*Stats are updated through March 3, 2017 unless otherwise specified
The National Basketball Association (NBA) trade deadline is usually a time filled with rumors but little action. However, in the 2017 deadline, lots of keys moves were made, including the DeMarcus Cousins trade, one of the largest blockbuster deals in NBA history. Here is a recap of the biggest trades that occurred.
Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker to the Raptors
The Toronto Raptors traded guard Terrence Ross and a 2017 first round draft pick on Tuesday, February 14, to the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward Serge Ibaka. The Raptors have been in a slump as of late, currently in the fourth spot of the Eastern Conference with a record of 37-25, while the Magic sit in the 14th spot with a record of 23-39.
Ross, who averaged 10.4 points per game (PPG) coming off the bench for the Raptors, can potentially be a saving grace for struggling Orlando offense, while Ibaka, who averaged 15.1 PPG, 6.8 rebounds per game (RPG) and 1.6 blocks per game with the Magic, provides some much needed rim protection for a recently inefficient Raptors defense.
In his first game with the Magic, Ross scored 13 points and picked up five rebounds, while Ibaka scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked one shot in his first game as a Raptor. Bringing in a great rim protector like Ibaka without giving up too many assets gives the Raptors a better chance at winning the championship, making them the winner of this trade.
The second of the trades that the Raptors made was the P.J. Tucker trade. The Raptors gave up center Jared Sullinger and two future second-round picks to the Phoenix Suns in this exchange. If you look at Tucker’s stats (6.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG), he may not seem like an extraordinary player. However, Tucker is going to bring a lot to help the Raptors with their playoff run, as he is is well-versed in providing strong defense.
The Raptors didn’t give up much for Tucker, as they already have two centers, so Sullinger wasn’t really needed and second-round picks don’t usually help teams. With the addition of another great defender, the Raptors are the winners of this trade and are looking for an even better playoff run this year.
DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans
One of the biggest pre-deadline trades in NBA history occurred this year—the DeMarcus Cousins Trade. It sent Cousins and center Omer Asik from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans for guard Buddy Hield, guard Tyreke Evans, guard Langston Galloway, a 2017 first-round pick (top-three protected), and a 2017 second-round pick. Cousins has had many disputes with the Kings organization, and with the unlikelihood of Cousins re-signing with the Kings, he was traded.
However, with Cousins averaging 27.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG, and 4.8 assists per game, this was a terrible trade for the Kings. A rookie with some potential and two other mediocre guards, along with two draft picks, is very little for a superstar who is only 26 years old. Now that the Pelicans have one of the best, if not the best, frontcourts in the NBA with forward Anthony Davis already there, they will be in contention for the playoffs. Not only that, the Pelicans will be an attractive team for free agents during the offseason, possibly making them a soon to be championship contender. If they gain another superstar, the Pelicans easily become the winners of this trade and the soon-to-be winners of many games ahead.
Lou Williams to the Rockets
The Houston Rockets, who currently have the third best record in the western conference, 43-19, traded Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lou Williams. The Rockets are looking for a deep playoff run this season, and Williams is just the player they need. He is a seasoned veteran who knows how to score, averaging 18.6 PPG this season, and will be another great scorer off the bench for the Rockets.
The Lakers also got a good deal out of this trade. Since it is unlikely that they are going to make it into the playoffs, this trade allows them to give more minutes to their younger guards, which will help them develop. Along with that comes a low first-round draft pick, but with this year’s great draft class, any pick is a good pick. Even though this trade is good for both teams, the Rockets are the winners of this trade, as Williams is a great player to have in the playoffs.
Nerlens Noel to the Mavericks
Center Nerlens Noel was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for center Andrew Bogut, forward Justin Anderson, and a 2017 first-round pick (protected 1-18). Trading for Noel was a good move for the Mavs because it seems unlikely that they will become a championship team in the next couple of years.
The 76ers already had a crowded front court where Noel wasn’t getting much playing time. They are gaining a second year player in Anderson who has some potential, however, the other two things they acquired are complicated. Since it is highly unlikely that the Mavs pick will be below the 18th, the pick will change into a pair of second-round picks from the 2017 and 2020 drafts, making them pretty useless.
In addition, Andrew Bogut is seeking a buyout, which he will probably get, meaning he will no longer be on the team. With that in mind, the Mavericks building for the future with Noel makes them the winners of this trade.
With only a month until the playoffs, the trade deadline marked the beginning of the final push for many teams. The Pelicans, Rockets, and Raptors all made key moves to set up a potential playoff run, and if things work out as they hope, a run to the Finals.