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Best of the week: Trade deadline bonanza

The trade deadline has finally come and gone, and there’s no shortage of surprising deals to talk about.

NBA: Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Take a deep breath, everyone; the trade deadline is finally behind us! Lots of surprising deals took place, some of which have shifted the entire power structure of the league, so let’s break down a few of the biggest trades that went down.

The big kahuna

It actually happened! I thought there was no way that Brooklyn would be willing to deal with the Sixers in-season, but Daryl Morey’s patience paid off in the end. It definitely seemed like the Nets were unwilling participants at first, but with recent reports claiming that there was a real chance Philly would carve out enough cap space this summer to sign Harden outright (by trading both Simmons and Harris), Brooklyn decided to cash in its chips now to avoid that doomsday scenario.

When viewing this deal in a vacuum, I personally see it as a win-win for both sides. It’s definitely a disaster for the Nets when you consider the expectations laid out for their Big 3, but they were still smart to turn a depreciating asset into Simmons, Curry, and other pieces. Meanwhile, Philly should be absolutely elated that they acquired Harden (and Paul Millsap) right now since they can make a real run at the championship this season and not waste the best season of Embiid’s career. It also lets them keep Harris, who’s still a good player even if he’s overpaid.

Best Simmons slander

Best Kyrie and Simmons slander

Best reality check

Best comparison

Best “Troel” Embiid tweet

Spurs deals

The Spurs made not one, not two, not three, not four, not five...

Just kidding, they only made three trades.

Wait, the SPURS made THREE TRADES??? And within the span of a single day? That must be some sort of record!

In all seriousness, I love the moves that PATFO made before the deadline. San Antonio now has three first-round picks to boost the rebuild and got rid of some cluster in the backcourt. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sad to see White go, but he was definitely the most expendable piece given his age and injury history. This opens up more playing time for Vassell, who’s earned it, and Primo in the future too.

Trading away Eubanks and Young was well worth a first in return too, and the Spurs still have an OK backup big in Jock Landale. Overall, San Antonio completed some real tidy business, and the team also opened up a lot of cap space.

Best Spurs deadline recap

Best surprise trade

Well, this one was definitely a surprise. Porzingis has had an underrated bounce-back season in which he had a dark horse case to be an All-Star, but the Mavs were smart to deal him when his value was at its highest since the 2020 bubble playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Wizards were rumoured to have been interested in acquiring Sabonis so Porzingis might’ve been Plan B for them. This deal probably indicates that they’re still planning on building around Beal instead of blowing it up, which doesn’t seem like a smart move to me given that he’s going to ask for a supermax this summer.

I mean, does having Beal and Porzingis make almost $75 million combined sound like a winning strategy to you? If by “winning” you mean making the play-in tournament, then sure.

Best “Kangz” moment

Sigh.

Kangz gonna Kangz.

Even Woj was so shocked at the deal that he included Jeremy Lamb twice! Sabonis is undoubtedly a very good player (an All-Star even) and is better than Haliburton now, but he’s also four years older and will become a UFA at the same time when the latter is still going to be a restricted free agent.

In other words, the Kings had a cheaper and younger player who had a lot more room to grow and was also going to be under team control for much longer and they decided that keeping good assets was just not in Sacramento’s DNA.

There’s really not much more that I can say about this deal. The Kings decided to go all-in and pursue a win-now move just to potentially go from the 11th seed in the West to the 9th seed. When you’ve missed the playoffs for 15 consecutive seasons, I guess that counts as a win.

Best summary of the Kangz

Best heartbreaking reply

Best “huh, that actually makes sense” trade

When the McCollum to New Orleans rumours surfaced last week, I was admittedly perplexed, as he didn’t seem to fit with Zion and Ingram’s timelines. After seeing the actual trade, however, I understand it a lot more from the Pelicans’ point of view; they only gave up a couple of role players and no significant draft capital for a really good scorer!

It’s also worth mentioning that McCollum’s deal expires before Zion’s theoretical rookie max extension kicks in, so there’s no need to worry about potential cap issues either. The Pelicans got a good role player in Larry Nance Jr too, on top of Tony Snell, who still owns the greatest stat line in NBA history.

For Portland, though, the return definitely seems a bit underwhelming. Alexander-Walker still has potential but is going through a rough sophomore season, while Josh Hart is one of the more underappreciated players in the league. The real asset they acquired is cap space: but remember, that’s only an asset if they use it properly. And with the way the Blazers have built their roster over the past few seasons, I’m not convinced they won’t throw all their money at a glorified fourth option such as Jerami Grant.

Other notable trades

Best deal that didn’t happen

Can we just make Westbrook for Wall an annual tradition from now on?


This week, I’d like to highlight Bruno Passos’ fantastic interview with Vassell. The sophomore guard is going to get a lot more minutes moving forward and Bruno does a fantastic job as always of covering the team.

Thanks for reading, see you all next week!