Ladies and gentlemen... we are now officially less than 24 hours away from the NBA Trade Deadline! For some, this moment in time can be thought of as a national holiday, ranked right up there with the NBA Lottery, NBA Draft, and the first day of free agency. Whether your team is buying, selling, or a combination of both, this year’s deadline marks the last official day of major transactions on the NBA calendar and simultaneously signals the ramp up to NBA playoffs.
The leadup to this trade deadline was fairly mixed, with some people thinking it could be slow, and others thinking it could be borderline chaotic. While we are still waiting to reach some level of clarity on the Ben Simmons situation, there have already been a handful of major moves across the Association, with more deals likely to happen over the next 24 hours. I’ll continue to update this thread as more deals get announced, but for now let’s look at the transactions that HAVE been finalized over the last week or so:
Rebuild vs. Reload
The Clippers are trading Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson and future second-round pick to the Trail Blazers for Norman Powell and Robert Covington, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2022
The first major domino to drop occurred this past Friday, when the Portland Trailblazers finally threw in the white towel and embraced a full-on rebuild around Damian Lillard. While many people (myself included) thought the Blazers could get much, much more for a package of Powell/Covington, they did clean up their books while also taking a flier on Keon Johnson, who was drafted 21st overall in the 2021 NBA Draft.
As for the Clippers... now would be the appropriate time to insert the Jesse Pinkman “he can’t keep getting away with it” GIF but with Steve Ballmer’s face on it.
The Clippers — who are nipping at the heels of the Minnesota Timberwolves for playoff positioning, somehow turned a bunch of “meh” into two significant pieces, one for this year (Covington) and one for this season and beyond (Powell). If (and it’s still a relatively big IF), the Clippers get one or both of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard back before the playoffs, they are going to be an extremely tough team to beat.
Cleveland’s Crisis LeVerted
The Cavs are sending a package to the Pacers that includes Ricky Rubio’s expiring contract and a lottery-protected 2022 and first-round pick and two second round picks, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/CxLM9S5wvr— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2022
OK, the Cleveland Cavaliers weren’t actually facing a true crisis, but after losing Ricky Rubio to a season-ending injury and with Colin Sexton still on the shelf, the Cavs low-key desperately needed to make a move, especially considering how wide open the top of the Eastern Conference is.
Caris LeVert isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the dude can flat-out score, and if he buys into a certain role in Cleveland, this Cavs team has all the necessary tools to make a push for home court in the first round of the playoffs.
As for Indiana — this appears to be a similar deal to what Portland did earlier in the week in terms of taking the first step towards a total rebuild. Rubio’s expiring contract means that Indiana avoided having to pay LeVert this summer, and the picks they got can be added to whatever they eventually get from trading a guy like Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis.
Look At These Pelicans Fly!
Full trade, per sources:— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2022
Blazers: Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Walker-Alexander, Didi Louzada, 2022 protected first-round pick, two second-round picks.
Pelicans: CJ McCollum, Larry Nance, Tony Snell.
One of the more under the radar rumors leading up to the NBA Trade Deadline involved CJ McCollum. The (now former) Blazers guard had been linked primarily to New York and New Orleans, with the Pelicans finally swooping in early Tuesday morning to get a deal done.
My quick, uneducated analysis of this deal is similar to the Michael Scott “win-win-win” scenario from The Office. After dumping Powell and Covington for scraps, it was clear that Portland would make additional moves to clean the slate around Dame, and getting Alexander-Walker and Hart in addition to a GOOD first round pick (if it falls between 5-14 this summer Portland will get it) is a nice little haul.
Portland's plan is to fully reshape roster around Damian Lillard now. Portland created a $21M trade exception today, potentially $60M in salary cap space this summer, multiple draft picks and assets via Pels and Clippers trades. Plan is to pursue high-end talent now, not retreat.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2022
As Woj went on to report, Portland basically pulled the plug on the Neil Olshey era once and for all, and it resulted in some serious cap savings, a few young prospects, and a handful of first and second round picks. With Lillard still on the roster, it seems like the Blazers will now pivot this summer to retooling rather than rebuilding as they make one last gasp at putting a contending team around their franchise point guard.
On the other side of the ledger — I LOVE this deal for New Orleans. Ever since trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers, it hasn’t exactly been a stretch of home runs (or even doubles) for Pelicans GM David Griffin, but this latest transaction is a step in the right direction for a New Orleans team desperate to put a winning roster around Zion Williamson.
