The NBA’s trade deadline is now over and the dust has settled on some weird and crazy transactions that took place. All in all there were 39 players who moved and we at Crossover Chronicles are going to break down all that happened from the good to the bad to the downright strange. If you’re looking for all the trades that happened, we’ve got another article dedicated just to that. But for now, enjoy some opinions on these trades and find out who the big winners and loser were on Thursday.
Joe Mags (@thatjoemags): Oklahoma City acquires D.J. Augustin, Enes Kanter, Steve Novak and Kyle Singler
If the night J.R. Smith broke Twitter — sending Dion Waiters to Oklahoma City, and Reggie Jackson into clinical depression — was the Thunder’s ultimate denial period, Oklahoma City snapped back to reality on Thursday. Injuries aside, the chronic ailment for the Thunder was a mystifying scarcity of depth; it cannot be repeated often enough that Derek Fisher, who now coaches the league’s worst team, was playing starter’s minutes for Scott Brooks last post-season. The West is too tough to have four playoff-ready players. For the first time during the Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook-era, the Thunder have a real bench — shooters, ball-handlers, big men, etc. — and not just a collection of raw putty with outstanding measurables. Losing Perkins’ mad dog approach to interior defense and existence isn’t nothing, but it’s time for Steven Adams to take on the full load at center, and Kanter is simply a more talented basketball player. Moving Jackson, who had devolved into a walking/talking puddle of tears by the end, was best for everyone, and frees Waiters to become the next Jamal Crawford we all knew he could be.
Chase Thomas (@CutToTheChaseT): Miami Heat acquire Goran and Zoran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns for Justin Hamilton, Danny Granger and first-round draft picks in 2017 and 2021.
Whenever we think Pat Riley is done he brings us back in. This time, Riley dealt two future first-round picks for the disgruntled Phoenix point guard Goran Dragic. When the Heat retained the services of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade last summer, even after losing LeBron, a real, long-term rebuild was out of the question. Adding Dragic won’t vault the Heat back into serious title contention, at least not yet, but the Dragic-Bosh pick-and-roll fit is something for Heat fans to be excited about if they’re able to re-sign the former Sun this summer.
Jon Wolf (@jonbwolf): Brooklyn Nets trade Kevin Garnett to Minnesota Timberwolves for Thaddeus Young
Billy King came out of the trade deadline looking like the smartest man in the NBA. He somehow convinced the Minnesota Timberwolves that Kevin Garnett (averaging 6.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 2015) is worth the same as Thaddeus Young (averaging 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 2015). Did Minnesota’s GM, Milt Newton, forget that KG hasn’t been good for almost two years? Sure, I get the whole KG back to Minnesota to end his career but if you’re the Timberwolves you can’t give up Thaddeus Young! Above average talent doesn’t make its way to Minnesota very often. Hopefully they don’t trade away Andrew Wiggins for Vince Carter at next year’s trade deadline. If I were to give Brooklyn a grade for the trade deadline it would be an A+, hands down.
Joe Mags: Philadelphia dealt K.J. McDaniels for Isaiah Canaan and a 2015 second-round pick
K.J. McDaniels is 22 years old. He averages 9.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. These numbers are respectable for a second-round pick in his first season. But McDaniels isn’t just a stat line; he is an emphatic punctuation mark.
General Manager Sam Hinkie is a smart man — both because he is gifted at making basketball decisions, and because he has convinced very wealthy people to invest buckets of time and money into his vision of how to run an NBA team. With that said, and with all due respect, this move indefensibly repulsive. Tanking is in no way malevolent — the NBA is a business, and shrewd tactics are often necessary — but the very nature of this McDaniels trade is so corporate that any basketball sentiment has been detached and buried in the backyard. Because McDaniels is set to start making more money — not open market money, just above rookie contract money — next season, and so Philly opted to move him for the cheap Canaan and a draft pick that is utterly useless considering Houston’s record.
The 76ers are interested in player development and building a championship roster; McDaniels is not the next Michael Jordan, but many really respectable basketball people think he’s a starter in this league, or more. But McDaniels and his radical contract challenge the 76ers ability to make their roster as inexpensive and flexible as possible, and so he must go. I fall WAY on the other side of the analytics issue than Charles Barkley, let’s be clear, but if his ramblings have any merit it’s in relation to the dehumanizing of NBA players — treating people like walking contracts. Why is the K.J. McDaniels trade the worse deal of the day? Because it feels like a cyborg did it.
Chase Thomas: Minnesota Timberwolves trade Thaddeus Young to Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Garnett
The Minnesota Timberwolves are a mess. The Brooklyn Nets are an even bigger mess. So, naturally, the Czar of Minnesota Flip Saunders and the incompetent Nets’ general manager Billy King struck a deal, that, well, didn’t make any sense for either side. (Misery loves company, I suppose.) The Wolves sent the guy they decided to take on rather than a first-round pick, Thaddeus Young, to Brooklyn for the corpse of Kevin Garnett. The Wolves will still be bad, just with a tad of nostalgia sprinkled in now. The Nets will still be bad, and Young may be exiting his prime by the time he stumbles into a good situation. Poor guy.
