We’re a few days removed from the madness on Thursday, and I wanted to let things settle before I gave my thoughts. Instead of going through a laundry list of winner and losers, let’s just cut to the chase and say two teams that unequivocally won and lost.
Realistically speaking all the deals don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Cellar dwellers who improved their shot at the playoffs matter. (e.g. Minnesota Timberwolves during last summer’s NBA draft) As far as losers go, fringe-playoff squads that failed to improve matter. Finally, the team that suddenly chose to tank, matter.
So, I’m breaking my rule because I have joint winners. There are a few knee-jerk reactions, the most glaring involving the NBA 2K-like shake up by the Cleveland Cavaliers and can the team jell together before the playoffs. If you were playing the video game in franchise mode, chemistry would be the biggest emphasis by far. They added new energy and youth while not really adding any additional money. Rodney Hood will be a great spot up guy for LeBron, Larry Nance is insanely athletic and will off a bump defensively. Jordan Clarkson is instant offense off the bench and George Hill is a stable piece at the point. Their key trade partner, the L.A. Lakers, won as well. Shedding money for the upcoming offseason and getting a first-round pick from the Cavs is huge. They would need to pay Nance this offseason and they won’t have a first-rounder this year.
There wasn’t a stand-alone loser at the deadline in my opinion. It was a toss-up between the Portland Trail Blazers, L.A. Clippers and Charlotte Hornets. I’m going with the L.A. Clippers because this was such a Clipper-type move by not trading DeAndre Jordan and re-signing Lou Will. Trading Blake made a lot of sense, but not making a move afterward didn’t. Avery Bradley’s deal is set to expire, DeAndre has a huge player option and there aren’t any true game-changers on their roster. They essentially committed to being a 7th or 10th seed for the next few years. With Jerry West in the front office, I’d guess he has something up his sleeve, but for now, I’m completely lost.