NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

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Photo courtesy http://www.startribune.com/after-debut-timberwolves-d-angelo-russell-focusing-on-learning-new-teammates-new-plays/567779472/?scrlybrkr=5b596359

Point guard D'Angelo Russell has been paired up with his good friend Karl-Anthony Towns on the Minnesota Timberwolves, making them a very fun duo to watch.

As the 2019-20 NBA season passes by, fans wait to hear what moves, if any, their team has made in anticipation of making a playoff run or taking the first steps toward a rebuild for the future. Many championship contenders made moves at the trade deadline on February 6 to try and bolster their rosters, such as the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Miami Heat. Even some non-contenders, such as the Timberwolves, Hawks, and Cavaliers, got in on the action. Now that the deadline has come and gone, The Neersyde is here to grade each trade for each team and how it will help them when the postseason comes around.

The first major trade that occurred was on February 4, two days before the deadline. It was a four-team, twelve-player trade between the Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Denver Nuggets. The Hawks received centers Clint Capela and Nene (who was waived after the trade), the Rockets received forward Robert Covington and center Jordan Bell (who was traded to the Grizzlies two days later), the Timberwolves received shooting guard Malik Beasley, power forward Juancho Hernangómez, guard Evan Turner, power forward Jarred Vanderbilt, and a 2020 first round pick from Atlanta via the Brooklyn Nets, and the Denver Nuggets received point guard Shabazz Napier (who was traded to the Wizard two days later), forward Keita Bates-Diop, power forward Noah Vonleh, small forward Gerald Green, and a 2020 first round pick from the Rockets.

For the Nuggets, this was a great trade because they did not have to give up any important pieces and they gained a first round pick.

For the Timberwolves, this was also beneficial since they shed Robert Covington’s $11 million contract, and they also gained a first round pick. 

The same can’t be said for the Rockets because they traded their starting center in Clint Capela. The tallest player in their starting lineup now is PJ Tucker, who is 6’5.” Covington is a solid 3-and-D player (good at defense and shooting three pointers) who will add more firepower to a Rockets offense that already includes James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

Photo courtesy https://clutchpoints.com/hawks-news-clint-capela-reveals-when-hes-hoping-to-make-atlanta-debut-after-trade-from-rockets/
New Atlants Hawks center Clint Capela has been paired up with point guard Trae Young and power forward John Collins, making Atlanta a very young and exciting team to watch.

Finally, for the Hawks, this was a great trade because they finally received their athletic, rim-protecting, rebounding center that they have been looking for since Al Horford left in 2016. It will be interesting to see how he fits with All-star point guard Trae Young and athletic power forward John Collins.

Photo courtesy https://kingjamesgospel.com/2020/02/14/cleveland-cavaliers-three-post-all-star-break-goals-andre-drummond/
New Cavaliers center Andre Drummond is ready to start the next part of his career in Cleveland.

On deadline day, the Cleveland Cavaliers traded point guard Brandon Knight, center John Henson, and a 2023 second-round pick to the Detroit Pistons for two time All-Star center Andre Drummond. This trade went under the radar because both teams are out of playoff contention. However, Drummond has led the league in rebounding for three consecutive years. He had a $28.8 million player option this year that he probably would have declined so that he could sign an extension worth over $180 million this summer. Drummond wanted to stay in Detroit, but Detroit did not want to pay him. Both sides could not agree on an extension. The Pistons got back Brandon Knight, a below average point guard, and John Henson, an average (at best) center. Overall, this trade was a successful one for Cleveland. The Cavaliers won the trade because they got a very solid player in Drummond for a very cheap price. They also did not have to give up any of their young core or future draft picks, which is another plus. This trade did not hurt the Pistons, but at least they dumped Drummond’s salary. This officially starts their rebuild. They probably could have had a higher asking price for the perennial all star, but again, it did not hurt them.

