There are definitely winners and losers of this year’s NBA trade deadline, but we must take into account the situation of each team. Sometimes teams look like they lost when in reality they won considering that they may be in a rebuilding mode or took off some heavy finances on their books.
That being said, the winners of this year’s deadline are the OKC Thunder, Miami Heat and Portland Trailblazers. OKC has made it clear that they are in “Championship Now” mode especially with their most recent success in their transactions. They were able to trade Reggie Jackson (who eventually would command a huge payday and also wanted to have a starting role) and Kendrick Perkins (who is on a steep decline in his career) for D.J. Augustin, Enes Kanter, Kyle Singler and Steve Novak. All 4 of these of players will play huge roles in increasing the Thunder’s chances of winning that illustrious title. Augustin will provide a huge boost off the bench as their backup point guard, while Enes Kanter may even become their starting center. Kanter is more seasoned than Adams on the offensive end, but needs a lot of work defensively. Singler will be a great wing coming off the bench who can score, shoot the 3 and surprisingly, facilitate. It is still unknown whether Novak will be bought out or if he will have a role in this Thunder team, but they do need a consistent shooter on the perimeter.
The Miami Heat were able to trade away their ailing players for the Dragic brothers. Goran will help the Heat in a position that was lacking production. With his uncanny ability to hit the long range, finish at the rim and distribute the ball, Dragic should immediately help the Heat improve their chances in making the playoffs. And with Bosh’s season in jeopardy, Dragic may be forced into a larger workload than originally planned. Miami wins in this transaction because they get a serviceable point guard and only gave up role players and future first round draft picks. The Heat will remain a “Win Now” team so the future first rounders do not hurt them at all.
The Portland Trailblazers also win because of their recent acquisition of Arron Afflalo. It was no question that the Trailblazers were looking to add firepower to their wing position and Afflalo will help them as a reliable perimeter defender and offensive threat. Although he won’t be asked to do much on the offensive end and perhaps won’t get to start for this team, Portland needs him as their sixth man and for occasional defensive matchups against the league’s most feared players. Afflalo is a better defender than he is as a scorer, but don’t count him out just yet. He can get to the rim and shoot the trey just as well as Batum and will have the green light to shoot in the second unit.
Out of all the teams who participated in transaction, only one comes to mind as the loser of this year’s trade deadline. Many of the teams who dealt players and draft picks received decent to great value in return. The Philadelphia 76ers however, traded away last year’s ROY Michael Carter-Williams and high upside rookie K.J. McDaniels. They did receive future draft picks from the Lakers, Thunder, and Denver/Minnesota, but it still doesn’t make much sense. They gave away their starting point guard on a team that had no backup point guard and traded away McDaniels who is one of their better defenders. For a team who is looking to have a defensive identity, it doesn’t make sense to trade away McDaniels. Also, they picked up Javale McGee who hasn’t been healthy for the past couple years and still has 2 years on his contract. Call me crazy, but having 3 injured bigs on your team as your future building blocks isn’t looking so bright at the moment. Perhaps the 76ers didn’t think that MCW and McDaniels were in their future and are looking to strike gold in the future drafts, but in my opinion, they definitely lost in the transactions.