NBA Trade Deadline Winners & Losers

Jalen Brunson
Jalen Brunson / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The NBA Trade Deadline came and went on Thursday. Unlike last year, there were not any ground shaking moves that change the landscape of the league. But there were plenty of smaller transactions that very well could make or break championship hopes.

Now that things are settled, let's take a look at the biggest winners and losers from the flurry of action today.


New York Knicks

The Knicks were far and away the biggest winners of the deadline. They traded for Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic, bolstering a bench bereft of scoring and giving Tom Thibodeau more options on the wing. To do so, they only had to give up Quentin Grimes (who had been making noise about wanting out for a few months now) and end-of-the-bench pieces along with a pair of second-round picks. New York made its squad a lot better immediately and did not give up a single one of the eight first-round picks they are eligible to trade in the next few years.

In essence, the Knicks added a 20-point per game scorer and a sparkplug off the bench and only had to give up one rotation player. They kept their hopes of trading for a star next offseason alive and gave themselves a better shot at a deep playoff run at the same time. Extremely impressive work by Leon Rose.

Patrick Beverley, Newsbreaker

Patrick Beverley the basketball player had a net neutral deadline unless you think Milwaukee is a markedly worse city than Philadelphia. The point guard was traded by the 76ers to the Bucks in exchange for a singular second-round pick. He now plays alongside Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo instead of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. More or less a push in terms of his shot at winning a championship, given it seems likely Embiid will return for the postseason.

However, Beverley scooped everybody by tweeting out the news of his own trade from the account for his podcast. He beat both Woj and Shams by a full five minutes! That's impressive work. He's a winner for that.

Gordon Hayward

No individual player benefitted as much from this deadline as Gordon Hayward. The NBA vet got traded from the Charlotte Hornets, one of the worst teams in the league for several years now, to the Oklahoma City Thunder, currently in a three-way tie for first place in the West. Talk about an immediate reversal of team fortunes. It is a great place for Hayward in particular, too. They won't rely on him too much for big minutes so there's a much greater chance of him being healthy for the playoffs, and even when he's on the floor all he needs to do is space to the corner. Which the Thunder will likely need him to do in the final minutes of close games. He's much better than Josh Giddey at doing that.

Hayward went from jogging out the year in Charlotte without a single meaningful minute played to becoming part of the closing lineup for a contender. Not too shabby.


Detroit Pistons

We will look back upon this deadline for Detroit as a textbook case of a general manager making bad decisions in pursuit of saving his job. Troy Weaver's seat is downright aflame so he's pulled off a series of desperate trades in the last few weeks to bring in low-ceiling, high-floor veterans, not caring if the Pistons are getting ripped off. Confusingly, though, he also failed to get the most out of the Pistons' most valuable assets -- the aforementioned Bogdanovic trade was tremendous for the Knicks but horrible for Detroit.

The Pistons could have asked for their own 2024 first-round pick back from New York or traded Bogdanovic to almost anybody in exchange for better draft capital. Instead they sent off him and Burks for Grimes, which feels like an awfully redundant move after trading for Simone Fontecchio one day ago. And then, just to add insult to injury, they were forced to cut 2021 lottery pick Killian Hayes because he stunk it up so bad nobody would take a flier on him.

The Pistons made a bunch of subpar moves in an attempt to win more games immediately despite having seven total on the year. The one move they made with an eye towards the future by acquiring Grimes came at the cost of their only quality asset. Killer stuff from Weaver.

Los Angeles Lakers

Despite all the emojis LeBron James tweeted, the Lakers stood pat at the deadline. It was always a bit much to expect a complete roster overhaul like they pulled off last deadline. That kind of trick doesn't work every single year. But you would've thought LA would do something. They are an exceptionally average team by every measure and are barely straddling the .500 mark despite LeBron and Anthony Davis playing the vast majority of the team's games this season. There were lots of rumors about moving D'Angelo Russell or Gabe Vincent for more 3-and-D style players. Even some rumblings about making a move for Dejounte Murray. Instead they did not do a single thing to improve the roster.

This could end up having serious ramifications a few months down the road. By accepting that the Lakers simply are who they are this season, the front office is risking LeBron leaving for nothing. They were never going to trade The King but making a move for somebody like Bogdanovic would've helped the team in the now and ensured LeBron they were dedicated to maximizing the few years he has left, the long-term future be damned. Instead LA appears to simply be hoping that LeBron and AD can make a run and whatever happens this summer happens. Not really setting themselves up for success here.

Toronto Raptors

Well, well, well. Another trade deadline where the Raptors appear to have no clue what direction they want to take. After they sent out Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby in the months leading up to the deadline it seemed like Masai Ujiri was finally making the pivot to the youth movement, that all their moves going forward would be about maximizing the Scottie Barnes/RJ Barrett/Immanuel Quickley core. More moves were anticipated in a similar vein and we all expected Toronto to be sellers. At the very least trading Bruce Brown (who came back in the Siakam trade), who has a player option for next season and would definitely be highly sought-after by contenders.

Instead, when the day of the deadline arrived, the Raptors reversed course for some reason. They didn't trade Brown despite the strong possibility that he'll just leave this upcoming offseason. Worse, the Raptors sent out a first-round pick to get Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji. Agbaji is the sort of young prospect Toronto is supposed to take a flier on, but for a first-round pick? And getting Olynyk does what, exactly? Helps them make a push for the play-in tournament despite sitting at 15 games below .500 entering the day?

It was another confusing and frustrating deadline for the Raptors.