NBA trade deadline results in shocking moves

Jordan Clarkson drives to the hoop. Keith Allison/

Roman Felan

On Feb. 8, the NBA trade deadline was upon us and the excitement for this day was huge for basketball fans. Many role players from teams around the league were no doubt on the edge of their seat, wondering if they would be traded. The long anticipated day did not disappoint, as players and fans alike were left with their jaws on the floor.

This year the trade rumors have been wild, but some of the trades before the deadline were equally crazy. From last season’s end to a week before the deadline, a total of 14 big name players changed teams. The most recent trade that comes to mind is Blake Griffin, who moved from Los Angeles to Detroit. Over the summer, we also saw Chris Paul head to the Rockets and Kyrie Irving join the Celtics. After all these trades, how could the trade deadline possibly top these?

This trade deadline didn’t involve the biggest names, but it did involve a lot of names. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been looking to make some changes, as the team has been slipping this past few weeks. The Cavs’ front office decided to practically change up their whole roster in a push to win another title. There were also smaller trades that shook up the NBA as well, making this day exciting for sports fans.

After the Cavaliers pulled the trigger in the off-season for Isaiah Thomas, sending away the highly coveted Kyrie Irving to the Celtics, they realized the assets they received just weren’t working out. In a stunning fashion, the Cavaliers completely revamped their roster. They moved away a total of six players from the team including Thomas. The Cavs sent Thomas to the Lakers for Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson.

After losing Gordon Hayward in free agency during the off-season, the Utah Jazz have gone into a downward spiral despite production from rookie Donovan Mitchell. In a bid to save money for the future, they traded away Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson. In return, they got Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder from the Cavaliers. However, the Jazz are expected to cut Rose right away.

If there is any true winner in this fiasco, it may be the Miami Heat. The Heat traded for their hero Dwyane Wade. The long time Heat star returned to South Beach for virtually nothing. Wade is at the end of his career, but still show flashes of what he once was. In a feel-good story, the Cavaliers sent him away for a 2024 second round pick. Wade can now hopefully finish his career where he started it. The Heat also acquired Luke Babbitt from the Hawks while sending away Okaro White.

All these big trades draw away from the small smart moves made by other teams. The Suns made a deal with the Magic for Elfrid Payton, a young point guard with loads of talent for a second round pick. The Magic continue to tank the season away with this trade.

In a move many didn’t see coming, the Knicks were able to bolster their backcourt with Emmanuel Mudiay while sending away Devin Harris and sending Doug McDermott to the Mavericks to clear cap space. While the Knicks lose shooting ability, they gain an explosive young talent in Mudiay.

In smaller moves around the league, Noah Vonleh got moved to the Bulls while they claim rights to Milocan Rakovic. The fan favorite Bruno Caboclo got traded to the Kings while the Raptors obtained Malachi Richardson. Smaller moves like these have one objective: Free up cap space for this summer and next summer. As soon as big name free agents hit the market, everyone wants to be in the race.

The trade deadline is a stressful time of the year for everyone involved. Will GMs get the right pieces? Players question if they’ll be moving, but for fans it’s a day of excitement and uncertainty.