With the NBA trade deadline over and done with, the BasketballNews.com staff wants to share our thoughts on the moves that went down. Since Nekias Duncan thoroughly graded each and every trade from the past week, we asked the rest of our team to react to the results of the ever-so-eventful week.
Yesterday, our staff shared their winners of the 2022 NBA trade deadline. Now, in our latest Roundtable, we asked our writers the following question:
Who are the biggest
losers of the NBA trade deadline?
Alex Kennedy: The Los Angeles Lakers feel like losers since they weren't able to make a trade when it's clear that changes were desperately needed. However, I'm not surprised that they weren't able to make a move given how their assets are perceived around the league. The Sacramento Kings stand out too. It’s rare for a blockbuster trade to warrant such a one-sided response amongst people around the NBA, but every NBA decision-maker I spoke to questioned the Sabonis-Haliburton trade for Sacramento — mainly because the Kings traded away a 21-year-old budding star and didn't seem to improve all that much.
Spencer Davies: While Josh Hart is fun... I, uh, got nothing for the Portland Trail Blazers. Why not try out Nickeil Alexander-Walker with Anfernee Simons instead of flipping him to Utah? Simons handled the ball alongside his partner Gary Trent Jr. (extra thumbs down for that one; do you see what the man’s doing to teams in Toronto?) quite a bit. Kudos to those who are gaining valuable experience — shout out to C.J. Elleby and Greg Brown Jr., not your fault — and those former lottery picks who are trying to stick — Justise Winslow and Dennis Smith Jr. With that said: This is considered a win-now roster that is retooled? Not quite. We’ll see what interim general manager Joe Cronin does (if he’s in charge, that is) with the oodles of cap space the team has created. Surely Damian Lillard is watching, though he has already voiced his thoughts on staying in Portland.
Mark Schindler: It's hard for me to not view Utah as the biggest loser at the deadline. I like Nickeil Alexander-Walker as a prospect, but he's had a very rough season and is a negative-impact NBA player at the moment. There's an intriguing foundation with him that Utah could unearth more of and help him build upon, but the issue is where the Jazz are right now. They needed immediate help defensively at the point of attack and the wing, yet NAW is not really that guy right now. Perhaps Utah envisions him being squeezed into a honed-in role, more focused as a connector and less as a shot-creator; expecting a change in wiring mid-season before a playoff run when this team NEEDS a deep run to succeed, is questionable. I'm hopeful for NAW, doubtful for this season.
Ethan Fuller: Both sides of that Mavericks-Wizards trade... lost? Kristaps Porzingis is not the type of upgrade to sway Washington's playoff hopes or convince Bradley Beal the future is in good hands. It also creates a logjam of ill-fitting bigs with Porzingis, Daniel Gafford and Thomas Bryant. Meanwhile, the Mavericks added a questionable fit of their own in Spencer Dinwiddie and didn't address the resulting needs in the frontcourt. I don't get why either side was motivated to get this deal done, and I question if either team meaningfully improved.