2019 NBA Trade Deadline: Recap, Winners & Losers
The days leading up to the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline saw a flurry of trades go down in the Association. There were some massive deals, including Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks and Tobias Harris to the 76ers, and some lesser (but still important) deals that shook up the outlook of many teams. After an exciting 2019 trade deadline, let’s dive into the winners and losers from all of the deals.
- Knicks trade Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, and Courtney Lee to Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two first-round picks
- Clippers trade Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott to 76ers for Mike Muscala, Wilson Chandler, Landry Shamet, two first-round picks, and two second-round picks
- Grizzlies trade Marc Gasol to Raptors for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles, and a second-round pick
- Pelicans trade Nikola Mirotic to Bucks for Stanley Johnson, Jason Smith, and four second-round picks
- Wizards trade Otto Porter Jr. to Bulls for Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, and second-round pick
- 76ers trade Markelle Fultz to Magic for Jonathon Simmons, a first-round pick and second-round pick
- Mavericks trade Harrison Barnes to Kings for Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson
- Cavaliers trade Rodney Hood to Trail Blazers for Nik Stauskas, Wade Baldwin IV and two second-round picks
- Heat trade Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington to Suns for Ryan Anderson
- Lakers trade Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley to Clippers for Mike Muscala
- Bucks trade Thon Maker to Pistons for Stanley Johnson
- In a three-team deal, the Cavaliers get Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss and a first-round pick, the Rockets get Wade Baldwin IV, Nick Stauskas and Iman Shumpert, and the Kings get Alec Burks
- Clippers trade Avery Bradley to Grizzlies for JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple
- Wizards trade Markieff Morris to Pelicans for Wesley Johnson
- Pistons trade Reggie Bullock to Lakers for Svi Myhailiuk, and a second-round pick
- Rockets trade James Ennis to 76ers for a second-round pick
The Sixers made an unexpected splash by landing star forward Tobias Harris in a deal with the Clippers. Philly gave up a couple of role players, and two first-round and two second-round picks for Harris, but they were able to recoup the second-round picks by unloading former first-overall pick Markelle Fultz on the Magic. They also acquired forward Mike Scott and hulking center Boban Marjanovic — two players who will be valuable off the bench and create mismatches in the second unit. The Sixers now feature one of the most formidable starting lineups in all of the NBA in Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler, Harris and Joel Embiid. At 35-20, Philly is the fifth seed in the East and only 6.5 games back of the first-place Bucks. By Thursday’s deadline, the 76ers created a lineup that will compete for a championship this season while moving on from Fultz and grabbing some picks and bench depth back. They’re big winners.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers unloaded their star, the above-mentioned Harris, but he was never going to re-sign with the team when his contract runs out this summer. The Clippers are still hanging onto the eighth seed in the West, but they have overachieved this season and are nowhere near title contention. By trading Harris, they have a stockpile of future picks with which to build a solid roster. They also snagged a couple of quality players in JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple from the Grizzlies and talented rookie Landry Shamet from the 76ers. The Clippers waived Marcin Gortat and traded Boban Marjanovic, clearing the way for new addition Ivica Zubac to start at center. He’s proven to be a quality starter in limited action with the Lakers. The Clippers can make a huge splash in free agency by pursuing Kawhi Leonard who has the Clippers on his short list of preferred destinations. With a solid core of young talent and a ton of future draft picks, this is the most encouraging outlook the Clippers have had since they broke up the Lob City Era.
The Raps made a big move on Deadline Day, acquiring former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol from the Grizzlies. Toronto traded Jonas Valanciunas, C.J. Miles, Delon Wright and a second-rounder for the Memphis big man, but the move makes complete sense. Valanciunas, often injured, had been phased out of the frontcourt rotation substantially, and his services were not needed. Miles and Wright were solid role players for Toronto, but the addition of Gasol was worth the loss of a little bench depth. In his first game with Toronto on Saturday, Gasol played 19 minutes off the bench, producing a solid stat line to help the reserves. He may continue to come off the bench, but he’s a huge asset no matter his role.
The Bucks added a stretch-four in Nikola Mirotic to an already-dangerous lineup featuring All-Stars Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Mirotic creates a couple of interesting lineups for Milwaukee, as he’s able to play the four with Brook Lopez at center or play the center position if the Bucks choose to go small ball. Although he’s dealt with a recurring calf injury for most of this season, Mirotic comes to a team with no reservations about resting him as the Bucks already own the top spot in the East. Mirotic is averaging career highs in points (16.7) and rebounds (8.3) in his fifth season. He should be fully healthy to help the Bucks compete for a title this season.
