photo cred: slam online
With the always entertaining NBA All Star Break just around the corner, an even bigger attraction is brewing behind the scenes in front offices league wide. The NBA trade deadline is approaching, as teams finally decide whether they need to make that one move that’ll put them over the top come playoff time, or whether they need to blow shit up and start over. We’ll keep this blog updated with the latest transactions up until the 3 p.m.deadline on February 23rd.
Toronto Raptors get: Serge Ibaka, PF (ORL)
Orlando Magic get: Terrence Ross, SF (TOR), and a 1st round-pick for the 2017 draft
- The Orlando Magic’s existence post Dwight Howard era has been uninspiring to say the least. Orlando GM, Rob Hennigan, is certainly on the hot seat this year, as the big offseason signings of Ibaka and Biyombo along with the trade of Oladipo and Sabonis to OKC have led to this current shitstorm. The Magic are in an all too familiar place, sitting at 14th place in the Eastern Conference and are set to miss the playoffs for a 5th year in a row. In short, an asset towards the draft (a projected late 1st round pick) and taking a chance on Terrence Ross only echo the fact that this team needs to finally commit to a fucking rebuild. Aaron Gordon is the man this team needs to build around and now is the time to start shedding dead weight as a means to start over. It remains to be seen whether other notables such as Vucevic and even Elfrid Payton could end up packing their bags as well.
- Toronto, you finally fucking did it.The 4 spot is no longer an issue for you guys as you now have Serge Ibaka to save the day. I’d cut Jared Sullinger’s useless fat ass just to celebrate this occasion. Ibaka is a clear upgrade at the Power Forward position, with the versatility to both stretch the floor as a solid 39% 3 pt shooter, as well as being a solid defensive big. It’s remarkable that the Raptors made such a smart deal without having to really break the bank for an area where they were truly in need. Honestly Magic… you should’ve at least gotten Norman Powell out of this deal but I’m sure Ibaka’s unwillingness to stay in Orlando past this season killed what little leverage you had anyway.
Portland Trail Blazers get: Jusuf Nurkic, C (DEN) and a protected 1st for the 2017 draft
Denver Nuggets get: Mason Plumlee, C (POR), a 2nd round-pick for the 2018 draft and cash considerations.
- I think the Trail Blazers won this deal by a landslide. At just 22 years old, Nurkic isn’t a bad player by any means. The Nuggets tried to play him alongside fellow big man, Nicola Jokic, to see if the pairing could work, but by late November it was evident that Jokic has been the better player and is a path to stardom in his own right. Nevertheless, Nurkic is actually a talent that if given the minutes to develop can be a dominant force down low. Nurkic was putting up serviceable stats at just 17 minutes per game (averaging 8 pts and 5.8 rebs) and if you adjust to per 36, his stats look great at 16 pts and ~12 rebs a game. In short, give the guy playing time and watch him work. To add to this, the Blazers get the added value of having another 1st rounder at their disposal in this years loaded draft class. With 3 1st round picks to play with, the Blazers have some options here, either make a nice trade happen on draft day or look to develop 3 prospects for the future (I’m thinking they trade up in the draft order). Overall, they got great value out of shipping Plumlee away in this trade.
- Let me say this, Plumlee is and has been a decent player since he came into the league in 2014. In fact, he’s been having a good year with averages of 11 pts, 8 rebs and 4 asts (all career highs). What the numbers don’t tell you however, is how much of a liability Plumlee has shown himself to be on defense. Portland’s team ranks as one of the leagues worst defenses this year, and having Plumlee as their frontcourt anchor was a major part of this issue. With Jokic not being too much of a defensive stalwart himself, it’ll be interesting to see if this pairing will make be able to compensate for this glaring weakness. On top of this, Plumlee is turning 27 years old next month and is on an expiring contract which the Nuggets have stated that they intend to renew. Basically, if they’re investing long term into Plumlee, this can only come at the expense of moving other current Nuggets players for it to make sense. I see Gallinari, Barton and Faried as targets for trades likely coming in the near future as a result.