New Orleans Pelicans receive: C DeMarcus Cousins, F Omri Casspi
Wow! Only time will tell if Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins can coexist, but this was a trade that the Pelicans had to make. Boogie is one of the most talented players in the league, and they got him for an incredibly cheap price. In today’s fast paced wing-oriented league, it’s a risk to try and build a team around two bigs. But both Cousins and Davis have the ability to stretch the floor, so I could see this pair thriving if they get help at other positions. New Orleans may lose Cousins in free agency after the 2018 season, but they had to take a chance because they weren’t going to be able to get a player of Cousin’s caliber in free agency. Even if they aren’t able to keep Boogie in New Orleans long-term, nobody will blame them for pulling the trigger on this blockbuster deal.
Sacramento Kings receive: SG Buddy Hield, G Langston Galloway, G/F Tyreke Evans, 2017 1st round pick (top 3 protected), 2017 2nd round pick
Vlade Divac needs to go. Not only was this a terrible trade for the Kings, but he said he had a better trade offer a few days earlier. You don’t tell that to the media even if it’s true. The Kings got fleeced in this deal unless Buddy Hield turns into the next Steph Curry. I have my reservations about Buddy Hield’s potential. It took Buddy four years at Oklahoma to become a top draft prospect in a sport where the best players usually separate themselves at a younger age. Not to say that there aren’t late bloomers, but I’m always skeptical when someone takes four years to dominate in college. Was Buddy dominating as a senior because he was stronger and more physically developed than many of the 18 and 19 year olds he competed against? Buddy isn’t a good ball handler, passer, rebounder, or defender. He’s a one-trick pony that can score in a league predicated on players forcing their opponents to beat them with their secondary skills. I don’t see Buddy becoming anything more than a sixth man off the bench that will occasionally put up a decent amount of points. I was a big fan of Tyreke Evans’ potential coming out of college, but he’s been too injury-prone to trust. And how did Divac not get a first round pick without protections????? I know the Kings didn’t want to pay Cousins the $200 million dollars he would have wanted, but that doesn’t excuse trading him away for pennies on the dollar.
Orlando Magic receive: SG/SF Terrence Ross, 2017 1st round pick
Less than a year after trading Victor Oladipo and others to obtain Serge Ibaka, the Magic decided to cut their losses and ship him off to Toronto. Ibaka clearly wasn’t fitting in Orlando and wasn’t going to be part of their long-term plans, but I cannot overlook the extent of what they gave up to get him in the first place. Now they can play Aaron Gordon at power forward (which is his natural position), but I believe Gordon is a much better athlete than basketball player. Terrence Ross is a nice bench piece that hasn’t reached his full potential, and maybe he will maximize his skill set with a change of scenery. Getting a first round pick will help but doesn’t change the fact that Toronto clearly won this trade.
Toronto Raptors receive: PF/C Serge Ibaka
The rich keeps getting richer. The Toronto Raptors are going all-in this year in an attempt to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs have owned the Eastern Conference since LeBron James returned, but that isn’t stopping Toronto’s efforts to knock the king off his throne. The Raptors have struggled recently but have the talent to win the championship. Terrence Ross was a good player for them but wasn’t an essential part of their core. Ibaka is a great fit as a stretch four that can protect the rim and shoot the three. This type of player is a rare commodity in today’s game. Although Ibaka’s abilities have slightly diminished over the past few years, he still has enough game and savvy to help Toronto make a deep run in the playoffs.
Chicago Bulls receive: PG Cameron Payne, SG Anthony Morrow, C Joffrey Lauvergne
What are the Bulls doing? It’s clearly time to clean house. The Bulls have major issues with guards that cannot space the floor, so they traded for another point guard who cannot shoot. Payne will fit in perfectly with Rajon Rondo and Michael Carter-Williams. The locker room has been a mess, so they decided to trade away the leader in the locker room. Taj Gibson was not only a fantastic player, but he did a great job of mentoring his young teammates. Cameron Payne is young and has a lot of potential if he can improve his jumper, but he’ll have to maximize 100% of his potential in order to salvage this trade. Giving up McDermott and a 2nd round pick makes absolutely no sense. Gibson for Payne, Morrow, and Lauvergne was bad enough, but adding in extra pieces makes this laughable.
