Boring NBA Deadline Has One NBA Star on the Move: Ex-Kentucky Wildcats Teaming Up in New Orleans

Eric Fishbin

   Normally, 3:00 p.m on a Thursday is an arbitrary and somewhat meaningless time; life on the hill continues as per usual. However, the much anticipated and, as it turned out, overly-hyped NBA trade deadline fell on a Thursday this year: Thursday, February 23. One week ago, Twitter was probably more used for non-political reasons than it has been in a very long time. If you are like me, you were constantly refreshing Adrian Wojnarowski’s page in hopes of a “Woj Bomb” involving your team.

The biggest deal leading up to this year’s deadline happened following the NBA All-Star Game. The Sacramento Kings, who have not had a winning season since the 2005-06 season, shipped their franchise player, Demarcus Cousins, to the New Orleans Pelicans. Cousins will team up with fellow front court All-Star Anthony Davis, while the Kings received Buddy Hield, a 2017 first-round pick, and some other low-quality talent.

The Pelicans, with the NBA’s best front court now, will create matchup problems for defenses around the league. Currently sitting on the outskirts of the playoffs, if the Pelicans can reach the eighth spot, this team could create a problem for the defen… wait… Golden State Warriors in the first round in the playoffs.

Also in the West, Lou Williams, the leading bench scorer in the league, was sent from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Houston Rockets. In his first game as a Rocket, Williams drilled seven threes and racked up 27 points. Additional outlets of scoring are never a problem in a Mike D’Antoni system.

Within the Eastern Conference, star players including the Pacers’ Paul George, the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler and the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony were said to have been on the block. NBA fans were hoping to see a blockbuster deal involving one or more of these three, but no trade happened. The Boston Celtics were said to have been in discussion with the Bulls and the Pacers, but no agreement was reached between these teams.

Players deal with the deadline in different ways. Star players can only hope to be in the loop, but sometimes they are cast aside.

“Yeah, I mean, nobody likes to be in limbo. We all want to know kind of what’s going on, especially when it’s involving you. But that’s not the way it is in sports. I don’t think I’m the only one that’s going through that or feeling that way. I think there’s other players who feel the same way, that they want to be involved — not involved, but at least up to date with what’s going on,”

Anthony said.

The Philadelphia 76ers are continuing along with “The Process” and decided to ship big man Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks for a first round pick, Andrew Bogut, and Justin Anderson. With centers Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor on the roster, moving one of them made sense. Of course, Embiid was never considered as a trading piece.

P.J. Tucker, previously of the Phoenix Suns, was traded to the Toronto Raptors for former Ohio State star Jared Sullinger and two second-round picks. Tucker, a versatile player, does not fill up the stat sheet, but the kid can defend. If the Raptors want to make a push into June, he will need to play a big role.

Blockbuster deals were absent from the deadline. However, it is going to be fun to watch the relationship of former Kentucky Wildcats Davis and Cousins form.