Triple Threat Weekly: Trade Deadline Aftermath

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Following the NBA All-Star game, the action is back but not in the form of traditional basketball – the fan-favorite NBA Trade deadline! Yesterday’s flurry of activity at 3 P.M. had everyone in the basketball world in a complete frenzy. Although there were quite a few big names on the move, Jim Armstrong and Tyler Michels summarize and breakdown Thursday’s three biggest deals.

LeBron James tries to bring Cleveland a championship

There is no denying the talent of Michael Carter-Williams. Can Jason Kidd make it work in Milwuakee?
(Photo courtesy of CBS Philly)

Phoenix acquires:

PG Brandon Knight (from Bucks)

Milwaukee acquires:

PG Michael Carter Williams (from 76ers), PF Miles Plumlee (from Suns), PG Tyler Ennis (from Suns)

Philadelphia acquires:

Draft picks

Tyler:

Winners: Phoenix Suns I love this deal from the Suns perspective. Although they traded three of their five points guards yesterday, they managed to replace Tyler Ennis, Goran Dragic, and Isaiah Thomas with the best player of all – Brandon Knight. The former lottery pick has had a terrific season in Milwaukee, leading the resurrection of the Bucks to relevant playoff contender status. Plumlee is probably the biggest loss here for the Suns, and Ennis has a potentially bright future, but the Suns instantly upgrade and put two former Kentucky Wildcats in the backcourt to create one of the NBA’s best offensive duo’s. Great job, Phoenix.

Losers: Milwaukee Bucks & Philadelphia Sixers Before I lambast the Sixers here, I will start with the Bucks. I marked them losers, but it really remains to be seen. For the Bucks, it really is all about the future, and this deal is the riskiest of all the trades of the day. This deal could work out big time if Michael Carter-Williams blossoms into one of the top point guards, Miles Plumlee develops his game, and Tyler Ennis taps into his undeniable potential. But, it’s all a major “if.”

As for Philadelphia, I really don’t understand their obsession with stock piling picks. Sure, they could be in a worse position, but at some point, don’t they want to win? Trading away their best player, Michael Carter-Williams at age 23, shows their lack of belief in the former Syracuse standout. We will have to wait and see how it works out and who they ultimately draft with all these picks, but I was left scratching my head that they gave away last year’s Rookie of the Year and their most promising young player.

Jim:

Winners: Philadelphia & Phoenix Suns

Philadelphia: In acquiring the Lakers pick (Lakers get it if its top 5 – top 5 protected pick), Philadelphia is taking a calculated risk that they will land one of the studs that will likely be available in this year’s draft in the 6-12 range. Was this worth giving up their 6-5, 23-year old point guard? Time will tell. Michael Carter-Williams is a talented, multifaceted player but he has shot less than 26% from 3-point land this season and is top 5 in the NBA in turnovers this season. I trust that over time his 3-point shooting will improve (just look at how John Stockton & Jason Kidd’s careers progressed from behind the arc), at least incrementally. If Philly gets a franchise player to pair with Nerlens Noel, then no one in the greater Philly area will be questioning this trade.

Phoenix: This is real-life and I’m not going to assess this trade in a vacuum. Phoenix went out and acquired Brandon Knight in large part because they jettisoned 75% of their backcourt in a matter of three hours (Isaiah Thomas, Goran Dragic & Tyler Ennis). Dragic is the best player of this bunch right now but Knight may be the best in due time. Knight also just turned 23, whereas Dragic is 29 years old in less than three months. Knight basically cancels Dragic out and becomes a better long-term solution given his age. Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough was essentially tired of being a fringe playoff team and blew the whole backcourt up. Let’s hope this midseason move helps them retain their playoff spot and fend off OKC.

Losers:

Bucks: For a team that has had a firm grasp on the #6 seed in the Eastern Conference for much of 2015, I never advocate trading away your team’s best player. Well, that’s precisely what the Bucks elected to do in advance of yesterday’s trade deadline. Oh wait, they’re the Bucks and they have qualified for the playoffs in only three of the last 10 seasons – now it all makes sense. Michael Carter-Williams is a talented player but is still very much a work-in-progress. Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis are nothing more than role players. I see Ennis’ ceiling being that of Reggie Jackson – a spark off the bench who is capable of logging starter’s minutes but would likely be miscast as a full-time starter.

Miami acquires:

PG Goran Dragic, SG Zoran Dragic

Phoenix acquires:

SF Danny Granger, C Justin Hamilton and two first-round picks

Tyler

Winners: Phoenix Suns & Miami Heat You just have to love those deals where everyone wins! They rarely happen, but I think this may be a case. Here’s why:

The Suns were certainly busy at the deadline, trading away some of their key pieces for future draft picks and Brandon Knight. I like the move from Phoenix’s point of view. Why let Goran Dragic walk out the door for absolutely nothing at season’s end? At least the Suns end up with a few first round draft picks to show for it. Granger and Hamilton (who is this guy, Jim, any idea?) will be irrelevant, but the picks are certainly worth discussing.

