NBA Trade Deadline 2016: Deal Recaps and Grades for Every Team

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2016

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 5: Tobias Harris #12 of the Orlando Magic handles the ball during the game against Luc Richard Mbah a Moute #12 of the Los Angeles Clippers on February 5, 2016 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

During the 48 hours prior to the NBA's Feb. 18 trade deadline, plenty happened. 

None of the star players rumored to be on the market—Dwight Howard, Al Horford, Kevin Love, Pau Gasol and Jeff Teague—ended up changing locations, but the league engaged in a number of less glamorous deals. 

Eleven trades came to fruition. Eighteen teams were involved—a whopping 60 percent of the league. Twenty-four players changed locations, and Brian Roberts found himself on the move twice in quick succession. 

If you missed anything, we've got you covered. 


Tobias Harris on the Move

Jan 6, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris (12) drives to the basket against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • Detroit Pistons receive: Tobias Harris
  • Orlando Magic receive: Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings

Grading the Pistons

Hello, young talent. 

The newest member of the Detroit Pistons, per NBA.com's David Aldridge, wasn't having a breakout season for the Orlando Magic prior to this trade, but the 23-year-old still has plenty of time to tap into his unrealized potential. Tobias Harris is a young, versatile forward who has already shown he's capable of knocking down shots from the outside, creating looks for himself and contributing in virtually every area. 

He'll have to improve upon his current 31.1 percent clip from beyond the arc to fit in seamlessly with the Pistons' one-in, four-out stylings, but this is still a steal.

Brandon Jennings was never going to replace Reggie Jackson in the starting five, Ersan Ilyasova wasn't making drastic improvements any time soon and Harris' contract is team-friendly. Though he's working on a four-year deal worth $64 million, the Magic set up a declining structure that will make him more of a bargain as he improves in conjunction with the salary cap rising. 

Grade: A

Grading the Magic

Could Jennings find his old form now that he's fully recovered from rupturing his Achilles' tendon? Absolutely. Could Ilyasova fit in with his new team and help stretch the court as a sharpshooting power forward? Sure. 

But these aren't sure things, and it's a bit inexplicable that the Magic were willing to give up on Harris so soon after they inked him to a new contract. Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes had a couple of explanations: 

Grant Hughes @gt_hughes

Possible defenses for ORL trade: 1. It's Aaron Gordon time. 2. Harris is uncoachable (if you're Skiles). 3. Gas leak. 4. Real big gas leak.

The only other rationale is a desire to create cap space, given the expiring nature of Jennings' deal.

But as team-friendly as Harris' contract was, that doesn't make perfect sense, either. Plus, it relies on the Magic signing a free agent better than their departed forward, which isn't particularly likely with a top-heavy class this summer. 

By the time the deadline had come and gone, Orlando had given up the best player moved in any deal and received exactly zero first-round picks for him. That's unacceptable. 

Grade: D

Courtney Lee Joins Charlotte

Jan 4, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee (5) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee (24) at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
  • 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)
  • Miami Heat receive: Brian Roberts

Grading the Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets needed more depth on the wings, so turning a backup point guard (Brian Roberts) who rarely played big minutes, a frustratingly inconsistent small forward (P.J. Hairston) and two future second-round picks into Courtney Lee makes sense. Per The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, that's exactly what they're doing. 

Lee is a capable shooting guard who should immediately become an impact rotation member for the playoff-hungry Hornets. He was averaging 10.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists on the Memphis Grizzlies, but he could fill an even larger role for his new squad. 

Most importantly, he can drain threes. Lee has connected from beyond the arc at a 37 percent clip in 2015-16, and that's his worst mark since 2009-10. For a Hornets team that sits at No. 3 in made treys, but is only slightly better than the league average in three-point percentage, he'll be a welcome addition. 

Grade: B+

Grading the Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies are creating upside and cap space. 

Chris Andersen is working on an expiring contract. Hairston could break out in a new location after flashing his potential for brief spurts in Charlotte, and his current deal contains a team option this offseason if he doesn't work out. Throw in a quartet of second-round picks from the Hornets and the Miami Heat, and there's little reason to complain. 

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

That said, this move is akin to throwing in the towel, even if Lee was hardly one of the team's best players. Sans Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies knew they needed to think about the future, and they subsequently gave up one of their premier floor-spacing options for an unproven wing and future assets. 

