After a trade deadline that was full of rumors, per usual, it proved be fruitful with a flurry of transactions that came in over the last few days. Providing an exciting deadline like no other league can replicate.
Many trades that were in the works for days now(and even MONTHS… you Minnesota) manifested into completed deals that left all existing parties happy. No team was really “fleeced” in any of the deals that transpired either. With that being said, let’s take a look at my five favorite deals.
Philly Acquires Veteran Wing Depth
A weakness (of the many) that the Sixers have struggled with this season has come on the wing. On paper, they seem very solid with Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, and of course Ben Simmons. However, with Richardson on the mend and scoring becoming a bigger issue for them, GM Elton Brand made yet another notable deal in acquiring Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson from Golden State. Specifically with Burks, they now have another viable player who can create late in the shot clock and play independent of Simmons or Embiid. It’ll be interesting to see how they rotate Robinson, but having options is typically never a bad thing, especially when contending with the likes of Giannis, Jimmy Butler, and Tatum and Brown. In all, this should help the Sixers, though they do have other non-personnel issues to shore up as we reach the home stretch of the season.
The Thunder won at the deadline in my opinion because they stood pat and did absolutely nothing. Which was the correct decision. They have a roster full of youthful personalities and great veteran leadership that has brought their city together and re-energized their fans. Much to the surprise of the entire league, the Thunder are as solid as they have ever been since Durant left, and are on pace to win more games than any rendition of the franchise post-Durant. Seeing how well this team can finish the season and how far they can take this thing was the right thing to do. Though I do wish they acquired one more body on the wing at the deadline, I fully expect them to be big players in the buyout market.
The Hawks trading for Clint Capela now has me even more excited for their continued development. Much like Ja with Jarren Jackson Jr, this pairing will be fun to watch in pick and roll play as well as in transition. The Hawks, all though they haven’t been as good, do not have the same level of talent across their roster like Memphis does yet, but they’ve filled their biggest void and that should proved to be big-time for them once Capela is off the mend. Trae asked for help, and he now has it while also allowing Collins to play at the 5 sparringly, rather than out of necessity. I like this frontcourt pairing of Collins and Capela as a hyper active and athletic duo. Things are looking up in Atlanta.
Miami and Memphis
Both of these franchises got better yesterday as they exchanged multiple players.
The Heat traded their way into a more validated stratosphere of title contention with the additions or Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder (Jimmy Butlers Marquette teammate from 2010-2011), and Solomon Hill. All the while giving up none of their young assets (aside from Justise Winslow who hasn’t played that much of a role in their winning this season). Riley did it again.
The Grizzlies added to their young core with the addition of Justise Winslow and some veteran presences in Dion Waiters and another frontcourt presense in Gorgui Dieng. This should all help them as well in their playoff push as one of the most entertaining and surprising emergences of the season.
Have you really ever seen a team so hyped that they spoke a trade into existence? I mean even the Lakers longing for Anthony Davis all last season can barely equal the energy being pushed out from the Wolves to D’Angelo Russell. Nonetheless, they got their guy, and KAT got his best friend. So now the “not having fun” excuse has been removed for Towns and the franchise was also finally able to get from underneath that Wiggins cloud that they have been so desperately trying to wash their hands of. Now they move forward with a breath of fresh air, of sorts, and the level of expectation has been moved up.
In all, this deadline was never expected to have big names on the move. However, the number of difference makers and sensical trades that came about made for a fun day and has set us up for an exciting finish to this season. I am excited to see these new pieces in play moving forward.