NBA Trade Deadline Review


Benjamin Amstislavskiy

For basketball fans across the country, whether they may belong to a championship contender or a team that is not doing so well, trades can completely redefine the course of a season or bring a new face to a team that is just one or two pieces away from greatness. Starting from the Clippers-Blazers trade on February 4th to the trade deadline on the 10th, we are going to be taking a look at these deals (in chronological order) to see who gets what and how the league changes because of it. 


February 4th- Clippers-Blazers

In this move, the Clippers sent Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, and Eric Bledsoe to the Blazers for Robert Covington and Norman Powell. This gives the Blazers a little more wiggle room with the salary cap, and they seem to be committing to beginning a mini-rebuild around Damian Lillard. I don’t know how I feel about this, as Lillard has to come back from surgery healthy, he’s a little old for a rebuild, and convincing players to come in Free agency will be hard. For the Clippers, this gives them two serviceable wing players who can fill in for both George and Leonard while they wait for their star duo to come back healthy. In my mind, the trade benefits the Clippers side of the deal more than it does the Blazers side, but time will tell with what pick the Blazers are going to be able to get in this year’s draft.


February 6th- Pacers-Cavaliers

In this trade, the Pacers sent Caris Levert and a second round pick for Ricky Rubio’s expiring contract and three second rounders (one of them is in 2027). I like this move for both teams, to be completely honest. The pacers, who are trying to rebuild, are moving away an older-ish guard to give more room for promising rookie Chris Duarte, and taking on an expiring contract on an injured vet who can give advice to the young guys but not win them any games. For the Cavs, they take on a player who is not quite too young, but isn’t too old to fit in with this young cast of players. Additionally, LeVert has chemistry with Jarett Allen from their brooklyn days together. I think both teams did a good job with this trade.


February 8th- Pelicans-Trail Blazers

And so the blazers commit to full on tanking. By trading all-star (caliber) guard C.J McCollum to the Pelicans, alongside big man Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell to the Pelicans for a return of Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, along with a 2022 first rounder (No.5 to No.14 protected, protection backup is a future first rounder), and second round pick swaps in 2026 and 2027. When Zion comes back healthy, the Pelicans’ core of Ingram, McCollum, Valanciunas and Williamson himself is going to be a scary team in the west that could absolutely contend for the play-in or potentially even more. For the Blazers, I’ve already stated a few of my concerns about rebuilding around Dame this late, but the pick that they could get this year can be good. Alexander-Walker could win them a couple of games, though he’s probably gone by the deadline seeing as they want to tank. 


February 8th- Pacers-Kings

I’m going to be fully honest: I hate this move for the Kings. They traded up and coming star Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson for Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, and a second rounder. The Pacers have since waived Tristan Thompson, who has gone to the Chicago Bulls. For the Kings, this move is playoff oriented, as Domantas Sabonis is a young-ish all star caliber player who is much better now than Tyrese Haliburton is. However, Tyrese, at least in my mind, has much better potential than Sabonis, and the Kings were 16 games behind .500 when they made this move. For the Pacers, it’s a great move, getting a great tank commander in Hield and a future star player for their rebuilding team. While I don’t think that the Pacers necessarily fleeced the Kings, I just don’t think that the move works as well for the Kings, who should be aiming for a top pick and developing Tyrese.


February 9th- Jazz-Blazers-Spurs

In this move, the Jazz gave up the injured Joe Ingles, Elijah Hughes, and a second rounder (from Memphis) to land Nickiel Alexander-Walker (traded to Portland recently from New Orleans) from Portland and Juancho Hernangomez from San Antonio. In addition, the Blazers shipped off Satoransky (also recently traded to Portland) and the Jazz put in their own second round pick to the Spurs to make this deal work. This move works well for all teams, as the contenting Jazz got rid of a benchwarmer, a second rounder, and an injured player for a young wing to replace the injured one. The Blazers traded away a player who could interfere with their tank and freed up some cap space for some ok players. The spurs took on a little cap space and got a pick in advance.


February 9th- Thunder-Heat

In this small trade, the Thunder gave up a second rounder for KZ Okpala, and amended the protection terms of a pick that Miami owes them. Before this trade, it was a protected 2023 first rounder, but now it is a protected 2025 first rounder. This is a pretty lateral move for the Thunder, but I really like this trade for the Heat because it allows them to use their 2023 first as a trade asset, which shouldn’t be too risky since they are contenders.


February 10th- Raptors-Spurs

The raptors got rid of some baggage from their Kyle Lowry trade by sending aging guard Goran Dragic and a 2022 lottery protected first to San Antonio for Thad Young, Drew Eubanks and Detroit’s 2022 second rounder. San Antonio has since bought out Dragic and he has gone to the Brooklyn Nets. The Raptors got rid of a player who didn’t seem too happy to play in Toronto for some alright players, and the Spurs continue to assemble picks. I like this trade for both sides.


