Raj Kiran, our sports columnist, talks about the trades which can shape the destiny of the NBA for the remainder of the season.
1. Elfrid Payton (Traded to the Phoenix Suns by the Orlando Magic):
From being drafted 10th overall to being traded low for a second round pick, Elfrid Payton has a come a long way in his NBA career.
Even though he was averaging a career best 13 points per game this season while also averaging 6.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The basketball fraternity knows that he has the potential to play better than this and think that a change in scenery might be good for his game.
Payton was traded on deadline day to the Phoenix Suns by the Orlando Magic in exchange for a second round pick in the 2018 NBA draft.
The Suns bought him low by giving away just a second round pick for an NBA-level starter while the Magic might get a early second-round pick in this year’s draft as the Suns are currently the 4th worst team in the NBA.
2. Nikola Mirotic (Traded to the New Orleans Pelicans by the Chicago Bulls):
Till December 8th the rebuilding Chicago Bulls were right on track in their mission to tank only for Nikola Mirotic to return from his injury and initiate a winning run of 14-7 through January 15.
The winning run totally differed from bulls ideology for the season, leading to reports that Bulls might be in the market to sell Mirotic.
On January 26 Demarcus ‘Boogie’ Cousins injured his achilles in the dying minutes of a game against the Houston Rockets sending the Pelicans playoff-run into a state of delirium. The Pelicans were forced to enter the market looking for a big man who could shoot from behind the arc.
The Bulls took advantage of the Pelicans situation and traded Mirotic and a 2018-second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Omar Asik, Jameer Nelson, Tony Allen, a 2018-first round pick and the rights to swap the 2021 second round picks.
3. Dwyane Wade(Traded to Miami Heat by the Cleveland Cavaliers):
Dwayne Wade was one of the few players who faced the heat for Cavaliers recent struggles and with the injection of new blood into squad during the trade deadline his use to the Cavaliers bench seemed far and less.
So, the Cavaliers front office pulled the plug on D-Wade’s stay in ‘The Land’ and traded him to the team that made him the player he is today the Miami Heat in exchange for a protected second round pick in the 2024 draft.
Wade was averaging 11.2 points and 3.5 assists per game from the bench for the Cavaliers this season.
4. Isaiah Thomas (Traded to the Los Angeles Lakers by the Cleveland Cavaliers):
One of the more bizarre trades that took place during the trade deadline, acquired by the Cavaliers as a part of a package from Boston in exchange for Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas was expected to be one of the leaders in the Cavaliers squad as they attempted to dethrone the Golden State Warriors this season.
But the recent run of results which has seen them slip into the 3rd place in the eastern conference prompted the front office to take some serious steps with an eye on the future.
Hence, Isaiah Thomas and the aging Channing Frye packaged along with a 2018-first round pick were shipped off to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
5. Blake Griffin (Traded to the Detroit Pistons by the Los Angeles Clippers):
After signing a 5 year, $173 million contract in the offseason Blake Griffin was one of the last players expected to be traded by the Los Angeles Clippers but funny are the ways sports teams work.
On 29 January amid great shock the LA Clippers traded one of their best players ever in Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons along with Brice Johnson and Willie Reed in exchange for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 first round pick and a 2019 second round pick.
With the addition Griffin alongside Drummond, Detroit now has one of the most lethal backcourt duo in the NBA. While by trading the best player on their roster the LA Clippers might be heading down the rebuilding road.