It looked for a long time as if the NBA trade deadline would come and go without many fireworks being set off, but the final minutes saw a number of deals sending players in different directions.
The biggest name on the move was point guard Goran Dragic, who was traded from the Phoenix Suns to the Miami Heat – one of his preferred destinations.
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Though there wasn’t much talk about Miami landing the dynamic guard in the days leading up to the deadline, Heat president Pat Riley swooped in with a late offer to bolster his team’s playoff hopes.
“We are incredibly pleased to take another step in getting the Miami Heat back to real championship prominence with the acquisition of Goran Dragic,” Riley said.
“Goran is an All-NBA player, and we felt that once he became available, we would do all that we could to acquire him.”
Miami were joined by other teams that took advantage with trades of their own. Here are the winners and losers from Thursday:
When you add the best player on the market, you’ve set yourself up well in the short term.
The Heat’s potential starting five of Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and emerging centre Hassan Whiteside suddenly looks like a very competitive team in the Eastern Conference.
A big ‘if’ though will be the health of the team, especially Wade and Bosh. Still, Riley made a significant push for this season without having to overpay.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Reggie Jackson is a promising young talent, but he was most likely headed elsewhere in the offseason in search of a big contract. The Thunder did well to get what they could for him and their haul has restocked their bench with much-needed rotation players.
Enes Kanter was also a smart move, compared to the pricier option of Brook Lopez.
General manager Danny Ainge finally flipped one of his stockpiled first-round picks into a player, trading for Isaiah Thomas.
The miniature point guard gives the Celtics an explosive scorer and an attacking pick-and-roll ball-handler, two things they really needed. Thomas’ contract is also extremely team-friendly and if Ainge doesn’t envision him being a long-term factor in Boston, he’s very moveable.
They had to give up a first-round pick just so the Philadelphia 76ers would take JaVale McGee and his albatross contract off their hands.
Their other trade sent guard Arron Afflalo to Portland for spare parts and a first-rounder, which is fine, but not enough. Denver weren’t able to shift Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried or Wilson Chandler, meaning they’ll continue to be mediocre without a chance at a high lottery pick.
As great as the homecoming for Kevin Garnett promises to be, strictly from a basketball perspective, this made no sense.
Thaddeus Young isn’t going to move the needle, but he can actually play beyond this year. Garnett’s contract expires this summer and it looks like he’s heading for retirement. Essentially, one of the first-rounders the Timberwolves acquired in the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade turned into Young and then Garnett.
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