Grading the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline Deals

Trade Deadline Deals


Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: PG/SG Jordan Clarkson, PF/C Larry Nance Jr.

Los Angeles Lakers Receive: PF/C Channing Frye, PG Isaiah Thomas, 2018 first-round pick


Only in the NBA would a team trade for an All-NBA team selection with no intentions of signing him to a long-term contract at seasons end. This is what the Lakers did when they traded for 3rd team All-NBA selection Isaiah Thomas.  Regardless, I still give them credit for the clearing up space to sign two max contracts this off-season. With the rumors surrounding California native Paul George, clearing cap space in this situation is a good gamble. Only time will tell if it pays off.

Grade: B+


Isaiah Thomas was never going to help the Cavalier’s beat the Warriors in the finals (and yes, Lebron will be in the finals no matter who his teammates are). Isaiah Thomas simply doesn’t have the defensive skillset to be a factor on that side of the ball.  His height and ongoing hip injuries prevent him from doing so — not to mention his ongoing locker room issues. His departure will more likely be an addition rather than a subtraction.

The Cavaliers received Clarkson and Nance, two young, athletic players whose energy and intensity will help the Cavs each night. At 6’6, Clarkson has size and the shooting stoke to become a quality 6th man for the Cavaliers. Nance is a good rotational big who will surely help with rebounding and depth within Cleveland’s thin front-court.  I don’t think the Cavs should have gave up a first round pick in this deal and that is the only reason their grade is an A- and not an A.

Grade: A-


Detroit Pistons Receive: PF/C Blake Griffin, PF/C Brice Johnson, C Willie Reed

Los Angeles Clippers Receive: SG/SF Avery Bradley, SF/PF Tobias Harris, C Boban Marjanovic, 2018 first-round pick (top-four protection), 2019 second-round pick (via Cleveland, Houston, Orlando or Portland)


Coming off an eight-game losing streak before this trade, the Pistons needed to do something to take them out of mediocrity. Critics will be skeptical of Blake Griffins contract, but I think the Pistons struck gold with him. He is a perfect compliment to Drummond because of his ability to spread the floor with shooting and ability to pass. The Pistons were going nowhere fast, and this trade just may have just rejuvenated the franchise.

Grade: A


In today’s NBA you either need to be able to compete for a championship or do something similar to the 76ers where you completely tank to acquire stars through the draft. The Clippers are doing neither and although I think Bradley and Harris are very good basketball players at their position, this roster barring a Lebron James free agency signing, is looking at a first round playoff exit for the next decade. Nothing exciting for Clipper fans.

Grade: C-



Chicago Bulls Receive: SG Tony Allen, C Omer Asik, PG Jameer Nelson, a protected 2018 first-round pick (top-five protection), the right to swap second-rounders with the Pelicans in 2021

New Orleans Pelicans receive: PF Nikola Mirotic, 2018 second-round pick


The Bulls were playing too well for a team that was supposed to be tanking and for that reason they decided to trade one of their best players. I think the Bulls traded him at a great time, considering his trade value has never been higher. This trade will give them a better chance at the #1 pick and fulfill Mirotic’s request to be traded after Bobby Portis sucker punched him in the face.

Grade: B+


For the Pelicans, this seemed like a desperate move to stay competitive and show Demarcus Cousins that they are committed to winning. Cousins is a free agent after this year and would certainly like to play for a contender. Mirotic is a good fit beside Anthony Davis because of his ability to splash threes and would certainly be better than any player they would draft in the mid-late first round this year.

Grade: B+

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 10: E’Twaun Moore #55, Nikola Mirotic #3 and Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans react in the first round of overtime during their game at Barclays Center on February 10, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)


Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: PG/SG George Hill, SG/SF Rodney Hood

Sacramento Kings Receive: SF/PF Joe Johnson, SG/SF Iman Shumpert, 2020 second-round pick (from Miami, via Cleveland)

Utah Jazz Receive: SF/PF Jae Crowder, PG Derrick Rose


Jae Crowder punched himself a ticket out of Cleveland after he decided not to help Kevin Love up in a game against the Spurs. No championship caliber team has chemistry as bad as that, which is what fueled this trade. With the addition of Hill, the Cavaliers have an elite wing defender, a major upgrade from Thomas. Hill can also be effective without dominating the ball, again an upgrade from Thomas. Hood is an interesting addition because he has a similar skillset as J.R. Smith. Still, the Cavs welcome his floor spacing.

Grade: A-


The Kings were able to shed Hill’s salary even though they just signed him last summer. Rookie De’Aaron Fox has outplayed Hill thus far in the season, and developing Fox seems like it should be a higher priority compared to giving veteran Hill minutes on a rebuilding team. Still seems like a lack of direction here for the Kings.

Grade: C


The Jazz have been pleasantly surprised with the emergence of Donovan Mitchell, their first round pick in 2017, but Rodney Hood was fallen out of the rotation because of this. Crowder is a good addition to a front-court, which has caused Jonas Jerebko to see significant minutes.

