The NBA trade deadline is always an eventful time in the association. Countless superstars have their names caught up in trade rumors as teams clamor to outbid one another for their services. But with as much excitement that comes along with this transaction deadline, comes equal disappointment. All of the guys you were hoping to become a new member of your favorite team end up never moving, and instead you’re left to wonder how awkward it’s going to be when they stick around with their present team.
Welp, the 2016 NBA trade deadline was no different! This year we heard Blake Griffin would be leaving lob city; Dwight Howard would be on the first thing smokin’ outta Houston; Pau Gasol would be teaching new teammates Spanish and telling them old Kobe stories; And DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins would either be heading for the lavish life of Los Angeles or become an Irishman in Boston. Sadly – or not, depending on whom you root for – none of these guys changed area codes. Instead, the fans were treated to a much lower tier of player changing regions, but still providing some shift throughout the league. Here is a look at the five most impactful deadline deals of 2016.
Tobias Harris (ORL) traded to Detroit for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Illyasova.
Stan Van Gundy finally gets the stretch 4 he’s been longing for since joining the Pistons sideline. This deal gives Detroit a wildly athletic frontcourt, with Harris joining Andre Drummond, Marcus Morris and rookie sensation Stanley Johnson. The move will assuredly get the Pistons in the playoffs, as well as be a tough out to whoever draws them in the first round.
As for Orlando, they’ll simply be a home for the remainder of the 2016 rehabilitative season for Brandon Jennings, who hits the open market in the summer. Illyasova could look to be Orlando’s starting PF for the immediate future and possibly into next season. However, his presence is all a mere bridge-like formality, as the Magic have budding superstar Aaron Gordon waiting in the wings. The high-riser will absolutely push Illyasova for minutes and possibly the starting gig by the beginning of next season, as he continues to develop.
Jeff Green (Memphis) to the Los Angeles Clippers for Lance Stephenson.
In a move that probably gave Doc Rivers more relief than anything, Lob City makes a steal of a deal! In fact, this trade may have been the biggest move of them all, as LA has been looking for some frontcourt help after shipping Josh Smith back to Houston earlier in the season. And with Blake Griffin still on the mend, Green can step in and provide some much needed help at the PF position, as a stretch 4. The versatile big can also shift to his more natural small forward position once Griffin returns, giving the Clippers a very formidable playoff roster.
As for Memphis, well, good luck. Lance is probably regretting turning down that deal Indiana offered him way back when. Meanwhile, Larry Bird looks like a genius for handling Stephenson’s free agency in the manner he did, because it’s been all downhill for the Brooklyn native.
Markieff Morris (PHX) to Washington for a protected 1st rd pick, Kris Humphries and Dejuan Blair.
What Jonathan Wall wants, Jonathan Wall gets. The Wizards floor general voiced his hope that Washington would acquire a stretch 4 at the deadline. Welp, let’s all welcome disgruntled PF Markieff Morris to the DMV, ladies and gentlemen. The Philadelphia product has been upset all season after he saw his twin brother Marcus shipped to Detroit, splitting them up for the first time since either had to run to the bathroom. If Morris does play to his potential, Washington could make some noise in the East, especially after Toronto struck out on upgrading their roster.
Phoenix lands mega talent Kris…ok, I’ll chill. The only thing the Suns have to look forward to in this deal, is a future first round pick and Kardashian jokes, as Humphries finds himself back on the West Coast where his ex-wife resides. *Turns up “Famous” on ‘The Life of Pablo’.
Channing Frye (ORL) heads to Cleveland for Anderson Varejo and a second round pick.
What if I told you, a bidding war would ensue for your services and you’d actually become a wanted commodity, on the next “ESPN 30 for 30: The life of Channing Fernando Frye”! Ok, so first of all, this deal is honestly just the best of what’s left to discuss. Secondly, Channing’s middle name is Thomas, but Fernando just gives this the flare it needed. You read the names and tell me where the spice lies! But seriously, Frye adds to the running theme of stretch 4 bigs, as he’ll provide a nice back-up to Cleveland’s star stretch four, Kevin Love.
Orlando will eventually waive Varejo, which will most likely allow the big man to scurry back to Cleveland. The second round pick won’t really possess much value for the Magic, but hey, anything’s better than wasting close to $10 million on a guy that’s probably worth half that, right?
Randy Foye (Denver) to the Oklahoma City Thunder for D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak and two second round picks.
OKC adds another version of Dion Waiters to their roster, by acquiring combo-guard Randy Foye. Foye will serve as an additional scorer to a team that could use a little more punch off the bench. While the Thunder probably could’ve done a little more at the deadline to add fire power, they could’ve easily done worse.
Denver made a huge come-up in this deal. Augustin, when motivated and given the opportunity, can serve as a solid point guard for an NBA team. But landing two future second round picks along with him, is a steal for the Nuggets, who’ll soon find themselves in full blown rebuild mode, with Emmanuel Mudiay serving as the centerpiece.
Welp, that caps off a rather underwhelming NBA trade deadline. As we move into the second half of the season, we’ll see how these moves play out, as we await free agency this summer. And as for the guys that were supposed to move and didn’t, this edition of #ThatAwkwardMomentWhen is for you!