2017 NBA Trade Deadline: Grades For All 30 Teams

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 22, 2017; Metairie, LA, USA; Omri Casspi (18) and DeMarcus Cousins (0) were introduced by the New Orleans Pelicans at a press conference at the New Orleans Pelicans Practice Facility. They came to the Pelicans in a trade from the Sacramento Kings. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the dust has settled from the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline, it’s time to see where everyone stands. Here are trade deadline grades for all 30 teams.

The highly anticipated 2017 NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone. From the ashes and the rubble, it’s time to pick up the pieces and figure out what the NBA landscape looks like moving into the home stretch of the 2016-17 NBA season.

A Golden State Warriors rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals felt inevitable before the season, and while that’s still the most likely result, this week saw teams like the Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards all bolster their rosters to give them a greater challenge at the top of the NBA ladder.

Though the San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics stood pat at this year’s deadline, they too will try to make things more interesting come playoff time.

The question is, which teams best addressed their needs at this year’s deadline? Which teams are the biggest winners and losers? Who landed the best trade of the week and which teams totally failed but not making a move at all?

We’ve already covered individual trade grades for every deal, but now it’s time to take a look at the bigger picture for each squad. To make sense of all of this week’s action — and non-action, for some — here’s a look at 2017 NBA Trade Deadline grades for all 30 teams in the association.

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Dec 23, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns defeated the 76ers 123-116. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks were true to their word after general manager Wes Wilcox reaffirmed Paul Millsap wasn’t going anywhere and that they would enter the deadline as buyers.

The trade for Ersan Ilyasova added a useful stretch-4 to the equation, even if it meant giving up Tiago Splitter, a 2017 second-rounder and the rights to swap another 2017 second-rounder with Philadelphia.

Hawks get PF – Ersan Ilyasova
2017 2nd round pick

76ers get C – Tiago Splitter
2017 2nd round pick
2017 2nd round pick (via Heat)

The Hawks also dealt Mike Scott to the Phoenix Suns for a second round pick that is protected 31-55 to free up some room in the frontcourt rotation, but ultimately, one has to wonder if Atlanta is taking the right approach here.

Hawks get 2017 2nd round pick

Suns get PF – Mike Scott
SG – Cenk Akyol
Cash considerations

For a franchise that’s been mired in Good But Not Great territory for too long, Ilyasova doesn’t move the needle past the Cavaliers or even the Celtics, Raptors and Wizards in the East. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, which means he could be a three-month rental, especially with the front office’s sights set on re-signing a 32-year-old Paul Millsap to an inflated deal.

It’s commendable the Hawks tried to put something together for Paul George or Jimmy Butler and that they want to remain competitive, but this is still the fifth best team in the East. Dealing Millsap and starting from scratch may have been a better approach, even though the individual deals Wilcox worked out were fine in a vacuum.

Grade: C

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Dec 22, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Paul George (13) is guarded by Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Boston defeats Indiana 109-102. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics: Put Those Assets To Use

You had one job, Danny Ainge: Put all those assets to good use and finally land that long-awaited blockbuster trade. Unfortunately for the Boston Celtics, they may have to live with being the second- or third-best team in the Eastern Conference for the time being.

On the one hand, it’s easy to get upset about Ainge’s hesitance to include those valuable first round picks from the Brooklyn Nets in a deal until the end. It’s also understandable to wonder what happens when Boston gets the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s guard-heavy draft despite already having Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart in the backcourt.

However, Ainge can still either use that pick or turn it and his assets into something good on draft day, and there’s no denying the Celtics are a team on the rise. Adding Paul George would’ve made Boston serious contenders this year, but according to reports, it was Larry Bird who wouldn’t accept Ainge’s best offers in the end.

It’s still a disappointing trade deadline for the Celtics, who couldn’t even settle for a lesser addition like P.J. Tucker, but even as the value of his players continues to depreciate, Boston is still — for now, at least — dealing from a comfortable position.

Just don’t expect them to go knocking off the Cleveland Cavaliers anytime soon.

Grade: C-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Oct 30, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard K.J. McDaniels (32) dribbles the ball as Dallas Mavericks guard Deron Williams (8) defends during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets

The asset cupboard is still pretty barren for the team with the worst record in the NBA and no reason to tank, but thanks to GM Sean Marks, the Brooklyn Nets are starting to fill back up.

While the returns of a pick currently slated to be No. 24 in this year’s draft, Andrew Nicholson’s ugly contract and K.J. McDaniels are hardly sexy returns, it’s hard to fault Marks too much for not being able to turn chicken s**t back into chicken salad.

Nets get SG – Marcus Thornton
PF – Andrew Nicholson
2017 1st round pick

Wizards get SG – Bojan Bogdanovic
PF – Chris McCullough
Nets get SG – K.J. McDaniels

Rockets get Cash considerations

Dealing a role player like Bojan Bogdanovic for a first-rounder was about as good as you could ask for, even if it took a sweetener like Chris McCullough to seal the deal. Nicholson’s contract is bad, but he can be stretched if he doesn’t pan out and McDaniels is a 24-year-old wing who was wasting away in Houston. Making that deal for him at virtually no cost is a no-downside move.

