NBA Trade Deadline Recap

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The deals that happened before this season’s trade deadline were some of the more chaotic ones in recent years, and as always, there was no shortage of big players being moved, head-scratching acquisitions, and so much more. In this first section, I’ll break down all of the major trades that happened from February 8 – February 10, which is generally where things start to get crazy. There were plenty of others before that period, but none as wild as what we saw in the hours leading up to 3pm EST deadline on February 10. Here we go!

Big trades

1. Nets-Sixers trade (the big one) – February 10

Nets receive: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, a 2022 first-round pick (can defer until 2023) and a 2027 first-round pick (protected 1 through 8)

76ers receive: James Harden, Paul Millsap

There it is. James Harden was not shy about wanting out of Brooklyn, and with the Kyrie Irving drama surrounding his point guard only being able to play in a handful of games down the stretch due to his vaccination status, he looked to avoid a major headache. That is, if Ben Simmons, who did not play a single minute for the 76ers this season, doesn’t bring his dramatic saga over to Brooklyn, but hopefully we see him playing as soon as possible and it becomes as drama-free as possible. The Beard is going to have no problem posting massive lines in Philly, and with his usage set to rise quite a bit, there’s a shot we may get a version of a more inspired Houston Harden, who was notorious for video-game numbers throughout his time there. Of course, this is sure to hurt Tyrese Maxey, who’s been an efficient and reliable player for Philly and has posted top-60 value on the season, but one has to think that Harden is going to steal some of his usage away, but at least he’s still penciled in to start next to Harden with Seth Curry now in Brooklyn.

Story continues

On the new Nets side, Ben Simmons will almost always get a sizable boost in the games Kyrie doesn’t play as he’ll be handling the ball far more often. Even with Kyrie, he could be a mid-round guy if he can get his free throws up, but you should probably assume he won’t and live with that as he’ll still be a triple-double threat every time he’s on the floor. Go get Simmons immediately if he’s available in your league. Seth Curry has been having a dream season but expectations going forward should be held in check as he should start but will share the floor with, at worst for his value, Kyrie, Simmons and Kevin Durant. He’s too good to drop, but keep an eye on what he does if you roster the younger (and currently more efficient) Curry brother. Seth’s arrival also means bad news for Cam Thomas, as he was just picked up in a lot of leagues with how well he’s been playing and he could have some value but not as much as we’d hoped for pre-trade deadline. Andre Drummond could also easily return to being a walking double-double with his fantasy-friendly game in Brooklyn, but like Simmons, one has to assume the free throws are going to be brutal. Maybe Nic Claxton winds up starting but he’s never healthy, so rostering Drummond looks like a must right now – we’ve seen what he’s done in his games in Philly whenever Joel Embiid was sidelined, and both Claxton and LaMarcus Aldridge aren’t healthy and have trouble staying on the court for the most part.

2. Pacers-Kings trade – February 8

Pacers receive: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Tristan Thompson

Kings receive: Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, 2027 second-round pick.

This is basically old news at this point but this is still absolutely one of the biggest trades that occurred in the last few days. We already got a taste of the new Kings on Wednesday night, and they actually didn’t look too bad and beat a red-hot Timberwolves team by 13. Sabonis looked like Sabonis with a 22/14/5 line with a steal and four turnovers, and he was assuming his usual big-man playmaking responsibility often and takes a ton of pressure off now-permanent point guard De’Aaron Fox so he doesn’t have to do everything himself. Sabonis is going to be awesome and there was never much doubt there. Jeremy Lamb played 31 minutes off the bench in his Kings debut and looked good as well with a 14/6/5 line with two blocks and three triples, and if he can get minutes even close to 30 each night he’ll definitely have some value. Similar things can be said for Justin Holiday, and though he struggled with his 2-of-11 shooting, he still played 30 minutes for a quietly good 6/2/4/2/1 line with five turnovers. Not the best, but if he’s getting 30 minutes and attempting shots in the double digits, he’ll be worth picking up as well. Davion Mitchell reassumed a bench role which seemed like a bad thing on paper, but he put up a 9-cat gem with his efficient 18/7/7/1/1 line with three triples in 30 minutes. If he’s playing 30 minutes, no matter how he enters the game, sign me up. Just remember, this is just one game and I’m sure things will change, but it’s looking like Sacramento has gotten more relevant in fantasy hoops, but in terms of adds, I may like Mitchell the most. Harrison Barnes not being traded is incredible for his value, and he’s been hot and kept it going with 30 points and eight boards on Wednesday, so I’d consider that a win if you have any shares of Barnes.

