Cavaliers headline a busy trade deadline, with other contenders staying put

The NBA trade deadline officially passed, as of 3 p.m. on Feb. 8. Now, it’s time to break down the winners and losers, in addition to what was and what could have been in a deadline that will be remembered for years to come.

Several big-name players were moved this year to the shock of many. Among those names were Blake Griffin, Isaiah Thomas, Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose, with three of those aforementioned players saying goodbye to Cleveland.

Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a 2018 first-round pick were traded to the Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. Meanwhile, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder were dealt in a three-team trade with the Jazz and Kings, which brought Rodney Hood and George Hill to the Cavaliers. Finally, Cleveland traded Dwayne Wade back home to the Miami Heat for a lightly-protected future second-round pick

It was expected that the Cavaliers would make a move as they are third in the East at 32-22; 6.5 games behind Boston for first. However, not many experts could have predicted they would tear apart their roster like they have.  Essentially, the Cavaliers dealt Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for what turned into Clarkson, and what could also be partly seen as Hood and Hill. It may be an improvement on what they ended up getting from Thomas, but it is certainly not what the organization was hoping for as an answer to its former all-star point guard.

A trade that can’t go without notice is the one that took place over a week before the actual deadline. The Pistons were able to land themselves Blake Griffin, Brice Johnson, and Willie Reed for Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Avery Bradley, a 2018 protected first-round pick, and a 2019 second-rounder.

The Clippers are not new to dealing an all-star caliber player for a boat-load of assets, as they were able to do the same with Chris Paul. The Pistons undoubtedly got the best player in the deal, however, Griffin’s injury history and huge contract are reasons to doubt the long-term success of the trade from Detroit. In addition, the Pistons will owe over $50 million this season to Andre Drummond and Griffin alone. The worst part is, that number only goes up; and with the Pistons currently nowhere near the top of the East, the organization is going to have to find a way to clear up cap space to move up the conference.

Despite many teams moving around assets, the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs were two that were not willing to budge. The Celtics had interest in Memphis Grizzlies guard, Tyreke Evans. Evans, was on their radar for some time, but the Grizzlies were more than likely asking for their own 2019 first-round pick back from the Celtics. Whatever Memphis was asking for, Boston was not in the negotiating mood.

The Spurs were willing to deal Danny Green and a first-round pick to the Clippers for, newly-acquired, Avery Bradley. Bradley would have been a chance for San Antonio to get younger, with a Green for Bradley deal very like-for-like. With no deal over the line for either, the Celtics and Spurs will most likely try to address their concerns in free agency.

The Clippers’ Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan are at the top of that list in terms of tradeable assets that did not move. Tied to several rumors, these players held a fairly-high value, especially Lou Williams, who just inked an extension of 3 years, $24 million. With the inflation of the market over the last couple years, Williams is a steal at this price, as the 31-year-old is averaging career highs in points and assists at 23.3 points per game and 5.3 assists per game. Still, no team was willing to meet the Clippers asking price.

DeAndre Jordan, on the other hand, was supposedly the answer to the Cavaliers defensive struggles, and there were many reports that Cleveland was making Jordan their top priority as the deadline closed. Instead, he remains in Los Angeles and could ultimately sign an extension.

The story begins and ends with Cleveland though, who will certainly see the All-Star Break as a new beginning. And with the playoffs only around the corner, Cleveland is hoping that its new cast of players will help it host the Larry O’Brien Trophy and give LeBron James a fourth NBA championship.

Anthony Talarico can be reached at