Beyond the Arc

by Ben Fiore

In the 2018-2019 NBA season, there have been 25 trades between teams.  19 of them happened THIS WEEK.  This has by far been the busiest trade deadline in years, seeing dozens of guys dished around like an appetizer sampler at a bachelor party.  Although it was the busiest, I can’t necessarily say it was the craziest.  A few big moves we were waiting on, are still being waited on…  As we all know, the Lakers got catfished like a MF, seeing as that the Pelicans did them dirty and exposed them while not biting on their massive trade offer.  The Celtics didn’t really jump at it either, leaving AD very awkwardly in New Orleans.  Despite that blockbuster not happening, there were a lot of moves that went almost unnoticed that I think could prove to be way more meaningful than what initially meets the eye.

A bigger trade headline was Harrison Barnes getting traded from the Mavericks to the Kings in the MIDDLE OF A GAME.  To me, I get that it’s a business, but that’s still kinda dirty.  Like really Mark, you couldn’t have waited another 30 minutes?  Regardless, Barnes was probably the least valuable piece coming out of Golden State who rode that hype to max contract that clearly wasn’t worth it.  Now with Barnes off the roster, Dallas has cap space to add another big contract in the offseason.  The potential of who they could land is crazy to think of as an addition to Luka and the Unicorn.  Mark my words, be on the lookout for the Mavs next year.

Sometimes, trade can affect other players in terms of losing a teammate.  This statement is made true by the Milwaukee Bucks.  The bucks traded away massive man, Thon Maker in a three way trade to the Pistons.  The Bucks received the white sniper Nikola Mirotic, while the Pelicans received Stanley Johnson and four future second round picks.  Although Maker was close friends with Giannis, Maker will now get more playing time and area to develop under Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.  The Pels easily won this trade because getting an underrated guard in Johnson AND four future picks is nuts.

Another set of players that lucked out in their movement was Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis moving to Washington from Chicago in exchange for Otto Porter Jr.  The Bulls are a dumpster fire, and have little hope left.  Otto is a good piece for them, but I can’t imagine him sticking around.  Parker has been waiting to fit into a system where he can get his feet under him, and I think Washington might be it.  Bobby Portis is an extremely underrated PF that can finesse to the hoop while using his size.  This will pay off for both teams.  I’m like 65% sure of it.

To save you from wasting your time and to save me from wasting my arthritis, I’m not going to cover all of the irrelevant moves that happened because it’ll just take up more space that neither of us really give a shit about.  So I broke down the top 3 teams that truly came out like a dick swingin’ king of this 2019 NBA trade deadline.

3. Toronto Raptors: The Raptors didn’t make many moves, but they made one HUGE move that truly will be a make or break for the squad.  They landed the Memphis Mauler, Marc Gasol.  Toronto gave up Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles and a 2024 second round pick.  I’m honestly okay with everything except giving up Jonas.  I feel he is a very solid (and obviously younger) big man, and would have loved to see him PAIRED with Gasol, but not necessarily tossed for him.  I think Gasol’s veteran leadership and potential upside proves the Raptors deadly, but he hasn’t been the same guy these last two years so we’ll see which side of the fence he falls on.

2. New Orleans Pelicans: Wesley Johnson was unnecessary and wasted space on the Pelicans bench.  They were able to send him to DC in exchange for Markieff Morris and a 2024 2nd round pick.  This was a great trade because they didn’t need Johnson, but now get a very solid forward to pair with Julius Randle, and a future draft pick.  They also snagged a VERY underrated guard in Stanley Johnson and a whopping FOUR draft picks all for just one measly Mirotic who although is a sniper, was an extremely small price to pay for all of that.  Oh, I almost forgot… AND THEY DIDN’T DEAL ANTHONY DAVIS.  HAHAHAHAHAHA.  They singlehandedly home-wrecked the Lakers, verbally pooped on the Celtics, and got to keep the best big man in the league for the rest of the year while being able to build his value for the offseason.  A true sneaky baller move from New Orleans’ front office.

1. Philadelphia 76ers: Hands down Philly straight up bossed the trade market this year.  First they snag Jimmy Butler who is a top 15 talent in the league earlier this season for a few irrelevant bench guys.  Then at the deadline, they Tobias Harris who to me is the 2nd most underrated player in basketball behind Montrezl Harrell.  Harris is long, strong, has a shot and a smooth path to the basket.  Not to mention the other key role player they picked up with that trade in the behemoth Boban Marjonovic and Mike (gary) Scott.  They gave up a few picks along with Shamet, Chandler and Muscala, but upgraded their bench by doing so.  THEN they finally dump the disaster that has been Markelle Fultz off to the Orlando Magic.  They received Johnathon Simmons who I think will be dope off the bench in that system, along with a 2019 1st and 2nd round pick which if anything was an oversell.  I liked Fultz out of Washington, but he’s just been to injury prone and not shown enough talent when healthy to be worth it.  But the Magic think so I guess.  The Sixers picked up James Ennis for their bench too.  As a whole, they have room to build for the future with those picks, while also being able to dominate now.  Plus, all of these moves and improvements they are making most likely will result in Butler, Harris and Embiid waning to re-sign extensions.  Adding Ben Simmons, JJ Reddick, and now possibly the best bench in the league, the 76ers are not to be trifled with.  They are without a doubt my 2019 trade deadline champion.

2019 is off to a wildly dramatic start.  Drama mixed with more drama is gonna result in a very interesting second half of the year.  Shit is switching up more than Craig Seager’s suits and we are in for quite the ride.  At the end of the year, let’s revisit this and see what paid off.  Happy trading!

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Written by benfiore

NBA writer of Beyond the Arc. Employee, podcast host and writer for Thoughts From the Bench.

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