Holy hell, what a time to be alive if you are a fan of the NBA. It is once again that time of year where seemingly every GM is on the phone trying to make a splash that gets them closer to Cleveland and Golden State. And as with every trade deadline at this point in the season, there is always room for crazy, non-sourced rumors and for some reason, NBA players sending social media into a firestorm of alarms with one emoji:
Ahhhhh! Okay…okay… I will admit that I was one of those fans who didn’t get any sleep on Monday night after Isaiah Thomas’ antics, but in retrospect, it is rather appalling that we tend to over-analyze Twitter accounts, avatar changes, emojis, and everything in between. After Andre Drummond changed his profile picture and twitter header, many took it as a sign that the all-star center was likely on the way out of Detroit. In the past these kinds of moves have given subtle hints that something big might happen. Isaiah Thomas tweeted the same eyes emoji this past summer and later that day, the Celtics signed veteran big man Al Horford to the roster so the anticipation isn’t totally unfounded. For the time being though, Drummond is still a Piston and Danny Ainge hasn’t made any moves on behalf of Boston despite the stockpile of assets and draft picks at his disposal.
This deadline officially got crazy as soon as the Kings dealt their star center DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans, essentially for a bag of chips and an off-brand diet soda. Cousins has proven himself to be a top-tier big in the NBA but he has a deep history of clashing with coaches and teammates. His 17 technical fouls this season lead the NBA by a pretty wide margin. Essentially, it is well known that Cousins has had an enormous amount of difficulty balancing his passion with his frustration and it is a big part of why Sacramento decided to move on from the three time all-star.
Just days after, the Lakers had an enormous front office shakeup right before Thursday’s deadline. GM Mitch Kupchak was fired and replaced by Kobe Bryant’s former agent, Rod Pelinka. President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss was also fired and succeeded by former Lakers superstar, Magic Johnson. It’s a move that a lot of people expected, just not right now, just days away from a trade deadline that could determine the path of LA for years to come. The addition of new front office now is puzzling to me. We will see what Magic and Pelinka have up their sleeves. They have already sent the team’s leading scorer, Lou Williams to Houston which is a good indication that the immediate plan is to try and lock up a top three selection in the upcoming draft, but it’s risky. Because of the protection, anything outside of the top four picks, and the Lakers will forfeit the selection to Philadelphia.
The other big deadline stories have revolved around Boston. The Celtics have so many draft picks in their arsenal I have honestly lost track of them all. They hold Brooklyn’s first round pick this year and next year and with Brooklyn currently holding the NBA’s worst record, that pick has a very good shot at being number one overall and GM Danny Ainge has been using it as a blue chip to try and convince other teams to part ways with star players. The two players most notable on Ainge’s radar are Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Indiana’s Paul George. Both are extremely strong defenders who can put the ball in the basket. Indiana has been feeling offers for George but hasn’t shown any signs that they are ready to send him packing. As for Butler, Chicago liked what Boston had to offer but Ainge was unwilling to include forward Jae Crowder in a trade package. The two sides have been at a stalemate for the last few days.
We will update this post as the trades come before the 3PM Eastern trade deadline. Here is what has gone down so far:
Kings Receive: Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, 2017 first-round pick, 2017 second-round pick
Pelicans Receive: DeMarcus Cousins, Omri Casspi
Lakers Receive: Corey Brewer, 2017 first-round pick
Rockets Receive: Lou Williams
Hawks Receive: Ersan Ilyasova
76ers Receive: Tiago Splitter, 2 future 2nd-round picks
Wizards Receive: Bojan Bogdonovic, Chris McCullough
Nets Receive: Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton, 2017 first-round pick
76ers Receive: Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson, conditional 2017 first-round pick
Mavericks Receive: Nerlens Noel
Suns Receive: Jared Sullinger, 2 future 2nd-round picks
Raptors Receive: PJ Tucker
Bulls Receive: Cameron Payne, Geoffrey Lauvergne, Anthony Morrow
Thunder Receive: Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson