NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

Noah Camras, Sports Editor

The NBA Trade Deadline did not disappoint. After the Clippers traded star Blake Griffin to the Pistons a week before the deadline, NBA fans feared the deadline itself would be quiet. The Cavaliers had others plans. The Cavs struck deals with the Lakers, the Jazz, the Kings, and the Heat, revamping their roster and giving up on their offseason acquisitions. The deadline was a chance for bad teams to sell and good teams to make a push for the playoffs. Below are two winners and one loser of the trade deadline.

Winner: Cleveland Cavaliers

Going into the trade deadline, the Cavs were the third seed in the East. Normally, top teams in the NBA don’t switch up their teams too much at the deadline. However, the Cavs were struggling, and General Manager Koby Altman felt that the team did not have enough firepower to win an NBA title, or even make it back to the NBA Finals.

The past offseason, the Cavs made a myriad of moves to try to get back to the finals and avenge their loss to the Warriors. They traded away star Point Guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, receiving star PG Isaiah Thomas, SF Jae Crowder, C Ante Zizic, and a first round pick. The Cavs also signed veteran PG Derrick Rose and veteran SG Dwayne Wade, hoping they could each return to their all star forms. However, Cleveland’s moves did not work out, and the Cavs were struggling to win.

The morning of the trade deadline, Altman tried to undo the mistakes of the offseason. They first acquired Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Lakers, in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, veteran Channing Frye, and the Cavs 2018 first round pick. Then, the Cavs, Jazz, and Kings took part in a three-team trade, where the Cavs received veteran George Hill, and young Rodney Hood, and gave up Rose, Crowder, Iman Shumpert, and a second round pick. The Cavs then traded Wade back to the Heat, for a second round pick.

Overall, the trade deadline was a time for the Cavaliers to revamp their roster. They got younger, and traded away players who did not fit with their team. They set themselves up to make a run back to the finals.

Loser: Memphis Grizzlies

The week leading up to the deadline, the Grizzlies did not play Tyreke Evans. They did not want to risk an injury, as they were planning on trading him. Evans was having a great season for the Grizzlies, and there was talk that the Grizzlies could receive a first round pick for him. The Grizzlies were in a spot where losing is the best option, as they would receive a better draft pick. Trading Evans for another young piece would have been a perfect move. However, the deadline passed, and Evans was not traded. The Grizzlies, who are not going to make the playoffs, are now stuck with a veteran who is only worsening their chances at a better draft pick.

Winner: Los Angeles Lakers

There was a lot of talk surrounding the Lakers leading up to the trade deadline. First, people thought they would try to trade away players such as Clarkson, Nance, and Randle, in order to open up cap space to sign two stars next offseason. Then, President Magic Johnson came out and publicly said the Lakers were focusing on the 2019 offseason, and not 2018 offseason. So, people then believed the Lakers were not going to make any moves. However, the morning of the deadline, as aforementioned, the Lakers acquired former star Isaiah Thomas, and opened up close to $70 million in the upcoming offseason.

The Lakers, who as of Sunday are only six games back of the eighth seed in the playoffs, have now opened up the possibility of them sneaking into the playoffs. Also, they set themselves up for a great offseason, where they could possibly sign stars Paul George and maybe even lure Lebron James out of Cleveland. The future is bright for the Lakers.

Other winners of the trade deadline could include the Pistons, who made the huge move for Blaker Griffin, and the Bulls, who shipped off Mirotic and set themselves up to get a better draft pick. Other losers of the deadline could include the Celtics for not making a move (while the Cavs got better) and the Clippers for not trading away Deandre Jordan and fully committing to a rebuild.

I asked some people who they believed were the biggest winners and biggest losers of the trade deadline.

Sophomore Dylan Esulin, a huge Miami Heat fan, said that the Heat were the biggest winner of the deadline. They “got their legend back, Dwayne Wade,” and gave up only a second round pick to do so. Wade played with the Heat for the first 13 seasons of his career, and is now back in South Beach to close out his career.

Senior Jacob Rudner said that the biggest loser of the deadline was the New Orleans Pelicans, because they traded a first round pick for Nikola Mirotic, who “will not be good enough to be worth a first round pick.” Also, he said, the Pelicans “aren’t winning the championship” and should not have traded away their first round pick.

Junior Aaron Heisen took a different route from the others, saying the biggest winner was the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have been a dynasty in the NBA, and although they did not make any moves at the deadline, “no team in the East added a sufficient amount of skill to contend with the Warriors.”

The deadline was a huge splash in the NBA, and as the season reaches the home stretch, let’s see which deadline moves will become the biggest difference makers.