The NBA trade deadline is a time when a team either is a buyer or a seller. A buyer is a team that is ramping up for the playoffs and is trying to improve the roster so that they can be competitive to advance in the playoffs. A seller is a team that has assumed that their season is essentially over. Sellers normally do not view their team as a playoff team and would like to retain future assets to help their franchise in the long run.
Every trade deadline has winners and losers, and some years there are more monumental moves made than others and most of the time a lot of rumored moves are overhyped and never happen. A winner at the deadline strengthens their roster or gets great value that they can use in the future through draft picks. A loser at the deadline makes a move that is very questionable and this can come in the form of giving up too much to acquire something or just not making any moves at all when their teams in desperate need of more players. The 2017 NBA trade deadline has come and gone and it's now time to assess who are the winners and losers. The ones who are now in a position to contend and which teams or players are absolutely screwed.
15 Better: New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans seemingly pulled off a coup when they acquired DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for a 2017 first round pick, 2017 second round pick, Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, and Langston Galloway. The Pelicans did not have to give up a whole lot for arguably the best big man in the NBA, and they now sport the most formidable front court tandem in basketball with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The Pelicans just resigned Anthony Davis to a long term deal recently.
Cousins is not set to be a free agent until after the 2017-18 NBA season, and the Pelicans now have the opportunity to see if the Davis and Cousins duo is a fit on the court for the rest of the current season and all of next season before they invest big time money into Boogie Cousins.
14 Screwed: DeMarcus Cousins' Bank Account
DeMarcus Cousins could very well turn out to be a winner if the New Orleans Pelicans achieve a lot of success on the court the rest of this season and next season. There is no denying that Cousins loved the people of Sacramento despite it being a franchise that was in constant turmoil, and his tearful farewell address was evidence of this. Those tears may be a result of him missing out on around $30 million more he could have made if he re-signed with the Kings this summer.
The Kings could have offered Cousins a long term super max deal which can only be given out to players in which the team drafted. The Kings could offer Cousins over $200 million to re-sign, and the Pelicans can only offer him $180 million making Cousins' wallet a lot lighter than it could’ve been.
13 Better: Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers are not even involved in the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans' big Cousins trade and still managed to come out as winners. Sam Hinkie received a lot of criticism while he was the general manager of the 76ers, but his trade with the Kings in the summer of 2015 looks to be a stroke of genius now. The Sixers traded away the rights to Artūras Gudaitis and Luka Mitrović, and, in return, received an unprotected 2019 first round pick, Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and the right to swap first-round selections in the 2016 and 2017 drafts.
The Sixers gave away two players who will probably never play in the NBA, and in return they can still execute the pick swap with the Kings for the 2017 NBA draft and they get the Kings' 2019 first round draft pick which could potential be the number one pick. They also managed to move two upcoming free agents in Ersan Ilyasova and Nerlens Noel.
12 Screwed: Sacramento Kings
Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac admitted that he had been offered a better deal in exchange for DeMarcus Cousins when he stated “I had a better deal two days ago. Talk to those agents. I don’t want to go into details. I don’t want to discuss the process. It was a big process for us. This was the best time and the best offer we could get [at] this particular time.” The Kings did not seem to get much in return for an elite player such as Cousins who is averaging 27 points and 11 rebounds per game.
The Kings also will not have their 2019 first round pick due to a trade they made with the Philadelphia 76ers back in 2015. The Kings need to have a flawless 2017 NBA draft, and the team's recent draft history points to that being near impossible.
11 Better: Lou Williams
Lou Williams has always been a dynamic player off the bench for every team he has ever played for. The Lakers gave Williams a nice contract for three years, $21 million during the 2015 NBA offseason, and he has outperformed his contract since arriving in Los Angles after winning the Sixth man of the Year award with the Toronto Raptors during the 2014-15 NBA season. Despite Williams having success on the court by averaging over 18 points a game off the bench the team has not been able to rack up many wins. A couple of days before the trade deadline the Lakers sent Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and a first round pick, and this gives the not so young Williams a chance to win an NBA title with an above average Houston Rockets team.
10 Screwed: Orlando Magic
The Magic traded away their 11th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft in Domantas Sabonis and their star player Victor Oladipo to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Serge Ibaka. Serge Ibaka is a stud defensively and can stretch the floor with his long range jump shot, but the Magic have already decided to give up on Ibaka eight months after acquiring him. The Magic just recently traded Ibaka to the Toronto Raptors for Terrence Ross and a first round pick. In reality the Magic gave up Sabonis, Oladipo, and Ibaka for the little return they got back from the Raptors. It is now apparent that the Magic will not be good for a while, and the team no longer has any star players on it.
9 Better: Toronto Raptors
The Raptors were not playing their best basketball leading up to the all-star break, but they have bolstered their frontcourt by acquiring Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic. The Raptors only had to give up minimally used Terrence Ross and what should be a late first round pick to acquire Ibaka’s services, and now have their sights on dethroning the Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason. Ibaka can play inside and outside making him versatile on offense. His prowess and great athleticism have made him one of the best defensive big men in basketball, and everyone knows that defense plays a major part in being successful in the postseason. The Raptors have the offensive fire power with DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and now they have more help on the defensive end with Ibaka in the mix.
