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Monday, April 15, 2024

A tornado of trades for the NBA’s trade deadline

A summary of the biggest trades this year

By GABRIEL CARABALLO — sports@theaggie.org


It was a calm Thursday morning when suddenly the NBA world began to buzz. The headline read: “Nets trade James Harden to Sixers for Ben Simmons.”

That’s right. Ten-time All-Star and former NBA MVP James Harden was traded from the  Brooklyn Nets powerhouse to their Eastern Conference contender Philadelphia 76ers. It was a  trade with enormous magnitude that could flip the Eastern Conference on its back.  

The Nets sent Harden and veteran forward Paul Millsap to the Sixers in exchange for three-time All-Star Ben Simmons, veteran center Andre Drummond, shooting guard Seth Curry and two future first-round draft picks. It was probably the biggest trade of the year, especially since Harden was traded to the Nets at the beginning of last year.

“Everybody got what they wanted,” Kevin Durant, a Nets star player, said.

Coming from now two-time teammate of Harden and an advocate for his arrival in Brooklyn, this showed in what state the situation was in. Durant does have a point, however. The Sixers lost a 40% three-point shooter in Curry, which will only add to the Nets’ explosive offense. By adding another ball handler and a great defensive player in Simmons, the Nets also gained another boost to their offense and defense, while the Sixers added Harden to play in tandem with their star center Joel Embiid. 

“Philly was my first choice,” Harden said during his press conference. 

Adding more fuel to the fire, it seems as though Harden can’t wait to get into the lab. Harden has never played with an all-pro center; some could consider his time with Dwight Howard, but others think Howard wasn’t his former self. Nor was Embiid when it comes to guards in their careers. Together, they could add a deadly pick and roll to their game plan. 

With this monstrous trade out the way, people thought it’s all over. But, people only found earthquakes around the league, as the Western Conference had been shaken up by the deadline with many teams making new acquisitions. 

Starting off, the Portland Trailblazers sent shooting guard C.J. McCollum, along with forwards Tony Snell and Larry Nance Jr., to the New Orleans Pelicans. In return, the Blazers acquired guards Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart, Tomáš Satoranský, Didi Louzada and three future draft picks. 

The Blazers broke up what some considered to be one of the “most dangerous backcourt duos” and ended an era that saw them fall short of the NBA Finals. The Blazers added much-needed play-makers and rotation players to support their star point guard Damian Lillard. The Pelicans received a high caliber shooting guard in McCollum, as well as rotation forwards to support their stars Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. However, Williamson is currently out and is not expected to return for quite some time. 

Satoranský and Alexander-Walker were traded in a three-team deal with the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs. The Jazz received Alexander-Walker, and the Spurs obtained Satoranský. This left the Blazers with injured shooting guard Joe Ingles from the Jazz and guard Elijah Hughes. Either way, all teams were able to round out some of their rough edges. 

Speaking of “rough edges,” the Sacramento Kings caused some havoc during the trade deadline by sending talented guards Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton, along with veteran center Tristan Thompson, to the Indiana Pacers. In exchange, the Kings received All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis alongside guards Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb. 

Deciding to put their faith in point guard De’Aaron Fox, the Kings acquired the talented Sabonis to pair with him. The Pacers put their faith in center Myles Turner and are surrounding him with a play-making guard and a lethal three-point shooter, adding some much-needed balance to once frontcourt and backcourt heavy teams. 

The last big trade that caused ripples in the NBA’s landscape came by way of the Dallas Mavericks and the Washington Wizards. Dallas sent forward Kristaps Porziņģis and a future draft pick to Washington. In exchange, the Mavericks received point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Davis Bertans, breaking up the tandem of star point forward Luka Dončić and Kristaps Porziņģis. 

The Mavericks added play-making support with Dinwiddie, shouldering some of Dončić’s responsibility to move the ball. They are also securing a center to take minutes from the now-traded Porziņģis. The Wizards receive one of the NBA’s “unicorns” — a seven-footer who can go to the hole and shoot the ball from a distance efficiently. Porziņģis presents an inside threat and can hopefully co-exist with forward Kyle Kuzma. Both these teams added players that could benefit their futures. 

The storm subsided, and all the teams received their player care packages. Some hope to heal for the future, while others plan for an immediate comeback. The trade deadline is over, and, nearing the second half of the season, all we know is that there’s going to be some great basketball as we approach the playoffs.

Written by: Gabriel Caraballo — sports@theaggie.org



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