WOWZERS! (yes that's correct I just used wowzers)
Today had a flurry of trades go down in the span of a couple of hours. Tons of names and rumors were flying around, but the one team who needed to get things done did. That team would be the Cleveland Cavaliers. They weren't the only team to makes things work tough, so here are my thoughts about everything that went down before 3 p.m. today.
Cavaliers - Lakers
As one can see, the Cavs shipped off the PG they got to replace Kyrie, in G Isiah Thomas. They also sent F Channing Frye and their own pick to LA for G Jordan Clarkson and F Larry Nance Jr. For Cleveland, they are able to move away from Thomas who did not fit at all, nor was welcomed in the locker room. They also had to send Channing who was a big part of the Cavs championship team, but was older and slower and did not play much anyways. Cleveland got 2 young guys who will be great second unit players with youth and athleticism. For the Lakers, they were able to get a ball-dominant G in Isiah, who will be able to be the player he wants to be. The biggest kicker for LA is getting that protected pick and being able to off-load young contracts, in order to play ball come free agency time this summer. We shall see if they keep IT past this season, who will want to join him out there, and will all that space mean LeBron will go out there? We shall see.
Cleveland C+ : Los Angeles A
Cavaliers - Jazz - Kings
This is the 2nd of 3 trades that Cleveland made. This is by far, the best one. The get 2 great experienced guards who can space the floor and shoot the ball well. They also played together in Utah for a couple of years before Hill went to Sacramento this year, so they already have great chemistry. This always big flexibility for Cleveland with multiple lineups and great depth at the G spot which they were lacking. Both players can create their own shot without having to drive the lane. For Utah, they receive 2 players from the Cavs in Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose. They are getting a steal in Crowder if he is able to get back to being a great defensive big man. With Rose, the belief is that he will be bought out and released sometime soon. Unfortunately, Hood was a big piece for them post Gordon Hayward. Things weren't working out for them like they had hoped, but they have a great rookie in Donovan Mitchell, so grabbing 2 expiring contracts to build around him and for the future makes complete sense. The 3rd team is Sacramento. They received Iman Shumpert, an old Joe Johnson (who they will probably waive) and a protected pick in 2020. The pick is a big sweetener for them. They are a very rookie heavy team, and like most teams in the West, are staying young until the reign of the Warriors dissipates. They were able to clear cap and get a quality lengthy defender in Shumpert. He will fit in real well with the young athletic guys for the Kings.
Cavaliers A : Jazz B- : Kings C+
Knicks - Nuggets - Mavericks
Now, of course, these 3 teams are not title contenders, but for creating for the future and playing a little roster roulette it was a nice brevity to the heavy Cleveland day. The Knicks got a G who was highly regarding when he came into the league 3 years ago, but since then he has trended downward. If he an live up to his potential of being a pass first ball handler he will play great for them. Unfortunately for the Knicks, you wont see great reward just yet, seeing as their star player, Kristaps Porzingis just tore his ACL. It will be interesting to see how he fits in with the 4 other G they have at that position already including a great rookie in Frank Ntilikina. The Nuggets were able to get rid of Mudiay's contract (they had basically given up on him) as well as get back a G to replace Mudiay. Devin Harris has been in the league a long time and will be a great mentor and opposite ball player to G Jamal Murray. They also stockpiled a 2nd round pick in the next draft which will help them stay young while Golden State continues to dominate. Lastly, Dallas receives Doug McDermott from the Knicks. Basically he was just a piece to move contracts around for Dallas, and hopefully he can be put on the floor opposite of a ball driving Dennis Smith so he can spot up around the 3 point line. I like this trade for all 3 teams, basically shifting money, and players to see if they can revive something of each player and bring a little something to the team.
Knicks B : Nuggets B : Mavericks B
Other Notable Trades
-Cleveland & Miami: Dwayne Wade is going home as he gets his rightful trade back to the Heat. With the trades the Cavs made in a youth and spacing movement, DWade would have say his minutes decrease, and instead of letting him shrink on the bench they did right by him and sent him home where he will likely finish out his career. In return the Cavs get a pick in the 2024 draft, a future bargaining chip. Both solid moves, both get a B.
