Celtics acquire Kyrie Irving from Cavs for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, Nets 2018 1st-round pick
Kyrie Irving said he was leaving Cleveland, as it was speculated that was because he didn't want to play with LeBron James anymore. James plans on departing from Cleveland after this season, but Irving won't have to deal with him for the 2017-18 campaign because he's headed for Boston.
Irving is one of the best players in the NBA, so the Celtics will improve for both the short and long term. Irving is only 25, and he's a clear upgrade over Isaiah Thomas even though Thomas himself is a very good player as well. It'll be interesting to see how Irving does now that he can be the No. 1 option on a team as a veteran, but this seems like a great move for the Celtics, regardless.
That said, I think the Cavaliers won this deal. They downgraded from Irving to Thomas, but they at least get to keep the latter around in the post-James era. Irving wanted to leave, and teams generally don't get great value for players who openly want out. Cleveland did. Thomas is a strong option at point guard, and the Cavaliers get a high first-round pick they'll be able to rebuild with when James leaves.
Raptors acquire C.J. Miles from Pacers for Cory Joseph
There's usually a clear winner in most trades in the NBA, as the victor is almost always the team that receives the best player. However, this deal seems pretty even to me.
The Raptors are getting C.J. Miles, who will be a terrific 3-point shooter off the bench. The Pacers, meanwhile, acquired Cory Joseph, who will be a quality backup point guard behind Darren Collison. Miles is superior right now, but he's four years older. Joseph is only 26 in August, so he still has some upside.
Nets acquire DeMarre Carroll, future 1st-round pick, 2nd-round pick from Raptors for Justin Hamilton
Salaries aside, this would be an odd trade because DeMarre Carroll and Justin Hamilton are the same caliber of player. They're both bench-type talents, and while Carroll's numbers are a bit better, Hamilton is four years younger. Plus, he's a 7-footer, which counts for something. Thus, the Nets receiving two draft choices for the swap of these two players wouldn't make sense in a vacuum.
The money is the key to this deal, however, as the Raptors thought it would be a good idea to give Carroll $15 million per year (they were off by about $11 million). That's the average salary he's due over the next two seasons, so Toronto is dumping this salary onto the Nets, who are in prime position to accept a deal like this.
With that in mind, it's a quality trade for both teams. The Raptors, in a desperate attempt to stay relevant, get to keep making trips to the first or second round of the playoffs by getting rid of Carroll's contract. The Nets, however, are the winners of this trade. They received the best asset of this deal, which is a selection that should be in the late teens or early 20s. If they're lucky, it could even be a lottery pick, though it's currently unclear if there are any protections on the pick.
Mavericks acquire Josh McRoberts, 2023 2nd-rounder, cash from Heat for A.J. Hammons
This is kind of a meaningless trade, as the only reason it was made is because Miami had to dump Josh McRoberts and his $6 million salary to accomodate for the signings of Kelly Olynyk and Dion Waiters. The Mavericks were willing to eat the $6 million, and they obtained a second-round pick in five years and cash to do so.
It's difficult to figure out who won this deal, but I'm leaning toward the Heat because it was able to get rid of a bad contract to save money. Miami also acquired A.J. Hammons, who probably won't amount to anything, but he's a 24-year-old, 7-foot center. He averaged just 2.2 points last year, but at least he has size. The Mavericks, meanwhile, are getting a second-round pick out of the deal, though they'll have to wait until 2023 to use it. On a side note, I'll be 40 when the 2023 NBA Draft rolls around, which is pretty scary.
Pistons acquire Avery Bradley, 2019 2nd-rounder from Celtics for Marcus Morris
This is a crazy trade, albeit a necessary one. What I mean by that is the Pistons are acquiring the better player in the deal, AND they're getting a second-round draft choice to boot. You don't see that every day.
The reason for this deal is that the Celtics had to clear cap space to sign Gordon Hayward. Avery Bradley turned out to be the sacrificial lamb, which has to upset Boston fans because he's a very talented player. He's a terrific defender, and he averaged 16-and-6 last year. He's only 26, and he has a bright future ahead of him.
