Last year, the NBA trade deadline was downright chaotic. Whether it be the day itself or the days leading up to it, last year was memorable for the landscape alerting deals that went down. Because fans have become accustomed to deadline deals being more frequent (and substantial in the last decade), the day brings a lot of entertainment value. This year, much like a movie being anticipated before its premiere, speculation was running about what deal might steal the show. Was there going to be a dramatic swing from the Warriors? Or a third star heading to Los Angeles? What about a surprise cameo performance from someone like Gordon Hayward?
Some surprises (even jump scares) happened but nothing to the league alterning degree. What is clear is that the first deadline after implementing the new collective bargaining agreement has made front offices work harder navigating deals. The biggest takeaway from this deadline might be the new predatory market that has developed in the league. There were very few sellers and those who were got picked clean.
Below is a breakdown of most (if not all) of the trade deadline deals. Each deal is broken into somewhat appropriate categories.
The Needle Movers
- Pistons Trade: Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks
- Knicks Trade: Quentin Grimes, Ryan Arcidiacono, Malachi Flynn, Evan Fournier, and two 2nd-round picks
This was by far the most significant trade of the day. The New York Knicks were anticipated to make a move to enhance their rotation and bench scoring, and they did. This trade is pretty much a home run, considering they have two players who can fill needs and immediately contribute. Perhaps more importantly, the Knicks didn’t have to touch any of their 1st-round draft picks.
BREAKING: New York Knicks F OG Anunoby had surgery to remove a loose bone fragment in his right elbow and will miss a minimum of three weeks, sources tell ESPN. Procedure is considered minor and he’s expected to resume basketball activities in three weeks. pic.twitter.com/jws9NC1s32
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2024
Adding Bojan Bogdanovich is the most important part of the deal now that OG Anunoby will be rehabbing an elbow injury for the next few weeks. The only question is where he fits in the closing lineups. Tom Thibodeau prioritizes defenses, and if Anunoby returns healthy, Bogdanovic might be the odd man out.
[P.S. Welcome back, Alec Burks]
- Thunder Trade: Davis Bertans, Tre Mann, Vasilije Micic, and two 2nd-round picks
- Hornets Trade: Gordon Hayward
This is the Oklahoma City Thunder version of cashing in. That’s not meant to be a slight. The Thunder have been notorious under Sam Presti for being meticulous when bringing in big salaries and stars. This deal is a belief in their chances in the Western Conference. It’s not so much that Gordon Hayward is the missing piece to put them over the top in the West. Because it probably isn’t. It is a calculated risk that could bring added playmaking and shooting.
Hayward could seamlessly fit into lineups around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander but also with him as the main creator. Lastly, he serves as a good variant to Josh Giddey if they want more shooting late in games.
- Raptors Trade: Otto Porter Jr., Kira Lewis Jr., and a 2024 1st-round pick
- Utah Trade: Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Abaji
To be clear, this is a bang-up job by the Utah Jazz to capitalize on Kelly Olynyk’s value. Looking around the league, only a few desperate teams (that I will touch on soon) were willing to part with 1st-round picks.
That brings us to the Toronto Raptors. Granted, the 2024 pick they traded is protected. But why is a lottery team even gambling on sending away protected picks? Olynyk is a fine player, but his fit is a little questionable on a team where Scottie Barnes and Immanuel Quickley initiate offense. Is Olynyk going to be regulated to a pick-and-pop guy now? The more confusing part is that the Raptors have done this same thing during multiple deadlines. Their fanbase is now starting to wonder about a front-office makeover. This might be why.
Major new entry to the NBA’s buyout market who will be coveted by several playoff teams. pic.twitter.com/ec3oVEBmCZ
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 8, 2024
- Raptors Trade: Dennis Schroder and Thaddeus Young
- Nets Trade: Spencer Dinwiddie (reportedly will be waived once transactions are completed)
Ultimately, this ended up being a…well, I’m not sure what this was. Spencer Dinwiddie is headed to the buyout market, so this isn’t a financial trade. It can’t be true there was not a bigger market for Schroder, especially as an expiring contract. That begs the question as to why they didn’t just waive Schroder. Or, at the very least, how are there no second-round picks attached? Just a bizarre one.
Schroder will be better for the Brooklyn Nets. He will get them more organized and is a better scorer at this point in his career than Dinwiddie. Props to Brooklyn for at least looking to facilitate this trade deadline. Arguably the best trading partner in the NBA over recent years.
- Mavericks Trade: Grant Williams, Seth Curry, and a 2027 1st-round pick
- Hornets Trade: P.J. Washington
- Mavericks Trade: Richaun Holmes and a 2024 1st-round pick
- Wizards Trade: Daniel Gafford
Whew, boy, where to start? The Daniel Gafford part of the deal for the Dallas Mavericks is wise in the sense that they needed more size and rim presence around Derrick Lively. However, the glaring caveat is that they gave away a 1st-round pick. Oh wait, they actually ended up giving two-round picks because, in a separate deal, the Mavericks traded Grant Williams to Charlotte.