The Nets now have two first-rounders in this year’s draft (the one from Washington and Boston’s pick via pick swap) that can be packaged to move up in the draft or used to take two stabs at unearthing a diamond in the rough. Not capitalizing on Brook Lopez hurts, but moving his $21 million salary was always going to be a challenge anyway.

Grade: B

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Jan 10, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Roy Hibbert (55, right) and Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams (2) speak during a timeout against the Houston Rockets during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte Hornets

The only move the Charlotte Hornets made before the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline was one they made three weeks prior: Sending Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes to the Milwaukee Bucks for Miles Plumlee.

For a team that had lost 18 of its last 23 games heading into Thursday night’s return to action, that would’ve been a devastatingly underwhelming outcome even if Plumlee and his bloated carcass of a contract were useful, rather than out for two weeks with a leg injury.

Hornets get C – Miles Plumlee

Bucks get C – Spencer Hawes
C – Roy Hibbert

The Hornets missed out on Lou Williams to help with their non-existent guard depth, they didn’t shake up a roster that provides Kemba Walker with no help and asks too much of an aging Nicolas Batum, and the team will likely remain on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

There’s too much long-term salary bogging down Charlotte’s books, and the disastrously short-sighted Plumlee deal makes it even worse. Better luck next year.

Grade: F

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 1, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Cameron Payne (22) shoots the ball over Chicago Bulls forward Cristiano Felicio (6) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls were faced with two options heading into the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline: Deal Jimmy Butler and start over with youth and draft picks, or tweak the edges of the roster to start putting a better team around him.

Miraculously, the front office managed to straddle the line by achieving neither of those things with their only deal at the deadline.

Bulls get PG – Cameron Payne
C – Joffrey Lauvergne
SG – Anthony Morrow

Thunder get PF – Taj Gibson
SF – Doug McDermott
2018 2nd round pick

Sure, Taj Gibson was an expiring contract and Doug McDermott hadn’t really lived up to expectations for a team that traded up to get him in the 2014 NBA Draft.

But all the Bulls really accomplished by trading for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow is take another handful of good but not great prospects and splatter it all over an already messy canvass painted by players fitting that same description.

Payne could be a very good point guard one day, but Rajon Rondo, Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams are all still on the roster. Lauvergne is a talented big, but he now joins a crowded frontcourt with developing players like Bobby Portis, Cristiano Felicio, plus Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez.

Anthony Morrow supposedly helps the league’s worst three-point shooting team, but why trade for a guy coming off the books this summer when McDermott was a younger version on a team-friendly contract who was already shooting 37.3 percent from downtown this year? Morrow, by the way, is at 29.4 percent this year.

The trade made Chicago considerably worse for the short-term, which would’ve been fine if Jimmy Butler weren’t still on the roster. Bulls fans can look forward to more doubts being cast over his long-term future in the Windy City thanks to an even worse supporting cast, but hey, at least they got rid of a pesky 2018 second round pick, right?

Grade: D

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Nov 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Deron Williams (8) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) during the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers

This might seem a little high for a team that did absolutely nothing at the trade deadline except ask if Patrick Beverley was available when the Rockets came calling out Iman Shumpert. They didn’t directly add the playmaker LeBron James has wanted either.

However, everyone is still chasing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, and even with the Warriors or Spurs likely to come out of the West, the defending champs didn’t have to make a move. Even better, they can still make something of a move on the buyout market.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Cavs are the runaway favorites to land Deron Williams after being bought out by the Dallas Mavericks. If that somehow falls through, Andrew Bogut could be another candidate once the Philadelphia 76ers buy him out following their trade for him.

LeBron James wanted a legitimate backup point guard to ease some of the playmaking duties that had fallen to him and Kyrie Irving. He’s about to get one with playoff experience and a hunger to help a title contender.

Grade: A-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Nov 16, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) shoots past Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks pulled off one of the best deals of the day in a trade for Nerlens Noel that’s really closer to a heist.

Though the Mavs will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs three games back of the eighth seed, Noel is a high-upside acquisition that will help cover Dirk Nowitzki’s defensive flaws in the short-term and could provide a potential franchise center in the long run.

Mavericks get C – Nerlens Noel

76ers get C – Andrew Bogut
SF – Justin Anderson
2017 1st round pick

The Mavericks may have to overpay to keep their restricted free agent this summer, but this team finally has a young core to be excited about after Dirk’s time is done with the 22-year-old Noel, Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry, Dwight Powell and Yogi Ferrell.

Losing Justin Anderson from that young core hurts, but his jumper hadn’t shown any progress this season. At the cost of one unproven sophomore, a first round pick that will likely become two second-rounders and Andrew Bogut (an expiring contract who hardly played and was immediately bought out), the Mavs landed quite a potential steal.

Dallas was unable to trade Deron Williams and ultimately had to buy him out instead, but overall it was a pretty successful trade deadline for a team that’s starting to brace for life after Nowitzki while remaining competitive in the meantime.

Grade: A-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 15, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee (24) looks on during the first half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets didn’t make a major move on the day of this year’s trade deadline, and though that’s not the end of the world for a team clinging to the final playoff spot in the West, it may have been a missed opportunity to move one of their two desirable wings.