Morris, meanwhile, can score fairly well - he averaged 14 points this past season - but he's a poor rebounder for his 6-9 size. He's a clear downgrade from Bradley as far as talent is concerned, but as mentioned, the Celtics had to do something about their financial situation. That's the only reason I'm not giving them an "F" for this.
Clippers acquire: Danilo Gallinari Hawks acquire: Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone, 1st-round pick (from Clippers via Rockets), cash Nuggets acquire: 2019 2nd-rounder
On the signings page, I graded the Danilo Gallinari contract. I wasn't too thrilled about it, but this trade makes more sense. Gallinari is very injury-prone, but he's worth a late first-round draft pick, as the NBA Draft tends to be a crapshoot once you get into the 20s and beyond. And the selection will certainly be in the 20s because it's Houston's choice. I like this move by the Clippers, but I still think they overpaid Gallinari.
The Hawks are getting an awful contract (Jamal Crawford's), a stripper named Diamond Stone, and the first-round pick that was mentioned. Crawford will not be a part of the team's plans going forward because he's 37, and he's owed $14.2 million this upcoming season. The haul is not bad, considering all they gave up is a 2019 second-round selection. In reality, they're probably moving up between four to eight selections across two drafts. Stone, meanwhile, is a 20-year-old, 6-foot-11 center with some potential.
As for the Nuggets, they're getting a second-round choice to move on from Gallinari. They've replaced him with Paul Millsap - I was debating whether to include him as part of the trade or not - and I imagine that they've grown tired of Gallinari's constant injuries. It's nice that they're getting at least something for Gallinari, but they should be obtaining more. Again, though, signing Millsap over from the Hawks is probably effectively part of this trade, so I won't grade Denver too poorly.
Grade for Clippers - B+
Grade for Hawks - A-
Grade for Nuggets - C
Thunder acquire Paul George from Pacers for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis
This is a difficult grade to make for the Thunder because it's unknown if Paul George will stick around following this season. George has made it known that he wants to play for the awful Lakers for some reason, and he'll have every opportunity to do so following this season. In the meantime, George and Russell Westbrook will form a dynamic one-two punch, as Oklahoma City will be a strong contender in the Western Conference (but will ultimately fall to Golden State.)
George is a terrific scorer, but struggled late in games against the Cavaliers in the playoffs. He won't be the No. 1 guy in Oklahoma City, however, as Westbrook will hold that distinction. Thus, George likely won't be accused of choking in the postseason unless he really messes up.
If the Thunder can retain George following this season, it's an outstanding trade, worthy of an "A" grade. If not, this is closer for a "D." As for Indiana, this trade has to be extremely disappointing for the fans. The Pacers should've been able to obtain more, and probably could have if they dealt George earlier. Victor Oladipo is a nice player, but he's not close to being an All-Star like George was for them. Domantas Sabonis, meanwhile, hasn't accomplished much as a pro, but has potential as being the 11th-overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Grade for Thunder - A or D (depends on George status after 2017-18)
Grade for Pacers - C-
Jazz acquire Ricky Rubio from Timberwolves for 2018 1st-round pick
Before Timberwolves fans get too excited, the 2018 first-round pick is from the Thunder, and it's top-14 protected. You'd think Minnesota could get something better than an opening-round selection in the bottom half of the first round for an average starting point guard, but there's way more to this. It appears as though the Timberwolves are clearing up cap space - as well as a spot in the starting lineup - for Kyle Lowry, who is rumored to be headed to Minnesota. There's no question that Lowry would be an enormous upgrade over Rubio, so if this is the end game, the Timberwolves are making a quality move.
As for the Jazz, their supporters will enjoy the Rubio-to-Rudy Gobert lobs, and they're not giving up much to get the former Minnesota point guard. However, they'll also be frustrated with Rubio's great flaw, which is his poor shooting. Rubio is a major liability in that regard, but he's not a bad starter.
This trade makes sense for both teams, so I'll grade it evenly. However, if the Timberwolves can't land Lowry or someone of his caliber, they'll be the clear losers.
Rockets acquire Chris Paul from Clippers for Patrick Beverly, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, 2018 1st-round pick
Chris Paul informed the Clippers that he would be signing with the Rockets following this season, so they wisely shipped him off right away rather than lose him for nothing. It would be nice if the NBA had something like the NFL for compensatory picks, perhaps granting teams selections following the lottery after losing star players. It doesn't matter in this situation, however, as the Clippers acquired four commodities for their great point guard.
