The NBA’s trade deadline has passed and it came with some big surprises. Star players made their moves and others stayed put despite every conceivable rumour pointing to the contrary. Some teams had a nice win, improving their stocks heading into the playoffs while others have dumped a bunch of assets to make themselves worse with a strong draft coming in the off-season. So, who are the winners and losers of some of the biggest trades?
The New Orleans Pelicans receive DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi from The Sacramento Kings for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a first-round pick and a future second-round pick.
Winner: New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have come up huge with this trade. Picking up Cousins and putting him alongside Anthony Davis has given the franchise one of the best frontcourts in the league and one that could serve as a foundation for a strong team in the future. Even now, without the duo having played together, they’re a team expected to cause some problems in the playoffs. With Boogie playing at the 5, it allows Davis to play at his natural power forward position. Both players can spread the floor too, so it’s not as though both big men will end up clogging the paint either. The very notion of having to deal with a Boogie & Brow pick and roll and their shared rebounding is terrifying for opponents.
Loser: Sacramento Kings
The word “fleeced” has been thrown around quite a bit since the deal was made Monday afternoon. The main point deal for the Kings was getting Buddy Hield, who despite struggling in his rookie season, is highly rated by the Kings as a future star. The additions of Langston Galloway and a returning Tyreke Evans do very little for Sacramento. With the assets that New Orleans have, they could have secured a much better deal, yet appeared to be more interested in getting Boogie out and Buddy in than actually trying to enhance their roster.
The Toronto Raptors send Terrence Ross and a first-round pick to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka.
Winner: Toronto Raptors
The addition of Serge Ibaka is one that makes the Raptors more dangerous heading into the playoffs. Ibaka has proven to be valuable in playoff runs with Oklahoma City. He adds rim protection and can score both inside and outside. They had to give up Terrence Ross and a first-rounder to get Ibaka, but the Raptors roster was already crowded with perimeter players, so despite losing a serviceable role player in Ross, Ibaka will fill that gap with an added inside presence.
Loser: Orlando Magic
The Magic wanted to ensure they received something in return for Ibaka before he could leave in free agency this off-season. The switch clears a jam in their frontcourt, with Ibaka, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo all trying to share minutes. Giving up Ibaka, it’s clear the Magic aren’t in win-now mode to remaining in a redevelopment mode for the future.
The Oklahoma City Thunder send Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow to the Chicago Bulls for Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson and a 2018 second-round pick.
Winner: Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder were able to make a little space on their roster while picking up better players in the process. McDermott and Gibson will provide much better production than Lauvergne and Morrow. McDermott, who’s shooting 37% from deep this season, fills a crucial hole for Oklahoma with his shooting. Gibson’s addition offers Oklahoma a veteran presence.
Loser: Chicago Bulls
It’s a strange move for the Bulls as they have the seventh-best record in the East and are likely to make the playoffs. If Chicago had dealt Jimmy Butler, then it is obvious they’re on course to rebuild, but with both Butler and Dwayne Wade staying, losing a starting forward and a solid bench player doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
The Philadelphia 76ers send Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a top-18 protected first-round pick.
Winner: Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs are preparing for their future after Dirk Nowitzki decides to hang up the boots, trying to sneak into the playoffs all at the same time. Noel will provide more scoring than Bogut, who’s struggled to gel offensively with Nowitzki, without losing any of the rim protection. Being stuck sharing minutes in Philly has probably stunted Noel’s growth somewhat and having the capacity to learn from one of the best big men of this millennium will be great for the 22-year-old.
Loser: Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers were able to clear out the traffic jam in their frontcourt but seemed to have traded the wrong guy, with Noel appearing a better fit in Philly than Jahlil Okafor. They did acquire Andrew Bogut, but the Aussie immediately started buyout negotiations after the Sixers couldn’t find a suitable trade for him before the deadline.
The Atlanta Hawks send Tiago Splitter to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ersan Ilyasova and a future second-round pick.
Winner: Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks added Ilyasova, who is on his third team this season and fifth for his career, and were able to move Splitter who has been out all season with a calf injury and out of contract at the end of the season. The Turkish forward has been averaging 14.8 points and 5.9 rebounds this campaign to illustrate his prowess as a shooter, so he’ll be able to spread the floor and fit nicely into the Hawks’ system.
Loser: Philadelphia 76ers
Essentially, the Sixers have created space for the off-season to sweep up draft picks. Tiago Splitter’s contract expires this season, so that will open up a roster spot. The club have received a second-rounder to swap rights to another of Atlanta’s future second-round picks.
The Los Angeles Lakers get Corey Brewer and an unprotected first-round pick from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Lou Williams.
Winner: Houston Rockets
Houston pick up a valuable bench player in Williams. The guard has been one of the highlights of the Lakers season, averaging a career-high 18.6 points per game and leading the league in bench scoring. In swapping Brewer for Williams, the Rockets add even more perimeter firepower to a team that’s ridiculous beyond the arc. Williams has been shooting at 38.5% from deep, while Brewer has shot just 41.4% from the field.
Loser: Los Angeles Lakers
Not the best start for the Lakers new president of basketball operations Magic Johnson. They lost their sixth man for a declining Brewer on a bigger contract and a high first-rounder. Brewer has struggled this season, with a career-low of 4.2 points per game and still has a year on his contract. The first-round pick is the asset the Lakers were searching for here, with the team attempting to build on their young core.