As for the Heat, I love this deal. Dragic should fit in very well with D-Wade (whatever “Flash” has left, that is), Deng and Bosh. Hassan Whiteside’s emergence definitely makes Miami a problem for Cleveland, Atlanta, Washington and Chicago come April. In my opinion, the Heat are too old and fragile to be considered a serious threat to win the conference, but I would be surprised if they didn’t at least push the top four seeds come playoff time.

Jim

Winners: Phoenix & Miami

Tyler – you’re spot on. Phoenix couldn’t afford to retain Dragic past today’s trade deadline. Gragic had already voiced his displeasure and distrust of the Phoenix front office and in light of these comments, Phoenix had no shot of retaining him this summer. Granger is a shell of what he used to be and Chris Hamilton is an unknown. The two draft picks were two more draft picks than they would have received this summer when Dragic could have walked for nothing.

Miami is a dangerous team heading into the season’s final 25 games. By retaining Josh McRoberts and Chris Anderson, they maintain depth and integrity along the front line while obviously bolstering their backcourt into arguably one of the most potent in the Eastern Conference. Both Wade and Chris Bosh are averaging 21 PPG this season. Bosh is putting up his most PPG since his last season with the Raptors (’09-’10) and Wade has played well this year, putting up his most PPG since ’11-’12 (PER of nearly 23). I expect Miami to push for the #6/#7 seed and would not be surprised if they upset the Hawks/Bulls/Wizards/Raptors in the first round.

Reggie Jackson gets traded to Detroit

Reggie Jackson thrived in Westbrook’s absence. How will he fare in Detroit?
(Photo courtesy of NBC Pro Basketball Talk)

Detroit acquires:

PG Reggie Jackson (from Thunder)

Oklahoma City acquires:

C Enes Kanter (from Jazz), SF Steve Novak (from Jazz), PG D.J. Augustin (from Pistons), SF Kyle Singler (from Pistons)

Utah acquires:

Kendrick Perkins (from Thunder), PF Grant Jerrett (from Thunder), rights to Tibor Pleiss, draft picks

Tyler:

Winners: Detroit Pistons & OKC Thunder This was probably my favorite move of the day. Reggie Jackson is definitely more explosive than Augustin and certainly a better long term solution to play alongside Brandon Jennings. Of course, Jackson will be a restricted free agent at season’s end, so this move only makes sense if Detroit is able to retain him. With Jennings out for the remainder of the season, Jackson will be in the starter role and given his chance to shine. It will be fun to see how he meshes with Drummond and Monroe in Stan Van Gundy’s offense.

When it comes to the Thunder, they are looking to win now which is why this move makes so much sense from their point of view. OKC turned down a deal (and rightfully so) that would have sent Reggie Jackson to the Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez. Instead, this deal gives OKC the added depth and talent necessary to make a serious run in the West.

DJ Augustin had been excellent for the Pistons in Brandon Jennings’ absence and is arguably only a slight drop off from Reggie Jackson. However, the biggest part of the deal is for Enes Kanter. The third year man from Turkey is an upgrade over Steven Adams, and gives the Thunder the post presence they have longed for since the Durant-Westbrook partnership originated. Singler and Novak probably won’t get any minutes, but could be nice three point shooting insurance in limited duty.

Losers: Utah Jazz The most important part of the package for the Jazz is the two picks they acquired. One is a protected first round pick via OKC, the other is a second round pick from Detroit. I think they could have gotten more for Kanter, and the inability to get at least an unprotected pick or a player who can team up with Burke, Hayward, and Favors makes this one a bit of a question mark through the lens of Utah.

Jim:

Tyler I second everything you said above. Ultimately, OKC made the right call in dealing for Enes Kanter over Brook Lopez due Kanter’s prowess under the boards (7.8 RPG vs. 6.2 RPG) and because Kanter is four years younger than Lopez (22 vs. 26 years old). To your point, the Thunder finally have a formidable post presence in the Russell Westbrook-Kevin Durant era (hard to believe this is Year 7 of that era).

There were a lot of other significant trades yesterday, and I’d suggest checking out this ESPN page for all the notes and details that were not mentioned by us. As always, we encourage readers to reach out to us via Twitter, Facebook, or the comments below to let us know what you think about this year’s trade deadline activity.

About Tyler Michels

Tyler is an NC State alum living in Raleigh, NC. Growing up in Northwest New Jersey, Tyler developed a love for New York sports teams, driving his desire to become a writer. In his free time, Tyler can probably be found on a golf course.

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