I may mostly write about football, but I'm familiar with the NBA as well, and whenever trades like this occur in the NBA, the team that obtains the best player almost always wins the deal. The NBA is a star-driven league, and the Rockets are going to be so much better with Paul on their roster, as he'll allow James Harden to focus more on scoring. The one concern is that Paul is 32, but he should still be able to play on a very high level for at least three more years, which will allow Houston to be a legitimate threat in the Western Conference. The Rockets won 55 games last year without Paul, so they could now be the primary challenger for the Warriors.
As for the Clippers' haul, the two primary players they've obtained are 30 and 29, which isn't ideal for a team that'll have to rebuild. Patrick Beverly is an outstanding defender who offers nothing as an offensive player, while Lou Williams is a great talent to have coming off the bench. The two key pieces in this deal have to be Sam Dekker and the first-round selection. Dekker was the 18th-overall choice in the 2015 NBA Draft, but hasn't done anything yet. He has potential, however, so he must become part of the Clippers' rebuilding process. The pick will likely be in the late 20s, but if the Clippers scout well, they can turn that into a viable resource for the future.
The Rockets are the clear winners of this trade, as Los Angeles didn't have much of a choice to make a move. You almost have to feel bad for the Clippers, but that team has done so much whining and complaining over the years that I'm pretty indifferent about their demise.
Blazers acquire Zach Collins (No. 10 pick) from Kings for Justin Jackson (No. 15 pick), Harry Giles (No. 20 pick)
The Blazers owned the 15th- and 20th-overall picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, and they used both to move up to the 10th spot. They acquired one of the top talents available in Zach Collins, who gives Portland some much-needed talent inside.
The Kings, meanwhile, made a couple of solid picks. Justin Jackson was selected to replace impending free agent Rudy Gay, while Harry Giles would've easily been a top-10 pick had he not suffered injuries. Giles has undergone at least three knee procedures, so he's a huge risk. However, the reward is enormous, and the athletic forward is well worth the risk at No. 20.
I don't think there's a clear winner in this trade, as I think it was very logical for both sides.
76ers acquire Anzejs Pasecniks from Magic for protected 2020 1st-rounder, 2020 2nd-rounder
Sam Hinkie built the 76ers into this potential juggernaut by acquiring as many draft selections as possible. Thus, I can't really get behind Philadelphia trading future first-round choices, even if they happen to be protected. The legendary Hinkie wouldn't have stood for this, so this is something the 76ers should've avoided.
That said, Pasecniks has loads of potential, as he's a 7-foot-2 big man with a nice shooting touch. He won't play in the NBA next year, but he could be a contributor down the road. I don't hate this move for Philadelphia, but like I said, giving up picks isn't the Hinkie way.
Nuggets acquire Trey Lyles, No. 24 pick from Jazz for No. 13 pick
I'm not going to grade every trade in the 2017 NBA Draft, as most were selections sold for cash considerations. This one strikes me as significant because a real player was dealt.
While Trey Lyles is a real player, he hasn't accomplished much since being the 12th-overall choice in the 2015 NBA Draft. He has averaged 6.1 and 6.2 points per game in two seasons, and he seems like just an average backup at best. He's still young and has potential though, so I won't grade this too poorly for Denver. However, I don't think Lyles is worth the difference between Tyler Lydon (24th pick) and Donovan Mitchell (13th pick).
Timberwolves acquire Jimmy Butler, No. 16 pick from Bulls for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, No. 7 pick
NBA trades like this usually work out the same way. When a superstar is dealt, the team that obtains him ends up winning the trade. And I don't see why this would be any different.
Butler is a legitimate superstar, and he gives Minnesota a tremendous one-two punch with Karl-Anthony Towns behind Andrew Wiggins. The Timberwolves could be in the playoffs next year because of this deal. It's a great deal for them, and moving down from No. 7 to 16 doesn't seem like a huge deal in this particular class.