Speaking of Zion — he is still rehabbing his foot (ironically in Portland), and there is no official timetable as to when he might return. Regardless, the Pelicans did get better on Tuesday, not only with the addition of McCollum to their backcourt, but also by acquiring Canis fan favorite Larry Nance, Jr. The Pels will likely roll out some version of Graham, CJ, Ingram, Nance, and Valančiūnas until Zion gets back, which is just frisky enough to secure a top-10 seed in the West and maybe even make some noise if they can get past the play-in tournament.
Jeremy Lamb AND Justin Holiday. https://t.co/0GbRwKcRBP— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2022
The biggest “WTF” trade of deadline season has to be what the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers pulled off on Tuesday, with Indiana receiving a package of Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton in exchange for Domas Sabonis.
From a Kings perspective, it’s not that Sabonis isn’t really good (he is!), it’s more so the fact that had other teams around the league known Haliburton was indeed available, I feel like they could have gotten much, MUCH more. Sacramento was facing a major decision in regards to their crowded backcourt, and while most people thought they would eventually unload De’Aaron Fox, they zagged while others were zigging and decided to unload the 21-year old PG out of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
As for the Pacers here — this is truly a home run deal. The Pacers roster from top to bottom just seemed like an unorganized mess, and by moving Sabonis for Haliburton, they now have their PG of the future while simultaneously creating more space (literally) for Myles Turner, who (according to reports) would like to STAY in Indiana now and play with Haliburton. The Pacers have been very active this week, first trading LeVert for picks and now Sabonis for Haliburton (and Hield), and I’d imagine we see them make even more moves this summer as they continue to revamp their roster for Rick Carlisle.
Is Portland Done Dealing? NAW
The Jazz are sending out the two second-round picks in the deal, sources tell ESPN. Alexander-Walker, 23, has the chance to make an impact on the Jazz's bench and assuredly will benefit in Utah's development system. Averaged 13 points for Pels and will be a part of rotation. https://t.co/rvZ6SN1Zmx— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2022
Before Nickeil Alexander-Walker even had a chance to visit one of the 12,000 breweries in Portland, he was quickly re-routed to the Jazz in exchange for Joe Ingles’ expiring contract (he’s out for the season due to injury), Elijah Hughes, and a second-round pick.
As for Utah, they apparently did this move to 1) take a flyer on NAW and 2) avoid the luxury tax, while the Spurs likely did this move to get a solid guard in Satoransky.
Overall, not the sexiest of deals, but likely one that will lead to additional moves prior to today’s deadline.
Thunder... Give Up A Pick?
OFFICIAL: The Miami HEAT have acquired a 2026 second round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for KZ Okpala.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 9, 2022
You know a trade is fairly boring when the team itself is the one to break the news. This transaction seemed rather simple — the Heat changed their protections on a future first owed to OKC so that they can now trade a first round pick in a potential deal later today. Outside of that... let’s move on.
Kawhi So Serious? Spurs/Raptors Make Another Deal
Both Goran Dragic and Thad Young had been in approximately 1,200 trade rumors leading up to the deadline, so it’s only fitting that they would be traded for one another. I can’t imagine Dragic is super hyped about going from a strong playoff contender to a team more than a dozen games below .500, but maybe he’ll get flipped again prior to 3:00pm EST (or more likely he’ll get bought out). Dallas is the presumptive favorite there.
This is a great deal for San Antonio to pick up a first for Young. The Spurs now have nine first-round picks in the next seven years at their disposal.
As for Young — he’ll serve as a nice vet for a super frisky Raptors team that is starting to figure it out yet again under Nick Nurse and could make some real noise in the Eastern Conference (depending on what other teams in the East do today).
Nurse might be the biggest winner in this deal, as he can further his master plan of collecting as many long, switchable wings that can rain down hell in the playoffs.
ESPN Sources:— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 10, 2022
Full trade participants:
Kings: Donte DiVincenzo, Trey Lyles and Josh Jackson.
Bucks: Serge Ibaka, two future second-round picks, cash.
Clippers: Rodney Hood, Semi Ojele.
Pistons: Marvin Bagley Jr.
A LOT to digest here...
For starters, the best team involved in this deal is clearly the Milwaukee Bucks, who essentially moved Donte DiVincenzo for Serge Ibaka and two future second-round picks. I like DiVincenzo’s game, so this is somewhat of a head scratcher, but the addition of Ibaka should provide some depth in the Bucks’ front court while Brook Lopez continues to rehab his injury.
As for the Kings — they finally get closure on the Marvin Bagley era, with Detroit swapping some various pieces in exchange for a lottery ticket on the former number two overall pick. Sacramento did get a good player in return (DiVincenzo) for Bagley, and I’d imagine Donte will slide into the Buddy Hield role.
