Despite rumors that big name players such as Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love could be on the move, the NBA trade deadline came and went without any “blockbuster” deals as it officially expired at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb.18.
Howard, who has under-performed and been plagued by injuries since signing a four-year deal with Houston worth $88 million back in 2013, had been linked to many teams in prior weeks. One of these rumored clubs was the Boston Celtics. A potential Howard-to-Boston deal was received with mixed reactions by the Celtics faithful. While some fans were willing to welcome the physical specimen, many feared that Howard’s poor attitude and lack of effort would ruin the success that Boston has seen this season under Head Coach Brad Stevens’ leadership.
Griffin had been linked to deals with teams such as the Denver Nuggets, the Orlando Magic and the Celtics but a deal couldn’t be ironed out prior to the deadline. The Celtics reportedly had offered their first round pick (via the Brooklyn Nets) for Griffin’s services. Members of the basketball community had expected the Clippers to move Griffin as a result of Griffin’s most recent display of poor behavior. Griffin has been out of action as he continues to recover from a fractured hand that he sustained in an altercation with a team assistant. Clippers President and Head Coach Doc Rivers debunked the rumors that the team was shopping Griffin earlier in the week. Despite Rivers’ explanation, rumors continued to generate right up until the deadline.
While there weren’t any big splashes, per se, there were some notable transactions. The Detroit Pistons obtained forward Tobias Harris from the Magic for guard Brandon Jennings and forward Ersan Ilyasova. Harris is widely regarded as one of the league’s best young up-and-coming talents.
The Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies exchanged players with Los Angeles sending guard Lance Stephenson and a future first-round draft pick to Memphis in exchange for forward Jeff Green.
The Chicago Bulls parted ways with long-time guard Kirk Hinrich. Hinrich and Justin Holiday were shipped to Atlanta. In return, the Hawks sent a second-round pick.
The Cavaliers, Magic and Portland Trailblazers took part in a three-team trade as Cleveland sent big man Anderson Varejao and a conditional first-round pick to Portland. The Trailblazers sent Jared Cunningham and a second-round pick to the Magic. The Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers received Channing Frye from the Magic.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, who currently sit in third place in the Western Conference, addressed their need at shooting guard by acquiring veteran Randy Foye from the Nuggets. The Thunder sent guard D.J. Augustin and forward Steve Novak, as well as two second-round picks to Denver. Augustin, who started the season as Russell Westbrook’s primary backup, lost his job to the Thunder’s first round pick this year, Cameron Payne, in the past month.
Other trades around the league included:
Charlotte Hornets receive: Courtney Lee, Memphis Grizzlies receive: Chris Andersen, P.J. Hairston, two conditional second-round picks (via Miami) and two future second-round picks (via Charlotte). The Heat then sent guard Brian Roberts to Portland along with a second-round pick, in exchange for salary cap space.
Miami Heat receive: a conditional second-round pick, New Orleans Pelicans receive: Jarnell Stokes.
Detroit Pistons receive: Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton, Houston Rockets receive: 2016 first-round pick (top eight protected), and Philadelphia 76ers receive: Joel Anthony and 2017 second-round pick (Denver via Houston).
Utah Jazz receive: Shelvin Mack, Atlanta Hawks receive: Second-round pick.
Washington Wizards receive: Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns receive: DeJuan Blair, Kris Humphries, protected first-round pick.
While none of the rumored blockbuster deals occurred, the association was certainly shaken up before the 2016 trade deadline.