As it typically happens, the NBA trade deadline this year was a bit mild compared to the nine deals that were executed last year. In all, seven deals were completed prior to the deadline, with some teams really helping their chances this season.
Of course, the Sacramento Kings trading DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans highlighted this year’s moves, and it is still a bit shocking to see that Cousins was finally traded.
In the days leading up to today’s deadline, players like Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Brook Lopez Derrick Rose and Ricky Rubio were among those players rumored to be in trade rumors this year. While none of those players were ultimately dealt, their long-term future with their current teams could be in question given the trade chatter that surfaced.
Now that the deadline has come and passed, let’s break down each trade that went down on Thursday:
Philadelphia 76ers Get: Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a Protected (1-18) 2017 first-round draft pick
Dallas Mavericks Get: Nerlens Noel
Noel has been a prime candidate to be traded and the 76ers finally were able to work out a deal. They’ll send Noel to the Mavericks in exchange for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a 2017 first-round draft pick that is protected for picks 1-18. Given the reported protections on the first-round pick, it’s likely the Mavericks will be able to keep it.
The logjam in the frontcourt for the 76ers has been widely talked about to this point, and this move addresses that position. It was clear the player the 76ers opted to trade likely wouldn’t have had a long-term future in Philadelphia, so they cashed in while they could. With this trade, it likely means the 76ers will keep Jahlil Okafor for the foreseeable future.
The jury still seems to be out on what sort of player Anderson can be, but the second-year guard is still under team control on his rookie contract for the next several seasons. Bogut could become a buyout candidate with the 76ers in the coming days. He was set to earn $11,027,027 this season, and if the two can come to terms on a buyout, he figures to become a top option for a contender. One team that has reportedly had him on their radar is the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Mavericks were said to have been interested in Noel for a while now and opted to bring him in. They are expected to work on re-signing him this summer, as Noel will become a restricted free agent. As a restricted free agent, the Mavericks will have the right to match any offer. When healthy, Noel has shown he can be a solid player on both ends of the floor and could likely even develop his game even more in an expanded role.
Houston Rockets Get: A Protected (31-55) future second-round pick
Brooklyn Nets Get: K.J. McDaniels
In what was a move designed to create cap space, the Rockets traded McDaniels to the Nets. It was reported that the trade will free up about $3 million the Rockets would be able to use to sign a player on the buyout market in the coming days.
McDaniels has appeared in 29 games this season and was averaging just 7.3 minutes per game for the Rockets. His contract could come off of the books next season for the Nets as they’ll hold a $3,476,873 team option.
Chicago Bulls Get: Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow
Oklahoma City Thunder Get: Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson and a 2018 second-round pick
The Chicago Bulls made a deal just before the deadline, but it wasn’t the player some were hoping to see moved. Instead of trading Jimmy Butler, the Bulls traded McDermott, Gibson and a 2018 second-round pick.
Payne’s playing time since returning from a foot injury has been sporadic behind Russell Westbrook. By moving to the Bulls, Payne figures to have a chance to compete for the starting point guard job. The Bulls have been looking for a permanent starter but have yet to find it. If they believe Payne can be that guy, this could end up being one of the more underrated moves on the day for the Bulls.
For the Thunder, acquiring additional bench depth was badly needed. Since Enes Kanter has been sidelined with a forearm fracture, the Thunder’s bench had been a major problem. They add shooting in McDermott and a defensive presence in the paint with Gibson. McDermott was averaging 10.2 points per game and Gibson was averaging 11.6 points per game for the Bulls this season.
Denver Nuggets Get: Roy Hibbert
Milwaukee Bucks Get: Future second-round pick
After acquiring Hibbert from the Charlotte Hornets earlier this month, the Bucks turned around and traded him to the Nuggets. Hibbert had yet to log a minute with the Bucks and they opted to trade him to the Nuggets in order to obtain another draft pick.
