The NBA 2019-2020 season has been one of the most entertaining and most balanced we have seen in the past couple of seasons. Before we get into what occurred during the season we have to address the series of trades by multiple teams that made the 2019-2020 season so amazing to watch and give some background on each trade. The teams that made big time trades this off-season were the Lakers-Pelicans, Warriors-Nets, 76ers-Heat-Trail Blazers-Clippers, Thunder-Rockets, Clippers-Thunder, and Celtics-Hornets. These trades turned out great for a lot of teams, but which trade made a team do a whole 360 turn when it comes to playoff contention?
The Lakers and Pelicans pulled off one of the biggest trades in the off-season that changed the whole dynamic of both teams in an instant. In Lebron James’s first season with the Lakers he averaged 27.4 pts, 8.5 rebs and 8.3 asts while only playing 55 games before a season-ending groin injury. After the season going into the summer, there was a lot of trade speculation and rumors about the Lakers trying to acquire Anthony Davis from the Pelicans. After a couple months of figuring the trade specifics, it ended up being a three-team trade.
- Los Angeles Lakers would get:
- Anthony Davis
- New Orleans Pelicans would get:
- Lonzo Ball (via Lakers)
- Brandon Ingram (via Lakers)
- Josh Hart (via Lakers)
- 4th overall pick (De’Andre Hunter, via Lakers, traded to the Hawks)
- Two future first-round picks (via Lakers)
- Cash considerations (via Wizards)
- Washington Wizards would get:
- Isaac Bonga (via Lakers)
- Jemerrio Jones (via Lakers)
- Mo Wagner (via Lakers)
- 2022 second-round pick (via Lakers)
Heading into this season a lot of commentators, fans and spectators were saying that after this injury it was going to be the start of Lebron’s decline, and they also stated they did not know how the Lakers were going to jell giving the new acquisitions they acquired in the off season. Little did these individuals know Lebron would have one of the best seasons of his seventeen-year career averaging 25.7 points, leading the league with 10.6 assists per game, 7.9 rebounds a game and 1.2 steals per game. The Lakers are sitting on top of the Western Conference with a record of 49-14 while having the best away record in the league of 26-6. It’s safe to say that the Lakers making this trade was a great trade and as long as Lebron is playing at a high level, they will be title contenders for years to come.
Next, these two trades changed the whole aspect of one team while helping two teams turn into major title contenders. We all saw how the Thunder choked in the Playoffs against the Blazers losing 4-1 to them off a Damian Lillard game winner. In the summer, the Thunder had to make some moves to shake up their roster and with these moves no one would have thought they still would have been in the playoff despite losing both Paul George and Russell Westbrook. When it comes to Paul George they ended up dealing him to the Clippers.
- Los Angeles Clippers get:
- Paul George
- Oklahoma City Thunder get:
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- Danilo Gallinari
- 2022, 2024, and 2026 first-round picks
- Two first-round picks via Miami (2021 and 2023)
- Right to swap first-round picks in 2023 and 2025
This gave the Thunder a great young point guard in Shai Gilgeous, solid forward in Danilo Gallinari, and an abundant amount of picks in the draft. The Clippers in return would get a top 15 player in the league to add with Kawhi Leonard who is top 5 player in the league. This trade would end up helping the Clippers team who already made the playoffs the year before becoming a top 2 team in the Western Conference. Another trade that the Thunder completed was to the Houston Rockets.
- Oklahoma City Thunder get:
- Chris Paul
- 2024 and 2026 first-round draft picks
- Right to Swap first-round picks in 2021 and 2025
- Houston Rockets get:
- Russell Westbrook
The Houston Rockets in return would get a top 5 point guard and a killer in Russell Westbrook to pair up with Top 5 player in the league James Harden. Later in the season, the Rockets would trade Clint Capela and in return get a great defensive player in Robert Covington. This would end up making the rockets better and adding Russell Westbrook helps what eventually led to their small ball lineup workout. This scheme is the best for Russell Westbrook, because as one of the best finishers in the league he has all the room he needs in the paint without having to worry about a big contesting him. If in turn a big does help he has knockdown shooters all around the court he can kick the ball out to. Since the Clint Capela trade, you can see their switches per game rising from 32.8 to 42.4, which has been effective when it comes to the pick and roll as teams are only averaging .84 points per screen possession against them. Russell Westbrook is averaging 27.5 pts, 8 rebs and 7 asts per game for the season and is playing like the MVP he once was. The Rockets are now the 6th team in the Western Conference with a record of 40-24.
