Now that the highly anticipated 2016 NBA trade deadline has passed, we will take a look at who won the deadline, and the losers of this deadline. Even without a blockbuster trade, many teams made improvements, while others struck out.
Detroit Pistons: The Detroit Pistons added quite a few additions to make them a dangerous playoff team. The addition of Tobias Harris will give them a poor man’s Carmelo Anthony, and a good frontcourt partner for Andre Drummond. Only giving up Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova makes this a steal for a franchise on the rise. Detroit was not finished as they were able to acquire a young big in Donatas Motiejunas, and veteran sniper, Marcus Thornton. Detroit did trade away a 2016 first round pick, but these additions should help make that pick a late first rounder, which would not have helped this squad for awhile. Detroit used the deadline to improve themselves now, and for the future.
Golden State Warriors: All Golden State had to do this deadline was sit back and watch the hyped free for all. There was no fire sales in the league, and many of Golden State’s top competition. Oklahoma City, Cleveland, and San Antonio, did little to nothing to improve their chances of knocking them off in the playoffs. Golden State will not have this luxury this offseason when they need to start wheeling and dealing to work with the salary cap. For now though, Golden State kept their composure, and are now set for a run at another championship.
Phoenix Suns: Although I thought Phoenix should have done something with the Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe combination with the emergence of Devin Booker, they were still able to trade Markieff Morris. Even better than trading the disgruntled forward, Phoenix got a first round pick for this move, which most people laughed at this perspective when they made this demand public. Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair are also better contracts for this franchise to manage. Blair with a team option this summer will likely be waived, while Humphries has another $4.6 million left on his contract for next season. Although only a baby step, Phoenix is starting to mold their roster for a better future.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Cleveland was able to unload the contract of Anderson Varejao to the Portland Trail Blazers in a three team deal, which netted them Channing Frye. Cleveland is in a win now mode, so the first round pick they sent to Portland to absorb the salary will not be regretted for now. Frye is a decent backup caliber player, but he is not a difference maker needed to knock off the Golden State Warriors. Although New Orleans seemed adamant about trading Ryan Anderson, Cleveland should have pursued this route harder, as he has the talent to make a difference for the bench, or start if Kevin Love gets hurt again. With LeBron not getting any younger, Cleveland seemed to fail him once again this trade deadline.
Houston Rockets: Houston tried everything in their power to trade Dwight Howard, but no one wanted to take the risk on the cancerous player. I know Howard is extremely arrogant, but with no one taking a chance on him should make him look in the mirror and change if he wants to land another max contract this summer when he decides to opt out. Houston was also not able to work a deal to trade Ty Lawson, who has been a complete bust for the franchise. Houston has no plans of reaching a buyout with Lawson, so expect him to be shopped again this summer. As an overall, Houston kept the talent to middle around in the middle of the league talent wise, and are just wasting their time avoiding the rebuild which needs to take place.
Chicago Bulls: The Chicago Bulls do not have the right pieces to run Fred Hoiberg’s system, yet they were reluctant to trade their only assets in Gasol and Gibson. With Jimmy Butler sidelined for a couple weeks, and the rest of the conference adding more talent, Chicago has a good chance of missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time. Pau Gasol is likely to leave this summer for a better contender, while Gibson has never developed into anything worth management’s obsession with him. Chicago was able to trade Kirk Hinrich for Justin Holiday and a second round pick. I know Holiday is not a big name player, but I am surprised Chicago was able to get this much for the struggling veteran. Even though Chicago failed their fan base again, with Gasol and Noah’s contracts expiring this summer, Chicago will have the cap space to target a difference maker to make their rebuild a bit faster.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17