Also on deadline day, the Miami Heat traded shooting guard Dion Waiters (who was waived after the trade), forward James Johnson (who was traded to the Timberwolves immediately after), and point-forward Justise Winslow to the Memphis Grizzlies for forward Andre Iguodala, forward Jae Crowder, and forward Solomon Hill. The Golden State Warriors traded Iguodala last summer to Memphis, and he never played a game for them. Now he is on the Heat and has already signed a two-year, $30 million extension with them. For the Heat, this is a great trade because it gives them two great defenders in Iguodala and Crowder. They can both help  take the defensive load off of All-Star forward Jimmy Butler. Solomon Hill was added into the trade so that the money would match up. For the Grizzlies, they took a risk in acquiring the injury-plagued Winslow, but he is only 23-years-old. For the Heat, currently the fourth seed in the East, this strengthens them as they jockey for position down the stretch.

Photo courtesy of https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2875626-andre-iguodala-says-i-never-stated-that-i-didnt-want-to-play-with-grizzlies
New Heat forward Andre Iguodala is ready to lead the Heat in making a championship run in these final two months of the season.

Another trade that occurred on deadline day was between the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves. All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell, guard Jacob Evans, and forward Omari Spellman were traded for small forward Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 first round pick, and a 2021 second round pick. Ever since the Warriors traded for Russell last summer, his future with the team has been up in the air. People were questioning how he would fit with All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Many people believed that the Warriors would wait to trade Russell until this upcoming summer so that they could see him play with Curry and Thompson, who are both out this year with injuries. Instead, they shocked the NBA world by trading Russell to the Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins, who has been criticized throughout his career for his massive contract and his “one-dimensional skillset,” which means that he is a solid scorer, but a below average defender. 

For the Warriors, this trade could go either way. It could end up being solid, or it could end up being a trainwreck. On the plus side, the Warriors did get a first-round pick next year that could have some solid value. For the Timberwolves, this trade’s sole purpose was to keep superstar Karl-Anthony Towns happy. Earlier in the season, Towns expressed his frustration with the Timberwolves organization. Now, he gets one of his best friends on his team. That is a win. They also shed Wiggin’s huge contract, ending an experiment that did not go so well for the T-Wolves.

One of the trades that could have the biggest impact on the playoffs was between the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, and  Washington Wizards. The Clippers sent forward Maurice Harkless, a 2020 first-round pick, a protected 2021 first-round pick with a swap option, and the 2021 Detroit second-round pick to the Knicks for forward Marcus Morris. L.A. also sent Jerome Robinson to Washington for Isaiah Thomas, who they then cut. This will have major implications in the Western Conference playoffs. The Clippers are competing with their neighbor, the Lakers, for the best team in the West. The Clippers already have the highest scoring bench in the league, and it just got better. Morris was averaging a career-high 19.6 points per game before being traded from the Knicks. He also fits into the Clippers culture and system well as he is tough, relentless, and has a chip on his shoulder like other Clippers players. Morris can play the three for them or stretch big because he is a good shooter and can be very physical. This is a massive win for the Clippers as the Lakers were also trying to get Morris.

The Knicks made this trade because they are out of the playoff race once again and want to tank. Morris was not helping them lose, and he was clogging up playtime for rookie R.J Barrett. The Knicks received draft picks in return and Mo Harkless, a decent role player, on a one-year deal. The Knicks won this trade for many reasons, but the biggest is that it sets them up for the future. 

The Wizards also did well as they received a young wing player in Jerome Robinson who they will be able to develop. The Wizards are almost out of the playoff race, and they want draft assets and young players for the future. Isaiah Thomas is pushing thirty and was only averaging 10 points off the bench. The Wizards lost this trade as they got an unproven player and gained a second-round pick. They probably could have gotten a bit more, such as more draft capital or young players.

So, the winners of the trade deadline were the Atlanta Hawks, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Denver Nuggets, and the New York Knicks. The losers were the Detroit Pistons, the Golden State Warriors, and the Washington Wizards. The Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies are the two teams that had questionable trades. However, we will see how it all plays out as the second-half of the season wraps up and the playoffs come into focus.