saddiq Bey
Pistons get: James Wiseman
Warriors get: Gary Payton II
Blazers get: Five second-round picks
On the record, I’m kind of confused about the hawks wanting Bey. There was a time where I firmly believed Bey was in the Pistons future plans but they’ve given up on him, and his fit with Atlanta doesn’t seem great to me. They already have a selection of wing players and traded away Kevin Huerter last off-season to free up some room at that position.
The Pistons take a flyer on James Wiseman and continue their tradition of trying to rehabilitate the value of former high-draft picks who have under-delivered, but I feel like the price of Bey to facilitate the deal was a little high. The Warriors bring back Gary Payton II after he left during free agency and the Blazers re-stock their draft stocks for good measure.
Clippers get: Bones Hyland
Nuggets get: Two second-round picks
I woke up to our group chat this morning and Ben was not happy to see Bones had been…well boned from the Nuggets. He has been on record as frustrated Coach Malone didn’t seem to want to play him and this morning only exasperated this as the buying price was so low.
I’m not entirely sold on this fit for the Clippers either given their biggest need being seemingly a distributing point guard, but he’s a young talent and at the very least someone who brings more defensive tools than Reggie Jackson or John Wall did.
Hawks get: Garrison Mathews, Bruno Fernando
Rockets get: Justin Holiday, Frank Kaminsky, two second-round picks
The Rockets continue to move pieces in an attempt to gain draft capital for the future, and while BruneoFernando has shown flashes this season, Alpheren Sengun's development makes his dispensible. Garrison Mathews was a nice find a season or so ago, but long-term his ceiling is capped too, so it makes sense to move on from both.
The Hawks are sending out Kaminsky and Justin Holiday in addition to second round picks, so not much to talk about for a couple of guys who will likely figure into their calculations more than those they are sending back to Houston.
Lakers get: Mo Bamba
Magic get: Patrick Beverley
Part of the reason the Lakers were ok moving on from Thomas Bryant was because they knew they were getting Mo Bamba. While he’s failed to develop into the player some thought he would, he holds all the physical tools to be effective defensively and has potential as a rim-runner if used right.
For the Magic, they move on from Bamba and begin to solve their log-jam at centre while bringing in Patrick Beverley. How long he stays around remains to be seen, but Orlando have already accomplished their main goal with this trade.
Clippers get: Mason Plumlee
Hornets get: Reggie Jackson
I’m genuinely shocked that the price for Mason Plumlee was only Reggie Jackson.
While Jackson has had flashes over multiple seasons in LA, he has been out of the rotation more or less for week with the Clippers and Plumlee, albeit a flawed player in many respects, has proven to be a stable contributor for the Hornets who have lacked that from many of their players. The Clippers get their back-up big after searching all season while the Hornets get another trigger-happy guard to add to Ball, Rozier and Smith Jr – which doesn’t make sense to me.
Clippers get: Eric Gordon, three second-round picks
Rockets get: Danny Green, John Wall, first-round pick swap with Clippers
Grizzlies get: Luke Kennard
I couldn’t help but laugh at this deal when it first came through. John Wall being dealt back to Houston was one of more amusing things to happen in the past year and I can’t wait to see where Wall ends up, because he won’t be staying with the Rockets.
As for the rest of the deal, the Rockets pick up a first-round pick swap while Danny Green won’t be in their long term plans. The Grizzlies picking up Kennard shapes as giving them a long-range shooter who can help space the floor, but he needs to not hesitate to shoot as much as he did in LA to be a difference maker.
Someone who doesn’t hesitate to shoot is Eric Gordon, whose veteran presence is more fitting with the Clippers current ambitions. Three second round picks helps stock the cupboard too.
Spurs get: Devonte’ Graham, four second-round picks
Pelicans get: Josh Richardson
It wasn’t so long ago Josh Richardson was arguably the centre-piece of the Jimmy Butler to Miami deal, and a couple of years later, he’s basically being shipped away for second round draft capital. The Spurs continue to pick up draft picks as they look to rebuild, while the Pelicans get a veteran wing.
Suns get: Darius Bazley
Thunder get: Dario Saric, second-round pick
I’m not as high on Dario Saric as some others on the podcast, and he wasn’t playing much of a role for Phoenix, so moving him on with a second round pick to try solifiy the roster around KD and company isn’t a bad deal. Bazley offers a young player whose potential is still high despite his minutes being reduced in Oklahoma City this season.