“So goodbye, yellow brick road…” Wait, wrong song. It should say, “Goodbye, NBA trade deadline.”
We’ve reached the point where all 30 teams are going to have to deal with what they have and expect one of two things: either go deep into the playoffs and bring that glorious trophy back to their city or fizzle in the first or second round to get roasted by analysts such as Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith.
This is a special edition of Diehlman at Halftime! Instead of “1 Highlight, 1 Lowlight, 1 Random Stat,” I’m going to cover what I believe are the Top 5 Trades of last week’s deadline. (Don’t worry, folks, I’ll go back to the highlight, lowlight and random stat next week.) Before my analysis, though, I added an honorable mention. The trades are in reverse order, from pretty good to super important.
Top 5 Trades
Honorable mention: And the winner of the Kyle Lowry sweepstakes is… nobody! After all of the rumors, the former Villanova Wildcat is sticking with the Tampa Toronto Bay Raptors (remember, they’re currently playing in Florida). Teams such as Philadelphia, Miami and even the Los Angeles Lakers were calling about him, but Lowry is staying put. He’s a free agent after this season. Will anybody except Toronto be willing to pay a 36-year-old the money he wants?
5. George Hill: I love what the 76ers are doing. Even with the absence of that Embiid guy, the team has rattled off good wins. They almost beat the Bucks! But, Philadelphia is missing something. They could use a certified bucket off the bench. Shake Milton and Dwight Howard have been awesome, and Furkan Korkmaz can get hot every few games. The 76ers need consistency, though. George Hill, while playing for Milwaukee last season, led the league in 3-point percentage. Despite being injured right now, he should be back very soon. The City of Brotherly Love needs all hands on deck because of Brooklyn. Compared to Brooklyn, even Thanos didn’t want this much power!
4. Norman Powell: Even though Kyle Lowry wasn’t traded at the deadline, teammate Norman Powell was. Powell was shipped to Portland in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood. This seems like a good trade for both sides, as all three have proven to be quality scorers. Trent Jr. and Hood can help a Toronto team that desperately needs to get wins right away or face not even making the playoffs! They’re a whopping five games out of eight in the East. Meanwhile, Powell could ease the scoring load for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. This trade goes by the motto, “At least we got something.”
3. Victor Oladipo: Mr. Oladipo has had a career of sharp twists and turns. Although he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2013, he’s basically the top pick of his class because Anthony Bennett, who was drafted before him, was horrible! Go look at Bennett’s stats if you need proof. For the last few years, Oladipo was a star for the Pacers. However, an injury ruined his time in Indy. He was another piece in the James Harden blockbuster trade. He played a grand total of 20 games for the Rockets before being shipped to Miami. Some are now claiming that he, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are a “Big 3.” Stop. Please stop. They’re good, but not as good as that former South Beach Big 3 (see: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh). Will Oladipo return to form in the Sunshine State?
2. Rajon Rondo: It may seem odd that I’m putting Rondo this high up on the list, but he was solid last season with the Lakers. It just didn’t work out for Rondo in Atlanta. Now with the Clippers, he’ll still play at Staples Center… but for the other team. What will be interesting is if we see “Playoff Rondo” in a few weeks. For those of you who don’t know, “Playoff Rondo” is when he goes from pretty cool to legendary in the playoffs. For example, Rondo is known to drop a crazy number of assists per game. He’s also no slouch on defense. Watch out for this trade.
1. The Orlando Magic Clearance Sale: The Orlando Magic have a new catchphrase, guys. Their social media department wants you to think it’s “#MagicTogether.” Oh, how foolish they think we are. The real catchphrase is, “EVERYTHING. MUST. GO.” Orlando traded three starters in one day: Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vučević. Fournier was traded to Boston for 10 cents on the dollar. Gordon was sent to Denver for rotational pieces. Finally, Vučević was shipped to Chicago for some average starters and two first-round picks. This clearly screams that the Magic are intensifying their rebuild. I think they finally realize their team is a Mickey Mouse squad rather than a contender.
Bottom line: start the hard-core tanking, and pray a future generational talent can elevate them in the standings.
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