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At the trade deadline, there’s a rush to grade trades or to decide who won or lost deals. Sometimes, this happens before all the details are even out. “The Celtics are getting Derrick White? Winners! Oh, they gave up Josh Richardson? Still Winners! Wait…a first and a potential swap too? Losers!” And then you see it play out on the floor and all of a sudden, your opinion may completely flip again.

With the benefit of a week to clear our heads, gather all the details and even see some games with new faces in new places, it’s time to start evaluating who won and lost at the trade deadline.

But…it’s not really that simple. For some of these deals, it will take months or even years to see how they fully play out. With that, there’s a pretty big caveat to all this “winners and losers” talk. This is how we judge things today, in mid-February 2022. There’s lots of room and time to be wrong. But it’s up those teams to prove us so.

All that said, here’s who won, lost and sat out the 2022 NBA trade deadline. (Note: This will encompass trades in the weeks leading up to the deadline, not just trades near or on deadline day.)



Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks didn’t do much. They essentially swapped Cam Reddish for Kevin Knox and a protected first-round pick. Knox has little value to Atlanta, and he’s hardly played for them, and the pick is fairly heavily-protected. The part where the Hawks won is that it removed a potentially extension negotiation from their trade of Reddish. For a team that’s already expensive and flirting with the luxury tax, that’s notable.

Boston Celtics

Boston was pretty active. They moved a couple of rotation players, plus shed enough salary to put themselves in position to avoid the luxury tax. Most importantly, the players they got back are better fits for this roster than the ones the Celtics gave up. Derrick White’s defensive versatility and skill, along with his quick-processing offensive game is a perfect fit for what Boston needs out of a backup guard. Daniel Theis is the ideal fourth-big in the rotation, because he can execute the same scheme as the other three bigs Ime Udoka uses regularly. Yes, the Celtics gave up a first-round pick and a potential pick swap. And, yes, they took on long-term money. But that long-term money gives them flexibility to match salary in almost any possible trade construction Brad Stevens can dream up moving forward.

Brooklyn Nets

We’ll get to the Philadelphia 76ers later, but this seems like it could be the most blockbustery of win-win trades in NBA history. The Nets side just may take a little longer to play out than the Sixers side. It could take Ben Simmons a while to find his form and to fit in, but, lest we forget, he’s really good at basketball! Simmons might be a non-shooter, but he’s an elite passer and the most versatile defender in the NBA. And Brooklyn is getting a couple of picks out of this deal too. Also, don’t overlook Seth Curry. He’ll feast on open jumpers created by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. And the more shooting around Simmons, the better.

Charlotte Hornets

We can keep this one simple. The Hornets got Montrezl Harrell for two non-rotation players. Backup center has been an issue all season long. P.J. Washington does his best, but he’s a four masquerading as a five. Harrell will give Charlotte energy and scoring off the bench, and the cost was essentially nothing.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs did well to snag Caris LeVert for Ricky Rubio’s expiring contract. They also picked up Rajon Rondo for nothing a few weeks earlier. Those are rotation-stabilizing moves for a team that is in the mix for homecourt advantage in the East. And they have LeVert for next year, while nothing prevents Cleveland from re-signing Rubio as a free agent. Good stuff all-around.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets got Bryn Forbes for two injured players. Considering they needed another shooter while Jamal Murray works his way back, that’s great work. But really, Murray, and potentially Michael Porter Jr., will be the big “additions” for Denver. The Nuggets are a team no higher-seeded team is going to want to see in the playoffs.

Houston Rockets

Houston got off long-term money for Daniel Theis, without taking any long-term money on. Sure, that’s an admission of guilt that they blew the Theis’ signing in the first place. But there’s no saving that by throwing good money after bad. Getting off that deal is a win for the Rockets. Now, about a John Wall buyout…

Indiana Pacers

Indiana reset themselves at the deadline as much as any team outside of Portland did. But getting back Tyrese Haliburton as a cost-controlled rookie scale guy that has All-Star potential is huge. The Pacers also got themselves a first-round pick for Caris LeVert, and they get to take a flier on Jalen Smith. But really, this is all about Haliburton, who has a chance to lead the next set of Pacers playoffs teams for years to come.

LA Clippers

The Clippers took on a good chunk of money, both this season and moving forward, but they did so for good players. Norman Powell got hurt, but that acquisition was only sort of about this year anyway. If everyone is healthy to begin next season, LA has the deepest team in the NBA and it’s not particularly close. And they’ve set themselves up with some good trade options if a third star wants to team up with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. When your owner makes millions per second, spending his money is never a bad thing.

