As the annual NBA trade deadline has recently passed, there were teams that made big splashes in order to gear up for playoff runs with some surprising moves. However, the deadline was marked with a lack of activity from many teams who many believed needed to be active around this time.
Let’s start off with the biggest winner of the deadline: The New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans made the biggest splash of any team with the landing of All-Star big man Demarcus Cousins. What’s most impressive is that they did this without having to give up their perennial All-Star and franchise piece in Anthony Davis, as well as retaining key guard Jrue Holiday in the process. In exchange, they did have to give up promising rookie Buddy Hield, but that hails in comparison to the possible impact that Cousins and Davis can make as clearly the best 1-2 big man punch in the league.
This move solidifies the Pelicans’ desire to make a deep playoff push in a tough Western Conference. This all depends on how fast Cousins and Davis are able to gel and grow accustomed to each other and their playing styles.
On the flip side of that coin, you could also consider the Kings a winner in this deal as well.
Dealing Cousins was a move that was met with a very mixed reaction, but it’s something that was bound to happen. Cousins had visibly grown frustrated with the direction of the team despite comments saying that he wanted to resign with them this summer. With an unpredictable Cousins as their leader, the Kings were never able to correctly surround him with the right mix of talent to really make some noise and this turned into constant riffs with coaches and within the locker room.
It’s clear that the management and their star player weren’t on the same page, and this came to a head after Cousins was dealt and he publicly called them cowards and that he has no interest in speaking to them.
For the Kings, as a team, this may have been the best thing for them as they are now able to rebuild and start anew. Buddy Hield has played very well for them so far and the fans have definitely embraced his presence. The Kings have played very well since the trade.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ trade deadline moves are 50/50 in my eyes.
They made the move to sign veteran guard Deron Williams after he was released by the Mavericks for his wanting to compete for a championship. For the Cavs, this was a must get as they desperately needed a true backup point guard and not have to continue to rely on LeBron to fulfill that role which means more minutes for him. This move also helped to solidify a Cavs bench that was already experienced and stout.
As for their other deadline move, they also signed veteran big man Andrew Bogut.
This move has already proved to backfire, as within his first minutes as a Cavalier, Bogut fractured his left tibia after someone fell into his leg. This is not uncommon for Bogut who has been suppressed with injuries throughout his career, most notably in last year’s Finals when he was injured early in the series as a member of the Warriors. Many believed that this, along with Draymond Green’s suspension in Game 6 played a huge role as to why the Cavs were able to overcome a 3-2 deficit.
On the surface, the move was good in that it gives the team a much-needed rim protector. In reality, it was a risk because of last night where he can easily get injured at any time and thwart the entire point of the move.
It remains to be seen how these moves will ultimately affect the Cavs for their run for back- to- back championships.
Some of the biggest losers of the deadline were the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks.
For the Bulls, much speculation surrounded as to whether their star Jimmy Butler would be traded and whether they would keep Rajon Rondo who has resorted to a backup point guard role. They needed keeping both.
It’s easy to understand why they kept Butler. He is the face of the franchise and clearly a player who continues to improve every year. As for Rondo, who can still be a legit point guard for many teams in the league, the lack of a move doesn’t make sense, but the Bulls probably didn’t have a choice. Rondo’s behavior in recent years has made him almost untradeable in the eyes of many teams around the league and because of this, the Bulls have to pay big money for essentially a backup point guard at this point. Rondo could have been a good trade piece just based on talent and performance, but his attitude clearly prevented him from being that. The Bulls also dealt Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson to the Thunder in a move that on paper doesn’t have much value. McDermott has started to come into his own this season while Gibson has been a Bulls staple for some years now. In return, they received two young, but unproven players in Cameron Payne and Joffrey Lauvergne. Whether this move works depends on how these two players develop and perform.
One of the biggest losers of the deadline was the lowly New York Knicks, who much like their season, underachieved this trade deadline by doing absolutely nothing.
For a team that has struggled all season, but still has a chance to make it into the playoffs, the lack of a move is a resounding indicator of where they are as a franchise.
Amidst all of the drama surrounding what they will do with Carmelo Anthony, and some possible teams who were definitely interested in acquiring him, they failed to move him and therefore kept their team intact. For Melo, the Knicks could have gotten good, young pieces to possibly build around Kristaps Porzingis, but by keeping Melo, you halt that process a little more. Even despite keeping Anthony, the Knicks still failed to sign any possible impact players that could have been good supporting pieces for the team. Right now, the Knicks are in the exact same place as they were before the All-Star Game, in complete shambles. I expected them to do something during the deadline to at least try to right this shipwreck, but in typical Knicks fashion under Phil Jackson, they failed to do so.
Who do you think were the biggest winners and losers of this trade deadline? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.