NBA: Hectic trade deadline leaves questions

Dylan Mehl, Staff Writer

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As we go through another year of the NBA, another trade deadline has come and gone. This year’s proved to be  as hectic as any and full of “Woj bombs.”

The Minnesota Timberwolves made perhaps the biggest splash at the deadline, acquiring D’Angelo Russell from the Golden State Warriors. This trade is a win-win for Minnesota, as they were able to get Russell and get rid of Andrew Wiggins and his contract. This trade tremendously improves the Wolves from a talent standpoint and gets them a great point guard in a league that is focused on guard play.

Karl-Anthony Towns, the Timberwolves’ star, will be one teammate especially happy with the move, as he has expressed his displeasure in the team’s losing ways. Towns and Russell are also well-known friends off the court, respectively going number one and two in the 2015 NBA draft.

For the Warriors, however, this trade appears to be a big loss. While Wiggins is a wing that better fits alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson when it comes to size, he does not when it comes to the style of play. Wiggins is an isolation player who does not play great defense, which is the complete opposite of how the Warriors play. 

Trading Russell may have been the game plan but Golden State would have been much better served waiting till the off-season if this was the best offer they got. The only benefits here for the Warriors are a draft pick and some extra cap room.

Cleveland and Atlanta both also saw themselves emerge as winners from their separate deals. Both teams were able to acquire new starting centers that could help their teams in the future, despite not being viewed as contenders this year.

Atlanta was able to work a four-team trade with the Rockets, Nuggets and Timberwolves that in the end saw them landing Clint Capela. A center was a real need for the Hawks with Alex Len being their starter for some time. Capela is a huge upgrade for a team that now seems close to competing. Capela and Trae Young should work well together, as Capela is used to running the pick-and-roll with a scoring first guard in James Harden. 

Atlanta now also has a frontcourt combination of Capela and John Collins, which could prove to be one of the best in the league. The Hawks were also able to secure Dewayne Dedmon to play backup center. With the East being very weak, especially at the bottom, the Hawks could push to make a late run at the eight seed after this move. 

As for the Cavaliers, they bring in one of, if not the league’s top rebounder, Andre Drummond. This win for the Cavs comes with a little astrix, however, as Drummond does have the ability to opt-out of his contract after this season. That being said, Cleveland gave up almost nothing to get Drummond, and it is worth trying out for them.

Miami and Memphis also made a mutually beneficial deal, as it puts the Heat in a better position to win now and adds to the Grizzlies already young core.  

Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill are all headed to South Beach from Memphis, so it already appears those three are the real winners. Miami added three great “three-and-D” options here, which are going to be necessary if they hope to win the east. The Heat added both veteran presences and bench depth with the move.

Adding these three also gives Miami plenty of options to throw at Giannis Antetokounmpo if they do happen to meet him and his Bucks in the playoffs.

Memphis getting Justise Winslow in return could prove to be a beneficial move for them in the long term, as now they have a young core of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Winslow. The Grizzlies also don’t mind eating the salary as they know they are not a free agent destination nor will they have to dish out big-time money anytime soon. 

In Los Angeles the Clippers won the battle for Marcus Morris, not giving up too much to get him in Moe Harkless and their first round draft pick for this year. This is a subtle but big win for the Clippers as they add another great “three-and-D” wing. The acquisition of Morris allows for more load management for star Kawhi Leonard, as Morris can defend the same positions.

Morris could also prove to be a great addition come the playoffs, as the Clippers already deep bench just got deeper. This also gives them another option to throw at LeBron in a potential western conference finals matchup and Giannis in the NBA finals. As an added bonus, the team was also able to keep the Lakers from getting Morris.