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: PF Taj Gibson, F Doug McDermott, 2018 2nd round pick
Oklahoma City just stole Taj Gibson away from the hapless Bulls. Taj is one of the most underrated power forwards in the league. He plays with an incredible motor and is a great athlete for his position. He isn’t able to stretch the floor out to the three point line, but he does have a nice mid-range jumper. He’ll be able to step into the starting lineup right away and give the Thunder some veteran leadership that they desperately need. Doug McDermott hasn’t fully lived up to his potential, but I think a change of scenery will help him. He is a much better fit for the Thunder and should be able to get more open shots. He can help stretch the floor and will give their bench a big boost. Russell Westbrook has been incredible this year but he cannot do it alone. Getting him help was a necessity, especially at this ridiculously cheap price.
Phoenix Suns receive: PF/C Jared Sullinger, 2017 and 2018 2nd round picks
With Jared Sullinger being waved, the Suns essentially got two second round picks for P.J. Tucker. Although they were rumored to want a first round pick, they eventually settled for the best deal they could get. With Tucker being a free agent at the end of this season, getting something for him was better than watching him leave for nothing. However, Tucker has repeatedly said that he loves Phoenix and I think he may have re-signed. Tucker is a lockdown defender with a limited offensive skill set. He was a great locker room presence for the Suns, who are one of the NBA’s youngest teams. He may not have been part of their long-term plans, so I don’t blame the Suns for pulling the trigger on this deal.
Toronto Raptors receive: SF P.J. Tucker
Another great trade for the Raptors. Jared Sullinger wasn’t doing anything for them, so they basically gave up two 2nd round picks for a lockdown defender. Although this may only be for the rest of the season if Tucker decides to leave in free agency, this was a deal they couldn’t pass on. The Raptors understand they have to beat the Cavaliers if they want to reach the NBA finals, and Tucker is the type of lockdown defender that can help against LeBron James. Tucker won’t be able to stop James (because nobody can), but he’s talented enough defensively to limit James’ impact.
Dallas Mavericks receive: PF/C Nerlens Noel
Dallas didn’t have to give up much to receive a potential defensive star. Nerlens Noel doesn’t have much ability offensively, but he has shown the ability to be a great defensive player. He is a good athlete and seems to have a high basketball IQ. I like his ability to get blocks and steals defensively along with crashing the boards. He is due for a new contract that Dallas is more than willing to offer. This trade was a no-brainer for the Mavericks.
Philadelphia 76ers receive: C Andrew Bogut, SF Justin Anderson, 2017 1st round pick (top 18 protected, becomes 2 2nd round picks if the pick is in the top 18)
Trust the process? With Bogut being waved and their draft pick likely being in the top 18, the 76ers are probably going to receive 2 2nd round picks and Justin Anderson for Nerlens Noel. The Sixers have too many bigs on their roster and had to make a move, but this isn’t a trade that I would have made. I like Anderson’s potential as a 3 and D type of player if he can improve his shot, but he’s been very inconsistent thus far. The Sixers seemed to be shopping both Noel and Jahlil Okafor before deciding to pull the trigger on this Noel deal. Noel is a defensive player with limited offensive skills whereas Okafor is an offensive player with limited defensive abilities. The Sixers had to decide which piece they wanted next to Joel Embiid. I think their decision was based on money. Noel is due for a new contract which would have been pricey, so they decided to keep the cheaper Okafor. If they weren’t planning on re-signing Noel, than it makes sense to get what you can. I just think they should have been able to get a better deal.
Houston Rockets receive: G Lou Williams
I like this deal for Houston. The Rockets are playing Mike D’Antoni’s up-and-down style to perfection. D’Antoni recently said he wants his Rockets to shoot 50 threes a game. If that is to come to fruition, getting Lou Williams will help them make a lot of those threes. Williams is the perfect spark plug off the bench. He is instant offense and can play either guard positions. Giving up a late first round pick and Corey Brewer was an easy decision for the Rockets given what they are receiving in return.
