NBA trade deadline: what you need to know


The days leading up to the NBA trade deadline consisted of star-studded teams making moves in hopes of becoming NBA Champions.

By Bennett Solomon

When Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes got traded to the Sacramento Kings, he was sitting on the bench in the middle of the fourth quarter in a game against the Charlotte Hornets. Analysts reported the trade during the live TV broadcast, but Barnes played out the rest of the quarter in oblivion. He found out the news immediately after the game; later that night he packed his bags and moved to Sacramento.

While the trade was by no means a blockbuster move, it was perhaps the most dramatic moment in an exciting NBA trade deadline week. Here are some thoughts on what went down around the league in the last days before the trade deadline Feb. 7.

Wizards trade to clear up contracts—and give up

The Wizards traded multiple players the day before the deadline, including Otto Porter Jr. to the Chicago Bulls and Markieff Morris and a second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans. In return, the Wizards received Bobby Portis Jr. and Jabari Parker from the Bulls, and they received Wesley Johnson from the Pelicans. The Wizards are now most likely playing for next season, with John Wall being out for the rest of the year and the team currently sitting tenth in the Eastern Conference. The trades, however, cleared up contracts, and the Wizards could now offer a maximum contract to a free agent star this summer.   

Philadelphia 76ers in win-now mode and have given up on Markelle Fultz

The Sixers traded Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala and Landry Shamet to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanović and Mike Scott. The Sixers definitely benefited from this trade because Tobias Harris is playing like an all-star this year, and Harris dominates at the power forward position: an area Philadelphia was lacking in. Harris is averaging 20.9 points per game and is a main reason why the Clippers are in playoff contention. The Sixers also traded former first overall pick Markelle Fultz––a Maryland native and Dematha High School graduate––to the Orlando Magic for Jonathan Simmons along with a first and second round pick. Fultz has been struggling with injuries, and the Sixers felt it was time to move on. Hopefully, Fultz can figure out his shooting woes with the Magic and become the star he was supposed to be. These trades make the Sixers an even bigger threat in the Eastern Conference.

Mavericks trade to form dynamic duo of European stars

The Dallas Mavericks traded Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith and two future first round picks to the New York Knicks for all-star Kristaps Porzingis, Trey Burke, Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban went all in to get another superstar alongside likely rookie of the year Luka Doncic. Porzingis will likely not play this year because he is recovering from a torn ACL, but next year the Mavericks will be focused on making the playoffs with their new European duo.

Raptors go all in to acquire Marc Gasol

The Toronto Raptors traded Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles and a 2024 second-round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for three time all-star center Marc Gasol. Adding Gasol to the Raptors lineup will give Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry an efficient scoring center, replacing the inconsistent Valanciunas. Gasol is averaging 15.7 ppg and 8.6 rebounds per game, and this addition will improve the Raptors on the offensive end.

Bucks acquire lethal three point shooter from Pelicans, bolstering playoff roster

The Milwaukee Bucks acquired power forward Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Jason Smith, Stanley Johnson and four second-round picks. Mirotic is averaging 16.7 ppg and is shooting 36.8 percent from three point range. The addition of Mirotic gives the Bucks a dangerous shooter from three, with star Giannis Antetokounmpo lacking accuracy from deep. Of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference at the moment, the Bucks, Raptors and Sixers all made big moves at the trade deadline, while the Celtics and Pacers decided to remain inactive.