The 2016 NBA Trade Deadline has passed, and although it didn’t prove to be as exciting as last season, a few key players could make a difference on their new teams. There were 2 major deals, that came from out of nowhere. First, between the Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns:
|Wizards receive:||Suns receive:|
|– PF Markieff Morris||– PF Kris Humphries
– Pf/C DeJuan Blair
– protected 1st-round pick
On the surface, this deal makes sense for both teams. Morris was unhappy in Phoenix: they traded his brother Marcus without consulting him, and Morris also had an ongoing feud with (now former) head-coach Jeff Hornacek. This trade to the Wizards gives him a fresh start, on a team that needs him to produce.
For the Suns, they can begin the rebuilding process…again. With star point-guard Eric Bledsoe nursing an injury, the Suns can play their young talent and lose enough games to secure a high draft-pick. At 14-40 on the season, the Suns will be in great position to grab a top-five draft pick to pair with Bledsoe. Morris was not helping the team, on the court or off, so this trade allows them a fresh start as well.
The Wizards desperately need Morris to pan out. Only 3 games out of a playoff spot, Washington is counting on Morris to return to the player he was last season. Compare his stats from last season to now:
This season, his numbers are down across the board, barely cracking an 11/5 points-to-rebounds ratio. The Wizards are hoping that with an improved attitude and a better cast of players around him, Morris will bounce back to the player he was one year ago.
There is a lot of risk involved though. The Wizards may still miss the playoffs, and unless their pick falls within the top-9, the Suns will receive the pick. Morris brings in a history of bad-attitude, something that may be unwelcome in a relatively friendly Wizards locker-room that includes guys like John Wall, Marcin Gortat, and Bradley Beal.
But Morris also offers the Wizards a certain hope – that they have 3 budding stars aged 26 and under, all growing together. Along with Wall and upstart shooting-guard Bradley Beal, Morris could help solidify a core that could be powerful in the East for years to come.
Still though, this move is not an obvious hit or miss – we will have to wait and see.
The other big deal of the day was between the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies:
|Clippers receive:||Grizzlies receive:|
|– SF/PF Jeff Green||– SG Lance Stephenson
– future 1st-round pick
Each team trades a journey-man, but both teams are better off having made this trade. Green is a talented hybrid forward, able to play both small-forward and power-forward. Since Paul Pierce hasn’t panned out the way the Clippers had hoped, Green can fill that role, giving Clippers’ star point-guard Chris Paul another player to pass to on the perimeter.
Memphis, on the other hand, receives the worse player of the two. Stephenson is in a free-fall right now; only two season removed from a borderline All-Star season, he’s now on his third team in less than 2 seasons. Stephenson was unable to earn more than 16 minutes per game in LA, even with their injuries.
Memphis, who also traded shooting-guard Courtney Lee two days ago, have room for Stephenson, but the real reason Memphis made this deal is that they turned Green’s expiring deal into a draft-pick. The Clippers are happy to take the half-season “rental” of Green, and the Grizzlies now can draft a player they wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise.
All in all, this deal makes sense for both teams.
Other notable trades around the league:
|Detriot Pistons receive:||Orlando Magic receive:|
|– SF Tobias Harris||– PG Brandon Jennings
– PF Ersan Ilyasova
The Pistons have a lot of faith in PG Reggie Jackson, so Jennings was a surplus. Instead they get a go-to scorer in Harris, who will fit well next to big-man Andre Drummond. The Magic, who aren’t completely sold on Elfrid Payton’s offensive ability, have a different option now in Jennings.
|Cleveland Cavaliers receive||Orlando Magic receive||Portland Trail Blazers receive|
|– PF Channing Frye||– F Jared Cunningham
– POR 2nd-round pick
|– PF/C Anderson Varejao
– CLE 1st-round pick
Portland makes out best in this trade, coming away with the best asset involved: a first-round pick. The Cavaliers don’t necessarily need Frye, as they already have a similar (better) player in Kevin Love, but it adds another shooter, which is always a positive. The Magic are likely happy just to have gotten rid of Frye, to free up time for their young bigs like Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic.
|Detriot Pistons receive:||Houston Rockets receive:|
|– PF Donatas Motiejunas
– SG Marcus Thornton
|– C Joel Anthony
– 1st-round pick
This trade shows that the Pistons are serious about becoming contenders in the future. Although Motiejunas is injured at the moment, he’s young and will not cost much. When he plays, he’ll help make the Pistons starting-five one of the most formidable in the league. The Rockets take back a pick, but you have to wonder about how so much has changed since the Rockets fell just a few games short in the WCF last season.
For a full list of deadline-moves, check out this thread by reddit user duneboggler.
Statistics provided by: ESPN.com and basketball-reference.com
Images thanks to: USA Today, Grantland, LA Times, CBS