NBA’s wild trade deadline

Teams were active at the February 8 NBA trade deadline, making impact moves. The most talked about trades occurred between the Chicago Bulls and the New Orleans Pelicans; the L.A. Clippers and the Detroit Pistons; the Cleveland Cavaliers with LA Lakers, and a three-way trade with Utah Jazz, Cavaliers, and the Sacramento Kings.

The Pelicans received Nikola Mirotic from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the Pelicans  2018 projected first-round draft pick, center Omer Asik, guard Tony Allen and guard Jameer Nelson.

This trade should benefit both teams with the Pelicans gaining a stretch 4. Mirotic can help to replace the injured DeMarcus (Boogie) Cousins (12.9 rebounds per game) in the starting lineup for the rest of the season. Cousins is out for the season after suffering a torn left Achilles in late January. With the Pelicans losing one of the best rebounders in the game, they are able to get Mirotic who averages 6 rebounds per game.

Pelicans standout Anthony Davis will benefit from the trade as well. Davis, who is 4th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 27 pts per game, won’t have to be the offensive go-to guy on every play.  Mirotic is averaging 16 points per game.

Despite trading away one of their better players, this benefits Chicago. Mirotic was a locker room problem for Chicago, dating back to a physical altercation with his teammate Bobby Portis. Also, the Bulls acquired a first-round pick. This, paired with their lottery pick, will give them more opportunities to rebuild as the youngest team in the NBA, with 24 as their average player age.

In addition, Bulls rookie stud Lauri Markkanen will get more playing time. Markkanen is the fastest player in NBA history to reach 100 3-point field goals made in a season. He is also getting 15 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

Other teams making moves towards the deadline were the Detroit Pistons and the L.A. Clippers. The Pistons acquired Blake Griffin, Willie Reed, and Brice Johnson in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic. According to ESPN, the Pistons feel that they can have their own Big 3 with Griffin, Drummond, and Jackson. Griffin and Jordan worked out pretty well, making the playoffs 5 years in a row in L.A. and Andre Drummond has similar skill sets to Jordan. With Jackson (averaging 14.6 points per game) and Drummond (15 points per game) each getting around 15 points per game, Griffin (20 points per game) can add another dependable scorer and a possible go-to player down the stretch in key games. With this trade, the Pistons are attempting to make a deep run in the playoffs.

The Clippers, on the other hand, are looking to rebuild. They have some solid talent with Lou Williams, Deandre Jordan, and now 25-year-old Tobias Harris and 27-year-old Avery Bradley. The Clippers are trying to gain younger players to build for the future. Harris and Bradley will be two key young players that the Clippers will try to use to develop a nucleus that can lead them back into the playoffs.

As the deadline neared, the Clevland Cavaliers were busy, almost completely revamping their roster with the exception of Lebron James. The Cavs first traded Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and their 2018 first round pick to the Lakers in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.

With the L.A Lakers receiving Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye from Cleveland, it will be interesting to see how their starting lineup will look with Lonzo Ball and Thomas. They both have starting talent, but egos as well. Thomas reportedly clashed with James in Cleveland after being traded from the Celtics earlier in the season.

The Lakers Kyle Kuzma will get more minutes with Larry Nance Jr. off the roster. Kuzma is averaging 15 points and 7 rebounds per game and is a rookie the team needs to develop going forward. If the Lakers have future plans for a run at a championship, Kuzma is going to need to be on the floor.

The Cavaliers then acquired Rodney Hood and George Hill in a 3-team trade with the Sacramento Kings and the Utah Jazz. The Kings received Joe Johnson, Iman Shumpert and a 2020 second round pick in the deal, while the Jazz picked up Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose.

Though Cleveland did move Derrick Rose and Thomas, who have two of the worst defensive +/-  ratings in the NBA, their acquisitions of Rodney Hood and George Hill are no improvements. Both Hood and Hill rank behind the two players Cleveland dealt. Yes, the Cavs were able to get younger, but they did not address their defensive problems.

The final deal the Cavs made was to send Dwayne Wade back to Miami for a second-round pick. The Cavs offloaded 6 players from their roster, receiving 4 back in return, in an attempt to get younger. As the oldest collective team in the NBA, they needed to plan a future with the possibility of Lebron leaving in Free Agency this summer. In the process, Cleveland lost Jae Crowder who was arguably their best defender, which leaves Cleveland needing help on defense.

The Kings and Jazz were able to come away with some beneficial moves. The Kings unloaded George Hill’s 3-year, 57 million dollar contract, picking up reliable veterans in Johnson and Shumpert. In return, the Jazz scored a solid wing player in Crowder to pair with Gobert and Mitchell.