NBA Trades 2016: Post-Deadline Roundup and Twitter Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2016

Dec 28, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Channing Frye (8) reacts to making a basket during the second quarter of a basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Do you like the idea of mid-tier veterans changing homes in deals that are unlikely to alter the NBA Finals landscape whatsoever? Well, the 2016 NBA trade deadline was your cup of tea.

Thursday's 3 p.m. ET cutoff came and went without many blockbuster deals, which is disappointing but expected. With only a handful of teams reasonably competing for a championship and the league readying for a massive cap influx over the summer, this deadline was bound to underwhelm.

Inaction is always the preferred method in periods of uncertainty, and the looming cap increase makes assets like expiring contracts less valuable than ever. (Unless you are the Orlando Magic.) 

So instead of the flurry of last-second swaps we saw a year ago, things largely held to form. Dwight Howard stayed put, as did Al Horford and Jeff Teague. Kevin Love is still a Cleveland Cavalier. Carmelo Anthony's still a New York Knick.

As for those who did get traded, here's a roundup of each Thursday deal along with some reaction from around the league.   

Cavs Land Frye; Varejao Gone After Nearly 12 Seasons in CLE

The Cavaliers acquired forward Channing Frye from the Orlando Magic in a three-team deal that also included the Portland Trail Blazers, per Dave McMenamin of Cleveland will send a 2018 first-round pick to Portland in exchange for taking on Anderson Varejao's salary, with Jared Cunningham and a Blazers second-rounder headed to Orlando.

Nate Duncan of The Cauldron noted this will make Cleveland an offensive powerhouse:

Ethan J. Skolnick of the Miami Herald was complimentary of Cavs general manager David Griffin:

Frye, 32, is averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game this season. While those numbers rank among the worst of his career, he's shooting 39.7 percent from the floor and should provide LeBron James and Co. another weapon to stretch the floor.

Despite the deal being smart from a basketball sense, it ends Varejao's 11-plus-year run with the Cavaliers. Jacob L. Rosen is already feeling nostalgic:

Portland will waive Varejao once the deal is complete, sources told McMenamin. He can't re-sign with the Cavaliers, however, under terms of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.


Markieff Morris (Kind of) Gets His Wish, Traded to WAS

After angling for a trade since the offseason, Markieff Morris was shipped to the Washington Wizards in exchange for DeJuan BlairKris Humphries and a protected future first-round pick, per Shams Charania of The Vertical.

Morris has been disgruntled in Phoenix since the team traded his twin brother, Marcus, to the Detroit Pistons last summer. He's publicly pouted, feuded with coaches and gotten into altercations with teammates at various points this season. Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders noted the Suns made a smart move given Morris' troubles:

The price also confused's Zach Lowe:

Still, there is evidence that Morris may be turning a corner. He's averaged 20.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in February. Interim coach Earl Watson appeared to instill confidence in Morris that Jeff Hornacek could not before his firing Jan. 31, so it'll be interesting to see if Wizards coach Randy Wittman can keep things trending upward.

Lance Heads to Memphis as Grizz Add to Chaotic Locker Room

In a last-minute deal, the Los Angeles Clippers acquired forward Jeff Green in exchange for Lance Stephenson and a first-round pick, per's Marc Stein and Lowe

There are basketball implications to this deal, sure, but let's not kid ourselves. Analysis of this transaction quickly turned into two camps: those wondering how L.A. head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers could give up a first-rounder for Green and those concerned with the mental health of Dave Joerger given Memphis' questionable roster construction.

Let's take it to the tweets.

On Rivers:

On Lance and Memphis:

Thank you, Based Doc Rivers, for making our deadline dreams come true.


Pistons Continue Building Young Core, Acquire Motiejunas

The Houston Rockets sent forward Donatas Motiejunas and guard Marcus Thornton to the Detroit Pistons as part of a three-team deal with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, per's Calvin Watkins.

Houston acquired a first-round pick that is top-eight protected in 2016 and top-10 protected the two subsequent years. Joel Anthony, who initially went to Houston, was then flipped with a second-round pick to Philly for Chukwudiebere Maduabum.

Stein highlighted the role Detroit head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy played:

Motiejunas has missed most of the season with back problems. Tom Haberstroh of ESPN noted one reason the Pistons may have faith in Motiejunas' health:

Zach Harper of CBS Sports offered an interesting categorization of Houston general manager Daryl Morey: 


Thunder Cut Salary, Add Foye

The Oklahoma City Thunder added guard Randy Foye, sending D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak and two second-round picks to the Denver Nuggets, per Royce Young of The deal saved Oklahoma City roughly $8.3 million in luxury-tax penalties while not affecting its on-court product.

Foye and Augustin are putting up near-identical stats, and Novak has played 24 minutes all season. 

2K developer Ronnie Singh liked the deal:

As did Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman:

There's not much to analyze here. Denver's essentially paying the remainder of Novak's 2015-16 salary in exchange for two second-round picks. Otherwise, it's a dead-even swap, though Foye has a better overall NBA resume than Augustin. 

Brian Roberts Sent Packing Again

For the second time in less than a week, guard Brian Roberts has a new home. The Miami Heat sent Roberts and a second-round pick to the Blazers, per The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. Miami is now under the luxury tax, something the team has been working at since the beginning of the season. 

Woj analyzed the move from Portland's perspective:

Many commented on Roberts' brief Miami tenure:

Heat Move Jarnell Stokes

In their other luxury-tax-related deal, the Heat sent forward Jarnell Stokes and cash considerations to New Orleans in exchange for a future second-round pick, per the Pelicans' press release. The Heat acquired Stokes earlier this season in a deal with Memphis, and he appeared in only five games with Miami.

Matt Moore of CBS Sports isn't ready to give up on Stokes:

The deal, completed earlier Thursday, also drew a number of tongue-in-cheek responses from people disappointed in the dormant deadline:

Shelvin Takes the Mack to Utah

The Atlanta Hawks traded guard Shelvin Mack to the Utah Jazz for a future second-round pick, per Wojnarowski. Reuniting with former Butler teammate Gordon Hayward, Mack will be playing for his fourth NBA team since 2011. He was averaging 3.9 points and 1.6 assists per game so far this season but was behind Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder in Atlanta's rotation.

This deal mostly caused a lot of name-related puns in lieu of analysis:

Hinrich Out in Chicago, Headed to Atlanta

The Hawks will replace Mack's minutes with Kirk Hinrich, who was traded from Chicago in exchange for a second-round pick, per Brian Windhorst of K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune noted Justin Holiday will also be sent to Chicago. 

The deal is a tax-saving move for the Bulls, who are in the midst of a disappointing campaign. Trey Kerby of The Starters offered a touching highlight of Hinrich's Bulls tenure:

Actually, on second thought, this whole thing pretty much turned into folks cracking jokes:

So, there you have it. The trade deadline was, indeed, a deadline. It may have been the NBA equivalent to a shrug emoji, but it's better than no deadline—I think?

Here's to hoping for a more exciting outcome next year. 

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.


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