The week preceding last Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline provided plenty of reasons for basketball fans to be excited. Whether it was the imploding Cavs, the Tyreke Evans saga in Memphis, or the question of what to do with DeAndre Jordan after the Blake Griffin trade, it seemed certain that Thursday would be eventful. And while the day certainly was busy, these three trades still stood out from the rest:
1) Cleveland Cavaliers trade Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a protected first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
The first and only “blockbuster” of Thursday, this trade sent 2017 Second Team All-NBA guard Isaiah Thomas to Los Angeles after only 15 games with Cleveland. The struggling Cavs went only 7-8 with Thomas active, as he produced only 14.7 PPG on .493 TS%. Thomas also posted the second lowest individual defensive rating in the league among players averaging at least 20 minutes a game during his brief tenure in Cleveland.
In addition to the on-court struggles of Thomas and the Cavs, problems within the locker room were becoming more and more apparent. Thomas gained national attention after battles with teammates and Cleveland coach Ty Lue. It seemed almost certain that the Cavs were going to need to make a few moves to revive their season and rebuild team morale.
For the Lakers’ part, they gain financial flexibility by getting rid of the Clarkson and Nance Jr. contracts and taking on the expiring deals of Frye and Thomas, while earning a first-round pick for their troubles. Assuming they don’t resign Thomas this summer, the Lakers will have enough cap space to sign two max contracts (Paul George, anyone?).
2) In a three team deal with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings, Cleveland gains George Hill and Rodney Hood while sending out Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to Utah, and Iman Shumpert to Sacramento.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had a busy Thursday.
They arguably got a better deal here than in the Thomas trade. Although Jae Crowder’s versatility on defense would have been very useful in a theoretical finals match up with the talent loaded Golden State Warriors, the benefits of adding George Hill and Rodney Hood should outweigh the loss of Crowder. Hill, who is third in the league in three-point percentage, is also a steep upgrade from Thomas on the defensive end, where the Cavs rank second-to-last in the league. Hood, averaging 16.8 PPG on 42.4/38.9/87.6 percent shooting splits this season, adds another player to the roster who can create his own shot and could, in theory, help the defense.
Hood’s a mixed bag defensively, but this sequence, which results in a make, shows what he can do. Tracks off the screen, loses him a bit but recovers, battles him on-ball, helps weakside, anticipates to close out. pic.twitter.com/84cPZcDFmk— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) February 10, 2018
3) In a three team deal, Denver sends Emmanuel Mudiay to New York and acquires Devin Harris from Dallas; New York sends Doug McDermott to Dallas.
Emmanuel Mudiay, the 7th overall pick in the 2015 draft, has not quite panned out the way most thought he would when he was coming out of high school. His minutes have decreased every year since he’s been in the league, and his starting role has been usurped by the dynamic Jamal Murray. This trade will give Mudiay a chance for a fresh start in New York, and gives Denver a veteran point guard to lead the second unit.