The NBA trade deadline for season 2019/20 has come and gone and what was expected to be a relatively quiet period didn't quite turn out as relaxing as anticipated.
In: Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks, 2020 2nd round pick (via Los Angeles Lakers)
Out: James Ennis, 2020 2nd round pick (via Dallas), 2021 2nd round pick (via Denver), 2022 2nd round pick (via Toronto), Trey Burke (waived), Jonah Bolden (waived)
Thanks to Saint Hinkie – he died for our sins – the Sixers had enough low end picks to facilitate the Warriors getting out of the luxury tax. The price of 3 late 2nd rounders – all likely to be in the 50’s – is a meagre amount to pay for the bench upgrades they’ve received. Robinson has put up 12.9 points, 4.7 boards and shot an even 40% from deep with the Warriors this season. He should be able to come in and make an immediate impact. Burks will likely slot n further down the depth chart, but his play making and improved shooting gives this team another option. The additions also made Ennis redundant. He was shipped out for a late 2nd round pick, which ties things up in a nice little bow.
The Suns slide out of the playoff race perhaps prevented the notoriously impatient front office from entering the deadline as a buyer. That’s the right decision – Phoenix needs to continue to build from the ground up and keeping their 1st round picks is the best way to do that.
Having said that, have they missed a trick in not exploring options for Aron Baynes or Tyler Johnson? Given there are reports that the Suns are going to waive Johnson, perhaps there just wasn’t a market out there for him. Baynes’ shooting and interior defense would have looked great with any number of contenders, but in particular the Clippers, Celtics and Jazz.
In: Cash considerations
Out: Skal Labissiere
The season has waltzed from one injury catastrophe to another in Portland.
From crisis comes opportunity. De’Anthony Melton has emerged as a legitimate back court rotation piece. Carmelo Anthony has reanimated the corpse that was his NBA career. Skal Labissiere showed signs of being a rotation talent – he wont be that piece in Portland though, with the Blazers shipping him to Atlanta, who appear to be on a mission to obtain all of the centres.
With Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic both expected back from long term injury by early March, Skal was expendable.
Thankfully, GM Neil Olshey didn’t take the team’s Damian Lillard infused hot streak as a sign they were in the playoff race, and kept his powder dry.
In: Jabari Parker, Alex Len
Out: DeWayne Dedmon, 2020 2nd round pick (via Houston), 2021 2nd round pick (via Miami)
Dedmon wanted out practically from the moment the ink dried on his 3 year $40 million contract, signed last off season. The Kings granted his wish, sending him back from whence he came, getting a serviceable backup in Len and an enigma in Parker.
Jabari showed in his stint starting for the suspended John Collins in Atlanta, that he can still produce on offense, putting up 16.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals as a starter. His usual issues have persisted, however: defense and health. Parker’s defensive rating was actually better than his career averages (a huge surprise for this player in this defense) but the eye test showed that for all the speed his hands possess, his legs just don't go east-west since those knee injuries. He's more attentive on defense, but he just not that capable. In addition, he hasn’t played since before Christmas due to a shoulder injury. If he can get healthy, Parker might fit well with Marvin Bagley on offense – which is like being the skinniest kid in fat camp – although that front court would haemorrhage points at the other end.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs just about never trade mid season, and 2020 proved to be no different. So whilst there were calls to cash in on DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay – and perhaps even Patty Mills – it was always highly unlikely.
The off season in San Antonio will be fascinating, however.
General Manager Masai Ujiri was clearly too blinded by the shining baubles emanating from Madison Square Garden to make any trades. Either that, or he was just really happy with his surprising championship contender.
Considering the injuries the Raptors have suffered this season, why wouldn’t they stay the course and see what they have come playoff time? They're playing with house money.
Like the Nets, Utah made their big moves in the off season, adding Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic. They even made an in season trade, upgrading from Dante Exum to Jordan Clarkson.
Short of hoping Mike Conley hits form and finds chemistry with his new teammates, the Jazz had no pressing needs to fill at the deadline.
In: Shabazz Napier, Jerome Robinson
Out: Isaiah Thomas, Jordan McRae
The deadline intrigue with Washington centred around the seemingly league wide chase for Davis Bertans. The Wizards hierarchy had always insisted they were keeping the Latvian, but front offices aren’t always going to keep their word on things like this (see: Russell, D’Angelo).
What the Wiz did do, is get an underrated upgrade at the point in Shabazz Napier – he could start for this team - whilst selling high on McCrae. They’ve also picked up 2018 lottery pick Jerome Robinson, who hasn’t cracked a deep Clippers rotation. He might not be any good, but taking a punt on a ‘2nd draft’ guy like this is smart team building.