Grading the NBA trade deadline: 2016 edition

The inevitability that the NBA Trade Deadline is doomed to underperform is a trend that has become accepted across the association throughout the past few years (save last year, of course). This year was really no exception to the rule either, with only 24 players – none of which were truly ‘blockbusters’ – and a slew of draft picks being sent from team-to-team over the last 72 hours.

It’s like the old saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, some teams were in desperate need of a fix, but they didn’t do the necessary things to fix the issue. Other teams made moves towards the postseason and toward their future. So, without any further ado, let’s rumble through all of the moves and make like a 3rd grade teacher with a report card for all 18 of the franchises who were active up until Thursday’s 3 pm EST deadline.

Atlanta Hawks              Grade: B-
Adding Kirk Hinrich at the last minute seems kind of obscure for a team trying to already get their back-up (Dennis Schroeder) minutes. Sending a guy in Shelvin Mack – who only averaged eight minutes and three points per game this year anyway – for a second round pick to the Jazz doesn’t necessarily make this team any better or worse in the immediate future.

Charlotte Hornets     Grade: B
Courtney Lee will fit into this system very well as a sixth man. He’s been a consistent role player in the NBA and will offer Steve Clifford’s team some flexibility at the two. This trade worked well for Charlotte in giving (Brian Roberts & P.J. Hairston) as well as getting.

Chicago Bulls             Grade: Poor Kirk
I feel like Kirk Hinrich had been in Chicago for forever. As a matter of fact, only Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan have played more games in a Bulls uni than Hinrich. He’s a guy that has some really good nights, as well as some nights where he is very quiet. He will adapt the same role for the Hawks (a 3rd PG) that he had with the Bulls. Not really a win or loss for Chicago here.

Photo Credit:

Cleveland Cavaliers  Grade: A
Get a good, veteran stretch four in Channing Frye while giving up a guy in Anderson Varejao who has only appeared in 31 games this year with no real impact (oh, and Jared Cunningham too). What’s there not to like about this trade for a title contender?

Denver Nuggets         Grade: C+
It’s clear that the Nuggets are in a rebuilding period. It’s clear that Randy Foye didn’t fit into their future plans. Steve Novak probably won’t do much for them, but D.J. Augustin has proven time-and-time again that he is a more than capable backup guard in the NBA.

Detroit Pistons           Grade: A++
How about SVG & Co. turning a back-up PG coming off of a torn Achilles (Brandon Jennings), Ersan Ilysova, Joel Anthony (who never plays anyway), and a draft pick into Tobias Harris, Donatas Montiejunas, and Marcus Thornton? Bravo, Detroit.

Photo Credit: SB Nation

Houston Rockets       Grade: D
Yeah, they got a first round draft pick which is nice. But Anthony (whom they have appeared to already have traded to Philadelphia) is averaging less than a point a game in 13 appearances this year. Thornton and Montiejunas were great role players for this team. Bit of a head scratcher.

Los Angeles Clippers            Grade: D+
The good: the Clippers got rid of another player ruining their atmosphere in Lance Stephenson. The bad: they gave up a first round draft pick with Stephenson for an aging and sporadically healthy Jeff Green. I know they wanted Channing Frye, but they had to settle at the last minute for Green as a not-so-close second option.

Memphis Grizzlies     Grade: C-
Birdman in the city of Blues? Lance Stephenson not working in another system? Chris Andersen will offer nice versatility with Marc Gasol out for the remainder of the season, but his injury issues have always been a big talking point. Sending away a role player in Jeff Green for Lance Stephenson and a first round pick (really just a first round pick) is questionable too. Not sure if Courtney Lee and Jeff Green weren’t happy in Memphis, or they weren’t happy with their performances, but they didn’t exactly make a splash.

Miami Heat                Grade: ?
I’m really not even sure what Miami did. Picking up Brian Roberts, trading him to Portland for picks. Trading Jarnell Stokes to New Orleans for picks. It doesn’t really affect them right now, but it could help if they find some gems in the second round of the draft in the years to come.

New Orleans Pelicans           Grade: C
I can’t imagine Pelicans fans are ecstatic about Jarnell Stokes. So why should I be?

Oklahoma City Thunder      Grade: A-
I really like the Randy Foye addition for a team that’s trying to stay alive alongside the two Western powerhouses in Golden State and San Antonio. A guy that you can bring off of your bench to give you some good points. This reminds me a lot of last year’s addition of Dion Waiters by the Thunder.

Orlando Magic          Grade: B+
It will be interesting to see if Brandon Jennings takes over for sophomore Elfrid Payton as the team’s starting PG. I can’t imagine he’ll be thrown right into the fire, but it could be something that happens down the road. Aaron Gordon may have earned himself a starting spot with his All-Star weekend mastery. Ersan Ilyasova will be a good role player for Scott Skiles. Overall a pretty good fit for both the Pistons and Magic in this trade.

Phoenix Suns             Grade: C+
They got rid of Markieff Morris, which was a big key for them. He obviously wanted out. However, I feel like there was a better trade available for them rather than pulling in DeJuan Blair and Kris Humprhies.

Philadelphia 76ers     Grade: D
Do we even think Joel Anthony is going to make an impact in Philadelphia? Nope.

Portland Trailblazers            Grade: B-
Rumors are that they’re going to waive Anderson Varejao. So really, they only opened up some cap space and got Brian Roberts and some picks. Whoopie!

Utah Jazz                   Grade: A
To be honest, I really like this trade because we’ll get to see two former Butler Bulldogs back together.

Photo Credit:

Washington Wizards Grade: B+
I’m curious to see how Markieff Morris fits in in Washington. It’s worth the shot for the struggling Wizards. Sure, you give up two of your big guys, but Morris could easily fill that void and be effective in doing so.


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