The Kings sending Tyrese Haliburton away was puzzling to say the least, as most thought De’Aaron Fox was on the move, but getting Sabonis in return could prove to be worth it. Haliburton should be just fine in Indiana, and if you’re worried about Malcolm Brogdon taking some of Hali’s minutes, don’t. Brogdon has appeared in just three games since December 21 and even when he does return, they’re not going to want him playing heavy minutes on a right Achilles that has been bothering him virtually the whole season. Buddy Hield is going to launch away no matter what team he’s on and should retain his subpar value, while Tristan Thompson will be an afterthought whenever Myles Turner returns, and he’s not too enticing anyway given the Pacers surely don’t lack big men.

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3. Wizards-Mavericks trade – February 10

Wizards receive: Kristaps Porzingis, future second-round pick

Mavericks receive: Spencer Dinwiddie, Davis Bertans

Here is our fist legitimate head-scratcher. I can totally understand not wanting to keep Porzingis, as he just can’t stay healthy as illustrated by him being active in just 34 of the Mavs’ 55 games so far this year, and dating back to 2019-2020 where he began his season in Dallas, he’s played in just 134-of-210 (63.8%) possible games from then to the present day. That being said, he is an immense talent with a unique skillset, and you’d have to think that the Wizards got a steal with him if he stays healthy. Plus, Montrezl Harrell is now on the Hornets (more on that later), so his path to minutes could not be clearer with big men like Daniel Gafford and Thomas Bryant in his way and both being very underwhelming lately. Gafford could be worth an add because of the upside, and we technically don’t know how soon Porzingis is playing, so feel free to give him a look if you need blocks.

Oh, Dallas. Spencer Dinwiddie was having a pretty awful year, and he was set up to try and turn it around with Bradley Beal out for the season due to needing wrist surgery, but now he’s basically back to square one. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Dinwiddie won’t take Luka Doncic’s spot in the starting lineup, and Jalen Brunson has been solid all year and should continue to start, meaning Dinwiddie is destined for a reserve role. If that’s ultimately the case, I want no part of it. The Mavs did need some front court depth and Bertans will provide a Porzingis-like stretch big that can shoot threes, and while he has looked like a shell of himself this season, maybe a new environment will be good news for him. Especially in deeper leagues, feel free to give the Latvian Laser a chance, and if he fails to show up in his first game or two, go ahead and send him right back to the wire where he’s belonged all season while in Washington.

4. Pelicans-Blazers trade – February 8

Pelicans receive: C.J. McCollum, Larry Nance Jr., Tony Snell

Trail Blazers receive: Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky (now on the Spurs), Nickeil-Alexander Walker (now on the Jazz), Didi Louzada, 2022 protected first round pick, two second round picks (one belongs to the Spurs)

McCollum is going to be just fine, and while he struggled with a 6-of-21 mark from the field in his Pelicans debut in a loss to the Heat on Thursday night, he had a nice 15/7/5 line with a steal and two triples in 36 minutes. I’d also argue that C.J.’s arrival could help out Brandon Ingram, who has been picking it up in a big way lately and could see less defensive pressure each night with an equally capable scorer beside him. Larry Nance Jr. would have been intriguing, but he is set to undergo right knee surgery and should miss around six weeks of action. Many of us were bummed about Jaxson Hayes when Nance Jr. was traded to New Orleans, but the Hayes fun is going to continue for a decent chunk of the season. He’s been starting next to Jonas Valanciunas and has posted top-50 value over the last two weeks, and his job should be safe and he looks like a must-have guy going forward. Plus, he’s still available in nearly half of Yahoo! leagues, so don’t hesitate. Finally, as for Tony Snell, he’s never been a fantasy factor and I don’t see that changing, so leave him alone.

