There were a lot of rumors about possible trades going down on draft day, and like each year, there were some big moves made before the night ended. Here is a list of all the trades that were made before and during the 2016 NBA draft. Jesse Blancarte and Jabari Davis compiled the trades and provided analysis.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and rights to Damontas Sabonis
Orlando Magic: Serge Ibaka
Analysis: This significant trade caught everyone by surprise. Reports surfaced before the draft that teams were making offers to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Serge Ibaka, but it was not apparent that players like Victor Oladipo were in play.
While Ibaka is a talented player and should fortify the Magic’s defense in the frontcourt, he is only under contract through next season. Giving up a young player like Oladipo, as well as a young prospect like Sabonis, is pretty significant considering the risk that Ibaka could walk after one season in Orlando. However, Ibaka is an ideal player to put next to Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who has a nice offensive game but lacks the ability to effectively protect the rim on defense.
For the Thunder, this is a very interesting move considering that superstar forward Kevin Durant is days away from becoming an unrestricted free agent and Russell Westbrook only has one year left on his contract. Thunder general manager Sam Presti undoubtedly made this deal with some sort of feedback from Durant and Westbrook, as he is doing everything he can to keep his superstars in town.
The Thunder made the decision to explore the market, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Wojnarowksi also reported that Ibaka did not request a trade. Oladipo pairs up with Westbrook, which could be one of the most athletic backcourts in the NBA. Oladipo’s arrival also puts Dion Waiters’ future with the Thunder into question, as there is some overlap between these two players.
Sabonis is another nice addition for the Thunder. He averaged 17.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists for Gonzaga last season. He is also a talented offensive player and plays with a lot of intensity. He doesn’t project to be a top-level defender, however, but isn’t a complete liability on that end either.
Brooklyn Nets: Caris LeVert (20th pick), future second-round pick
Indiana Pacers: Thaddeus Young
Analysis: The Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers got off to an early start, agreeing to terms on this trade hours in advance of the draft. Indiana brings in Young after recently acquiring point guard Jeff Teague in a three-team trade. The Pacers fired former head coach Frank Vogel after their season ended and promoted Nate McMillan to be his replacement. With McMillan in place and these aggressive moves to bring in veteran talent, it seems clear that the Pacers are trying to restructure on the fly and compete for a deep playoff run next season.
The Nets entered today’s draft with new general manager Sean Marks, who has the tall task of rebuilding a Brooklyn franchise that has recklessly traded away players and draft assets in recent seasons in a failed attempt to compete for a championship. By trading Young, Marks unloads significant cap space and gets a young player and future second-round pick in return. This is just the beginning of what will be a multi-year restructuring process in Brooklyn.
This trade cannot officially be made until July 1.
Sacramento Kings: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Georgios Papagiannis (13th pick) and Skal Labissiere (28th pick).
Phoenix Suns: Marquese Chriss (8th pick)
With four first-round picks heading into the draft, it came as no surprise that Phoenix was active on Thursday night, as the Suns helped the Kings solidify their frontcourt depth while bolstering their own with a highly-regarded prospect in Chriss.
Bogdanovic was the 27th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and averaged 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest for Fenerbahce Istanbul last season. It is believed he will play one more season of international basketball before transitioning to the NBA for the 2017-18 season.
Papagiannis could be another player Sacramento decides to leave playing overseas for the time being, but Labissiere will see time with the team and/or their D-League affiliate in the upcoming season. Chriss joins a talented, young core in Phoenix and adds a bit of frontcourt versatility lost with last season’s roster moves.
This trade cannot officially be made until July 1.
Charlotte Hornets: Marco Belinelli
Sacramento Kings: Malachi Richardson (22nd pick)
Analysis: The Charlotte Hornets acquire Belinelli, age 30, who is coming off of arguably the worst season of his NBA career. Belinelli adds shooting for the Hornets and is only owed roughly $13 million over the next two years, but is a poor defender and doesn’t project to get any better on that end moving forward.
The Kings used their acquired pick to select Malachi Richardson, who averaged 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals in his one and only season at Syracuse. Richardson has good size for his position and projects to be a good defensive player, but his shooting percentages were pretty low in his one college season. However, analysts generally believe that Richardson will be a good shooter at the NBA level and that his poor percentages are a result of bad shot selection. If Richardson is able to clean up his decision making and hone in on his strengths, he could be a steal for the Kings considering they only had to give up Belinelli.
This trade cannot officially be made until July 1.
Boston Celtics: Deyonta Davis (31st pick), Rade Zagorac (35th pick)
Memphis Grizzlies: Future first-round pick (2019) of the Los Angeles Clippers (owned by Memphis)
Analysis: Davis ended up waiting to be selected about twice as long as many scouts seemed to anticipate heading into the draft, but remains a talented option to groom as an eventual replacement for Zach Randolph at the power forward position for Memphis.