February 10th- Kings-Pistons-Bucks-Clippers

This was a pretty hard trade to follow as it happened live, so many players got added. The Kings gave up Marvin Bagley and two second rounders (both 2022) to pull in Donte Divincenzo from the Bucks, and Marvin Bagley III for Josh Jackson and Trey Lyles. The Pistons did not make any moves outside of the part of the deal that they made with Sacramento. The Bucks also got Serge Ibaka for the Clippers for Rodney Hood and Semi Ojele. While I have already expressed my doubts about the Kings shooting for the playoffs, this move will help them do just that. The Pistons swap busts and get the chance to work with a young player who may still have upside. The Bucks gave up a bit in sending away Divincenzo, but getting Serge Ibaka to help their center position is a good move. The Clippers get two players who can come in and gel with their other recent trade acquisitions, and can try to keep this team afloat as they wait for Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to come back. 


February 10th- Celtics-Magic

The Celtics, who needed to trade off a player to get under the luxury tax threshold, gave up P.J Dozier and the recently acquired Bol Bol, alongside a future second rounder and cash considerations for just a future second round pick. While this may seem like a lot for the Celtics to lose, it is mostly inconsequential (all of the players and assets have not too much upside). The Magic lose very little to take a shot at getting a good player, and they get three chances to do so, so an ok move from both sides.


February 10th- 76ers-Nets

This is the big one. This is the one that a lot of us were waiting for. Harden and Simmons both wanted out, and it became increasingly evident that the two were going to be traded for each other. The Sixers gave up Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, an unprotected 2022 first rounder and a protected 2027 first rounder to get James Harden and Paul Millsap. I like this move from both teams. Simmons hadn’t played a game for the Sixers this season due to issues he developed in the organization after his disappointing playoff performance last year. Harden was experiencing frustration with Kyrie Irving’s non-compliance with the vaccine mandate and the Nets’s big three not being able to play together. The Sixers had to give a lot for Harden, but considering Simmons’s trade value was in the dumps, the fact that they were even able to get Harden is amazing. In the end of this deal, both teams got rid of players that wanted out and increased morale with their moves. Simmons and Harden were both hurt at the time of the trade, but Harden has since come back and is 2-0 as a Sixer. Ben Simmons will likely come back after the Nets play the Sixers in Philadelphia on March 10th to avoid confronting that crowd. 


February 10th- Celtics-Spurs

In this trade, the Celtics make a move that I despise while the Spurs continue to stack up on picks. The Celtics traded away Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, a 2022 picks 1-4 protected first rounder, and a 2028 first rounder swap (San Antonio gets to keep the better one of the two) for Derrick White. Now, Derrick White is not a bad player, far from it. He will actively help the Celtics, but trading away a 2028 first is just a terrible idea to me. Not only is it hard to predict where you will be that far in the future, but that is also the year that Tatum should hit unrestricted free agency, so this pick has the potential to be super valuable, and I don’t think the celtics should have given it away. But in the short term, Derrick White could be what the Celtics need to break through to the higher seeds in the Eastern Conference.


February 10th- Pacers-Suns

The Pacers swap Torrey Craig for Jalen Smith and a future Second rounder from the Suns in this one. This move works well for the rebuilding Pacers as they trade a veteran for a second-year lottery pick who they can attempt to develop, alongside a second which has a small chance of turning into a useful player. The Suns also give away a pretty inconsequential pick and an underwhelming lottery pick for a veteran who can help them contend as they attempt to return to the finals this year and potentially do more. 


February 10th- Hornets-Wizards

Ish Smith reunites with the wizards as the Hornets give up him, Vernon Carey, and a future second rounder for Montrezl Harell Back the Wizards. I’m honestly pretty alright with this move for both sides. The Wizards, with Beal out for the rest of the year, seem to be focused on a rebuild, trading a good center for a couple of tank commanders. The Hornets give up players that they have enough of in their depth chart to fix their issues at center. This will help the Wizards sink to the bottom of the rankings and the Hornets make one last push for the play-in tournament.


February 10th- Suns-Wizards

This is a pretty lateral move for both teams as the Suns get Aaron Holiday from the Wizards for some cash considerations. This move won’t impact either team much, but in theory it’ll give the Suns an extra man for the depth chart should someone get injured. 


February 10th- Mavericks-Wizards

In a move that I absolutely do not understand for the Mavs, they trade Kristaps Porzingis and a future second rounder for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. I understand why the Mavericks may want to part with Porzingis, given his injury trouble and all, but his value was high this year, and they absolutely could have gotten more for Kristaps, but traded for Bertans and Dinwiddie, both in down years. I guess they knew that they weren’t gonna get Goran Dragic in the buyout market and went for another serviceable point guard, but in my mind, they could have done better with an asset like Porzingis. 


February 10th- Celtics-Rockets

Seemingly unaware that they have already traded themselves under the salary cap, the Celtics made another move that I’m not fully sure I understand. They traded Dennis Schroeder, Enes Kanter Freedom, and Bruno Fernando to reunite with former Celtic Daniel Theis. The Rockets have gone on to waive Kanter Freedom, likely due to his criticism of China’s action in the Hong Kong protests, slavery in Nike shoe production factories, and genocide of Uyghur Muslims, which the NBA has quietly disapproved of for a while. Either way, the Celtics shore up their center position, and the Rockets get a couple of guys who can help their young core while also not being great enough to mess up their tanking efforts.