Remember when the NBA trade deadline was supposed to consists of trades that included Anthony Davis, the whole Lakers team (minus LeBron), and possibly Draymond Green? Remember when the trade deadline was supposed to be boring and uneventful after the Pelicans requested too much from the Lakers? The deadline has since passed, but not without major shifts in each conference. As the clock struck midnight on the deadline, numerous deals came piling in which should have a major impact on the playoff seeding in the upcoming months. Let's take a look at some of the winners and losers of this year's trade deadline.
Winner: Philadelphia 76ers
The 6ers first major trade came when half of the country was asleep. At 2:30AM, they traded for Clippers forward Tobias Harris. Harris will be added to an already loaded roster that will now send out Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, J.J. Redick, and Jimmy Butler. Next to Golden State, they could quite possibly have the best starting lineup in the league. The 6ers are officially in a win now mode as both Harris and Butler's contracts expire after this year, making them free agents. They also shed the mess that is Markelle Fultz. With the first overall draft pick bust in their rearview mirror, they can now focus on climbing in the Eastern Conference with their eyes set on a deep playoff run.
Loser: Anthony Davis
Last week Davis came out publicly that he would not sign an extension in New Orleans and requested a trade. His preferred destination was with LeBron and the Lakers, however, the Pelicans asking price was too steep to get a deal done. Davis now has to finish out the season in New Orleans, where there is speculation that they may sit him out the rest of the season to avoid injury. The Davis saga will be put on hold until the offseason when he will likely be dealt to another team.
Winner: New York Knicks
This may sound crazy, but when the Knicks traded perennial all star Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas, they won that trade. The Knicks shed a big man who has been injury prone his whole career and is also coming off and ACL injury. They also added Dennis Smith Jr, who showed promise in Dallas, before rookie sensation Luka Doncic came to town. The Knicks not only have the potential number 1 overall pick in this year's draft, but they also have enough cap room to sign 2 players to max deals. The Knicks roster should be completely different from this year. At the start of next year, they could have Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving.
Loser: Washington Wizards
Not necessarily trade wise, but the Wizards may be in the worst shape out of any team in the NBA. Along with already being out the rest of this year because of knee surgery, John Wall partially ruptured his achilles while at home.....yikes. Wall is now expected to be out over a year. To add insult to injury, starting next year, they owe Wall $174 million over the next 4 years.....yikes again. They started to haul away some of their "wasted money" by trading Otto Porter Jr. to the Bulls. The bright side is the Wizards should have a high lottery pick, but that won't be enough to turn the franchise around. They are in big trouble.
Winner: Boston Celtics
Amid the Anthony Davis trade hype, Boston was forced to stay dormant prior to the trade deadline. They become eligible to trade for Davis on July 1st. They arguably have the most assets to trade for Davis this upcoming summer which include Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and draft picks. Boston is one of the favorites in the East as is, if the can land Davis this offseason, they could possibly become the favorites to win the NBA title. Their only obstacle is that Davis did not list Boston as one of the teams he would sign a long-term deal with.
Loser: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
Since the Knicks overhauled their entire roster with the hopes of signing 2 max players this offseason, Durant and Irving have been the epicenter of this talk. Both players will be free agents next year and there has been more talk about them joining the Knicks next year rather then their play this year. Both of their teams are considered the favorites in their respective conferences, but all they are asked about is whether they'll be a Knick next year or not.
Winner: Markelle Fultz
The first overall bust was dealt to the Orlando Magic, where he will get a fresh start. There is no telling whether the Florida weather will help him figure out how to shoot a basketball again, but it's worth a shot. Fultz also gets away from Jimmy Butler, who is notorious for being hard on certain players. Fultz is still out with no timetable to return, however, the change in scenery may be all the 20 year old needs to figure it out.
Winner and Loser: Los Angeles Lakers
It's pretty clear why the Lakers are winners. They didn't have to give up the whole franchise for Anthony Davis. The Pelicans wanted Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and 4 first round draft picks. Despite the pressure from fans and LeBron James to make a deal happen, Magic Johnson stood his ground and refused to get rid of their entire future for one player. They are losers because they didn't land Anthony Davis. Wait, but didn't we just say they were winners for not trading for Davis? Correct. The Lakers didn't get any better following the deadline while teams like Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Houston did. The Lakers are only a game above .500 and are in danger of missing the playoffs. To add, they also have to compete with their historic rival Boston Celtics in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes this offseason. They could become big time losers if they fail to acquire Davis yet again in July.
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