Milwaukee Bucks

The trade of Donte DiVincenzo looks a little rough with the hindsight of Pat Connaughton getting hurt, but as long as Connaughton is back to himself by the playoffs, all is good. Milwaukee needed another big to ease the burden on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis. Serge Ibaka can do that. He’s a reasonable facsimile for Brook Lopez, in that he can protect the rim on defense and space the floor on offense. And DiVincenzo likely wasn’t getting re-signed, given the presence of Connaughton and Grayson Allen already on the roster. For a team that’s trying to repeat as champs, it’s perfectly acceptable to make win-now moves like DiVincenzo for Ibaka.

New Orleans Pelicans

This one is a little tricky and you have to be bought in that C.J. McCollum has at least a few good years left. And he should. That’s probably enough to give up a first-round pick and rotation player in Josh Hart. But add in Larry Nance Jr. (if he gets healthy!) and you’ve really got something working. New Orleans has chance to be eight or nine-deep in quality rotation players at the start of next season. That’s huge for battling their way through the Western Conference. But if Zion Williamson isn’t healthy, a whole new set of questions will start being asked in the bayou.

Philadelphia 76ers

As stated above, this could be a win-win blockbuster deal. James Harden is a massive upgrade over the exactly zero the Sixers were getting from Ben Simmons. MASSIVE. That’s all that really matters here. If Harden is healthy, he and Joel Embiid can parade their way to the free throw line on a nightly basis all the way into a deep playoff run. That alone is worth giving up on Simmons (who was never playing for Philly again), Seth Curry and a couple of picks.

Phoenix Suns

Much like their terrific season to date, the Suns trade deadline moves seem to have gone a little under the radar. They got Torrey Craig for Jalen Smith, who had no future left in Phoenix. And they got Aaron Holiday for literally nothing. Craig was a nice add during last season’s NBA Finals run, and he’ll be the same this year. He’s good insurance on the wing behind Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder. Holiday is a nice upgrade on Elfrid Payton until Cameron Payne gets back. These are winning moves at basically no cost. That’s how you get back to the Finals.

Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers finally started the teardown. Err…umm…reset. Whatever they call it, it’s begun in Portland, and that’s a good thing. They gave it the best possible run they could with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum led rosters. Now, it’s time to rebuild around Lillard. The Trail Blazers opened up all sorts of cap flexibility, possibly as soon as this summer. Now, it’s about getting things right at the draft and in free agency, if they hope to keep Lillard in the only NBA home he’s ever known.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings got unfairly pilloried when news of their trade with the Indiana Pacers first broke. Sure, Tyrese Haliburton is a really good, young player. But you know what? Domantas Sabonis is also a really good, not-that-much-older player. The early returns are interesting for Sacramento. All of the offense creation doesn’t fall on De’Aaron Fox now. Sabonis is a hub through which they can run plays. He’s a two-time All-Star and that seems to have been forgotten a bit. Yes, the Kings are often the KANGZ, but this doesn’t seem to be one of those times.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs traded Gregg Popovich favorite Derrick White, but they got a helpful player back in Josh Richardson, along with a first-round pick and swap rights down the line. And they get a chance to see if Romeo Langford can pop, although the wing is crowded with young prospects in San Antonio. They also got a first-round pick for Thaddeus Young, which is offset a bit by giving up a nice second-round pick, but it’s still an upgrade. Overall, this is a win for the Spurs, who usually let the deadline pass with nary a peep.



Chicago Bulls

Usually, we won’t be too harsh on a team that sits the deadline out. But the Bulls are a legit title contender. They have a multitude of injuries, including Zach LaVine having a troublesome knee. And DeMar DeRozan is turning in a near-career-year during his age-32 season. That all screams to get someone. Yes, it would have cost them Patrick Williams and maybe Coby White. And yes, they are a little short on tradable picks. But there were deals they seemingly could have gotten in on. Standing pat could come back to bite Chicago this spring.

Dallas Mavericks

It’s understandable to want to move on from Kristaps Porzingis. He was seemingly destined to miss 30-40 games per year in Dallas. But to take back two questionable contracts in Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans offsets the shedding of Porzingis’ salary in a major way. If Dinwiddie and/or Bertans finds their previous form, we’ll eat a big helping of crow. But this doesn’t really seem like an upgrade around Luka Doncic, just as he wraps up the cheap years of his rookie scale deal.

