National Basketball Association
2023 NBA trade grades: Suns, Mavs, Rockets all make big summer splashes
National Basketball Association

2023 NBA trade grades: Suns, Mavs, Rockets all make big summer splashes

Updated Jul. 17, 2023 5:33 p.m. ET

Free agency is widely considered the main attraction of the NBA offseason, but the summer is also when teams decide to reshuffle their rosters with a flurry of trades, as we've already seen.

Unfortunately, not every trade is balanced, and more often that not, there is a winner and a loser. Here's how our NBA writers at FOX Sports have graded the trades that have been completed so far:

TRADE: Mavs nab Williams, Spurs get Bullock (July 12)

Mavs get: Grant Williams, 2025 second-round pick, 2028 second-round pick
Spurs get: Reggie Bullock, 2030 first-round pick swap
Celtics get: 2024 second-round pick, 2025 second-round pick, 2030 second-round pick


Grade for Mavs: B+

The Mavericks have a win-now mentality after missing the playoffs last season despite having two superstars in Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. Acquiring the 24-year-old Williams gives them a 6-foot-6 wing who can shoot a 3-pointer and play defense, bolstering their depth.

— Melissa Rohlin

TRADE: Rockets land Brooks in five-team deal (July 8)

Rockets get: Dillon Brooks, Alpha Kaba, two future second-round picks
Thunder get: Patty Mills (since traded to Hawks), 2024 second-round pick, 2029 second-round pick, 2030 second-round pick
Hawks get: Usman Garuba, Tyty Washington, two future second-round picks
Grizzlies get: Josh Christopher
Clippers get: Kenyon Martin Jr.

Grade for Rockets: C+

Let's face it: GM Rafael Stone acquired damaged goods in Brooks, who was universally ridiculed for trying to clown LeBron James in the Grizzlies-Lakers first-round series and wound up wearing the red nose and rainbow wig instead. His new four-year, $80 million contract looks preposterous in light of that, but it actually would be a bargain if they get the Brooks that faced the Timberwolves and Warriors a year earlier. Stone wouldn't have made this deal unless he thought the presence of coach Ime Udoka and PG Fred VanVleet could get Brooks back to that form.

— Ric Bucher

TRADE: Jazz pick up big man Collins (July 7)

Jazz get: John Collins
Hawks get: Rudy Gay, future second-round pick

Grade for Jazz: A+

Add another title to Jazz president Danny Ainge's office door: burglar. The Jazz needed a jolt of athleticism, and they basically stole some, flipping 36-year-old Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick for a 25-year-old pogo stick in Collins. I also want to personally thank Ainge for ending the seemingly two-year run of trade rumors involving Collins.

— Bucher

TRADE: Toppin heads to Indiana (July 7)

Pacers get: Obi Toppin
Knicks get: Two future second-round picks

Grade for Pacers: A

We were never going to find out if Toppin could live up to being the No. 8 pick in New York, thanks to the Knicks' infatuation with Julius Randle. His play was inconsistent, but so were his minutes. The Pacers needed size and rebounding, and Toppin is certainly worth the gamble in exchange for two future second-round picks. 

— Bucher

TRADE: Kings add Duarte from Pacers (July 6)

Kings get: Chris Duarte
Pacers get: 2028 second-round pick, 2030 second-round pick

Grade for Pacers: B

Ever go shopping and buy something you don't really need, but the price is too good to refuse? That's how I see this trade. Two future second-round picks for a lottery pick says to me Duarte wasn't thrilled with his reduced role in Indy, and even though the Kings have plenty of deep and versatile wings, they couldn't pass up the chance to see if Duarte can stay healthy and prove to be more of a postseason gamer than Kevin Huerter has to this point.

— Bucher

TRADE: Cavs trade for Miami's Strus (July 6)

Cavs get: Max Strus
Spurs get: Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens, 2030 second-round pick

Grade for Cavs: B+

The Cavaliers needed to improve their outside shooting and Strus will definitely help with that. Last season, he averaged a career-high 11.5 points on 41% shooting from the field and 35% shooting from beyond the arc. Sure, the Cavs had to give up Osman and Stevens to acquire Strus, but if Strus keeps growing and performing like he did in Miami, this will be a very smart move. 