By adding Hibbert, the Nuggets get another body to help its frontcourt depth. As of today, the Nuggets are sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference and likely wanted to add another player down the stretch. Hibbert averaged 5.2 points in 42 games with the Hornets this season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Los Angeles Lakers Get: Tyler Ennis
Houston Rockets Get: Marcelo Huertas
The Rockets made another move on Thursday to help clear more cap space off of the books. They traded Ennis to the Lakers for Huertas, and are expected to waive Huertas at some point in the coming days. They figure to be very active in the buyout market as players are waived from various teams. Players like Deron Williams, Marcus Thornton and Andrew Bogut are among those expected to be available soon.
Ennis played sparingly this season for the Rockets, averaging just 6.3 minutes in 31 outings. Now, he’ll have an opportunity to earn more playing time for the rebuilding Lakers. Ennis is in the final year of his deal where he’ll make $1,733,880. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Atlanta Hawks Get: Cash
Phoenix Suns Get: Mike Scott
The Suns pick up an expiring contract in Scott and send cash to the Hawks. Scott could be a buyout candidate after this trade.
The Hawks likely wanted to clear Scott’s contract off of the books, and by doing so, also opened up another roster spot. They could become a buyout candidate destination as well with the additional roster spot opening up. In addition, the trade created a $3.3 million traded player exception for the Hawks.
Toronto Raptors Get: P.J. Tucker
Phoenix Suns Get: Jared Sullinger and two future second-round picks
The Raptors were said to still be active in trade discussions after acquiring Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic last week. They were looking to add depth at small forward and did so by acquiring Tucker from the Suns. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Adding Tucker figures to be a move designed to shore up its perimeter defense. He’s now likely their best defender against LeBron James should the Raptors match up again with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason. By making this move now, the Raptors were perhaps the biggest winners of the trade deadline.
The Raptors’ cap space this summer will be tied up in pending free agent Kyle Lowry. By acquiring Tucker now, the Raptors will obtain his Bird Rights and can exceed the salary cap to re-sign him if they decide to do so.
Meanwhile, the Suns part ways with an expiring contract in Tucker and pick up Sullinger and two future second-round picks in the process. Sullinger is in the final year of his deal as well, and could be a buyout candidate if the two sides decide to go that route. He’s appeared in just 11 games this year for the Raptors after dealing with a foot injury.
With the trade deadline now over, teams will look to players to add in the coming days that are bought out. Many contending teams like the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and others will be looking at these players that can help them during their run to the playoffs.
NBA Daily: Spurs Enter New Territory After Moving Parker To Reserve Role
The San Antonio Spurs are seemingly entering a new phase as Tony Parker has been moved to a reserve role.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg made a significant change to his rotation earlier this week. On Sunday, January 21 Popovich placed guard Dejounte Murray into the starting lineup in place of Tony Parker. The Spurs went on to lose the game at home to the Indiana Pacers. The result was the same as a losing effort in Friday’s matchup against the Toronto Raptors in Toronto.
The San Antonio Spurs came into the 2017-18 hoping to bounce back from last year’s playoffs where the team suffered injuries to Kawhi Leonard and Parker and eventually lost to the Golden State Warriors. This season started off with the Spurs surviving without Leonard and Parker as the two continued to rehab from lingering injuries. As of now, Leonard is once again taking time off to rehabilitate after playing in nine games while Parker has been able to stay healthy so far. Unfortunately, being healthy enough to play doesn’t make up for the inevitable decline that comes with age and injuries.
On the season, Parker is averaging a career low in minutes (21.6), assists (4.0) and points (8.2), as well as free throws made and attempted per game. His usage rate, player efficiency rating (PER) and shooting percentages are also all at or around career lows. It’s hard to argue against the notion that Parker, at 35 years old with 17 years of pro basketball under his belt, is in the twilight of his impressive career.
Parker has acknowledged his demotion but seems to be handling it like a true professional.
“[Popovich] told me he thought it was time, and I was like, ‘no problem.’ Just like Manu [Ginobili], just like Pau [Gasol], you know that day is going to come,” Parker said recently. .
Before Sunday’s game, Parker had started 1151 of 1164 games played, all with the Spurs of course.
Popovich was asked specifically if the plan was either to start Murray at point guard moving forward or if this switch in the lineup was a part of some kind of injury management program for Parker. Never known for being overly loquacious, Popovich responded with little detail or insight.
