It’s safe to say the 2017 NBA offseason has been the most wild in years. We thought 2010 was insane when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Boshed joined the Miami Heat to form a superteam. But things have been on another level in 2018, with a handful of elite superstars and stud role players exchanging uniforms.
Obviously, the NBA world was stunned to see the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers engage on a Kyrie Irving trade, as the long-time Eastern Conference rivals have duked it out for NBA supremacy. On another note, Chris Paul, Paul George and Jimmy Butler also exchanged uniforms.
We also saw a number of teams package draft picks with expensive contracts, trying to clear salary cap space for the future. Other teams swapped draft picks. All in all, it has been one of the most epic summers for the NBA and its fans.
With that taken into account, let’s take a look at the 15 big trades, with grades for every team involved in the deals.
15. Mavericks Pick Up Josh McRoberts
Josh McRoberts has struggled to make a name for himself in the NBA since being drafted 37th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007. He’s played for six different teams in his career thus far, and has only averaged 5.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. The Dallas Mavericks are taking a chance on McRoberts, sending over a 2023 second round pick and A.J. Hammons to the Miami Heat in return.
This is far from an impact trade on both sides. It’s just a swapping of two bench players who have yet to produce much in the NBA. Hammons just completed his first season as a professional, averaging just 2.2 points per game. There isn’t much to like nor dislike about this trade for either side.
Grade for Dallas: D
14. Rockets Make Plenty of Depth Moves
We will soon touch base on the giant deal the Houston Rockets made for some guy named Chris Paul. But the Rockets were this offseason’s busiest team in other ways, by making a handful of trades for depth players.
They added DeAndre Liggins from the Dallas Mavericks, Darrun Hilliard from the Detroit Pistons, Tim Quarterman from the Portland Trail Blazers, Ryan Kelly from the Atlanta Hawks and Shawn Long from the Philadelphia 76ers.
Liggins and Hilliard were packaged in a trade for Paul. Kelly was waived by Houston. Long and Quarterman are bench players for the Rockets. None of these trades really bring much of an impact for any team. As such, it’s hard to give a good great to the Rockets nor any of the teams that traded with them.
Grade for Houston: C
13. Allen Crabbe Heads to Brooklyn
Allen Crabbe was drafted with the 31st pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013, but the 6-foot-6 shooting guard was immediately traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. Crabbe’s career got off to a slow start, but he’s averaged over 10 points per game over the last two seasons. He’s also shot a whopping .411 from three-point range in his career thus far — including .444 last season.
Nonetheless, the Trail Blazers opted to send him to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for power forward Andrew Nicholson. Crabbe, a 25-year-old, will be a nice piece for the Nets as they continue this long rebuilding process.
As for Portland, this trade doesn’t make any sense. Crabbe was a nice role player for Damian Lillard. Nicholson has only averaged six points per game in his career, and is going to be nothing more than a bench player.
Grade for Brooklyn: B
12. Jazz Acquire Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio was a solid point guard on the rebuilding Minnesota Timberwolves, averaging 10.3 points and 8.5 assists per game in his first six NBA seasons there. However, the Timberwolves knew they needed cap space to re-sign Andrew Wiggins to the max. After also trading for superstar Jimmy Butler, it was clear that Rubio wasn’t needed in Minnesota any longer.
So the Timberwolves decided to ship Rubio to the Utah Jazz in exchange for a first round pick in 2018. Rubio will become the leader of a Jazz team that lost star Gordon Hayward and standout George Hill in free agency. Minnesota simply didn’t need Rubio, and he heads to a team where he will lead the offence.
Good on Utah to find a new starting point guard. Even better for Minnesota to clear out salary and make room on their crowded depth chart.
Grade for Minnesota: C+
11. Lakers Ship out Timofey Mozgov and D’Angelo Russell to Nets
For some reason, the Los Angeles Lakers thought it was worth signing 2016 NBA champion Timofey Mozgov to an albatross four-year contract worth $64 million. Mozgov had averaged just 6.3 points per game the season before, and he unsurprisingly failed to deliver in his first season with the Lakers.
In a desperate move to get rid of his contract, the Lakers sent Mozgov and promising 21-year-old point guard D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for a 2017 first round pick, Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma.
The Nets take on Mozgov’s bad contract, but get a promising youngster in Russell. The Lakers clear salary and had no need for Russell, considering they drafted Lonzo Ball with the top pick. The Nets get a good young player, but the Lakers now have salary to chase Paul George and/or LeBron James in 2018. Right?
