The NBA trade deadline is always one of the most hectic times of the year in the sports world, and this year did not disappoint.
Superstars traded in the dead of the night. Franchises moving on from high lottery picks. An ungodly amount of second-round picks.
With all the dust settled, let’s look at the winners and losers from the trade deadline.
Winner: Los Angeles…yes, both of them
The Lakers were one of the first teams to make a move last week when they acquired Rui Hachimura from Washington. That wouldn’t be their only move though, as they finally moved on from Russell Westbrook as part of a three-team trade.
The Lakers brought in the perfect starting point guard to mesh with LeBron James and Anthony Davis with D’Angelo Russell, a versatile wing defender in Vanderbilt, and a player who’s top ten in three-pointers made this season in Malik Beasley.
Then right before the deadline, they traded a disgruntled Thomas Bryant to Denver for Davon Reed and three second-round picks, followed by sending Patrick Beverley and a second-round pick to Orlando for another rim protector, Mo Bamba.
The Lakers completely revamped their bench depth and look to be making a formidable push toward the play-in.
The Clippers also made a series of trades that gives them incredible depth.
The Clippers were able to consolidate while upgrading and could be even more dangerous as players in the buyout market.
Loser: Miami Heat
When the Heat traded Dewayne Dedmon to open up cap space, they looked primed to be a player at the deadline. But the trade deadline came and went and Miami didn’t make a single move.
Miami is teetering on the cusp of the play-in tournament and had several pieces that could’ve been moved. Other than the Cavs, they were the only team in the playoff race that didn’t make a trade.
Their best bet at making a deep run now lies in the hands of their major players stepping up to the plate.
Winner: Devin Booker
Devin Booker, prior to his injury, was one of the most prolific scorers in the league. One of the glaring issues with the Suns was that they didn’t truly have another go-to scoring option other than Booker.
Insert Kevin Durant.
This deal went off as many Brooklyn fans were asleep on the east coast, and it flipped the entire dynamic of the league on its head.
Yes, it took four first-round picks. Yes, they depleted their depth. But adding Durant to a core that was in the Finals two years ago is a recipe for success.
Loser: Ja Morant
About a month ago, Ja Morant had a sitdown interview with Malika Andrews where he notoriously said “I’m fine in the West,” when asked about his possible opponents in the playoffs.
Now the Grizzlies might have added Luke Kennard at the trade deadline, but with the Lakers and Clippers going all in, and the Nets sending both Durant and Kyrie Irving to the West, Memphis’ path to the Finals just got a lot more difficult.
Winner: Atlanta Hawks
It took a cost of five second-round picks (teams were passing out second-rounders left and right), but the Hawks were able to land Saddiq Bey without losing a single rotational player.
Couple that with a trade to create cap flexibility, and the Hawks seem primed to push for the playoffs with improved depth.
Loser: Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have indicated that they are looking to surround Damian Lillard with a win-now situation. But the moves they made at the trade deadline were highly questionable.
Sending away Hart and Payton II and only having Reddish, Knox, and Thybulle to show for it doesn’t seem like a team that’s eager to cash in on Dame’s prime.
We’ve already discussed major returns such as Russell and Gordon to LA and Payton II to Golden State. But this deadline also saw George Hill return to the Indiana Pacers, Spencer Dinwiddie return to Brooklyn, Jakob Poeltl return to Toronto, and TJ Warren return to Phoenix.
We even saw a brief John Wall reunion in Houston.
Moments like these really are heartwarming for longtime fans of a team seeing some of their former favorites come back.
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