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3 Winners and Losers of the NBA Trade Deadline

Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield (7) in the first half against the Sacramento Kings at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The NBA trade deadline has come and gone. It was a relativity quiet deadline with no stars being moved. Many of the biggest names rumored to be traded before the deadline were not dealt at all. Nevertheless, there were several impactful trades and teams affected by deadline decisions. Let’s dive into the biggest winners and losers of the deadline. 

3 Winners and Losers of the NBA Trade Deadline

Winner#1: New York Knicks 

The New York Knicks have been on a roll recently, and they doubled down on their talent at the deadline by acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks from the Detroit Pistons. The Knicks were able to land these players for a cheap price, making it a no-brainer deal. Both Bogdanovic and Burks are ideal fits with the Knicks. Bogdanovic provides additional floor spacing and shot creation. His fit alongside OG Anunoby on the wing is incredibly intriguing. Burks gives the Knicks shooting and secondary playmaking abilities off the bench.

The East is wide open outside the Boston Celtics with the Milwaukee Bucks’ recent struggles and Joel Embiid’s injury. The Knicks took advantage of this opportunity and fully established themselves as a legitimate threat in the East. After these moves, you could argue that the Knicks are now the second-best team in the East. Furthermore, Bogdanovic and Burks give the Knicks some cap flexibility in the offseason.

Winner #2: Dallas Mavericks 

The Dallas Mavericks felt like they were a piece or two away from being true contenders in the West. While they didn’t land any true stars, they upgraded their roster meaningfully by adding P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford. Washington is a high-level, versatile forward who will fit perfectly next to Luka Doncic. Gafford has quietly been an elite role player for the Washington Wizards this season. His rebounding, shot-blocking, and rim-running abilities make him a natural fit for the Mavericks.

Gafford’s defense and rim protection will be especially valuable for the Mavericks, who currently have the 22nd-ranked defense. Both Washington and Gafford will strengthen the Mavericks frontcourt, which was a clear area of need. These moves came at the price of two first-round picks and role players Grant Williams, Seth Curry, and Richaun Holmes. However, the price is worth it as Dallas moves closer to contention and upgrades their roster. 

Winner #3: Philadelphia 76ers 

The Philadelphia 76ers’ season and deadline plans changed drastically after Embiid’s recent injury. The 76ers had the cap space and assets to make a big move but opted to upgrade their complementary talent. Landing Buddy Hield relatively cheaply is a great move, especially considering his long-term fit with their core. Hield gives the Sixers more shooting and secondary shot creation. Hield’s ability to play on and off the ball makes him a natural fit next to the 76ers core. With the most cap space in the league, the 76ers will likely improve their roster more during free agency, and this was clearly not the right deadline for Philly to target a star. Ultimately, landing Hield is an impactful move that gives them a high-level complementary wing. 

Loser #1: Toronto Raptors 

The Toronto Raptors’ direction is puzzling. After trading Pascal Siakam and Anunoby, it was widely believed they were in full rebuild mode. However, trading a 2024 first-round pick for Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji says differently. The Raptors also gave up Otto Porter Jr. and Kira Lewis in the deal. This feels like a solid move for a contender but not a team that just committed to a rebuild. Olynyk is a pending free agent, so the Raptors may have to commit more money to him this offseason.

Agbaji is a young wing with some upside, and many would argue he’s the main appeal of the trade for Toronto. However, his first two seasons have been underwhelming, and he’s definitely not worth a first-round pick. It’s worth noting the pick is the worst out of the least favorable of OKC/Clippers/Rockets/Jazz and will likely be in the late 20s. Despite the lower value of the pick, retaining draft capital would make more sense for the Raptors’ timeline. The Raptors later swapped Dennis Schroder and Thaddeus Young for Spencer Dinwiddie, another questionable move. However, the Raptors waived Dinwiddie, allowing them to bottom out and making the move defensible. Ultimately, not landing more pieces that fit their young core and trading a first-round pick feels disappointing for the Raptors. 

Loser #2: Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors season has been nothing short of a disaster. They currently sit 11th in the conference and had some of the most pressure in the league to make a move. However, the Warriors’ only trade was moving Cory Joseph to the Pacers for a second-round pick. The lack of consistent shot creation outside of Stephen Curry has been one of the main problems. While Jonathan Kuminga’s emergence has helped, additional shot creation was a clear need. Even if the Warriors couldn’t land a traditional second option, upgrading their frontcourt size with quality role players would have been a solid move. Ultimately, the Warriors desperately needed a roster shake-up to turn around their season, and doing nothing at the deadline after 48 games of disappointment is a complete failure. 

Loser #3: Los Angeles Lakers 

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a similar position to the Warriors. They are in the midst of a disappointing season and opted not to upgrade their roster. Leading up to the deadline, the Lakers were involved in several star trade rumors, mainly Dejounte Murray. The Lakers didn’t need to land a star, but upgrading floor spacing and secondary creation was needed. There were plenty of options for a smaller yet meaningful upgrade at a cheap price, including Bogdanovic. The Lakers have a better chance to turn their season around than the Warriors but are now facing an uphill battle because they opted to keep this roster together. Last year, the Lakers turned around their season by re-tooling their roster at the deadline. This year, they may have sealed their fate as play-in team and non-contender by not upgrading.  


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