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NBA Trade Deadline 2015 Recap and Analysis


By Peyton Wesner

MCW to Milwaukee! Isaiah to Boston! Brandon Knight to Phoenix and Goran Dragic to Miami! Those were just a few of the many swaps that happened Thursday afternoon prior to the Trade Deadline. A record 37 players were dealt in what will go down as one of the wildest trade deadlines in NBA history. With so many changes to the rosters of NBA Finals contenders and teams vying for a playoff spot, let’s take a moment to analyze some of the winners in Thursday’s biggest deals.

Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers

Denver Received:

Thomas Robinson
Victor Claver
Will Barton
Future First-Round Pick
Future Second-Round Pick

Portland Received:

Arron Afflalo
Alonzo Gee



Since the Nuggets are in the Wild Wild West where a team must be great rather than good to make the playoffs, Denver trading away Afflalo and Gee is not the worst move of the day.

Afflalo is a good player, but his stats have dipped significantly in Denver in contrast to last year with the Magic. In Orlando, Afflalo averaged 18.2 points per game (career high) while shooting the basketball at 45.9% from the field and 42.7% from beyond the arc.

In the high altitudes of Denver, Afflalo’s stat line was 14.5 points per game while having a field goal percentage of 42.8% and a three point percentage of 33.7%. Denver moving Affalo was ultimately a solid decision, but the move should have probably waited another year since he is not a free agent until 2016.
Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, and Victor Claver are three players that have yet to pan out in the NBA. Robinson you may remember was drafted with the fifth overall pick in 2012 by Sacramento, and since, he has not averaged over five points per game in a single season. Barton was drafted in the second round of the same draft as Robinson and averaged a career best four points per game during the last two seasons, while Claver has yet to do anything productive since his draft day.

The point is that Denver basically traded Afflalo away for a first and second round draft pick since the odds of one of the three players turning into a success is minuscule.


The Trailblazers are arguably better than last year and the acquisition of Arron Afflalo will elevate their team to another level. Afflalo is a very accurate three point shooter that will provide an off the bench scorer for head coach Terry Stotts when starter Wesley Matthews needs a breather.

Another fact that makes the deal even sweeter is that Portland will have Afflalo for one more year while also dumping three players that were taking up space on the bench and in the salary cap.

The Winner: Portland



Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves

Brooklyn Received: Thaddeus Young
Minnesota Received: Kevin Garnett



Someone should give the Brooklyn Nets general manager a raise because he has pulled off the biggest deal of the day. Brooklyn traded away a thirty-eight year old for a twenty-six year old and the youngster can ball!

Thaddeus Young had a career year last season in Philadelphia as he averaged 17.9 points per game along with six rebounds. Yes, his numbers are down from last season, but that is because Young has shot the ball almost three fewer times a game in comparison.

Young is a perfect fit on a Nets roster that needs a power forward that can score from mid-range and also take his defender on the block with a post move. Expect Brooklyn to give Miami and Charlotte a run for a playoff spot.


Let’s face it, trading for Kevin Garnett was a sentimental move since he was drafted by Minnesota and played the majority of his career.

Nevertheless, Minnesota gave up their third leading scorer for a thirty-eight year old power forward. Tank mode? That is a very good assessment since the Timberwolves are in last place in the Western Conference and will obviously receive a really great collegiate player such as Jahlil Okafor of Duke, D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State, or Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky in the upcoming draft.

The most Garnett brings to the squad is a mentor for the young pups like Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine and a few months of quality ticket revenue from the Minnesota fans who will want to watch the “Big Ticket” in his last season.

The Winner: Brooklyn

Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns

Boston Received: Isaiah Thomas
Phoenix Received: Marcus Thornton, 2016 First Round Pick via Cleveland



It was kind of sad that Rajon Rondo left the Boston Celtics. But now the mourning period is over since the Celtics received a point guard that is the total package. On Thursday, Boston traded away Marcus Thornton, a quality guard off the bench that will be a free agent after this season, for Isaiah Thomas who is not going on the market until 2018.

This is a good move if not a great move for the Celts since Avery Bradley can now go back to his normal position of shooting guard and Rookie Marcus Smart will be able to gain experience from Thomas. In addition, Thomas can “put the biscuit in the basket” as he was averaging 15.2 points in 25.7 minutes per game while coming off the bench in Phoenix. Imagine what his numbers will look like when he starts playing 35 minutes a game in Boston. Oh that’s right; they will probably begin to look like last season’s (20.3 points per game.)


Although the big picture shows the Phoenix Suns not doing too bad this trade deadline, this deal individually looks questionable.

Why sign Isaiah Thomas to a four year, twenty-seven million dollar contract and then trade him in year one of his deal? Good question, too bad the only man that can justify any answer is the Suns’ general manager. If dumping Thomas was to clear cap space, then the swap did the trick.

One positive for Phoenix is that Thornton is a proven bench player, who is shooting three pointers at a career high percentage of 41.9% this season. So, if head coach Jeff Hornacek is looking for a three point shooter off the bench, he has his guy.

