The NBA Trade Deadline Was DRAMATIC



The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of NBA trades. This is due to the fact that Thursday, February 10th was the trade deadline, which never fails to foster a sense of excitement, anxiety, and passion in fans throughout the world. Some teams attempt to improve their roster to become championship-level teams. Others start their rebuild and acquire future draft picks. In this article, I will be discussing some of the thrilling trades that have been made this year and my personal opinion on them. 


The first major trade happened on February 7th when the Indiana Pacers acquired Ricky Rubio, a guard from the Cleveland Cavaliers, in exchange for Caris Levert. The Cavaliers also gave a lottery-protected, first-round pick and two second-round picks in the 2022 NBA draft. The Cavaliers have been one of the most surprisingly exemplary teams this year with a top record in the east. This is due to their young guard, Darius Garland, who has drastically improved from last year. He even earned himself an all-star reserve spot on Team Lebron. Their center, Jarret Allen, has also been phenomenal, especially on defense. Caris Levert is a perfect acquisition because he fits their greatest need: an acceptable, offensive, small forward. He will provide consistent skills offensively while also being a solid defender. On the other hand, the Pacers seem to have started rebuilding. They have struggled this year and likely will not be a playoff contender. This trade allows them to obtain more young talents in the NBA Draft and start fresh. While both teams “win” in their own ways, I find the Cleveland Cavaliers to come out on top due to their massive improvement in their starting lineup. 


A day later, on February 8th, a huge 7-player-trade was completed by the Portland Trail Blazers and the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans traded away Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomáš Satoransky, Didi Louzada, a protected first-round pick, and two second-round picks. Although it seems like they have just traded away their entire roster, they received all star-caliber players CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr, and Tony Snell. This ends the nine-season partnership of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The Pelicans have not been the best-preforming team this year largely due to their injuries. However, one can expect Zion Williamson to make a comeback, helping them rise to their standard. On the other hand, the Trail Blazers give up on their current team and acquire young players and draft picks. They should look to start their rebuild in the offseason. The big question is: will Damian Lillard be traded? He has been known to be one of, if not the most, loyal players in the entire league. He continues to refuse to leave the city of Portland even after years of mediocrity. Still, his future with the Trail Blazers is unclear. I have the Pelicans gaining the slight edge in this trade with the Trail Blazers. 


That same day, the Kings and Pacers made a blockbuster deal that has proven confusing for fans. The Sacramento Kings traded young star Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson, for former all-star Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, and a second-round pick. This trade was baffling due to its lackluster gains for both sides. The Kings got rid of one of the best sophomores (Tyrese Haliburton) and one of the best shooters in the league (Buddy Hield) for three older players. I understand that Domantas Sabonis is a great player, but it is not worth giving up a possible future All-NBA player for him. As for the Pacers, this trade does not make them a better team, it makes them a younger one. The acquisition of Tyrese Haliburton continues their rebuild. The Pacers are clearly the winners of this exchange. 


On February 10th, the Dallas Mavericks made an unanticipated transaction. They made a trade to pick up Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans from the Washington Wizards. In return, the Wizards obtained Kristaps Porzingis and a second-round pick. Considering that Luka Doncic and Porzingis were meant to be the next superstar European duo, this trade is shocking. I understand that Porzingis did not fit with the Maverick’s plans but the Wizards come out on top in this exchange. Additionally, I do not see Spencer Dinwiddie as the key to the Mavericks’ success. They already have Luka Doncic, one of the best guards in the league, as well as Jalen Brunson, a young player that has truly stepped up this season. Simply put, I am against the belief that the Mavericks are a better team now than they were before making this trade. 


The final trade announced by the NBA is surely the biggest one of all and the most enthralling for fans of the Philadelphia region. Former MVP and current superstar, James Harden was sent to Philadelphia along with Paul Millsap in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and draft compensation. The Nets’ superstar trio comes to an end after only playing 16 games together. They will remain one of the biggest “what ifs” in recent history. However, they still found a way to improve their team while trading James Harden. They are getting incredible perimeter defense from Ben Simmons, one of the best three-point shooters in the league (Seth Curry), and Andre Drummond who will fill in their desperate starting center needs. For the Sixers, they finally end the Ben Simmons drama and are able to get the top-10 player that they sought in return for Simmons. The pairing of James Harden and Joel Embiid has the potential to be one of the best in the NBA and Tobias Harris is relieved of the pressure of being the second-best player on a championship team. While fans are not sure who gained the most out of the deal, we can only wait and see which team ends up achieving more throughout the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.