Winners and Losers at the NBA Trade Deadline

The NBA trade deadline came to a close on Thursday afternoon with plenty of surprises and big names in the news.

Though it was rumored we would see All-Stars like Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Jimmy Butler be moved, they all stayed put. However, this did not mean that playoff-altering trades, winners and losers didn’t emerge.

Here is my list of winners and losers from the 2016-17 NBA trade deadline:


New Orleans Pelicans – Possibly the most obvious winner from the deadline, the Pelicans add a perennial All-Star in DeMarcus Cousins while only giving minimal talent to the Kings and not forking out bank-breaking money to sign “Boogie”. If you want to know more about the only big name trade, check out WUTK’s Alex Jones’s article.

Oklahoma City Thunder – OKC didn’t need to add anything to contend for a playoff spot as they are currently the No. 7 seed. However, if they want to contend in the Western Conference, they needed a few more pieces. They got those on Thursday, putting through a trade to obtain Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second round pick from the Bulls. They only give up their third-string point guard Cameron Payne and two other bench players in Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow.

I think Doug McDermott is surprisingly the better addition because the Thunder needed a more consistent shooter in the backcourt more then they needed another post presence due to having Steven Adams and Enes Kanter.

Gibson along with McDermott, however, does provide a viable option to put on the floor when your starting five need a breather.

Oklahoma City ultimately comes out a winner because they addressed two major needs. They find a viable shooter in McDermott and they get two players who significantly improve the talent level of their second line—that now looks to include Oladipo alongside Gibson and McDermott—which is vital come playoff time.

Houston Rockets – The Rockets made several moves on Thursday to give themselves a shot at running down the Spurs or the Warriors.

Houston sends K.J. McDaniels to the Nets for cash considerations. This is mostly just the Rockets’ way up dumping money and a roster spot in prep for free agency in the offseason. They could be looking to acquire a name like Andrew Bogut, who was included in the Nerlens Noel to Dallas deal and is on a contract that expires at the end of the year.

The Rockets also did two separate deals with the Lakers. The first was another roster-freeing move sending Tyler Ennis to L.A. and getting Marcelo Huertas in return, whom they plan to release instantly.

The second was a win-lose trade in my eyes. Houston sends Corey Brewer, a good player and fan favorite, along with a first round pick to the Lakers for Lou Williams.

Though Brewer was a solid bench player on this team, his minutes were diminishing and the Rockets felt it was time for a change. Giving up your first round pick is rough, but it was going to be a late round pick no matter what, so that helps.

Williams will provide a huge spark for a team in need of a guy who can come on the bench and make an impact.


Chicago Bulls – As a Bulls fan, I will say that seeing my team struggle so much this season and then make a trade that looks a whole lot like they’re throwing in the towel on the year hurts. However, removing my bias, the Bulls still had a not so great trade deadline.

The loss of Gibson was inevitable. He was set to be a free agent at the end of the year and more then likely would have left Chicago. The only thing about losing him was the loss of an interior presence and a leader on a team that is in dire need of both.

The more concerning thing about Chicago’s actions was not only letting go of the most consistent shooter they had in McDermott, but also adding no post presence to replace Gibson, not bringing in a shooter to replace McDermott’s spot, and most terribly, acquiring yet another point guard in Payne.

I fully believe Payne is, can be, and will be a great player and a good point guard in this league. Contrary to popular belief, he will not be the best point guard on this team or the one with the most potential. I question why the Bulls add him on a team that already has a young, talented point guard with tons of potential in Michael Carter-Williams alongside a veteran in Rajon Rondo who, though rough around the edges, is still a very viable option if you put a team around him.

Sacramento Kings – First off, I like what the Kings did here in the long run. However, they are absolutely losers for two reasons.

First, why would Sacramento pull the trigger on this deal Sunday versus waiting four days to see what else they could have gotten for a guy most experts say is a top-10 player in this league?

Second, how do you trade three mid-level talents in Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway, along with mid-level first and second rounds picks for an NBA All-Star starter-level talent? If you’re the Kings, you have to come out of this with either a player or a draft pick that changes the level of your franchise. They obviously did not accomplish this.

Now, much like not all the winners weren’t all total wins, this isn’t a total loss for Sacramento. You added a high potential wing player in Hield and a solid point guard in Evans who, if you remember, is familiar with your organization having already been a part of it.

Although the picks you obtained won’t theoretically allow you to draft a franchise-altering player like Frank Mason III or Lonzo Ball, you do have the ability to go get a young post player to put beside Willie Cauley-Stein in the paint. For instance, Edrice “Bam” Adebayo out of Kentucky or Khadeem Lattin of the Oklahoma Sooners.

The Kings definitely lost in this trade, but don’t be surprised if the Kings become a playoff contender in the next few years.

Philadelphia 76ers – The 76ers stunned us all at the deadline when they traded Nerlens Noel. Many people thought that Philly was looking to dump one of their copious big men but everyone thought it would be Okafor.

Not only did they trade Noel instead, but they got almost nothing of value in return.

For sending Noel to Dallas the 76ers received Bogut, Justin Anderson, and a top-18 protected first-round pick. To put in more basic terms, Philadelphia received two mid-level bench players and what will probably be two second round picks (since the Mavs’ pick is almost guaranteed to be in the top-18) for a 22-year-old with endless potential.

The next thing we have to look forward to is which players that were part of deals at the deadline will be released and be able to sign elsewhere.

There is also free agency during the offseason which will include big names like Gordon Hayward, who is rumored to be looking at reuniting with his college coach in Boston, Brad Stevens.

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.

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