Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose

<p>The Cleveland Cavaliers (34-22) are clearly not where they want to be at this point of the season, sitting behind the Toronto Raptors (41-16) and Boston Celtics (40-19) in the Eastern Conference standings. But heading into the <a href="https://www.oddsshark.com/nba/nba-all-star-game-betting-preview" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NBA All-Star break" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NBA All-Star break</a>, the Cavaliers are still the top title contender in the East at +600 (bet $100 to win $600) on the <a href="https://www.oddsshark.com/nba/nba-futures" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:odds to win the NBA championship" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">odds to win the NBA championship</a> at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.</p><p>Cleveland made a number of changes prior to the trade deadline in an effort to make a run at the franchise&#39;s second championship in three years, replacing former All-Stars Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose with hungrier players who fit better, bringing in George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood.</p><p>If this is truly the last year for LeBron James with the Cavaliers, they made a serious effort to improve and will take a four-game winning streak into the last two months of the regular season.</p><p>The Raptors have won seven straight though, and appear headed toward a franchise-best record along with the No. 1 seed in the East if they can hold off the Celtics in the Atlantic Division. Toronto might have the most value on the betting board at +2200 to win its first-ever NBA title after opening at +5000. Boston is the +1200 fourth choice to win it all behind Cleveland and a couple Western Conference teams listed at the top.</p><p>The Golden State Warriors (44-14) trail the Houston Rockets (44-13) by a half-game in the Western Conference standings, and they have already lost two of the three regular-season meetings. That means the Rockets would win a tie-breaker for the No. 1 seed, which could be huge if they meet in the Western Conference Finals as expected.</p><p>Houston is riding a 10-game winning streak and has improved to +400 on the <a href="https://www.oddsshark.com/nba/nba-futures" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:2018 NBA championship odds" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">2018 NBA championship odds</a> from an opener of +700. However, despite some occasional bumps in the road, Golden State is still the team to beat as the -180 favorite (bet $180 to win $100) to repeat as league champion.</p><p>The Rockets and Warriors have only strengthened their position in the West, pushing other contenders in the conference like the Oklahoma City Thunder (33-26) and San Antonio Spurs (35-24) down the betting board. The Thunder have dropped from +1200 to +2000 while the Spurs have fallen from +1600 to +2500.</p>
Cavaliers Lead Way in the East in Championship Betting Odds at the All-Star Break

The Cleveland Cavaliers (34-22) are clearly not where they want to be at this point of the season, sitting behind the Toronto Raptors (41-16) and Boston Celtics (40-19) in the Eastern Conference standings. But heading into the NBA All-Star break, the Cavaliers are still the top title contender in the East at +600 (bet $100 to win $600) on the odds to win the NBA championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Cleveland made a number of changes prior to the trade deadline in an effort to make a run at the franchise's second championship in three years, replacing former All-Stars Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose with hungrier players who fit better, bringing in George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood.

If this is truly the last year for LeBron James with the Cavaliers, they made a serious effort to improve and will take a four-game winning streak into the last two months of the regular season.

The Raptors have won seven straight though, and appear headed toward a franchise-best record along with the No. 1 seed in the East if they can hold off the Celtics in the Atlantic Division. Toronto might have the most value on the betting board at +2200 to win its first-ever NBA title after opening at +5000. Boston is the +1200 fourth choice to win it all behind Cleveland and a couple Western Conference teams listed at the top.

The Golden State Warriors (44-14) trail the Houston Rockets (44-13) by a half-game in the Western Conference standings, and they have already lost two of the three regular-season meetings. That means the Rockets would win a tie-breaker for the No. 1 seed, which could be huge if they meet in the Western Conference Finals as expected.

Houston is riding a 10-game winning streak and has improved to +400 on the 2018 NBA championship odds from an opener of +700. However, despite some occasional bumps in the road, Golden State is still the team to beat as the -180 favorite (bet $180 to win $100) to repeat as league champion.

The Rockets and Warriors have only strengthened their position in the West, pushing other contenders in the conference like the Oklahoma City Thunder (33-26) and San Antonio Spurs (35-24) down the betting board. The Thunder have dropped from +1200 to +2000 while the Spurs have fallen from +1600 to +2500.

