NBA Trade Deadline 2024: Winners and Losers

NBA Trade Deadline 2024: Winners and Losers

Who were the teams considered winners and losers in the NBA trade deadline 2024?

There was a frenzy of action in the 24 hours before the deadline on Thursday afternoon, yet no existing top players switched sides. The largest transactions accomplished during the 2023-24 season occurred earlier, with James Harden joining the Los Angeles Clippers in November and the Toronto Raptors trading forwards OG Anunoby (to the New York Knicks) and Pascal Siakam (to the Indiana Pacers) long before the deadline.

The biggest name expected to be dealt this week, Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray, stayed put.

The in-season tournament champion Los Angeles Lakers, who were said to be interested in him, made no moves.

Still, the moves made by teams before to the deadline have the ability to tilt the 2024 postseason and beyond. Playoff teams filled key holes, including the league-leading Boston Celtics, who gained frontcourt depth with Xavier Tillman Sr., and the rebuilding Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards, who accumulated draft picks.

Let’s look at who helped themselves the most at the deadline and who may regret decisions made or not made.

NBA Trade Deadline 2024: Winners and Losers Summary

Here is a summary of the biggest winners and losers from the NBA Trade Deadline 2024:

NBA Trade Deadline 2024 Winner: New York Knicks

First winner of the NBA Trade Deadline 2024 are the Knicks.

Even if we exclude the Anunoby trade from late December, the Knicks may have improved more than any other team. New York was able to add two strong contributors in Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, meeting a long-term need for second-unit scoring as well as a short-term necessity in the frontcourt with Anunoby and All-Star Julius Randle presently out due to injury.

Assuming Anunoby and Randle are able to return, the Knicks will have eight strong rotation players with postseason experience. They’re now bursting with shooting around center Isaiah Hartenstein. And New York accomplished all of this without giving up a single first-round selection or jeopardizing the team’s ability to match money in a potential deal for a star next season.

Let’s look at who helped themselves the most at the deadline and who may regret decisions made or not made.

NBA Trade Deadline 2024 Loser: Los Angeles Lakers

A big loser from the NBA Trade Deadline 2024 are the Lakers.

After fantasizing of adding Murray to the superstar pair of Anthony Davis and LeBron James, Lakers fans were left with the same squad that began the day. It’s questionable whether making a major trade would have been the greatest long-term decision for the Lakers if it meant giving up a valuable first-round pick.

However, improving the roster would have increased the Lakers’ chances of avoiding the play-in round and repeating last year’s journey to the Western Conference finals.

The Lakers can still add a buyout candidate since their salary is below the luxury-tax limit. Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Lowry, both point guards, would be significant acquisitions with Gabe Vincent still recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.

However, the Lakers must contend with a new team entering the buyout market, as the Philadelphia 76ers avoided the tax with their deals on Thursday. The Sixers can make a higher offer using their non-taxpayer midlevel exception, which the Lakers used to sign Vincent last summer.

By the way, one of the more surprise outcomes of the trade deadline was the Lakers’ decision not to trade Christian Wood, which could have allowed the team to escape paying the luxury tax.

Winner: Lakers’ Trade Offers This Summer

Now, Los Angeles were not completely losers on this NBA Trade Deadline 2024, let’s see why.

The Lakers’ choice not to trade a first-round pick now means they will have three available for trade by draft night. If the New Orleans Pelicans choose to defer the pick the Lakers owe them until 2025, the Lakers will be able to trade this year’s pick as soon as it is made official (The Lakers might make that selection on behalf of another team in a planned deal.)

Otherwise, the Lakers would have a first-round pick in 2025, as well as picks in 2029 and 2031, giving them significantly more draft capital to trade than they do currently.

The problem is that LeBron James has a player option for next season, which he won’t have to exercise until June 29 — two days after the draft. LeBron has never been shy about using leverage to encourage his club to go all in, which may compel the Lakers to overpay for upgrades at draft time in order to keep James in Los Angeles for another season.

