There were some clear winners at the NBA trade deadline. Let’s look at some teams that could be considered losers.
The Hornets were probably trying to trade Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier but couldn’t find any takers for their big contracts. Instead they traded Mason Plumlee, who has arguably been their second-best player for upcoming free agent Reggie Jackson, the Clippers second round pick, and cash. No real value basketball was gotten in return besides ownership saving $3 million on Jackson’s contract this year and more cash. This roster will not be good enough to make the playoffs and is not set up well for the future either.
For the first time in a while the Kings didn’t make a big move at the trade deadline. Being third in the West while their division opponents all got better in the Suns, Clippers, and Lakers, could be concerning as they could slide down due to their increased competition. A clear spot where they could have upgraded the roster would be at the backup center. Trey Lyles has been good but he is more of a power forward. They could use a defensive center off the bench. They probably were in the mix for Mo Bamba who went to the Lakers for a second-round pick and a throw in salary match in Patrick Beverley. It was rumored that Nerlens Noel was a hot trade commodity but he was not moved and probably could have been gotten in a similar deal that Bamba was traded for.
It turned out that the Raptors were buyers at the deadline. Many people believed they were looking to trade their core players besides Scottie Barnes. In reality they were looking to upgrade at center by getting Jakob Poeltl. This team didn’t improve that much or get many new assets for the future. Poeltl is good but probably not a big enough upgrade over Chris Boucher or Precious Achiuwa to make a sizable impact. It still leaves them in no mans land as a likely play-in team in the East.
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