The Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers and Atlanta Hawks agreed to a four-team deal ahead of Thursday's trade deadline, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. All told, the complicated swap, which was headlined by James Wiseman moving to the Pistons, involved four players and five future second-round picks.
Here's a quick breakdown of all the moving parts:
- Warriors receive: Gary Payton II (via Blazers)
- Pistons receive: James Wiseman (via Warriors)
- Trail Blazers receive: Kevin Knox (via Pistons), five future second-round picks (via Hawks)
- Hawks receive: Saddiq Bey (via Pistons)
Let's grade the trade:
- Gary Payton II
Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, ended up playing just 60 total games for the Warriors in his two-plus seasons with the team. Much of that was due to injuries, including a knee problem that kept him out of the entire 2021-22 campaign, but he was also just not ready to contribute to a championship team at this stage of his career.
Instead, the Warriors will bring back Payton, who was an important part of their championship run last season despite missing 10 playoff games due to an elbow injury suffered after a flagrant foul by Dillon Brooks. Payton signed a three-year, $26 million deal with the Blazers in the offseason, but was still trying to find his place after missing the first 35 games while recovering from abdominal surgery. Now healthy, he should fit right back into his old role with the Warriors.
If you look at this trade strictly in terms of how the one-for-one swap will help the Warriors on the court this season, it's a great move. Payton is a proven playoff performer, knows the organization and will improve a defense that has been porous at times this season, while Wiseman was not going to be a meaningful part of the roation going forward.
However, if you zoom out, the move is an indictment on the front office's strategy over the past few years. Wiseman was always going to be a long-term project who didn't make sense on the present-day version of the team, but they were obsessed with the idea that they could compete on two timelines and took him anyway. They ended up winning the title last season in spite of that draft mistake, but now they have had to dump a No. 2 overall pick for a guy they could have just re-signed in free agency.
Grade: A (on-court impact this season) / C (overall strategy and asset management)
- James Wiseman (via Warriors)
The Pistons, who have the second-worst record in the league at 14-42, will get a chance to look at Wiseman over the rest of this year and next season. Though raw, there aren't many seven-footers who can move like Wiseman, and the Pistons will hope they can turn him into a reclamation project. Doing so will cost them Bey and Knox, but the former had not improved much from his rookie season and the latter barely played. Wiseman has a higher upside than either of them.
This is the type of low-risk, high-reward move that a team in the Pistons' position should be making. It's impossible to make the leap out of rebuilding mode without elite players, and the Pistons have very few avenues to acquire such talents; taking a shot with "second-draft" guys is one of them. Wiseman may never put it all together, but he has a chance to do so and also fits their current timeline.
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- Saddiq Bey (via Pistons)
As for the Hawks, this has been a disappointing season in Atlanta. Despite the blockbuster addition of Dejounte Murray in the offseason, they are under .500 at 27-28 and currently sitting in a play-in tournament spot. Part of the problem has been their total lack of outside shooting; they are 28th in 3-point attempts per game (30.6) and 22nd in 3-point percentage (34.8).
Bey should help address that problem. He's a big, physical wing who has made 37.2 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s this season and will help improve the spacing around Trae Young and Murray. In addition, he'll improve their wing depth, which was diminished in the offseason by the departures of Danilo Gallinari and Kevin Huerter. Doing so while giving up nothing besides second-round picks is a solid piece of business.
Trail Blazers receive
- Kevin Knox (via Pistons)
- Five future second-round picks (via Hawks)
The Blazers, meanwhile, get to cut bait on the Payton era, which never really got off the ground due to his abdominal injury. They were already leaning into selling mode by sending Josh Hart to the New York Knicks on Wednesday and just continued that trend with this move. Adding Cam Reddish in the Hart trade and Matisse Thybulle in a separate move helps soften the blow of losing Payton.
Second-round picks are always something of a crapshoot, but five of them give you a ton of flexibility -- either in the draft or the trade market. If Knox impresses over the next few months, they have a team option for 2023-24 that they can exercise to keep him around; if not, which is the more likely scenario, they can just let him walk.