Image Courtesy of NBA.com
By Jonathan Norman
The 2022 NBA trade deadline was Thursday, February 10. The weeks, days, and hours leading up to this deadline were filled with exciting deals among various teams.
The most significant move occurred just hours before the deadline, between the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers traded all-star point guard Ben Simmons, guard Seth Curry, veteran center Andre Drummond, and two first-round draft picks to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for all-star shooting guard James Harden and forward Paul Millsap. This trade comes amid months of reports that Ben Simmons wanted to be traded to another team, which was made even more apparent by Simmons not playing in a single game for the 76ers this season.
Reports that James Harden had been unhappy in Brooklyn also surfaced recently and made many speculate this trade between the 76ers and the Nets. The 76ers’ president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, already had close ties to Harden, having spent more than 15 years as the general manager for the Houston Rockets, where Harden was the primary star. With this trade, the Philadelphia 76ers received a second all star to pair alongside center Joel Embiid while meeting Simmons’ trade request. Then the Nets were able to get a former all-star to replace Harden while also acquiring some much-needed depth in Seth Curry and Andre Drummond with many players out due to injury. Both teams are looking to make a run at the championship this season.
The next biggest trade occurred in the week before the deadline. The Indiana Pacers traded all star forward Domantas Sabonis, guard Justin Holiday, guard Jeremey Lamb, and a 2023 second-round pick to the Sacramento Kings for guard Tyreese Haliburton, guard Buddy Hield, and center Tristan Thompson. The main thing to note in this deal is that the Kings received an all-star forward to pair alongside their star guard in De’Aaron Fox to help their playoff push. As for the Pacers, they seem to be rebuilding for the future. They have been disappointing this season with a record of 19 and 38 and will look to rebuild with a promising young guard in Haliburton, who emerged as a starter this season for Sacramento, averaging 14.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 7.4 assists.
The Portland Trail Blazers also made a big move before the deadline. Portland traded veteran guard CJ McCollum, forward Larry Nance Jr. and guard Tony Snell to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for guard Josh Hart, guard Tomáš Satoranský, guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, guard Didi Louzada, and multiple draft picks. Notably, the Trail Blazers moved on from McCollum, who had been paired with their all-star guard Damian Lillard for the past 10 seasons. Lillard took to Instagram to wish farewells to his longtime teammate and friend. This post just added to rumors that Lillard may also be traded from Portland this offseason.
Some other moves around the association involved the Dallas Mavericks trading center Kristaps Porziņģis to the Washington Wizards for forward Spencer Dinwiddie. The Mavericks had high hopes for Porziņģis as he was supposed to create an all-star pairing with guard Luka Dončić, but those hopes never came to pass. Porziņģis had been riddled with injuries since coming to Dallas and never lived up to the expectations.
The Boston Celtics also made a few deals with multiple teams to improve their roster and sneak below the luxury tax line. Boston traded guard Josh Richardson, guard Romeo Langford, and some draft picks to the San Antonio Spurs for guard Derrick White. White gives the Celtics a long term answer at the point guard spot. Boston also received center Daniel Theis from the Houston Rockets for a few rotation players in guard Dennis Schröder and center Enes Freedom. In a third deal, the Celtics traded center Bol Bol and guard PJ Dozier, a 2028 second round draft pick, and cash to the Orlando Magic for a 2023 second round pick. This deal put the Celtics below the luxury tax line.
The last big trade from the deadline was the season’s only four-team deal where the Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, and Los Angeles Clippers all swapped some players. The Kings received guard Donte DiVincenzo, forward Josh Jackson, forward Trey Lyles, and guard David Michineau; the Pistons received forward Marvin Bagley III; the Clippers received guard Rodney Hood and center Semi Ojeleye; and the Bucks received center Serge Ibaka and multiple draft picks.
With so many deals, it will be very interesting to see how all these players will do in new locations. Some teams may have made the trade that pushed them into championship contention, and some may have made a mistake. The results of these deals will play out through the rest of this season and into the playoffs.