NBA Trade Deadline Passes With Little Fan Fair

Christian Milcos, Editor-In-Cheif

​As the trade deadline day passes by once again, many NBA teams decided to stand pat with their team as currently constituted. Fans didn’t experience the chaos that ensued during the last hour of the 2015 deadline. Rumored deals with big names such as Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin never transpired and the big name players ended up staying with their respective organizations. The causal NBA fan may not realize that the small amount of deals that did take place will have a significant effect on the race to the postseason in both conferences over the last 30 games. In a year where the 10 and 6 seeds are only separated by 4 and 5 games in the East and West respectively, the race for the playoffs is certain to be an interesting one after the deals that took place at the 2016 trade deadline.

Pistons received: Tobias Harris
Magic received: Brandon Jennings and Ersan Illyasova

Pistons GM Stan Van Gundy landed the biggest name dealt at the deadline in this deal that upgrades his team’s young core. Coming off his first big pay day last summer, signing a 4 year $64 million deal with Orlando, Tobias Harris will help the Pistons in their quest for a playoff spot. Detroit is currently 1 game out of the 8th seed with 30 games remaining in the season. This trade is also significant for the Pistons due to them not being a prime destination for free agents. Receiving a player who is at the beginning of a long contract is equivalent to them singing a big name free agent now, as opposed to going into the summer with doubt about being able to land a big name player. They are also shedding a player in Brandon Jennings who didn’t seem to fit in well with their current rotation. Jennings, who is coming off of a ruptured Achilles tendon, had been a consistent starter for a majority of his career but was pushed out of the rotation completely when Reggie Jackson played phenomenally in his absence. The Magic benefit from this deal by getting an upgrade at point guard and a stretch power forward to replace Channing Frye who they dealt to Cleveland later in the day. This deal also saves Orlando money, as they are now projected to go into free agency this summer with over $50 million in cap space which is enough to potentially sign multiple stars. Overall, this deal benefits both teams for the long term rather than the short term.

Hornets received: Courtney Lee, and cash considerations
Grizzlies received: PJ Hairston, Chris Anderson, and multiple second round picks
Heat received: Brian Roberts

This trade involved a simple swap of bench players that benefits all 3 teams. Charlotte gets a lock down defender in Courtney Lee to replace Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who is out for the season. Lee will be able to step in as the starting small forward and aid the Hornets as they look to hang on to the final playoff spot in the East. Miami receives an upgrade at the backup point guard spot in Brian Roberts. Roberts may see significant minutes at some point down the home of stretch of the season if starting point guard Goran Dragic’s calf injury hinders him as it did earlier this season. Lastly, Memphis receives PJ Hairston, perhaps the lights out shooter that their starting unit has desperately been lacking in recent years. As a career 34 percent shooter from beyond the arc, look for him to help revive the Grizzlies offense as the playoffs draw nearer.

Cavaliers received: Channing Frye, and a second round pick
Magic received: Second round pick, and Jared Cunningham
Portland received: Anderson Varejao, and a first round pick

Perhaps the most interesting deal made on deadline day, this 3 teamer has essentially set the Cleveland Cavaliers up for a deep playoff run. Veteran stretch power forward Channing Frye may see little minutes in Cleveland, but nevertheless they will be significant ones. Frye’s arrival now solidifies the Cavaliers bench as one of the best in the NBA, which is especially significant for the Cavs due to the large amount of injuries star players such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love often accumulate in the dog days of the season. In fact, one can argue that injuries were the reason why they weren’t able to beat the Golden State Warriors in the finals last June. Frye’s veteran leadership and versatility on the court will be invaluable for Cleveland in the playoffs. In Orlando’s second deal of the day they set themselves up for free agency even further, clearing another $6 million in cap room by getting Frye’s contract off the books. Even though the Magic are essentially throwing any playoff hopes out the window with the moves they made at the deadline, they are positioning for a big free agent payoff this summer. Being in a warm weather city with no state income tax, a brand new arena, and an exciting young nucleus, the Magic should be major players in free agency for stars such as Al Horford, Dwight Howard, and Ryan Anderson. Portland was most likely involved in this deal to make the salaries match, as they neither lose, nor gain any rotational players.

Wizards received: Markeiff Morris
Suns received: DeJuan Blair, Kris Humphries, and a first round pick

In this deal, the Suns finally trade disgruntled power forward Markieff Morris. Morris had been asking for a trade since his twin brother, Marcus, was traded to Detroit earlier this season. He finally got his wish as he is now a Washington Wizard. The Wizards were projected to be a top 3 team in the Eastern Conference this year coming off a disappointing second round loss to Atlanta in last year’s playoffs. They have disappointed to say the least, as they are currently 10th in the East and 3 games out of the playoffs. They were clearly desperate to make a deal for a starting caliber player as the deadline approached, and Phoenix took full advantage. The Suns not only received 2 solid rotation players in Humphries and Blair, they also picked up a protected first round pick. They fleeced Washington by getting 3 assets in return for a player that they were at one point considering simply releasing from their team, according to ESPN reports. Overall this trade was an overpay by Washington, and a rare bright spot for a Phoenix team whose season has been marred by injuries and close losses.

Clippers received: Jeff Green
Grizzlies received: Lance Stephenson, and a first round pick

This deal involved Clippers general manager Doc Rivers continuing a tradition of acquiring players he used to coach. Standing at 6 feet 10 inches, Jeff Green will give Los Angeles the solid starting small forward they have desperately needed. Green’s one deficiency is his tantalizing demeanor on the court, often having one game that blows fans away, followed by several lackluster performances. Nevertheless, he is a great pickup fit wise for the Clippers and he will no doubt play significant minutes during their championship run this spring. Looking at the other side of the deal, Memphis adds yet another unique personality to their already interesting locker room in shooting guard Lance Stephenson. Stephenson has yet to reclaim the peak level of play he had in Indiana several years ago, but will attempt to gain back his reputation as one of the elite defenders in the NBA in Memphis. This deal is a “win-win” situation for the Grizzlies as they will at the very least have a first round pick to look forward to if Lance’s subpar play continues.

Winner of the deadline: Detroit Pistons
The moves made by Stan Van Gundy on deadline day have vaulted him to the top of the executive of the year race. He has not only set his team up to sneak into the playoffs this year, but also to have continued success for years to come. The Pistons have 8 players under the age of 25, all of whom are under contract for a long period of time. It’s refreshing to see a dual coach and general manager such as Stan Van Gundy have success after seeing executives like Jason Kidd and Doc Rivers struggle under that same title. One must applaud the collection of moves Van Gundy has made to completely change the culture of a previously corrupt organization since arriving there two years ago. He had the confidence to waive declining star Josh Smith in his first year with the team, and has since made moves with a single direction of adding youth and athleticism, thus creating a bright future for a franchise that has not seen the postseason in six years.

Loser of the deadline: Toronto Raptors
Toronto was not mentioned in any of the deals above which is precisely the reason that they are the losers of deadline. The Raptors were heavily rumored to be involved in several different trades, none of which came to fruition. They are very close to overtaking the top spot in the East, currently only 3 games behind the Cavaliers. Cleveland made a huge move to upgrade their bench, and Toronto did nothing to further their team. This choice by the Raptors could go down as the main reason they aren’t able to have success in the postseason, and after two straight years of being upset in the first round, the team and their fans are desperate to make a run at the finals. Toronto needed one more piece to vault them into contention, and they were inept at doing so.