By: Sam Block

The 2018 NBA Trade Deadline is always an extremely exciting time of year. With big names on the move, a boat-load of rumors, and teams going all-in, the NBA Trade Deadline never seems to disappoint. On the days leading up to February 8th, news outlets were reporting on a number of rumors discussing certain players who were likely going to be traded. Of course, on February 8th, some of those players were dealt to different squads. However, there are always some unexpected moves that shake up the landscape of the association, and this past Thursday provided plenty of chaos. Below is my reaction to what I believe were the most significant trade deadline deals of this season.

  1. Los Angeles Lakers get:

PG: Isaiah Thomas

PF: Channing Frye

Cleveland’s 2018 first-round pick (protected)

Cleveland Cavaliers get:

G: Jordan Clarkson

PF: Larry Nance, Jr.

Is it safe to say the Celtics won the Kyrie Irving trade yet? Isaiah lasted just one half of a season in Believeland and to be honest, I think he was thrilled to finally exit. He and LeBron seemed to mesh at the very beginning of this experiment, but after some time, it was a complete mess. Both are clearly very talented players, but IT wanted the ball in his hands more often, and just could not seem to find a good rhythm. Channing Frye was starting to play decent for Cleveland but he is clearly getting up there in age, and Cleveland needed some fresh legs. Without having to give up their coveted Brooklyn pick, the Cavaliers were able to pick up two very young and intriguing play-makers from Los Angeles. LA desperately wanted to get rid of the contracts belonging to Clarkson and Nance to clear cap space for two big name players in free agency next summer. The King himself, LeBron James, may even be the main guy the Lakers will be targeting. But for now, they pick up a hungry Isaiah Thomas who will play much better with this new opportunity. I also love the leadership that Frye will bring to the table for the young Lakers. For the Cavs, this move is huge. Change is often a cure for many problems. The Cavs were desperate for a major shakeup. They got it. Nance and Clarkson, especially Clarkson, will provide them will scoring, rebounding, energy, and a better chance to keep LeBron long-term. I think The King is gone after this season, but at least now Cleveland has a chance to keep their savior.

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers get:

SG: Rodney Hood

G: George Hill

Utah Jazz get:

PG: Derrick Rose

F: Jae Crowder

Sacramento Kings get:

SG: Joe Johnson

SG: Iman Shumpert

2020 second-round pick (via Miami)

As you may be able to recognize shortly, this trade deadline was mostly about the Cavaliers completely giving an overhaul to their roster. This gaudy deal was a pretty big surprise to the NBA world when it happened. George Hill was long rumored to be a target of the Cavaliers, and sure enough, the Cavs were able to snag Hill from Sacramento in this three-team deal. More importantly, the Cavaliers picked up Rodney Hood from Utah. Hood has battled injuries in his short NBA career thus far, but is extremely talented and is a pure scorer. Hill’s veteran leadership, humble presence, and like-able demeanor, will mesh well with The King. Hood is also a very humble individual and his quiet demeanor is a good mix with LeBron as well. If the Cavaliers are going to make another trip to the NBA Finals, I believe Rodney Hood will be a huge reason why. The Jazz picking up Jae Crowder here may seem like no big deal to some. These people would be wrong. Crowder did not fit well at all in Cleveland, but a place like Utah is perfect for Jae. In Dallas he had to fight for everything, in Boston same thing. In Cleveland, the favorites mentally that comes with being alongside LeBron James was deflating to a gritty, hardworking, defensive minded guy like Jae Crowder. He will fit extremely well in a Jazz uniform, being coached by underrated Quin Snyder. I expect the Jazz to make the playoffs and Jae to play well down the stretch and in the postseason. Derrick Rose has been released from Utah already and Joe Johnson has already been released from the Kings. They will both look to sign with contenders and make a championship run.

  1. Detroit Pistons get:

F: Blake Griffin

F: Brice Johnson

C: Willie Reed

Los Angeles Clippers get:

F: Tobias Harris

G: Avery Bradley

C: Boban Marjanovic

2018 first-round pick (protected)

2019 second-round pick

This trade absolutely blew my mind the second I read about it. Blake Griffin, the face of the Los Angeles Clippers, gone. Blake to Detroit made the NBA world go into a craze. News flash here, it won’t mean much. Yes, this deal is blockbuster. But no, it is not going to make much of a difference in the overall landscape of the league. The Pistons will either miss the postseason entirely, or enjoy a juicy first-round exit. Tobias Harris was having a great season for the Pistons and helping them win games. Bradley was underachieving a bit, but is still a very talented player, and a phenomenal defender. Brice Johnson and Willie Reed were both moved again at the deadline, so they became irrelevant in this deal. Overall, this trade confuses me for both sides. I think LA picked up two nice pieces, but also gave away their best player. I am not sure of the direction in which the Clippers are trying to head. In terms of Detroit, I think Blake will help them win a few more games than they would have, but I do not like them giving up draft picks that a middle-of-the-road team like the Pistons actually need moving forward.

  1. Miami Heat get:

SG: Dwyane Wade

Cleveland Cavaliers get:

Second-round pick (protected)

This deal is honestly just perfect. Plain, simple, and meant to be. Dwyane Wade is a legend. But yes…a Miami Heat legend. He is certainly a Hall of Famer, but D-Wade belongs in a Heat uniform. He was not really helping the Cavs, but he can seriously help this Heat squad. The Heat have a good young core of players, but not many players with the veteran leadership D-Wade can provide. Erik Spoelstra is an extremely gifted head coach, and will surely have no problem fitting D-Wade into his game plan. I believe Wade will provide them with an extra edge down the stretch to allow them to most definitely make the postseason, and even have more of a chance to now pull a first-round upset. The Cavs pick up a most-likely meaningless second-rounder, but they make Dwyane and his family happy. Not to mention the entire city of Miami. This was a nice gesture by LeBron and company.

  1. Phoenix Suns get:

PG: Elfrid Payton

Orlando Magic get:

2018 second-round pick

Do you want an under the radar move that 100% should have been more talked about? Elfrid Payton to the Phoenix Suns. Let me tell you, this kid is talented. Phoenix gave up very little to snag Payton from Orlando and I think it was a genius and very savvy pickup. In his first game as a member of the Suns, the 23-year-old point guard played 35 minutes, shot 62% from the field, 100% from the charity stripe, had 19 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds. A nice debut, wouldn’t you say? Not too shabby for a guy that only required Phoenix giving up a second-round pick. Payton is averaging 13.2 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game this season. I am a big fan of Elfrid Payton and I believe he will end the season excellently as a Sun.

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