The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) trade deadline has come and gone, but not without several big names on the move. As teams look toward the playoffs, we’ll break down the big trades to see their impact on the rest of this season and beyond.
In a four-team trade between the Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves, the Hawks added Clint Capela and Nene to their roster and the Nuggets took Keita Bates-Diop, Gerald Green, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh and the Rockets’ 2020 first-round pick.
The Rockets received Jordan Bell, Robert Covington and Golden State’s 2024 second-round pick, and the Timberwolves’ haul included Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangómez, Evan Turner, Jarred Vanderbilt and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2020 first-round pick.
This trade has the most impact on the Rockets. Though Capela’s 2019-2020 numbers don’t quite match the career year he had in the 2018-2019 season, he was still valuable for the Rockets as the team’s only big man playing serious minutes.
After trading for Russell Westbrook in the offseason, Houston is in “win now” mode. The Rockets have relied heavily on three pointers and strong guard play, and the addition of Covington bolsters Houston’s defense and wing depth. However, failing to add a big to replace Capela means they will be trotting out undersized PJ Tucker at center.
Capela joins a very young Atlanta Hawks team. Besides Trae Young, the Hawks have had a pretty forgettable season thus far. Capela will anchor the paint both on offense and defense, as well as providing some experience despite only being 25.
Denver appears to be filling out their payroll, as it’s unlikely their added players will see significant minutes. Minnesota’s haul looks fairly insignificant, and apart from Turner, the players they acquired won’t cause any big cap hits.
In a deal between the Golden State Warriors and the Timberwolves, the Warriors brought in Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2022 second-round pick. The Timberwolves continued their trade deadline action by adding D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman.
With Kevin Durant’s departure and Klay Thompson out for the season with an ACL injury, this year marked the first season in a long time that the Warriors did not enter as heavy title favorites. Golden State landed D’Angelo Russell in a sign and trade, but has been the subject of trade talks since he arrived.
After Steph Curry went down early in the year with a hand injury, Golden State has sat at the bottom of league standings. The Warriors are clearly retooling for next year and have decided they don’t need Russell next season as the third guard in the backcourt.
Wiggins is locked in until 2023 and, despite his big contract, addresses the Warriors’ need for an athletic wing that can score. They still need to add depth, but in an off year, the Wiggins acquisition and accompanying draft picks are geared toward filling in the pieces around Steph and Klay as Golden State works its way back to contention.
The Timberwolves look like they have some direction. After the Jimmy Butler experiment failed last year, Minnesota sat at a dismal 15-35 entering the deadline. Karl-Anthony Towns is still a force, but the Timberwolves ultimately needed another star to compete.
The Timberwolves can be expected to move some money around and prepare to build around Russell and Towns in years to come. This season is a lost cause, but the Timberwolves have nearly 30 games for Russell and Towns to settle in as they get ready for next season.
A three-team trade sent players to and from the Miami Heat, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Timberwolves. The Heat brought in Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill while the Grizzlies received Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and Gorgui Dieng. The Timberwolves added James Johnson.
Trading Iguodala has been a long time coming for the Grizzlies. After they acquired him in the offseason, Iguodala has refused to play, which didn’t sit well with Memphis’ young stars. Adding Winslow builds upon the Grizzlies’ young nucleus of Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson, Jr.
The Jimmy Butler signing added to Miami’s collection of talent, but no one predicted they’d play as well as they have. The Heat aren’t quite championship contenders this year, but they have all the pieces to develop into a top-five team soon.
Iguodala isn’t the defender he once was, but he should provide stability and a veteran presence on a fairly young Heat team. Crowder and Hill are both good role players, and the added defense from this trade sets Miami up for a strong playoff push.
Johnson, like Iguodala, will take on a veteran role for the young Timberwolves. He’s a solid player that will clock minutes for a Timberwolves team trying to adjust to the Russell’s acquisition.
In the last big trade, the Cleveland Cavaliers received Andre Drummond and sent Brandon Knight, John Henson and their 2024 second-round pick to the Detroit Pistons. Drummond is a free agent after this season, and it’s possible the Cavs are seeing how he plays alongside their young guards.
For the Pistons, this move doesn’t make much sense. Drummond was one of the most coveted big men available at the deadline and the Pistons gave him up for next to nothing. It feels like the Pistons would’ve been better served keeping Drummond until his contract expires.
As the NBA season races to a close, it’ll be interesting to see how much impact these trades will have on the playoff race.