With Thursday’s NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, we’re starting to see some activity from teams. Today, two trades were completed. Let’s break down the two deals that went down today:
Magic, Pistons Complete Three-Player Trade
The Orlando Magic sent Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova. The move has been finalized and both teams announced the terms of the deal.
Detroit showed interest in Harris over the offseason when he was a restricted free agent, but didn’t extend an offer sheet to the 23-year-old forward because they believed the Magic would match.
Orlando had been looking for veterans to help the team win now and also wanted to add shooting to space the floor. Jennings and Ilyasova have played for head coach Scott Skiles back when he was coaching the Milwaukee Bucks, so they have experience with him and his system.
It was somewhat of a surprise to see the Harris shipped out for so little, especially since the Magic just signed him to a four-year deal worth $64 million this past summer. This season, Harris has averaged 13.7 points (his lowest scoring average since joining the Magic), seven rebounds, two assists and a steal and 32.9 minutes per game.
Jennings is an unrestricted free agent after this season and the final $8.4 million of Ilyasova’s contract is non-guaranteed next season, meaning this move could free up quite a bit of cap space for Orlando while giving them several veterans for a playoff push.
Ilyasova is averaging 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game. Jennings has started just one contest this season, playing behind Reggie Jackson after returning from a torn Achilles, and he’s averaging 6.8 points, three assists and two rebounds in 18.1 minutes per game.
The Pistons are currently 27-27, which puts them in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, and just a half game outside of the playoff picture.
“We are pleased to welcome Tobias Harris to our organization,” Pistons general manager Jeff Bower said. “Tobias adds good versatility as a ball handler and scorer who can play both forward positions. He also has good experience for a young player and will fit well with the young core we have assembled on our roster. We appreciate the contributions made by Brandon and Ersan to our organization and wish them well moving forward.”
The Magic are currently 23-29, which puts them in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, and four and a half games outside of the playoff picture.
“Brandon and Ersan are two veterans that will help balance our roster and provide valuable experience to our team,” Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said. “Both players bring scoring, competitiveness and added depth to our roster. We want to thank Tobias for his contributions, both on and off the court.”
Grizzlies, Hornets, HEAT Agree to Deal
The second trade of the day was a three-team deal that involved the Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Hornets and Miami HEAT.
In this trade, the Grizzlies acquire P.J. Hairston, Chris Andersen and four second-round picks, the Hornets acquire Courtney Lee and the HEAT acquire Brian Roberts.
The deal has been completed and should be finalized later today.
In Lee, Charlotte adds a solid veteran contributor on the perimeter with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out for the season due to a torn labrum. This season, the 30-year-old Lee was averaging 10 points, 2.3 rebounds and one steal in 29.2 minutes per game. Now, the Hornets are in talks with the Houston Rockets about a possible Dwight Howard trade, which is interesting since Howard and Lee are close friends from their time as teammates on the Orlando Magic. At one point, Lee even lived with Howard.
Andersen to Memphis makes sense since Marc Gasol is out indefinitely with a broken right foot and Brandan Wright has been battling some knee issues on top of that. Andersen is 37 years old and in the final year of his contract, but he gives the Grizzlies another body in their frontcourt. They also land a quality prospect in Hairston, along with four picks for facilitating this deal.
For Miami, this trade allows them to get out of paying Andersen’s $5,000,000 contract and they take on Roberts’ $2,854,940 deal instead. This trade reduces their luxury tax bill, and now the team is just one more move away from being below the tax line altogether. Earlier this year, Miami sent Mario Chalmers to Memphis in a similar cost-cutting move.
“I hate to see my homie C-Lee go,” Chalmers tweeted today. “But welcome my homie, my championship [partner], the one and only BIRDMAN. The package deal is back together again. Watch out.”
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