Jon Wolf: 76ers acquire draft picks and trade Michael Carter-Williams to Milwaukee in a three team deal
Are the Philadelphia 76ers trying to see how much it takes to lose their fan base, because they’re on the right track. The 76ers traded away their only glimmer of hope in 2014 rookie of the year, Michael Carter-Williams (averaging 15 points, 7.4 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 2015). In a three team deal with the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks it was almost a certainty that the 76ers could receive some kind of respectable talent back, especially since Billy King got Thaddeus Young for a 38-year old nutcase. Wrong! The 76ers managed to get draft picks. They gave up the reigning rookie of the year for draft picks. I guess Carter-Williams was winning the 76ers too many games for them to waste another top-3 draft pick on a big man with leg issues.
Trade that didn’t seem to benefit anybody:
Joe Mags: Minnesota traded Thaddeus Young to the Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Garnett
This move was made for two very, very specific reasons that have nothing to do with basketball. Minnesota isn’t winning or losing any more games by bringing Garnett aboard; they did the deal so that the final two months of his NBA career can finish where it began — a prodigal son story sort-of deal. (Garnett is also going to mentor the hell out of Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.) And why Thad Young to Brooklyn? Because Billy King ruined that franchise so badly, that turning washed up Garnett into serviceable Young doesn’t move the needle one way or the other — they are too “good” to tank and too “bad” to succeed. Might as well add an able-bodied forward who can stay on the court night-to-night.
Chase Thomas: Philadelphia 76ers trade K.J. McDaniels to the Houston Rockets for Isaiah Canaan and a second-round pick.
The Philadelphia 76ers gave away their high-flying rookie K.J. McDaniels to the Houston Rockets for Isaiah Canaan and, wait for it, more second-round picks. I’ve always been a big proponent of what Sixers’ general manager Sam Hinkie is doing but sending away high-upside wings like McDaniels for really no reason at all doesn’t make sense.
Jon Wolf: JaVale McGee sent to 76ers in return Denver receives rights to Cenk Akyol
JaVale McGee being traded to the 76ers and in return Denver received the rights to Turkish player Cenk Akyol. Teams in the NBA are fined if they don’t spend a certain amount of money to try and prevent teams from “tanking” or purposely losing to win the number one draft pick. In this case the 76ers would receive a fine if they did not spend more money on a player this season. I heard that the 76ers management were going to just give every player on the team a little end of the season bonus, but instead of being the cool boss and cutting a little extra cheese for the players, the 76ers management went out and traded for JaVale McGee. I’d hate to be JaVale McGee. He’s going to walk into the locker room on day one and be the most hated guy on the team.
Biggest surprise trade:
Joe Mags: Miami Heat acquired Goran Dragic (and his lil’ bro, Zoran) in exchange for Danny Granger, Justin Hamilton and a pair of first round picks
What’s the lesson here? Pat Riley is immortal. This is why Chris Bosh stayed in Miami. Please, oh please, oh please, give me Miami and Cleveland in round one.
Chase Thomas: Milwaukee Bucks traded Brandon Knight and Kendall Marshall and Los Angeles Lakers’ protected 2015 first-round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns for Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee and also acquired Michael Carter-Williams from Philadelphia for draft picks.
The Milwaukee Bucks decision to send point guard Brandon Knight to Phoenix in a three-team deal that included the Suns and the Sixers had to be the biggest stunner of the day. Knight’s played at a near All-Star level in Milwaukee this season, so shipping the former Kentucky Wildcast away and gambling on the freakishly long Michael Carter-Williams was very surprising. What the Bucks are thinking makes sense, defensively at least, but it was still the most surprising deal of the day.
Jon Wolf: 76ers acquire draft picks and trade Michael Carter-Williams to Milwaukee in a three team deal
I’m still somewhat flabbergasted that the 76ers traded Michael Carter-Williams. There have been rumors floating that he was traded because of his inconsistent shooting. If anyone on that team could shoot consistently they would have more than 31 wins in 2-years.
Best long-run trade:
Joe Mags: Milwaukee received Michael Carter Williams, Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee and traded Brandon Knight and Kendall Marshall to Phoenix
First and foremost, Milwaukee, congratulations, you are officially the unofficial favorite NBA team of Syracuse. (Orange alum flame out in the NBA so regularly that having a pair of Orange teammates on one team puts Milwaukee over the top.) Critics of this move by Jason Kidd and the Bucks are confused as to why they’d move Brandon Knight during his best season. True, the ex-Kentucky Wildcat is having a stellar, borderline All-Star season. But this is a marathon, not a sprint, and Kidd is betting that MCW — the reigning Rookie of the Year — is a better fit in Milwaukee’s long-term plans than Knight. That seems fair. Milwaukee is about forcing turnovers and getting up-and-down, and while MCW is far from finished on the offensive end, his lengthy 6-foot-6 frame is out of a dream for Kidd’s defense. MCW and Antetokounmpo are the rap star’s girlfriends of long-limbed guards (Oh my God, Becky, look at those arms).