As for the Bulls, they're getting damaged goods in Zach LaVine, as he is coming off a torn ACL. Dunn has potential, at least, but he hasn't shown much yet. Chicago has potential with this deal, but the Timberwolves made out much better.
Bullets acquire Tim Frazier from Pelicans for 52nd-overall pick
This is a nice bargain for the Bullets. Tim Frazier played well in Jrue Holiday's absence last season, averaging 7.1 points and 5.2 assists per game. He's a quality backup, and he's almost certainly better than anything Washington could have obtained with the 52nd-overall pick. Players taken at that juncture are either pedestrian talents or foreigners who will never come stateside. Frazier will actually be a nice depth piece for the Bullets as they attempt to dethrone the Cavaliers.
The Bullets are the clear winners of this trade. It's fair to question why the Pelicans dealt Frazier, who is reasonably priced at his $2 million salary. The only explanation I can come up with is that New Orleans plans on selecting a point guard in the 2017 NBA Draft (check out our 2017 NBA Mock Draft here), but that still doesn't excuse not getting proper value for Frazier.
Hornets acquire Dwight Howard, 31st-overall pick from Hawks for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belenelli, 41st-overall pick
Remember when Dwight Howard was considered one of the top players in the NBA? His value has plummeted tremendously in recent years, and it has now reached a laughably low level.
The 31st- and 41st-overall picks are effectively the same, so this is Atlanta trading Howard for Miles Plumlee and Marco Belenelli. The latter is a below-average guard who scored 10.5 points per game this past season. Plumlee, meanwhile, is just a pedestrian reserve center who is owed close to $40 million over the past three years. This is what Howard was dealt for.
Howard has regressed sharply in recent years. He averaged 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game in 2016-17. He's owed about $57 million over the next two seasons. He's only 31, but he has a lot of wear on his tires and will likely never perform on a high level again. Still, the Hornets are getting the better end of this deal, as it appears as though the Hawks are now in full tank mode.
Nets acquire D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov from Lakers for Brook Lopez, 27th-overall pick
I saw some reactions on Twitter proclaiming this to be a horrible trade for the Lakers. I wouldn't agree with that at all. In fact, I believe they won this deal quite easily.
D'Angelo Russell was a big problem in the Lakers' locker room. Ever since his cell phone incident, he made enemies on the team, and his play on the court didn't do him any favors, as he constantly took bad shots. Getting rid of him for value was the right move. The value may not be apparent here, but Brook Lopez has an expiring contract after the 2017-18 season. Given that, as well as Timofey Mozgov and his atrocious contract being off the books, the Lakers will have the cap space to pursue Paul George, who has stated his desire to go to the team, and perhaps even LeBron James, who wants to play in Los Angeles. James may choose the Clippers, but the Lakers will at least be in the running with the amount of money they'll have available.
As for the Nets, this really depends on whether Russell matures as both a player and a person. It's possible he could grow up, but I wouldn't bet on it happening. It was also a poor move to acquire Mozgov's albatross of a contract.
76ers acquire No. 1 overall pick in 2017 NBA Draft from Celtics for No. 3, and either Lakers' 2018 pick or Kings' 2019 pick
The 76ers will be selecting Washington guard Markelle Fultz with their top choice, as Fultz was in Philadelphia for a workout and a physical Saturday evening. All went well, apparently, as the 76ers and Celtics agreed to terms on a deal.
The Celtics are the clear winners of this trade. Fultz never made much sense for them anyway because of Isaiah Thomas, so it was in their best interest to trade down. They can select Josh Jackson or Lonzo Ball at No. 3 and be just fine. Plus, they're getting a very high pick in either the Lakers or Kings' choice, depending on protections. This is huge for a Boston team that is going to be challenging the Cavaliers to be the team that will ultimately lose to the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
As for the 76ers, it's nice that they're making a bold move like this, as Fultz, Ben Simmons and Joel Oden, I mean, Embiid will potentially form a terrific trio if the latter can stay healthy. However, I'm not a big fan of giving up extra assets, and Philadelphia is surrendering a huge one. It was of my opinion that there are three elite-level players in this draft, so the 76ers were in a good spot at No. 3. I don't think they needed to trade, but if Fultz pans out as an All-Star, Philadelphia won't be complaining that it surrendered a high selection.