By the All-Star break, an NBA team will have one of three goals: a championship, a playoff spot or ping-pong balls.
For championship teams, the deadline is a time to assess their place in the pecking order, and whether they match-up with their rivals in a second-round or Conference Finals series. For the lottery teams, the deadline is a time to assess the roster, to determine which players will be around when the team is good again and which players need to be moved.
And for those in the middle, it's decision time: are we trying to get better now by picking up veterans or get better later by developing younger players?
As you go down the pecking order, veteran players become less and less important. Title teams need experienced vets who understand the importance of defense and how to win playoff games.
While playoff teams need vets to "fit" around their stars, if their stars are already vets, they have to face a difficult question: have we already maxed out our potential? Because the hardest leap in the NBA is to go from a 45+ win team to a 55+ win team.
Of course, cellar-dwelling teams have no need for veterans. All they are going to do is hurt the team's long-term plans by winning games and lowering their chances of getting a high draft pick.
Going into the trade deadline, some teams needed to get worse and start the rebuilding process (sellers), while others needed to get better to improve their chances in the playoffs (buyers). With that in mind, here's a quick look at the six biggest losers from an exciting and frenetic week of trading: