Photo Credit: The Ringer
The NBA trade deadline passed on Thursday at 3:00 pm but not without a flurry of trades reshaping this year’s playoff picture and the upcoming free agency period. Here’s a look at some of the deadline’s biggest winners and losers:
Winner: The Eastern Conference Front-Runners
All three of Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Toronto made deals to significantly improve their roster. The 76ers acquired one of the more underrated offensive weapons in the league this year in Tobias Harris for a package centered around Landry Shamet, two first rounders and two seconds. Milwaukee essentially turned Thon Maker and two second round picks into Nikola Mirotic, who will provide much needed perimeter spacing around Giannis. The Raptors made a move to get Marc Gasol in exchange for Jonas Valnciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles and a second. Each of these trades better positions these teams not only to make a run in the East but to better challenge Golden State in a potential finals match-up. Meanwhile, Boston, one of the other four best teams in the East did not do the same…
Loser: Boston Celtics
As each of its top competitors in the East made huge moves for the stretch run, Boston was unable to do anything drastic as they wait for the summer when they can partake in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. They’ve been rumored to be open to offering a package centered around Jayson Taytum, Marcus Smart, Al Horford, and draft picks. Under the current CBA rules, they were unable to trade for Davis this season, and that limited their activity at the deadline. This gamble on acquiring the Pelicans all-star big man may have cost them a playoff run this year.
Loser: Los Angeles Lakers
It seems as though everyone associated with the Anthony Davis trade rumors came out worse off. LA clearly went after Davis the hardest; they at one point offered to send four of their best young players as well as multiple draft picks only for the Pelicans to demand more draft picks from them. General Manager Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson seemed over their head in negotiations as the whole process was way too public and, at times, comical. However, the move the Lakers wound up making was questionable, at best. They sent Michael Beasley and Ivica Zubac to the Clippers for Mike Muscala. Zubac had been playing the best basketball of his young career and they essentially dealt him to clear a roster spot for what is assumed to be a buyout player. All in all, a disastrous deadline for an organization with such high aspirations.
Winner: Markelle Fultz
After a tumultuous start to his career including numerous injuries and shooting woes, former number one overall pick Markelle Fultz has the chance to start from scratch under Steve Clifford’s direction in Orlando. Getting away from the media madness of Philadelphia and having the chance to develop at his own pace will be huge for Fultz, and may allow him to reach the potential so many saw in him two years ago.
Loser: Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin
Easily the biggest losers from this year’s trade deadline are Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin. On February 3rd they were dealt from Portland to Cleveland. Then, on the 6th, they were traded from Cleveland to the Houston Rockets. The Rockets proceeded to ship them to Indiana on the 7th. The Pacers then waived them both. 4 teams, 5 days, and then waived. Just brutal.