Some were mutual benefactors (76ers/Nets), while others took a fat L (Lakers).
The February trade deadline has concluded and there were a number of moves made, mostly small stuff and one blockbuster. Let's look at who the winners and losers are.
The Philadelphia 76ers traded Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, Seth Curry, and two 1st rounders to Brooklyn in exchange for James Harden, an unprotected 2022 1st rounder, and a top-8 protected 2027 1st rounder.
Both teams won. While I am surprised the 76ers were able to deal Simmons this season, they did get a good return for him. Brooklyn had to do something to stop the bleeding; they have been skidding with an injured Durant on the bench and Kyrie unable to play most games due to state vaccine mandates. Simmons (once back in game shape) could provide a huge boost, especially since there will be multiple elite offensive players ahead of him. The man might not have to worry about shooting anymore! His defensive abilities will also be greatly appreciated by a bottom-ish third defensive team. Seth Curry is also a nice pickup and will provide some spread and range on an already good offense.
Embiid has had a massive workload on offense and the team has been shaky in most 4th quarters. Adding a top dog in Harden will alleviate that issue once he's back from his hammy injury. Mix in Tyrese Maxey who's elevated his game, and you now have two good backcourt players. Something that has been sorely missed in Philly. Embiid is still the alpha, but Harden is right behind him
Bold strategy, Cotton! The Celtics traded Romeo Langford, Josh Richardson, and a 2022 1st rounder to San Antonio for Derrick White. Although Richardson had been playing good ball and Langford is improving, White seems to be a better fit. He plays his nuts off, facilitates, and plays hard D - just like Marcus Smart. The Boston backcourt will now have Smart and White, which can cause problems for offenses, especially if Smart continues to play well. The Celts have had the best defense since early January, largely due to Time Lord, but are even better now. I see Tatum and Brown both benefitting a lot from the acquisition.
The C's also traded Dennis Schroeder and Enes Kanter Freedom to Houston for Daniel Theis. A welcome return for a solid frontcourt player. Theis was great in his time at Boston, providing good defense and rebounding. The Celtics also offloaded a bunch of players, which allows them to fall under the luxury tax. I am a little bummed about Bol Bol being traded, as I was really curious to see what he could do given more time to develop. It's not very noteworthy, but the Rockets are not making out too well in the trade. Not quite sure what they are doing down there in Houston.
The LA Lakers are taking a fat L. They're currently in 9th with a 27-31 record. The experiment, or whatever you want to call it, with LeBron, AD, and Westbrook has just been Russdiculously bad and the team made 0 moves at the deadline. This is perplexing to me.
LeBron needs help. He's getting older and it's showing. LeBron isn't getting consistent help from AD because can't stay healthy, his durability is even more of a liability now. He played 36 games last year and 37 so far this season. Russ and LeBron, two ball dominant players, aren't coexisting. It is beyond me that the front office didn't make a move to help LBJ. Now it just feels like they're forcing a square peg into a round hole. Maybe it was just too hard to sell Westbrook after his abysmal showing?
The Mavs made a questionable move, shipping off Kristaps Porzingis and a future 2nd round pick to Washington for...Spencer Dinwiddie and...Davis Bertrans. Dinwiddie has not been the same since his ACL surgery and Bertrans, who is paid large sums of money to drain 3s, is not making them and averaging 5.7 PPG.
On the other hand, Porzingis has looked more like the Kristaps of old at various points this season, although he has tapered off quite a bit. Rumors swirled that he and Luka didn't get along very well, which is a shame because they had potential to be a dynamic duo. Perhaps Dallas thought they were OK moving on from him. The Mavs already have Jalen Brunson, so acquiring Dinwiddie didn't make a whole lot of sense unless there is something going on we don't know about. We will see if 6'10" Bertrans finds his stroke in Big D; they could use it since they're one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league.
Basically, the Mavs traded a former All-Star for average players, while Washington gets to offload some iffy assets. It will be interesting to see how KP does in Washington. Is he a true #2 guy on a good team, or even a #3? On top of that question, Bradley Beal presents another issue. He's out for the season with an injury, but will he return next year with his player option to enter free agency?
I look forward to seeing how the rest of this season plays out. Things have certainly transpired much differently than I anticipated at the start of the season.