The 2017 NBA Trade Deadline was an exciting one, as we saw a true NBA Superstar in DeMarcus Cousins get moved, as well as lots of other interesting trades around the league. For complete details about all of the trades that went down in the NBA this year, check out our NBA Trade Deadline Tracker. And if you want to hear our NBA writers discuss all the fun trades around the league this year, check out our NBA podcast, The 3-1 Lead. Now, onto the winners and losers of the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline.
Note: The Raptors are my big winner of teams that made trades this year. Adding Serge Ibaka and PJ Tucker were fantastic moves. However, seeing as how the Ibaka move happened on February 14th, before the post All-Star trade push, they were not included on this list.
Winner: The New Orleans Pelicans
Coming right out of the gate with that one! On February 19th, the New Orleans Pelicans committed a felony in the form of a trade that turned Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and the Pelicans’ 2017 First and Second Round Picks into DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins and Omri Casspi. I know, it’s insane that the Pelicans were able to get Casspi for that price! Straight up highway robbery! Seriously, the addition of Boogie will give the New Orleans Pelicans the best frontcourt in the league. Two big men are a rare sight in today’s NBA, and it will be interesting to see how Pelicans’ Head Coach Alvin Gentry will use the one-two punch, that is Boogie and Anthony Davis. This is definitely a step in the right direction for the Pelicans, as the 8th seed in the Western Conference is up for grabs and the addition of Cousins makes the Pelicans the favorite to score a date with the Warriors in the first round. The Pelicans’ backcourt and bench were both depleted by this trade, but adding a player like Boogie is worth it.
Loser: The Sacramento Kings
Well, I brought up the Pelicans, might as well bring up the other team involved in this trade. The Kings lost their only beam of hope and have little to show for it, as Evans and Galloway are nothing to write home about. The Picks would be a good thing if they were going to anybody but the Kings. Sacramento has struggled greatly in the drafts of previous years, and that’s as kind as I can put it. The Kings have screwed up draft after draft, which is probably the reason they could never win more than 33 games with a guy like Boogie. Yes, unfortunately for Kings fans, those picks will most likely look like busts for four years, then become productive players elsewhere. It seems like the big piece in this deal (at least in the mind of Vivek Ranadivé) is former fourth overall pick, Buddy Hield. Ranadivé seems to think that Hield is the next Steph Curry. In order for Hield to do that, he must improve tremendously in ball handling and passing. Given the Kings track record of developing young talent, that just seems almost impossible. It also doesn’t help that Kings GM, Valde Divac, heavily insinuated that he had better offers for Boogie earlier in the week, but that Ranadivé did not approve of them.
Winner: The Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers traded backup center Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson, and the Mavs 2017 first-round pick (pick 1-18 protected, so it’s basically two second-round picks). Noel had seen few minutes in Phily this season due to the emergence of Joel Embiid, and although many people (including myself) thought that the Sixers should have traded Jahili Okafor, trading Noel was not the worst move in the world. The Sixers have a star in the making in Embiid, and now have the assets to build around him. In a few years, after Embiid has some experience under his belt, the Sixers could be one of the great teams in the NBA. All signs are pointing to the Sixers being one of the teams that is set to take over the East once Lebron and Co. finish up their reign of dominance. Hmmmmmm, maybe Sam Hinkie was on to something after all. The Sixers also traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks for Tiago Splitter and two 2017 second-round picks. This will allow Sixers rookie Dario Šarić to play more minutes, which will help his development. Acquiring assets and allowing for growth of young talent, overall a pretty good deadline for the Sixers.
Loser: The New York Knicks
The Knicks failed to make a move at the Trade Deadline this year, which is exactly why they find themselves on my Trade Deadline Losers’ list. I wrote an article earlier this season about how it was time for the Knicks to give up on the Carmelo Anthony experiment (seriously, it isn’t working), and start to rebuild around the Unicorn, Kristaps Porzingis. The Trade Deadline would have been the perfect opportunity to do that. New York could have turned Carmelo Anthony into assets, which they need. Obviously, we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors during these trade discussions, but it’s hard to believe that New York could not have gotten a Melo deal done with the Clippers. According to reports, the Knicks also had a chance to flip Derrick Rose for Ricky Rubio. Which leaves me to ask, WHAT THE HELL NEW YORK? Rubio would have been a perfect fit on this team and would have helped the development of Porzingis tremendously. But alas, the Knicks sat idle at the Deadline, thus leaving us to wonder: were all of those potential deals just talk, or did the Knicks botch this year’s Trade Deadline? My money is on the latter.
Winner: The Los Angeles Lakers
I know what you’re thinking, “The Lakers trade away their best player and are on the WINNERS list? Is this guy stupid?” The answers to those questions are yes and no, respectively. Yes, the Lakers traded 6th man of the Year candidate and the man who has the highest number of Laker win shares, Lou Williams, to the Rockets for a 2017 First Round Pick and Cory Brewer. Now, if you just look at the trade, it doesn’t look great for the Lakers. By no means is the trade bad, I mean, they got a first round pick out of it. However, if you look deeper, this trade makes a lot of sense for the Lakers. The Lakers are starting a rebuild, which means that they want draft picks. Currently, the 76ers hold the rights to the Lakers’ first round pick, unless the pick ends up a top three pick. If the Lakers are bad enough, and a little lucky, their pick could end up a top three pick. Then they would have two First Rounders in this draft, which is rich with talent. However, even if the ping-pong balls fall the wrong way for the Lakers, they will still have a first round pick in this draft. Overall, moving Lou Will was a smart move by the new Lakers’ front office.
Loser: The Washington Wizards
Let me begin by stating that I like the trade the Wizards made. They traded their 2017 first round pick, Marcus Thornton, and Andrew Nicholson, to the Nets for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough. This move bolstered the bench of the Wizards, which is a necessity for Washington if they plan to make a deep playoff run. However, could the Wizards have done better? I think so. It seems like Lou Williams was available for the same price as the players the Wizards ended up with. While Bogdanovic and McCullough are solid players that will no doubt help the Wizards, Lou Williams would have been much better. Williams is an elite scorer coming off the bench and would have added another gear to the lackluster Wizards’ second unit. That is something Bogdanovic cannot do. As I said, I am not opposed to this trade; I just think that the Wizards did not maximize that first round pick.
Overall, this was a very successful Deadline, as many teams made moves that improved their rosters. The second half of this NBA Season is shaping up to be a great one.