The Blazers looked like a G-League team on paper in Wednesday’s game against the Lakers, but they still somehow won, to absolutely no one’s surprise. Josh Hart was supposed to make his debut but was ruled out fairly late due to “rest”, so while this could have meant he was on the move again, he was really just taking one extra night off. Hart was putting up eighth-round value in New Orleans on a roster heavily associated with Brandon Ingram (who takes 18.5 shots per game), and with McCollum in New Orleans and Damian Lillard’s status seemingly perpetually up in the air, he becomes the clear number two scoring option on this team. He’s always been a fantastic rebounder for a guard and if he can score more and see just the slightest uptick in defensive stats, I see no reason why sixth-round status should be out of the realm of possibility.

4.5. Associated three-team trade: The Jazz received Nickeil-Alexander Walker from the Blazers and Juancho Hernangomez from the Spurs, the Spurs received Tomas Satoransky and a second-round pick from Blazers and the Blazers received Joe Ingles (left knee surgery, out for season), Elijah Hughes and a second-round pick from the Jazz.

Firstly, what a career in Utah for Joe Ingles. There were nothing but good things said about him, and fantasy basketball takes a backseat with him ending his eight-year stint with Utah and now headed to a rebuilding team, who he may not ever even play for. Back to fantasy – NAW may have been one of Portland’s top scorers albeit on horrific shooting, but now, he has to share reserve shots with Mr. Green Light Jordan Clarkson, so that doesn’t interest me a whole lot anymore. Elijah Hughes had one huge game against the Raptors about a month ago but that’s it, but especially with Nassir Little (shoulder surgery) out for the season, he could carve out a role on this team. Just throw him on your watch list for the time being until we see what his role actually looks like.

5. Celtics-Spurs trade – February 10

Celtics receive: Derrick White

Spurs receive: Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, 2022 first-round pick (protected 1 through 4), swap rights on 2028 first-round pick

Boston is scorching right now and has had the best defense in the league for a while, and they’ve won six straight and eight of their last nine as I type this. They landed an incredibly versatile guard in White who’s one of those guys capable of getting 1.5 triples, 1.0 steal and 1.0 block per game (currently at 1.7/1.0/0.9). It’s a great snag for the Celtics, but not necessarily for White’s fantasy value, who will likely come off the bench with Marcus Smart being the starter for the oft-successful Celtics in the last couple of weeks. I don’t think he’s a cut candidate yet, but in shallower leagues, you may have to let him go for a hotter free agent who clearly benefitted from the flurry of trades. White’s departure also means fantastic news for Devin Vassell, who I’ve been excited about since the beginning of the season, and it’s his chance to shine from this point on. He’s the clear pickup of this trade and is only 30% rostered with an attractive skill set, so don’t hesitate to grab him either.

There’s not much to say about the Spurs. They’re going full rebuild mode with All-Star Dejounte Murray at the helm, and maybe Richardson starts, and my only complaint about the aforementioned Vassell is if Richardson steals minutes from him. Vassell has a better fantasy game and is the preferred pick up, of course, but we’ll see what Richardson does if he does in fact remain a Spur.

6. Hornets-Wizards trade – February 10

Hornets receive: Montrezl Harrell

Wizards receive: Ish Smith, Vernon Carey Jr.

Harrell looks like a steal for a Hornets team that didn’t give up much for him, and he’ll look to see solid minutes right out of the gate with really only Mason Plumlee in his way. Their skill sets are quite different, but I’d consider this an upgrade for Charlotte’s front court, and while Trez’s ceiling is limited, he shouldn’t lack for plenty of points and boards on good shooting. Plumlee was a shaky option anyway but has looked good, and they could very well split center minutes down the middle, but Trez is the target. With Spencer Dinwiddie on the Mavs, Ish Smith is now in standard-league territory as the likely new starting point guard in Washington, so give him a look but just know his ceiling isn’t the best. Daniel Gafford had a ton of value for about an hour until Porzingis landed in Washington, and like I said before, I don’t hate the idea of snatching Gafford back up with Porzingis always taking his sweet time getting healthy. Then again, maybe it’s Thomas Bryant that gets the bump, but we’ll see.

