NBA Trade Deadline Recap for all 30 teams
It has been a long day. I woke up to Kevin Durant being traded to the Suns, and since then, it has been blurb after blurb, a Q&A with some incredibly smart analysts (link at the bottom) and now this column recapping how each team fared on one of the busiest days of the season. Teams tend to pick a direction for their season at the deadline, though a few teams decided to stay put. While I end up ranting about the issues of remaining in the middle of the pack, I also broke down how each team should look for the remainder of the season. Any complaints, questions, comments and concerns can be directed to @NoahRubin22 on Twitter, where I will do my best to help you win your league. After 14 deals on the day of the deadline (and a few others included), here’s the breakdown for each team.
Trade Deadline Analysis
The Hawks made a win-now move by giving up five seconds for Bey, while also saving money by shipping out Holiday and Kaminsky for Fernando and Mathews. The more notable headline is that they held onto John Collins, which should be trade rumors to rest until their season ends. Bey should slide in a backup forward, which will probably cut into the minutes of A.J. Griffin and Jalen Johnson. Bey does provide some much-needed shooting for one of the worst deep-range teams in the NBA. However, he’ll be more restricted on a playoff team than he was in Detroit. If he can be more efficient he’ll fit right in. If not, it’ll be hard for him to beat out Griffin for minutes.
Incoming: Mike Muscala
Outgoing: Justin Jackson
Boston added some depth in the frontcourt so we likely won’t see many more starts from Blake Griffin. Muscala won’t be much of a fantasy asset unless he’s a spot starter. The Celtics held onto Grant Williams, which only delayed their inevitable decision of whether or not to pay him this summer. The Bucks and 76ers got better while the Nets all but tapped out of the race in the East. It appears to be a three team race for a spot in the Finals, and the Celtics felt that they have enough to get it done.
This is going to be a very different team when the dust settles. After all of the drama of the past few years, Brooklyn has finally wiped their hands clean of the entire situation. They still have solid pieces and brought in more, so they won’t be in full tank mode. That makes this a great fantasy situation for a bunch of guys to have the opportunity to see the volume that stars usually see. Cam Thomas shouldn’t continue to score 40 every night, but he will be a big part of the team, whether it’s as the starting shooting guard or as the 6th man. Bridges had a trial run as the focal point of the offense with Devin Booker and Chris Paul sidelined for a stretch. Nicolas Claxton should still provide dominant defensive numbers. They don’t have a true superstar, but make no mistake, this could be a tough team to play against in the playoffs.
The Hornets didn’t bring in anyone that will impact fantasy, since they are expected to reach a buyout agreement with Jackson. However, the moves they made will open up minutes for younger players. Plumlee had kept Mark Williams and Nick Richards from playing consistent minutes, but both guys should see 20+ minutes per game for the rest of the season. If there is a clear winner across the league for fantasy purposes, it’s Mark Williams. Pick him up!
Despite being the team that I would’ve pegged as most likely to make at least one move, the Bulls stayed put. They’ll be players in the buyout market, but they had a great chance to pick a lane and didn’t take advantage. They don’t have their first this year. They have aging stars. They’re 9th in the East. They’ll likely finish around there, and if they manage to get out of the play-in, they’ll get bounced in the first round. My condolences to Bulls fans, because this was puzzling.
The Cavs didn’t make any deadline moves, but the three teams in front of them got better. They’re in the middle of the true contenders and the rest of the playoff teams, but they felt comfortable staying put. They’re running low on draft capital after trading for Donovan Mitchell, so that isn’t a huge surprise. Nothing changes here, though it was a tad disappointing that they didn’t try and get a little better.
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Dallas really kicked off the trade frenzy by dealing for Kyrie. They had to give up two important pieces, but Kyrie gives them a true second star. Sure, the fit will be interesting, since he’ll need the ball in his hands. However, he can play off-ball, and if they are serious about winning a championship, this was the move they needed to make. Other teams have made it work with two ball-dominant guards, so it isn’t an impossible task. However, it doesn’t leave much room for fantasy appeal outside of Luka Dončić, Kyrie and Christian Wood.
