The 2019 NBA Trade Deadline featured a flurry of activity, but only a few worthy headlines. Perhaps some will look at this deadline as a bit of an inactive one, considering Anthony Davis remains in New Orleans and Mike Conley still runs the point in Memphis.
It actually featured a record amount of activity. Kristaps Porzingis is now in Dallas and other players like Harrison Barnes and Marc Gasol had to pack their bags for a new city, too.
With the dust now settled, which teams are the biggest losers of the NBA Trade Deadline? That list is a little trickier and less obvious than the winners list (Part 1).
In no particular order, here are my not-so-sexy seven teams that failed to deliver at the deadline. In some cases, there was a delivery, just not a great one. We are looking at you, Orlando.
It’s time for the Sexy Seven – NBA Trade Deadline Edition (Part 2 of 2):
Sexy Seven: 2019 NBA Trade Deadline Losers
1. Orlando Magic
Yes, Markelle Fultz was the top overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. But this is a risky move, considering the unique injury history (thoracic outlet syndrome) and early career struggles of Fultz (7.7 ppg, 53 FT%, 41% FG). Was all that worth the price? As in, the cost of Jonathan Simmons, a first round pick and a second round pick? That is steep for a team looking to escape from years of mediocrity and bad choices.
Sure, he’s only 20 years old, but I’ve never been high on Fultz. He’s a talented kid, but look back to his time at Washington. Talent doesn’t always mean March Madness berths or long runs. It’s not always Steph Curry at Davidson. Kevin Durant was ousted early, but the Longhorns were a good team. Sure, Ben Simmons didn’t make the dance, but LSU got close and Simmons hadn’t found his offensive game yet. When at Washington, Fultz and the Huskies finished 2-16 in the Pac-12 and 9-22 overall. 2-16! How little talent surrounded him?
Either way, I expect more on a team that features the TOP overall pick. Look what LeBron has done for every team he’s been around, no matter what the talent. Maybe not a fair comparison (but each was the top pick). There are expectations. So, who knows, maybe this will find its way to “Freezing Cold Takes” someday. At this moment, I think the Magic gave up too much for a major question mark. Save those picks instead. There are big time players coming.
Iffy Acquisition (for the price): Markelle Fultz
2. Charlotte Hornets
There were plenty of rumors swirling around the Hornets. The biggest names being Harrison Barnes, Jrue Holiday and Marc Gasol, each of which Charlotte was reportedly pushing for at the deadline. Reports said the Gasol deal was nearly completed. Mitch and Co. got none of the above. This is especially disappointing for a franchise teetering back and forth on the .500 mark and trying to find ways to not only make the playoffs, but to also keep Kemba Walker around long term. It was that or land a big deal for Kemba himself. The issue there is Charlotte is hosting the All-Star Game and it desperately needs its star and representative to be present and wearing teal and purple. The Hornets are currently buried in a number of bad contracts and the smart move was not trading away either Malik Monk or Miles Bridges. In the end, Charlotte likely did the right thing. But it couldn’t even find a suitor for bench warmer Frank Kaminsky, who likely ends up as a buyout candidate. All in all, it was a disappointing deadline for MJ the new front office in the Queen City.
Moves: What moves? Poor Kemba.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Where do we start with this hot mess? How about we just bullet it out?
- The Pelicans likely had no plans to seriously negotiate an Anthony Davis deal with L.A.
- Offers were leaked, which included the majority of the team’s talented core
- LaVar Ball returned to the spotlight, which is bad (and annoying) for all of us. Yes, he actually said that Lonzo is better than LeBron.
- Damage Control: Magic Johnson has to sit with players individually to discuss the rumors and future plans for the franchise
- Fans around (e.g. Indiana, below) mocked LeBron and the team for this gong show
- All in all, it’s no Anthony Davis and a whole ton of drama
- Someone somewhere is probably already working on a really bad movie script.
Key Acquisition: The re-acquisition of LaVar Ball and the lack of an acquisition of Anthony Davis
#Pacers fans absolutely troll Brandon Ingram over trade rumors.
“LeBron’s gonna trade you.”
Just brilliant. pic.twitter.com/tknkIXKsgN
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) February 6, 2019
4. New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis demands a trade and then his Dad starts landing in the headlines. The Pelicans didn’t handle the situation well, although who could blame them? Any time you have a superstar ask to be moved, it comes down to front office ego. No owner or front office wants the player to dictate the team’s situation or direction. Then again, it would be in the best interest of the Pels to handle the situation professionally and find a huge deal that returns a number of young pieces and draft picks. None of that happened at the deadline. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen this summer. The question remains: Will it be Boston, Los Angeles or another team? Also, can New Orleans repair the damage done from all the drama (see below’s horrific turnout and booing of Davis)
Key Reason: Be smarter. A lot smarter.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) February 9, 2019
5. Boston Celtics
The Celtics are the one team that landed on both the winners and losers list. They are winners because Anthony Davis will still be available this summer (and did not get dealt the Lakers). They are losers because no big deal was made, while the other East contenders – the Raptors, Bucks and Sixers – all made significant moves at the deadline. Boston has the pieces, but there has been a lack of chemistry and consistency this season. Danny Ainge always has tricks up his sleeve. There could be a buyout candidate who could help in the short term. The many draft picks or younger players could also lead to a Davis deal this summer. Don’t count Boston out of anything. Something needs to change.
Key Reason: Not keeping up with the East, but should that really be a reason?
6. Washington Wizards
The Wizards were in a promising position last season. What happened? That’s a loaded question, quite honestly. The injury to John Wall is the obvious news grabber. The dealing of Otto Porter Jr. to Chicago (for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis) added to the dismantling of the current roster. Although, Parker and Portis have had promising starts with the Wizards. Bradley Beal hit the rumor mill often, but he’s still in D.C. If that remains, we’ll see. In the end, Washington is arguably the most disappointing team this season, which is a big reason for this grade. Where do they go from here?
7. Cleveland Cavaliers
Opposing teams must have not liked the pieces or the price tags. Rodney Hood moved to Portland and he’ll be a nice complimentary piece for the Blazers. The return for Cleveland was Wade Baldwin, Nik Stauskas and two second-round picks (in 2021 and 2023). Cleveland spun those players in a three-team deal and ended up with Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, a 2019 first-round pick and 2022 second-round pick. A first round pick, fine. But typically, the Trade Deadline is a time when you can get teams to overpay. The Cavs are in a battle for the worst record in the league and there’s no reason why Kevin Love could not have been moved. Perhaps the asking price was too high. Only the front office and some insiders know that answer. In the end, there just wasn’t enough movement.
There you have it, my SEVEN biggest LOSERS of the NBA Trade Deadline. Agree? Agree to disagree (more likely)? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Furthermore, if you have yet to see it, check out Part 1 of 2, featuring my SEVEN biggest WINNERS of the NBA Trade Deadline. There are likely a few surprises hidden there, as well.
Let’s talk hoops! Oh and as always, thank you for reading and visiting The Wife Hates Sports!
Note: All stats via nba.com