A lot of big moves were made this season. Teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Toronto Raptors were very active as the trade deadline came to a close. We saw big names like Nikola Mirotic, Tobias Harris, and Marc Gasol get moved to new teams. Many teams had different reasons to move players around and adjust their roster. There were teams looking to dump salary, and contending teams trying to improve their roster before the playoffs start. There were also teams just trying to make their roster more fitted to succeed in the future rather than now. A lot of changes occurred this season and can affect the way the NBA is in the future.
What the 2019 Trade Deadline Meant for the Future of the NBA
2019 Trade Deadline Recap
The Big Moves
One of the bigger trades made before this year’s trade deadline was the Gasol move to the Raptors. The Memphis Grizzlies traded Gasol to a contending team, the Toronto Raptors, for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles, and 2024 second round draft pick. This trade worked out for both sides as the Grizzlies were able to get a great quality big man in Valanciunas, as well as two solid role players in Miles and Wright. The Raptors were able to benefit off this trade by improving their roster with the addition of an all-star center in Gasol.
Another trade that shocked many people was the Mirotic to the Bucks. The Bucks acquired Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Jason Smith, Stanley Johnson, and four second-round picks. The Bucks were able to improve their contending roster by adding a capable scorer in Mirotic. They also improved by getting another shooter to compliment star player, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Pelicans, however, had to blow up their roster due to the trade request from Anthony Davis, thus moving Mirotic off their team.
There were a lot of big names being moved, but the biggest name moved was arguably Kristaps Porzingis. The New York Knicks made a blockbuster trade with the Dallas Mavericks just before the trade deadline. The Knicks traded Porzingis along with Tim Hardaway Jr, and Courtney Lee, and in return, the Knicks received DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and Dennis Smith Jr.
There was a fear that Porzingis would want out of New York soon, and that fear became a reality. The Knicks had their hands tied with this trade. They had to find a deal in which they can plan for the future, and this deal with the Mavericks was the best possible trade they could’ve made. They received a great young player in Dennis Smith Jr. and also were able to open up a huge amount of cap space for this year’s star-studded free agency.
On the other hand, the Mavericks made a huge move to help improve the roster. With the arrival of star rookie, Luka Doncic, it was only a matter of time that the Mavericks would let go of Dennis Smith Jr. This was the best possible trade the Mavericks could have made for Smith. They received arguably a top ten player in the NBA when healthy in Porzingis, and also got great two way players in Lee and Hardaway Jr. This isn’t the only move the Mavericks made though.
The Mavericks also traded forward Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings for Justin Jackson and veteran Zach Randolph. This trade didn’t mean much for the Mavericks, but for the Kings, it meant a lot. The Kings are going all in on making the playoffs this season, and are getting more aggressive to get into a win-now state of mind. Harrison Barnes is the perfect compliment to De’Aaron Fox and can help elevate this Kings team to the next level.
The Most Puzzling Move
Though these trades were huge shockers, the trade that took the NBA by surprise was the Tobias Harris trade by the Clippers. The Clippers traded Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and Mike Scott to another contending team, the Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia gave up Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, their 2020 first-round pick, Miami’s 2021 first-round pick, and their 2021 and 2023 second-round picks.
With this trade, the 76ers increased their chances to make it out of the East by creating a ridiculous starting five. Their new starting five consists of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler, and Tobias Harris.
On the other hand, the Clippers were able to dump a lot of salaries which allows them to have a chance to sign two max contract players this offseason. They also were able to keep a roster that is still capable of making the playoffs.
Player Driven League
The NBA is becoming a player driven league. Almost 99% of the time, if a player wants something, he will get it. Anthony Davis had openly requested a trade from his team on January 28th. Right away, the Pelicans started looking for buyers to take Davis. It’s very tough for owners and general managers to really do anything about situations like this. They can’t force players to give their all on the court for a team they don’t want to play for.
Another lesson that comes from the trade deadline is that the league is becoming more mobile. Players are moving all over the place, and it is happening at a rapid pace. Tobias Harris literally just went coast to coast. Players being moved is now a normal thing seen in the NBA. Organizations are becoming more analytic based, which has been a big factor in the movement of these players. Teams are no longer hesitating when they see an opportunity to help their roster. Whether it is tanking or improving contending rosters, teams will do whatever it takes with no hesitation.
As the years go by, the NBA will continue to evolve as more teams will try to find ways to reach their goals. It is inevitable that teams will create new and innovative ways to improve their roster. With the trade deadline behind us, teams will now focus on the buyout market to improve their roster.