The NBA trade deadline makes waves as big stars are dealt

 A hectic NBA trade deadline, full of significant moves, was headlined by the breakup of the Brooklyn Nets superteam and the reshaping of the Los Angeles Lakers roster. Additionally, many championship contenders made smaller moves that could have profound effects in the playoffs.

February 4, Kyrie Irving, one of the most talented but controversial players in NBA history, requested a trade away from the Nets. February 6, he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he will now form a formidable duo with superstar Luka Doncic. The Nets received Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie and multiple picks, including a first-rounder, in exchange for Irving.

Following the Irving trade, his fellow star Kevin Durant requested a trade away from the Nets to the Phoenix Suns. His trade request was granted, where he now joins Devin Booker, Chris Paul III, and Deandre Ayton in one of the most dangerous teams in NBA history. Phoenix sent young talents Mikhail Bridges and Cam Johnson, nicknamed “the twins” as well as a bevy of picks in return.

The breakup of the Brooklyn Nets super team that started with the departure of James Harden last year marks one of the greatest failures in NBA history. Despite having three generational talents, the team won only a singular playoff series. The star trio in fact only played 16 games together. Despite the loss of all three of these superstars, the Brooklyn Nets still have an exciting future with young talent like Nic Claxton, Cam Thomas and “the twins” from Phoenix.

The Lakers massively reorganized the cast surrounding Lebron James and Anthony Davis to strengthen their playoff chances. They sent guard Kendrick Nunn to the Washington Wizards in exchange for forward Rui Hachimura, before unloading Russell Westbrook and a first round pick in exchange for D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt in a three-team deal with the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves. They also traded Thomas Bryant for Davon Reed and Patrick Beverly for Mo Bamba. The new-look roster now better fits the strengths of the two stars and will look to clinch a playoff spot in the coming weeks.

Perhaps the trade that caused the most controversy was the four-team deal that sent Saddiq Bey to the Atlanta Hawks, James Wiseman to Detroit, Kevin Knox and picks to the Portland Trail Blazers, and Gary Payton II to the Golden State Warriors. GP2 failed his physical fitness test for Golden State, and it was revealed that Porland had been making him play through injury; however, when doing the trade, they did not inform Golden State of his injury status. Ultimately, Golden State followed through with the trade, but it brought awareness to player mistreatment in the current NBA.

Many contenders strengthened their current squad by adding depth in preparation for the playoffs. Boston acquired Mike Muscala from the OKC Thunder for Justin Jackson and two picks. Milwaukee received Jae Crowder in a three-team deal with Brooklyn and Indiana. Jalen McDaniels was sent to the Philadelphia 76ers in a three-team deal where Matisse Thybulle was sent to Portland and Charlotte received picks. The Los Angeles Clippers traded Reggie Jackson to the Charlotte Hornets for Mason Plumlee. In a three-team deal, the Memphis Grizzlies received Luke Kennard, the Clippers got Eric Gordon and picks, and the Houston Rockets got John Wall, Danny Green, and a pick-swap. The Denver Nuggets traded Bones Hyland to the Clippers for picks. New Orleans received Josh Richardson from the San Antonio Spurs for Devonte Graham and picks. Phoenix traded Dario Saric for Darius Bazley.

Elsewhere, Josh Hart was traded from Portland to the New York Knicks for Cam Reddish, Ryan Arcidiacono, Svi Mykhailiuk and a first round draft pick. Toronto got center Jakob Poetl from the San Antonio Spurs for Khem Birch and picks. In one of the last moves of the draft, the Atlanta Hawks dealt Justin Holiday and Frank Kaminsky to the Houston Rockets for Garrison Mathews and Bruno Fernandes.

With the trade window closed, the last twenty games of the regular season will be a battle to secure a coveted spot in the playoffs, which promise to be one of the most competitive and unpredictable in recent history.