The Thunder acquired all these pieces and no one would have thought that they would be the 5th seed in the Western Conference with a record of 40-24. Chris Paul has been playing at such a high level that he ended up being in the Allstar game after not being in it since 2016. Chris Paul paired with Shai-Gilgeous and Dennis Schroder have been one of the best guard trio’s in the league this season. Chris Paul is averaging 17.7 pts, 4.9 rebs, and 6.8 asts per game, and has proven to be a great assets to the team as a whole.
As we head to the next trade, it’s one that was a 4 team trade between Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers and LA Clippers.
- Miami Heat get:
- Jimmy Butler (via 76ers)
- Myers Leonard (via Trail Blazers)
- Cash considerations (via Clippers)
- Philadelphia 76ers get:
- Josh Richardson (via Heat)
- Portland Trail Blazers get:
- Hassan Whiteside (via Heat)
- Draft rights to Mathias Lessort (via 76ers)
- LA Clippers get:
- Maurice Harkless (via Blazers)
- Protected 2023 first-round pick (via Heat)
When it comes to these teams, the first team we will get into will be the 76ers. Jimmy Butler was not happy playing in Philly and despite Joel Embiid vouching for him to stay, it was time for him to go somewhere else. Since the trade has happened, Miami has been the best fit for him and they are making a good case to be considered one of the favorites coming out of the Eastern Conference. In return for Jimmy Butler, the 76ers got back an excellent 2 way wing player in Josh Richardson that can help fill out their starting lineup of Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The Trail Blazers get a solid rebounding machine in Hassan Whiteside who can help them after Jusuf Nurkic broke his leg during the 2018-2019 season. The last team in this trade was the Clippers and they got a solid role player which they would flip later in the season for Marcus Morris, who would help their team become even more deep.
Next, the trade we will be talking about is between the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets. During the 2018-2019 season, you could see that Kyrie Irving and the young core of Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown were not a great match together. The year before, when Kyrie got hurt, you could see the potential in these young and upcoming stars. Point guard Terry Rozier picked up the slack and in many people’s eyes became a reliable guard you can count on in the league. After Kyrie came back you could tell that the Celtics were going to have to make a move to not hinder the development of their two young star players. A trade came about and not only was it the best for the Celtics but also good for the Hornets because they knew that Kemba Walker wanted to leave and was on the way out of that franchise.
- Boston Celtics get:
- Kemba Walker
- 2020 second-round pick (via Knicks or Nets)
- Charlotte Hornets get:
- Terry Rozier
- Protected 2020 second-round pick
Since acquiring Kemba Walker, the Celtics have a record of 43-21 and are the 3rd team in the Easter Conference. Kemba Walker is averaging 21.2 pts, 4.1 rebs, and 4.9 asts per game since becoming a Celtic. The trade not only gave them an elite point guard, but you can see Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum making major strides and it comes from inserting such a team player and leader into their point guard position. Jaylen Brown is averaging 20.4 pts, 6.4 rebs, and 2.2 asts all career-highs. Jayson Tatum is averaging 23.6 pts, 7.1 rebs, and 2.9 asts also all career-highs. It’s safe to say that these two are very much excelling since the trade has happened.
Last, but not least a big trade in the off-season was between the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors.
- Golden State Warriors get:
- D’Angelo Russell
- Shabazz Napier
- Treveon Graham
- Brooklyn Nets get:
- Kevin Durant
- Protected 2020 first-round pick
After Kevin and the Warriors lost the 2019 NBA Finals, it was noted that Kevin Durant was not going to resign back with the Warriors. In a dual sign and trade it gave both players a chance to sign to a different team. This helped the Warriors gain a key young asset after losing two key players; one Kevin due to trade and two Klay Thompson from a torn ACL. This trade also helped Brooklyn pair Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving who wanted to play together.
All in all, this offseason has been filled with many crazy and unexpected trades and for most teams these trades worked out for the best. The question right now is who will win the NBA finals (if the season comes back due to the COVID-19) and prove that the trade they made indeed set them up to become Champions.
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