These are the top four trade deadline deals that happened around the NBA last week.
Dallas Trades: Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut, and a 2017 protected first round pick.
Philadelphia Trades: Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel has had high NBA expectations since he was drafted sixth in the 2013 NBA Draft, even after tearing his ACL during his freshman year of college.
He was there towards the very beginning of the long and painful Philadelphia rebuild after being traded for on draft night, and after a year of recovering he finally got a chance to play for the 76ers. Unfortunately for Noel, who thought he was the Sixers’ center of the future, the team went on to draft Joel Embiid in 2014 and Jahlil Okafor in 2015 leaving a logjam of young centers in Phila.
Embiid made his debut in the 2016-2017 season after missing two seasons after being drafted and in 31 games this season before getting injured once again, Embiid averaged 20.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 2.5 BPG in 25.4 minutes per game, giving the Sixers’ front office confidence in Embiid as their center of the future, leaving Okafor and Noel on the fringe.
After the Sixers’ shopped both Okafor and Noel, they must have found what they wanted for Noel from Dallas when they completed the deal on deadline day.
Effects of the Deal:
Noel is considered more of a ‘defensive center’ averaging 1.7 SPG and 1.6 BPG which is an upgrade in steals compared to Embiid but Noel is only averaging 10.2 PPG and 7.6 RPG in 28.3 MPG which is a large drop off compared to Embiid.
With Okafor still only a second year player with decent averages, 15.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.1 BPG, it looks like Philadelphia wanted to eliminate the logjam giving two centers, Embiid and Okafor, a chance to compete for the starting center position for the longhaul.
This ultimately gives Philadelphia more time on the court for Okafor and Embiid to prove themselves to the coaching staff, but also gives the 76ers a young small forward in Justin Anderson, who hasn’t quite found his place in the NBA yet (5 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 40% FG, 12.7 MPG), to work into their system and another first round pick to stash and either use to bring in more talent via trade or bolster their roster through the draft. (Did not mention Andrew Bogut because it is believed he is to buyout his contract with Philadelphia and become a free agent.)
The Mavericks are in dire need of help.
While Harrison Barnes was a good signing for the team in the off-season, the only other accomplished players on the roster are Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris. All of which are on the career decline.
This deal gives Dallas something their roster lacks and that is youthful direction. After discovering diamond-in-the-rough PG Yogi Ferrell, the Dallas youth core of Noel, Ferrell, Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith, Seth Curry and A.J. Hammons has it’s figureheads as the youth of Dallas looks to make an impact on a weak team where until Nowitzki retires, it will be Nowitzki’s team.
The deal also gives Dallas the opportunity to turn Justin Anderson, someone they haven’t found much success with, into Noel, who looks to be the Mavericks’ center of the future.
Dallas Mavericks: B+
Philadelphia 76ers: C+
Chicago trades: Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and an unprotected 2018 second-round pick
Oklahoma City trades: Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow
Both the Thunder and the Bulls were in desperate spots to make deals
The Bulls rearranged the entire core of their team, losing Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol in free agency and trading Derrick Rose to the Knicks, also signing Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade in addition to keeping Jimmy Butler.
The Bulls needed to go into rebuild mode but opted for the “we’re still good enough for a late seed” move when they signed Rondo and Wade, two players on the decline. After realizing that still may not work, they’ve made some subtle deals for some young talent, assembling a young core of Michael Carter-Williams, Jerian Grant, Bobby Portis, Cristiano Felicio, Isaiah Canaan, Denzel Valentine and Paul Zipser.
The Thunder are in a different boat, after losing Kevin Durant, the Thunder have been working diligently to add talent around MVP candidate Russell Westbrook.
After adding Victor Oladipo, Jerami Grant, Alex Abrines and Domantas Sabonis, a solid group of young players, the Thunder organization knew they had to add some veteran presence to their roster to support Westbrook and Co. through the playoff run coming up, so they added both to both a veteran presence and some youth.
Effects of the deal:
Though this move left many Bulls fans and analysts with much to be desired, the Bulls may end up winning this trade in the end. The Bulls lose fan favorite Gibson and sharpshooter McDermott but do they lose much?
Aside from culture, Taj Gibson wasn’t giving much to the Bulls, only averaging 11.6 PPG and 7 RPG. Plus, Gibson is an unrestricted free agent this upcoming off-season meaning either the Bulls were about to lose Gibson for nothing, or will have to grossly overpay to keep him.
McDermott was acquired draft day in what looked like a good deal, trading the draft rights to Gary Harris and Jusuf Nurkic to the Nuggets for McDermott, but the lockdown shooter McDermott was supposed to be has yet to show, McDermott has averaged 40% over his career from three-point range but lacks the volume of an elite sharpshooter, averaging only 2.8 three-point attempts per game, which leaves a lot to be desired for a rebuilding team.
The additions of Payne and Lauvergne are the highlights of the deal for Chicago, Payne may not have seemed impressive while sitting injured on OKC’s bench and then receiving only 16 MPG behind Westbrook. But now has the opportunity to compete for a starting role in Chicago and become the player he was thought to be and with the Thunder’s lottery pick track record, that leaves the Bulls a piece to be excited about that.
