Grading Every NBA Team’s 2019 Trade Deadline Performance

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Boston Celtics

Added: top-55 protected second-round pick

Traded: Jabari Bird, cash

The Celtics will have one of the most polarizing post-deadline evaluations. You’ll probably find them on some biggest losers list, since they sat out the arms race taken up by every other Eastern Conference power. But you might see others labeling them among the day’s biggest winners, since Anthony Davis is still in New Orleans, meaning Boston has a chance to place the winning bid this summer.

The truth lies somewhere in between.

The lack of movement doesn’t bode well for this season. While the Celtics have as much room for internal improvement as anyone, their roster hasn’t found cohesion yet and perhaps never will. They did, however, open a roster spot in their only deal, so some type of help could arrive through the buyout market.

Boston’s inactivity in a vacuum might deserve a D. The Davis development, though, could be an A-plus if it eventually gets him to the Shamrocks.

            

Houston Rockets

Added: Iman Shumpert, second-round pick, second-round pick swap rights

Traded: James Ennis, Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, first-round pick, two second-round picks

Houston primarily attended to its financial books, brokering three separate deals that should get it below the tax line. The Rockets also opened several roster spots, which could be addressed through the buyout market and perhaps make this assessment worth revisiting.

For now, though, the cap manipulation is impressive, and the club still came out ahead on the hardwood. Shumpert should be the best version of what they hoped Ennis might become—an off-ball sniper who can capably defend all three perimeter spots.

            

New York Knicks

Added: Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, two first-round picks

Traded: Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke

There are so many ways this transaction can turn in the coming years that a “TBD” grade might be most accurate. For now, though, it seems the Knicks did relatively well under the circumstances.

If Porzingis really wanted to leave New York, the Knicks essentially flipped zero pieces of their future plans for cap relief, two firsts and 2017’s No. 9 pick. If everything breaks exactly right, there’s a chance New York exits this offseason with two (or even three) of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson.

Take the blue-and-orange goggles off, though, and New York might have traded a generational talent for a stagnating sophomore and two future picks that could fall well outside the lottery because of said superstar. This summer’s cap space could provide nothing. It might bring the 2019 version of $100 million Amar’e Stoudemire. There’s no way to tell.

The reward outweighs the risk, but it’s close.

                

Portland Trail Blazers

Added: Rodney Hood, Skal Labissiere

Traded: Nik Stauskas, Wade Baldwin, Caleb Swanigan, two second-round picks

Hood doesn’t qualify as the impact player Portland coveted, but the smooth scorer becomes the Blazers’ biggest off-the-bounce threat not named Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum. While Hood hasn’t quite been the same since leaving the Utah Jazz, his 16.0 points per 36 minutes would still be fourth-best in Portland.

It’s hard to tell how much, if at all, Hood can play with Lillard and McCollum, given the collective defensive concerns. But even if Hood simply bolsters the Blazers bench, that would lighten the load on their backcourt stars.

The Labissiere-for-Swanigan flip feels like each club might’ve taken out the other’s trash. But Labissiere has shown more promise as a shooter and shot-blocker, so his side of the deal scores a small victory.

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