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Trade Grades: Breaking Down the NBA Trades

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Trade: Clippers trade Blake Griffin, Willie Reed, and Brice Johnson to the Pistons in exchange for Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Avery Bradley, and a 2018 protected first round pick

Clippers: B

The Clippers had recently made a run into the playoffs, and had also re-signed Griffin to a 5-year, 171 million dollar contract this past summer. Part of their pitch to keep Griffin was a mock jersey retirement where they had the PA announcer proclaim Griffin a “Clipper for Life”. He’s now in the Motor City. LA had to do this because their owner, Steve Ballmer, was not going to be content as a 7-seed in the west. He was ready to contend for titles, and paying Griffin an obscene amount of money was not in the plans. They acquired some nice pieces in the deal in Harris, who provides value as a power forward who can shoot from outside and Bradley, who’s an extremely good on-ball defender who also has a good stroke from outside. This allows them to start their rebuild as they close the book on the Lob City era in Los Angeles.

Pistons: B-

Eh. The Pistons had a good start to the season before cratering recently. As of now, they would be the 9th seed in the playoffs, but the acquisition of Griffin has put them on a five-game winning streak. When healthy, Griffin is a game-changing talent that is one of the top 20 players in the league. However, health has always been the question for Blake, as he never seems to be able to stay healthy, suffering injury after injury, including a sprained MCL earlier this year. The Pistons have shoehorned themselves into paying an injury prone star over 30 million dollars for the next 5 years, a monumental risk that could blow up in their face. It’s another short-sighted move by Stan Van Gundy, who’s desperately trying to save his job as coach and GM of the Pistons.

Trade: Bulls trade Nikola Mirotic and a 2018 second round pick for Omer Asik, 2018 first rounder, 2021 second rounder, Tony Allen(waived), and Jameer Nelson(waived)

Bulls: B

The Bulls did well to get a first-round pick for Mirotic, who saw his trade value shoot up as the season progressed. Acquiring Asik’s contract isn’t ideal, but for a team that won’t be looking at major free agents for a while, it’s not a crippling deal to have on the books. Trading Mirotic also gives the Bulls more minutes to give to their future, the Finnisher, Lauri Markkanen. Slowly but surely, the Bulls have some nice pieces on their team. Kris Dunn has become a solid point guard after a dismal rookie season. He was always good on the defensive end due to his length, but he’s made huge strides as an offensive player in his second year from Providence. The aforementioned Markkanen has showed some of his offensive prowess, scoring 15 points per game and shooting 37% from behind the three-point arc. Trading Mirotic also allows the Bulls to embrace a full-on tank, which could land them one of the star big men in this draft to pair with Markkanen, creating a dynamic frontcourt tandem for years to come.

Pelicans: B

Speaking of dynamic frontcourt tandems, the Pelicans had one of the best in the league before the horrifying injury to Demarcus Cousins that ended his season. Getting Mirotic should stabilize the Pelicans, giving them a chance to sneak into the playoffs. Getting rid of Asik’s contract, which was a horrible addition to their cap should allow them to resign Cousins this summer, which should also help their long-term prospects in keeping Anthony Davis.

Trade: Cavaliers trade Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and 2018 first round Pick to Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance

Cavaliers: A

The Cavaliers were in a rut. Before their overtime win against the Timberwolves, they were 4-6 in their last 10 games and were absolutely horrid on defense. Isaiah Thomas simply was not the same coming off his hip injury and was never able to fit with LeBron James. There were many rumors of strife between players and between LeBron and the front office. How do you fix locker room issues? Change up the locker room. Bringing in Clarkson gives the Cavs an answer at the backup point guard spot. Nance will bring some much-needed athleticism to the front court, a position of need now that Kevin Love is out with a broken hand.

Lakers: A

The Lakers had two goals for the trade deadline. Goal 1: Clear cap room. Goal 2: Clear cap room. They aren’t playing for this year, instead they’re playing for this summer, when they can make a run at the big free agents. Although rumors came out recently that they won’t be players this year and are focused on next year, this move may prove that they want to test the waters on this year’s free agents, most notably LeBron James and Paul George. Isaiah Thomas will be gone after this year, and he might be bought out before then. Channing Frye won’t be on this team next year, and the first round pick they got will help them bolster this roster. The Lakers have some intriguing pieces on their team, with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma starting to look like solid NBA players, if not more. Add in a big name free agent and the pace and space offense used by head coach Luke Walton, and this team could be very fun and exciting for the first time since Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon.

Three Team Deal:
Cavs acquire: Rodney Hood and George Hill

Jazz acquire: Derrick Rose(waived) and Jae Crowder

Kings acquire: Joe Johnson(waived), Iman Shumpert, and a 2020 second round pick

Cavaliers: A

Again, the Cavaliers make a great move. They let go of players who hadn’t done well in Cleveland and acquired assets that can help them throughout the rest of this year. Rodney Hood is a promising young wing with athleticism and shooting. He should fit in nicely into the starting shooting guard spot, moving J.R. Smith to the bench. Hood is a good shooter who has the potential to be a very good NBA wing, a rare commodity in the league. Hill is the best point guard to play with LeBron James. And when I say best, I mean best in the entire NBA. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands, he’s a good shooter, and he’s a strong defender. The Cavaliers also became better via subtraction. Jae Crowder was supposed to be a vital piece for them, he was supposed to guard Kevin Durant, reducing the burden on LeBron. For some reason, his game cratered and he became a below-average player. Rose hasn’t been good for many years now, and his lack of defense or shooting made him a terrible fit on the Cavaliers from the beginning.

Jazz: C

The Jazz were put in a tough spot. Hood was a player with a lot of talent who simply hadn’t been able to put it all together. Given some more time, he could have blossomed into a very good player in Quin Snyder’s system. The Jazz just didn’t have that time, and with his upcoming free agency, they didn’t want to risk losing him for nothing or having to pay him a huge contract. Instead, they flipped him for Jae Crowder. Crowder could very well rebound in Utah, he was a very good shooter and defender for the Celtics just a year ago, but losing Hood for such a minimal return feels like an unsatisfactory way for that relationship to end. Looking at the other part of the trade, Joe Johnson had some nice moments for them, but now he can move on to a contender after being bought out by Sacramento.

Sacramento: D

Ugh. Just when you think this franchise has turned the corner, they have a stretch like this one. They wave their first-round pick from 2016, Georgios Papagiannis. Then, they trade George Hill away for nothing. The idea of signing Hill was that you would have a good veteran presence to mentor young players like De’aaron Fox and then flip him for assets at the trade deadline. Instead, all you get is Iman Shumpert and a second-round pick 2 years from now? The only good part about this trade is that they get off the 19 million they would have to pay Hill over the next two years, but even that is partially offset by the 10 million they’ll play Shumpert over the next two seasons. The Kings should have done better than the return they got.

 

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Trade Grades: Breaking Down the NBA Trades