Lauvergne also gives the Bulls a piece to work with at PF/C, averaging 6.3 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 15.3 MPG throughout his short career, the 25-year-old has a friendly contract that also provides the Bulls with more youth and size for the movement.
The Thunder are in win now mode and made a win now move, trading one of their major young pieces for two more established veterans.
Payne and Lauvergne are good pieces if you don’t have Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter behind them, so OKC turned those pieces into pieces they can use.
Taj Gibson gives OKC an established starter at PF, who can rebound, defend, move down the floor on the fastbreak and is a great locker room guy. Something they did not have before the move after trading away Serge Ibaka over the summer. The Thunder can now test Gibson, who is on a one-year deal, to see how well he can fit next to Westbrook and also how much the Thunder might be willing to pay to keep him for the future.
McDermott benefits the Thunder by more than just shooting three-point shots. McDermott creates space in the lane for Westbrook. That gives you two options, you can leave a 40% three-point shooter open to stop Westbrook or you can cover the shooter and let Westbrook have his way down the lane and cover the shooter.
Chicago Bulls: B
Oklahoma City Thunder: B
Orlando trades: Serge Ibaka
Toronto trades: Terrence Ross and the Raptor’s 2017 first round pick
Orlando is still rebuilding, and when they traded for Ibaka they figured they could get some return for Oladipo, who they were likely not wanting to resign after giving Evan Fournier a five year 85-million-dollar contract. So they gave Ibaka a try, a poor try, as it prevented the Magic from giving their young bigs Bismack Biyombo and Aaron Gordon more playing time.
So when the opportunity to turn Ibaka into a young player and a 1st round pick. They took it and set their sights towards another rebuild.
Toronto is on the other side of the spectrum, they have the second best team in the East and the only thing standing in their way is Lebron James and the Cavaliers. Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozen aren’t getting any younger, so the opportunity to bring in a well-rounded starting PF for the playoff run is well worth the late first round pick and a failed development project.
This trade just made a lot of sense for both organizations.
Effects of the deal:
The rebuilding Magic turned an asset into a pick, a late pick none the less, but a draft pick. The Magic can take that pick and the expiring contract of Terrence Ross to give their young players more time to play, see who will be the future of the Orlando Magic.
Though the Magic still has more to do, maybe this is the beginning of a total house cleaning for the team, meaning we could see Nikola Vucevic, D.J. Augustin and possibly some of their young players such Mario Hezonja, Gordon, Biyombo or Elfrid Payton being moved as well.
This is do-or-die for the Raptors. They got their starting PF in Ibaka and also filled Ross’ spot on the roster by adding P.J. Tucker from the Suns. But the Raptors are on a timeline, they have to win within the next couple of years or they will have to rebuild once again.
They made the moves they believe will give them the firepower to compete with Cleveland, all they can do now is make it click as best they can over the last month or so and see what the playoffs have in store for the organization.
Orlando Magic: C
Toronto Raptors: B
Sacramento trades: Demarcus Cousins and Omri Cassipi
New Orleans trades: Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, 2017 first and second round picks
Demarcus Cousins has been the best and worst thing for the Kings organization for the last seven years, but finally the front office decided enough was enough and sent him packing.
The team has been in basketball purgatory for a while and hasn’t made the playoffs in a decade. With this being said, that brought Cousins’ believers and Cousins’ haters causing speculation for trades to increase over the past three years. Just when everyone thought the Kings were going to keep bluffing, they finally made a deal.
The Pelicans were heading down a similar path. Anchoring their offense and defense with the skills of Anthony Davis, but have yet to put together a cast that can give New Orleans sustainable success.
It is common knowledge that you can’t win an NBA title with only one superstar, so New Orleans made a move that gave them the best PF/C duo in the NBA today.
Effects of the deal:
Some reports have said that the King’s front office think Hield has ‘Steph Curry potential’ and while someone watching his college tape from Oklahoma can see some similarities, it is ultimately unknown if Hield can live up to the hype. But if he can, he could fit very well with the young talent the Kings already have.
The Kings again are in full rebuild mode, they will likely either trade or let go in free agency the contracts of Darren Collison, Rudy Gay, Evans and Kostas Koufos in favor of the youth movement in Sacramento including Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein, Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson, Skal Labissiere and Ben McLemore.
This means more painful, slow rebuilding for the Kings. If fans thought they were still at square one with Cousins, they are truly at square one with this squad.
New Orleans did the impossible, they just added the best player at a given position to their roster for very little in return.
They turned a legit prospect, an expiring veteran contract, a bench player and a first and second round pick into a superstar, many thought the Kings were going to ask for more.
New Orleans now can build an identity behind their new era ‘twin towers’ but now the question remains, will Cousins stay?
If the team can keep PG Jrue Holiday and Davis, as well as consistently adding good talent that fits, it is a major possibility. But at the same time, who says Cousins doesn’t Sacramento 2.0 this organization, alienating Davis and Holiday into moving or even Cousins’ deciding to leave in free agency.
This move is either the beginning of something very good for the Pelicans or the beginning of the end for the organization.
Sacramento Kings: D+
New Orleans Pelicans: A-