8 Screwed: Jahlil Okafor
The Philadelphia 76ers surprisingly traded away Nerlens Noel before the trade deadline. What made this deal so surprising is the fact that Jahlil Okafor had been rumored to be moved for weeks beforehand, and now he is stuck in a difficult situation. Okafor was the third overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. He had an impressive rookie year where he averaged 17 points and seven rebounds a game, but with Joel Embiid in the mix he has been relegated to the bench.
It is apparent that Okafor is an NBA starter. After not being traded he is stuck on the bench, and may have to play out his contract if he is not moved. The Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans, and Boston Celtics all showed interest in the young man out of Duke, but the 76ers wouldn’t budge.
7 Better: Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards had one of the worst scoring benches in the NBA, so they looked to the Brooklyn Nets to try and solve their bench woes. Bojan Bogdanovic was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets along with Chris McCullough in exchange for a lottery-protected 2017 first-round pick, Marcus Thornton and Andrew Nicholson. The Wizards were well on their way to being one of the top teams in the east after winning 19 of 21 games before the All Star break. The Wizards now have a much needed scoring and three point threat off the bench in Bogdanovic, and his career averages of 11 points per game and a 36 percent three point clip will be helpful as the Wizards try and move up the Eastern Conference.
6 Screwed: Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are in a unique situation where they are good right now and have a lot of assets through the draft. They are in second place in the Eastern Conference right now and are perhaps one star player away from being able to dethrone the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics had been rumored to be interested in Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls and Paul George of the Indiana Pacers. The Celtics came away from the NBA trade deadline without making any significant moves, and this was disappointing considering they are so close to being a contender for the NBA championship. With the failure of making a move at this deadline they may have to wait another year until they’re true NBA finals contenders.
5 Better: Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks were able to acquire center Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers, and the only pieces they had to give up were Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut, and a protected first round pick. The Mavericks have not been able to get consistent center play since Tyson Chandler was still on the team over five years ago. This season, Dallas has been depending on Salah Mejri to man the middle, but he has been a below average player for them so far. Andrew Bogut has been injured a large portion of the season. The addition of Noel now gives the Mavericks a bona fide rim protector, and they can now match any offers for Noel when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer.
4 Screwed: Indiana Pacers
Rumors were swirling whether the Indiana Pacers were going to start building around Paul George or begin rebuilding around Myles Turner. Many believe that they would take a course of action on one of the two aforementioned strategies, but the Pacers ended up not doing much of anything at the deadline. The Pacers did not trade away superstar Paul George to collect assets. They also did not acquire more talent to play with Paul George, and this could have a negative impact as to whether or not George re-signs with the team.
Before the deadline the Pacers had 29 wins and 28 losses and did not have the looks of a team that could compete much in the playoffs. The Pacers now go into next summer having to re-sign Paul George to an extension but that may be more difficult than they thought because they didn't surround him with talent at the trade deadline.
3 Better: Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder before the trade deadline were sitting in the seventh seed in the stacked Western Conference. The team has been garnering a lot of headlines due to Russell Westbrook's outstanding season, and that is due to Russell Westbrook averaging a triple double more than two thirds into the season. Westbrook is carrying this team, and the team needed to put more players around Westbrook so they could compete in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Thunder acquired better role players to support Westbrook when they acquired Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott from the Chicago Bulls, and they only had to trade away Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow. Everyone’s going to miss the elaborate handshakes and dances performed by former teammates Russell Westbrook and Cameron Payne, but the Thunder are now better equipped to make a run in the playoffs.
2 Screwed: New York Knicks
The New York Knicks have been experiencing a whirlwind of drama in recent weeks so it is very surprising that they were relatively quiet during the trade deadline. Many people did not think that superstar Carmelo Anthony would be able to be traded. The Knicks seem destined for another season without the postseason, and it would've been wise of Phil Jackson to accumulate draft assets to better position them for the future. Instead of accumulating assets they held on to players such as Derrick Rose who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
The Knicks also could've benefited from moving Kyle O’Quinn and/or Brandon Jennings, and moving these players could have better set themselves up for the 2017 NBA draft.
1 Better: Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers didn't really make any moves that were of great significance. They were able to acquire Tyler Ennis from the Houston Rockets. Their biggest move was moving Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Corey Brewer and a first round pick. The first round pick will likely be near the end of the first round, but it's still an impressive hall for somebody who’s a sixth man of the year candidate in Lou Williams.
The most monumental move made by the Los Angeles Lakers was there shake up in the front office. Jeanie Buss finally decided to pull the plug on her brother Jim Buss. Mitch Kupchak was also fired, and Magic Johnson was brought in to be the new man in charge of player personnel. Magic Johnson has no experience in an NBA front office, but the Lakers are hopeful that Magic can bring them back to competitive state from when he was leading the team in the 1980s to multiple championships.
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