Last but not least — the Clippers. I have no real idea how to analyze what they got in this deal, other than maybe getting one step closer to having a 9-man rotation of all guards and wings. There are also small financial ramifications to this deal (especially in regards to the luxury tax), as Bobby Marks explains below:
Clippers save $30M in the deal toward the tax— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 10, 2022
Milwaukee now has 3 roster spots (not including the 10D of Greg Monroe) open and adds $6M toward the tax.
The 3 for 1 deal will require Sacramento to waive 2 players. https://t.co/iioslpfnvP
Doc Rivers Worried About Getting Traded?
Doc Rivers says he canceled practice today due to rumors, says it was the “human thing” to do.— Austin Krell (@NBAKrell) February 10, 2022
Is Doc looking out for himself here? *eyeball emojis intensify*
Just kidding, we’ll check back in when the Nets and Sixers move past the trade deadline equivalent of first base.
Super Bol Thursday
The Celtics are trading PJ Dozier and Bol Bol, a future second and cash to the Magic for a future second-round pick, sources tell ESPN. Dozier and Bol are both out for the season. Cost-savings for Boston.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 10, 2022
Remember when people wanted the Minnesota Timberwolves to draft Bol Bol over Jaylen Nowell? I do!
As Woj points out, this appears to be a cost-savings move for Boston, which likely means another deal is on the way...
*MIKE BREEN VOICE* “BANG!”
The Brooklyn Nets are trading James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 10, 2022
Well, well, well.
After months on end of arrogantly sauntering around NBA arenas, perfectly content with a three-time All-Star and two-time First Team All-Defense sitting out giving his team nothing, Daryl Morey went out whimpering when he sent Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks for James Harden, who could command a five-year supermax contract this upcoming offseason that could pay him nearly $270 million in total (assuming he declines his player option).
UPDATE: Shams Charania of The Athletic/Stadium is reporting that Harden will opt into his $47.2 million player option for the 2022-2023 season. Could Morey be asking Harden to prove it next season? That’s a bold step for Morey, who has been no stranger to giving Harden max deals in the past.
Don’t forget: last January, the Nets sent out essentially three firsts, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, and Caris LeVert for Harden. There were four pick-swaps involved there (21, 23, 25, 27), but the chances Houston is better than Brooklyn in the next five years are very slim in my mind. Today, the Nets got back Simmons, Curry, Drummond and two firsts. That’s a damn good job of recouping assets by Sean Marks.
On no planet would I want to pay this version of Harden a supermax contract, let alone a max contract over the next five seasons. Harden, 32, has regressed this season as his offensive efficiency has really taken a step back from last year. His hamstring issue is undoubtedly a factor, which adds another layer to this trade. Harden and especially Joel Embiid are two players who have struggled to be in shape at the start and end of seasons in large part because their teams demand so much of them. Now that they are together, are we sure they’ll fit together?
Both have been remarkably high usage players throughout their career. Harden has loved playing with pick-and-roll, rim-running bigs; Embiid is much more of a post-up and pick-and-pop oriented big, a type of player Harden has never really played with throughout his career. On the other end of the floor, Harden has always been a switcher in the PnR, meaning he hands guards off to bigs. Embiid has played drop coverage for most of his career, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Not to mention that when Embiid is doubled in the post, he won’t be able to kick the ball out to Seth Curry, an all-time great 3-point shooter with whom he has excellent chemistry. Harden, for all the great things he does, has been reluctant to shooting catch-and-shoot 3s. If he doesn’t adjust, we may see a major flame out from the Sixers come playoff time.
For Brooklyn, this is a heist and a half. Not only did they get considerably better, but they also made one of their biggest competitors significantly worse. Simmons, arguably the league’s best defensive player, will provide immediate defensive help for a team that sorrily needs it, while also offering elite shot creation ability to a team that has five of the best shooters on the planet: Kevin Durant, Patty Mills, Joe Harris, Seth Curry, and Kyrie Irving.
In this deal, Brooklyn also gets Andre Drummond, which will give them insurance if they choose to trade young center Nicolas Claxton. An underrated aspect of this deal is that Brooklyn gets Philadelphia’s 2022 unprotected first-round pick, which will surely enable Marks and the Nets’ front office to go out and find defensive help either at center or on the wing. I wouldn’t be surprised if this trade gets expanded to include other team(s) that will receive a first-round pick from Philly in exchange for a player(s) going to Brooklyn.
The Nets aren’t finished, and they’re going to be extremely dangerous in the playoffs.
