Following two blockbuster trades before the deadline, it looked as if we were heading towards a huge day in the NBA. Unfortunately, even with all the big names being thrown out there (Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony), the deadline day itself was relatively quiet. However, a number of teams made some shrewd moves, picking up valuable role players as they continue their quest for a championship. Let’s tackle the pair of New York teams first:
New York Knicks: D
Although the Knicks didn’t make any moves at the deadline, I had to include them here. The Knicks are a dysfunctional franchise with a horrendous owner, and a GM who clearly needs either Michael Jordan or Kobe to succeed. They needed to trade Carmelo Anthony and any other veteran on the team that they could. I love Carmelo Anthony, and still believe that he is a top player in the NBA.
However, the Knicks have no use for him, and he deserves to be on a more functional and, quite frankly, better team. The Knicks are going nowhere and all they should be doing now is working on developing their young talent, specifically “The Unicorn” Kristaps Porzingis, and stocking up on picks. Keeping Melo and D-Rose on the team didn’t accomplish either of these things. The only thing that saved them from an “F”, was the fact that Phil Jackson didn’t somehow make things worse.
Brooklyn Nets: B-
The Nets actually didn’t do something that hurt their organization, which is always a plus. Trading veteran Bojan Bogdonovitch was a great move, and acquiring K.J McDaniels for literally nothing was good as well. The thing that they did do wrong was over-value Brook Lopez. They aren’t going to compete for the next few years anyways, and with their oft-injured big man actually staying healthy, they should’ve maximized on their opportunity and traded him for picks/ young talent.
Now, for all you non-New York folk reading this, I’ve decided to include a roundup of all the other big moves:
New Orleans Pelicans: A+
The New Orleans Pelicans straight-up fleeced the Sacramento Kings. They took the best center in the NBA from a desperate team and barely gave up anything. Although they aren’t going to be great, and their lack of perimeter scoring will hurt (they traded 3 wings), they should be the favorites to grab the eighth seed in the West, and who knows, maybe their dominant frontcourt could pull off an unlikely upset of the small-ball Golden State Warriors.
Toronto Raptors: A+
The Toronto Raptors had arguably the best trade deadline of any team, which is impressive considering that the best center in the league was taken for nothing. Their trade for Serge Ibaka stayed in the shadow of the Cousins blockbuster, but it was a fantastic deal as well. Considering what Ibaka was traded for before the season began, and what they just traded for him now, it seems like he must’ve shrunk 4 inches and gained 40 pounds, but in reality he’s the same player for a much lower price. Acquiring the defensive minded P.J Tucker to help bolster the bench was the icing on the cake.
Houston Rockets: A
The Rockets were already having a historically great season from behind the arc, and adding perennial 6th Man of The Year candidate Lou Williams can only improve their already dynamic bench. They also dumped a couple of players for literally nothing in K.J McDaniels and Tyler Ennis.
OKC Thunder: B+
The only “big” move from deadline day itself, the Thunder acquired a starting power forward and shooting off the bench, two things they really needed. However, I don’t think that this will improve them enough to make them a real threat. Still they didn’t give up much and assessed two big needs, so why did they only get a B+? Well, it’s because they separated Cameron Payne and Russ, which means an end to their epic pre game routines and locker room antics.
Washington Wizards: B+
Although trading for Bojan Bogdonavitch probably won’t push the Wizards over the hump (and the Cavs), they gave up relatively nothing in a late 1st rounder to address a glaring hole in their team, bench scoring. Ridding themselves of Andrew Nicholson’s contract was an added bonus in a solid deadline.
Dallas Mavericks: B
The Mavericks acquired a nice young big in Nerlens Noel, but with them not looking like a contender it seemed unnecessary. They gave up only a top 18 protected pick, Justin Anderson, and Andrew Bogut for him though, so this isn’t a bad trade at all. This trade is pretty unimportant unless you play fantasy sports.
Los Angeles Lakers: B-
Almost identical to the Nets, except they didn’t have Brook Lopez to trade. Traded bench player for late 1st rounder, acquired young player from Rockets for nothing.
Philadelphia 76ers: B-
With the danger of sounding repetitive, the Sixers had a very similar deadline to the last team on this list. They are more similar to the Nets in that they too didn’t maximize on trading their big man Jahlil Okafor. With Joel Embiid the clear future of the team, and Dario Saric and Richaun Holmes looking better every day, they had to somehow capitalize on Okafor’s stock. However, they were able to acquire a late 1st round pick for a good bench player. (Hear that line yet?)
Chicago Bulls: C
The Bulls were one of the hottest teams to follow going into the deadline as they dangled Jimmy Butler in front of the rest of the league, only to keep him. They didn’t get enough for Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, and if they clearly aren’t expecting to contend, then why not trade Butler? As an add-on, they were the other party involved with breaking up the Cameron Payne-Russell Westbrook combo.
Sacramento Kings: F
Last and certainly least come the Sacramento Kings. As stated earlier, they got absolutely fleeced by the Pelicans, and gave up Boogie for nearly nothing. Then, they wouldn’t even trade their other veterans for more picks. I don’t know what goes on in their management meetings, but they quite frankly stink at what they do. Even if the draft pick turns out good, and Buddy Hield comes out half decent, this will still be a terrible trade. Pathetic.