In what was one of the more exciting NBA trade deadlines in recent years, we saw several star players moved as well as some solid pieces acquired by title contending teams. While some moves made sense, others left us scratching our heads wondering what the front office was thinking. Let us break down each major trade made and evaluate how each transaction will affect their new clubs moving forward.
The Rare 4-Team Trade
Rockets Acquire: Robert Covington, Jordan Bell, 2024 2nd Round Pick (GSW)
Hawks Acquire: Clint Capela, Nene
Timberwolves Acquire: Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez, Evan Turner, Jarred Vanderbilt, 2020 1st Round Pick (BKN)
Nuggets Aquire: Gerald Green, Keita Bates-Diop, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh, 2020 1st Round Pick (HOU)
Now that’s a lot of turnover. In what opened the flood gates of this years trade deadline this trade changed the outlook of all four teams involved, and not just for this season, but for the future of their respective franchises as well. Since some of the added players in this deal were dealt afterwards to other clubs, we will focus on those still under contract with the team they were originally dealt.
Let’s start with the Rockets. They made a huge gamble in trading away a young, promising big man in Clint Capela. Capela is a guy who can play stellar interior defence as well as excel at running end to end. However he has nothing close to a jump shot, let alone a consistent 3-point stroke, something the Rockets will live and die on.
After securing a win without rolling out a single player taller than 6’7, the Rockets management decided it was time to pull the trigger a on a deal to aquire premier three-and-D man, Robert Covington. Covington is a former All-NBA Defensive Team member sporting a 35.8% from deep this season which will insert himself in the Rockets game-plan with ease. The Rockets are hoping to continue their all offence -no defence ways with hopes of competing for a title once again.
The Hawks have now brought in the 3rd piece of their future adding another fast paced player to go into coach Lloyd Pierces system. Capela will work well in pick-and-roll situations with All-Star guard Trae Young, as well take pressure off of prospect big man John Collins on both ends of the ball, allowing him to spend more time at the 4 instead of forcing him to play against far bigger matchups at the 5. The Hawks are currently a ways away from a potential 8th seed playoff birth (best case scenario), but the addition of Cappella bodes well for their future.
While mostly used as a salary dump, the Timberwolves added several useful new pieces to their rotation, with none more useful than Guard Malik Beasley. Beasley showed himself as a stellar offensive player while in Denver as both an off the bench talent and as a starter in Jamal Murray’s absence. Beasley is a tremendous and great shooter which is something the Timberwolves have lacked this season. In Beasley, the timberwolves are getting a much needed upgrade in their backcourt.
The Timberwolves also added veteran Evan Turner. Turner can play 1-4, space the floor, and create opportunities on both ends for his team. Minnesota also picked up Juan Hernangomez, a solid big that can produce off the bench and take some of the offensive load off the shoulders of star Karl Anthony-Towns. The T-Wolves will need a miracle run to make the playoffs in the uber competitive Western Conference, but with these additions they’ve set themselves up nicely for the upcoming season.
Lastly, the Nuggets. The Nuggets cleared some cap room but then followed it up with no moves. They essentially went all-in before the flop and ended up folding. The Nuggets gained a past his prime vet in Gerald Green, and an athletic big man in Noah Vonleh, but besides that they slammed out.
As a team rocking for a top three seed in the West this move did nothing but hurt their outlook for the future of this season. The Nuggets need to have all of their key players stay healthy if they want to make a run deep into this years playoffs or else they’ll be relying on the future top 20-pick they’ve acquired from the Rockets to make up for the losses they endured from this deal.
Dillon Brooks Gets His Wish, Iguodala Lands in South Beach
Heat Acquire: Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill
Grizzlies Acquire: Justise Winslow, James Johnson, Dion Waiters
There is little reason to believe Iggy will have missed a step from what he was just a season ago, but to calm the nerves of Heat fans they still ended up with Jae Crowder, a very solid player in all aspects of the game and will be able to produce immediately for Spoelstra and the Heat. I am still not convinced these moves are enough to get Miami into the finals but they have a legitimate chance at getting to the conference finals at the very least.
On Memphis’ side of the deal it seems Grit N’ Grind is mixing with Showtime. The Grizzlies traded away some solid defensive players and a contract collecting dust and in return added a great potential role player in “The Honourable” Justise Winslow, as well as a man that defines grit in James Johnson. Winslow can be a key contributor to the Grizz heading to the playoffs as a great defender with superior playmaking ability from a 6’7 forward. Winslow still struggles to shoot with efficiency as well as stay healthy, but if he can stay on the court he could be the X factor the Grizzlies need.
