Beyond the 407, trade deadline was a frenzy of activity seeing everything from superstar trades, smart piece acquisition, key role players, salary cutting and moves with an eye to the future.
The Magic move of acquiring Bol Bol was already covered exceptionally by our very own savant, Paul Bacon and needs no further discussion.(To read, Paul’s article click here)
However, if we break away from the Super Bowl parties, let’s highlight some other moves which may be worth keeping at least one eye on…
Super Moves! Harden and Simmons finally switch!
Philadelphia receives: James Harden and Paul Millsap
Brooklyn receives: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, 2022 first-round pick, 2027 first-round pick.
Two teams pursuing the same goal strengthening each other rarely occurs in the NBA. However, this was no ‘usual’ situation. This was a move made through necessity. For Philadelphia, they simply had to get Ben Simmons out of the City of Brotherly Love double-quick. Simmons had not suited up since the Sixers crashed out of the playoffs last season. With Joel Embiid leading the way in the MVP race, the time is right and the time is down for Daryl Morey.
Morey was the GM who built the ‘almost’ Houston Rockets. Harden was the centrepiece of the Rockets squad, becoming one of the league’s most devastating scorers in the process. Photographs on social media following the trade felt like a family union bringing Morey and Harden back together.
This begs the question, why for Philadelphia? Quite simply put, Harden was forcing his way out of Brooklyn and the Nets could not risk losing him for nothing. Those with decent memories will remember how Harden conducted himself when deciding he wanted out of Houston. Strange body language, an apparent huge weight gain and question attitude forced the trade to the Nets. History seemed on the verge of repeating itself.
So, who won? You could easily say both and you could easily say neither. With the mental health issues surrounding Ben Simmon, one can only hope that Simmons has had the help he needs. Whilst Simmons’ actions are the cause of many a Twitter disagreement, when it comes to mental health, the focus has to be well-being. The question will be, what do we see from Simmons going forward?
With regard to Harden, the fear has to be professionalism. Undoubtedly Harden could, like Simmons, be a walking triple double. If Harden turns up as the 30PPG James Harden, Philadelphia could very well be the team to beat in the East.
However, if Harden turns up out of shape, well, who knows. Also, keep in mind that you could argue Harden did not have a great track record of playing with a superstar in Houston.
Stepping back and putting a gun to my head, I would say the Nets won the trade. The devil here is in the detail. Simmons himself brings all-NBA defence and could play the forward positions in Brooklyn, allowing Kyrie Irving, when he plays, to still be Kyrie. If Simmons guards the other team’s best player, he has value to Brooklyn.
However, the real devil here is the detail. Brooklyn also got Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. Curry was a fan favourite in Philadelphia. A 40% marksman from 3-point territory, Curry spaces the floor and replaces the injured Joe Harris. Good? Yes…but then there’s Drummond.
The knock on the Nets has been who plays at the 5. The Nets do not need an All Star here. Realistically, they cannot get a Jokic to go bucket for bucket with Embiid, who is dominating at the time of writing. However, they get a rebounder and an elite one at that. With starter minutes, expect to see Drummond revert to a league leader in rebounds. This means more chances offensively for the Nets and less chances defensively for the Brooklyn opponents.
That’s right. Andre Drummond is the key to Brooklyn being the winner in this trade.
Sabonis and Haliburton – trading places!
Indiana receives: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Tristan Thompson
Sacramento receives: Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, 2023 second-round pick
Sacramento received a boat-load of hate for this one. The usual ‘Kings being the Kings’ was everywhere on NBA social media on February 8th. From a talent perspective, Indiana were the likely winners. With De’Arron Fox, Davion Mitchell, Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, there were only so many minutes to go around in Sacramento.
Sending the supremely talented Haliburton and gunner, Buddy Hield to Indiana will help massively with the Pacers rebuild. Myles Turner is already said to be happier in Indiana and with Chris Duarte, Malcolm Brogdon and the injured TJ Warren all on the roster, the Pacers have options going forward.
However, this was not a total disaster for Sacramento. The Kings seem to have lacked a legitimate big since ‘Boogie’ Cousins was in his pomp. In Sabonis, the Kings get a multi-talented two-time All-Star.
The winner? Likely the Pacers. BUT this is not the landslide that social media reaction would deem it to be.
Portland finally breaks it up.
