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NBA Trade Deadline Recap: Chaos Reigns

While the big name players stayed home, there was still plenty of drama leading up to the NBA trade deadline.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Twenty-four hours before the trade deadline, the maestro of the #WojBomb threw a bucket of cold water on a simmering NBA rumor fire:

Woj *technically* wasn’t wrong (he rarely is), as many of the big name players rumored to be available (Deandre Jordan, Kemba Walker, Lou Williams, Tyreke Evans,) ended up remaining with their current franchise. However, Thursday still brought plenty of transaction-related drama, led by the defending Eastern Conference champions. Let’s recap.

The Appetizers

Instant Analysis: The Bulls also received a 2022 2nd-round pick from Detroit. With Reggie Jackson still sidelined with an ankle injury, the Pistons rounded out there bench with a proven veteran who could provide a little stability as the Pistons make a final push for a playoff spot.

Instant Analysis: Back in 2014, Fran Fraschilla described Bruno Caboclo as being “two years away from being two years away.” Based on that timeline, the Kings may have just stolen a young player from Brazil who could produce for them next season.

Instant Analysis: In addition to Jameer Nelson, Stan Van Gundy made another move to shore up his bench, bringing in James Ennis, a 37% career three-point shooter. As for Brice Johnson, he’s a Tarheel (which I love), so maybe getting closer to his home state will give him a much-needed spark.

Instant Analysis: Babbitt was originally selected 16th overall in the 2010 by your very own Minnesota Timberwolves, ahead of player like *gulp* Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley, and Hassan Whiteside. A career 41% shooter from beyond the arc, Babbitt has bounced around a handful of teams, but sincere props for him for remaining in the league and getting to move back to warm and sunny Miami.

Instant Analysis: The Nuggets and Knicks also received 2nd-round picks, but the “big” name in this deal is clearly Emmanuel Mudiay. While he never developed into the player he was projected to be back in the 2015 draft, Mudiay is still only 21-years old (shocker!) and is a low-risk move for a Knicks team desperate for talent. The only problem is, he plays the same position as the Knicks recent 1st-round pick. #FreeFrankySmokes

Instant Analysis: Cunningham was a popular name for Wolves twitter, but in the end was sent to Brooklyn in exchange for Minneapolis’s own Rashad Vaughn. Cunningham, who signed a one-year deal with the Pelicans this past summer, adds to a strong list of potential buyout candidates.

Instant Analysis: I mean... sure?

Instant Analysis: While this seems like another “meh” trade on the surface, the financial ramifications for Portland are pretty amazing. As ESPN cap guru Bobby Marks points out, the Blazers have now shed $43 million off their luxury tax bill by moving Allen Crabbe to Brooklyn and now Noah Vonleh to Chicago, all while holding onto their future 1st-round picks. In the end, the Blazers are now positioned to receive a small portion of the luxury tax money from the team’s paying the tax, which is great news for Blazers’ billionaire owner Paul Allen, who definitely could use MORE money.

Glass of Wine

Instant Analysis: Although not the biggest shocker of the day, this deal definitely sent NBA Twitter into a chaotic tailspin. With the Cavs completely revamping their roster with a fresh batch of wing players (more on that in a second), sending Wade back “home” seemed like a courteous gesture to one of LeBron James’ closest friends. Wade has never been the same since he left Miami back in 2016 (mainly because of his age), but bringing him back to a feisty Miami Heat team and putting him in the Dion Waiters role adds a little intrigue and excitement to what should be a competitive Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Main Course

Instant Analysis: Wait for it...

Instant Analysis: Go on...

Instant Analysis: *clears throat* WHAAAAAAT?! In the matter of three hours, the Cavaliers shipped out six rotation players and two draft picks, and brought in a slew of fresh, young wing players in an attempt to rebuild on the fly around LeBron James.

Listen, you could write an entire book about the Cavs over the last 6-8 months (I’m sure Brian Windhorst is already on it), but this was a collection of much-needed moves if the Cavs want any shot at keeping LeBron this summer. Did the Cavs also possibly create enough cap space for the Lakers to sign two max free agents? Absolutely. But if you have LeBron James on your roster, you are a clear cut favorite to make the NBA Finals, and as the great poet Spiderman once said - “with great power comes great responsibility.”

George Hill and Jordan Clarkson are under contract for a few more seasons (Hill can be waived after the 2018-2019 season for $1 million dollars), Larry Nance, Jr. is only 25-years old, and Rodney Hood can flat out can flat out ball. Why the Cavs also tossed in their 1st-round pick to the Lakers is beyond me (seriously, I need a major explanation on that one), but in the end Koby “Kobe” Altman shot his shot and injected some much-needed youth and defense into his team’s roster, which is all you can ask for given their current situation.

Finally, one key domino from this NBA blockbuster needs to be mentioned:

Instant Analysis: Uh oh...

Instant Analysis: (profanity-laced tirade removed by editor). As Eric pointed out yesterday, this is an absolute disaster if this actually happens. Signing Rose to replace Brooks is one thing, but adding him as “injury insurance” for the PG position is like me setting my couch on fire because my furnace isn’t working.

Derrick Rose is no longer good at basketball, and all things considered, I’m not sure he’s all that good at being a teammate or person in general. Moreover, a move like this all but assures a decreased role for young Tyus Jones, the player who actually gives the Wolves the best shot at PG as they move into the final stretch run of the season.

Bringing in Jimmy Butler (former Chicago Bull) was franchise-changing. Bringing in Taj Gibson (former Chicago Bull) was extremely underrated. Sniffing around Loul Deng (former Chicago Bull) was OK. Negotiating with Joakim Noah (former Chicago Bull) was frightening. But now, bringing in Derrick Rose (former Chicago Bull) to take minutes away from arguably the best PG on the roster? That is a Target Center-sized red flag.

Moves like this can hurt not only the on-court product, but also the locker room as well. Considering how beloved Tyus is from players like Butler, Crawford, and Towns, this move probably doesn’t sit well with anyone currently in a Wolves jersey. Let’s hope that these rumors stay just that - rumors.

Dessert, anyone?

Instant Analysis: To cap off the trade deadline frenzy, the Phoenix Suns traded a 2nd-round pick from the Memphis Grizzlies in change for floppy-haired Elfrid Payton, who was drafted 10th in the 2014 NBA Draft. The move is fairly genius for both sides, as the new Magic front office got an asset for a player they had no intentions of re-signing this summer, and the Suns got a two-month rental for a 23-year old PG who still might have a chance at being an above-average player.

With the trade deadline now officially over, the NBA transitions into #BuyoutSZN, with players like Joe Johnson, Vince Carter, Marco Belinelli, and Tony Allen highlighting the list of potential names to be seeking playoff-contending teams.

All-in-all, it was another fantastic NBA trade deadline. The good news for fans of certain teams who didn’t make any changes to their roster on Thursday? ONLY 142 DAYS UNTIL NBA FREE AGENCY!!