This year’s NBA Trade Deadline was one for the ages. Most of the news came from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who executed three different trades with four different teams. Other moves such as the Orlando Magic trading Elfrid Payton to the Phoenix Suns made waves as well. After examining every trade, here are the winners and losers of this year’s deadline.
NBA Trade Deadline: Winners and Losers
The Cavaliers traded Wade to the Miami Heat for a heavily protected second-round draft pick. After a confusing and frustrating stint with the Cavaliers, Wade will return to the place where he belongs. Being back in Miami will boost Wade’s play. As of right now, he is only averaging 11.2 points per game. Plus, he will be someone for the young players on the roster to lean on as they try to stay in the playoff picture in the East.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a first-round draft pick. Although the Lakers lost a key bench player in Clarkson, they also freed themselves from his and Nance’s expiring contracts. This allows the Lakers to sign two max players this summer. There have been a lot of stories about the Lakers going after top-tier players such as LeBron James and Paul George. With the young talent — Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball — making strides this season, the Lakers have set themselves up to be an attractive destination once again.
The downward spiral of Thomas continues. After an MVP-caliber 2017 season, a hip injury halted his momentum. The NBA world was anticipating his return last month, wondering how he would impact the Cavaliers going forward. But things went sour. In his 15 games with the Cavs, IT only averaged 14.5 points per game, a far cry from his career high 28.9 points per game from last season. Also, he is shooting a career-low low 36 percent from the field. Thomas’ stint with the Cavs was spent in frustration. After the trade went down, a new rumor emerged. Thomas’ agent said that if he is not in the starting lineup for the Lakers, he would request a buyout. Isaiah Thomas seems to be limbo. The Lakers are fully invested in Ball as their PG. Thomas’ best bet is to reach a buyout agreement. Even then, there are not many playoff teams for him to go to.
As mentioned before, the Cavaliers were able to land Clarkson and Nance Jr. They also acquired Rodney Hood from the Utah Jazz and George Hill from the Sacramento Kings. The Cavaliers gained solid role players, but they missed out on the chance to get Kemba Walker from the Charlotte Hornets and DeAndre Jordan from the Los Angeles Clippers. Both of those players are better impact players. Kemba Walker would have provided another scoring punch for the Cavaliers, which is something they desperately need now that Kevin Love is out with an injury and Thomas is gone. Now, the Cavaliers will have to rely on James to carry even more of the load. The new players must gel quickly and solve the defensive woes that have plagued Cleveland all season long if they want to return to the finals.
Jordan Clarkson was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a bigger deal. Credit: Wikipedia Commons/Keith Allison