Detroit Pistons

Putting the Pistons in the “losers” category is a little harsh. They didn’t give up anything of value in the deal to get Marvin Bagley III, but there’s no real upside there. If Bagley plays great, and finally looks something like the #2 overall pick he was in 2018, the Pistons will have no choice but to keep him and sacrifice any chance of cap space this summer. If he plays poorly, there’s nothing really lost, but there’s also nothing gained. And they didn’t deal Jerami Grant. Not making a deal is better than making a bad deal, but dragging that situation out one more trade-cycle could get a little messy for the long-term roster building.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers didn’t do anything, and that in and of itself, is a loss. It might not have been the time to shed Russell Westbrook, and that should be easier to deal with this summer, but things aren’t likely to get a whole lot better with that situation. And Los Angeles shopped the Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and a pick package to every team in the league. No one was buying, because there’s just not much value there. What you see is what you get for the rest of this year, minus a possible buyout addition or two.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota is another team that did nothing, but should have. They had the contracts to pile together to get in on some of the players who were traded. They also could have put together an offer for someone like Jerami Grant. Again, not making a deal is better than making a bad deal. But…the playoffs are in sight for a team that has seen the postseason once with Kevin Garnett left town. Some sort of upgrade should have been made to bolster those chances.

New York Knicks

Yes, the Knicks got Cam Reddish for a fairly minor outgoing package. But Reddish has struggled to crack Tom Thibodeau’s rotation and the coach said he’s not likely to play at all when the roster is healthy. That makes it a little hard to evaluate his fit before extension negotiations start this summer. Beyond that, the Knicks could have reset things a bit by trading away players like Alec Burks or Nerlens Noel. This season hasn’t gone how New York wanted. Not moving off some money might have been a mistake. If they don’t turn some of those contracts into better fits for next season, it definitely will have been a mistake.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The upset of the trade deadline is between the San Antonio Spurs making four trades or the Oklahoma City Thunder making just two extremely small deals to eat salary. While that’s good for the Spurs, it’s not great for the Thunder. OKC is on the tipping point of having too many draft picks. They found it impossible to move up in last year’s draft, as it was. But sitting on over $20 million cap space seems like a missed opportunity to collect more picks, or even to acquire some young talent. And the Thunder don’t project to have this sort of flexibility into this offseason.

Orlando Magic

Much like the Thunder, the Magic had a chance to be more active at the deadline. They ate a couple of small contracts, but let a large Traded Player Exception expire unused. And Orlando didn’t deal any of their veterans like Gary Harris, Terrence Ross or Robin Lopez. Not be a broken record, but not making a bad trade is more important than not making a trade. But the Magic may have missed an opportunity to collect some assets for players who aren’t likely to be a part of the next Orlando playoff team.

Toronto Raptors

It’s not that Thaddeus Young won’t help the Raptors. He might. But was that really worth sliding back 10-15 picks in the draft and giving up their best trade asset in Goran Dragic’s expiring deal? It feels like Toronto should have been able to do better than that with Dragic and a protected first-round pick. That’s what got them here as a very soft “loser”.

Utah Jazz

Much like the Bulls, the Jazz are a contender that didn’t do anything. That’s a miss. They could have gotten a piece to push them over the top. But as it stands now, Utah is firmly behind Phoenix and Golden State in the Western Conference. That’s not a great spot to be in, considering this is year umpteen of very good, but not quite great Jazz teams.

Washington Wizards

Much like the Mavericks, the Wizards sort of shuffled things around in picking up Kristaps Porzingis in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Maybe Porzingis will pop and finally stay healthy, but history says he won’t. And that means his deal will be a cap albatross for Washington for a couple more seasons. It’s also easier to move a couple of smaller contracts vs one big one. This could go really poorly for the Wizards.



Golden State Warriors

The Warriors didn’t have much to do. They are playing well and their roster is fairly set. Their best trade assets are their recent draftees and all are too young, too good or both, to trade now. It’s likely this roster is what it is, minus some hopefully better health down the stretch.

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are way ahead of schedule. This young team is brash, scrappy and fun. They’re also very good. Maybe Memphis could have moved a couple of their expiring deals, but they had no real roster holes to fill. They’ll use this playoff run to determine what they need to take the next step from fun playoff team to title contender.

Miami Heat

The Heat largely sat out the deadline. They made one small, salary-clearing deal. That opened up a roster spot and some space under the tax. Miami converted Caleb Martin to a standard deal, after he outplayed his Two-Way deal. Now, the Heat will look to add another veteran on the buyout market.