The wickedly wonky NBA trade deadline

New faces in new places in the association

Clint Capela

Every NBA fan’s favorite time of the year kicked off with center Clint Capela getting moved on Tuesday. To get the deal done, four teams had to take part. To name just the key pieces, Atlanta received Capela, Houston received F Robert Covington, Minnesota received G Malik Beasley and Brooklyn’s 2020 first-round pick, and Denver received G Shabazz Napier and Houston’s 2020 first-round pick.

The Rockets made it well known that they were inquiring about Covington before the trade deadline. RoCo’s three-and-D style perfectly fits Mike D’Antoni’s system. Whether or not Houston is going to stick with six-foot-six P.J. Tucker as their center remains to be seen. Atlanta was in desperate need of a defensive presence in the post. Capela fills their need in that regard and in the pick-and-roll. He’s on a team-friendly contract for a few more years, so the Hawks can use him to build toward a playoff run in the near future.

D’Angelo Russell

Karl-Anthony Towns got his wish on Thursday when the Timberwolves acquired G D’Angelo Russell from Golden State. The first two picks in the 2015 NBA draft have been friends since childhood, along with Devin Booker. Minnesota made Russell a priority in the off-season but could not secure him. The Wolfpack gained F Omari Spellman and G Jacob Evans along with Russell and sent F Andrew Wiggins and two 2021 draft picks, a first and a second, to the Warriors.

Minnesota is hopeful that Russell is their answer to the play point next to Towns. Russell is a well-rounded guard with the ability to make his own shot. The biggest knock on him is that he’s not the greatest defender. Speaking of lackluster defenders, Golden State is hoping they can tap into Wiggins’ potential. Wiggins hasn’t met his expectations since being selected first overall in the 2014 NBA draft. The Warriors are in a rest year, so they have the remainder of the season to work Wiggins into their system.

Andre Drummond

The league’s leading rebounder was traded to Cleveland on Thursday. Detroit sent C Andre Drummond and in return got G Brandon Knight, C John Henson and a 2023 second-round pick. Drummond was drafted ninth overall by the Pistons in 2012 and has played for them for his entire career. He reflected on the trade on Twitter, in short, saying he loves Detroit but feels betrayed by the organization.

Detroit made this move mostly to free up cap space. Drummond has a player option next season, and the Pistons probably didn’t want him to pick it up. F Blake Griffin is out for the season, so this is yet another lost year for the Pistons franchise. Another rebuild is looming around the corner for Motor City. This move is even more puzzling for Cleveland to me. The Cavaliers have a young core consisting of mostly guards, plus Kevin Love and now Andre Drummond. For a team that’s trying to lose games, it’s a strange move to add the league’s rebounding leader.

Marcus Morris

The Clippers took another big step towards the NBA Finals by trading for F Marcus Morris. Los Angeles held on to all their major pieces but had to give up F Maurice Harkless and a 2020 first-round pick to acquire him. Morris was in the midst of a career year with the Knicks, averaging 19 points per game. The Clippers now have five different plays averaging at least 19 points on their roster. Their future with Morris is unclear, as he’s on a one-year contract and is looking to get paid this offseason.

Andre Iguodala

The Heat made a lot of moves during the deadline. They didn’t acquire F Danilo Gallinari from the Thunder as they hoped. They sent G/F Justise Winslow and G Dion Waiters to Memphis and F James Johnson to Minnesota. In return, they received forwards Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill and Andre Iguodala from the Grizzlies. Iguodala was the focal point of this trade. Miami is contending for the Eastern Conference this year, and Iggy brings a lot of playoff experience to the team. Winslow has shown some promise but has struggled with injuries for most of his career. Memphis has nothing to lose by trying him out, especially since Iguodala hasn’t played a game for them this year. Minnesota also sent Gorgui Dieng to the Grizzlies in this deal.

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