NBA Trade Deadline Recap: Winners and Losers

Trevi Alickolli, Sports Editor

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A new era starts in Minnesota, a new philosophy begins in Houston, one Los Angelas team along with Miami continues to add weapons and other teams build for the future as the National Basketball Association trade deadline came and passed last Thursday.

More than three dozen players switched teams at the deadline as teams prepare to close out the regular season, compete in the playoffs and in some cases, rebuild for the years to come.

Here are some of the most important and impactful trades that took place this season, including the winners and losers of those trades.

Clint Capela, Robert Covington headline massive four-team trade.

The Houston Rockets are taking a massive risk and experimenting this season. After seemingly everyone in the NBA has moved away from small-ball, Houston elected to trade their only big man in their rotation, center Clint Capela. In return, the Rockets get one of the premier 3 and D players in the NBA in Covington.

As their roster is currently constructed, 34-year-old P.J. Tucker, standing at 6 feet 5 inches, is their starting center.  In a Western Conference where Houston has to go through the likes of Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Montrezl Harrell and Rudy Gobert, this fast-paced style of play will either be revolutionary for the Rockets or their downfall.

There are other options where they may pursue a bigger center such as the buyout market, but Houston has yet to make that move.

Atlanta is the new home for Houston’s former center. The Hawks are one of the worst teams, record-wise, in the NBA this season but they are set up very well for the future with their young star Trae Young and now a center that can anchor their defense in Capela.

Before the deadline, the Hawks allowed the second-most points per game and were the seventh-worst rebounding team in the NBA. Adding a center who averages 13.9 points per game, 13.8 rebounds per game and is known for having a good defensive presence is certainly a step in the right direction for Atlanta.

In addition, the Hawks have more than $56 million in cap room this summer. A big turnaround may be on the horizon in Atlanta.

The other two teams involved in this trade, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets, received a few role players and a 2020 first-round pick each.

Timberwolves finally land D’angelo Russell.

Minnesota has been connected to Russell ever since last summer during free agency. The Brooklyn Nets were unwilling to trade him to Minnesota then and chose to send him to Golden State instead.

Now, the Wolves get their guy as they send forward Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 top-three protected first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick to the Warriors.

Just like that, Minnesota pairs Russell with Karl-Anthony Towns and has its two cornerstones for its franchise to lead them into the future, all while not having to give up their 2020 first-round pick, which is likely to be a top-ten, potentially top-five pick.

Russell is averaging nearly 24 points per game and should only get better as he is only 23 years old.

Clippers continue to add while Lakers stand put. 

Many believe that the Western Conference is a battle of the L. A. teams this season. The reason why the Clippers are contenders this season is in large part due to the fact that their front office has been very smart and aggressive throughout the season.

They continued that trend as they acquired Marcus Morris Sr. who was one of the biggest fish on the market after a breakout season with the New York Knicks, averaging nearly 20 PPG while shooting above 40 percent from the field and three-point land.

Not only does this add to an already loaded roster for the Clippers but this move keeps Morris away from the Clippers direct competition, the Lakers, who had been in discussion to land Morris but ultimately decided the price was too steep.

This was a three-team trade, New York’s biggest compensation was a 2020 first-round pick. The Washington Wizards received Jerome Robinson.

Heat get more competitive, more flexible for the future. 

In another three-team trade, the Miami Heat acquired Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill. The Memphis Grizzlies received Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and Gorgui Dieng. The Timberwolves got James Johnson.

This trade is a win-win-win for all teams involved as Miami adds experienced, veteran wing players as they gear up for the playoffs, Grizzlies add a young forward who fits their timeline better and the Timberwolves exchange players.

The Grizzlies are currently in a tough battle for the last and final spot for the playoffs and are positioned well for the future with Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackon Jr. and now Justise Winslow.

If there was a slight winner of this trade, Memphis edges Miami and Minnesota by an inch.

Best of the rest. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers landed Andre Drummond for next to nothing at the deadline in one of the most shocking moves at the deadline. Cleveland sent John Henson, Brandon Knight and a 2023 second-round pick to the Detroit Pistons for Drummond.

The market was low for Drummond but it is shocking Detroit was not able to get anything better out of this deal. For the Cavaliers, this is certainly a step in the right direction. Some might view Drummond as overrated but he averages nearly 18 points per game, 15.8 rebounds per game and is a presence in the paint defensively. This is a steal for Cleveland.

Although this was not a trade deadline deal, an underrated move came from the Utah Jazz as they traded for Jordan Clarkson weeks ago. Clarkson is instant offense off the bench for the Jazz and they desperately needed it in the tough Western Conference. Clarkson averages 14.7 points per game this season. This move has the potential to make a big impact come playoff time for Utah.

For the most part, rosters are set and most teams are ready for the playoffs to begin. For teams like the Rockets, who may still have a few holes they’d like to fix, there is still the buyout market. For now, we wait. The fun is only just beginning.