Los Angeles Lakers receive: SG/SF Corey Brewer, 2017 1st round pick
With Magic Johnson at the helm, the Lakers made an interesting decision to trade away Lou Williams. The Lakers are in rebuild mode and Williams wasn’t part of their long-term plans. Getting a first round pick in return is nice but I think they should have tried to get a higher draft pick. They had to eat Corey Brewer’s ridiculous salary in order to obtain the first round pick, but they have plenty of cap space to do so. I’m not a big fan of the trade from the Lakers perspective but I understand why they did it. They had to get whatever they could for Williams but I believe he is worth a bit more.
Denver Nuggets Receive: C Mason Plumlee, 2018 2nd round pick
The Nuggets had to get rid of Jusuf Nurkic at the deadline. Nurkic has potential but he was a terrible fit with emerging star Nikola Jokic. In return, the Nuggets received Mason Plumlee. Plumlee could be considered a poor man’s Jokic. They both are great passing bigs and have defensive liabilities. Like Nurkic, Plumlee may not be able to play well with Jokic, but his similar skill set to Jokic makes him an intriguing backup. This trade would be fairer if the Nuggets received a first round pick instead of shipping one off to Portland.
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: C Jusuf Nurkic, 2017 1st round pick (top 5 protected)
Jusuf Nurkic has struggled this season and the Trail Blazers decided to buy low on his talent. After overpaying a bunch of role players last offseason, the Trail Blazers don’t have the cap room to afford Plumlee long-term. So they traded away a center that doesn’t fit on their roster for a center that doesn’t fit in Denver. They were also able to obtain a first round pick since Plumlee has been the more reliable player this season. Nurkic hasn’t played as consistently as Plumlee this season, but he has way more upside to become an above average starter in the future. This trade should help Portland make a playoff push.
Paul George and Jimmy Butler rumors
The trade deadline was quieter than many expected because stars Paul George and Jimmy Butler were not traded. Although both were rumored to be on the market, the trade talks did not lead to any deals. There were rumors that the Celtics were interested in both and the Lakers were interested in George.
Los Angeles Lakers: Not trading for Paul George: A
The Lakers were apparently interested in trading for Paul George but made the right decision to pass on such a trade. Paul George is an elite 2-way wing, which is arguably the hottest commodity in the NBA. Although George would instantly become their best player, it would be a risk to trade a ton of assets to obtain him. George has expressed interested in signing with the Lakers when he becomes a free agent. Why give up assets when he might sign there anyways? I think the Lakers made the right decision to stand pat.
Boston Celtics: Not trading for Jimmy Butler or Paul George: A
The Boston Celtics are in a great position thanks to the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics will be favorites to receive the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft. With their future picks and the plethora of assets they already have on their roster, the Celtics had the ability to make a blockbuster deal but decided against it. I’m not sure if Paul George would stay long-term (I think he wants to play for Indiana or Los Angeles) so the trade that would’ve made most sense would be for Butler. I think Boston eventually needs to cash out on their assets, but right now isn’t the time. They have a chance to win the title this season and trading away multiple role players for a star wouldn’t help them in the short-term. They should wait until the season ends before making a deal. They’ll have more clarity once they know what pick they’ll receive in this year’s draft, and by then the value for both George and Butler will be lower than their current value.
Indiana Pacers: Not trading Paul George: B
The Pacers weren’t shy about their efforts to trade Paul George. Although they would like to keep him long-term, they are aware that he might leave in free agency. George is they type of franchise player that all teams dream of, so losing him for nothing would be devastating. There were rumors circulating that George would either re-sign in Indiana or go to the Lakers once his contract expires. The Pacers were rumored to be shopping George to the Lakers, but I believe the Lakers were smart to not make the deal since he may sign there anyways. The Pacers should continue to shop George in the future to see what they can get and only pull the trigger if the right deal presents itself. Otherwise, they should keep him and try to re-sign him to a long-term deal.
Chicago Bulls: Not trading Jimmy Butler: C-
It’s hard to criticize a team for not trading away their future, but it’s time for the Chicago Bulls to start over. After making a terrible trade by practically giving away their second best asset in Taj Gibson, it’s time to deal Jimmy Butler to the highest bidder. Butler is the type of superstar 2-way wing that all teams covet. The Celtics have a ton of assets that the Bulls could use to rebuild. They are a perfect match. The Bulls should have tried to make a deal that would work for both teams. Once the season is over, the Bulls should try again to make a trade happen with the Celtics or any other team that is willing to trade the farm to get Butler.