This trade cannot officially be made until July 1.
Los Angeles Clippers: Cheick Diallo (33rd pick)
New Orleans Pelicans: David Michineau (39th pick), Diamond Stone (40th pick)
Analysis: The Clippers get a bit of a value pick with Stone as he could be seen as a backup for DeAndre Jordan. He can score beneath the rim and shot 75 percent from the free throw line last season at Maryland. Michineau is an athletic, but unpolished guard option for the Clippers to explore. Diallo might be a bit undersized to play the PF/C at this level, but could transition into a defensive-minded combo forward role for the Pelicans.
This trade cannot officially be made until July 1.
Milwaukee Bucks: Patrick McCaw (38th pick)
Golden State Warriors: Financial considerations
Analysis: Although he may need to improve his ball handling a bit, McCaw is precisely the type of “jack-of-all-trades” shooting guard that should fit in well with the Warriors. He has the skill set and athleticism to potentially contribute on both ends of the court at this level.
This trade cannot be officially made until July 1.
NBA Daily: Rookie Contributors Lifting Playoff Teams
This year’s impressive rookie class has translated their regular season performances to the playoff stage.
This past NBA season had the luxury of an incredibly entertaining and high-powered rookie class. Every other day it seemed like the feats of either Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Lauri Markkanen, Dennis Smith Jr., Kyle Kuzma, or Ben Simmons were dominating the discussion about how advanced the league’s crop of newbies appeared to be.
As a result, the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year race was a much more heated discussion than the year before.
With the impressive campaign these NBA freshmen put together, it should come as no surprise that on the on bright stage of playoff basketball, three of the aforementioned crop are helping lead their team’s in tight first-round battles.
Donovan Mitchell has been the leading scorer for the Utah Jazz through two games in their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jayson Tatum is stepping up for the Boston Celtics to help fill in the void of Kyrie Irving as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks. Ben Simmons is nearly averaging a triple-double through three games for the Philadelphia 76ers in their matchup with the Miami HEAT.
Lottery pick talents are expected in today’s NBA to come in and have some level of impact for their clubs. Usually, they play the role as a foundational building block that shows flashes of promise with an expected up-and-down first season. While these three playoff contributors haven’t been perfect all year long, under the pressure of the postseason, they’ve stepped up their play and appear to be avoiding the learning curve.
With that, let’s highlight further what Mitchell, Tatum, and Simmons have been able to do thus far in the postseason.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
All season long Mitchell threw the entire scoring load of Salt Lake City on his back for the Jazz and helped carry them to a 5-seed in the Western Conference when early season projections suggested they should head towards in the wake of Rudy Gobert’s injury.
However, the 13th pick out of Louisville had no intentions of missing out on the postseason. And from the looks of his production so far, who can blame him?
Through the first two games of the Jazz-Thunder series, Mitchell yet again placed his name in the same breath as Michael Jordan. Mitchell’s 55 points in his first two playoff games broke Jordan’s record of 53 for most points scored by a rookie guard in that scenario.
Mitchell’s 27 points in Game 1 and 28 points in Game 2 led the Jazz to even the series and steal home court advantage from the Thunder. While he hasn’t been responsible for setting up the team’s offense, tallying just five assists through those two games, Mitchell is fulfilling the role of Gordon Hayward as the team’s primary scorer.
In a series against a team that features the likes of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony, Utah needs Mitchell to go out there and get as many buckets as he possibly can.
So far, he appears to be welcoming the challenge.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
When it was announced that Kyrie Irving would be lost for the entire postseason due to injury, the Boston Celtics’ hold on the 2-seed seemed a lot less intimidating than it once was in the Eastern Conference.
However, three games into the first round series against the Bucks, the Celtics hold a 2-1 lead. A lot part of that has to do with the role Tatum has been able to step in and play right away with the Celtics down their main scorer and playmaker.
Throughout the first three games of the series, Tatum 12.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.3 steals. The third overall pick in the 2017 draft started the series off with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals to help Boston start off the matchup with a 1-0 lead.
At just 20 years old, Tatum is matching his age number with his usage percentage thus far against Milwaukee. For some perspective, Jaylen Brown managed just 12 minutes a night for the Celtics last season as a rookie when the playoffs rolled around.
Granted, injuries and missing players are helping in Tatum being on the court as much as he has, but the rookie is earning his time out there on the court.
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
The perceived frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, Ben Simmons has taken control in his first ever playoff series.