Holding off on a Wilson Chandler trade unless it was for the right price makes sense since he still has another guaranteed year on his contract, but it’s surprising we didn’t hear any whispers about a Danilo Gallinari trade when the Italian fan favorite can join free agency this summer.

Perhaps the Nuggets wanted to keep their roster strong for a playoff push with the Pelicans adding DeMarcus Cousins, but if that were the case, they might not have made a “monster offer” to the Pacers for Paul George.

However, the Nuggets technically got two deals done before the deadline. The first came about two weeks prior — sending Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first round pick (via Memphis) to the Portland Trail Blazers for Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second-rounder.

Nuggets get C – Mason Plumlee
2018 2nd round pick

Trailblazers get C – Jusuf Nurkic
2017 1st round pick

Nurkic needed to be traded and the Nuggets got the best player in that deal. Plumlee could either be a quality backup behind Nikola Jokic or possibly a nice complement alongside him to help one of the worst defenses in the NBA.

Giving up one of Denver’s two first-rounders seems like a lot for a restricted free agent of Plumlee’s caliber, but it’s not such a big deal. The Nuggets had no use for another pick around No. 20 in the draft anyway.

Then there was the head-scratching play on the actual day of the deadline:

Nuggets get C – Roy Hibbert

Bucks get 2019 2nd round pick

The deal for Roy Hibbert seems curious after the Nuggets just added a center, but he’s an expiring contract who adds more depth and length to the frontcourt. After the Pelicans added DeMarcus Cousins to bolster their playoff pursuit, he could come in handy in head-to-head matchups with New Orleans that might decide the Nuggets’ playoff fate.

Hibbert also gets Denver closer to the salary floor, but as much as two extra bigs will help, I’m still not sure it’ll be enough to stave off the Pellies’ superstar tandem in the race for a playoff spot.

Between that and not being able to trade one of Gallinari or Chandler, it’s hard to say the Nuggets got better for the long-term or did enough to solidify their standing as a playoff team despite making two savvy moves.

Grade: C+

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

January 12, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy (right) instructs center Andre Drummond (0) during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Pistons 127-107. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons did nothing to solve their ongoing problems since Reggie Jackson returned, nor did they do anything to redefine themselves as anything other than one of the biggest disappointments in the Eastern Conference.

But whether by patience or sheer inability to find the right deal, we’re going to give the Pistons credit for not doing anything drastic — you know, like trading Andre Drummond or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope away out of some fit of desperation.

Finding a deal for Jackson would have been defensible since he hasn’t been good this season, but you could also make the case that Stan Van Gundy needs to give him a little more than 36 games to readjust from his injury to start the season.

The Pistons may struggle to stay afloat in the playoff picture, but this core is still young and deserves more time to reconfigure than half a season. Whether by the virtue of temperance or pure dumb luck, Detroit will get that chance.

Grade: B+

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

January 8, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with forward Draymond Green (23) during the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. The Warriors defeated the Kings 117-106. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors

As owners of the NBA’s best record, best point differential, best offense and second-best defense, the Golden State Warriors didn’t really need to do anything at this year’s trade deadline. There’s just not as much pressure to tweak the roster after you add Kevin Durant to a core that won 73 games.

While there were some low-cost options that might have helped, they were all long shots that might have upset the chemistry of a team that’s found its rhythm.

While other teams in the East got better (and even one in the West, with the Houston Rockets acquiring Lou Williams), the Dubs had the luxury of not needing to make a move.

The pressure will be on the bench come playoff time, but the Dubs had a limited amount of options available to them anyway without moving someone from the core.

Grade: A-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

December 17, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Louis Williams (23) moves the ball against Houston Rockets guard Corey Brewer (33) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets

You’ve got to give Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey credit: He isn’t afraid of the big bad wolves of the Western Conference.

By dealing for Lou Williams and his 38.5 percent shooting, Morey bolstered a team that attempts the NBA’s most threes per game but has fallen to 11th in three-point efficiency. With another Sixth Man of the Year candidate to his roster, the implication is clear: We’re going to try and outgun you.

Rockets get SG – Lou Williams

Lakers get SG – Corey Brewer
2017 1st round pick

True enough, Houston actually has the NBA’s 14th-ranked defense, which is why his interest in Iman Shumpert and his 40.3 percent shooting from downtown made sense.

However, the Rockets were wise to back off when Cleveland asked for Beverley in return, and instead made a move to clear out some additional salary cap space.

Rockets get Cash considerations

Nets get SG – K.J. McDaniels

The Rockets basically sent K.J. McDaniels to Brooklyn for peanuts, leaving them thin on the wing with Corey Brewer and a first round pick being sent to Los Angeles. But they also have more money to offer players who get bought out, and Andrew Bogut could be a candidate to join the mix.

Dumping third string point guard Tyler Ennis on the Lakers for Marcelo Huertas (who was waived) only freed up about $250,000 in cap space, but that could help with buyout candidates nevertheless.