Brooklyn is suddenly the deepest team in the East, and is the resounding favorite in the conference if New York City lifts its vaccine mandate. Even if they don’t, you can make a damn good argument for their standing as the team to beat in the East, as long as Ben Simmons is the Ben Simmons we’ve seen the last few seasons.
There’s no one single teammate in the NBA who can make you feel invincible quite like Kevin Durant can (see: the Milwaukee series last year he was a quarter of an inch away from winning by himself). Durant is the league’s best player in my book, and adding a player who can pressure the rim as well as any player in the league will take a ton of the playmaking load off of his plate and allow him to do what he does best: put the ball in the net.
Boston Buys, Spurs Sell
Sources: Boston will also send Romeo Langford to San Antonio. https://t.co/jplPZMxpVw— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 10, 2022
Boston earlier today sent PJ Dozier, Bol Bol and a future second-round pick to the Orlando Magic in a salary-dump move that got them under the luxury tax line, setting up the move we see here.
Derrick White is a fine player, but this is a pretty steep price for a guy who is supposed to help provide some shooting despite shooting 31.4% from deep this season. White is a career 34.4% 3-point shooter with proven defensive chops that has shown some really solid growth as a secondary playmaker this year beside first-time All-Star Dejounte Murray. Boston needs that, especially if they are going to be sending Dennis Schroder out in a separate deal before the buzzer today. Even though White addresses a need, it’s an overpay.
I like what San Antonio has done thus far. They are accruing assets to potentially lose a few more games this season. They got a first-round pick for a guy on the fringes of their rotation (Thad Young) and now pick up another one for a marginally worse combination of players in Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford. The Spurs now have 10 (!) first-round picks over the next 10 seasons. I’m excited to see how San Antonio reloads around Murray.
So Long, Suns’ Smith
The Pacers are finalizing a trade to send F Torrey Craig to the Suns for Jalen Smith and a future second-round pick, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 10, 2022
The Suns get a key piece of their Western Conference Champion rotation from last season in Torrey Craig in exchange for an enticing young prospect in Jalen Smith, who has underperformed his draft position (10th in 2019).
Smith will provide the Pacers with another young backup to Myles Turner, joining Goga Bitadze as offensively talented bigs who can play on the perimeter a little bit. A very nice low-risk move for the Indiana, who continues to shine during deadline week, building on their acquisition of Tyrese Haliburton.
I like this for the Suns, in large part because a future second-round pick isn’t going to do much for them, and you can never have too many wings who can guard four positions in the playoffs. I doubt Phoenix is done, as they’ll surely be looking to offload Dario Saric — who is out for the season with a torn ACL — in exchange for another wing who can provide some offensive upside.
A very solid, understandable, win-win trade.
Harrell Goes Home
Charlotte is acquiring Washington center Montrezl Harrell for Vernon Carey and Ish Smith, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 10, 2022
This move signals to me that they missed out on Richaun Holmes and Jakob Poeltl, two starting centers the Hornets have been linked to for months.
Instead, Mitch Kupchak pivots and brings Tarboro, North Carolina native Montrezl Harrell back to his home state. Harrell provides LaMelo Ball with a fun rim-running pick-and-roll partner without really losing anything on the defensive end of the floor.
Charlotte further leaning into their explosive offense is a fun idea, but also a logical one if you consider the opportunity cost of trading for a Holmes or a Poeltl, who would’ve each commanded a first-round pick and/or PJ Washington.
Harrell has an expiring contract, so it makes sense that the Wizards only get a rotational guard in Ish Smith and a very raw big in Vernon Carey Jr, whose explosive athleticism is a solid foundation for future success in the NBA.
Surely a win for Charlotte, who doesn’t have any long-term salary obligations here.
Wheeling & Dealing In The Desert
This is essentially an admission from the Suns that the Elfrid Payton signing didn’t go very well. At full strength, Phoenix’s backup point guard is Cameron Payne, who is currently nursing a right wrist injury, so it makes sense that they get a backup option for him.
Phoenix will likely have another move coming as I believe this pushes them over the roster limit. It wouldn’t surprise me if they take on Holiday’s money in a disabled player exception for Dario Saric. If that’s the case, the exception would be voided if they moved Saric (that happened when the Cavs traded Ricky Rubio for LeVert).
