>> Phoenix gets: PG Marcus Thornton (from Celtics), 2016 first-round pick (from Cavaliers, via Celtics). >> Boston gets: PG Isaiah Thomas (pictured, from Suns), PF Jonas Jerebko and PG Luigi Datome (from Pistons). >> Detroit gets: SF Tayshaun Prince (from Celtics). >> Why it’s important: Acquiring Thomas in the offseason led to a backcourt logjam that made Goran Dragic uncomfortable, so Phoenix essentially blew the whole thing up by selling off both Goran Dragic (to Miami ... more on that soon) and Thomas for pennies on the dollar. Phoenix will be OK because it picked up point guard Brandon Knight (from Milwaukee ... also coming later) in another deal, but this trade is most notable because Boston added a player who likely will be its leading scorer for next to nothing. Few are better at rebuilding than Boston president Danny Ainge.
NBAE/Getty ImagesBarry Gossage
>> Detroit gets: PG Reggie Jackson (from Thunder). >> Oklahoma City gets: C Enes Kanter (pictured, from Jazz), PF Steve Novak (from Jazz), PG D.J. Augustin (from Pistons), SF Kyle Singler (from Pistons). >> Utah gets: C Kendrick Perkins (from Thunder). >> Why it’s important: The Thunder needed Jackson’s scoring punch when starting point guard Russell Westbrook was injured at the start of the season, but Jackson wanted a chance to start and will get that in Detroit with Brandon Jennings out for the year. Both the Thunder and Pistons are just outside the current playoff picture, and both Kanter and Jackson fill a huge need on their new teams. There now seems to be no reason each club won’t make the postseason.
NBAE/Getty ImagesRocky Widner
>> Portland gets: SG Arron Afflalo (pictured), SF Alonzo Gee >> Denver gets: PF Thomas Robinson, SG Will Barton, PF Victor Claver, 2016 first-round pick (lottery protected). >> Why it’s important: Portland is tied for the NBA’s fourth-best record but needed scoring punch on the wing to be considered a true NBA title contender. Afflalo can provide that if he embraces a change of scenery he appears to need after his numbers in Denver (14.5 ppg, 42.8 FG%) dropped rather significantly from his peak with Orlando last season (18.2 ppg, 45.9 FG%). The Nuggets were going nowhere with Afflalo as their second-leading scorer, so they’ll get out from underneath the year-plus left on his contract and move on.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
>> Miami gets: PG Goran Dragic (pictured, from Suns), SG Zoran Dragic (from Suns). >> Phoenix gets: SF Danny Granger (from Heat), PG Norris Cole (from Heat), C Justin Hamilton (from Heat), two first-round picks (from Heat), SG John Salmons (from Pelicans). >> New Orleans gets: F Shawne Williams (from Heat). >> Why it’s important: Heat president Pat Riley used Dragic’s dissatisfaction with the Suns to make his team relevant again, essentially stealing a player who averaged 20.3 points last season and 16.2 points this season on over 50 percent shooting for fringe parts and two probably-not-so-high draft picks. Dragic isn’t LeBron James, but a foursome of Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng is strong enough to get Miami to the playoffs and maybe make it dangerous in the event it bumps into LeBron’s Cavaliers come May.
NBAE/Getty ImagesBarry Gossage
>> Phoenix gets: PG Brandon Knight, PG Kendall Marshall (from Bucks). >> Milwaukee gets: PG Michael Carter-Williams (pictured, from 76ers), PF Miles Plumlee (from Suns), PG Tyler Ennis (from Suns). >> Philadelphia gets: Draft picks. >> Why it’s important: The Bucks have gone from the league’s worst team to the No. 6 seed in the East, and the main reason was the play of Knight. But he’s more shooter than distributor, and Milwaukee must sense that Carter-Williams, the defending Rookie of the Year, is a better true point to slide between franchise cornerstones Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker in upcoming seasons. The Bucks are building a future East power, so the true importance of this move will be felt when Antetokounmpo fully matures and Parker returns from a season-ending ACL injury. Those two can handle the scoring.