Big trades from before February 8

I didn’t forget about these two trades, even though they’ve been left in the dust just because of the timing of it all, but there’s still plenty to discuss.

1. Clippers-Blazers trade – February 4

Clippers receive: Robert Covington, Norman Powell

Blazers receive: Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, future second-round pick

In two games with the Clippers, Powell has already looked great with 22.0 points per game in those two. His peripheral stats aren’t amazing, but he did snag two steals and block a shot in his February 8 game against the Grizzlies. Robert Covington will not lack for minutes and should see a similar load with the Clippers, and as long as you aren’t desperate for scorers, RoCo checks most other boxes with some threes and elite defensive stats. The arrival of these isn’t great for guys like Luke Kennard and Amir Coffey, who were both ultra-popular pickups not even two weeks ago, but that’s just the way things go. I have no issue cutting these guys with two newly established wings in L.A., and the list of these types of players goes on and on: Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Terance Mann, Brandon Boston Jr. are all guys that were playing decent minutes before, and now it just looks like an unappealing fantasy situation for guys outside of Powell and Covington. Plus, it’ll just get worse if Paul George (and, dare I say, Kawhi Leonard?) comes back this season. There’s no doubt that one of these four guys will have a useful fantasy line each night, but it’s shaping out to be a scenario that seems them take turns being usable.

2. Cavaliers-Pacers trade – February 6

Cavaliers receive: Caris LeVert, 2022 second-round pick (via Miami)

Pacers receive: Ricky Rubio (left ACL tear, out for season), 2022 first-round pick (lottery protected), 2022 second-round pick (via Houston), 2027 second-round pick (via Utah)

Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan is doing his best Sam Presti (OKC GM) impression with all these picks coming his way, but let’s be honest, no one is on Presti’s level. The Pacers solidified their rebuilding goal by bringing in an injured Ricky Rubio, who was just brought over for salary cap reasons and will be a UFA this coming summer. Caris LeVert made his Cleveland debut on Wednesday and came off the bench for 11 points (4-of-11 FGs), one rebound, two assists, one steal, one 3-pointer and zero turnovers in 28 minutes. Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff basically used this game to see what LeVert does with the various lineups, and he won’t be coming off the bench for long. He’s an ideal second-option scorer behind All-Star Darius Garland, and like the Ingram/McCollum situation, I think LeVert should produce at a similar level to his Indiana days all while relieving Garland of the bulk of the defensive pressure.

Smaller trades

These have minimal fantasy implications, so this will be quick, but everyone gets a mention.

1. Kings-Bucks-Clippers-Pistons trade – February 10

Bucks receive: Serge Ibaka, two future second-round picks, cash

Kings receive: Donte DiVincenzo, Trey Lyles, Josh Jackson

Clippers receive: Rodney Hood, Semi Ojeleye

Pistons receive: Marvin Bagley

Not a ton going on here, but 2018 second overall pick Marvin Bagley finds himself on a team even worse than the Pistons. That being said, he wasn’t even a top-150 option in Sacramento and has missed six straight games with a left ankle sprain, but at least the Kings got rid of the pick that haunted them for nearly four years. With Jerami Grant not being traded, Isaiah Stewart kind of starting to come around and Kelly Olynyk healthy (but admittedly not playing well right now), Bagley is waiver-wire material unless he proves me wrong. Ibaka will provide front court depth for the Bucks with Brook Lopez (back) out indefinitely, but Bobby Portis had been freakishly good lately so you can disregard. This could mean it’s time for more for Clippers big Isaiah Hartenstein, who is built for fantasy, but Ivica Zubac is still a Clipper which won’t allow Hartenstein to get the minutes he needs (watch list, though). With all the Kings’ new guys, I don’t see any of them playing meaningful minutes especially given how good the new-look Kings played on Wednesday night, and you can safely ignore Hood and Ojeleye.