Incoming: Thomas Bryant
The Nuggets were able to move Bones, which means more minutes for Ish Smith, Bruce Brown and Christian Braun. Smith has played 25 minutes per game over their last two and appears to be the primary backup point guard. Bryant should fill in as the backup center, which means his minutes will still be too limited for him to be much of a fantasy asset. However, having depth behind Nikola Jokić will be very helpful for their playoff run. This team is a true contender, even if they didn’t make any huge deadline moves.
Incoming: James Wiseman
Multiple reports suggest that Wiseman will move into the starting lineup, though it isn’t clear who he’ll replace. Could they start two true centers with Wiseman and Jalen Duren? Will they move Duren to the bench and keep starting Isaiah Stewart? Will they get Wiseman into a practice and completely change their mind? Who knows! However, in a lost season, they have no reason to not play their young guys. It could come at the expense of Duren, but this will be a huge test for Wiseman. He’ll have the chance to prove why he was the second pick in the draft. That could make him worth rostering, but he’s too much of an unknown to be a must-add. If you believe in Wiseman as a talent, this is a great time to add him.
Golden State Warriors
Incoming: Gary Payton II
Outgoing: James Wiseman
Bringing back an important piece of a championship team is great, but it feels like they gave up a lot to make it happen. The Wiseman experiment is officially over for the Warriors, and they still have some young talent to help in the future. On the other hand, GP2 will help them defensively and help them stay afloat with Stephen Curry sidelined. Payton will be a solid source of steals, but he won’t be much more than that.
Wall was waived by the Rockets, which shouldn’t come as a surprise whatsoever. After his comments about the culture in Houston and the fact he had previously sat out for them, they didn’t have any use for him. Danny Green also has a decent chance of being bought out, but the other moves they made will open up minutes for their young guys. With Gordon gone, Tari Eason and KJ Martin should see upticks in value. Eason is a player that has shown he can provide in every category when given the chance, and now he’ll see a consistent role. He’s currently rostered in 32% of leagues, which should skyrocket over the coming days.
Ibaka was waived already and will likely look to join a contender. Hill returns to his former team, but he won’t be much of an asset in fantasy. Nwora is a younger player that fits Indiana’s timeline better than he did the Bucks, but they still have Aaron Nesmith and Bennedict Mathurin in front of him. Nwora should see a more consistent role with the Pacers than he did with Milwaukee, but he isn’t a must-add by any means. Other than that, the Pacers stood still at the deadline. They’ll compete for a spot in the postseason, but they didn’t pick a lane, which isn’t a bad choice for their timeline. Unfortunately, that leaves Isaiah Jackson on the bench, despite his fantasy potential.
Los Angeles Clippers
Wall was rumored to be bought out if he wasn’t traded, but they didn’t lose out on much there. Jackson and Kennard weren’t huge parts of the rotation, and Gordon and Hyland should fill out those roles. Over the past two weeks, Jackson had played 22 minutes, while Kennard had seen 13.7. Bones and EG should play decent roles, but it likely won’t be enough to be worth rostering in 12-team leagues. Plumlee is the interesting piece, since he’ll take away from Ivica Zubac‘s minutes. Zubac has played 29.3 minutes per game this season, but it remains to be seen if Tyronn Lue will stagger their minutes or continue to use small-ball lineups at times. Either way, Zubac’s minutes, and therefore value, will likely take a hit.
Los Angeles Lakers
After LeBron James tweeted rather emotionally following Kyrie Irving‘s trade to Dallas, the Lakers made some solid moves to support their star duo of LeBron and Anthony Davis. In the process, they traded away three players that were staples of the rotation. Russell, LeBron and AD are the guaranteed starters, while Beasley, Reaves, Vanderbilt and Bamba all gave a chance to be in the opening unit. They have a much deeper team than before, and they added perimeter shooting, which was a huge need. Dennis Schröder will take a hit with Russell in town. Darvin Ham has a huge task ahead of him to get this team to mesh, but if he can make it happen, the Lakers can be a dangerous team in the postseason.
