NBA Trade Deadline: Winners and Losers

Victor Gonzalez
Staff Writer

The 2023 National Basketball Association (NBA) trade deadline was full of league altering deals that has bolstered the rosters of legitimate contenders. The deadline saw big names like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving being moved and solid role players moving teams as well. The article below will be discussing the winners and losers of the 2023 NBA trade deadline.


Phoenix Suns

One of the best players in the NBA and now a Phoenix Sun, Kevin Durant (Photo courtesy of David Brandt/Associated Press)

The biggest trade of the deadline was the Kevin Durant trade that sent him and T.J. Warren to the Suns in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and four future unprotected first-round picks that went to the Brooklyn Nets. This move clearly showed that the Suns are going all in on a championship run, trading away their talented youth and multiple firsts away. Kevin Durant will bring another scoring threat to the Suns and give them the ability to have a multitude of lineup combinations with Durant, Booker, Paul, and Ayton. The only concern with the Suns now is their depth beyond the four stars, but other than that the Suns are clear title favorites after acquiring one of the best players of our generation.

Dallas Mavericks

Kyrie Irving’s drama filled tenure in Brooklyn is finally over after he gets dealt to the Mavs for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected 2029 first-round draft pick, and two future second-round picks. Irving will be combining forces with Luka Doncic to form one of the best backcourt duos in the league. This was a huge pickup for the Mavs who have been looking for a second star to pair with Luka since the failed experiment with Kristaps Porzingis. Irving will provide another twenty plus a night scorer and playmaker for the Mavs. This trade does make the Mavs thin at the wing position losing a solid 3&D player in Finney-Smith, but the opportunity to add one of the best guards of the decade to this roster is a no-brainer.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers had a solid deadline revamping a roster that seemed destined to miss the playoffs once again. In a three-team trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz, they were able to add D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt for Russell Westbrook, 2027 top-four protected first round pick, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Damian Jones. Shedding off Westbrook’s contract was huge for the Lakers, but adding a guard like D’Angelo Russell to fill that void and adding solid young role players in Beasley and Vanderbilt was the best-case scenario the Lakers could have hoped for trading away Westbrook who seemed to have had low value in the trade market. The Lakers were also able to snag Mo Bamba from the Orlando Magic for Patrick Beverley and a future second-round pick. This is another trade that was solid for the Lakers as Mo Bamba will take the roll Thomas Bryant had after getting traded to the Denver Nuggets. Bamba’s ability to protect the rim, but also space the floor with his three-level scoring will prove to be beneficial in the Laker’s playoff run.

Los Angeles Clippers

Newly acquired Clippers guard Eric Gordon, back during his first stint with the team (Photo courtesy of Bill Burke/The Sports Bank)

The Clippers entered the deadline with many questions concerning their bench and were able to answer them all in three nice trades. The Clippers were able to acquire Mason Plumlee from the Charlotte Hornets for Reggie Jackson and a 2028 second-round pick. Getting one of the most efficient centers this year for a regressing Reggie Jackson and a second rounder might be one of the most underrated moves of the deadline. Plumlee fills a much-needed void in the Clippers roster providing a traditional center in the second unit behind Ivica Zubac that can not only score and rebound, but play-make. Another deal the Clippers completed was a three-team trade trading John Wall, Luke Kennard, and a 2023 first-round swap pick for Eric Gordon and three second-round picks from the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. Gordon is a solid pick up for the Clippers as he will come off the bench and provide three-point scoring and gritty defensive play as compared to Luke Kennard who lost his place in the rotation because of being a defensive liability. The last trade the Clippers made this deadline was trading for Bones Hyland and sending the Denver Nuggets two second round picks. Hyland is a young guard who the Clippers will rely on to provide playmaking and scoring in the second unit. These trades have undoubtedly bolstered the Clippers bench making them one of the deepest contenders in the league.


Chicago Bulls

The 26-33 Bulls currently sit in the eleventh seed in the Eastern Conference on the outside looking in of the play-in tournament, made no trades to either improve the roster or sell off players with high value. The Bulls have a playoff ready roster with Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan, and others and for them not to make a move for a player that could help reignite this underperforming team was questionable. Not taking this approach to improve the team could prove costly for the Bulls that are only two games out of a play-in spot. On the other hand the Bulls could have traded away some of their stars for young promising players and first-round picks. The Bulls are in a win now mode so not trading a player like LaVine who was rumored in some trades is understandable, but on the other side receiving young players along with some draft picks could have been perfect assets for the Bulls to retool their roster in the offseason and compete next season.

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves once again are making confusing moves that has people wondering whether they are still planning to make a playoff push or just looking forward to next season. They traded D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley for Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker , and three second-round picks. Not only was trading Russell and Beasley who are both having very good seasons confusing, but trading them to a potential threat to their play-in spot and below their value is boggling. Getting players like 35-year-old Mike Conley on an expiring contract and Alexander-Walker who most likely won’t help them win now has the Timberwolves in a weird spot. What seemed like a season where they wanted to go all in by trading for Rudy Gobert in the 2022 offseason, now seems like an attempt to retool and get ready for the next season.

Miami Heat

The Heat other than trading away center Dwayne Dedmon, didn’t make any moves to help their roster at the trade deadline. The Heat are in an interesting spot sitting seventh in the East and only 3.5 games back of fifth place. The Heat staying content with their current roster could hurt them in the future because right now they look destined to play one of the top three seeds in the East; the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers. Currently their roster is not on the same caliber of any of those teams and missing the potential chance to add key role players or even another star to pair with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Kyle Lowry could be the demise of the Heat in the playoffs.


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