NBA Trade Deadline Review


Bergen Romness

February 8 was the last day NBA teams could trade players, and many took the opportunity.

Brian McCarthy, Sentry Staff Reporter

In the National Basketball Association (NBA), the middle of February always brings way to a flurry of player movement. As Feb 8 was the last day teams could trade players, many took the opportunity to make some last-minute additions looking to improve playoff chances. Other teams use it as an opportunity to get younger draft picks in exchange for their veteran players. There were three trades this year that drastically altered the landscape of the NBA and will surely affect how the rest of the season turns out.

Three-Team Trade Between the Kings, the Jazz and the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers (Cavs) received guard Rodney Hood from the Jazz and guard George Hill from the Kings. The Jazz got guard Derrick Rose and forward Jae Crowder from the Cavs and the Kings got forward Joe Johnson from the Jazz and forward Iman Shumpert from the Cavs.

The Cavs won this trade. With the roster they had before, they were hemorrhaging points on defense while being mediocre on offense. With this trade, the Cavs simultaneously got younger, faster and overall better. Rodney Hood has shot 39% from three-point range this season and is a fearsome perimeter defender. That kind of outside shooting and defense will really help the Cavs. George Hill is older than Hood and has not played well defensively this year, but he is capable of lighting it up from the three and has a reputation of a defensive stopper. The Kings are only in this trade to make it possible financially, so they didn’t win or lose this one. The Jazz could have gotten more back from trading Rodney Hood. Almost two-thirds of the league was rumored to be pursuing him, so the return is a bit disappointing. Derrick Rose will be cut right after the trade is completed and Jae Crowder has not played well at all this year.

Cavs-Lakers Swap

The Cavs got forward Larry Nance Jr. and guard Jordan Clarkson. The Lakers received guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Channing Frye and Cleveland’s 2018 first-round draft pick.

This was a trade the Cavaliers needed to make. Isaiah Thomas came over from Boston in the Kyrie Irving blockbuster, yet from day one he was on the outside looking in. A hip injury left him sidelined for the first few months of the year, and then when he returned, the Cavs struggled with him on the court. Thomas frequently took his complaints to the press, which certainly did not ingratiate him with his teammates. In order to save their season and restore their team chemistry, Thomas needed to go. Larry Nance Jr. is explosive and is a tenacious rebounder, and Jordan Clarkson is a young and cost-controlled point guard who can anchor Cleveland’s second unit.

For the Lakers, this trade isn’t about this season but rather the offseason. Several high-profile players are hitting free agency this offseason, including LeBron James and Paul George. Los Angeles cleared out its salary cap by trading away Nance and Clarkson, paving the way for the Lakers to add two max contract players. It is pretty ironic that the Cavs potentially enabled the Lakers to poach their star player, but it was a trade that the Cavs needed to make in order to save their season.

Blake Griffin to the Pistons

The Pistons received forwards Blake Griffin, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson. The Clippers received guard Avery Bradley, forward Tobias Harris, center Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 first-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick.

This trade is a big risk for the Pistons. Blake Griffin has a monstrous contract, being owed $171 million over the next five years. Griffin also has an extensive injury history extending all the way back to his rookie season. The Pistons gave up a lot of their perimeter shooting and defense for Griffin.

This was a trade that the Clippers were going to have to make at some point, and it caps off several months of confusing moves by the Clips. First, they traded star point guard Chris Paul to the Rockets, seemingly starting a rebuild, but they went against this by signing Blake Griffin to a max contract. Avery Bradley’s contract expires after this season and he likely won’t be resigned, while Tobias Harris is a good addition for a relatively inexpensive salary. Overall, the Clips came out ahead in this trade because they cleared out their balance sheet and have a good amount of money available to improve their team.

These three trades have drastically changed the landscape of the NBA. Before these trades, many of these teams had no clear directions and appeared to be heading towards disappointing seasons. However, the activity at the deadline showed that these teams were not ready to give up on this season and are determined to compete this year and in future ones.