The Winner: Boston

Detroit Pistons, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Utah Jazz

Detroit Received:

Reggie Jackson
Oklahoma City Received: Kyle SIngler
Enes Kanter
D.J. Augustin
Steve Novak

Utah Received:

Kendrick Perkins
Grant Jerrett
Future First-Round Pick via Oklahoma City
Future Second-Round Pick via Detroit
Rights to Tibor Pleiss



“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Once the rumor came out that Reggie Jackson was not working out in Oklahoma City, it was only a matter of time before the point guard would be traded somewhere he could play more minutes. Luckily for the Pistons, Jackson will be manning the spot of point guard for their team. With the season-ending injury to point guard Brandon Jennings, Detroit’s playoff chances started to lessen as the Pistons were 4-6 without Jennings going into the All-Star break. Now with Jackson in the backcourt, Detroit has an experienced point guard that can score, facilitate, and rebound while filling in for Jennings down the home stretch of the season.
Giving up D.J. Augustin and Kyle Singler could put a hole in the Pistons rotation, but it would be a manageable one. The acquisition of Reggie Jackson will equally replace Augustin’s production as Jackson is averaging 2.2 more points and 2.4 more rebounds per game.

With Kyle Singler gone, the opportunity now arrives for veteran Caron Butler to become a threat in his place. So far this season, Butler has struggled significantly from the field (38.4%) and from beyond the arc (31.7%), but if he can improve his shooting, Detroit should expect him to produce the same if not more than the departed.

Oklahoma City

Although it seemed impossible for Oklahoma City to improve in comparison to last season, with their moves Thursday they have greatly increased their chances of making a long run in the NBA Playoffs.

The Thunder traded away Reggie Jackson, who was disgruntled and made it clear that he wanted out of the Great Plains; Kendrick Perkins, the main source of toughness; and a first-round draft pick for a double-double player (Enes Kanter); two solid back-ups (D.J. Augustin and Kyle Singler), and a sharpshooter (Steve Novak.)

The motive behind this swap was reasonable for a few reasons. For one, Reggie Jackson did not want to stay in Oklahoma City. If any player is as upset as it seems Jackson was about playing on a team for only bench minutes behind Russell Westbrook, then the team must let go of that player to avoid the morale of the group and the locker room environment to suffer.

Next, Enes Kanter is an upgrade from Kendrick Perkins. Perkins is the callused hands of any group he plays on, but he is not a factor offensively and leaves OKC averaging four points per game in 2014-2015. Enes Kanter may not have the same toughness as Perkins, but the big man in his fourth year can score as he comes in averaging 13.8 points per game to go along with 7.8 rebounds.

Lastly, the Thunder traded a first-round pick for three decent bench players. Trading a first-round pick in a draft other than this year is not the worst decision because Oklahoma City is a great team meaning their pick would be in the twenty-five to thirty pick range moving forward. Furthermore, D.J. Augustin will be a quality guard to move in for Jackson while Singler and Novak are accurate shooters that will present shooting threats from downtown.


Well, the inner organization of Utah ultimately decided Enes Kanter was not the kind of player to build around Gordon Hayward or found out that management would not be able to resign him at the end of the season. Whatever the case—probably the second—the Jazz are not in the Western Conference playoff chase, but the odds of them receiving a top-ten pick in this year’s draft are very high.

What Utah received in return for Kanter is not great considering Tibor Pleiss will most likely never come play in the NBA from Germany and Grant Jerrett is a D-Leaguer that plays well down there with averages of 14.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, but will not receive a huge number of minutes with the big club. Hopefully for Utah’s sake, the team will be able to steal a good prospect with one of the draft picks acquired, but if that does not happen, yesterday’s trade doesn’t look too clever.

The Winner: Oklahoma City

Miami Heat, New Orleans Thunder, and Phoenix Suns

Miami Received: Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic

New Orleans Received: Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton and Shawne Williams

Phoenix Received: Danny Granger, John Salmons and Two Future First-Round Picks



Goran and Zoran Dragic welcome to Miami, especially you Goran. After communicating distrust and discontent with the Phoenix Suns’ organization, Goran Dragic has been traded to one of his desired destinations, who happen to be in the thick of a playoff chase for the last spot in the Eastern Conference.

With the news surfacing Friday about Chris Bosh and a blood clot in his lung, this deal becomes more important to the success of the Heat this season. With Dragic and Bosh, the Miami Heat would have become a top-four team in the East, but without Bosh, Chris Andersen will need to step up once again.

Back to the trade at hand, Miami stole Dragic from Phoenix. Once the news emerged about Dragic wanting to leave the Suns, all of Phoenix’s leverage was gone since the Heat knew they were the only contender and one of three teams that Goran Dragic was willing to waive his no-trade clause.

The Heat did ship point guard Norris Cole and bench players Danny Granger and Justin Hamilton in the deal, but the three players only combined for 15.4 points per game. Obviously, the original hope was that Norris Cole would become the point guard of the future, but Dragic upgrades Miami considering he is in his prime now and expected to sign a long-term contract.