Rockets get PG – Marcelo Huertas

Lakers get PG – Tyler Ennis

Giving up a first-rounder that’s currently slated to be No. 27 is perfectly fine to add some backcourt depth and playmaking. Now we get to see what Lou Will and Eric Gordon can do off the bench together, and whether Houston can land something useful from the buyout market.

Williams fits in more closely with what the Rockets are trying to do, and though he’s a defensive liability come playoff time, Morey has been consistent in his approach, putting all his money on a high-powered offense that may have just gotten a little more dangerous.

Grade: A-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 11, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) brings the ball up court against the Milwaukee Bucks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Milwaukee defeats Indiana 116-100. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers

When the Celtics finally caved in trade discussions and decided to include the Nets picks in a Paul George trade, it should’ve been game set and match for the Indiana Pacers. Well, it should’ve been if we’re operating under the assumption that Larry Bird wouldn’t be able to make a move to get PG-13 more help, which — well would you look at that — is exactly what happened!

The Pacers had two options: Deal an unhappy superstar who had put pressure on the front office to make all-in moves so he could compete for a championship as his 2018 free agency approached, or actually make those winning moves to keep him satisfied.

While it makes sense to wait to see if George makes an All-NBA team to qualify for an even bigger contract extension with Indiana, by not making any sort of move to change his team’s short-term fate as a first round playoff exit, Bird basically condemned the Pacers to the treacherous middle ground.

With the Los Angeles Lakers suddenly looking like the favorites to sign PG-13 in free agency next summer, the pressure is on Bird to assemble a championship contender around his star in a very limited timeframe. Again, it’s kind of hard to do that when you don’t make a single move at the deadline and your only options were names like Jahlil Okafor and Arron Afflalo.

When you consider the Pacers turned down a “monster offer” from Denver and probably another terrific rebuild package from the Celtics, it might be hard to watch when PG-13 leaves next summer for nothing.

Grade: D+

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 11, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; LA Clippers center Marreese Speights (5) reacts to a big dunk by forward Blake Griffin (32) in the first half against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers never seriously entered the NBA rumor mill and that didn’t change leading up to the trade deadline. As was always the case, this team’s outlook still entirely depends on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin being healthy for the postseason.

Though the Clippers could’ve considered someone like P.J. Tucker to bolster the bench, their hands were tied as far as what they could offer in return unless someone wanted Austin Rivers.

Lob City had traded too many of its future first round draft picks, and blowing it up with a Griffin trade would’ve been prematurely pounding the panic button. It’s still possible the Clippers lose one or both of Paul and Griffin this summer, but when you’re this close to title contention, you stay in the hunt for as long as you can.

Here’s hoping a healthy Clippers team can make a deep enough run to convince those superstars to re-up over the summer.

Grade: B

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Jan 6, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Houston Rockets forward Corey Brewer (33) smiles against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers

It was easy to clown on the Los Angeles Lakers for choosing Magic Johnson as their new president of basketball operations, but so far, all three of his moves — hiring Rob Pelinka as GM, trading Lou Williams and taking a flier on Tyler Ennis — were fundamentally sound.

By trading away his team’s leading scorer, Magic not only got an extra 2017 first-rounder, but he also ensured the Lakers don’t lose their top-three protected 2017 pick (and by extension, their 2019 first-rounder as well).

Lakers get SG – Corey Brewer
2017 1st round pick

Rockets get SG – Lou Williams

Corey Brewer is a useless veteran with another year left on his contract, but if you’re looking for far worse examples of that scenario, look no further than Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng.

Magic was unable to turn Nick Young into a second round pick, but Marcelo Huertas was a 33-year-old point guard who hardly played. If the Lakers are going to have one of those, why not make it a 22-year-old version?

Lakers get PG – Tyler Ennis

Rockets get PG – Marcelo Huertas

Even if Ennis has showed zero signs of being a capable pro so far in his young career, as long as this deal is more about taking a flier and less about Magic Johnson as a talent evaluator, it was a pretty solid deadline for the new team president.

Grade: A-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 15, 2017; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) reacts during the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies didn’t have any desirable pieces to offer, and injury-prone as he’s been this year, Chandler Parsons had zero value even if they wanted to give up on him so quickly.

The All-Star break and trade deadline was really about resting and trying to get healthy for a playoff run, so it’s not surprising that the Grizzlies popped up in approximately zero trade rumors. At this point, they pretty much are who they are.

However, we should note that the Rockets — Memphis’ current first round playoff matchup — got better over the last 48 hours by adding Lou Williams. Maybe just getting healthy will allow the Grizzlies to claim something similar, but it’s going to take some real Grit-N-Grind for this team to make it past the first round.

Grade: B-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 11, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Miami Heat guard Wayne Ellington (2) and center Hassan Whiteside (21) and guard Goran Dragic (7) and forward James Johnson (16) during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 117-109. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat

For better or worse, the Miami Heat have decided to ride out their unexpected wave of success. Though dealing players like Goran Dragic or Dion Waiters while their value is so high would’ve made sense, it’d truly take a man with no heart to turn his back on a plucky team that’s won 14 of its last 16 games.

Pat Riley would normally fit that description, but perhaps the offers weren’t there. Or, perhaps offers revolving around Wayne Ellington and Josh McRoberts to add more talent just don’t stir up interest like they used to.

