EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

NBA trade deadline tracker: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving are only the beginning

Feb 9, 2023, 11:17 AM | Updated: 1:09 pm

The Brooklyn Nets got ahead of things before the trade deadline on Thursday, dealing stars Kyrie Irving to Dallas and then Kevin Durant to Phoenix.

Wedged in between was a multi-team swap of point guards. The Lakers sent Russell Westbrook to Utah, the Jazz shipped Mike Conley to Minnesota and the Timberwolves traded D’Angelo Russell to Los Angeles.

For sanity purposes — ya boy has been awake since 1:30 a.m. since sleeping through the initial shockwave of the Durant deal — we’re considering only trades from Wednesday and the 24 hours leading up to 1 p.m. MST on Thursday.

Let’s get it.


Oh, yep, the Blazers

Blazers get:

F Kevin Knox
Five second-round picks

Warriors get:

Injuries have kept Gary Payton II to only 14 games played in a limited role. He returns to a squad that last year showed how to use the defensive menace well.

Still trying to determine where Portland is going with this, but time’s ticking for Dame in the PNW. Reddish and Knox kind of fit into the same bucket as long wing scorers who haven’t found a place to thrive.


Clippers double down on bigs

Clippers get:

C Mason Plumlee

Hornets get:

PG Reggie Jackson

The Clippers added Eric Gordon and Bones Hyland to replace John Wall and now Jackson, all-the-while lining up a more mobile center to supplement Ivica Zubac.

Hey, it’s like everyone out West is planning for a showdown with a likely MVP from Denver. And the Suns with Deandre Ayton belong in the mix, too.


Lakers add their center

Lakers get:

C Mo Bamba

Magic get:

PG Patrick Beverley

There’s our answer about the Lakers’ center position. Dealing Thomas Bryant to the Nuggets left a void, and now they add a 24-year-old who hasn’t reached his potential. The good news is he can shoot.

Here’s the Lakers’ starting lineup: D’Angelo Russell, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Bamba with your pick of Austin Reaves or Malik Beasley at two-guard.

Not a bad swing at upgrading after all — if it’s not too late to make a run for playoff positioning.


Eric Gordon back to L.A.

Clippers get:

SG Eric Gordon
Three second-round picks

Grizzlies get:

SG Luke Kennard

Rockets get:

PG John Wall
SG Danny Green

Poor John Wall, who will again be bought out by the Rockets for the second time within a year’s time. At least he’ll be out on the free market to attempt another run with a contender.

As for the other bits of this, Gordon returns to familiar ground to help a Los Angeles team that just got some backcourt JUICE with Gordon and Bones Hyland in tow. The Grizzlies add some shooting to bolster the depth chart.


Bones could be money for Clippers

Clippers get:

G Bones Hyland

Nuggets get:

Second-round picks (2024-25)

One of the league’s young, electrifying scorers who didn’t exactly jive heads to a Western Conference rival.


Bey to the ATL

Hawks get:

F Saddiq Bey

Pistons get:

James Wiseman

Warriors get:

F Kevin Knox
Five second-round picks

The biggest piece of this deal is future luxury tax bill relief for the Warriors for dumping Wiseman. They rerouted Knox and the picks to reacquired Gary Payton II, who was huge for Golden State in its NBA Finals run a year ago.

In Detroit, Wiseman joins a frontcourt of untapped — or still-developing — talent including Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren and Marvin Bagley Jr.

Bey is one of those Villanova guys that just knows how to play ball. He score and pass, plays multiple positions as a defender, and will be a great complement to Atlanta’s backcourt.

We are now at four former Villanova players having been dealt, by my count.


Blazers are scufflin’

Trail Blazers get:

G Matisse Thybulle

76ers get:

F Jalen McDaniels

Hornets get:

Multiple second-round picks

Thybulle’s minutes have tanked this year, from 26 per game last season to 12 with just six starts. He’s not improved as a shooter and despite showing against Phoenix, for example, that he can annoy even the best perimeter starts, he’s a liability.

Adding McDaniels, a reliable wing who can shoot or score at the cup off swings to the weakside, should be helpful at some point.

As for Portland, Thybulle is something to replace Josh Hart, a more well-rounded player who was traded to the Knicks Wednesday. Though Hart could do the scoring deal a little bit.


