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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Which teams helped or hurt themselves at the NBA trade deadline?

SportsWhich teams helped or hurt themselves at the NBA trade deadline?

Which teams helped themselves the most? Which teams missed opportunities? The Athletic has assembled three of its writers to answer the questions. Daniel Gafford has been the best player for the Wizards this season. Luka Doni and Kyrie Irving will love throwing it up high for him, he has very good hands. He is a top 10 player in the league in both effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage. If Dallas stays out of the Play-In Tournament and is a top-six team in the West, Gafford would be a big help for the Mavs against OKC or the Clippers in a first-round series. I know there is debate about the play of P.J. Washington, but having another long, lively body to surround Doni and Irving can't hurt. Washington and Gafford strengthen their roster.

The Mavs have an amazing talent in Doni, who is having an amazing season, and aren't wasting his years waiting for player development or a right time to strike. The Mavs fortified their frontcourt with the additions of Washington and Gafford, but they didn't land a star at the deadline. Doni will get immediate help with their impactful play at both ends and stability at the four and five. The Mavs might now be set up to make a deep run. The Pacers added a small-market player last month, and I love them. How else were the Pacers going to acquire either a future All-Star through the draft or a two-time All-Star in free agency with Tyrese Haliburton elevating the Pacers out of lottery contention for the foreseeable future? The Pacers were relevant again because of Tyrese Haliburton. The team that needed to improve the most was Milwaukee. Since New Year's Day, the Bucks are 23rd in the league in defensive rating. The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks are two teams Milwaukee will have to defend better against in the first round of the playoffs. The Kings stood pat while two of their competitors made moves to improve. After a first-round appearance last season, the Kings shouldn't pass up any opportunities to strengthen their roster. Robbins won't be the last person to say that, but when will the Chicago Bulls begin to rebuild? The Bulls seem content to stay the same.

Buddy Hield to the 76ers is the move you like the most. The trio of Embiid, Maxey and Hield is just as potent as anyone in the league. The gravity he will create for Maxey will be crazy. And by getting far enough under this year's first apron tax line, he preserved his nontaxpayer midlevel exception. Almost $5 million of the $12.4 million Ntmle can be used by the 76ers for any potential buyout candidates, but they cannot use all of it without hitting the first apron. With the re-signing of Hield and Maxey, the 76ers will have an amazing offensive trio. Sam Presti takes a swing at a low-cost, high-reward addition. If he does, the Thunder will be able to get an experienced secondary scorer and playmaker at a low price. Adding an ultra-solid 3-and-D wing at a relatively low cost is a move that could tip a close game in a tight playoff series in the Suns' direction. Phoenix needed an additional defensive minded role player to complement the three-headed offensive monster of Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker. Even in the playoffs, the Durant-Booker-Beal trio should create a lot of open shots, and O' Neale is capable of draining open 3s. The Suns were 16th in the league in defensive rating, which is an accomplishment given the defensive personnel they had to work with. The trade left the Phoenix Suns with two open roster spots that can be filled with players who have been bought out. Otto Porter Jr. and Kira Lewis are the one move that I like the least. The Raptors have two other firsts, and if they can re-sign Olynyk this summer, that makes more sense. Toronto believes Agbaji is better than anyone it will get near the end of the first round. I think Toronto should have taken a bigger swing. The Pacers thought of Hield's expiring contract as future value and opened more minutes for Bennedict Mathurin. I wonder if the Pacers could have gotten more for Hield. It was better for them to get value for Hield instead of losing him for nothing in free agency. Monté Morris was added for the relatively low cost of trading away Shake Milton, Troy Brown Jr., and a second-round pick. Tim Connelly, the former Denver Nuggets executive, deserves a lot of the credit for finding Morris in the first place. Is Morris the same guard who was ably replaced by Murray in the 2020-21 and 2020-22 seasons? The cost of acquiring Morris was low, and I don't think he will play at a high level. Is there a better fit for Minnesota at a slightly higher cost? I was surprised so many teams stood pat after Houston was supposedly all-in on making a difference-making splash after playing well enough over the first half of the season. The Clippers and Lakers both had reason to pull the plug on deals. The Kings didn't address their need to improve their perimeter defense, while Cleveland quietly folded. The standing pat was understandable because Denver is the defending champ.

I was interested in the Raptors-Nets trade that sent Young to Brooklyn. I remember seeing a confrontation between Trent and Schrder during a road win over the Bulls. It was only one observation from a brief moment over a long season. When I saw the Raptors-Nets deal, I wondered if the locker room dynamics in Toronto played a role. The NBA trades that involve future draft picks are not as important as the lessons that can be learned from the NFL Draft. In the NFL, second-round picks have a lot of use because each team has 11 players on the field at any given time and there is so much turnover because of injuries. Most of the NBA second-round picks are not important. Draymond Green and Nikola Joki are examples of second-round success. NBA second-round picks are not devoid of value. In most cases, we need to cool our jets a little and not ascribe the same value to them that second-round picks have in the NFL.

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