Either way, the Heat were only two games out out a playoff spot entering Thursday night’s return to action. Miami may have screwed itself out of a much-needed higher lottery pick, and not moving Dragic or Waiters only exacerbates that issue, but Riley was kind of backed into a corner.

Even if the Heat’s best-case scenario is a fun first round series loss to one of the top dogs in the East, this trade deadline signaled a commitment to riding it out with this current group. We’ll have to wait and see what the long-term ramifications of that decision are.

Grade: C

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Oct 23, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Miles Plumlee (18) celebrates a bucket at the end of the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Milwaukee Bucks 112-108. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks

With Jabari Parker out for the season and Khris Middleton finally back, the Milwaukee Bucks‘ only possible moves would’ve revolved around auxiliary pieces.

Luckily, the front office was able to work out a genius trade weeks before the deadline by finding some poor sucker to take on the rest of Miles Plumlee’s contract.

Bucks get C – Spencer Hawes
C – Roy Hibbert

Hornets get C – Miles Plumlee

That four-year, $64 million extension was ludicrous the day it was signed, and it didn’t look any prettier when he failed to crack Jason Kidd’s rotation.

The Bucks turned Plumlee into frontcourt depth with Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert, and though the latter never played a minutes in a Milwaukee jersey, they were able to wheel and deal him for more savings on Thursday.

Bucks get 2019 2nd round pick

Nuggets get C – Roy Hibbert

In a trade with the Nuggets, Milwaukee got Hibbert’s expiring contract off the books for a 2019 pick that’s unlikely to actually convey. That’s okay though, since it pushed the Bucks closer to the salary floor.

Both of Milwaukee’s deadline deals were all about shedding unwanted salary and posturing the team’s cap situation for future free agency pitches. It’s not exactly sexy stuff like, say, landing Ricky Rubio might have been, but it got the job done.

Grade: A-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 12, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) in the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Target Center. The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Chicago Bulls 117-89. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves

Goodness gracious did Tom Thibodeau almost screw things up for the Minnesota Timberwolves. If you’re still trapped in 2011, where Derrick Rose is unquestioningly a superior player compared to Ricky Rubio, then sure, a potential swap might’ve made sense.

But if you live in the here and now, where basketball is about more than scoring and where defense, passing, attitude and willingness to mentor younger players all matter, trading Rubio would’ve been a mistake.

As an upcoming free agent, a long-term reunion between Rose and Thibs would’ve cost a pretty penny this summer, and for what? A former star who doesn’t realize he’s well past his prime and would hog the reins from Kris Dunn even when he finally is ready.

Luckily, the Wolves wised up at the last possible moment, sparing them of a Bulls reunion the world didn’t really want to see anyway.

It’s ironic that the Wolves keep looking for some distant point guard to “bridge the gap” between now and the day Dunn is ready when they already have one in Rubio. A two-month Rose rental wouldn’t have bridged the gap and would’ve represented a poor return for Rubio, while re-signing Rose this summer would’ve bridged the gap too far.

In any case, the Wolves get to keep an underrated and misjudged point guard at the helm until Dunn actually shows signs of being ready. Trading Rubio for an acceptable return would’ve been one thing, but for an expiring contract whose re-signed deal would’ve been toxic to the books AND Dunn’s future? Minnesota was smart and/or lucky to dodge that bullet.

Grade: B

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 22, 2017; Metairie, LA, USA; Omri Casspi and DeMarcus Cousins were introduced by the New Orleans Pelicans at a press conference at the New Orleans Pelicans Practice Facility. They came to the Pelicans in a trade from the Sacramento Kings. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans

Lacking real assets, the New Orleans Pelicans had a tall order to fill if they wanted to accomplish their one goal of the trade deadline — getting Anthony Davis help. Somehow, by the grace of God and the idiocy of the Sacramento Kings, they pulled it off with the week’s marquee deal.

Adding DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t automatically cure all of this team’s problems, as their 30-point loss to the Rockets in their first game with Boogie shows. AD has to stay healthy for once, Omri Casspi already got hurt and the Pellies were 2.5 games out of a playoff spot before their Thursday night loss.

However, it’s hard to see this deal as anything less than a victory when all they had to give up was Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans’ expiring deal, a 2017 first round pick (top three-protected) and a 2017 second round pick.

Pelicans get C – DeMarcus Cousins
SF – Omri Casspi

Kings get SG – Buddy Hield
SG – Tyreke Evans
PG – Langston Galloway
2017 1st round pick
2017 2nd round pick

Losing Hield stings a little bit, but there’s no question giving him up was worth it to acquire a superstar of Boogie’s caliber. Since Cousins can spread the floor to three-point range, this superstar frontcourt tandem gives the NBA its first true Twin Towers since Tim Duncan and David Robinson — only a modern-day version that can spread the floor.

Even if the Pelicans miss the playoffs, they have a bright future between their two Kentucky alums. They’ll have to deal with his free agency in 2018, so the clock is ticking to supply that duo with more talent, but considering what little they had to surrender to land Boogie, the Pellies absolutely won the trade deadline.

