Trades are free to be completed at any other time during — or prior to! — the NBA season, but there’s just something special about a deadline. It generate a certain energy. In any case, today is that day, the day of the NBA Trade Deadline, so important and official it deserves capitalization. As we barrel towards 3pm this afternoon, all eyes are on the league’s 30 teams to see who will do what, when, and with whom to remake or tweak their teams with the final stretch of the regular season looming. It’s all very exciting.
Now, the Raptors are in that group, despite not having any obvious splashy moves to make. At the start of the season there was some question as to whether they’d turn out to be buyers or sellers at the deadline, but that has been answered by now. Today, the Raps are 37-14, good for third in the entire league and second in the East. What’s more, they’re currently riding a franchise-record 12-game win streak. They are definitely Going For It. At this juncture we could ask ourselves: what’s not to like? Or, conversely as the day dictates: how much better could this squad get?
That latter question is tough to answer. We took a stab at this way back in the summer when it was unclear where Toronto would be this season and while the picture is clearer now, there is still no easy answer. We’ve of course already put ourselves through the emotional wringer regardless in considering which Raptors we’d like to part with least — and whose departure we’d probably just shrug our shoulders at. As part of all that thinking, it’s clear Toronto could use another rugged forward with some size and a third point guard/shot-creator; it also wouldn’t hurt to add more shooting, but that’s always the case for every team. These would be shoring up moves, not big swings if they were to materalize, but you also never know.
In the absence of any large quantity of dead salary or enticing draft picks, however, Toronto may very well stand pat today simply because there are no possible deals at hand. This would be quite a change from last year’s surprising Marc Gasol deal, or the move that brought in Serge Ibaka back in 2017. Still, given where the Raptors are in the present moment, that’s not so bad.
The rest of the league, however, may not be so quiet. On that front, let’s turn it over to point form and review what’s already happened. (Please note, I’m going to try to limit this to actual impact moves, not every single waiver deal or cash considerations transaction. Let’s be reasonable here!)
- First, the big one: Robert Covington, Clint Capela, and some other names changing addresses in a 4-team deal that we covered over here.
- From last night: Andre Iguodala is going to the Miami Heat for Justise Winslow. No comment.
- Also, the Hawks reclaimed Dewayne Dedmon for Jabari Parker and Alex Len, which is a trade that happened. A pair of second round picks were also involved but this is all quite depressing for everyone involved.
- And hey, look at that, the 76ers, looking to amend their Frankenstein roster, are apparently bringing in Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III for some more picks.
That’s the extent of it for now, though there’s buzz about Danilo Gallinari heading to the Heat with Iguodala, and chatter about D’Angelo Russell to the Knicks, Luke Kennard to who cares, and attention being directed at Kelly Oubre and Alex Caruso. Good luck out there!
Now let’s start the clock. It’s 10:30am EST. We wait and watch. Get in the comments and follow along.
It appears as though the Miami-Memphis deal is all shaped up. Thanks to Woj for the confirmation here — and all in one tweet no less:
Miami has agreed to trade Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and James Johnson to Memphis for Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder, league sources tell ESPN. No picks in the deal.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
On paper this gives Miami, a team that is also Going For It at the behest of the unique talents and temperament of Jimmy Butler, some veteran wing production in different forms. The Heat get Jae Crowder’s alleged shooting and active defense, they get Solomon Hill’s shooting (and long fingers), and they get the championship pedigree of Andre Iguodala. Now, it says here Andre hasn’t played basketball in eight months and looked pretty creaky the last time he did — perhaps you recall the 2019 NBA Finals? — but it’s still a storied pedigree.
To get that trio, Miami got rid of their two malcontents, Dion Waiters and James Johnson, and their one-time point-forward of the future, Justise Winslow. That seems like a high-ish price to pay — Winslow is only 23 and is a solid if oft-injured player. While it’s true Winslow may never ascend to anything beyond what he is right now, the window for what any team can expect out of Iggy, Crowder, and Hill is extremely narrow in the given moment. Credit to Miami for going all in, I guess, but I remain skeptical.
As for the Grizzlies, their rebuild looks to be way ahead of schedule, and adding the personalities of Waiters and Johnson will be nothing if not another piece of entertainment. By the way, the Grizz are in eighth place and don’t look to be afraid of anyone at the moment.
Meanwhile, as we tip into the afternoon, it looks like no deal to send Danilo Gallinari to Miami is imminent. Still, we watch and wait.
The trades are coming faster and furious-er now, so let’s get to the latest tally:
First, Atlanta snags itself another player. It’s Derrick Walton Jr.! Congrats to the Walton family.