Lakers move one of their actually good players

Lakers get:

G Davon Reed
Three second-round picks (2025, 2026, 2029)

Nuggets get:

C Thomas Bryant

The Western conference leader has plenty of big man depth behind Nikola Jokic, perhaps a sign the Nuggets are conscious of a certain rival that (so far) has not traded its center (Deandre Ayton) while making another gigantic move (Kevin Durant).

Has Wenyen Gabriel played that well lately? The Lakers can go small, too, but it’s a weird move, though they do add some shooting with Reed.

More than anything, this has got to be about how Los Angeles can parlay those many second-rounders.


Bucks get Jae Crowder, finally

Bucks get:

F Jae Crowder

Pacers get:

F Jordan Nwora
F Serge Ibaka
Two second-round picks

Nets get:

Five second-round picks

Crowder finally has a new home, and he is not quick to tweet about it. A Bucks-Suns rematch at the end of this road could be spicy.

*Insert salsa dancing meme here*


Mat Ishbia is not messing around

Suns get:

F Kevin Durant
F T.J. Warren

Nets get:

F Cameron Johnson
F Mikal Bridges
F Jae Crowder
Four first-round picks, 2028 pick swap

You probably don’t need my opinion on this one, but here it is: The Suns immediately are legitimate contenders — if they can remain healthy.

Chris Paul and Kevin Durant might be fragile, but having them take a backseat if necessary to let Devin Booker cook could be good for everyone. And if there are any on-ball dominant players who can jive well together, it’s those three hoopers, who love the craft as much when they’re working in an empty gym as they do under the spotlights.

Losing Bridges and Johnson is a necessary one — and a fair one. The cost is high, but the window that’s open to go at an NBA Finals appearance this year makes it a risk worth taking.

Lowkey, the Warren throw-in is super necessary because Phoenix lost those wings. Now it’s about how the Suns can make this team look a little competent in terms of perimeter defense, because that is a grave concern alongside the depth questions.


The Raps got better … for now?

Raptors get:

C Jakob Poeltl

Spurs get:

C Khem Birch
Protected 2024 first-round draft pick
Two future second-round picks

San Antonio goes harder at their No. 1 draft choice aspirations by dealing a lowkey solid starting center with Victor Wembanyama in its sights.

Toronto gets better, for now. Let’s see how Poeltl fits in when we have a better idea of what the heck the Raptors are going to do.


Villanova boys meet in the Big Apple

Knicks get: Wing Josh Hart

Trail Blazers get:
G Ryan Arcidiacono
SG Svi Mykhailiuk
Wing Cam Reddish
2023 first-round pick (via New York, top-14 protected, converts to four second-round picks)

Hart gets a great Villanova reunion with Jalen Brunson in New York, giving the Knicks a stout defender and smart all-around basketball man who at 6-foot-4 can rebound like crazy.

That duo can now dine with fellow Wildcat product Mikal Bridges, but sources indicate that meeting for brunch will require that he cross the Brooklyn … nevermind.

The Trail Blazers take a flier on Reddish, who continues to be traded around the league because of his untapped scoring potential. It feels like Portland is spinning its wheels and desperate to field something worthwhile around Damian Lillard.


The Lakers’ big swing looks very small now

Lakers get:

SG Malik Beasley
PG D’Angelo Russell
F Jarred Vanderbilt

Timberwolves get:

G Nickeil Alexander-Walker
PG Mike Conley
2024 second-round pick (via lower of Memphis and Washington)
2025 and 2026 second-round picks (via Utah)

Jazz get:

PG Russell Westbrook
F Juan Toscano-Anderson
C Damian Jones
2027 first-round pick (via Lakers, top-four protected)

Did it improve the Lakers? Yes.

The team gets an on-ball presence in Russell, who has quietly put together his most efficient shooting season of his career (46% overall, 39% from three). He’s also obviously going to take stuff off LeBron James and adds insurance if the all-time points leader or Anthony Davis get hurt.

Beasley can fill it up and Vanderbilt was in discussion as a Suns target because of his defensive versatility that’ll come in handy during the playoffs. That’s a big if in Lakerland, however.

Minnesota remains an awkwardly-built team, and while Conley can run the show, he’s far from his old self in terms of scoring prowess.

Utah? No idea here beyond cap space to get off Conley’s deal, but their fairytale season is at risk of ending in the lottery.

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