2. Suns-Pacers trade – February 10

Suns receive: Torrey Craig

Pacers receive: Jalen Smith, future second-round pick

Oh look, it’s the Pacers again. Smith was fantastic in his four starts for Deandre Ayton earlier this season, posting averages of 17.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.0 block and 0.8 threes per game on 58.3% from the floor, so the upside is absolutely there. He maybe isn’t as intriguing as Isaiah Jackson, who’s been flying off the waiver wire, but it sure does make Jackson less intriguing, which is a massive bummer. I still like him but it’s going to have to be a wait-and-see situation, whereas before it was “GO GET I-JAX!” for a full 48-hour span. Goga Bitadze may also be worth a look, but in order, I’d personally go Jackson, Smith, Goga, but it’s incredibly murky and will get worse when Myles Turner (foot) returns. Torrey Craig had a few big lines in Indiana but that’s about it, and he won’t be trustworthy with guys like Jae Crowder and Cam Johnson playing plenty.

3. Raptors-Spurs trade – February 10

Raptors receive: Thaddeus Young, Drew Eubanks (will be waived), 2022 second-round pick (via Pistons)

Spurs receive: Goran Dragic, future first-round pick

Thaddeus Young was always expected to move, and with Nick Nurse running the tightest rotation in the league, Young could be an injury away from fantasy relevance. It’s a far better spot than San Antonio, but doesn’t affect much other than the addition of Young to your watch list.

4. Celtics-Rockets trade

Celtics receive: Daniel Theis

Rockets receive: Dennis Schroder, Enes Freedom, Bruno Fernando

This could have gone in the section below, but anyway, Schroder does not match the Rockets’ plans for this season and he may not even suit up for them. If he’s bought out and gets a decent landing spot, maybe he’s a late-round guy at best, but I’m not holding him. Theis may have some minutes to keep Robert Williams from exhausting himself, but he isn’t a pick up, and Freedom is expected to be waived so nothing to see there.

5. Suns-Wizards trade – February 10

Suns receive: Aaron Holiday

Wizards receive: Cash

The Suns are loaded, and even though Holiday was somewhat starting to play better in Washington, he’s not going to have enough of a role in Phoenix to make a fantasy splash.

Not-so-meaningful trades

This will be even quicker. None of these guys are fantasy targets and most of these deals were done for salary flexibility, roster space, etc., so this is just to round out this piece and make sure it’s all-inclusive.

1. Heat-Thunder trade – February 10

Heat receive: 2026 second-round pick

Thunder receive: KZ Okpala

2. Celtics-Magic trade – February 10

Celtics receive: future second-round pick

Magic receive: P.J. Dozier (left ACL, out for season), Bol Bol (foot surgery, out for season), future second-round pick, cash

What could’ve been

Just a brief section on things that didn’t happen.

– Myles Turner didn’t get traded. This isn’t too shocking since the team planned to keep either him or Sabonis, and with Sabonis in Sacramento, it looks like Turner is their big man of the future.

– Jakob Poeltl is still a Spur. Quite a few teams were interested in Poeltl, and rightfully so as he’s having a career year. The Hornets reportedly had interest, but they brought in Trez instead, and the Raptors could have brought him back, but maybe he didn’t pass the “Nick Nurse” test.

– The Lakers did absolutely nothing. They are struggling in a massive way and totally missed out everywhere, and apparently their focus will be on the buyout market. Grabbing a guy or two from the buyout should immediately make them championship favorites (said no one ever).

– The Heat just let Okpala go, but nothing else. The only negative part of this is that multiple teams in the East got substantially better, but Miami is one of the deepest teams in the league and I don’t blame them for playing it out with the original crew.

That should do it! It’s a shame that we have to wait another full year before the next trade deadline, just because it’s so fun and makes fantasy gurus kick it into a higher gear, but it’ll be here before we know it. Pick up young guys on bad teams, guys that are sure to get minutes, and finally, enjoy the Super Bowl this Sunday!


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