For starters, Simmons is averaging nearly a triple double over his first three games against the HEAT; 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 9.7 assists.
On top of his triple double ways, Simmons has upped arguably his biggest weakness so far in the playoffs, shooting 75 percent from the charity stripe. During the regular season, Simmons struggled from the line, hitting only 56 percent of his attempts.
With the offensive prowess of Simmons obvious, it’s the job he’s doing on the defensive end of the court against an aggressive and tough Miami squad that’s elevating his play to the next level.
Simmons’ ability to switch all over the defensive end of the court has placed his responsibilities from Goran Dragic to Justise Winslow to James Johnson, and seemingly everywhere in between.
Now with Joel Embiid back in the fold for the Sixers and Simmons, the rookie point guard has his defensive partner on the floor to help ease the workload on that end. A two-way performance each night will be imperative for Simmons in helping lead the young Sixers past the experienced HEAT team.
Pelicans Role Players are Key to Success
The supporting cast in New Orleans is a big part of their playoff surge, writes David Yapkowitz.
The New Orleans Pelicans have taken a commanding 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series again the Portland Trail Blazers. While surprising to some, the Pelicans only finished one game behind the Blazers in the standings. The Pelicans have the best player in the series in Anthony Davis and the defensive duo of Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday have stifled Portland’s backcourt.
The truth is, the Pelicans have been a good team all season long. A lot of attention and recognition has been given to Davis, Rondo and Holiday this season and playoffs, and rightfully so. But New Orleans wouldn’t be where they are without the important contributions of some of their role players.
Take E’Twaun Moore, for example. Moore bounced around the NBA early in his career, with stops in Boston, Orlando and Chicago before finding long-term stability contract wise with the Pelicans. He’s primarily been a bench player with them before this season, his second in New Orleans, his first as a full-time starter.
He’s given the Pelicans a huge boost, especially from the three-point line. He’s put up 12.5 points per game on 50.8 percent shooting from the field, both career-highs. He’s shooting 42.5 percent from three-point range.
“I think it’s just our style of play,” Moore told Basketball Insiders. “We play fast and open. Coach [Gentry] gives us a lot of freedom, a lot of confidence. That’s why my game is up, my shooting is up.”
It’s not just offensively though. Moore has always been one of the more underrated defensive guards in the league. Paired up alongside Rondo and Holiday, the trio form a solid wing defensive unit. They’re a big reason for Portland’s offensive struggles.
Moore is the type of role player that every playoff contender needs to succeed. He knows that his role may change from game to game. Some nights he may be asked to score a little more. Other nights his defense is going to be called upon. Whatever it may be, he’s always ready to do what’s asked of him.
“I bring the energy. I bring a spark,” Moore told Basketball Insiders. “It’s knocking down shots, playing defense, getting out in transition. Just trying to be a spark.”
The Pelicans bench has also been a huge factor all season long. Their depth took a major hit early in the season with the injury to Solomon Hill. Hill has since returned to the lineup, but his absence paved the way for other players such as Darius Miller to step up.
This is Miller’s second stint with the Pelicans after spending two years overseas. Drafted 46th overall in 2012, he didn’t play much his first three years in the NBA. In 2014, he was cut by the Pelicans only about a month into the season. This year was different, he was thrown into the rotation from the get-go.
“This is a huge opportunity,” Miller told Basketball Insiders. “I just come in and try to work every day, try to get better every day. My teammates have done a great job of putting me in situations where I can be successful.”
Miller has given the Pelicans a capable stretch four in the second unit who can slide over to small forward if need be. He’s averaging a career-best 7.8 points per game, the most out of any of New Orleans’ reserves. He’s their best three-point shooter off the bench, connecting on 41.1 percent of his long-range attempts.
While he acknowledges that he’s enjoying his best season yet as an NBA player, he’s quick to praise his teammates for allowing him to flourish.
“I just try to bring a spark off the bench. I come in and try to knock some shots down,” Miller told Basketball Insiders. “My teammates do a great job of finding me when I’m open, I just try and knock down shots and compete.”
Sometimes time away from the NBA helps players grow and mature. The NBA game is fast paced and it can take awhile to get used to it. While some players have begun to use the G-League as a means of preparing for the league, Miller took an alternate route of heading to Germany.
For him, it’s a big reason why he’s been able to make an easier transition back to the NBA. His contract for next season is non-guaranteed, but he’s probably done enough to warrant the Pelicans keeping him around. He’s a much different and much-improved player. If not, he’s sure to draw interest from other teams.
“It was a lot to learn for me personally,” Miller told Basketball Insiders. “I had to learn a lot of different things like how to take care of my body, how to manage my time, a whole bunch of stuff like that. The time overseas really helped me to mature and grow up and learn a few things.”