“We’ll see,” Popovich stated.
In the starting lineup, Murray logged eight points, four assists, seven rebounds, three steals and one block in nearly 28 minutes of action. Murray had previously started before Parker returned from injury earlier this season but eventually relinquished that spot to career reserve guard Patty Mills.
Parker also spoke of the benefit of coming off the bench and potentially mentoring Murray’s growth in his new presumed role as the starter.
“If Pop [Coach Popovich] sees something that is good for the team, I will try to do my best,” Parker said. “I will support Pop’s decision and I will try to help DJ [Murray] as best as I can and try to be the best I can in the second unit with Manu [Ginobili] and Patty [Mills].”
If nothing else, this move will allow the Spurs to see if Parker can be more effective in limited minutes against opposing bench units. Additionally, Parker will hopefully benefit from playing alongside his longtime running mate, Ginobli.
Parker’s willingness to mentor Murray may come as a relief to Spurs fans watching the ongoing dismantling of San Antonio’s former Big-3, which began with the retirement of future Hall-of-Famer, Tim Duncan. At 6-foot-5, Murray benefits from greater size and athleticism than Parker, although Murray failed to keep the starting job when given an opportunity earlier this season. Coach Popovich gave another straightforward answer when asked which areas he thinks Murray can improve in.
“He’s 21-years-old,” Popovich declared. “He can improve in all areas.”
After asking for a trade in the offseason, the Spurs have benefited from focusing their offense around LaMarcus Aldridge, who is having a bounce-back campaign. However, Leonard is now out indefinitely and the Minnesota Timberwolves have now caught the Spurs in the standings. The pressure is on for this resilient Spurs team, which has again managed to beat the odds despite an injured and aging roster.
Parker became a starter for the Spurs at age 19 and never looked back. Now all eyes are on Murray to see how well he performs in his second stint with the starters at a crucial point in the season.
Sources: Milwaukee Bucks Fire Coach Jason Kidd
The Milwaukee Bucks have fired coach Jason Kidd, sources ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Bucks assistant coach Joe Prunty will be installed as interim coach, league sources tell ESPN. He will coach Bucks against Phoenix tonight.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 22, 2018
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN
Defensive Player Of The Year Watch – 1/22/17
Spencer Davies checks into the DPOY race with his latest list of candidates.
It’s a new year and Basketball Insiders is continuing its Defensive Player of the Year watch with sample sizes widening and new players emerging in the conversation.
There were a couple of names knocked out of the list, but that gives more of a spotlight to those who have really stepped up since our last edition ran on December 29. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
6. Hassan Whiteside
After missing nearly a month of action with a knee injury, Whiteside has returned with a vengeance. The Miami HEAT were already a good defensive team before he came back, but he’s really bolstered that reputation even further. Since Dec. 26, the 7-foot center has recorded eight multi-block games. In five of those, he had at least four swats, including a six-rejection performance in a win at Milwaukee. Overall in ESPN’s Defensive Real-Plus Minus, Whiteside owns by far the best rating at 4.73. “Agent Block” is back and daring all comers to try him.
5. Anthony Davis
Slowly but surely, the New Orleans Pelicans are creeping away from the bottom of the league in defensive rating. Once ranked in the bottom five a few weeks ago, they’ve shot up to 18th in the league (108.4) rather quickly. While that’s not the most impressive statistic to provide, the obvious reason for their improved standing on that end of the floor is Davis. He’s been an absolute workhorse for Alvin Gentry in the restricted area as an elite rim protector, with a heavy responsibility and a ton of minutes. Without him on the floor, the Pels are allowing 8.9 more points per 100 possessions, which puts Davis in the 96th percentile according to Cleaning The Glass.
4. Josh Richardson
Notice there are two members of the HEAT on this list. It’s because they are on fire right now, no pun intended, so it’s about time they received some love in the conversation for DPOY. Whiteside was addressed first, but if we’re talking about a greater sample size with consistent evidence, Richardson fits the bill. Opponents are attempting over 11 shots per game against him, yet are only making 38.9 percent of those tries. That’s the lowest conversion rate in the league with a minimum of 10 attempts.