It's the right idea, but it remains to be seen how much will actually change. 

Grade: B

Grading the Heat

It's all about saving money. 

By ridding themselves of the final year on Andersen's deal, the Heat are working to get under the tax line and avoid the dreaded repeater's penalty. But this move was only the first in a cost-cutting sequence, so we'll wait to bestow a final grade. 

Grade: Incomplete

Jarnell Stokes Becomes Money

WASHINGTON, DC -  JANUARY 20: Jarnell Stokes #12 of the Miami Heat handles the ball during the game against the Washington Wizards on January 20, 2016 at Verizon Center in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downl
Ned Dishman/Getty Images
  • Miami Heat receive: Conditional second-round pick
  • New Orleans Pelicans receive: Jarnell Stokes

Grading the Heat

This trade, originally announced by Shams Charania of The Vertical and Scott Kushner of the Advocate, does more than give the Miami Heat a conditional draft pick for Jarnell Stokes, who had played just 14 minutes since he came to South Beach. It also continues to cut costs. 

According to The Vertical's Bobby Marks, it saves Miami about $2.1 million in luxury tax, pushing them closer to the tax line. 

Pat Riley, genius as ever, managed to move two nonessential players and drop only a single second-round pick (two go out to Memphis, one comes back via New Orleans) while saving the organization a significant amount of money. 

Mission accomplished. Almost. 

There's still more to come later. 

Grade: Incomplete

Grading the Pelicans

It's hard to evaluate this from the Pelicans' perspective, if only because we have no idea how Stokes will pan out. He'll likely be buried in the New Orleans depth chart when he arrives, though that's no surprise after he's bounced between the NBA and the D-League with both the Heat and Grizzlies. 

Stokes was talented enough to be taken at No. 35 in the 2014 NBA draft, and he's averaged 20.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks for the Sioux Falls Skyforce this season. Even though those numbers have come against lesser competition, that's still impressive. 

If he pans out and becomes a rotation member for the Pelicans, this will go down as a steal. But betting on that is tough. 

Grade: B

Detroit Grabs More Pieces

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 19:  Donatas Motiejunas #20 of the Houston Rockets boxes out against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 19, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and
Bill Baptist/Getty Images
  • Detroit Pistons receive: Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton
  • Houston Rockets receive: 2016 first-round pick (top eight protected)
  • Philadelphia 76ers receive: Joel Anthony and 2017 second-round pick (Denver Nuggets via Houston)

Grading the Pistons

The Pistons continue to grow more dangerous. 

Giving up a 2016 first-round pick protected for only the top eight selections is a lot—even during a year featuring a rather weak prospective draft class—since it will almost certainly be conveyed. But, per The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, Detroit is adding two players it can actually use. 

If Donatas Motiejunas is healthy, he's a tremendous fit at power forward for a team that needs a secondary rim-protector and a big man who can help space the floor. The 25-year-old has struggled in limited action with the Rockets in 2015-16, but he's brimming over with potential stardom and has flashed two-way upside in the past. 

Meanwhile, Marcus Thornton should help shore up a weak bench, adding some semblance of shooting ability to a lackluster unit. 

This is a risky move, given how valuable a lottery pick could be if the Pistons barely miss the playoffs. But after grabbing Tobias Harris the day before the deadline, this trade cemented their status as a strong postseason contender. 

Grade: A-

Grading the Rockets

The Rockets don't need to wait on Motiejunas blossoming because they already boast the services of Terrence Jones, Clint Capela, Josh Smith and Montrezl Harrell. The rotation was far too crowded at power forward, and that makes it a lot easier to stomach giving up on such a high-upside commodity. 

Of course, acquiring a first-round pick makes the loss even more palatable. 

If you're looking for a 2016 deal that exemplifies the idea that trades should be mutually beneficial, you've found it. 

Grade: A

Grading the 76ers

As has become typical in recent years, the Philadelphia 76ers absorbed a veteran into their cap space. This time, it was Joel Anthony, as reported by Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears

CSNPhilly.com provides the details: "According to a source, the Sixers traded the rights to Chuk Maduabum in the deal, and are likely to waive Anthony, who makes $2.5 million this season."

