The NBA Trade Deadline came and went with more action than many anticipated, headlined by the Cleveland Cavaliers trading away nearly half of their roster. Though many of the big names (DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, Avery Bradley, Tyreke Evans) didn't move, many of the trades will impact how the rest of the NBA season plays out. Here are the biggest winners and losers from the deadline:
The Cavs were easily the biggest winner of the trade deadline. They got rid of all of their locker room dysfunction by parting with seven players and got younger players in return. Jordan Clarkson, George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., and Rodney Hood all give Cleveland needed athleticism and shooting, and everyone other than Hill is 25 years old or younger. So, not only will they help the Cavs now, but they will also make up a solid young core (along with whoever Cleveland takes with the Brooklyn first-round pick) should LeBron James leave this offseason. They essentially got the best of both worlds with their deals.
Los Angeles Lakers
LA gave up valuable assets to get Isaiah Thomas - who may never play for them - Channing Frye, and a first-round pick, but what they really did was maximize their cap space for the offseason. And, considering that was their goal all along, it makes them a winner. For the first time in what feels like forever, the Lakers have a plan and are executing it.
Another Cavs trade sent Wade back to the Miami Heat for a protected second-round pick, which makes Wade one of the biggest winners of the deadline. He'll get to go back to where he spent the first 13 seasons of his career, will play a bigger role for the Heat than he did for the Cavs, and, well, gets to go to Miami. He's the best player in Heat franchise history so it's great to see him back.
New York Knicks
The Knicks managed to get back some value for Willy Hernangomez, a player who couldn't crack the rotation (even though I think he's extremely talented), and then parted with an inconsequential player in Doug McDermott for Emmanuel Mudiay, who is still a young player with upside - particularly defensively - and will serve a valuable role off the bench. Getting something for nothing is always a good thing.
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10 months ago, Isaiah Thomas was one of the darlings of the NBA while leading the Boston Celtics to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Now, he's the scapegoat for Cleveland's problems this season and was sent to a Lakers team that wants him to be a backup. He'll probably end up getting bought out and simply finding a team willing to give him a big role is more problematic than getting that max contract he was looking for in Boston.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder needed to replace Andre Roberson defensively at the deadline and had two targets - Avery Bradley and Jonathon Simmons - who were available and were exactly what they needed. Instead, Oklahoma City wasn't able to swing a deal for either and are now still sitting a tier below Golden State and Houston because of their defensive woes.
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles appeared to be hitting the reset button on a rebuild by trading Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons...but they didn't. They chose to sign Lou Williams to an extension and keep both DeAndre Jordan and Avery Bradley (who they don't plan to re-sign in free agency this offseason). They'll still look to trade Williams and Jordan this offseason, but keeping both will hurt their chances of getting a better draft pick. And there was no reason to keep Bradley.
Much like Oklahoma City, Milwaukee had been looking to acquire another quality player to boost their chances at a playoff run. After all, they traded for Eric Bledsoe in November and wanted to go all-in on winning now. Now that they were unable to make any moves, they have a roster that isn't expected to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.