The NBA trade deadline came and went Thursday with hardly the excitement we had anticipated, but there were still moves to be made, some good and some not so good.
Here are Thursday’s winners and losers at the trade deadline.
(Trade details can be found at ESPN.com)
Winner: Miami Heat
The Heat are winners for getting below the luxury tax line and avoiding having to pay a penalty on their payroll for the season. By trading center Chris Andersen in a three-team deal with Memphis and Charlotte Tuesday, forward Jarnell Stokes to the New Orleans Pelicans and guard Brian Roberts to the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday, the Heat have totaled $14 million in savings, according to The Vertical‘s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Heat began the season roughly $5.6 million over the luxury tax threshold, per the Miami Herald‘s Manny Navarro.
Loser: New York Knicks
The Knicks are losers for failing to upgrade the point guard position. New York was interested in Atlanta’s Jeff Teague, but the Hawks shut down talks with several suitors, including the Knicks, per The Vertical‘s Wojnarowski. Meanwhile, Orlando, Detroit and Washington, all ahead of New York in the East playoff race, got better with trades Thursday. The Magic acquired guard Brandon Jennings and forward Ersan Ilyasova, the Pistons netted forward Tobias Harris, and the Wizards made a splash by trading for forward Markieff Morris.
Winner: Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers are winners for getting above the league’s $63 million minimum salary floor after acquiring Roberts from the Heat and center Anderson Varejao from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Portland began the season about $14 million below the league’s minimum salary floor. If they didn’t add the $14 million by the last day of the regular season, the Trail Blazers would have had to distribute the remaining difference between the players on the roster, according to Comcast Net‘s Jason Quick. They also received a conditional first-round draft pick (top-10 protected) from Cleveland.
Loser: Boston Celtics
The Celtics are losers for standing pat at the trade deadline despite having the draft assets to pull off a major deal, which include [h/t CBS Sports‘ Zach Harper]:
- Brooklyn’s 2016 first-round pick
- Right to swap picks with Brooklyn in 2017
- Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick
- Dallas’ 2016 first-round pick (Top 7 protected)
- Minnesota’s 2016 first-round pick (Top 12 protected, likely to become two second-rounders)
- Boston’s own 2016 first-round pick
- Memphis’ 2017 first-round pick (Top 10 protected)
The Celtics, third place in the East, could have gotten pretty much whoever they wanted to help them this season with that treasure trove. Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Al Horford, you name it. But the decision to hold onto those picks could pay off for them down the road if the players drafted using those picks become any good.
Winner: Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies are winners for acquiring a future first-round draft pick from the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday and four second-round draft picks in Tuesday’s three-team deal with Charlotte and Miami. Memphis traded away soon-to-be free agent forward Jeff Green to Los Angeles in exchange for forward Lance Stephenson and a heavily protected 2019 first-rounder, sources tell ESPN.com. Tuesday’s three-team swap sent guard Courtney Lee, also a free agent after this season, to the Hornets.
Loser: Houston Rockets
The Rockets are losers for not trading Howard, who plans to exercise an opt-out in his contract this summer to become an unrestricted free agent, and thus Houston will get absolutely nothing in return for him if he were to sign with another team. The Rockets were contacting teams about trading Howard, per the The Vertical‘s Wojnarowski, but they weren’t able to put a deal together at the 3.p.m. ET deadline Thursday. It’s likely no team traded for Howard because they didn’t know if they had him beyond this season. He was seen as a rental for the second half of the season.
Winner: Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are winners for getting rid of Stephenson, who underwhelmed in Los Angeles, and adding the solid play of Green, who is averaging 12.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 29.1 minutes per game this season. As Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times writes:
Green can play both forward positions and could presumably fill in at power forward until Blake Griffin returns from a broken right hand and a four-game suspension that is expected to sideline him until next month.
Then Green, 29, could switch to small forward, one of the Clippers’ biggest needs in recent seasons as it started Matt Barnes and Luc Mbah a Moute.
Green is reunited with Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who he spent two seasons playing for in Boston.