— Rohlin

TRADE: Warriors gamble on CP3 (July 6) 

Warriors get: Chris Paul
Wizards get: Jordan Poole, Ryan Rollins, protected 2030 first-round rick, 2027 second-round pick

Grade for Warriors: B

I have to admit, I'm surprised. But this kind of makes sense.

On the Warriors' end, while spending time around them during their second round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers, it became crystal clear that they needed to deal Jordan Poole. He was underperforming. The tension was palpable. Not to mention, of course, a cloud was hanging over the team all season after the incident between Poole and Draymond Green last October. Poole needed to go, especially if Green (who opted out of his contract and is an unrestricted free agent) were to return, which he says is his goal.

Paul gives the Warriors a Hall of Fame point guard, who, at age 38, is a savvy veteran who will be able to set up Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. By doing this deal, the Warriors cut costs, considering Paul is on his penultimate year of a contract that is non-guaranteed for next season. And they made a strong statement: They're concerned about the now, not the long term. What I'm most interested in tracking here is if Green returns, how will Paul's and Green's demonstrative leadership styles mesh?

Grade for Wizards: B+

As for the Wizards, this makes sense during their rebuild. It also helps explain why they dealt Bradley Beal to Phoenix. The 24-year-old Poole, who was entering a four-year, $123 million extension with Golden State beginning next season, was playing behind a cadre of stars with the Warriors. Now in Washington, we'll be able to see if he can become who he thinks he can become.

This could allow Poole to spread his wings and become an All-Star. For example, Kyle Kuzma (who declined his player option with the Wizards and will become a free agent) told FOX Sports in January that after the Lakers traded him to Washington, he was able to "expand my game and flourish." For the Wizards' sake, here's to hoping Poole will become the star he's pegged to become, and the team can successfully build around him.

— Rohlin

TRADE: Suns land Beal in blockbuster (June 24)

Suns get: Bradley Beal, Isaiah Todd (since traded to Grizzlies), Jordan Goodwin
Wizards get: Chris Paul (since traded to Warriors), Landry Shamet, Bilal Coulibaly, multiple first-round pick swaps, multiple second-round picks
Pacers get: Jarace Walker, two future second-round picks

Grade for Suns: B+

The Chris Paul era clearly came to an end in Phoenix following one NBA Finals appearance in 2021 and then two disappointing flame-outs in the second round of the playoffs in 2022 and 2023. After acquiring Kevin Durant last season, the Suns are making it clear that anything less than competing for a championship is a failure. The Suns definitely got an upgrade by acquiring the 30-year-old Beal for the 38-year-old Paul, Shamet and second-round draft picks and pick swaps. But the Suns still have a major lack of depth, and if they suffer any injuries to their stars, they'd clearly be hamstrung. So, the Suns didn't give up much to acquire Beal. But they're also taking a major gamble here and not giving themselves too much of a backup plan. 

— Rohlin

TRADE: Celtics swap Smart for Porzingis (June 23)

Celtics get: Kristaps Porzingis, No. 25 overall pick, 2024 first-round pick (via Warriors)
Grizzlies get: Marcus Smart
Wizards get: Tyus Jones, Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala, No. 35 overall pick

Grade for the Celtics: A-

On paper, the Boston Celitcs came away with the biggest haul: an in-his-prime stretch big and two first rounders. Which is why Brad Stevens had to pull the trigger. What is impossible to gauge is the impact of losing their emotional leader, Marcus Smart, and most likely using Porzingis to make Grant Williams expendable. That's a lot of toughness lost for a team that arguably didn't have enough of it. Will the loss of Smart mirror what happened when the Cs traded Kendrick Perkins or when Kyrie left town? That's to be determined.

— Bucher

Ric Bucher is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He previously wrote for Bleacher Report, ESPN The Magazine and The Washington Post and has written two books, "Rebound," on NBA forward Brian Grant’s battle with young onset Parkinson’s, and "Yao: A Life In Two Worlds." He also has a daily podcast, "On The Ball with Ric Bucher." Follow him on Twitter @RicBucher.

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.


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