NBA Trade Tracker - July 14, 2017
The 2017 NBA offseason has been one of the more exciting ones in recent memory in terms of trade activity. I honestly can't remember an offseason in which more stars have changed landscapes (2010 with "The Decision" which was technically facilitated by a sign and trade as well as Chris Bosh's move, but those were basically signings). With so many high value assets moving around, next season should prove to be one of intrigue and excitement. Without further ado, let's get to some of the biggest trades of the offseason so far. A list of all offseason trades can be found on ESPN here: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19690874/trade-tracker-2017-latest-deals
June 19: Philadephia 76ers and Boston Celtics
2017 No. 1 Pick (G Markelle Fultz)
2017 No. 3 Pick (F Jayson Tatum)
2018 Los Angeles Lakers first-round pick if No. 2-5 (otherwise the Sacramento Kings' 2019 first-round pick or the Sixers' 2019 first-round pick, whichever is more favorable, unless it is the No. 1 pick, in which case Boston gets the less favorable pick)
Is it just me or does Lonzo Ball have a mullet in this picture?
I am a huge fan of both Fultz and Tatum and had them at one and two in my rankings leading up to the draft (sorry Lonzo). It really came down to fit here and Fultz is the perfect lanky guard that the Sixers needed to pair with "The Process," Joel Embiid. On the other side, Boston already had a glut of guards so Tatum was a natural fit being the best big in the draft. We will have to wait and see which of these two proves to be the most valuable, but they will forever be joined thanks to this deal. Overall, I like the deal for both teams. Boston almost seems to be at the point where they have too many assets and not enough time to go around. I think it is entirely possible that they end up with two top 5 picks in next years draft, while also potentially competing in the NBA Finals with a Conference finals all but locked up. Look for Boston to potentially make a move at the deadline if a solid player comes on the block. This blockbuster was a phenomenal way for the offseason to start off.
June 20: Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets
C Brook Lopez
2017 No. 27 Pick (Kyle Kuzma)
G D'Angelo Russell
C Timofey Mozgov
Whatever jedi mind tricks Magic Johnson used on the Nets organization worked because the Lakers ran away with this deal. Not only did they acquire a starting level athletic center in Brook Lopez, a decent late first to provide depth, and get rid of a lockerroom cancer in D'Angelo Russell, they also got rid of the atrocity of a contract that they gave to Mozgov during last year's crazy cap extravaganza. I really don't see any reason for the Nets to make this trade as it makes their team overall worse in a year where they do not own their own first rounder, but they also hurt their future cap flexibility. Yes, the Nets needed some sort of shakeup and Lopez already had a foot out the door, but there had to be a better offer on the table that didn't hurt the organization's future prospects.
June 20: Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets
C Miles Plumlee
G Marco Belinelli
2017 No. 41 Pick (G Tyler Dorsey)
C Dwight Howard
2017 No. 31 Pick (G Frank Jackson) - Traded to New Orleans on Draft Night
My how Dwight Howard has fallen. A few years ago this trade would have been incredible for the Hornets, basically amounting to trading a bag of peanuts for a dominant center on both ends of the floor. Alas, it is not a few years ago and as such this deal doesn't even make much of a splash. Atlanta gets players that won't hurt their plan to rebuild and Charlotte receives a decent enough center. Really a ho-hum deal that won't affect the fortunes of either team tremendously. Is it possible that we see Dwight Howard return to form in Charlotte? Potentially, but I find that very unlikely.
June 22: Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings
2017 No. 10 Pick (F Zach Collins)
2017 No. 15 Pick (F Justin Jackson)
2017 No. 20 Pick (F Harry Giles)
Thank the good lord that Gonzaga star Zach Collins did not end up on the black hole of talent that is the Sacramento basketball team. As a former Zag myself, I was ecstatic to see Collins remain in the Pacific Northwest. Now getting to the actual trade, I like the trade for both sides. Jackson and Giles give Sacramento a pair of athletic bigs for the rotation. At this point, Sacramento has to basically hope for lottery tickets to pan out in order for some magic to grace their city. Jackson and Giles are more polished players that are more likely to contribute right away. On the other hand, Portland receives a "New NBA" potential center that has great rim protecting ability and a shooting range that extends beyond the arc. Collins has a ways to go in terms of bulking up, building his post repertoire, and working on his athleticism, but Collins has serious potential and should immediately contribute for a Portland team that is strapped for cash and short on productive bigs.
June 22: Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls
F Jimmy Butler
2017 No. 16 Pick (C Justin Patton)
G Kris Dunn
F Zach LaVine
2017 No. 7 Pick (Lauri Markkanen)
This was the first deal in which a major star moved teams. Everyone expected Jimmy Butler to move sometime this offseason, but the Timberwolves were not a team on many radars. They should have been though as Butler going to Minnesota reunites him with former Bulls coach Tom Thibedeau. This trade was great for Minnesota as it gives their young core some "veteran" leadership and a guy that can create his own shot in Butler. Minnesota actually gave up a lot less than I expected Butler would command. Dunn and LaVine are both solid players, but LaVine is coming off a bad knee injury and is set for a big payday around the corner. Lauri Markkanen is a versatile big that can stretch the floor, but Butler is an established star. Losing Kris Dunn hurts the Wolves, but signing Jeff Teague shores up the point guard position nicely. Overall, Minnesota wins out nicely on this deal and could contend for a top 4-5 seed in the West.
June 28: Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers
G Chris Paul
Los Angeles Receives:
G Patrick Beverly
G Lou Williams
F Sam Dekker
F Montrezl Harrell
F Kyle Wiltjer
G DeAndre Liggins
G Darrun Hilliard
2018 1st Round Pick (top 3 protected)
Man is this a behemoth of a deal. The Rockets are able to pair perennial all-star Chris Paul with MVP finalist James Harden and the West is officially on fire. Houston instantly becomes many people's pick to challenge the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, and while I certainly like the deal for Houston, I think it's a little early to crown them kings. Beverly and Williams were contributors for the Rockets last year and there are a few lottery tickets as "throw-ins" that could potentially produce for the Clippers. With the Clippers sensing that Chris Paul was on his way out, getting a sign-and-trade done was a must in order to recover some assets. This deal gets really sketchy if Houston fizzles out early in the playoffs and CP3 questions whether returning to the Rockets is the right move. What could make this deal even more interesting is the fact that Houston has been in talks to acquire Carmelo Anthony as well and create a true second big three in the West. I think many people are hastily calling this deal an instant win for the Rockets, but I'm a little bearish as I think the Rockets are still a piece or two away from competing favorably with Golden State.
June 30: Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves
G Ricky Rubio
2018 1st Round Pick (Top-14 Protected)
At first I thought this deal was a little suspect for the Timberwolves as they had just traded away the guy who many believed to be their point guard of the future in Kris Dunn, but Rubio has struggled to live up to the crazy high expectations since he entered the league. The Wolves signing Jeff Teague provides an upgrade at the point guard position and gives them a must more stout defender. Utah on the other hand gets a replacement for recently departed George Hill and someone who can run an offense that will be predicated on getting the ball to Rudy Gobert. Overall, I like this trade for both sides after seeing the signings both teams were able to make.
June 30: Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers
Oklahoma City Receives:
F Paul George
G Victor Oladipo
F Domantas Sabonis
Seriously? Why does Indiana do this deal? There had to have been better offers for Paul George (Boston's offer at least included a couple first rounders). All I can think is that Indiana really did not want to play against Paul George in the East. As you can probably tell by now, I LOVE this trade for OKC and that is coming from a Gonzaga fan! This trade instantly solidifies OKC as a playoff contender and a team that could sneak up on a few teams with their crazy athleticism. Paul George gives the Thunder a second threat behind reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and a player who matches up well defensively with Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard. Plus, OKC gets rid of Oladipo's bloated contract and in the unlikely case that they can't resign Paul George, they are only giving up a rotational big. Sabonis is definitely talented, but he's not a guy that can carry a team to the playoffs (although, maybe in this year's East, who knows?). I really am still baffled by how this trade went down and I can see this really backfiring on Indiana.
July 7: Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics
F Marcus Morris
G Avery Bradley
2nd Round Pick
There is only one reason this trade happens; Gordon Hayward. Boston needed to make a couple moves in order to facilitate the Hayward signing and Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley just so happened to be the ones to get the boot. This deal also facilitated the loss of guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the Pistons, but Bradley is a lockdown defender that should not be overlooked. Marcus Morris adds some beef to the Celtics front line and Marcus Smart should be able to fill in at the Bradley role to give Isiah Thomas a breather on defense. One quick thing of note on Morris is that he was the best defender against LeBron James of all qualified candidates. Anecdotal? Definitely, but not insignificant.
Overall, we've seen a ton of interesting deals and a few block busters. I can't remember the last time so many stars found new homes in such a short span of time. The West looks like an absolute bloodbath this year with potentially 10-11 teams that would be contenders in the East. I think this will make for a very interesting All-Star game albeit probably uneventful and boring. Despite the flurry of moves by contenders, I don't see the Warriors really being challenged in the West. I cannot say the same for the Cavaliers in the East as Boston made some significant upgrades to better matchup against the defending Eastern Conference champions. I'm sure there will be more deals this offseason and I am truly excited!
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