The NBA trade deadline always has the potential for exciting deals that can have an impact all over the league and there was no shortage this season. Here are some takeaways following this year’s deadline.
Depreciation of the Big Man
Some of the trade deadline moves illustrated just how much the center position has devalued. Detroit traded Andre Drummond, who’s on pace to lead the league in rebounding for the third straight year to Cleveland. In return, the Cavs sent out Brandon Knight and John Henson who average a combined 10 points off the bench this season as well as a second-round pick. For a player with Drummond’s resume, essentially only getting a second-round pick feels like a steal. Detroit deciding to rebuild without Drummond means they were never going to pay him whatever ridiculous salary he demanded and decided getting literally any value possible in return for him would be better than nothing.
The NBA has been heading towards smaller line-ups for years now, with wings who can shoot and defend being of much higher value than big men in the modern game. Houston decided to take a leap of faith and go completely small by trading Clint Capela to the Hawks, where he’ll be utilized more effectively with Trae Young feeding him. Houston got more value for their big man than Detroit did, Robert Covington was a highly sought-after player at the deadline and should be a nice fit in Houston. However, the deal leaves Houston with Tyson Chandler as their lone center, who has played less than nine minutes per game this season. The Rockets are going all in on small ball with what could be their last attempt at a title run.
The Right Fit
The trade between Golden State and Minnesota felt like a positive for both sides. Minnesota was never going anywhere with the Towns-Wiggins combo and desperately needed a change. A few major things happened for Minnesota with this move, getting rid of the Wiggins contract and frankly, his reputation was huge. Uniting Karl Anthony-Towns with his good friend D’Angelo Russell will not only improve the team’s morale, but it will also be a better fit for all players involved. Russell was at best a questionable fit with the Warriors when they were fully healthy, with the Timberwolves he will be the primary ball-handler and the second star along with Towns. Both Towns and Russell have been outspoken in the past about their desire to play together and now that they get the chance to show why.
For Golden State, Andrew Wiggins is at least in theory the type of player they need when their stars return: A lanky forward who can score and defend other wings at a high level. The Warriors system is more suited for Wiggins skill set than Minnesota’s, ideally, he’ll get more cuts to the basket and open threes due to the Warriors spacing. Whether he turns out to be that player or not will be on him. The question on Wiggins has often been about his motor and dedication to the game but playing in a toxic environment in Minnesota likely didn’t help his development. The Warriors are hoping their winning culture and cast of veteran players will force Wiggins to take the next step we’ve all been waiting to see from him as the former number one overall pick. Worst case scenario, Golden State packages him with Minnesota’s first-round pick also acquired in the deal and try again.
One Last Move
Miami displayed their intentions to contend this season when they traded for Andre Iguodala. The team has surprised some this season, currently sitting comfortably at the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference and decided to make one last move for a title push. Iguodala was one of the most discussed players leading up to the trade deadline as a veteran wing who could help a contender. There is a question of whether Iguodala can be the same player in his 16th season but his leadership and experience will likely be his biggest contribution for the Heat. The acquisition of Iguodala, as well as Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill, also gives Miami a bit more shooting and defensive versatility that the Heat love to utilize.
The Clippers acquiring Marcus Morris was another big deal at the deadline. Giving up Moe Harkless and a First Round Pick doesn’t seem like much risk for the Clippers. Morris was averaging career highs of 19.6 points per game on around 44% from three in a big role on the Knicks this season. Because he can be a ball stopper at times, on a team that struggles with offensive movement Morris will need to bring more grit while trying to maintain his efficiency, if he is to make as big of an impact as he is expected to. Given his talent, however, the Clippers wanted to make sure he didn’t end up across the hall for the Lakers. This move was all part of the arms race going on between the Los Angeles teams, and the Clippers are glad to have won the battle for Morris.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com
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