2019 NBA trade deadline: Ranking the 10 most important deals, from Kristaps Porzingis to Lakers' backup plans
Not all trade deadline deals are created equal, and this year brought some big ones
You can take a deep breath. An incredibly active NBA trade deadline has finally come to a close, and while there was a flurry of deals, two of the biggest names on the board -- Anthony Davis and Mike Conley -- remain with their original teams.
With over 20 trades made in the week leading up to the deadline, it can be hard to sort through everything. Some players get traded to teams that have no intention of ever playing them, while some players are exchanged for cash or draft picks that will never convey. We're not here to talk about those.
These are the ones that matter. We've ranked the top trade deadline deals in order of importance, dating back to last Thursday.
1. Knicks say goodbye to Kristaps, load up for free agency
It happened a week before the deadline, but there's no question that this was the biggest trade of the season. Not only does it give Dallas a potential All-NBA duo of Porzingis and super-rookie Luka Doncic, but it also gives the Knicks the cap flexibility to sign two max players this offseason, possibly paving the way for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to take their talents to the Big Apple. With the star power involved, plus the buzz it generated moving forward, this deal rocked the NBA world to be sure.
2. Sixers go all-in with Tobias Harris
Most expected the 76ers to make some kind of move before the deadline, but few saw this coming. Philly added a borderline All-Star in Harris, giving them one of the most formidable starting lineups in the NBA as they gear up for the playoffs: Harris, Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid. They may not be the Warriors, but those are five exceptional NBA players to throw out there on a nightly basis. This deal also gets bumped in importance because of the trades that followed, such as ...
3. Raptors win Marc Gasol sweepstakes
A trade with Charlotte was reported as being close to done on Wednesday night, but the Raptors swooped in and wooed the Grizzlies with their offer for Gasol. This adds a true center and proven playoff performer to a Toronto team looking to expunge its postseason demons and break through to the NBA Finals. At 34, Gasol may not be the player he once was, but acquiring him without sacrificing much of their young core makes this a slick deal by Masai Ujiri and the Raptors with massive playoff implications. It also officially marked the end of one of the best NBA duos of the past decade, Gasol and Mike Conley, and ushered in a new rebuilding era in Memphis.
4. Bucks add Mirotic to 3-point arsenal
The Bucks have taken their franchise to the next level under head coach Mike Budenholzer, and a major part of that has been gearing the offense around a prolific 3-point attack. With that in mind, Milwaukee went out and got one of the best in the business in Mirotic, a stretch-four capable of knocking down shots from well beyond the arc. He'll provide even more spacing for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe to penetrate and dish, and he could be the missing piece to a deep Milwaukee playoff run.
5. Sixers finally give up on Markelle Fultz
This likely won't have playoff implications this year, but the deal is significant because it marks the end of the bizarre Markelle Fultz era in Philadelphia. It must have pained the Philly front office to part with the team's former No. 1 overall pick (who they also traded a draft pick to get), but a change of scenery was probably best for both parties. Now the NBA world will eagerly wait to see if Fultz can fix whatever issues have bothered him in Orlando.
6. Kings make push for postseason with Barnes
Since they don't have their own draft pick this season, many thought the improved Kings might make a move to try to get into the playoffs, and they did it by acquiring Barnes. Long in need of a wing with size, Sacramento can slide Barnes in alongside the promising young core of De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Marvin Bagley, which could be enough to get them into the postseason if the Lakers and Clippers continue to drop. The Kings have also reportedly expressed interest in keeping Barnes long-term as they appear to finally have the franchise headed in the right direction. The deal will also send Randolph to the buyout market, where he could be picked up by a contender.
7. Wizards trade the untradeable Otto Porter Jr.
Leading up to the trade deadline, word out of the Wizards camp was that Porter was unavailable ... until he suddenly was. The Bulls took on Porter and his sizeable contract for two expiring deals and a second-round pick, signaling the end to the "Big Three" era in Washington with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Porter. With Wall expected to be out for 12 months after an Achilles tear, it will be interesting to see whether Beal is made available this summer.
8. Lakers add much-needed shooting with Bullock
The Lakers' shooting woes are well documented, and before the deadline they made a move to get Bullock, a knock-down shooter who has flourished in Detroit over the last couple of seasons. It's obviously not the big name the Lakers were hoping for, but Bullock gives them a long wing who can space the floor for LeBron, Rajon Rondo and their other playmakers as they try to get back into the playoff picture out West.
9. Lakers create roster spot for ... Carmelo?
After the Bullock deal on Wednesday, the buzz around a Lakers trade for Anthony Davis died down considerably as the deadline approached. Turns out the Lakers did make a move, trading Beasley (who recently reportedly got into a heated discussion with Luke Walton) and Zubac to the Clippers for just-acquired Mike Muscala. It was an odd move for the Lakers since Zubac has shown promise when given extended minutes this season, but the move gives them more shooting and opens up a rosters spot for L.A., who will presumably look for answers on the buyout market. As it has all season, Carmelo Anthony's name has been brought up again, so we'll have to see if LeBron eventually ends up teaming up with his good friend.
10. Clippers clear the decks, shed Bradley
In their continued march toward free agent relevancy this summer, the Clippers cleared $2 million more in cap space for next season by trading Bradley's contract for two expiring deals in Green and Temple. Those players will help the Clippers in the short-term if they choose not to buy them out, but the larger plan for the Clippers is to free up as much financial room as possible to sign Kawhi Leonard and possibly other big names this summer. Let the games begin.
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