The two future draft picks shipped to Phoenix could hurt the Heat if they decide to give Phoenix a pick from a year they do not make the playoffs, but if Chris Bosh can come back and play to his reputation and Dragic is signed to a three to five year deal, the Heat will not be regretting this trade.

New Orleans

Although, like Phoenix, the New Orleans Pelicans have a good team, they currently do not have the strength to displace Oklahoma City for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. With that being said, that does not mean that the acquisition made Thursday for Shawne Williams, Justin Hamilton, and Norris Cole (especially Cole) does not elevate their team’s quality.

Obviously stated is the fact that Cole is a free agent after this season, but maybe he will find a home in “The Big Easy” and become a key player off the bench. If the next two months do pass by and the Pelicans decide to depart ways with the former Cleveland State point guard, the team really did not sacrifice too much.


The Post-Dragic era starts now! With all the drama and news that broke from Dragic’s inner circle, all NBA fans knew he would be moved before the trade deadline. In fact, Dragic expressing his dissatisfaction actually hurt the Suns in more ways than one.

Clearly stated is the fact that Dragic’s 16.2 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game will be absent in the desert, but something else that should be noted is since teams wanting Dragic knew that he wanted to be dealt, Phoenix lost all leverage and received only John Salmons, who will most likely be waived; and Danny Granger, who has one more year left on his contract.

Let’s face it Suns’ fans, the Indiana Danny Granger will not likely be coming back any time soon considering he averaged just six points per game while only playing in thirty games in South Beach. So to simplify this trade furthermore, the Suns traded away both Dragic brothers for a bench player and two lottery tickets (First Round Draft Picks).

The Winner: Miami

Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia Sixers, and Phoenix Suns

Milwaukee Received: Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee

Philadelphia Received: Projected First Round Pick

Phoenix Received: Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall



What a huge deal for the Milwaukee Bucks, which will not help at the earliest next year but this season! Initially when seeing this trade come across the television screen, one may scratch his or her head because why would a team trade away an Eastern Conference All-Star snub?

Then, when doing research about the deal, it begins to make sense. Brandon Knight will be a free agent after this season, and the chances are that the Milwaukee Bucks would not be able to afford to resign the former Kentucky Wildcat.

By trading Knight, Milwaukee received last year’s Rookie of the Year (Michael Carter-Williams), who will be under contract until 2017; a solid big man in Miles Plumlee, who will be under contract until 2016; and another point guard from Syracuse, Tyler Ennis, who could be with the Bucks until 2018.

Just compare Knight and Carter-Williams’ stats for a moment. Knight is averaging 17.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game, while MCW is averaging 15.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game. Now it makes more sense to have Michael Carter-Williams for two months plus a year rather than Knight for a mere two months.

Lastly, maybe Miles Plumlee will be able to get more playing time and transform his numbers to what they looked like last season while Ennis becomes half of what was hyped about him coming out of college ultimately making the deal look better and better.


Trading last year’s Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams is just the cherry on top of the tank cake. Dually mentioned should be the fact that MCW was the future of Sixers’ basketball, but they traded him away for a draft pick? After this move by the Philadelphia Sixers’ management, their only plan for the future must be the use of a magic eight ball to make decisions.

Let’s say the Sixers win the Draft Lottery and get the number one pick in the upcoming draft. Philadelphia would most likely take Jahlil Okafor of Duke with the first pick, which would make their last three years’ first round picks big men. Who will feed the big men you ask? Hmm, not Michael Carter-Williams that’s for sure. Every great team has a great point guard running the offense and the Sixers just traded away the best they will draft in a very long time.


Just when one thought the Phoenix Suns were going into tank mode, they traded for Brandon Knight. Knight, who I previously mentioned was snubbed from the Eastern Conference All-Star team, will be a perfect back court mate to Eric Bledsoe for the next two months. Now the concern with Phoenix making this deal is not what they gave up but instead whether they will be able to sign Knight to an extension at the end of the season.

What the Suns gave up in the deal is not significant since Miles Plumlee lost his starting job and playing time to Alex Len making him a non-factor while Tyler Ennis was looking more like a regrettable first round pick than a late-blooming starter. Even if the Suns cannot tie down Knight to a long term deal, at least they cleared some roster and cap space in order to try to sign a free agent of their choosing in the years to come.
The Winner: Milwaukee
Many surprising and expected teams were active during the 2015 NBA Trade deadline. From starting deals like Philadelphia trading Michael Carter-Williams to anticipated trades such as Phoenix trading Goran Dragic, teams have been elevated to contender status while others have been made inferior.

It will no doubt be exciting to watch how the impending moves play out for the various teams fighting for high and low playoff spots. So let’s sit back, relax, and enjoy the last two months of the regular season leading to the crowning of a champion at the end of the NBA Playoffs.

For more articles from Peyton Wesner feel free to go to

1 Comment

  1. hey

    February 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm

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