Essentially, they're giving up the smallest possible asset and using their financial flexibility to add yet another draft pick to general manager Sam Hinkie's coffers. No complaints here. 

Grade: A+

Shelvin to Salt Lake

David Zalubowski/Associated Press
  • Utah Jazz receive: Shelvin Mack
  • Atlanta Hawks receive: Second-round pick

Grading the Jazz

Is Shelvin Mack really an upgrade over either Trey Burke or Raul Neto? 

Now that the Utah Jazz have shipped off a second-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for the former Butler standout, per The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, let's take a gander at how all three point guards stack up in a number of advanced metrics this season: 

Mack has established himself as the superior distributor, but his lack of scoring acumen makes him a worse offensive option than Burke. He's also been atrocious on defense, which makes it tough to justify playing him ahead of Neto. Overall, most metrics show he's been the worst of the three. 

A second-round pick isn't much to give up, but is Mack even going to play in Utah? 

Grade: C

Grading the Hawks

Which is better: something or nothing? 

For the Hawks, a second-round pick is something. Essentially a raffle ticket, it offers the possibility of unearthing a gem that will change the fortunes of the franchise.

Meanwhile, Mack was basically nothing.

He'd played 7.5 minutes per game in his 25 appearances, struggled to space the court and showed no signs of an upcoming turnaround. With both Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder leading the charge, there was no need for him—especially given Lamar Patterson's ability to run the point in a pinch. 

Turning nothing into something is always going to yield a strong grade. Except we have to leave this one incomplete, since the Hawks weren't done dealing.

Grade: Incomplete

The Cavaliers Get Deeper

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
  • Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Channing Frye
  • Orlando Magic receive: Jared Cunningham and second-round pick (via Portland)
  • Portland Trail Blazers receive: Anderson Varejao and conditional first-round pick (via Cleveland)

Grading the Cavaliers

It might hurt to give up Anderson Varejao, who has become a mainstay with the Cleveland Cavaliers and is one of LeBron James' good friends on the team. Cavs point guard Matthew Dellavedova is bummed to see him go:

Parting with a conditional first-round pick can also be painful. But when you believe you possess a legitimate shot at winning a title, you should be willing to give up nonessential pieces for a key rotation member. That's exactly what the Cavs did, per Frank Isola of the New York Daily News and ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin.

Even though Varejao still enjoys name recognition, he'd played just 10 minutes per game in 31 contests for the Cavaliers. The relevant question is whether Channing Frye fills a need. He can space the court and serve as a legitimate stretch 4, but the Cavaliers already have one of those in Kevin Love.

He'll be more useful if he can bring some defensive ability to Cleveland, and NBA.com's SportVU data shows that he was holding opponents to 48 percent shooting at the rim in Orlando. However, he faced just three shots per game in limited action, so it remains to be seen if head coach Tyronn Lue can incorporate him properly on the point-preventing end. 

Grade: B+

Grading the Magic

With Ersan Ilyasova already on board, keeping Frye wasn't important. The two fill similar roles, and having both present would hinder the development of Aaron Gordon, who should be playing as many minutes as possible while learning on the job. 

But was this enough return for Frye, who has legitimately established himself as one of the best three-point-shooting big men in the NBA? Probably not.

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 20: Nik Stauskas #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers tries to guard Jared Cunningham #9 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 20, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the 76ers 1
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Jared Cunningham will be playing for his sixth team in four professional seasons, and he's yet to make a significant impact in any location. He's still only 24 years old, but the first-round pick from the 2012 NBA draft doesn't offer much excitement. Nor does a second-round selection coming from a team that figures to post one of the league's best records. 

Especially given the knowledge that, per Wojnarowski, the Clippers were thinking about giving up Lance Stephenson, C.J. Wilcox and a second-round pick for Frye, this doesn't feel like enough. 

Grade: C+

Grading the Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers provided a lesson in using excess cap space during the middle of a season. 

With room to take on a significant salary, Rip City gave up a second-round pick to the Magic and then received Anderson Varejao and a protected first-round pick from the Cavaliers. It's planning on immediately waiving the big man, per Wojnarowski, which means it's essentially upgrading picks for nothing. 

The new first-rounder won't be conveyed until 2018, and ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reports that it's protected for the top 10 selections in both 2018 and 2019. But that's still a significantly more valuable asset for the Blazers.

