With the NBA Deadline on Thursday, GMs are scrambling to make the next big move.
The 2017 NBA Trade Deadline is just a short few days away and already there have been a reshuffling of teams throughout the NBA. Here’s a quick recap on what’s happened in the league so far ahead of Thursday:
February 2nd: Milwaukee Bucks trade center Miles Plumlee for Charlotte Hornets’ centers Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert
Thoughts: Whenever two teams scrapping for the same bottom playoff spot make a trade, you’ve got to wonder why? The Bucks, known affectionately for their prized franchise star Giannis “Last Name Too Long and Intimidating to Attempt to Pronounce” Antetokounpo (told you!), an abundance of height, and not much else get two very tall gentlemen in Hawes and Hibbert. Hawes should provide another body and a bit of shooting for the Bucks even if he’s shooting a near career low in three-point percentage. As for Hibbert, even with his mental fortitude not being the greatest, is a net positive. His defense speaks for itself and with the Bucks ranking 21st in defensive rating, the boost could be exactly what they need to grab that 8th seed. They’re only one game back too!
For Charlotte, the climb to the eighth is a bit more complicated. Two and a half games back, their trade for Miles Plumlee screams desperation more than application. Plumlee is young and serviceable, definitely, but he’s not a particularly good rebounder or scorer or defender or passer or…yeah, you get the idea. Perhaps the change of scenery will do wonders for him and the rest of the Hornets but as it stands today…I would hold my breath on playoff hopes.
February 13: Cleveland Cavaliers trade center Chris “Birdman” Andersen and cash considerations to the Charlotte Hornets for a future second round pick.
Thoughts: Nothing to see here. Andersen is 38 and tore his ACL earlier this season. This was a move just to clear some cap space.
February 13: Portland Trailblazers trade center Mason Plumlee, a 2018 second-round pick, and cash considerations to the Denver Nuggets for center Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round pick.
Thoughts: Another Plumlee? How many are there? (Google says three). Any who, the Trailblazers and Nuggets are both fighting for the chance to be slaughtered by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. The deal works well for both squads. For Portland, though this Plumlee was a useful cog in their system, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum need more offensive help. Nurkic, who was once useful in Denver until a certain Serbian star overtook him, should provide just that. Plus, a first round pick in this year’s star-studded draft brings Portland’s first round picks count to three—just like the Plumlees. Even if they don’t make the playoffs, that’s something to smile about.
For the Nuggets, their hope (read as: prayer) is that Plumlee can jump right in and help shore up what has been the worst defense in the NBA. Honestly, that’s probably not what’s going to happen. He just departed the 4th worst defending team to join the worst defending team. Considering he started in Portland, one has got to assume he was part of the problem. If he has any sort of large role—which he will—defense is not where you should expect gains. Instead, look out for his relatively strong rebounding and surprisingly good passing to help a very good offense reach elite levels.
Valentine’s Day: The Orlando Magic trades forward Serge Ibaka to the Toronto Raptors for guard Terrence Ross and a 2017 first pick.
Thoughts: The Raptors really really really wanted Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap but Ibaka is a fantastic consolation prize. He can shoot the three well, hitting 1.5 threes a game on almost 40% shooting, and he’s money from mid-range. If that wasn’t enough, “Ibaka the Shot Blocka” (or the Serge Protector…either or) is actually most known for his defense prowess although at this point in his career, he may be living a bit more on reputation than accomplishment. However, with Toronto struggling over the last ten games and falling quickly from the number two seed to the fifth seed, change was needed. He should be great for them,
There’s no easy way to put it so I’m just going to say it. Orlando has no idea what they’re doing. The positives: the Magic are a young team in the weaker Eastern conference. Oh, and they have wonderful weather in Florida. The negatives: the team is an assortment of mismatched pieces that can neither shoot (29th in offensive rating) or defend (22nd in defensive rating). In short. They’re bad or pretty bad at everything. Ross can shoot three pointers, yes, but he’s not exactly the most assertive player in the world. He also can’t really dribble and needs help getting into his spots in order for him to get his shot off. In Toronto, he was the fourth option in a winning culture with two all-star teammates. Here? At least they have nice weather.
February 19: Sacramento Kings trade All-Star center DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and a 2017 first round and second round pick.
Good God, where does one start? Possibly with a bunch of expletives which is exactly what I did when I saw the news. The Kings and Cousins had run their course. Seven years and multiple All-Star selections but ultimately, little to no team success as management failed (repeatedly) to surround him with anything resembling basketball players. Playing alongside another fellow Kentucky member and All-Star in Anthony Davis is honestly the very least that Cousins deserves. Hopefully, he isn’t too injured from seven years of carrying a franchise. The Pelicans need every bit of help they can get. They’re two and a half games out of the eight seed but clearly, the sun is shining in New Orleans. All aboard the playoff train! Things just got interesting. (Oh and they got a great shooter in Casspi! Woo!)
For the Kings, well, this move is an odd mixture of stupidity and genius. Management certainly had its problems with Cousins but with all that said, he repeatedly said he wanted to be there for life. However, perhaps they believed he was bluffing and deciding to pull the trigger. Maybe they, like Cousins, were tired of missing the playoffs over and over and over. Or they could be stupid. The jury’s still out on this one.
Never the less, the haul that they received in return is…promising? Buddy Hield was beloved in college, though his game hasn’t yet translated so we’ll see. Galloway is a great three point shooter, though he’ll need someone who can set him up. Tyreke is alright but the Kings actually originally drafted him (he was even the Rookie of the Year) before eventually trading him away anyway. Surely, if they didn’t like him then, they probably don’t want him now but what do I know. The picks in this upcoming draft will be nice but honestly, drafting is often a hit or miss process. Cousins is a franchise centerpiece. There’s no guarantee any of their drafts will be. Based on their draft history, I’d doubt it.
What a night of trades. The only sad part: #FreeBoogie is no longer a thing.