Clippers are trading G Derrick Walton Jr., to the Atlanta Hawks for cash, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
Next, a slightly bigger deal:
Golden State has agreed to trade D'Angelo Russell to Minnesota for a deal that includes Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 protected first-round pick and a 2022 second-round pick, league sources tell ESPN. Warriors will send Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman to Timberwolves too.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
This reads like an extremely wild move, to me. The Warriors grabbed D’Angelo Russell in the wake of Kevin Durant’s departure and Klay Thompson’s injury, but there was always a feeling that while D-Lo could float the squad for a few months he wouldn’t stay forever in the Bay. That’s turned out to be true — except I don’t think anyone had the Warriors tabbing former number one pick (and erstwhile Canadian) Andrew Wiggins as the guy to step into that void. Maybe Wiggins finally puts it all together playing with smarter and more competent players, or maybe, just maybe, there’s nothing else to get.
My take: the Warriors marginally won this trade. There is no way a Timberwolves team anchored by Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns will ever win more than 35 games. Sorry.
Next up, we downsize in scale but not in emotional impact. Yes, it’s true, Bruno is on the move again:
Houston has traded Jordan Bell to Memphis for Bruno Caboclo, source tells ESPN. Teams exchange second-round picks too.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
Maybe a healthy Bruno can be the centre the Rockets need now? Stranger things have happened.
And finally, full circle, we return to Atlanta:
Portland is trading Skal Labissiere and cash to Atlanta, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
What I love about this deal is the perfect visual it provides of Hawks management cutting a cheque to the Clippers for one player, and then receiving another player and some new, fresh cash to take the place of the old money they just gave away. That’s business in the NBA, baby!
That’s it for this round of updates. The buzz for the next hour has settled on Marcus Morris so far — adjust your expectations accordingly.
Well, that was... something, wasn’t it? Another Trade Deadline Day in the books, another batch of deals to look over. Let’s take a glance back at the last hour of transactional frenzy.
Let’s start things off with a whopper:
Cleveland is finalizing a trade for Detroit's Andre Drummond, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
The implosion of Detroit continues. For this one, Detroit is taking back John Henson and Brandon Knight, the pupu platter to end all pupu platters. Cleveland meanwhile has to live the next six months worrying about whether Drummond will pick-up the player option on his last year. It’s just an ugly lose-lose all around. (Me personally, I feel bad for Dwane Casey, even though he got paid.)
Next up, a little return to a previous deal — James Johnson is off to somewhere else, and that place is... [spins wheel]
Minnesota has joined the Miami-Memphis deal -- and will trade Gorgui Dieng for James Johnson, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
...Minnesota! Which means Memphis is getting Dieng. Not a bad bit of business there for the Grizzlies, even if this totally destroys the team’s J- and D-name symmetry.
On to the next!
Washington has traded Jordan McRae to Denver for Shabazz Napier, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
Now here’s one that makes me feel good:
Philadelphia has traded James Ennis to Magic for a second-round pick, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
Ennis was the guy off the Sixers bench who made life inexplicably difficult for the Raptors in last year’s playoffs. He’s not a difference maker per se, and no one should really care about this deal, but if I’m anticipating a 3-6 second round matchup between Philly and Toronto, I just like not having to even look at Ennis again.
Speaking of the playoffs, here’s one more deal to report:
The Clippers, Knicks and Wizards have agreed to a three-team trade that will land Marcus Morris and Isaiah Thomas with the Clippers, league sources tell ESPN. Jerome Robinson will join the Wizards, Moe Harkless and a 2020 first-round pick to the Knicks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
Ostensibly this trade was done to get Morris onto the Clippers, as they need another stout forward-type to shore up what’s been a shaky defense so far. Apparently Harkless wasn’t getting the job done and having a 2020 pick or Jerome Robinson doesn’t really mean much when you’re trying to win a title. It makes sense — especially because, per David Aldridge, we now know that the Clips have no intention of keeping Thomas at all. (There was zero chance Isaiah Thomas could share the same court with Lou Williams, let alone Kawhi Leonard.)
Now then, a recap. As it stands in the East — before we get into the buyout market, mind you — the Sixers did a bit of deck chair shuffling, the Pacers, Bucks, and Celtics stood pat, and the Heat shored up their core with veteran playoff players. The Raptors are in roughly the same position they were in yesterday, still a strong bet to make noise in the playoffs, still perhaps a notch below the Bucks to make it to the Finals, and, if we’re being honest, vulnerable to any of those aforementioned teams at the right (or wrong) moment. They really just need to get fully healthy, is the thing.
The Lakers and Clippers, the two other favourites for the title out west, are much the same today too. Morris helps the Clips a bit, but it definitely looks like both teams will head into the buyout market looking to add more talent. (Darren Collison is apparently ready to return, for example.) Again, this all puts the Raptors in roughly the same situation. Their needs are still there, their floor is still quite high, their ceiling is lower than last year but much higher than we thought it would be six months ago.
All in all, a relatively uneventful day — but not bad.