Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones speaks to the media regarding the firing of Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
The NBA trade deadline is one of the most fun days of the league’s calendar year.
Teams jostle back and forth on little parts of deals for weeks, leading up to the deadline where one side has to eventually cave.
That leads to a flurry of trades that come down in the last hour, which this year was at 1 p.m., except there was not much of a flurry.
The Phoenix Suns have the reputation around national NBA media circles as a mystery team. No one seemed to have any information on the inside as to what they were doing, whether that was being buyers or sellers.
That turned out to be what it meant, which was nothing.
Latest on deadline day
1:23 p.m.: Quiet final moments
For the first time in years, the deadline didn’t have much pop in the last half-hour.
In fact, there weren’t even any new deals.
A Marcus Morris trade to the Los Angeles Clippers was heavily reported as getting closer throughout the day, and the last deal to be legitimately reported as agreed upon was Washington sending Jordan McRae to the Nuggets for Shabazz Napier at 12:35 p.m., according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
There is usually a grouping of at least 7-8 trades in the last hour, and particularly a few in the last 15 minutes or so that come out of nowhere that have some legitimate players involved. It turned out that this was the year where it was a relatively normal deadline compared to other sports, avoiding the feeling of being chaotic that has made the tradition of it so special.
12:22 p.m: Dumping Drummond
Well, turns out that 17.8 points and 15.8 rebounds per game isn’t all that valuable on the trade market.
The Detroit Pistons essentially traded center Andre Drummond for a second-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers, a deal that will include the expiring contracts of Brandon Knight and John Henson, per The Runger’s Kevin O’ Connor.
The deal a frightening sign on the value of centers in the NBA, also after the Rockets basically shrugged and said, “OK! That’s fine!” to dealing Clint Capela and having no backup plan at center beyond P.J. Tucker.
While Drummond’s overall level of play is wildly inconsistent, he’s a player that can dominate on some nights like he did against the Suns on Wednesday night with 31 points and 19 rebounds.
Alas, his expiring deal with a $28 million player option and Bird rights go for almost nothing.
11:31 a.m.: There goes my D-Lo
Let the useless speculation of a superteam forming in Minnesota begin.
The Timberwolves have acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Andrew Wiggins and draft compensation, per Wojnarowski.
Russell appeases the Timberwolves’ franchise player, Karl-Anthony Towns, in not only getting him a point guard but one he is close friends with. The duo is tight with the Suns’ Devin Booker too, which will ramp up meaningless buzz that they are looking to squad up.
As for the Warriors, they get their wish in accumulating assets in exchange for Russell, who they always appeared to acquire just to exchange for assets. That includes a protected 2021 first-round pick that only accounts for the top-3 and then becomes unprotected in 2022, as well as Golden State’s 2021 second-round pick that will likely be in the low 30s. There’s a real chance the first-rounder is a strong lottery pick for the Warriors despite the ability of Towns and Russell.
That main asset, however, is Wiggins, one of the most enigmatic players in the league. He turned around his game for the better in the first six weeks of the season before plummeting back to his usual ways of inefficient scoring and disappearing in games.
Golden State will hope that with the maximum spacing Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson provide, Wiggins will be thrive as a slasher, although surely not to the extent of at least $27 million per year through 2023. They will also have to bet on their culture changing Wiggins’ ways for the better, something that is far easier said than done no matter how many good vibes there are in that building.
Even with all that in mind, the value of those draft picks and getting rid of the ball-dominant Russell before Curry and Thompson come back is a worthy price for Russell and taking a very expensive flyer on Wiggins. It’s good business for both sides.
10:13 a.m.: Memphis additions
The rest of what the Grizzlies are sending to the Heat to make salaries work in the Andre Iguodala deal came through, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The full deal is Iguodala, Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder going to Miami for Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and James Johnson.
Crowder has played well in Memphis and gives Miami someone to start if they want to limit Iguodala’s minutes, and Hill is another wing that can play spot minutes if necessary.
Both are on expiring contracts as well, which will help Miami maintain financial flexibility for the 2021 free agent class. The question is if Crowder and Hill stay or are used in a deal for Oklahoma City’s Danilo Gallinari, which Wojnarowski reports as a possibility. There are also ways for Miami to still get Gallinari without including those two.