Grade: A

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 12, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) directs his team during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks

You were close, Phil Jackson. Close to ending at least one New York Knicks nightmare by getting rid of the Derrick Rose headache and landing a quality, defensive-minded point guard who still has two additional years left on his contract in Ricky Rubio.

Unfortunately, the Timberwolves realized the mistake they were about to make and pulled back at the last minute, preventing the Knicks from completing a decent trade for a pass-first point guard who actually makes his teammates better.

It’s not the end of the world that the deal fell through, since Rose’s contract will come off the books this summer anyway.

But the Knicks will now have to turn to free agency for a starting point guard, and being unable to secure a blockbuster trade for Carmelo Anthony leaves the franchise in an uncomfortable limbo where only one party — the wrong party — wants to move on.

In any case, #TeamTank should be in full effect for the rest of the season.

Grade: C

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 1, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket between Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) and guard Jerian Grant (2) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Chicago Bulls lost the trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean OKC emerged as winners. The Thunder probably got better in their trade that landed Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, but how much will they help outside of this year’s (likely short) playoff run?

Gibson is definitely an upgrade over the inexperienced rookie Domantas Sabonis, but he doesn’t spread the floor to three-point range and he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer.

McDermott is shooting 37.3 percent from downtown, which should make him an upgrade over Anthony Morrow, but you could easily argue the youth and potential there was more than matched by the departing pieces, Cameron Payne and Joffrey Lauvergne.

Thunder get PF – Taj Gibson
SF – Doug McDermott
2018 2nd round pick

Bulls get PG – Cameron Payne
C – Joffrey Lauvergne
SG – Anthony Morrow

Getting an extra 2018 second-rounder is a nice addition, and losing Morrow doesn’t hurt since he was shooting under 30 percent from downtown in limited minutes. But McDemott alone can’t fix OKC’s spacing issues, and now Semaj Christon will have to take over backup point guard duty.

With Payne and Lauvergne, the Thunder had youth to look forward to grooming alongside Steven Adams, Enes Kanter and Domantas Sabonis. The defensively deficient McDermott is still only 25, but Gibson could just be a three-month rental.

This summer, the Thunder may’ve to decide between re-signing a soon-to-be 32-year-old veteran on the decline or overpaying when dealing with Andre Roberson’s restricted free agency.

This return doesn’t compare to getting a Wilson Chandler or someone who might have really raised this team’s ceiling for the next year or two. Although Dougie Fresh will get a fresh start in OKC, this isn’t really a home run deal for the Thunder either.

Grade: B-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 3, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Serge Ibaka (7) celebrates after scoring during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Magic

In a vacuum, the deal the Orlando Magic worked out for Serge Ibaka was pretty decent. They got a solid, young bench piece in Terrence Ross who can spread the floor, and were able to walk away with a 2017 first round pick for Ibaka, an unrestricted free agent this summer.

But when you bear in mind the long and winding path that brought us to this point, it’s impossible to feel good about what general manager Rob Hennigan has accomplished.

Magic get SF – Terrence Ross
2017 1st round pick

Raptors get PF – Serge Ibaka

First came the Tobias Harris deal, a miserably shortsighted move that sent a talented young forward to the Pistons for a few months of Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilysasova — without a single first round pick attached.

Then came the trade for Serge Ibaka, which saw the Magic turn Ilyasova, Victor Oladipo and a lottery pick — Domantas Sabonis — into less than a year of Ibaka. As expected, the Magic failed to make the playoffs or give him any reason to consider re-signing in Orlando, which prompted the team to take what they could get before losing him for nothing.

So what did they get out of trading Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo? Right now, it’s looking like all that potential has turned into a bench player and a pick that will be the least valuable selection between Toronto’s 2017 pick and the pick the Raptors are owed from the Clippers — probably somewhere around No. 24, as of right now.

That’s just terrible asset management, and without being able to secure a franchise point guard at the deadline or embrace what looks like another inevitable rebuild, Hennigan’s job could be in serious jeopardy.

Grade: C-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Jan 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) stands during a break in action against the LA Clippers during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers

It’s ironic: The Philadelphia 76ers should earn praise for the Ersan Ilyasova swap that involves two second round picks, but deserve harsh criticism for the deal that sent Nerlens Noel to Dallas for a remarkably similar return.

To be fair, trading Ilyasova, an upcoming unrestricted free agent, makes sense. His value was high as the team’s leading scorer (among all qualified players), he had no long-term future in Philly and he netted Bryan Colangelo a package of Tiago Splitter, a second-rounder and the rights to swap second-rounders.

Splitter will probably never play for the Sixers, but the first trade was a win overall, if only because it added second round value in a deep draft and freed up more playing time for Dario Saric.

76ers get C – Tiago Splitter
2017 2nd round pick
2017 2nd round pick (via Heat)

Hawks get PF – Ersan Ilyasova
2017 2nd round pick

Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends, because the Sixers completely bungled the Noel trade. Not only did they move the wrong piece of their center logjam after failing to secure a deal for Jahlil Okafor, but they got a very underwhelming return — even for a player whose trade value was low.

