Because of this, there was high potential for a lack of drama at Thursday’s deadline.
The Lakers, Jazz, Cavaliers, Knicks and Magic all pulled the trigger on deals. Some of them blew up their cores. Some traded highly valued rotation players. Others traded starters, or for starting caliber talent. In a span of about 90 minutes, the NBA became Wall Street on a day of high volatility.
Cavaliers’ trade acquisitions will not play vs. Hawks Friday, report says
With the smoke now cleared, who won the day? Who lost the day? Who fortified themselves and who clearly went backwards? Here are the winners and losers of what, unexpectedly, became a hectic NBA trade deadline.
We still have to sit back and see if the new team Cleveland assembled meshes on the court. Still, it looks much better than the team we saw in the first half of the season. In acquiring Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., the Cavs got younger and more athletic. They cleared their locker room of a few cancers and they gave LeBron James more of a chance to reach yet another NBA Finals.
More importantly, they got better on the court, and didn’t mortgage their future. They actually gave themselves a better opportunity to keep James, who hits the free agency market this summer.
One poor, diehard Utah Jazz fan fell in that category, missing the entire NBA trade deadline while under anesthesia during surgery. Upon waking up, he was made aware that the Jazz had sent guard Rodney Hood to the Cleveland Cavaliers, receiving Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose in exchange. Things got very emotional after that:
Cleveland kept its coveted first round pick, via the Brooklyn Nets. It means the Cavs are a lock to pick in the top-10 of a loaded NBA draft, and did so while making themselves better on the floor. For all the deserved criticism general manager Koby Altman took for being fleeced in the Kyrie Irving trade, he deserves major kudos for making some terrific trade deadline deals.
With almost every team hoarding its first round picks like a Willy Wonka golden ticket, the Pelicans burned theirs on … wait for it … Nikola Mirotic.
Look, I understand the Pelicans are trying to make the playoffs and needed a replacement for DeMarcus Cousins, who is out for the season with an injury. But, Nikola Mirotic is not worth surrendering a first round pick. He’s not going to push the needle for New Orleans. I know the argument: The Pelicans were able to find a way out of Omer Asik’s toxic contract, sending him to the Chicago Bulls. But, New Orleans won’t have financial flexibility either way. So, the Pelicans are now left with Mirotic, no first rounder this summer, and a roster that forces Anthony Davis to play the center spot, which he has no interest in. Baffling.
General wisdom suggests there has to be a winner and loser to every trade. But Cleveland and Los Angeles both won. In trading Clarkson and Nance, the Lakers were able to clear enough cap space to chase two max contract free agents this summer. That puts them in prime position to steal Paul George and/or LeBron James and add them to what is a really nice core of young guys. This summer, financial flexibility will be gold. And the Lakers will have more than anyone in the league. They’re now a team to watch in July.
I’ve never seen a guy talk himself out of town faster than Thomas. But from the outset, it was clear Cleveland had to trade him. You simply don’t come to a team and try to take over a locker room like Thomas did. And you doubly don’t do it with a team that has LeBron James and Kevin Love in said locker room. So, Thomas, who was an MVP candidate last season in Boston, was shipped to Los Angeles. Here’s hoping he can regain his past form. But there’s a reason Thomas has been traded from every single team that he’s been on in the league.
On the surface, trading Rodney Hood for Jae Crowder looks like a downgrade for the Jazz. But here’s what they were facing on the trade market. Every team knew Hood wanted to leave Utah, and while there were plenty of inquiries, teams were hesitant to spend assets on a player who they thought they could get in the summer on the free agent market.
In that sense, getting a starter-level player for Hood, who is on a great contract, was a win for the Jazz. For this to completely be a win for Utah, Crowder has to return to the form he had with the Boston Celtics. If he’s the player he was with Cleveland, it turns into a loss. Because Hood still has a chance to be a guy who can score 20 points per game in this league.
What are the Knicks doing? They bury Willy Hernangomez, who is a good player, on the bench all season behind Kyle O’Quinn, who isn’t as good. Then, they trade him to the Charlotte Hornets for pennies on the dollar. And then, they trade for Emmanuel Mudiay, who plays the same position as their current lottery pick Frank Ntilikina, whom they should be giving all the minutes he can handle in a season going nowhere. I’m so confused.
Neither Rodney Hood, nor George Hill will play for the Cavaliers when they face off with the Hawks Friday as Cleveland waits for its trade with the Kings and Jazz to be finalized.
Brad Rock: Jazz’s Rodney Hood story had played out in Utah; Jae Crowder acquisition a plus
According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, now-former Cavaliers forward Iman Shumpert will not be able to get his physical done with the Kings until Saturday at the earliest. The trade is not complete until he passes his physical.
An unlikely partnership is driving the Jazz
With the trade not done, neither Hood nor Hill can play with the Cavaliers.
Cavaliers-Kings-Jazz 3-team trade: George Hill, Rodney Hood head to Cleveland
OK, so, no way George Hill or Rodney Hood plays tonight because Iman Shumpert has to take his physical with SAC. Cavs have not yet ruled out Clarkson or Nance
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer also reported guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Larry Nance who the Cavaliers acquired in the Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye deal at the deadline will not play either.