Grade: A+

Thunder Get Foye

AUBURN HILLS, MI - FEBRUARY 10: Randy Foye #4 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket against the Detroit Pistons during the game on February 10, 2016 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges an
Allen Einstein/Getty Images
  • Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Randy Foye
  • Denver Nuggets receive: D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak and two second-round picks

Grading the Thunder

As reported by CBS Sports' Ken Berger, the Oklahoma City Thunder are getting their hands on Randy Foye. But this is more about money and clearing up minutes for Cameron Payne than acquiring a combo guard having the worst season of his career.

Adi Joseph of Sporting News has more: 

The Thunder did this largely as a vote of confidence for rookie Cameron Payne, who slowly supplanted Augustin as the team's backup point guard. Foye is more of a shooting guard, meaning Russell Westbrook and Payne will get most if not all of the meaningful minutes at point guard. It's unlikely Foye contributes much, especially given that this has been the worst season of his career at 6.0 points per game on 35.1 percent shooting, including 29.6 percent on 3-pointers.

The Thunder saved about $9.8 million in salary cap and luxury tax with the trade, according to ESPN. They also get a trade exception worth about $3.8 million.

Losing D.J. Augustin isn't a huge deal for OKC, as Payne has been the superior player during his rookie season. Those minutes are easily absorbed by the incumbent point guards, and the Thunder should be better off for it. 

Steve Novak's departure is even more inconsequential, as the sharpshooting forward played a total of 24 minutes during the first half of the season. 

The chance of a Foye turnaround, the extra minutes for Payne and the financial relief are well worth parting with the backups and a pair of second-round picks.

Grade: B+ 

Grading the Nuggets

For the Mile High City, it was all about getting more draft picks. General manager Tim Connelly is collecting plenty of assets that he should eventually consolidate into one stronger piece, and this will only aid the process. 

Given his lack of ability on the defensive end and his ineffective shooting, Foye had just about fallen out of the rotation, though injuries pushed him back into a bigger role before the All-Star break. D.J. Augustin's presence should ensure that the Nuggets have a capable backup for Emmanuel Mudiay, but this is still about the picks. 

Second-round selections are by no means guarantees, but it's not like Denver had to part with much value to get them. 

Grade: B+

Miami Completes the Mission

Feb 3, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Brian Roberts (22) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
  • Portland Trail Blazers receive: Brian Roberts, second-round pick

Grading the Heat

Brian Roberts wasn't long for Miami. 

According to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Heat quickly shipped their newly acquired point guard to the Trail Blazers along with a second-round pick. Thus far, no report has anything coming back to the Eastern Conference hopefuls. 

Well, nothing but more financial relief. Per Wojnarowski: 

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

With the Roberts deal, Miami drops under the luxury tax, saving $6M.

So, the Heat managed to unload the salaries of Chris Andersen and Jarnell Stokes without taking on any new players. It cost them a few second-round picks to do so, but apparently the organization values an avoidance of the luxury-tax bill more than those selections. 

Grade: A

Grading the Blazers

This is a money move for the Blazers, as well. 

After picking up a conditional first-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers by taking on Anderson Varejao's salary, Rip City is adding another draft-day selection by acquiring Brian Roberts. And in doing so, it's also ensuring it hits the salary-cap floor and avoids fines at the end of the season. 

It's no more complicated than that. For the second time leading up to the deadline, the Blazers parlayed their contract situation into free assets. 

Grade: A+

Markieff Finally Moved

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 10:  Markieff Morris #11 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the NBA game against the Golden State Warriors at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 10, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Warriors defeated the Suns 112-104. NOTE TO USER:
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
  • Washington Wizards receive: Markieff Morris
  • Phoenix Suns receive: DeJuan Blair, Kris Humphries, protected first-round pick

Grading the Wizards

If the Washington Wizards ever have to convey the first-round pick they promised, per Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears, they gave up too much. The Phoenix Suns simply didn't have any leverage after Markieff Morris spent the first half of the season killing his value. 

Right now, we have no idea which version of Morris the Wizards are getting. 

It's possible they could receive the Sixth Man of the Year candidate who created his own shots effortlessly and helped space out the floor with a barrage of mid-range jumpers. That player would look excellent next to John Wall in pick-and-pop settings.