In exchange for a 22-year-old with Defensive Player of the Year potential, Philly got Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut (who was bought out when Colangelo couldn’t find a deal for him) and a protected 2017 first round pick that will almost certainly turn into a 2017 and 2018 second round pick.

76ers get C – Andrew Bogut
SF – Justin Anderson
2017 1st round pick

Mavericks get C – Nerlens Noel

Anderson could be a nice wing in the future, but he’s a year older than Noel, his ceiling is nowhere near as high and he can’t shoot despite being pegged as a 3-and-D player.

By not playing Noel and Joel Embiid together more this season, the Sixers may have made the grave mistake of shipping away the wrong player at this year’s deadline, even if his and Ilyasova’s departure will help this team tank its way to another decent lottery pick.

Grade: C

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Jan 22, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker (17) during their game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Suns beat the Raptors 115-103. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns were uniquely poised entering the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline. They could’ve gutted the roster and approached it as buyers in search of a superstar acquisition, or they could’ve come as sellers, looking to move veterans and add to the team’s supply of young talent and draft picks.

In the end though, general manager Ryan McDonough had to settle for moving one veteran for two measly second round picks, sending defensive ace P.J. Tucker to the Raptors.

Suns get PF – Jared Sullinger
2017 2nd round pick
2018 2nd round pick

Raptors get SF – P.J. Tucker

Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight are still on the books, and the Suns turned their backs on capitalizing on the injury-prone Eric Bledsoe while his value is at its peak.

However, as much as Jared Sullinger (waived) and two second-rounders are an underwhelming return, at least Phoenix got something for Tucker, an upcoming free agent who wasn’t worth committing to long-term.

Tucker gets to give his 150 percent effort to an actual contender now, and though McD was unable to secure the desired first-rounder for him, this deal removes Phoenix’s best defensive player from the roster — thereby aiding the Suns’ ongoing tank job for a top-three pick.

Phoenix also dealt a highly protected 2017 second-rounder that probably won’t convey to the Hawks for Mike Scott (waived), the rights to Cenk Akyol and cash considerations, which helps with the team’s cap situation.

Suns get PF – Mike Scott
SG – Cenk Akyol
Cash considerations

Hawks get 2017 2nd round pick

Again, it wasn’t the sexiest trade deadline for the Suns, especially for the section of the fanbase expecting drastic change, but at least the youth movement can continue. For the NBA’s oldest franchise to never win a championship, patience must continue to be a virtue.

Grade: C+

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 15, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (27) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Utah Jazz defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 111-88. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers were extremely quiet on Thursday, but after giving all of their young players such inflated contracts last summer, it’s probably not surprising they weren’t partaking in the more active trade talks.

In truth, the Blazers made the only move they really needed to make a few weeks earlier, landing Jusuf Nurkic and an extra 2017 first round pick from the Nuggets for Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second-rounder.

Trailblazers get C – Jusuf Nurkic
2017 1st round pick

Nuggets get C – Mason Plumlee
2018 2nd round pick

Plumlee’s rim protection was undermined by the team’s overall defensive numbers, but his upcoming restricted free agency wasn’t a hassle that GM Neil Olshey wanted to deal with. Instead, Rip City got a lot younger at the center position with the Bosnian Beast, who should be motivated to prove himself after Denver (rightfully) favored Nikola Jokic.

Even better, Portland managed to secure an extra first-rounder, giving them three in this year’s draft. Those picks could potentially be packaged to move up in a deep draft.

Considering all they had to give up was a future second round pick and a player they were uninterested in committing long-term money to anyway, the Blazers got a nice haul a few weeks in advance of the deadline.

Grade: A-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 12, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Buddy Hield (24) reacts after being ejected for a flagrant foul penalty against Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins (not pictured) during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento Kings

Willie Cauley-Stein and Buddy Hield had tremendous performances in the Sacramento Kings‘ debut without DeMarcus Cousins, but make no mistake about it: The Boogie trade was an absolute abomination that may haunt this franchise for years to come.

When dealing away a top-10 player, you normally hope to get more back than an unproven rookie like Hield, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans’ expiring contract, a 2017 first-rounder that might not be in the lottery and a 2017 second-rounder. But because owner Vivek Ranadive was in love with Hield’s potential, that’s all it took.

Hield could wind up being a very nice player, but will he ever be a superstar like Cousins? Galloway, a nice young piece, was waived. Evans will hit free agency the summer, and that pick is somehow top-three protected. What on earth were you thinking, KANGZ?

Kings get SG – Buddy Hield
SG – Tyreke Evans
PG – Langston Galloway
2017 1st round pick
2017 2nd round pick

Pelicans get C – DeMarcus Cousins
SF – Omri Casspi

This trade is honestly insulting to the city of Sacramento and its loyal fans that fought so hard to keep this franchise there.

True enough, losing Boogie makes the Kings a worse team, which should help them keep their protected 2017 first-rounder that Sacramento owes the Bulls if it falls outside the top 10.

However, the Kings can’t lose too much, since the Sixers also own swap rights on their first-rounder. It may not have felt like it Thursday night, but this deal could come back to haunt Sacramento in about 10 different ways, putting unfair pressure on a fun young prospect like Hield in the process.

