Thursday’s trade deadline ended up being less zany than we expected. From a Raptors’ perspective, though, there’s every reason to come away satisfied.
Toronto satiated their need for a backup wing to replace Terrence Ross, and got a stout defensive one in P.J. Tucker. That they only had to give up two second round picks and Jared Sullinger — who was not likely to play with the Raptors anyway — is another fantastic maneuver by Masai Ujiri.
What about the other teams in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, though? The Raptors are teetering in the fourth seed right now, looking up at Cleveland, Boston, and Washington, with Atlanta not so far behind. With those teams, the landscape changed slightly — but not in any monumental way.
Butler and George Stay
Much was made this week about Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics “cashing in” some of their young players and draft picks for a stud in Jimmy Butler or Paul George. That never materialized on Thursday, which is more good news for Raptors fans.
Boston, the Raptors’ biggest obstacle to the Eastern Conference Finals, yet again decided not to trade multiple parts for a star. The week before, their talks with Orlando over Serge Ibaka stalled after they refused to part with Terry Rozier. This time out, it was the inclusion of Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder that had them shying away.
Sources: Pacers asking for 3 of 4 from group of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown + 2017 Nets pick for Paul George.— Mike Ortiz Jr. (@xOrtiz4x) February 23, 2017
Comfortable with the pieces they have, they will go forward with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford as their lone pillars.
Wizards add Bogdonavic
In a smaller move Wednesday, the Washington Wizards added Bojan Bogdonavic from the Brooklyn Nets, giving up Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton. Thornton was later waived by Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn Nets are trading Bojan Bogdanovic to the Washington Wizards, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 22, 2017
This helps bolster a shallow team who have been one of the league’s best over the last month or so. Bogdonavic adds another scoring threat, and takes a bit of pressure off Otto Porter and Markieff Morris to be the sole supporters of Washington’s all-world backcourt.
Hawks add Ilyasova
Another former Atlantic Division player moves up the Eastern Conference food chain, as Ersan Ilysova was traded Wednesday from Philadelphia to Atlanta for Tiago Splitter and draft considerations.
Similar to the Bogdonavic move, this is an effort to bolster a team largely void of shooters after the Kyle Korver trade in January. In joining, Ilyasova will join Mike Dunleavy as the only Hawks rotation players shooting 40% or better from three (woof).
The Hawks also sent Mike Scott packing to Phoenix for cash, which qualified as the deadline’s least interesting trade. Emoji tattoo man for cash. Book it.
Nothing Doing for the Cavaliers... Yet
While Cleveland was not active in any trades at the deadline, they will be primed to pick the scraps of recently-waived players in the coming days. This pool will include Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut, who were both moved in minor deals on Thursday. Williams and Bogut would allow a small regroup for Cleveland, who are wincing due to the J.R. Smith and Kevin Love injuries.
At 39-16, the Cavs are comfortably clear of the rest of the East at this point, but are still looking to acquire depth and take some minutes pressure off of LeBron James.
What are your thoughts on the deadline moves? Did the Raptors do enough to get back into the fight for the East’s second seed?