NBA Trade Deadline Analysis And Opinions

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The NBA’s trade deadline is usually hit or miss as teams get stuck in the paradox of trying to compete, balance salaries, and acquire the best possible deal for their respective rosters. For all intent and purposes the deadline deals started when the Toronto Raptors acquired Serge Ibaka for Terrence Ross and a first-round pick. The New Orleans Pelicans then sent the NBA world ablaze by poaching DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings for a less than stellar package including Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and draft picks. Reaction on those deals range far and wide and have been covered in detail on numerous sites.

Here we will take a look at the most important trades over the last two days of the deadline. We will examine the impact of those moves as the regular season enters its’ stretch run post Ibaka and Cousins.

Trade: Los Angeles Lakers send Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round pick.

Analysis: The Rockets add more wood to their offensive fire with the addition of Williams who is averaging a career-best 18.6 points per game off the bench. Williams is also shooting 38% from three and now joins the team that attempts the most threes per game at 39.8. James Harden has another weapon to drive and kick to, but more importantly, Williams can replace Harden in spot minutes allowing “The Beard” to get some rest for the upcoming playoff run. The phrase “kill it with fire” comes to mind with the Rockets adding Williams.

The Lakers add Corey Brewer to a roster for some veteran leadership and to make the salaries work in the deal. They were simply wasting the talent of Williams and now they can firmly put Brewer on the bench and think nothing of it. The most important part of the deal for the Lakers is gaining a first-round pick in this year’s draft. Magic Johnson is taking the long approach in terms of acquiring assets and attempting to develop talent…for now.

Trade: Brooklyn Nets send Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough to the Washington Wizards for Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thorton, and a 2017 first-round pick.

Analysis:  The Wizards really had their eyes set on Lou Williams but had to settle for Bogdanovic after the Rockets scooped up the super-sub a day earlier. Williams fit their needs better being able to play both guard positions but Bogdanovic helps on the wing. Bradley Beal has been playing too many minutes and Bogdanovic can cut into those minutes while still providing the Wizards with a perimeter threat with his 36% three-point percentage. McCullough is a project big who the Wizards can try to cultivate in upcoming years if they so choose.

Brooklyn is desperate for picks and general manager Sean Marks is still trying to dig his team out of the hole the previous regime left the franchise in. Getting another first-round pick in this year’s draft is a major coup for the Nets even if the pick is in the 20’s. The team will also get to take an extended look at Nicholson while Thorton has already been bought out.

Trade: Philadelphia 76’ers send Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks for Tiago Splitter and 2017 second-round pick via Miami. Teams also agreed to swap 2017 second-round picks.

Analysis:  Suddenly the Hawks became buyers after moving Kyle Korver earlier in the year. Atlanta sits at fifth in the East and is just a game behind the fourth-seeded Raptors. Adding Ilyasova gives the team a natural stretch four who can rebound. He’ll fit great in lineups with Dwight Howard allowing Paul Millsap to rest and will help Atlanta play small ball should they shift Millsap to center at times. Clearly the Hawks feel like they can make a run this year and if it doesn’t work out—Ilyasova’s contract expires at the end of the season.

Philadelphia continues to stockpile second-round picks and this move is really about the team’s future. There’s a small chance they could look at Splitter as a rotation big down the line in lieu of their recent moves.

Trade: Philadelphia 76er’s send Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and 2017 first-round pick (protected).

Analysis: Dallas has long been trying to find a center that they could stick in the middle for years. Noel becomes that guy assuming they can re-sign him this summer and they will gladly give him a lucrative deal. Coach Carlisle likes his centers to be more traditional in terms of being rebounders and rim protectors. Noel’s career numbers using per 36 minute statistics project out at 13 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 2 blocks. It seems to be a natural fit.

The 76’ers have no interest in keeping Bogut but can use Anderson to suck up minutes on the wing. The pick they acquired is top 18 protected by Dallas and coverts to a second round pick if it falls into the protection range. Giving up Noel should have netted them something better, but in the words of Joel Embiid “Trust the Process”.

Trade: Chicago Bulls send Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Anthony Morrow, Joffrey Lauvergne and Cameron Payne.

Analysis: Gibson can probably thank Enes Kanter’s ill-fated run in with a chair for the move that landed him in OKC. The Thunder were desperate for help offensively following Kanter’s injury and to get Gibson and McDermott for spare parts is a major coup. Gibson will be a great option on pick and roll with Russell Westbrook with his ability to finish around the rim. McDermott has grown in confidence this season and the Thunder desperately need his ability to space the floor. OKC is just 29th in three-point percentage this year at 32% while McDermott shoots a very healthy 37%. This is a move that could allow the Thunder to chase home court advantage as the season concludes. What’s head scratching about all of this is the fact OKC got a pick out of the deal to boot.

The Bulls might be overvaluing Cameron Payne as their point guard of the future but that is why the move was made. Payne enters a crowded situation with Michael Carter-Williams, Jerian Grant and Rajon Rondo on the roster. His per 36 minute averages don’t scream starter either at just 11.9 points, 4.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds—that’s more the makeup of a really good backup. The roles of Morrow and Lauvergne don’t seem to be clear but end of the bench rotation minutes (like they were in OKC) seems to be their likely destiny. There’s a chance Morrow fills the minutes vacated by McDermott though. The real winner for the Bulls is Bobby Portis who should get a full allotment of minutes with Gibson changing addresses.

Trade: Phoenix Suns send P.J. Tucker to the Toronto Raptors for Jared Sullinger and two second-round picks.

Analysis: Toronto heard Kyle Lowry’s plea for help in a major way. Adding Tucker and the aforementioned Ibaka give the team a significant upgrade defensively. The Raptors are just 19th in defensive rating but now have a physical defender who can guard positions one through four—not to mention the rebounding and rim protection added with Ibaka. Tucker was brought on to give the Raptors another option to defend LeBron James in a potential playoff matchup. The Raptors can put three plus defenders on the floor in late game situations now with Tucker, Ibaka and DeMarre Carroll. Those three guys can switch on pick and roll and cause problems for opposing offenses which is exactly what the Raptors have in mind.

Phoenix is taking a flyer on the expiring contract of Sullinger who is familiar to their general manager Ryan McDonough from their days in Boston. Adding Sullinger has no long-term impact on the Suns who clearly want to develop their youth but he’d prefer to get a little burn to prove his value to the them or potential suitors this Summer. Having the additional picks probably sets the team up for future moves where those picks can be used deal sweeteners. With Tucker out of town, T.J. Warren looks to gain some momentum as their current and future small forward.

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