The NBA trade deadline never ceases to amaze. One minute it’s all quiet on the western front, and all hell breaks loose the next.
For fans of the trade deadline, Thursday didn’t disappoint. Here are six surprises from a busy day in the NBA:
1. Isaiah Thomas traded again…to the Lakers
It’s funny how things work out sometimes. One day after Thomas said he wanted to stick around with Cleveland for the rest of the season, the Cavaliers traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers for Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson.
It had become clear in recent weeks that Thomas wasn’t a fit on the Cavaliers, but his name hadn’t come up in any trade rumors ahead of Thursday’s deadline. So when Cleveland pulled the trigger to send the All-Star point guard packing, it was a bit of a shock.
You definitely have to feel for Thomas. Since 2014, he has been traded four times. The Lakers are his fifth team in seven years.
2. Cavaliers make some big changes
It’s going to take some time getting used to all the new faces on Cleveland’s roster. After acquiring Clarkson and Nance from Los Angeles, the Cavaliers added George Hill and Rodney Hood to Thursday’s haul via a three-team trade with Sacramento and Utah. Cleveland parted with Thomas, Frye, Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert and Jae Crowder all in one day.
The changes to the roster are for the best going forward, but it was very surprising to see the Cavaliers bring in so many new players. Clearly, the front office wasn’t happy with the team’s performance up till now and thus decided to shake things up.
3. DeAndre Jordan stays with Clippers
Jordan’s name was linked to several teams ahead of the trade deadline, and it’s no secret that the Los Angeles Clippers had been trying to move the star center for packages of picks and young players. But Thursday’s deadline came and went with Jordan staying put in LA.
The Clippers reportedly discussed the possibility of a trade with Cleveland, and the Toronto Raptors were “trying to work their way into the mix” as well. But Jordan, who has a player option for next season, remains with the Clippers for now.
4. Grizzlies failed to trade Tyreke Evans
The Memphis Grizzlies were in an envious position at the trade deadline with arguably the top trade target sitting on their roster. However, they were unable to find a trade partner for Evans that was willing to send back a first-round pick so they kept him despite sitting him out for five games in anticipation of a trade.
Now Evans, who is a free agent after this season, can potentially walk away from Memphis in the offseason for nothing. The Grizzlies reportedly had offers for Evans, but none of them included the first-round pick they were so aggressively after.
5. Celtics stand pat
This may or may not be a surprise depending on how you look at it. The Boston Celtics, no doubt, could have used a bench scorer at the trade deadline, someone to keep the offense flowing whenever Kyrie Irving goes to the bench.
Evans and Lou Williams, before he agreed to an extension with the Clippers, were reportedly on Boston’s radar. But Celtics GM Danny Ainge once again played it cool at the trade deadline like he’s done in years past, refusing to part ways with assets for short-term fixes.
6. Dwyane Wade headed back to Miami
Wade had been averaging decent numbers off the bench for Cleveland this season, but with so many new players coming in via trades, the Cavaliers did right by the veteran and sent him back to the Miami Heat where he spent the better part of his career. The trade deadline can be rough for some players, but it’s nice to see a team put aside business for a second and do the right thing. It’s not every day you see that. Wade is now in a position to finish out his career with the team it started with.