Grade for Brooklyn: A
10. Raptors Ship DeMarre Carroll and First Rounder to Nets
Looking to build a team that could make a run in the postseason, the Toronto Raptors gave DeMarre Carroll a four-year contract worth $60 million in the summer of 2015. Carroll was coming off a career year with the Atlanta Hawks in which he posted 12.6 points per game.
But Carroll didn’t quite gel in Toronto, struggling to stay healthy (he only played 26 games in 2015-16), and didn’t fit the team’s system. The Raptors desperately needed cap space to re-sign Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, so they dealt Carroll and 2018 first and second round selections to the Brooklyn Nets. They were just content on getting rid of Carroll’s albatross contract.
In return, Toronto got Justin Hamilton — a seven foot centre who should provide solid depth behind Jonas Valanciunas. The Nets add more draft picks to help their rebuild, and the Raptors cut significant salary. A win-win for both sides.
Grade for Brooklyn: A
9. Raptors Swap Cory Joseph For C.J. Miles
Though the “big three” of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka is a formidable one, the Toronto Raptors still needed a strong role player. More specifically, a strong three-point shooter. They only host .363 from beyond the arc, according to ESPN.com.
So the Raptors pulled off a sign-and-trade deal with the Indiana Pacers. Toronto traded depth point guard and good Canadian boy Cory Joseph in exchange for C.J. Miles — who then signed a three-year deal worth $25 million.
Miles is among the NBA’s top three-point shooters, having shot a ridiculous .413 from downtown last season. The Raptors now have a sniper from long range to work with. As for the Pacers, they get a younger point guard to help them rebuild.
Grade for Indiana: B
8. Hawks Send Dwight Howard to Charlotte
The Atlanta Hawks took a chance on Dwight Howard last year, signing the eight-time All-Star to a three-year deal worth $70 million. A perennial playoff team in the Eastern Conference, Atlanta had simply hoped that Howard would be the final piece in their quest to finally unseat LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.
Howard was a disappointment, averaging just 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. The salary was too much. And with Paul Millsap bolting for Denver, Atlanta had to move out Howard to begin a rebuild. He was sent to the Charlotte Hornets and a 2017 second round pick for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and a 2017 second round pick.
With Kemba Walker having a new weapon on his side, the Hornets should return to the playoffs after a disappointing 2017 season. Belinelli is capable of scoring double-digit points per game, while Plumlee simply fills out Atlanta’s bench. But the point here was for Atlanta to clear salary. Mission accomplished.
Grade for Atlanta: B
7. Celtics Swap Avery Bradley for Marcus Morris
The Boston Celtics had to clear cap space to make room for free agent newcomer Gordon Hayward, so they shipped away shooting guard Avery Bradley and a second round pick in exchange for Marcus Morris of the Detroit Pistons.
Bradley was a key role player in Brad Stevens’ system, averaging 6.1 rebounds per game last season. Bradley also averaged a career best 16.3 points in 2016-17, and is among the top three-point shooters in the game (a .366 shooting percentage).
Morris adds depth to the front of Boston’s court. He’s averaged 14.1 and 14 points per game over the last two seasons, but he doesn’t come with as much upside as Bradley. But again, Boston had to make this move to add Hayward. It was necessary, even if Detroit got the better player.
Grade for Boston: C
6. 76ers Trade Up, Select Markelle Fultz
The Philadelphia 76ers had their eyes set on Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, the top prospect in the NBA Draft. The only problem? They held the third selection, and they had to jump ahead of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in order to select Fultz.
The Celtics were willing to lend a helping hand, sending the first overall pick to Philadelphia in exchange for the third pick and a 2018 or 2019 first round pick. The 76ers then selected Fultz, who will spearhead a stacked 76ers future team that includes Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric.
As for the Celtics, they now have Kyrie Irving at point guard. They didn’t need to use the pick on Fultz or Lonzo Ball. They wound up getting their man Jayson Tatum at No. 3, while securing a future first round pick. A big win for both sides.
Grade for Boston: A
5. Clippers Acquire Danilo Gallinari
After dealing Chris Paul away to the Houston Rockets, the Clippers had to find a suitable scoring replacement — especially after extending Blake Griffin for the maximum. So they made a deal with the Denver Nuggets, landing 6-foot-10 Italian forward Danilo Gallinari in a three-team trade.
Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone and the Clippers’ 2018 first rounder went to Atlanta, and the Nuggets got the Hawks’ 2019 second round selection. So now the Clippers have a formidable trio of Griffin, Gallinari and defensive standout, DeAndre Jordan.
Gallinari is one of the NBA’s most underrated scorers. He’s averaged 15.3 points per game, having posted 19.5 and 18.2 over the last two seasons. Though not quite as gifted as Paul, Gallinari is a cheap option and helps the Clippers form one of the league’s top front courts.
As for the Hawks, they get a nice role player in Crawford and another draft pick during this rebuild. And to put it nicely for Denver? Not really sure what they were thinking. At least they got Paul Millsap.
Grade for Atlanta: B+
Grade for Denver: D
4. Paul George Hears the Thunder
Russell Westbrook may have won the MVP after his insane triple-double-filled season, but it was quite clear that he needed another superstar following Kevin Durant’s departure. So the Thunder made a blockbuster deal, trading for Indiana Pacers franchise face Paul George. In return, the Thunder dealt Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
George reportedly told the Indiana Pacers he was planning to leave after the 2017-18 season, leaving the front office no choice but to get something for him. In OKC, George — one of the game’s elite two-way players — will have a field time playing with the reigning MVP. Though these two aren’t exactly enough to take down the Warriors, they’re still gonna be a much tougher team to play against.
As for the Pacers? They got robbed in this deal. It would have made more sense to wait until the 2018 trade deadline, when teams would willingly be more aggressive to pony up more assets for George. They simply panicked and seemed to take the first offer for George.
Grade for Indiana: F
3. Timberwolves Grab Jimmy Butler
The Minnesota Timberwolves were already building up for an extremely bright future, with the dynamic duo of the ”95 kids — Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. With one of the game’s top head coaches in defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau, the T-Wolves figured to soon be contenders.
But they didn’t want to wait any longer, so they decided to go all-in for 2018. At the 2018 NBA Draft, Minnesota landed Chicago Bulls ultra star Jimmy Butler and 2017 first rounder Justin Patton in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and 7th overall pick, Lauri Markkanen.
Minnesota now forms a giant big three of Towns, Wiggins and now Butler — who gets to be reunited with old coach Thibodeau. Butler’s coming off a career year that saw him score 23.9 points, 5.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game. The T-Wolves are going to be winning a lot in the long-term.
As for the Bulls? It was the time to rebuild, as fans had been clamoring for. LaVine is a nice piece to work around, but they probably could have gotten a bigger package if they waited patiently for the right offer.
Grade for Chicago: C-
2. Rockets Land Chris Paul
The Houston Rockets were the third-best team in the Western Conference in 2017, thanks to the dazzling one-man show of James Harden. It was clear the Rockets needed a new superstar if they had championship aspirations, and the Los Angeles Clippers were willing to oblige.
So the Rockets made a giant move, adding nine-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the retooling Clippers. In return, Houston sent away a bunch of players: Sam Dekker, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Kyle Wiltjer, Montrezl Harrell, a first round pick and cash.
Paul and Harden are two perennial MVP candidates, among the top scorers in the game. This will make Houston a major force in the West, and certainly a team that may be capable of stopping the Warriors empire.
As for the Clippers? Paul was going to leave regardless — we all knew that at the start of the season. At least they got something for him, but they’re undoubtedly a worse team with Paul.
Grade for Houston: A+
1. Cavaliers, Celtics Swap Star Point Guards
In what was one of the biggest bombshell trades in NBA history, two Eastern Conference rivals that constantly battle each other for supremacy decided to do business. The Cleveland Cavaliers shipped disgruntled star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. Irving had requested a trade last month, wanting to be more of the “focal point” on a team, instead of LeBron James’ sidekick.
In return, the Cavaliers received fellow star point guard Isaiah Thomas, defensive stalwart Jae Crowder, 2016 first round pick Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets first round pick in 2018 — which will surely be a top-five selection.
Celtics GM Danny Ainge had to pay a huge price for Irving, but it’s not often where a 25-year-old superstar is available. On the flip side, the Cavaliers add even more pieces to convince LeBron they have a contender in place for a while. That was huge, because now he may reject the temptation to head to the Western Conference now.
Still, Boston enters next season without four of their top seven scorers. Losing Crowder hurts their already soft defence, and it’s always a risk dealing a top pick. As for Cleveland, they now have a team better constructed to take down the Golden State Warriors.
Grade for Boston: C+
Grade for Cleveland: A+
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