Incoming: Luke Kennard
Outgoing: Danny Green
“We’re good in the West”. That’s what Ja Morant said, and the Grizzlies stuck by that. They’re 2-8 since the Shannon Sharpe fiasco, but they didn’t feel the need to make a big move at the deadline. Kennard will bring some shooting, but he isn’t altering the rotation at all. Memphis will be a competitive team in the playoffs, but they didn’t make any moves to really advance that agenda.
Outgoing: Dewayne Dedmon
#HeatCulture didn’t feel any one was worthy to come and play for their team. However, they were able to move on from Dedmon, who had fallen out of the rotation after the Theragun situation. Their lineup will remain the same, as they didn’t make any attempt to improve despite being in sixth place in the East.
Incoming: Jae Crowder
The Bucks added depth with Crowder, while maintaining most of their rotation. Ibaka hasn’t played in a month, and Hill and Nwora both received a DNP- Coach’s Decision in their last game. Crowder will provide a veteran presence, but he won’t be much of an asset in standard leagues.
Outgoing: D’Angelo Russell
The D’Lo era is over in Minnesota, as they do their best to remake the Jazz. Conley should fill Russell’s minutes, but he won’t fill his shot attempts. That should lead to more responsibilities for Anthony Edwards, which could mean a few extra shots and assists per game. NAW hasn’t been much of a fantasy asset throughout his career, but he should see a larger role with the Wolves. They’ll still likely play in the postseason, but they didn’t do much to help their chances or impact their rotation.
New Orleans Pelicans
Incoming: Josh Richardson
Outgoing: Devonte’ Graham
The Pels added depth on the wing while only giving up a player that has seen 15 minutes per game this season. Richardson will provide depth, 3-point shooting and defense, but when their perimeter is healthy, he won’t provide much in fantasy. Health has been a huge factor for them this season, as they haven’t had much luck in that regard. When healthy, they can compete with anyone. However, their trade doesn’t move the needle much from a fantasy perspective.
New York Knicks
Incoming: Josh Hart
The Knicks were able to bring in a starter in exchange for three players that Tom Thibodeau would never allow to see the floor under his watch. Hart should slide in as a starter, which would push Quentin Grimes into a role off the bench. Hart played alongside Jalen Brunson in college and has sat just outside the top-100 in 9-cat value this season. Grimes will take a hit in fantasy value, though the Knicks became a stronger team in the East.
Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC moved two rotation players for Saric and Jackson, who is likely to be bought out. Saric should fill out some minutes off the bench, but with how often Mark Daigneault changes his rotation, there’s no guarantee he sees minutes consistently. The Thunder aren’t a great team for fantasy value, but they were able to clear up some extra minutes for Jaylin Williams and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, when he’s back in the lineup.
Incoming: Patrick Beverley
Outgoing: Mo Bamba
Orlando’s only trade was moving Mo Bamba for Patrick Beverley, who is certainly a buyout candidate. Bamba’s departure will open up bench minutes for Moritz Wagner and Bol Bol, but it doesn’t provide a huge boost for either player as long as Wendell Carter Jr. is healthy. Aside from that, they’ll maintain their usual rotation, with their sights set on a lottery pick this summer.
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Incoming: Jalen McDaniels
Outgoing: Matisse Thybulle
Thybulle’s minutes had been cut in half from last year, and he’ll receive a much-needed fresh start with Portland. McDaniels should provide the 76ers with depth that they haven’t had this season. This is an underrated move that will pay dividends in the postseason, since they won’t have a shooting liability on the floor like they’ve had in past seasons between Thybulle and Ben Simmons. They’ll certainly compete for a spot in the NBA Finals, but the deadline didn’t impact much from a fantasy perspective, since they only had five players worth rostering. Now they have six.
The headliner of the deadline came from Phoenix, with the Suns bringing in KD in the early hours of the day of the deadline (or the late hours of the eve of the deadline for those on the West Coast). The Suns moved on from Bridges and Johnson while finally moving on from Crowder. The big question mark is who will be the starter alongside the obvious four of KD, Chirs Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. Torrey Craig, Bazley, Warren and Josh Okogie all have a chance, though all four should provide some level of fantasy value.
