The NBA trade deadline has come and gone on Thursday and it didn’t disappoint with the flurry of moves that were made. Highlighted by Cleveland overhauling six players going to three different cities. Get ready for a breakdown with how each team will look like post deadline and the playoff push coming up.
Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron must be smiling with what management did getting younger and more athletic with the moves that were made. Shipping out Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder, Isiah Thomas, Channing Frye and Dwayne Wade. In return the Cavs received Larry Nance Jr, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and George Hill. This will still put them behind Boston and Toronto respectively, but will make things interesting. Nance will benefit from LeBron’s precision passing for alley oops and easy baskets from close in. Hood will get wide open looks from three and Hill will bring stability to a position of dire need for this team. When Kevin Love returns from his broken hand just before the playoffs it will close the gap even closer to have a better chance to get back to the finals.
Los Angeles Lakers: The price of attaching Nance Jr to trade away Clarkson’s contract was a huge win for the franchise. On top of that victory, LA also acquired Cleveland’s first round pick and receiving a talented player like Thomas who can really light up the scoreboard when healthy and can come in during crunch time and put fear in their opponent. With two max player salary slots open now heading into free agency the Lakers have a lot of options for 2018 and 2019. Taking on bad contracts and acquiring good assets all while their young core develops is the best road for LA for next season. Re-Sign Brook Lopez and Thomas to smaller two-year deals and a team option for a third season will help in the short-term all while having the flexibility to sign a superstar with all the cap room available.
New York Knicks: In a three team deal New York acquired Emmanuel Mudiay from Denver at the cost of Doug McDermott. This will benefit the Knicks who won’t be competing for a playoff spot with Porzingis out for the year taking a flyer on Mudiay to see what he has. The Knicks are weak at point guard and relaying on Jarret Jack too much means it’s time for youth to come in and take over. Frank Ntilikina isn’t ready yet, and Trey Burke is somehow back in the league. Instead of trading for Mudiay why not trade for Elfrid Payton when Orlando was begging for teams to take him. Payton won’t command a big restricted free agent contract and is more developed than Mudiay. This is a win not matter how the Mudiay experiment turns out.
Miami Heat: Welcoming back the best player in franchise history at age 36 feels good and gives the fans something to be excited about besides how good Josh Richardson is. Only having to give up a heavily protected second round pick is a microcosm cost to receive Wade. In a minor move Miami re acquired Luke Babbitt who left the Heat in 2016. This is a small move when sending a player that Atlanta waived right away. Babbitt can provide a spark off the bench with excellent three-point shooting in bunches very similar to what Wayne Ellington does. Babbitt will get a few opportunities that can only help Miami that already has good outside shooting. There can’t be many teams that would want to face Miami in the playoffs, we could still be looking at the Southeast division champs with John Wall out for another month.
Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz: Sacramento sent off George Hill which was a good for this organization to get his contract off the books. What the Kings continue to make head scratching decisions by trading Malachi Richardson for a player that was waived and cutting Georgios Papagiannis who they took with the 12th pick in 2016. If you’re in a youth movement and give up on two first-round picks for nothing in return shows this team still doesn’t get it. Utah receiving Jae Crowder for Hood will be as close to a wash as you can get, Crowder will be a better defender where Hood was bringing the offense. This doesn’t change anything for Utah where they will still miss the playoffs but now don’t have to decide on re-signing Hood or not. Were close to seeing Rose out of the league as early as next season at this pace, very few teams would want him, with the way he is a ball hogging defense liability and not helping any team play young players that needs to develop this will be something to watch for.