This team isn’t going to landslide out of sixth-place in the East let alone the playoffs entirely simply because they are downgrading (in the short-term) at point guard; and if anything, I like their playoff chances even more with the additions of Ennis (fills pre-injury Kendall Marshall role) and Plumlee (a big body who isn’t excused from the team). But this move is really for the future, and oh, how bright are the stars shining in Milwaukee right now!
(Sidebar: I’m bummed Milwaukee had to trade Kenyon Martin to make this deal work. There was something perfect about Kidd/Martin working together, teaching these young bloods a thing or two about basketball. Perhaps Martin will retire and join the Bucks as a specialist. I love K-Mart.)
Chase Thomas: Phoenix Suns acquire three first-round picks, Brandon Knight and Danny Granger for Tyler Ennis, Isaiah Thomas, Goran and Zoran Dragic
I’m going to cheat here, sorry, but Phoenix made two franchise-shifting deals by getting quality young talent in return and three, THREE, first-round picks in return. Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough was in a jam with a meddling owner and a trio of point guards that needed to be split up sooner rather than later. He made out very well long-term.
Jon Wolf: Milwaukee acquires Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee from 76ers and Suns in a three team deal
Milwaukee receiving Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee in a three team deal with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns. Michael Carter-Williams, 23, is a true point guard that can stuff a stat sheet. Miles Plumlee is an underrated big man who is coming off of a career year in 2014 where he averaged 8.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Plumlee still has defensive capabilities, not at the same level as Larry Sanders, but will be a perfect compliment on offense to Carter-Williams and Jabari Parker because of his ability to finish at the rim. A big-3 of Jabari Parker, Michael Carter-Williams and Miles Plumlee might not be the biggest household big-3 but they will be a very dangerous big-3 for years to come.
Best short-run trade:
Joe Mags: Portland acquired Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee in exchange with Denver for Thomas Robinson, Victor Claver, Will Barton and a lottery-protected 2016 first round pick.
I wrote a lot of words about this trade Thursday. In short, I love the move for Portland, who is legitimately in the Finals race. Arron Afflalo is either a smart upgrade over Nic Batum or a much needed sixth man.
Chase Thomas: Miami Heat acquire Goran and Zoran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns for Justin Hamilton, Danny Granger and first-round draft picks in 2017 and 2021.
I’ve already mentioned this deal, but Riley’s move to acquire Dragic was the best short-term deal of the day. It should, at least theoretically, keep the Heat afloat in their quest to qualify to remain relevant post-LeBron. And who knows, maybe if they can acquire an above-average wing at the small forward spot and Hassan Whiteside is for real, Riley might have something scary on his hands once again.
Jon Wolf: Pablo Prigioni sent to the Rockets. Knicks get Alexey Shved and draft picks.
Pablo Prigioni going to the Houston Rockets in a trade that also sent Alexey Shved and two second-round picks to New York. The Rockets are a team that could surprise some people come playoff time if they can stay healthy. Prigioni adds a legitimate backup point guard to their roster. Before the trade to get Prigioni, Jason Terry had played a lot of time at the point guard position when he is much more beneficial to the offense playing off of the ball. Prigioni brings a lot of experience from his time overseas and can bring production off of the bench on day one.
Sneakiest trade of the day:
Joe Mags: Philly gets Lakers No. 1 pick
You know how every time the Lakers are brought up people point and laugh at how bad they are, and then they say “Well, at least they have their own draft pick,” and then someone else reminds them that actually Phoenix owns the pick if it falls outside the Top 5, but that the Lakers are so bad that it likely won’t matter and the Lakers will draft at the top of the draft for the first time since the 1980s? Well now Philadelphia — which shares every draft pick in every draft until I become a grandfather with Boston and Denver — owns the Lakers first round pick should it fall outside the Top 5. Which means it totally will. Which means Philly will end up with a pair of Top 5 picks, because own their own first round pick, of course. Which means SCREW HINKIE HE’S A MAD SCIENTIST.
Chase Thomas: Boston Celtics traded Tayshaun Prince to Detroit for Jonas Jerebko and Gigi Datome. Also acquired Isaiah Thomas from Phoenix for Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first-round draft pick to Phoenix.
The Boston Celtics may not have “the guy” yet, but acquiring Isaiah Thomas, Jonas Jerebko and Luige Datome for only a future first-round pick, Marcus Thorton and the corpse of Tayshaun Prince was a fantastic and sneaky move by C’s GM Danny Ainge.
Jon Wolf: K.J. McDaniels sent to the Rockets. 76ers receive Isaiah Canaan and a second-round pick.
This trade was also my runner-up for best long-term trade, K.J. McDaniels being traded from the 76ers to the Houston Rockets. K.J. McDaniels (averaging 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 2015) was the other bright spot on the 76ers roster, but of course they traded the promising rookie away. That’s fine, because now Houston has more depth off of their bench. McDaniels is a threat on both ends of the floor and is no stranger to the electrifying throw-down. When Trevor Ariza’s time comes to an end in Houston (which is very soon) McDaniels will be a more than capable starter to replace him.