-Detroit & Chicago: Jameer Nelson goes from Chicago to Detroit, where he will be a welcomed veteran PG for the up-and-coming Pistons. They are making a huge push this year after they added Blake Griffin in a trade earlier in the year. Chicago receives a young C in Willie Reed who could possibly help in depth but not much. Detroit got the better end of the deal with a player who can help right now but they both receive a C.
-Orlando & Phoenix: Phoenix receives a great player in Elfrid Peyton on a cheap deal. The former lottery pick was swapped for a 2nd rounder in the future. Apparently, and for some reason, the Magic were not high on Peyton, but he bring offense to Phoenix who are horrendous. Orlando gets a D, while Phoenix gets a C.
Winners, Losers, & Final Thoughts
The Cavs are the biggest winners from the trade deadline. As you can see by the graphic they were able to get younger, clear up 2 roster spots, and fortify that 3 pt. line which is needed in this NBA. They were able to off-load old, slow, and broken players, for actual contributing depth at the Guard position as well as tremendous flexibility in lineups. They will be able to match up with anyone. The only thing they did not fortify is the big man position. Right now, players at Power Forward and Center are Kevin Love (broken hand), Larry Nance Jr (young, just over from LA), and Tristan Thompson (undersized but a great hustle and rebound guy). Good thing they were able to keep 2 roster spots open for which they can sign free agents before the playoffs. A lot of people are speculating them signing Kendrick Perkins who plays for their G-League affiliate the Canton Charge. The other will probably also be used on a big man or another veteran guard who has playoff experience and able to handle the pressure come finals time. Earlier I said Joe Johnson will likely be waived, he would be a nice fit, or another big man to gain depth below. The trades definitely helped them n the East. If they were not able to make any moves, they surely would not have done so well in the playoffs, probably losing to the Celtics in the conference finals. Now, I have no doubts, that if they are able to mesh quickly, they will be able to return to the NBA finals. Also, not to go unmentioned, this was the new GM, Kolby Altman's first trade deadline and I believe he did excellent. I believe that he showed LeBron that they want to get younger for him and give him the pieces he needs to stay in Cleveland passed this summer.
I know it is weird to say, but another winner is Golden State, even though they made zero moves. The Cleveland moves could be troublesome for them, now that they are more athletic and flexible and able to match up better with the Warriors, but it is nothing so overwhelming that they wouldn't be able to handle. They are still the front-runners to win the championship, and they made the right move by doing nothing. I still believe their biggest competition is going to be the Houston Rockets, who will challenge them to all lengths come the Western Conference Finals. We will see if Chris Paul is able to break through that barrier.
Biggest losers have to be the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors. Unlike how the Warriors were able to be a winner while making no moves, these 2 are losers for making none. Their biggest competition, in conference, Cleveland got exponentially better and they stayed the same. They were both hoping that the Cavs would make zero moves, continue to spiral in dysfunction and reap the rewards...boy they had to be surprised when the flurries of rumors and trades were dropped. Now, they have a revamped Cleveland team, probably a happier and more motivated LeBron, which all equals a tougher battle come playoff time.
All-in-all, if you believe that it was a 4 team race before today, not much has changed. It will still be Warriors vs Rockets in the West, and Celtics vs Cavaliers in the East. Before today, I did not think they would be able to overtake Boston, but now I believe they will return to the NBA Finals to face either the Rockets or the Warriors. I am not ready to say Golden State will return. If you watch them play they are very bored. I know in the past they have been able to flip that competitive switch and turn it on, but they have never played like this. I believe they will get beat up by the Thunder who will likely end up with the 4 seed and then they will have to face Houston, who matches up great.
It is going to be a very interesting 2nd half of the NBA season. Be sure to watch every Friday around 9:30ish on Facebook Live for the show, and if you can't watch be sure to listen to the podcast. Let me know your thoughts on anything above or any NBA talk. You can leave me a comment or on the Drunk Line: 440.37.DRUNK.