Holiday has some offensive talent that has popped in spots so far in his career. The youngest of the Holiday brother trio is a career 36.9% career 3-point shooter and has a career 2.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
He won’t offer as much as Payton can on the defensive end, but Payton is a severely limited offensive player and given the defensive wing depth Phoenix has Cam Johnson and now Torrey Craig, plus a defensive center in JaVale McGee, it makes sense that they make a move for a third point guard that has more to give them on the offensive end
Latvian Laser Heads To Luka Land
The Wizards will send Davis Bertans in deal too, source tells ESPN. Mavericks send a second-round pick to Wizards. https://t.co/RJdybUd0Lw— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 10, 2022
The rare, but appreciated “replace one Latvian tall shooter for another” trade has landed with Washington and Dallas.
My immediate reaction is that anything that gets the Mavs off of Kristaps Porzingis is a great move. Porzingis has a love affair with the injury report, and Dallas understandably wants out of that love triangle.
The Mavs in return receive a high-upside secondary ball-handler in Spencer Dinwiddie and Porzingis’s fellow Latvian Davis Bertans. Both have been pretty poor in Washington this year, but neither were good fits there.
Dinwiddie was fantastic playing next to an unselfish superstar in Brooklyn with Irving. He is a very capable playmaker with size (6-foot-5, 215 pounds) that gives the Mavericks some Jalen Brunson insurance in case they want to sign-and-trade him in a deal this summer.
As for Bertans, he was paid a pretty hefty contract in the summer of 2020 — five years, $80 million. He has four seasons left including this one and will really struggle to live up to that value if he cannot return to form as a 40% career 3-point shooter. Bertans is shooting a career-low 31.9% from 3 after shooting 39.9%, 37.3%, 42.9%, 42.4%, and 39.5% in his first five seasons, respectively. If he can get back to that form, this is a home run for the Mavericks.
Washington is trying to add talent around Beal while also tanking pretty aggressively here down the stretch of the season. If I’m Beal, I’m getting my money this summer and requesting out soon after. Porzingis is not the type of player that would excite me or make me want to stick around. This move fits the bill of tanking now that Beal is out for the season, but potentially being stuck with Porzingis (and the three years and ~$103.5 million left on his ridiculous contract).
C’s Get Another C
Houston gets Enes Freedom and Bruno Fernando in the deal too, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 10, 2022
This couldn’t be more on-brand for the Boston Celtics. Bringing back a former player when it doesn’t really make a ton of sense is always a fun idea. I have no idea what Schroder does for the Rockets, or what Theis will bring as another big man. I’d expect Schroder is going to get bought out and head to the Lakers (which would be hilarious, by the way).
The Celtics are now without a true lead playmaking guard. Marcus Smart is not a true point guard, but is a decent option for now. White helps, but he’s not a point guard. Lastly, Payton Pritchard is one of my favorite college players of all-time and is an elite shooter, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to be the lead guard on a team expected to want to make a run in the Eastern Conference.
On the bright side, Brad Stevens was able to set Enes Free(dom) and get rid of a player who undoubtedly caused some locker room issues. Freedom will be waived by the Rockets, which could signal the end of his NBA career in the interim, and the launch of his right-wing media career instead.
A very weird trade all the way around that I don’t really like for the Celtics.
Timberwolves Stand Pat
No deals for the Timberwolves.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) February 10, 2022
Adding physicality and rebounding by trading 2nd round picks was at the top of the list of wants/needs -- but not at the price of significantly shifting team chemistry, sources say.
Look for a big to potentially be added in the buyout market.
As Dane confirmed shortly after the deadline expired, the Timberwolves chose to lean into “chemistry” instead of “activity.” In the end, Sachin Gupta ultimately felt that no deal was truly worth making, and now Minnesota will focus on the guys who got them to this point, in addition to closely monitoring the buyout market for a potential third center.
The Wolves are ~$825k below the luxury tax. A minimum contract is $1,669,178.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) February 10, 2022
But signing a free agent, in the buyout market or otherwise, would be pro-rated for the remainder of the season. So yes, the Wolves can sign a free agent for the rest of the season + stay below the tax https://t.co/E7RAOxcszR
As Dane also points out — with player salaries being prorated, the Wolves can indeed sign a free agent for the rest of the season without going into the vaunted luxury tax. Minnesota does currently have an open roster spot, so I’d expect them to aggressively try to snag someone who gets let go prior to the March 2nd deadline.
A sincere thank you to my guy Jack Borman for helping me break down all of these deadline deals in real time. The Timberwolves will spend the rest of the day traveling from Sacramento to Chicago as they prepare for their Friday matchup against the Bulls, and then head to Indiana for the final game of their four-game road trip. After that, it’s two home games against the Hornets and Raptors before a well-deserved (for not only the players but us as well) week-long All-Star break.