Battling injuries a season ago, Richardson has played in all 46 games for Miami this year. While it’s been a team effort, he is the heart and soul of Erik Spoelstra’s defense, taking on the most difficult assignments each game. For that reason, he deserves long overdue recognition on this list.
3. Kevin Durant
This isn’t a case where Durant is slipping because of his performances. He’s only ranked third this time around because of the job others have done outside of him. The Golden State Warriors are still a juggernaut on both sides of the court. He’s still a top-notch individual defender. The numbers don’t suggest otherwise and the eye test certainly confirms it.
In isolation situations, Durant is allowing only 0.53 points per possession, which is second in the NBA to only Tony Snell. When it comes to crunch time, he’s always locking up. In fourth quarters, he is limiting the competition to shooting less than 30 percent—and his defended field goal percentage and field goal percentage discrepancy is the best in the league at -17.2. He’s got as good of a chance as anybody to take home DPOY.
2. Joel Embiid
Everybody loves to focus on the off-court antics and hilarities that come with Embiid, but the man deserves his due when it comes to his reputation in the NBA as a truly dominant big. The Philadelphia 76ers have won seven out of their last eight games and it has started on the defensive end of the floor.
Take the games against Boston, for example. Al Horford is a crucial part of the Celtics offense and has had problems getting going against the 23-year-old. In the 22 minutes per game, he’s been on the floor along with him, Horford has been held to below 30 percent from the field on an average of nine attempts. With Embiid off, he’s converted nearly 73 percent of his tries.
Another matchup you can examine is with Andre Drummond. The two have had their fair share of words with each other, but Embiid’s had the edge one-on-one. Similar to Horford, the Detroit Pistons big man has had a rough time against him. Embiid has limited Drummond to under 38 percent on five attempts per game in an average of over 23 minutes on the floor together. When he’s not playing, Drummond has had close to a 78 percent success rate.
Regarding centers, Embiid ranks second in ESPN’s DRPM and fifth in Basketball Reference’s Defensive Box Plus-Minus. Citing Cleaning The Glass, the Sixers are allowing 10 more points per 100 possessions when he’s sitting, which slots Embiid into the 97th percentile.
He’s altering shots. He’s blocking shots. He’s forcing kick outs. And that’s a big reason why the NBA gave Embiid its Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors. Trust The Process.
1. Paul George
Basketball Insiders was well represented this past Saturday in Cleveland when the Oklahoma City Thunder decimated the Cavaliers in their own building. The focus was on the “OK3” exposing a terrible defense, but the real story in this game was how in-tune and sound George was on both ends of the court. He was sizzling shooting the basketball, but perhaps more defining was shutting down LeBron James on a day that was supposed to belong to him.
Any time 23 got the ball to try and get the Cavs going, George was there. He suffocated him with pressure, forcing James into bad decisions and contested shots. The talk of the day was the 30,000-point mark, but PG-13 had other ideas.
“I was hopeful that it took two games for him to get to that,” George said after the 148-124 win at Quicken Loans Arena. “I actually didn’t know that stat until right before coming into [Saturday]. They told me he needed 25 to go to 30,000. I’ve been a part of a lot of those baskets that he’s had, so that’s an achievement or milestone I didn’t want to be a part of.”
Thunder teammate Steven Adams spoke to his prowess on that end of the floor.
“He’s a really good defender man,” Adams said. “It was like a perfect matchup, honestly. He played LeBron really well in terms of our system and what we want him doing. He did an amazing job there.”
Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan is a huge fan as well.
“He really I think puts forth good effort,” Donovan said pre-game. “He’s long, smart. He’s disruptive. He’s got good feet. He’s a physical defender. He’s hard to shoot over. Certainly, with he and Andre [Roberson] on the wings, that’s certainly bolstered our defense.”
That was one performance, but it’s obvious how much George brings to the table as one of the toughest guys to score on in this league. He’s got a league-leading 188 deflections and is tied with Eric Bledsoe at the top of the NBA with 2.2 steals per game.
Recently, the Thunder have allowed 91 points at most in three of their last four games. They are also in the top three allowing just 104.7 points per 100 possessions and George has been a huge part of that.