All of that money didn’t add up to Winslow’s salary, and the rest was filled out by the two years left of Waiters and Johnson. Waiters makes $12.6 million next year and Johnson has a player option of $16 million. Both have been largely ineffective in Miami, which is the price for the Grizzlies getting Winslow. The weight those two salaries hold next year arguably makes this more of a win for Miami, given that there are no picks added onto the deal, but Memphis could also just have no real aspirations in free agency this offseason and adore Winslow.
9:30 a.m: When will the dominos fall?
As of shortly before 9:30 a.m. local time, there have been no deals the day of.
Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes reports that Andre Drummond is likely to stay put in Detroit, and he was seen as one of the top three or four reported names that could be on the move before the deadline.
There’s a Gallinari trade — potentially to the Heat — out of Oklahoma City that could still come down, while David Griffin in New Orleans is fine with waiting to be blown away on Jrue Holiday, per Wojnarowski.
For now, we wait…
Prior to deadline day
No Kennard (for now) in Phoenix, Oubre’s name comes up
Our latest in Phoenix is that talks have fizzled between the Pistons and Suns in regards to Luke Kennard, due to a disagreement over first-round pick protections, per Wojnarowski. That’s a deal that could certainly pick back up the closer we get to the deadline, given it’s only protections that seem to be the issue.
Meanwhile, the Suns are “fielding trade calls” on Kelly Oubre Jr., according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein. It makes sense for Phoenix to hear out teams on Oubre but that doesn’t make fans any less nervous that the fan favorite could be on the move.
Iguodala wins at life again, Grizzlies winning 2019-20
Andre Iguodala is better at life than all of us. He sat out half of this season after being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies so the Warriors could create cap space, and while doing so, gets traded to a really good team in the Heat that is also located in Miami, AND he got an extension that will see him paid $15 million next season. Did I mention he’s 36 years old and was largely not the same player he was the past two years outside of the playoffs? WINNING AT LIFE.
The parameters of the deal are unknown as of deadline morning because the Heat want to include Gallinari and make it a three-team deal.
But what we do know is the Grizzlies will be getting Winslow in the deal, who checks in on our scales at about a 9.2 out of 10 for a stylistic fit in Memphis.
While Winslow’s short career has been unfortunately defined by him not staying healthy and getting a consistent role in Miami, he’s a tough, switchy wing who can also run your offense from multiple positions. Even though his price tag of $13 million is high, there’s a team option on the same amount for 2021-22 and it’s a worthy risk for Memphis.
The Grizzlies getting a first-round pick to take on Iguodala and acquiring Winslow for him caps off one of the best offseason/deadline two-stage rebuilds we’ve seen in a while after re-signing Dillon Brooks to a friendly three-year extension as well.
Hawks pick up two centers, biggest deal of deadline comes through
The biggest move thus far was two days ago with a four-team, 12-player trade. The largest parts were Robert Covington to Houston and Capela to Atlanta.
Minnesota seemed eager to get value on the coveted 3-and-D skillset of Covington, to the point where they didn’t get much at all in Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt, Evan Turner and a 2020 first-round pick that belongs to the Nets. Add up all those parts and it could be something decent, but they certainly didn’t get anything substantial individually.
The Hawks cleaned up their big man issue beyond John Collins, bringing in the steady and solid Capela along with former Hawk Dewayne Dedmon from the Sacramento Kings in a separate deal.
Atlanta has basically too much cap room for next season, and with the 14-win team not likely to attract much in free agency this year, they should be fine with paying those two $30 million combined for 2020-21. Capela offers the backline protection they need for Trae Young’s porous defense while Dedmon is that to a lesser extent with range on his jumper. Both are decent divers as well for Young in ball screen situations.
Denver’s involvement in that deal seemingly points to a bigger move, where Holiday has been speculated as to why they created wiggle room off the three young players shipped to Minnesota.
As for Dedmon coming from the Kings, well, Sacramento wanted to get off the money he was owed in order to be cozy enough to re-sign upcoming restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic. A fair price to pay considering Dedmon was awful after being signed last year and unhappy to boot.