Grade: F

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 10, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon (3) high fives forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs

What else is new? The San Antonio Spurs like to operate under the radar, popping up in approximately zero NBA trade rumors again this year.

They didn’t get better, they didn’t get worse; they just continue to chug along.

That’s not the end of the world, but with a four-game gap separating the Spurs from the Golden State Warriors at the top of the West entering Thursday night’s return to action, it’s starting to feel like the first year without Tim Duncan could be different.

Only time will tell what this historically smart and savvy franchise has up its sleeve, but for better or worse, the Spurs are rolling with this 15-man unit to try and slay the West’s mightiest juggernaut.

Grade: A-

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Jan 29, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Orlando Magic forward Serge Ibaka (7) controls a ball as Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson (54) defends during the first quarter in a game at Air Canada Centre. The Orlando Magic won 114-113. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors

The New Orleans Pelicans may have landed the marquee deal of the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline, but the Toronto Raptors probably emerged as the biggest winners.

After losing 11 of their last 16 games heading into the All-Star break, it was clear this team wasn’t firing on all cylinders. DeMar DeRozan being hurt didn’t help, but the team’s mediocre defense was always going to hold it back come playoff time.

Despite sliding all the way to fifth and then back up to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, the Raptors managed to address some weaknesses at the deadline, landing a game-changing power forward in Serge Ibaka first.

Raptors get PF – Serge Ibaka

Magic get SF – Terrence Ross
2017 1st round pick

Though they had to let go of young bench scorer like Terrence Ross and a first-rounder in this year’s draft, Toronto had no need for two first round picks in 2017, and they dealt away the least valuable of the pair.

On paper, Ibaka will plug up so many holes for this team, providing shot-blocking and defense to help make up for Jonas Valanciunas’ flaws on that end of the floor while also spreading the court to three-point range as a pick-and-pop threat.

His status as an unrestricted free agent this summer is troubling, but if the Raptors can make a real run at the Eastern crown, they could convince him and Kyle Lowry to stay up north for the right price.

Part of that equation is having another body to throw at LeBron James in the playoffs, and P.J. Tucker could very well be that guy. In a trade that saw the Raptors give up very little for the Suns’ defensive ace, GM Masai Ujiri capped off a very successful trade deadline.

Raptors get SF – P.J. Tucker

Suns get PF – Jared Sullinger
2017 2nd round pick
2018 2nd round pick

Tucker is another unrestricted free agent this summer, but kudos to Ujiri for recognizing this team’s time to contend is now and worrying about the rest later. At the price of two second-rounders and Jared Sullinger, who had hardly played anyway, this was another successful swap.

With two defensive-minded players like Ibaka and Tucker on board, the Raptors have bolstered their rotation and their rebounding for a legitimate playoff run. It will be hard to keep everyone happy in the offseason, but for now, “We The North” just made the Eastern playoffs exciting again.

Grade: A

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Feb 15, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) high fives Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) in the second quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz

Outside of expressing some interest in a reunion with Deron Williams, the Utah Jazz were pretty quiet at this year’s trade deadline.

There were some light trade talks involving Derrick Favors, sure, but that’s to be expected of a team watching him take a while to shake off the injury-related rust — especially with both Gordon Hayward and George Hill heading for free agency this summer.

The Jazz didn’t do anything to bolster the backup point guard spot, but that’s not the end of the world for a team currently tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth seed. If they can surpass Lob City and hold them off before Chris Paul’s imminent return, all the better.

If not, that’s okay too, as long as this young core shows signs that it’s capable of truly rising in the West one day soon. Utah didn’t really need to do anything at the deadline, but now the pressure is on this group to finally show what it’s capable of.

Grade: B

2017 NBA Trade Deadline

Dec 30, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) drives to the basket as Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) defends in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 118-95. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards

As winners in 15 of their last 17 games, the Washington Wizards‘ rise up the Eastern Conference standings has been meteoric. Despite starting the season 3-9, Washington now sits at third in the East — only two games behind the Boston Celtics for the 2-seed.

The question is, did they do enough at the deadline to strengthen one of the NBA’s worst benches?

Don’t get me wrong, the trade for Bojan Bogdanovic was an excellent move in and of itself. The Wizards have no need of a first round pick currently slated to be No. 25 overall, and they even managed to get Andrew Nicholson’s atrocious four-year, $26 million deal off the books.

Wizards get SG – Bojan Bogdanovic
PF – Chris McCullough

Nets get SG – Marcus Thornton
PF – Andrew Nicholson
2017 1st round pick

However, as much as Bogdanovic will provide scoring and three-point shooting off the bench to back up one of the NBA’s best starting lineups, will that be enough? And doesn’t it matter that he’s a restricted free agent this summer?

The Celtics stood pat, but they’re still one of the top dogs in the East as is. The Raptors just added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, the Cavaliers are about to land Deron Williams after he’s bought out and even the Hawks added Ersan Ilyasova.

Bogdanovic will help, and adding a sweetener like Chris McCullough to the equation is great, but in the wake of the moves other teams made, Washington’s trade deadline doesn’t look as good as a whole compared to that one deal through a microscope.

Grade: B+

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