Every year right before the All-Star Break, the league is often shifted through trades made before the deadline. Teams on the verge of competing for a title will cash in on their assets to put them over the top, while teams trending away from the playoffs are committing to retooling. This trade deadline saw a handful of interesting deals involving some of the league’s top teams, as well as some of the teams already looking towards next season. These five trades are going to end up being some of the most impactful trades, and some will be looked back on as a little more head-scratching.
The Timberwolves deal Andrew Wiggins and 2021 1st Rounder (Top-3 protected) and 2021 2nd Rounder to Golden State for D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman
It was bound to happen at some point. It was no secret that Karl Anthony-Towns has wanted to play with his friend D’Angelo Russell for a while now. With Towns making it clear that he was upset with the Wolves and their recent struggles, it only makes sense that the Wolves would make a big move with the intention of making Towns happy. Now, I don’t think that this deal is going to prove to be monumental in the short term, but I feel the underlying message behind this deal is going to prove to come full circle in the long term.
When Devin Booker’s contract runs out in Phoenix, who knows where he will end up. The Suns haven’t been able to win with Booker yet, and he could become impatient sooner than later now with his two best friends playing together in Minnesota. For Minnesota, they could be looking back at this deal in four years and be smiling for miles, while Golden State is taking a shot at Wiggins as their third guy next to Steph and Klay. Wiggins’s career has been all over the place since he was selected 1st overall in 2014. This season Wiggins is averaging 22.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 3.7 APG and started the season very hot, with many analysts focusing on his play early this season.
The Warriors made it very clear that they didn’t have a strong vision with Russell and his future-fit next to Steph and Klay in the backcourt. Many thought that they would give the pairing a shot, but the Warriors decided against it. They now have Andrew Wiggins as a third option for next season, and maybe this organizational change could be what it takes to bring Wiggins overall game to the next level, a spot people expected him to be at by now.
The Pistons start their rebuild and ship Andre Drummond to Cleveland for Brandon Knight, John Henson, and 2023 2nd Rounder
As the trade deadline came closer, it started to become clearer and clearer that Andre Drummond wouldn’t be a member of the Detroit Pistons for the remainder of the season. The Pistons finally pulled the trigger on a deal that shipped Drummond to the Cavs for Brandon Knight, John Henson, and a future second. Many speculated that the Pistons would be able to get a little more in exchange for their star center, but as the phones kept ringing, other GM’s continued to be scared at the thought of investing so much in a traditional big man. Andre Drummond is great at what he does, rebounding and protecting the paint, but outside of that, he is quite limited. This move for the Cavs could definitely help develop their young guards, giving them a true pick and roll force to cut to the basket. Other than that, it’s hard to see what the Cavs are really trying to do. It’s going to be a big decision on whether they invest long-term into Drummond for the future, but it is clear now the Pistons have committed to the rebuild, a move now that isn’t too bad an idea with the potential stacked double draft coming up in 2021.
Three team deal sends Iguodala, Jae Crowder, and Solomon Hill to Miami, with Justice Winslow and Dion Waiters headed to Memphis, James Johnson to Minnesota
When this trade was developing and rumors were getting thrown around, I was all behind the idea of the Heat acquiring Danilo Gallinari and that it would be a deal that made the Heat a possible Eastern Conference champion. They didn’t end up getting Gallo, but they are still happy with Iggy and Jae Crowder, adding depth to their already proven roster. It’s going to give them a legitimate chance to finish as a top-three team in the East, and Pat Riley was able to pry Iguodala away from Memphis. Iggy is sure to have a little left in the tank, but what happened after the deal has some people questioning the deal. The Heat signed Iguodala to a new 2yr/$30mill deal after the trade, a pretty big price for an aging veteran who hasn’t played all season. Regardless, they added two pieces that show the Heat are in win-now mode. For the Grizzlies, they waived Waiters quickly after the trade went through, sending him to the buyout market. In return, they add Justice Winslow, a player who was sort of lost within the Heat’s rotation. He’ll now be added to a young Grizzlies team, and more than likely play the backup point guard role behind Ja Morant, hoping to give Memphis that that second-half push to make the playoffs.
Knicks ship off Marcus Morris to the Clippers in exchange for Moe Harkless, 2020 1st, and 2021 2nd
At first, I thought that this trade was going to cause some issues for the Clippers because of Marcus Morris’s knack of stopping ball movement on offense and taking ill-advised shots at the worst possible times. Since then I have totally turned my position on the trade and I feel that adding this shooter is only going to help the Clippers. Morris has been shooting 43% from three this season and was the best player on the Knicks before he got traded. He will bring the Clippers another perimeter wing that can knock down open threes, and his defensive toughness will help the Clippers in playoff series where they’ll be outsized and overwhelmed in the paint. For the other side of the deal, the Knicks are just trying to move up the draft board, something they are too familiar with recently. Morris was the only reason they were winning certain games, and now they have removed him from their roster while adding some future picks that could potentially help turn their franchise around.
Massive four-team deal lands Clint Capela on the Hawks, Robert Covington on the Rockets
Complete four-team deal:
Rockets get: Robert Covington, Jordan Bell, Hawks 2024 2nd rounder
Hawks get: Clint Capela, Nene (later waived)
Nuggets get: Keita Bates-Diop, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh, Gerald Green (later waived), Rockets 1st rounder
Wolves get: Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt, Evan Turner, Hawks 2020 1st rounder
The two biggest pieces in this deal are Clint Capela and Robert Covington. RoCo ended up in Houston, a team that has fully committed to playing small ball to its extremist measure. The Rockets are 2-2 in games with Covington since the deal, and the 3 and D wing has shot 34% from the three-point line. The Rockets are trying something that is incredibly risky, often having their tallest player on the court only 6,6’. When it comes to the playoffs, the Rockets are going to have to go up against teams with much more size to play with, so even if the Rockets are able to steal a regular-season game against the Lakers this season, it would be incredibly hard for them to win a seven-game series. For the Hawks, they’re officially building around Trae Young and got that defensive rim running center to play next to John Collins. This trade is a tick in the right direction for the Hawks, as their season is pretty much over this year. They’ll be able to add another top-five pick this offseason, and Capela is only 25, which fits the team’s timeline very well.