Loser: Dejounte Murray, Still a Hawk

Another loser from the NBA Trade Deadline 2024 is Dejounte Murray, who will remain a Hawk for now.

Murray was surely hoping to join Klutch Sports clients James and Davis in Los Angeles. Instead, he finds himself in an awkward backcourt alongside All-Star point guard Trae Young. When Young is on the bench, Murray has produced at an All-Star level. Murray averages 26.0 points and 7.4 assists per 36 minutes sans Young, with a true shooting percentage (TS%) of.598.

These numbers are comparable to All-Star starter Damian Lillard’s output with the Milwaukee Bucks this season: 25.4 points and 6.9 assists per 36 minutes on an identical.598 TS%.

Murray’s production with Young drops to 19.5 points and 4.0 assists per 36 minutes, with a.534 TS%. Murray would have been an unrestricted free agent this summer if he hadn’t agreed to a four-year extension last summer, and he would have been the most gettable one in a free agency landscape thinning out due to extensions and players transferred to places where they are expected to re-sign.

Winner: Boston Celtics

Despite the fact that there was a lot of activity around the deadline, the championship front-runners received little attention. Of the four teams with odds less than plus-1500 to win the title at, neither the defending champion Denver Nuggets nor the Los Angeles Clippers made roster moves. The Milwaukee Bucks made minimal roster changes, replacing out the unproductive Cameron Payne for Patrick Beverley and clearing a place by trading Robin Lopez.

That puts the Celtics in the best position to win the championship. Tillman answers Boston’s most pressing — albeit relative — need for depth behind centers Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis. The Celtics may still fall short of winning their first title since 2008, but it will most likely not be due to anything that happened this week.

Loser: Post-Luka Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks’ desire to build a contender around Doncic before he enters unrestricted free agency in 2026 by declining a player option is beginning to feel desperate. To add Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington to their frontcourt, Dallas gave up a 2027 first-round pick that is only protected if it is among the top two picks, as well as a 2028 first-round trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Add in the unprotected 2029 first-rounder sent to the Brooklyn Nets in last year’s pre-deadline deal for Kyrie Irving, as well as the 2030 first-round swap the Mavericks executed with the San Antonio Spurs last summer (to land Grant Williams, who was sent to Charlotte as a matching salary in the Washington trade), and Dallas suddenly has no control over any of its tradable first-round picks following Luka’s potential free agency.

If these measures aren’t enough — and I’m pessimistic on that count — the Mavericks may be facing a dismal future without Doncic.

Winner: Charlotte Hornets

It turns out the Hornets aren’t horrible at accumulating draft picks.

Charlotte received a first-round pick from the Miami Heat in exchange for Terry Rozier, while the Hornets’ pick from Dallas in exchange for Washington could be the best one to change hands all season due to its weak protection.

Charlotte also received two second-round selections from the Thunder in exchange for taking on $18 million in 2024-25 salary in the Gordon Hayward trade.

None of these decisions will instantly benefit the Hornets, but they indicate the organization’s acceptance of its rebuilding reality. By the time projected No. 2 selection Brandon Miller and second-year center Mark Williams are ready to build a playoff-caliber core with LaMelo Ball, Charlotte will be better prepared to back them with youthful talent and cap flexibility.

Loser: Chicago Bulls

In contrast, Chicago’s idleness was a continuation of a concerning pattern. According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, the Bulls haven’t dealt a player since August 2021, and they’ve only traded away two players acquired by executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas: journeymen Al-Farouq Aminu and Garrett Temple.

Although Chicago pondered trading for All-Star player Zach LaVine, no deal occurred before he had foot surgery. The Bulls chose not to trade imminent free agents DeMar DeRozan and Andre Drummond, as well as Alex Caruso, who appears to be at the top of his value.

Instead, Chicago kept the bunch intact for another low-ceiling run in the play-in tournament.

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