Grade: B+


Dallas Mavericks Receive: SF/PF Doug McDermott, 2018 second-round pick (from Portland, via Denver)

Denver Nuggets Receive: PG/SG/SF Devin Harris, 2018 second-round pick (from Los Angeles Clippers, via New York)

New York Knicks Receive: PG Emmanuel Mudiay


For the Knicks this was a low risk, high reward type of deal. After being a top 10 pick in 2015, Mudiay never really got the opportunity in Denver to showcase his abilities. Although he did average 30 minutes in 2015, his minutes have decreased each year since, getting 25 mpg in 2016 and 18 mpg this season.  With Porzingis gone for the season, Mudiay will have plenty of opportunity. This trade represents a fresh start for him, one that I expect him to take full advantage of. It will be interesting to see the fit of Mudiay and Ntilikina, both of whom haven’t been reliable shooters in the past.

Grade: A


This trade makes sense for the Mavericks. Harris is aging and doesn’t make sense on a rebuilding team that already has J.J. Barea and promising rooke Dennis Smith Jr. Getting a second round pick and jump shooter Doug McDermott is a good trade for them.

Grade: A-


I typically don’t like it when teams sell low on their young prospects and this trade is no exception. After being placed on the All Rookie team two seasons ago, Mudiay seemed to be loaded with potential. For some reason, the Nuggets must have seen something that nobody else did and for that reason, decided to sell low on him. They will however get a proven veteran in Harris that will help them on their playoff push.

Grade: D

Feb 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez (14) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


Knicks get: F/C Johnny O’Bryant, two future second-round picks

Hornets get: C Willy Hernangomez


Not so sure I understand what the Knicks are doing with this trade. After making the All Rookie First Team last season, Hernangomez seemed like a steal and a building block for the future at only 23 years old. The Knicks cut his minutes by half following his promising rookie season, but it may have been to do with Kanter taking over that role and a crowded frontcourt. Either way, seems like wasted potential.

Grade: C


Rumors of Michael Jordan wanting to blow the team up didn’t stop him from trading two first rounder’s for Hernangomez. If they can get the most out of him this will be a good trade, but like New York, the Hornets frontcourt is busy as well with Dwight Howard, Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky and Marvin Williams.

Grade: B-



Phoenix Suns receive: G Elfrid Payton

Orlando Magic receive: 2018 second-round pick


Desperate for young, promising development, the Suns took a good chance on the 2014 lottery pick.

Grade: B+


Orlando sold low on a guy with serious potential, not sure about this one.

Grade: C



Brooklyn Nets Receive: SG/SF Rashad Vaughn, 2018 second-round pick (protected Nos. 48 to 60)

Milwaukee Bucks Receive: C Tyler Zeller


The Nets took a free agent, started him, increased his value and flipped him for a second round pick. This trade opens up opportunity for two developing centers, Jared Allen and Jahil Okafor.

Grade: A


The Bucks improved depth at the frontcourt by adding Zeller. Zeller shot the occasional 3 pointer in Brooklyn under Kenny Atkinson’s system and is decent low post scorer. Still, this trade is puzzling since I don’t see Zeller making that much of a difference for this squad. Additionally, giving up a draft pick is curios at best since the Bucks have been one of the best teams at drafting, selecting steals such as ROY Brogdon in the second round of 2016, not to mention Giannis 15th overall in 2013.

Grade: C-

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 25: Tyler Zeller #44 of the Brooklyn Nets poses for a portrait during Media Day at HSS Training Center on September 25, 2017 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


Nets receive: Forward Dante Cunningham

Pelicans receive: Guard Rashad Vaughn


New Orleans is rebuilding and just traded a former 1st round pick that is still only 21. However, anything that cuts into Quincy Acy’s playing time is probably a good thing for the Nets.

Grade: D-


Pelicans have a thin backcourt and could give Vaughn an opportunity to excel.

Grade: B+



Pistons receive: G Jameer Nelson

Hornets receive: C Willie Reed, rights to swap second-round picks in 2022

Grizzlies receive: Forward Brice Johnson, 2022 second-round pick

Pistons receive: Forward James Ennis


The Pistons use two second round picks to shore up their bench. Although they are preparing for a playoff run, they probably could have just signed these guys in the offseason at the minimum instead of throwing second rounder’s at them.

Grade: B


Jameer Nelson leaving will hopefully open up some time for Malik Monk.

Grade: A


Grizzlies get a 2nd rounder although James Ennis is underrated.

Grade: C+



Heat receive: G Dwyane Wade

Cavaliers receive:Protected 2024 second-round pick


It will be interesting to see of Wade can contribute to the Heat’s playoff push in a meaningful way after showing in Cleveland that he may not be running out of gas.

Grade: A


Even if Wade didn’t play, it would have been nice to have his experience and expertise on the sidelines; however I don’t think he fit right with the culture in Cleveland.

Grade: B-


Leave a Reply