The NBA trade deadline has come and passed. Yes, Anthony Davis is still a Pelican. No, Lebron didn’t get any help. And yes, the Golden State Warriors are going to win the NBA Finals (again). But, there were some interesting trades that occurred this past week, and we’re going to break down three of them including who the winners are, who the losers are and for which trades we’re going to have to just wait and see.
Tobias Harris Completes “The Process”
LA Clippers Receive: Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala (flipped for Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley in a deal with the Lakers), PHI 2020-first-round pick (protected), MIA 2021 first-round pick (unprotected), PHI 2021 second-round pick, PHI 2023 second-round pick.
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Tobias Harris, Boban Marjonovic, Mike Scott
Winner: 76ers (for now)
The 76ers are in dangerous territory when it comes to the Eastern Conference: the fifth seed. This is not where you want to be if you’re Philly. The East is extremely top heavy, so if they have to play a fellow powerhouse team such as the Bucks, the Celtics or the Raptors in the first round, they risk an early exit.
The Pacers losing Oladipo certainly allows them some breathing room in regards to seeding, as they’ll likely be secured in a top-four spot, but adding Harris makes them a contender for the one or the two seed. This also makes them (emphasis on this next word, because it is EXTREMELY unlikely they even get to this point) potential Warriors killers. If they reach the Finals to (inevitably) face the Golden State Warriors, they have one of the only lineups that could match up to Golden State.
They have a big man to deal with Boogie Cousins in Joel Embiid. They have an elite pair of defenders in Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons, and they have enough shooting to force Kevin Durant out on the perimeter, which could make things interesting in a seven-game series.
But, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. This lineup still needs to prove that they can work well together because things were looking bleak, as the original big three of Butler, Simmons and Embiid seemed to struggle at times on the court together. Adding another scorer in only complicates the matter of who gets the most shots as now they will have to work together to make this lineup reach its full potential. If it doesn’t work out, they lose a lot of draft capital, and they lose out on a promising young wing player in Shamet. So, don’t count the 76ers as the clear cut winner just yet.
Marc Gasol Joins The North
Toronto Raptors Receive: Marc Gasol
Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Jonas Valenciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles, and a 2024 second-round pick
This trade was mostly about getting Marc Gasol to a winning team so he can showcase his talents on the national level. He’s certainly getting up there in age, but he still provides solid defense, a good shooting stroke and is a willing passer out of the post. The Raptors had given Valenciunas more than enough time to develop, and things just weren’t going as well as they hoped. Giving the big man a change of scenery might help, and the Grizzlies get an expiring contract in case they don’t like what they see out of him.
The other two players are mostly just fill-in guys who are there to make the money work, but the Raptors will miss CJ Miles’ three-point shooting as he is an excellent spot up shooter from beyond the arc. But, Gasol will likely be able to replace the combination of those 3 player’s scoring and add a beefier interior defender to deal with dominant big men in the East such as previously mentioned Joel Embiid. The Raptors were already a very strong defensive team, and they just got better (but not THAT much better) while not really giving up a lot. So, the Raptors definitely win this one.
The 76ers Give Up on The Fultz Project
Orlando Magic Receive: Markelle Fultz
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Jonathon Simmons, 2020 first-round pick (from OKC), future second-round pick
Loser: 76ers for passing on Jayson Tatum and trading up to get a guy who looks like my dad trying to shoot a 3-pointer
The Markelle Fultz situation has been one of the weirder ones in recent memory. The young guard was drafted first overall after the 76ers traded up to get him. This was pretty standard and seen as a decent move for the 76ers at the time, but boy how times have changed.
Jayson Tatum, picked third overall after the Celtics traded out of the first overall pick to the 76ers, has emerged as (sorry Donovan Mitchell) the best player of that draft class as he was sensational in the playoffs last year for Boston. He has also continued to show improvement on his three-point shot as the year has gone on.
Fultz has… gone a different path. He was hampered by a shoulder injury to start his rookie year and played in a limited amount of games. His shooting was horrendous in the games he did play. This was thought to be a result of his injury, but some questioned whether it was mostly in his head. However, he showed flashes of the brilliance he had at the University of Washington, and the 76ers seemed hopeful that his shooting woes would be ironed out.
He has since come out and clarified that it was because of the injury but the prolonged absence had some scratching their heads. However, all was seemingly forgiven going into this season when he was given the starting shooting guard spot for the first part of the season. Although, he quickly lost it as the Jimmy Butler trade forced him to take a seat so the newly acquired star could play alongside fellow superstars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Throughout the year, Fultz seemed to struggle with his shot, whether it be from the three-point or the free throw line, and Twitter had a field day with his awkward looking free throw shots that he would put up. It then came out that he had thoracic outlet syndrome, which affects the nerves between the neck and the shoulder. This severely limited his ability to shoot the ball, thus causing the strange free throw motion. So, he sat out.
There were rumors that he asked for a trade but then said he wanted to stay. It was a hot mess. Now it seems the 76ers are just trying to get whatever they can for the once-promising, young guard as they got a first-rounder and a solid rotation wing. So, the Magic have seemingly won the trade as they have taken a flier on a really talented but troubled, young point guard.
However, if Fultz continues to look like me at the free throw line it will have been a waste of a first-round pick. But man, the 76ers really missed with Fultz.