The Kings are a pleasant surprise at 29-26 this season, and they sit just one game back of the eight-seed Clippers in the West. Sacramento is all-in on making a playoff push, and they acquired a couple of solid scorers in Harrison Barnes and Alec Burks. Barnes made his Kings debut on Friday, playing 37 minutes in the starting lineup and posting 12 points and seven boards. Burks came off the bench with nine points and four boards in that game. The Kings already boast a dangerous backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield and solid play in the frontcourt with Willie Cauley-Stein and Marvin Bagley III. Barnes will be a nice addition as the starting SF, and the Kings have a real shot of making and legitimately competing in the playoffs.
They traded Otto Porter Jr.’s unnecessarily huge contract. Porter, who has primarily come off the bench this season, was not being properly utilized. In return, Washington received Bobby Portis — a frontcourt player that can score — something that the Wizards have lacked this season. Jabari Parker will make a good rotational player, as he’s able to create his own shot and put up points.
Thon Maker (C – DET) and Stanley Johnson (SF/PF – NO)
Maker was vocal about his unhappiness with his playing time in Milwaukee, and he finds a new home in Detroit. He’ll still come off the bench for the Pistons, but they may choose to get him more involved than he was with the Bucks. Johnson, who has failed to live up to expectations in Detroit, gets a fresh start with the Pelicans after being immediately traded by the Bucks. He’ll find his way to a regular role in New Orleans’ rotation. Both players will continue to be rotational pieces, but the outlooks of both are trending up as they carve out a spot on their respective new teams.
Rodney Hood (SG/SF – POR)
Hood is another player who gets a fresh start, leaving a lottery team in the Cavs to compete on a playoff team in the Trail Blazers. He scored 14 points in 25 minutes in his first game with Portland and should be a regular part of the rotation as a scoring option off the bench.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers absolutely botched the trade deadline this year, looking vulnerable and desperate and offering everything but the kitchen sink for Anthony Davis. The trade rumors reportedly caused some tension in the Lakers’ locker room, particularly with LeBron James, the so-called puppet master behind the trade. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma were all on the trading block, and it may be difficult for the Lakers to recover emotionally from all of this year’s trade deadline drama. The Lakers had a thrilling come-from-behind win against the Celtics in Boston after being blown out by 42 against the Pacers the previous night, but that isn’t necessarily a sign of things to come. It will be very interesting to see how the Lakers play the rest of the season after a tumultuous trade deadline week.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans should have taken advantage of the Lakers’ desperation and taken a reported offer of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a total of four first and second-round picks. Davis is a transcendent talent who may be the league’s best player over the next decade, but he certainly wasn’t worth everything the Lakers offered. According to Brian Windhorst, Pels’ GM Dell Demps only engaged the Lakers in trade talks so that he could leak any offer L.A. made to undermine the team and make it look foolish in the media. Even if that’s true, the offer should have been accepted. The only other likely trade partners in the offseason are Boston — who can offer a deal centered around star forward Jayson Tatum and future draft picks — or the Knicks, who can offer a potential first-overall pick (depending on record and lottery selection) and some other minor assets. The Lakers’ offer was still the best as it would have given New Orleans a trove of future picks and some excellent starters.
With the recent moves of the 76ers, Raptors, and Bucks, the Celtics find themselves on the outside looking in to the title contender conversation in the East. The Celtics sit at 35-20 in the fourth seed, but the 76ers are likely to overtake them before the season ends. Boston doesn’t have the team to compete for a championship this season, and they’ll likely set their sights on trading for Anthony Davis this summer. Davis has expressed that he won’t sign a long-term deal with the Celtics, and Kyrie Irving recently made comments that point to him walking when his contract is up at the end of this season. If the Celtics don’t legitimately contend for a title this season, Irving will likely be out the door leaving the Celtics with a bad Gordon Hayward contract and no superstars.
New York Knicks
The Knicks made the ultimate gamble by trading their franchise superstar, hopeful to land some big free agents this offseason. The Knicks, however, are not the basketball Mecca of yesteryear, and its yet unknown how much interest Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving actually have in signing any kind of deal with New York. If the Knicks can land one or both of those players, this trade won’t be a complete miss, but Porzingis is a generational talent who shouldn’t have been traded.
LeBron James (SF/PF – LAL)
James’ production certainly won’t take a hit after the deadline, but his image and reputation will — especially within the Lakers’ locker room. James came to the Lakers this year with the goal of winning a title. His first year was supposed to be a “feel-it-out” season where he could ingratiate himself into the starting lineup and develop chemistry with his young teammates. Instead, the Lakers made desperate trade offers for Anthony Davis, creating tension in the locker room. Reports have surfaced that LeBron is not a fan of coach Luke Walton, meaning Walton is on the hot seat and will probably be gone soon. James has rightfully garnered the reputation of “coach killer” and “general manager” after his second stint in Cleveland, and those titles have held true in L.A. It’s a bad look for one of the greatest to have ever played.