The Biggest Winners and Losers of the NBA Trade Deadline


Jake Lannon

The NBA trade deadline has just ended. This year’s trade was one of the greatest in NBA history. Multiple superstars got traded, and a majority of teams invested to win now around their established core. In this article, I will discuss the winners and losers of this NBA trade deadline.


The Phoenix Suns pulled off one of the biggest trades in NBA history by trading Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, and four unprotected first round draft picks for Kevin Durant and TJ Warren. Kevin Durant is a proven superstar in the league and a consensus top five player in the world. Bringing in Durant to join Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton makes this Suns team an immediate championship contender. The Suns capped off their trade deadline by sending Dario Saric and a second round pick for Oklahoma City Thunder player Darius Bazley. The move for Kevin Durant has turned this Suns franchise back into a championship contender. 

The Dallas Mavericks ended up trading for one of the most skilled point guards in the world: Kyrie Irving, sending Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, and a 2029 first round pick. The Dallas Mavericks get to pair up Irving with their superstar Luka Doncic, finally giving him the help he needs to push for a championship. This team will be one of the toughest teams to guard in the NBA, especially in one-on-one situations. The only large question mark with this team is their defense. How good will Dallas be on defense when it matters most in the playoffs? Only time will tell. 

The Los Angeles Lakers retooled their roster at this deadline and turned themselves into a potential playoff team. The biggest move they made was moving off of Russell Westbrook and his maximum contract in a three-team deal with the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers sent off Westbrook and a 2027 first round pick to bring in former Lakers D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley. The Lakers also were able to bring in Mo Bamba in a trade with the Orlando Magic for a second round pick and Patrick Beverely. The Lakers were able to bring in four solid role players who can help contribute to efficient offense and solid defense. The Lakers finally decided to put a competent roster around superstar duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis, which gives them a shot at returning to glory.


The biggest losers of this deadline would have to be the Brooklyn Nets. After signing Durant and Irving in the summer of 2019, things have only gone downhill for this Nets franchise. With drama surrounding the team without the results to back it up, everything finally boiled over. The Nets traded Irving and Durant, which ended their chances at competing for a championship for the foreseeable future. The Nets were able to bring in solid young players like Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, along with five first round picks total from both trades. The Nets will have to get lucky in the lottery and with their draft picks for these trades to ever be considered a success. 

The Toronto Raptors needed to decide whether or not they wanted to trade a majority of their assets and commit to a rebuild. They made one trade, bringing in Jakob Poeltl from the San Antonio Spurs for one protected first round pick in 2024. Poeltl is a solid big man, but he doesn’t move the needle for this Raptors roster to be competitive. The Raptors also failed to deal disgruntled O.G. Anunoby. Overall the Raptors kept their mediocre roster and delayed the inevitable of committing to a rebuild. 

The Golden State Warriors, who have been very mediocre this season, failed to improve at this trade deadline. The defending champs traded former second overall pick James Wiseman in a four team deal that ended up in them landing Gary Payton II from the Trail Blazers, who the Warriors let walk in free agency. Unfortunately for the Warriors this past Friday, news came out that Payton failed his physical and was pushed to play through injury by the Trailblazers. This injury could sideline Payton for up to three months, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. There is also a chance that, due to the failed physical, the Warriors could waive the trade off and bring James Wiseman back as of the time of this writing. However this situation resolves, this trade season was not to the team’s benefit. 

Photo Courtesy of Ángel Álvarez via Flickr