Winners and Losers of the NBA Trade Deadline

The NBA’s trade deadline has come and gone, and it was an uneventful one to say the least. The biggest name that got moved was Tobias Harris, which isn’t saying much. None of the big names like Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard and Al Horford were even mentioned in trade talks leading up to the 3 pm deadline. But some minor deals went down that could push some teams into the playoffs, and others back to square one.

Winner: Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons were one of the teams projected to buy at the deadline, and buy they did. They didn’t add any huge names but they got some quality options and bench depth from a couple of moves with the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. They got Tobias Harris from the Magic and Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton from the Rockets. Harris is a highly skilled do-it-all forward and Motiejunas and Thornton provide much needed bench depth to Detroit. The Pistons did lose a first round pick, Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilysaova, but those pieces were movable, as Detroit is looking to capitalize on a crowded Eastern Conference to rise in the standings and make a deep playoff run with their young core.

Loser: Memphis Grizzlies

What on earth were the Memphis Grizzlies thinking? They’re fifth in the Western Conference, but seemed to be sellers at the deadline. They moved two integral pieces to their team in Courtney Lee and Jeff Green, and the returns were far from substantial. For Lee, the Grizzlies received a couple of second round picks, Chris Anderson and P.J. Hairston, two players who won’t be contributing in a major way. The Grizzlies managed to get troubled wing Lance Stephenson and a first round pick for Green. The Grizzlies had a roster that needed little tinkering as they were already a serious contender, even in the stacked Western Conference. But instead of adding pieces that may let them challenge Golden State, they have decided to get worse and could fall like a stone in the last two months of the season.

Winner: Markieff Morris

It may seem weird to have a player win free agency, but Markieff Morris certainly did. He finally got his wish of leaving Phoenix after months of requesting trades and publicly saying he’s upset with the franchise ever since they traded his brother, Marcus. He gets out of a horrible situation in the desert and travels to the nations capital to join the Washington Wizards. He gets to play with one of the best in the business in John Wall and provided much needed wing depth to a Washington squad fighting for a spot in the playoffs. It’s a good gamble from Washington because Morris is still young enough that he can develop into a real quality player in the right situation.

Loser: Boston Celtics

It was just an all around disappointing day for Boston. They couldn’t acquire a star for their picks or expiring contracts, even with big names like Al Horford, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin being linked to Beantown. The C’s couldn’t even get somebody to bit the bullet on David Lee’s contract that runs out at the end of this season, although Boston plans on buying out the veteran forward. Getting rid of David Lee is something the Celtics brass has been looking to do for quite some time. And news not even related to the trade deadline, it was announced that Kelly Olynyk suffered a separated right shoulder and would miss a few weeks with the injury. I guess karma is real considering what he did to Kevin Love last year during the playoffs.

Winner: Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors didn’t make any moves, and they didn’t need to. They are the best team in the league by far and are strictly winners because the other contenders. The Cavs made a solid deal for Channing Frye, but is he enough to help them get by Golden State? Highly unlikely. The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired Randy Foye, but he’s shooting a putrid 29% from deep, and just 35% from the field. The San Antonio Spurs didn’t make any moves, per usual, which means Golden State remains the odds on favorite to repeat as champions.

Loser: Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic made a couple of moves yesterday, and like the Grizzlies, didn’t get much in return. They moved Tobias Harris and received Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova. Jennings is a free agent after this season and Ilyasova essentially replaces the other player they traded, Channing Frye. For Frye, a valuable stretch four, the Magic only received Jared Cunningham, who was only seeing nine minutes per game and a second round draft choice. The Magic still have a young core, but Tobias Harris was the best player on that team and the best player moved yesterday, and the fact that the Magic couldn’t get anything too significant in return reflects badly on them.


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