Who doesn’t love trades? There were a bunch of deals at the trade deadline this season. They were big deals involving some talented players. I won’t grade all of them but I will give my thoughts on a few of the moves that were made.
It was a three team trade that involved the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers acquired draft picks as they always do. They actually got the Lakers protected pick from Phoenix. The Suns acquired Brandon Knight and Kendall Marshall. The Bucks got Michael Carter-Williams, Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis.
I was surprised to see the Bucks trade Brandon Knight. He has been their best player all season. He was almost an All-Star this year. He was having the best season of his career for a Bucks team that doubled their win total from last season.
On the other end Carter-Williams has been banged up this season. His shooting numbers have dropped across the board from his rookie year and he averages 4.2 turnovers per game.
Knight is a better shooter and is shooting a career high 40% from beyond the arc this season. Carter-Williams is at 25%. The Bucks are third in terms of percentage from beyond the arc at 37%.
In other deals Phoenix traded away both Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas. Eric Bledsoe will be paired with another Kentucky guy in Brandon Knight. It still makes Phoenix a small backcourt but they won’t have three small guards in the rotation.
Acquiring Miles Plumlee was a big for the Bucks considering they are working on a buyout for Larry Sanders. Plumlee is the same age, he’s active and he actually enjoys playing basketball. The Bucks added more size and length. Kidd can throw a lineup out of Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Antekokounmpo, Henson and Plumlee. Everyone is at least 6’6 and three of them are 6’11.
My favorite move of the deadline was the Miami trade. The Heat got Goran Dragic and his brother Zoran Dragic. The most important thing about the trade is that they were able to keep Luol Deng. The Phoenix Suns acquired Danny Granger and two first-round picks (from Miami) and John Salmons (from New Orleans).
New Orleans acquired Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton and Shawne Williams from Miami. This was a solid deal for the Pelicans. Jrue Holiday aggravated the stress reaction in his lower right leg and will be re-evaluated in three weeks. They really needed another point guard and Norris Cole will be solid in limited minutes.
The Suns got some more draft picks. They will probably waive both Granger and Salmons considering both guys have not been in rotations this season.
Miami wins here by getting Dragic. Miami was one of the teams on his list of potential destinations so he will most likely resign with them in the off-season. He is an upgrade at the position that included Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Shabazz Napier all season. Those names don’t exactly scare opposing teams.
Dragic has been solid once again this season averaging 16 ppg on 50% shooting. Miami has a nice starting five with Dragic, Wade (healthy), Deng, Bosh and Whiteside. If the team can stay healthy they can make a nice run.
The Boston Celtics acquired Isaiah Thomas (from Suns), Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome (from Pistons). The Phoenix Suns acquired Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first-round pick. The Detroit Pistons acquired Tayshaun Prince from the Celtics.
The Suns get a heat-check guy in Thornton. He can shoot from distances and get points in a limited amount of time. Thornton is a veteran so he is trusted more than the young guys; Archie Goodwin, Reggie Bullock and T.J. Warren. Most importantly they get a future first round pick.
Tayshuan Prince returns to Detroit where he won a title with the Pistons in 2004. He is a fan favorite and will provide some wing depth considering the Pistons only have one other small forward on the roster in Caron Butler.
The Boston Celtics now have the same problem that the Phoenix Suns had. They added another small guard to their rotation. Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart now have to share time with Isaiah Thomas. Thomas is the shooter out of the group while Bradley and Smart excel on the defensive end. Boston also gave up one of their many first-round picks.
I don’t understand the move for the Celtics. Smart and Bradley are both young guys who could grow together. Evan Turner sees some time in the backcourt as well. Thomas is a good player but I don’t see him fitting with this team.
Best Low-key move:
The Houston Rockets made two deals. They gave up Isaiah Canaan, Alexey Shved and some second round picks. In the first deal they acquired Pablo Prigioni from the Knicks. The Knicks received Shved and two second-round picks.
The next deal involved the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers received Canaan and a second-round pick while the Rockets came away with K.J. McDaniels.
These guys give the Rockets depth and they are defensive players. Prigioni is 37 but he is active on the defensive end and he can knock down a three pointer. McDaniels is the opposite in that he can run the floor and finish but struggles with his shooting.
Best move going forward:
The Blazers got much better by adding Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee. They sent Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, Victor Claver and a 2016 first-round pick (lottery protected) to the Denver Nuggets.
Denver gets a draft pick and some young players. It remains to be seen what they will do with all those young guys. Barton is talented and Robinson has been traded numerous times in his brief career.
Last season Afflalo was a borderline All-Star. He is a good defender who can knock down shots from both the low post and beyond the arc. Alonzo Gee is also a solid defender who can run the floor and finish.
This move gives the Blazers more depth. Nicolas Batum has been banged up this season and his numbers have dipped across the board. Afflalo will get better looks because he is on a better team.