The 2022 NBA trade deadline was a busy one as many of the league's top contenders made moves to improve their roster with the hopes of chasing a championship in June.
The most notable deal featured the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers swapping two great guards. The Nets sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Sixers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks.
This trade helps both teams tremendously. The 76ers got a superstar guard and an elite scorer in Harden, and they didn't have to give up talented young players such as Tyrese Maxey or Matisse Thybule to do it. The Nets acquired a former All-Star in Simmons with elite defensive ability and playmaking skill, while also getting another great outside shooter in Curry.
2022 NBA trade deadline winners and losers
The deal was a bad one for the rest of the Eastern Conference because it made the Nets and Sixers -- who already were very good teams before the trade -- even better.
How does this trade, and the other moves leading up to the deadline, impact the Eastern Conference playoff race? Here are the latest conference title betting odds, via PointsBet:
Clearly, oddsmakers see a Big 3 of the Nets, Bucks and defending champion Milwaukee Bucks as the upper tier of the East. The Heat can't be ruled out, either. When healthy, their trio of Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo makes them a tough team to beat.
The Boston Celtics are a dark horse candidate to win the East. They've won six consecutive games (and eight of their last 10) with the league's best defense since Jan. 1.
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The Celtics were busy at the trade deadline, too. In total, they acquired Derrick White and Daniel Theis, and dealt Dennis Schroder, Josh Richardson, Bruno Fernando, Romeo Langford, Bol Bol and P.J. Dozier. These moves overhauled the Celtics' bench and made their roster even better defensively. A five-man lineup of White, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams has the potential to be elite at both ends of the court.
The Eastern Conference is wide open, which should make the upcoming playoffs a lot of fun. Four or five teams have a realistic chance to reach the NBA Finals, and some teams outside that group -- like the Bulls and Cavaliers -- have the potential to win a round as well.