The Deadline Breakdown
Many said this deadline would be a quiet one, even though we all saw a few likely moves. It was obvious that the Cavaliers needed to do something, but no one could have guessed that Cleveland would be blowing it up and reconstructing entirely. The day was full of small name transactions and the usual bag of picks changing places. Elfrid Payton and his hair found a new home, Jameer Nelson moved for the 3rd time this year and there was a three team deal that didn't do much to transform anyone involved. These are all typical of deadline day. What wasn't typical was a championship contender undergoing a complete face lift. Most of the meaningful trades that happened today were centered around the ever growing tornado of turmoil that is Cleveland. Yet somehow DeAndre Jordan is still a Clipper and Tyreke Evans sat out for nothing. Now that the deadline has passed, here's what went down.
Cavs/Lakers Mega Swap
In the most surprising move of the day the Los Angeles Lakers trade Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the expiring contracts of Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and Cleveland's protected 1st round pick. The move frees up enough cap space for the Lakers to sign two max players in free agency next summer as well as giving them a pick in the first round of this year's draft. For the Cavaliers it does much more than just bring in youth and athleticism. The trade also rids them of the disruption Isaiah Thomas caused in the locker room. Channing Frye was a glue guy that they hate to lose but sometimes it's the price you have to pay to reset and salvage your last season of Lebron.
It was reported that IT's agent made it clear that his client would not be coming off of the bench in L.A. and if this is true, it may be the nail in the coffin for Thomas' Brinks truck dreams. The Lakers may be willing to start him alongside Lonzo Ball but with the way Isaiah has performed since returning and the attitude with which he's approached the Cavalier's struggles, IT may need to quiet down and find his role before teams sour on him completely.
Overall both teams made out great in this deal. The Lakers gain flexibility and the Cavs get younger while searching for a happier locker room.
Hood, Hill Join Cavs in 3 Way Deal
Three way trades are usually a lot to wrap your head around on a busy deadline day so I'll spare you the "from who, to where, with what" and show you who ended up on each team. This deal has George Hill and Rodney Hood heading to Cleveland, Iman Shumpert, Joe Johnson and Miami's 2020 2nd round pick with the Kings, and the Utah Jazz will receive Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder.
It's likely that the Jazz waive Derrick Rose and he signs with a team destined for the playoffs. Thibs and the Timberwolves have already expressed interest, duh. Joe Johnson is also a candidate to find himself on the open market and would likely be snatched up quickly in a similar scenario. Cleveland improves all around while not losing much at all. Another winning culture changer for the Cavaliers and a successful salary dump for both Utah and Sacramento.
Like the last trade I'll sum it up by giving you the final destination of the players involved. Emmanual Mudiay and a future 2nd rounder now belong to the Knicks, Devin Harris and a 2018 2nd rounder head to the Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks acquire Dougy McBuckets... er McDermot.
This could be what Mudiay needs, a change of scenery. McBuckets, well, I just feel bad for the guy. Dougy will end up playing in every NBA city at this rate. The trade doesn't move the needle much for any of the teams involved but sometimes a shuffling of the decks is enough to inject something into your lineup.
D-Wade Goes Home
Hopefully with Lebron's permission, the Cavs trade Dwyane Wade to Miami for (a heavily protected 2020 2nd round pick) basically nothing. Wade has expressed interest in ending his career in Miami and this could signal the end for him. His veteran experience may help the Heat in the playoffs but mostly this is just the Cavaliers saying "We don't want you anymore but we'll send you some place nice."
Elfrid Payton to the Suns
...In exchange for a 2nd round pick.
*Insert a joke about his hair and a joke about the Phoenix Suns.*
Jameer Nelson to the Pistons
Detroit bolsters their thin back court with a veteran presence and the Bulls take on Willie Reed who will likely be waived. Jameer Nelson couldn't find his fit in New Orleans after being waived by the Denver Nuggets and was dealt to the Bulls in the Mirotic deal. This opportunity with the Pistons could prove to be the last gasp of his career. Nelson is a great teammate and the Pistons seem to have found magic in the Blake trade. Detroit may be the perfect place for him to give one last hurrah.
Pistons Add James Ennis
Grizzlies Swap Ennis for Brice Johnson and a 2nd rounder. Other than Koby Altman, Stan Van Gundy is the most active man this deadline. That will happen when your job is on the line. Sometimes when you need to do something, you'll do anything. Fortunately these "anythings" have all been pretty solid.
Today was fun, Twitter was amazing and the NBA is my best friend. Luckily the 3 o'clock deadline isn't where the fun ends. We get to tune in while each team's new additions make their debuts and figure things out. We get to see the long lasting effects of decisions made on this day. If anything, the fun starts now. Whether it's IT in Hollywood, the new look Cavs or just Elfrid Payton's hair leading the league in blocks, I can't look away and neither should you.