Portland Trail Blazers
If Portland’s goal was to make sure Damian Lillard had the odds stacked against him even more in his attempt to bring a championship to Portland, then they succeeded! However, they gave up a well-rounded player in Hart and an elite defender in GP2 and brought in a different defender in Thybulle and a prospect that hasn’t panned out in Reddish. But at least they got five seconds-round picks! There are more minutes to go around on the wing, but there isn’t a clear fantasy winner to fill the void. Thybulle may be worth a roster spot for steals now, but neither Reddish nor Shaedon Sharpe have proved that they’re worth rostering if they start.
Incoming: Kessler Edwards
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the Kings. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, and they felt so confident in what they have, they didn’t make a win-now move at the deadline. Edwards will provide some depth, but he won’t be worth rostering in fantasy. A year ago, they made what I thought was a horrible move by going all in with De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. They find themselves two games ahead of the Mavericks for third place in the West, and they’ll roll with their same squad for the final two months of the regular season. Kings fans, go ahead and clear your schedule to make sure you’re available for those playoff games!
San Antonio Spurs
While Graham may fill some backup point guard minutes, when the Spurs are healthy, he won’t be worth rostering in 12-team leagues with Tre Jones starting. They already waived Dedmon, which leaves Zach Collins as the starting center for the Spurs, with Birch, Charles Bassey and Gorgui Dieng behind him. Richardson’s departure opens minutes for guys like Malaki Branham, Romeo Langford and Keita Bates-Diop on the perimeter. With Devin Vassell still sidelined and other pieces of their young core facing injuries, the Spurs aren’t exactly a hotbed for consistent fantasy production.
Incoming: Jakob Poeltl
Outgoing: Khem Birch
Despite barely sitting above Washington for a spot in the play-in tournament, the Raptors were buyers at the deadline. Birch hasn’t been part of Toronto’s lineup for a long time, so they aren’t losing much. However, Nick Nurse now has an important question to answer. Who will he start? It doesn’t make sense for them to trade for Poeltl to bring him off the bench, which likely pushes Gary Trent Jr. into a sixth man role when the team is healthy. However, given Nurse’s usual rotations, Trent should still play a large enough role to be a solid asset in 9-cat leagues. That won’t leave much room for fantasy value outside of the main six when the team is healthy.
Calling the Jazz sellers at the deadline would’ve been expected at the beginning of the season, but it is a tad surprising given how their season has gone. Russ is an easy buyout candidate, while Jones and JTA don’t exactly scream fantasy upside. Talen Horton-Tucker, Ochai Agbaji and Collin Sexton feel like the winners for the Jazz from these deals. Sexton should start at point guard, though he doesn’t have the same hype as he did at the beginning of the season. He can still provide buckets, but what else will he do? THT and Agbaji will come off the bench and play decent roles, but they aren’t must-adds at this point. Both are widely available in Yahoo leagues, so it shouldn’t be an issue to nab one if they’re available.
Outgoing: Will Barton
Currently, the Wizards are tied with the Bulls for 10th in the East, but they didn’t make a move. Personally, I don’t understand the comfortability of staying in the middle of the pack. They’re too good to miss the playoffs. They’re not good enough to win a series against any of the top four teams in the East. This is how I operate in my dynasty leagues too. I’m either all in on winning a championship or all in on the first pick. How can you call your season successful if you aren’t close to either? There’s the idea of retooling, which is fair, but what moves are the Wizards making this summer to make them a scary team in the East? They’re working on a buyout with Will Barton, who isn’t in their rotation. They traded Rui Hachimura to the Lakers a couple of weeks ago, but that didn’t move the needle either way. Like Chicago, Washington fans have a good reason to question the direction of the franchise. It’s time to trade your aging stars while they have value, or make moves to become a true contender.
Want to see more thoughts on how to value players after the trade deadline? Check out this Q&A I did with Rotoworld’s Zak Hanshew and Fantasy Basketball International’s Adam King!