By Michael Tom, Maroon-News Staff
The NBA trade deadline move that has paid off best is the dealing of PF Nikola Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans. Since Mirotic’s arrival, the Pelicans are 7-2 sitting at fifth overall in the western conference standings (currently on a seven-game winning streak).
While much of the winning streak may be attributed to Anthony Davis averaging 34.3 ppg and 13.3 rpg over that stretch, it would be wrong to ignore Mirotic’s contribution. Mirotic is in the midst of his best season since entering the NBA in 2014. His rebound, point, assist, and block averages are all above his career numbers and despite seeing increased usage, he has not lost a great deal of efficiency. Perhaps most important, Mirotic is shooting nearly 40% from 3-pt range, which is invaluable in spreading the floor for Anthony Davis. While Mirotic cannot replace the inside presence of the injured DeMarcus Cousins, he complements the offensive style of Davis who has seen more touches inside since Cousins tore his achilles.
From a player perspective, the trade was positive for Mirotic who was playing for a losing team in the Chicago Bulls and competing with PF Bobby Portis for minutes. Conversely, the trade has also paid off for the Bulls who have been able to give Portis more playing time. Chicago also received a protected first-round pick in the deal which they hope will help them continue their rebuilding process. Overall, this trade deadline move has paid off for both sides involved.
By Matt Gentile, Assistant National Sports Editor
The Cleveland Cavaliers took Twitter and ESPN by storm with the many moves made by GM Koby Altman (or Dan Gilbert…or Lebron James…who knows). The almost complete overhaul of a roster that was clearly a top-tier team in the East was unexpected but definitely necessary. In my opinion, the most significant impacts of this year’s trade deadlines are not going to be seen this season. Yes, the Cavs did get much younger and better defensively, but I do not think any moves made at this deadline change the fact that the Warriors and Rockets are head and shoulders above the rest of the league. However, the effect these deals will have on future free agencies has the potential for drastic impact on the landscape of the league.
The headline move at the deadline was the Cavs shipping out last year’s MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. The key to this trade is the fact that both Thomas and Frye are on expiring contracts and that the Lakers were desperately trying to clear cap space for the upcoming free agent markets. By ridding themselves of the last three years of Clarkson’s 4 year, $50 million contract, the Lakers did just that. Now, in a position to bring in two max-contract worthy players either this summer or next summer, the Lakers’ future is bright. On the flip side of this trade, Cleveland also bettered their chances at retaining their top free agent, Lebron James. By reinvigorating the roster with youth and energy to surround Lebron, Altman made resigning a much more viable option for the King.
All in all, the legacy of this year’s trade deadline will not be determined by Rodney Hood and George Hill (acquired in trades with the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz, respectively) helping the Cavs win 10 more regular season games. This year’s trade deadline was all about teams positioning themselves for signing the big-name free agents over the next two summers; the biggest of all being Lebron James. Both the Cavs’ and the Lakers’ front offices did exactly what they needed to do to improve their free agent pitches.
By Ben Polikoff, Maroon-News Staff
The NBA trade deadline can make or break your season if you are a playoff contender. We saw many trades this year that were surprising, smart and impulsive. But the move at the deadline that paid off the most was the Lakers swapping Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. for Isaiah Thomas and a first round pick with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This, in my opinion, was a steal for the Lakers. They got an all-star in Isaiah Thomas, who averaged 30 points per game last season, and a first round pick for two players who came off the bench for them. While getting Isaiah Thomas was definitely valuable for the Lakers, this trade does something even more meaningful for them: It clears out a ton of cap space for them to go after premier free agents in the offseason. Though this trade improves the Lakers future, it has also had a huge effect on them in the present. This trade also gives their up and coming rookie, Lonzo Ball, a premier guard to play and develop next to. The Lakers may not make the playoffs this year, but this trade made their future a whole lot brighter as it brings an All-NBA caliber guard and a ton of cap space for them.