Clippers Add Final Piece to Make Their Championship Push
Clippers Acquire: Marcus Morris, Isaiah Thomas
Knicks Acquire: Maurice Harkless, 2020 1st-Round Pick (LAC), 2021 2nd-Round Pick (DET), 2021 Top-4 Protected 1st-Round Pick (LAC), Rights to Issuf Sanon
Wizards Acquire: Jerome Robinson
The Clippers have now added a stud to their already deep rotation in Marcus Morris. Morris was putting in a great campaign with the Knicks, shooting the ball well and playing his stellar brand of defence that has defined him since entering the league. Morris will impact the Clippers instantly on both ends of the floor and will space the floor for stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, as well as provide much needed defensive relief. Morris has been known to be difficult in the locker room in the past but if the Doc Rivers can keep him on the right track then the Clippers could be destined for a championship run this season.
For once the Knicks front office made a smart decision. They sold high on Marcus Morris and were able to lock up a solid power forward in Maurice Harkless as well as a first round pick in this years draft, as well as a potential 1st-round pick next year if the Knicks decide to exercise the option to swap and the pick falls outside of the top 4. The Knicks are embracing the tank, a February tradition as of the past 5 years, and the Knicks will be fighting to lose out and add young talent to build upon in the years to come.
Jerome Robinson will definitely get some burn in Washington, unfortunately it won’t matter. The Wizards are an atrocious team this year with virtually no depth and Robinson hasn’t been able to produce consistently at the NBA level. He’s still young, and has a lot of upside athletically and defensively, but the issues are still glaringly obvious in his game.
Top-5 Centre is Traded for a Bag of Chips
Cavaliers Acquire: Andre Drummond
Pistons Acquire: Brandon Knight, John Henson, 2023 2nd-Round Pick (less favourable between Caviliers and Warriors)
I don’t get this trade, plain and simple. On both sides of this deal it makes absolutely no sense, but I will give the Cavaliers credit for the absolute fleece job they performed of the Pistons. The Cavs are getting disgruntled star Kevin Love some much needed help and add a big body down low for prospect guards Darius Garland and Colin Sexton to dump the ball to.
Drummond will likely opt out of his contract at the end of the season and find his way to a more comfortable and competent destination. The Cavs gave up a guard with virtually zero usage and a centre who is used as an extra body to play mediocre defence, this is a gamble worth taking.
The Pistons really just wanted to move Drummond for anything. The fact they couldn’t even manage to pry a single future 1st from a team is baffling. The Pistons are no doubt going to tumble down the standings and will be there for the foreseeable future as all-star forward Blake Griffin remains out and will likely catch the first flight out of town once given the opportunity. A pitiful effort on the Pistons front office and this trade will go down as not only one of the strangest, but one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history.
Friendship Outweighs Everything, Wiggins Gets His Shot at Redemption
Timberwolves Acquire: D’Angelo Russell, Omari Spellman, Jacob Evans
Warriors Acquire: Andrew Wiggins, 2021 Top-3 Protected 1st-Round Pick (MIN), 2021 2nd-Round Pick (MIN)
The T-Wolves finally landed their guy and got Karl Anthony-Towns a friend while he wallows in the misery of playing in Minnesota. While that may be a harsh statement, the T-Wolves have had no success in franchise history. Minnesota pushed hard to get Russell in the 2019 off-season so it’s no surprise they jumped at the chance of landing the former All-Star.
While Russell is a phenomenal talent and his chemistry with young star Karl Anthony-Towns is through the roof, logistically this trade does not overly improve the team as a whole. Both Russell and KAT are one-dimensional players at this point in their careers as they can put up 20 points with ease but you can almost guarantee the other team will have at least two starters in double-digits as well.
The Timberwolves will need to hit big on picking up some supporting cast members during the 2020 offseason, and if that doesn’t happen they will continue to dig themselves deeper into mediocrity.
The Warriors may have just snuck themselves back into title contention talks for the next two seasons. I am in no way saying that Wiggins is going to put the Warriors on his shoulders and carry them to an NBA Championship, but he could be a key piece in Warriors comeback season in 2020-21.
Wiggins will serve as a 3rd scoring option for the Warriors behind the dominant backcourt of the Splash Bros, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, similar to a Harrison Barnes role on their 2015 Championship team. Wiggins though is a far superior player than Barnes in every single way, however he lacks a killer mindset and has trouble with consistency on nightly basis.
While the Warriors are going to be a bottom of the barrel team for the rest of this season, all one has to do is look at the 1998 Spurs. David Robinson sits out a season, they end up with the number one pick where they got some guy named Tim Duncan. I think it turned out well for them. Top prospect James Wiseman will be at the top of the Warriors list of priorities going into the draft, and if he can produce the way NBA scouts expect him to the Warriors could go from worst to first all within a year.
I am big on this move but nothing in life is guaranteed and that goes double for Andrew Wiggins and playing well. Wiggins is getting a chance at turning his legacy around from being a disappointment, to being a great player on a top tier team.