Ball Talk: NBA trade deadline results were quite quiet
Hello everybody, and welcome back to Ball Talk with Jon Soc! Sorry for the long delay between writings, but it’s alright because we are back in business. Today we are going to be talking about the NBA Trade Deadline. This is always my favorite segment to write, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it. Even though the trade deadline was incredibly tame this year, there were still some exciting trades.
This trade deadline taught us all something that I have been saying for years: if your big man is not able to defend out to the three-point line or shoot threes, your big man is not worth anything. I will explain in more depth, but the Clint Capela and Andre Drummond trades show that there is no more value in bigs who just rebound and rim protect at a below super-elite-level. By super elite-level, I mean top three in the league type. Think Rudy Gobert and Joel Embiid. Not Steven Adams-level.
The first trade I want to talk about is the Capela trade. This is the most confusing trade we’ve seen since the Dwight Howard trade. The Houston Rockets gave up Capela, Nene Hilario, Gerald Green and a first-round pick. In return, they received Robert Covington and a Golden State Warriors second-round pick. The Atlanta Hawks gave up nothing of value and received Clint Capela. The Denver Nuggets gave up Malik Beasley and got Gerald Green and a first-round pick. The Minnesota Timberwolves gave up a first-round pick and got Beasley. In addition, there were many random, lower-level players that were involved in this trade. This trade showed that big men just are not worth what they used to be. Initially, people thought that the Houston Rockets gave up too much for Capela, but since the trade they have been one of the best teams in the league, although Capela has still yet to play. In my personal opinion, I still think the Rockets gave up way too much to just get Robert Covington, and this move will not help them in the playoffs. The Timberwolves’ side of this deal was strictly to get assets, and they succeeded, but more on that later. The Hawks managed to get a first-round pick, and a starting level center for scraps from their roster. Capela could never play again and this trade would still be an absolute steal for the Hawks. The Nuggets needed to get a return for Beasley before he left for nothing in free agency, and they got a solid pick. In my opinion, everyone won this trade except the Rockets, who probably believe they won the trade.
The second trade to discuss is the Drummond trade. Drummond was traded for John Henson, Brandon Knight, a second round pick and a metaphorical bag of potato chips. This trade was the absolute dagger in the heart of the classic-style big man. Drummond, a two-time all-star and former member of the All-NBA Third Team, was traded for two players who were both already traded as salary dumps in the past, as well as a second-round pick. Unless the Detroit Pistons are absolutely horribly run, which they aren’t, then realistically no one offered more. No one offered a future first, a protected first, or a rotation player. General managers are finally catching on, as rim running bigs are a dime a dozen, and there is no reason to give up assets or cap space for one who is not the absolute best at what he does.
Third trade! Referencing my earlier point about the Timberwolves stockpiling assets, they used those assets in this next trade: D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves and Andrew Wiggins, along with a first and a second to the Warriors. After trying for years to pair together Karl Anthony-Towns and one of his best buddies, Devin Booker or D’Angelo, they finally did it! And they have no more defense, but whatever. As long as Anthony-Towns is happy. They also finally won a game, which is exciting. The Timberwolves still look pretty hopeless, but maybe I’m being too hard on them. Only time will tell. The Warriors, on the other hand, excite me a lot, and with now two lottery picks in the upcoming draft, they will have lots of chances for a top prospect or lots of capital for a possible trade, maybe for Giannis. Even if they do not trade their new picks for a superstar, Andrew Wiggins looks to be a good member of the Warriors squad, filling in the Harrison Barnes role from the Warriors’ first title run. Unfortunately, Barnes was a much better defender, but we will see whether Wiggins can grow more as a defender as he learns from a top defender like Draymond Green.
Fourth trade! Jordan Clarkson to the Utah Jazz for Dante Exum and two seconds. This trade happened well before the deadline but Clarkson has emerged as one of the key contributors on the Jazz since the trade, helping them in the absolute arms race going on for second in the west. The Cleveland Cavaliers got another reclamation project and some second rounders for their efforts.
Fifth trade. Andre Igoudala finally got traded! After wasting away on the Memphis Grizzlies for the entire season, the Grizzlies traded Iggy, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill to the Miami Heat for Justice Winslow and other rotation pieces. Both teams have fallen off completely since the trade. The Heats will definitely find their footing again. They have too many savvy vets to not at least stay a top-four seed. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies might not find their way again, but that is not a problem. The Grizzlies have already outperformed expectations greatly and are dealing with an injury problem — as even the centerpiece of the trade, Winslow, is injured. The Grizzlies will continue their push for the eighth seed, but if they fall short, this season has already been a vast success and Winslow will be worth a lot more next year than any piece they traded. Also, just to point out, the Grizzlies took on all three players in this trade as salary dumps with picks attached, then traded them for a great young player. That’s how you use cap space as a rebuilding team.
The sixth and final trade worth talking about: The Los Angeles Clippers received Isaiah Thomas (who was immediately waived) and Marcus Morris, New York Knicks receive Moe Harkless, a Clippers first round pick this year, and a Clippers first-round pick swap next year (Knicks get better pick of theirs and Clippers) and a second-round pick. Someone played that Juice World and NBA Young Boy song because the Knicks are the definition of a bandit in this trade. The Clippers get another overrated isolation player who won’t help their playmaking issue, losing a good defensive role player in Moe Harkless. The Knicks got a first-round pick, and a second round pick for a player they signed over the off-season, a rare great move by the New York Knicks.
Unfortunately, this year’s trade deadline was very quiet, as was the buyout market. Reggie Jackson signed with the Clippers, once again not moving the needle, and the Lakers signed Markieff Morris, also not moving the needle much, but he is an isolation scorer, something the Los Angeles Lakers bench needed gravelly.