But the possibility also remains that such a contributor no longer exists. Morris has been nothing but trouble for Phoenix—both on and off the court—ever since it traded his twin brother, and it's not like the Wizards also completed a deal with the Detroit Pistons to acquire Marcus. 

Giving up a first-round selection is too much when that type of uncertainty is involved, even if the pick won't be transferred unless it falls outside the lottery. But hey, any time you can make a late push for the No. 8 seed, you have to do it. 

Grade: B-

Grading the Suns

In summary, the Suns managed to grab a protected first-round pick for a power forward who was shooting just 39.7 percent from the field, had publicly demanded a trade in the offseason, drawn a suspension for throwing a towel at his head coach and gotten in an unnecessary spat with a teammate on the bench right before the All-Star break. 

Nothing more needs to be said. 

Grade: A+

Captain Kirk Takes a Voyage

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 8: Kirk Hinrich #12 of the Chicago Bulls looks on during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on Februay 8, 2016 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
Rocky W. Widner/Getty Images
  • Atlanta Hawks receive: Kirk Hinrich and Justin Holiday
  • Chicago Bulls receive: Second-round pick

Grading the Hawks

So much for the Hawks turning nothing into something. 

Mere hours after trading Shelvin Mack for a second-round pick, general manager Wes Wilcox negated the gains by dealing a second-round pick for Kirk Hinrich, per ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst. In essence, he turned one third-string point guard into a different one. 

Is he playing up the nostalgia factor? Hinrich did spend a year-and-a-half in Atlanta before his latest stint with the Chicago Bulls, though his time in Philips Arena was largely forgettable. 

Maybe head coach Mike Budenholzer can make use of Hinrich's shooting ability—he's knocking down 41.1 percent of his three-point attempts this season. But overcoming his porous defense and lack of mobility will be troublesome. 

Essentially trading Mack and Justin Holiday—who had fallen out of the Atlanta rotation—for Hinrich isn't much of anything. 

Grade: B

Grading the Bulls

Hinrich was playing only 15.9 minutes per game for the Bulls, and his role seemed to be shrinking as the first half of the season progressed. With a healthy Derrick Rose and Aaron Brooks running the point, he just wasn't needed. 

Turning a 35-year-old third-string point guard into a second-round pick is going to earn impressive marks. 

Grade: A

Lance Stephenson for Jeff Green

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 5: Lance Stephenson #1 of the Los Angeles Clippers handles the ball during the game against the Orlando Magic on February 5, 2016 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
Fernando Medina/Getty Images
  • Los Angeles Clippers receive: Jeff Green
  • Memphis Grizzlies receive: Lance Stephenson, future first-round pick

Grading the Clippers

According to reports from Dan Woike of the Orange Country Register, Lance Stephenson is becoming Jeff Green. 

The former Memphis Grizzlies forward should eventually slot into the starting lineup at the 3, giving the team even more versatility and athleticism. He's a great fit alongside the rest of the Los Angeles Clippers' key pieces, though this won't help the team's biggest weakness—a lack of depth. 

Additionally, head coach Doc Rivers knows Green's game after coaching him with the Boston Celtics, and he's aware that his new player can slide over to power forward when the Clippers decide to go small. 

If you're worried that giving up a future first-round pick was too much, cease the fretting. It can't be conveyed until 2019. Per The Vertical's Bobby Marks, the selection may not even change hands until 2021. 

Grade: B+

Grading the Grizzlies

Are the Grizzlies officially giving up? 

Trading Courtney Lee to the Charlotte Hornets was the first sign, but moving Green for Lance Stephenson and a future first-round pick is the icing on the proverbial cake. Though the forward hadn't been playing spectacular ball, he was trending in the right direction on both ends of the floor. 

Now, the Grizzlies are doubling down on their inability to shoot threes.

They already ranked 28th in three-pointers made and 21st in three-point percentage. It'll only get worse after losing the team's No. 3 and No. 4 shooters—in terms of treys made—and replacing them with Stephenson, who has connected on only 19 triples all season. 

Memphis is making upside plays and stockpiling future assets. But that doesn't mean these moves are strong ones. 

Grade: C+

Adam Fromal covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @fromal09.

Unless otherwise indicated, all stats are from Basketball-Reference.com or Adam Fromal's own databases and are current through the All-Star break.


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