The NBA trade deadline is tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. This year’s trade deadline was not initially expected to be nearly as exciting as it was. Less than two weeks ago, most thought that few, if any, trades would be made. These sentiments developed because there are so many teams with the potential to make the playoffs, and therefore focused solely on winning games in the present. While trading may seem like it would help, since teams acquire new players that could help them win, it actually takes quite a bit of time for a recently traded player to adjust to his new team, and for the team to adjust to him.
On Tuesday, the Sacramento Kings made one of the worst trades of all time. They sent center Demarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for three guards,in addition to the New Orleans first-round pick and a future second-round pick in the NBA draft. The big loss in this trade was Demarcus Cousins. Cousins is above and away the best center in the NBA, and an integral part of Sacramento’s team. Without him, the Kings will be significantly less effective on both sides of the ball. Most trades involving a player of this caliber would provide proper compensation in the form of another star player or several young players with great potential.
In this trade, the three guards the Kings received are not nearly good enough to be considered equal to Cousins in value. The first- and second-round picks are nice, but the first-round pick excludes picks one through three, meaning that if the Pelicans’ first-round pick is the first, second or third pick of the draft, the Kings will not get that pick. This makes it more difficult to land high profile stars and gives the Kings no guarantee of an incoming superstar during the NBA draft. On the other hand, the Pelicans could not have asked for a better deal. They gave up very little to acquire the best center in the NBA, and they already have Anthony Davis, arguably the best power forward in the NBA. Davis and Cousins excel both offensively and defensively as the star players of their teams, and when put together, they could be incredible.
Another big trade that occurred just over a week before the deadline was the Serge Ibaka trade between the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are already a playoff-caliber team, and by acquiring a player like Ibaka they become even stronger. In turn, the Raptors lost Terrence Ross, a bench player with a very good shot and high energy, who certainly has sixth man potential for the Magic. This trade certainly benefits the Raptors more than the Magic, but it does help both teams.
As the deadline approaches, the circulating trade rumors are cause for excitement. One big trade that is in the works would sent the talented Jimmy Butler to the Boston Celtics. This would make for an interesting trade, as the Chicago Bulls will not be eager to give away their best player, Butler. It will likely require the Celtics to give up some of their better players to actually seal the deal on Butler. It will be interesting to see whether these teams can reach an agreement on Butler in time for the deadline.
The other major trade rumor is one of Ricky Rubio in exchange for Derrick Rose. Both players are point guards with opposite strengths and weaknesses: Rubio is a very good defender, but does not do a lot of scoring, while Rose is a much better offensive player, but lacks Rubio’s defensive prowess. The Minnesota Timberwolves could use the additional offense, as well as the salary cap space that would come from getting rid of Rubio. The Knicks are in need of defense, something that Rubio can supply.
As the minutes until the trade deadline wind down, there are certainly plenty of exciting opportunities for teams to make moves that could change the course of this NBA season.