By: Donnie Menke ~Staff Writer~
The NBA trade deadline was Thursday, and it came and went without many notable deals. However, one controversial trade among others emerged with the supposed “robbery” of the Sacramento Kings by the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Pelicans acquired DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins, whom many consider one of, if not the, best center in the NBA. They also acquired forward Omri Casspi in exchange for forward Tyreke Evans, who had previously played for the Kings from 2009-2013 before leaving in free agency, and guards Buddy Hield and Langston Galloway in addition to a top-3 protected first round pick and a second round pick, both in this year’s draft. The rookie Hield is looked at as the key cog for Sacramento in this trade.
Another big storyline of the deadline was the trading, or lack thereof, of the Boston Celtics. The Celtics own the most assets of any team in the league with seven first round picks in the next four drafts, including the potential number one pick in this June’s draft, despite being in second place in the Eastern Conference. This is due to the Celtics owning the right to swap picks with the Brooklyn Nets, who have the worst record in the league. The Celtics also own numerous team-friendly contracts that could help teams get under the salary cap.
So, why didn’t they make a move? Boston had long been linked to Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler and Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, but the rumored asking prices for both were very steep. Both teams reportedly wanted the right to swap picks with the Nets and three established rotation players.
The Celtics are currently known for their incredible chemistry and trading important pieces of the rotation could tarnish that.
There were multiple deals that took place on deadline day. The first, and possibly most out of the blue, was a trade between the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers. The Mavericks traded center Andrew Bogut, forward Justin Anderson and a top-18 protected first-round pick to the 76ers for big man Nerlens Noel. Noel was long rumored to have been on the trade block, as had Bogut, but neither team was reported to be in trade discussions with the other prior to the deal. Noel adds youth to a team that has been trying to get younger, while Anderson looks be a key role player on a team that needed better wing play.
The Toronto Raptors, who currently sit fourth in the East, made a deadline deal to acquire the Suns’ P.J. Tucker for Jared Sullinger and two second-round picks. Tucker strengthens the Raptors bench depth after they sent forward Terrence Ross to the Magic in a separate deal that brought forward Serge Ibaka, who provides an upgrade on defense, to Toronto.
The Houston Rockets also made a deal to boost their bench, trading for Lakers guard Lou Williams. The gain of Williams gave the Rockets the two highest bench scorers in the NBA, as guard Eric Gordon is the only player ahead of Williams in bench scoring.
Many Oklahoma City Thunder fans got what they wanted when the Thunder landed a three-point shooter in Doug McDermott and a low-post presence in Taj Gibson from a deal with the Chicago Bulls. Chicago also sent a secondround pick to the Thunder. The Thunder sent second year guard Cameron Payne, shooting guard Anthony Morrow and center Joffrey Lauvergne to the Bulls.
Although this trade deadline was rather dull overall, it featured one of the biggest midseason trades ever in the DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins is averaging a career high in points, rebounds and assists per game and player efficiency rating. The deadline was filled with speculation that never came to fruition, but many contenders made trades that needed to be made. So, while very few trades were flashy, many were necessary, and it should make for a more interesting final stretch of the NBA season.