Thursday’s NBA trade deadline was filled with interesting moves from teams around the league. Which teams in the Eastern Conference made the best trades, and who came up short?
Philadelphia made a big splash by acquiring Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers the day before the deadline. Harris gives Philly a fourth All-Star caliber piece to accompany Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid.
While keeping all four players long term may be difficult, this trade gives Philadelphia the best starting five in the East. Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott and James Ennis were acquired at the deadline as well to bolster the team’s lacking bench.
In Harris’ first game as a 76er, he put up 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists, as his team beat the Denver Nuggets.
The team with the best record in the Eastern Conference got even better this week. The Bucks acquired forward Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans, giving them another offensive weapon. Mirotic is averaging 16.7 points and 8.2 assists this season.
While getting a great player in Mirotic, the Bucks did not have to give up much in terms of assets. Mirotic next to Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo could be enough to get Milwaukee to the conference finals at the very least.
In a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto acquired veteran big man Marc Gasol. With Memphis rebuilding, they made Gasol available and the Raptors seized on this opportunity.
Gasol is a great pickup, and can do a little big of everything on the court. This season, he is averaging 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game.
Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard and Gasol are a very formidable trio in the Eastern Conference. The team has other great players like OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam that give them a strong roster overall. Gasol makes them even better.
The outlier team among the winners this deadline, the Magic won’t be contending for a title this season. However, Orlando may have gotten themselves a great pick up in Markelle Fultz.
A change of environment could be a good move to Fultz’s career. The former number one pick is still talented, and there’s no reason he can’t get his career back on track.
Once back from injury, Fultz has a new opportunity and a fresh start in the NBA. However, he will definitely have to fix his jump shot.
The Hornets needed to make a deal happen if they wanted to have a better chance of getting into the playoffs. While they do have many bad contracts that are hard to move, the team didn’t end up getting any deals done. They were rumored to be after Gasol, but Toronto had more assets.
This puts the Hornets in a tough spot moving forward. They did not get better as a team, and this could affect them when the time comes to re-sign Kemba Walker.
Anthony Davis did not get traded before the trade deadline, so this is a good thing for Boston. They will have their chance to make the Pelicans an offer if and when Kyrie Irving re-signs.
The bad news for Boston is that the three other contenders in the Eastern Conference got better besides them. Gasol, Harris and Mirotic all give their respective teams a better chance come playoff time.
While Boston is a deep team, they may regret not adding anyone at the deadline, specifically a good post player.