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December 2, 2022

Grading the biggest moves at the 2022 NBA trade deadline

By CHRISTOPHER XIAO | February 19, 2022

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PUBLIC DOMAIN 

Xiao reviews the 2022 NBA trade deadline moves.

The 2022 NBA trade deadline was a busy one with a few blockbuster trades. Let’s go through and analyze every (major) deal that was made. 

Cleveland Cavaliers trade for Caris LeVert 

Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Caris LeVert 

Indiana Pacers receive: Ricky Rubio, 2022 lottery-protected first, Houston Rockets’ (HOU) 2022 second-round pick (HOU), Utah Jazz’s (UTA) 2027 second-round pick

This deal was a major upgrade for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who land a talented scorer who was averaging 18.6 points per game. The Cavaliers are legitimate title contenders this year, and LeVert bolsters their offensive capabilities. The Pacers get cap flexibility with Rubio’s expiring contract and draft capital as they begin their rebuild. Both teams won this trade — A for both. 

Los Angeles Clippers trade for Norman Powell 

Los Angeles Clippers receive: Robert Covington, Powell 

Portland Trailblazers receive: Eric Bledsoe, Keon Johnson, Justise Winslow, Detroit Pistons (DET) 2025 second-round pick

This is a major win for the Clippers, who grab a player averaging 18.8 points as well as a solid defensive piece for almost nothing. Their rotation is now incredibly deep and will be a threat to any team in the Western Conference in the playoffs. Even if Kawhi Leonard and Paul George cannot return this season, the Clippers will still be dangerous in the playoffs. The Blazers get some cap flexibility by moving off two contracts, but the return was weak. Were they unable to get a first for Powell? The Blazers are rebuilding entirely around their star guard Damian Lillard, so it makes sense to tear down the roster, but it seems they should have gotten more compensation for two solid pieces. Clippers get an A+. Blazers get a C. 

New Orleans Pelicans trade for C.J. McCollum 

New Orleans Pelicans receive: McCollum, Larry Nance Jr., Tony Snell

Portland Trail Blazers receive: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart, Didi Louzada, Tomas Satoransky, 2022 first-round pick (1-4, 15-30 protected), 2026 second-round pick, 2027 second-round pick 

The Pelicans are currently 10th in the Western Conference standings. Adding McCollum’s scoring ability might allow them to make some noise in the play-in. If Zion Williamson returns this season, the Pelicans will definitely be a force, but the trio of Jonas Valanciunas, Brandon Ingram and McCollum should be enough to fight for a spot in the playoffs. The Blazers gain cap flexibility from this deal, moving off of McCollum’s three-year $100 million contract and some draft capital. Hart is also a decent piece. Portland needs to make some deals in the off season to justify dumping all of their pieces, but the current roster wasn’t going anywhere anyway. Pelicans get an A. Portland gets an A.

Sacramento Kings trade for Domantas Sabonis 

Sacramento Kings receive: Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, 2023 second-round pick 

Indiana Pacers receive: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Tristan Thompson 

Haliburton was supposed to be the future of the Sacramento Kings, but he is now the hope of Indiana. Haliburton is a great young player, but Sabonis massively upgrades the King’s offense. Shipping off Haliburton also creates playing time for Davion Mitchell. De’Aaron Fox and Sabonis can definitely lead Sacramento to the play-in and potentially the playoffs. Indiana builds for the future and stops trying to compete for the playoffs in a stacked Eastern Conference. Both teams get an A. 

Milwaukee Bucks trade for Serge Ibaka 

Milwaukee Bucks receive: Ibaka, 2022 second-round pick, 2024 second-round pick 

Los Angeles Clippers receive: Rodney Hood, Semi Ojeleye 

Sacramento Kings receive: Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Jackson, Trey Lyles 

Detroit Pistons receive: Marvin Bagley III 

Some draft busts and seconds were swapped — nothing too major. DiVincenzo is a solid piece to put around Fox and Sabonis. DiVincenzo was shooting 38% from the three-point line last season before his injury, and if he can regain his form he will be a big help in Sacramento’s playoff push. Ibaka can soak up some minutes in Milwaukee’s rotation while center Brook Lopez is injured, but it is mildly disappointing to have to give up on DiVincenzo who still has potential. Kings get an A. Every other team gets a B. 

Boston Celtics trade for Derrick White 

Boston Celtics receive: White 

San Antonio Spurs receive: Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, 2022 first-round pick 

It is sad to see Richardson leave Boston along with Langford, who all Boston fans were hoping to see blossom into a third star. Unfortunately, injuries set his progress back time and time again. Maybe a change of scenery will help Langford unlock his star potential. Langford is a top perimeter defender, and if he can stay healthy the Spurs’ coaching staff can help him become a consistent scorer. White pushes Boston to contender status. White is an elite perimeter defender and along with Marcus Smart will make life miserable for opposing teams. The Celtics already had a top defense, ranked first in the league since the new year. White will alleviate some playmaking concerns, and the trade also makes room in the rotation for Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith. This team is ready for banner 18. Spurs get an A. Celtics get an A+. 

Boston Celtics trade for Daniel Theis 

Boston Celtics receive: Theis 

Houston Rockets receive: Dennis Schroder, Bruno Fernando, Enes Freedom

The prodigal son returns. Theis comes back to where he belongs and will play impactful minutes at center with his ability as a screener and floor spacer. Schroder’s minutes will be replaced by White, and Brad Stevens can be active on the buyout market to fill out the roster. Houston just dumps salary and will surely buy out Schroder. Houston gets an A. Boston gets an A. 

Philadelphia 76ers trade for James Harden 

Philadelphia 76ers receive: Harden, Paul Millsap 

Brooklyn Nets receive: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, 2022 first-round pick, 2027 first-round pick 

One of the best teams ever assembled on paper has disintegrated in just one season. Brooklyn is on a double-digit losing streak and has plummeted in the standings. Simmons is a decent piece to get in exchange for Harden, but to state the obvious, he can’t shoot. Curry can space the floor from three but is one of the worst defenders in the league. Drummond is an ok big man but struggles to finish efficiently at the rim. Brooklyn gave up so many assets to grab Harden and has been left with three pieces that each have glaring flaws. Does this team really have the mental fortitude to fight through the play-in tournament, especially with a part-time Kyrie Irving? As for the Sixers, Harden and Joel Embiid pick and roll, that’s all I have to say. Sixers get an A+. Brooklyn gets an F. 

Washington Wizards trade for Kristaps Porzingis 

Washington Wizards receive: Porzingis, second-round pick 

Dallas Mavericks receive: Spencer Dinwiddie, Davis Bertans 

This trade is essentially swapping bad contracts. The Mavericks turn Porzingis’ massive contract into two smaller bad contracts, which are easier to move off. They might be concerned about Porzingis’ injury history and hope Bertans can progress to the mean and go back to shooting 40% from the three-point line. Porzingis gets to be the man on the Wizards, but all this really does in my opinion is solidify Washington’s position as a mediocre team, stuck in basketball purgatory. Both sides get a C.

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