This is a classic case of bad asset management. The Dallas Mavericks acquired a combined $65 million in contracts between Williams and Holmes, only to have to attach draft capital in other trades just six months later. The other question is whether P.J. Washington is that much of an upgrade over Williams. While his raw numbers are better, once he enters the Dallas system, will the result be that much different on either side of the floor?
- Suns Trade: Keita Bates-Diop (to Brooklyn, Jordan Goodwin (to Brooklyn), Yuta Watanabe (to Memphis) and Chimezie Metu (to Memphis)
- Grizzlies Trade: David Roddy (to Phoenix)
- Nets Trade: Royce O’Neale (to Phoenix)
A solid upgrade here for the Phoenix Suns. None of the players they lost were contributing heavily to their rotation. However, the two they got in return could make an immediate impact. Royce O’Neale provides a proven veteran presence who can play alongside stars. David Roddy is the really intriguing part of the deal. Not only do the Suns now control his bird rights, but his potential as a potential three-and-D player could make the Suns versatile not just this year but in the near future.
- Timberwolves Trade: Shake Milton, Troy Brown Jr. and a 2nd-round pick
- Pistons Trade: Monte Morris
Even though it is not the flashiest transaction, this trade proves that the Minnesota Timberwolves are focused on what keeps them a contender. Monte Morris was buried away with the Pistons, so not only does this thrust him into a playoff team, but it also solves a big issue for the Timberwolves. Behind the aging Mike Conley, there wasn’t much depth or trust. With Morris stepping in, he can be the driver of the offense in case of Conley’s absence while also adding another professional voice in the locker room. The only thing to keep an eye on would be Morris’s durability for the rest of the season.
The Wait and See
The Sixers gave up Furkan Korkmaz, Marcus Morris and 3 Second Round Picks for Buddy Hield
The move gives the 76ers an upgrade off the bench and another option to fill-in while Embiid recovers. Hield remains a quality 3PT Shooter who offers Movement Shooting – adding another… pic.twitter.com/Pe9k0OJKvW
— BBall Index (@The_BBall_Index) February 8, 2024
- Pacers Trade: Buddy Hield (to Philadelphia) and 2nd-round pick (to San Antonio)
- 76ers Trade: Marcus Morris Sr (to San Antonio), Furkan Korkmaz Sr. (to Indiana Pacers, reportedly will be waived), and three 2nd-round picks (to Indiana)
- Spurs Trade: Doug McDermott (to Indiana)
On the surface, this fixes some issues the Philadelphia 76ers had faced all season. As a team, they were in the bottom half of the league when it came to three-point shooting. Buddy Hield solves that, as most of his shots come from behind the arc. However, it didn’t solve their biggest problem: not having Joel Embiid. To be fair, no real trade would have solved that, but a trade like this would have been nice to see if Embiid was actually healthy.
Although there is hope for the reigning MVP’s return before the playoffs, too much could happen between now and then to even speculate. It is entirely possible that Hield and Embiid never see the floor together since Hield is an upcoming free agent. However it plays out, the silver lining is that the 76ers still have flexibility next offseason. Hopefully, for Sixers fans, that’s when Morey cashes in.
- 76ers Trade: Cameron Payne and a 2nd-round pick
- Bucks Trade: Patrick Beverley
This could be a sneaky move to look back on come playoff time. The emphasis for the Milwaukee Bucks, even before their dismissal of Adrian Griffin, was point-of-attack defense. Well, they just got a player who is notorious for that. Is Patrick Beverley going to be the player who saves the Bucks season? No, that still falls on guys like Damian Lillard, Khris Middleton, and the rest. But Beverley could be the new blood that lights a fire under his new teammates and motivates them. Lastly, Beverley could be an interesting matchup play against the Knicks, 76ers, and Cleveland Cavaliers, who all have undersized guards as primary creators.
As The Deadline Passes
There will still be an intriguing fallout to the trade deadline. After all, there is still the buyout market. But this year’s deadline is a tepid one. The biggest moves might have come from the teams that didn’t do anything. The Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors, and Chicago Bulls all stood pat. Whatever ramifications, good or bad, come after will be just as compelling to follow as the rest of the season plays out.
Matt Strout is an Editor for Back Sports Page. Matt studied Journalism and Sociology at Temple University for four years and graduated in May of 2022. While there, Matt wrote for multiple student and professional publications covering sports and the City of Philadelphia. Matt is originally from Maine and now resides in California. He has written content primarily for the NBA and PGA Tour. When Matt is not writing, he enjoys cooking and playing golf. Follow Matt’s social media on Twitter @TheRealStrout or Instagram @matt_strout96.
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