These Pelicans have most certainly turned quite a few heads since the playoffs began. We shouldn’t deal too much with hypotheticals, but it’s interesting to wonder what this team’s ceiling would’ve been had DeMarcus Cousins not been lost for the season due to injury.
This is a confident bunch, however. They’ve beaten both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets during the regular season. They’ve already shattered a lot of expert predictions with their performance in the first-round. The Pelicans feel like they can hang with anyone out West.
“As far as we want to go,” Miller told Basketball Insiders. “I feel like we’ve competed with all the best teams in the league this whole season. We just got to come out, stay focused and do what we do.”
Is LeBron Enough For Cavs To Get Through The East?
Cleveland’s offense has struggled through the first two games of the playoffs. Can the four-time MVP consistently bail them out? Spencer Davies writes.
After a less-than-encouraging series opener versus the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James responded emphatically and led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a bounce back 100-97 victory to even things up at one game apiece.
Scoring the first 13 points of the game itself, The King was a one-man wrecking crew out of the gate and carried that momentum throughout all four quarters of Game 2. His 46 points were James’ second-highest scoring mark between the regular season and the playoffs. In addition, he shot above 70 percent from the field for the sixth time this year.
The four-time MVP pulled down 12 rebounds total, and but all but one of those boards were defensive—the most he’s had since Saint Patrick’s Day in Chicago a month ago.
What James did was another classic instance where LeBron reminds us that through all the injuries, drama, and on-court issues, whatever team he’s on always has a chance to go all the way. But having said all of that—can the Cavaliers realistically depend on that kind of spectacular effort for the rest of the postseason? It’s a fair question.
Kevin Love is a solid secondary go-to guy, but he’s struggled to find his rhythm in the first two games. He’s done a solid job defensively between both, but he’s getting banged up and is dealing with knocked knees and a reported torn thumb ligament in the same hand he broke earlier in the season.
Love has admitted that he’d like more post touches instead of strictly hanging out on the perimeter, but it’s on him to demand the ball more and he knows it. But finding that flow can be challenging when James has it going and is in all-out attack mode.
Kyle Korver came to the rescue for Cleveland as the only shooter that consistently converted on open looks. Outside of those three, and maybe J.R. Smith, really, there hasn’t been a tangible threat that’s a part of the offense during this series.
We all pondered whether or not the “new guys” would be able to step up when their respective numbers were called. So far, that hasn’t been the case for the most part.
Jordan Clarkson looks rushed with tunnel vision. Rodney Hood has had good body language out there, but seems reluctant to shoot off dribble hand-offs and is second-guessing what he wants to do. The hustle and effort from Larry Nance Jr. is obvious, but he’s also a good bet to get into foul trouble. Plus, he’s had some struggles on an island against Pacer guards.
As for George Hill, the good news is the impact on the floor just based on his mere presence on both ends (game-high +16 on Wednesday), but he hasn’t really done any scoring and fouled out of Game 2.
Maybe these things change on the road, who knows. But those four, the rest of the rotation, absolutely have to step up in order for the Cavaliers to win this series and fend off this hungry Indiana group, which brings us to another point.
Let’s not forget, the offensive issues aren’t simply because of themselves. After all, the Cavs were a team that had little trouble scoring the basketball in the regular season, so give a ton of credit to the Pacers’ scheme and McMillan’s teachings to play hard-nosed.
Unlike many teams in the league, the strategy for them is to pressure the ball and avoid switches as much as possible on screens. The more they go over the pick and stick on their assignments, the better chance they have of forcing a bad shot or a turnover. That’s what happened in Game 1 and in the majority of the second half of Game 2.
Cleveland has also somewhat surprisingly brought the fight on defense as well. In the first two contests of the series, they’ve allowed under 100 points. Lue’s said multiple times that they’re willing to give up the interior buckets in order to secure the outside, and it’s worked. It doesn’t seem smart when there’s a yellow-colored layup line going on at times, but it certainly paid off by only allowing 34 percent of Indiana’s threes to go down.
Still, looking ahead to what the Cavaliers can do in the playoffs as a whole, it doesn’t bode well. They’re not only locked in a tug-of-war with Indiana, but if they get past them, they could have a Toronto Raptors group chomping at the bit for revenge.
If they’re having this much trouble in the first round, what should make us believe they can barrel through the Eastern Conference as they’ve done in the past?
It’s not quite as obvious or as bad as Cleveland’s 2007 version of James and the rest, but it feels eerily similar for as much as he’s put the team on his back so far. The organization better hope improvement comes fast from his supporting cast, or else it could be a longer summer than they’d hoped for.