New Orleans receives: CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr, Tony Snell
Portland receives: Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky, Didi Louzada, 2022 first-round pick (protected), 2026 second-round pick (pick swap), 2027 second-round pick (pick swap)
Let’s call this what it is, Portland are in a rebuild and took the Josh Hart-led package which the Pelicans were said to be offering around the league for shooting before flipping parts here, there and everywhere.
This is a huge victory for the Pelicans, if they get Zion healthy. Already sitting on the heels of Portland for the play-in, you would think the Pelicans and Kings in-particular will be looking to catch the Blazers.
New Orleans needs floor spacing – badly. McCollum provides this. New Orleans fans must be salivating at the prospect of Zion, Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas, Devonte Graham and Herb Jones as key options going forward.
Cavs shooting their shot.
Cleveland receives: Caris LeVert, Miami’s 2022 second-round pick.
Indiana receives: Ricky Rubio, 2022 first-round pick (lottery protected), Houston’s 2022 second-round pick, Utah’s 2022 second-round pick.
The Cavs are the league’s surprise package. Sitting third in the Eastern Conference on the evening of the Super Bowl, the trio of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley have given fans in Cleveland reason to believe again. Adding the multi-talented LeVert might just be the nudge to get Cleveland to the Conference Finals…or beyond.
With an eye on next year, Indiana re-tooled at the trade deadline. Adding picks and options was the way forward for the Pacers and after their deal with Sacramento, this could be a quick re-tool, rather than a re-build.
However, keep an eye on Cleveland. Mobley is the likely rookie of the year, Allen can consider himself unlucky not to make the All Star selections and Garland did just that. A dangerous young team.
This came out of nowhere!
Dallas receives: Spencer Dinwiddie, Davis Bertans
Washington receives: Kristaps Porzingis, 2022 second-round pick.
This is a move I did not see coming. The thinking behind it is likely trying to get the stars of each franchise (Luka Doncic and Bradley Beal) help or options.
Porzingis on his day is a unicorn. However, health problems have plagued his tenure in the NBA. If healthy, he brings a legitimate 20 PPG player to DC. But will that be enough to keep the ever-loyal Bradley Beal around?
Meanwhile, Dallas were said to be looking for a ball-handler and 3 point shooting. They do get both here and also, easier contracts to flip in future trades…maybe. However, after an initial strong return from injury, Dinwiddie’s form has sadly dipped. Meanwhile, whilst a smaller contract than Porzingis, Davis Bertans has yet to live up to the big money Washington threw at him.
Charlotte receives: Montrezl Harrell
Washington receives: Vernon Carey Jr, Ish Smith, Boston’s 2023 second-round pick.
Charlotte had been looking to strengthen their options at the 5. In adding Harrell, they get one of the league’s best sixth men and a fierce, if slightly undersized, inside powerhouse.
Whilst Charlotte wins the trade, it must be pointed out that Ish Smith has been low-key good for Charlotte this season. Wizards fans may get a nice surprise from the veteran.
LA Clippers receive: Norman Powell and Robert Covington.
Portland receives: Keon Johnson, Justise Winslow, Eric Bledsoe, Detroit’s 2025 second-round pick.
The Clippers must be thinking they have got the Orlando Magic injury curse. Already lacking Paul George and hoping to get Kawhi Leonard back soon, the Clippers needed wing presence. Enter Powell and Covington. Exit Powell.
Robert Covington is the name you think of with 3 and D. Powell, brought much needed scoring punch to the Clips. However, just like that, Powell is out with a fractured bone in his foot.
The sleeper here is Portland getting Keon Johnson. In a rebuild, this might just be a very nice pick-up for the Blazers.
Ibaka a Buck.
Milwaukee receives: Serge Ibaka, Sacramento second round pick, Detroit second-round pick, cash considerations from the Clippers.
LA Clippers receive: Rodney Hood, Semi Ojeleye, Vanja Marinkovic.
Sacramento receives: Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Jackson, Trey Lyles, David Michineau, Detroit second-round pick.
Detroit receives: Marvin Bagley III.
For the future, Detroit adds another young piece to their roster in Bagley in what could be a high-ceiling deal. If they only played the Magic, Sacramento wins the trade with Trey Lyles. However, Milwaukee needed size and experience with Brook Lopez out. They got that in Ibaka. If this is enough to take the Bucks back to the finals, then Milwaukee will say it was worth it.
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