<p>LOS ANGELES — The Slam Dunk Contest is in desperate need of a new heir to the throne.</p><p>In recent years, the NBA’s marquee All-Star Weekend event has enjoyed a nice renaissance thanks to Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon, whose classic 2016 duel stands as one of the best contests in NBA history. LaVine’s sensational 2015 debut and Gordon’s (unsuccessful) <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2017/02/19/nba-dunk-contest-all-star-weekend-aaron-gordon-drone" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:attempt at a drone-powered redemption" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">attempt at a drone-powered redemption</a> in 2017 set the table for the Dunk Contest in those years too.</p><p>Unfortunately, 2018 is a different story and one in need of new starring characters. LaVine, a two-time champ, missed the first 42 games of the season <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2017/02/05/zach-lavine-timberwolves-torn-acl-potential" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:due to an ACL injury" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">due to an ACL injury</a> and won’t be competing. Gordon was initially invited back, but he had to scratch earlier this month due to a hip injury. And Glenn Robinson III, last year’s surprise winner after Gordon struggled badly in the first round, was unable to defend his crown following ankle surgery last fall.</p><p>Who is set to enter the void? Well, this year’s Slam Dunk Contest headliner is Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, the field’s only All-Star and its only returning participant. Joining Oladipo are Cleveland forward Larry Nance Jr., a second-generation Dunk Contest participant, and a pair of high-flying rookie guards: Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Dallas’s Dennis Smith Jr.</p><p>Oddsmakers view this as an open race, with <a href="http://www.bovada.lv/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bovada.LV" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bovada.LV</a> tapping Smith (7/4) as the favorite followed by Mitchell (11/5), Nance (13/5) and Oladipo (4/1). Here’s a complete rundown, with video, of all four contestants.</p><h3><strong>Victor Oladipo, Pacers</strong></h3><p>Oladipo’s ability to make the most of an off-season trade from Oklahoma City with a breakout year in Indiana has been one of the league’s best storylines this season. The <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/01/23/all-star-game-reserves" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:first-time All-Star" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">first-time All-Star</a> and Most Improved Player candidate will get a second chance at adding a Dunk Contest belt to his résumé after finishing second to LaVine in 2015.</p><p>At 6’4”, Oladipo is a compact, power dunker who favors spinning tricks. In 2015, his best dunk was a “540” in which he double-clutched and then reached back for a reverse finish following a dizzying spin. That dunk drew a perfect “50” from the judges and led Oladipo to parade around the court with a sign that read “Mr. 360,” much to the crowd’s delight. Surely, Oladipo will go back to that portion of his toolbox on Saturday, given how quickly and effortlessly he is able to complete mid-air rotations. </p><p>The rest of Oladipo’s 2015 contest was less impressive: He caught an alley-oop off the side of the glass for a one-handed 360, he tried and failed to complete a lefty dunk after jumping over a seated Elfrid Payton, and he ended with a simple windmill after taking an alley-oop off the back of the backboard. While the 25-year-old Oladipo still has plenty of bounce and charisma three years later, he’ll need more creativity—and perhaps some additional props or stunts—to keep up with the younger guards in this year’s competition. </p><h3><strong>Larry Nance Jr. Cavaliers</strong></h3><p>Larry Nance Jr. is the son of Slam Dunk Contest royalty. In 1984, Suns forward Larry Nance Sr. completed nine dunks over three rounds to win the league’s first ever Dunk Contest, besting a star-studded nine-member field that included Hall of Famers Julius Erving, Dominique Wilkins, and Clyde Drexler. Nance Sr. used his long arms to rock the cradle, he dunked two balls simultaneously, he tossed an alley-oop off the glass, and he swooped underneath the basket for reverse dunks. By modern standards, of course, his work looks pedestrian.</p><p>After multiple years of Dunk Contest hype were derailed by various injuries, Nance Jr. is finally healthy and ready to follow in his father’s footsteps. The 25-year-old Nance Jr. has compiled a long list of posterization victims during his three-year career thanks to his 6’9” frame, excellent springs, and fearlessness. His signature is his willingness to extend fully so that the ball is well above the rim at its apex, and those Statue of Liberty style dunks made him a Staples Center favorite during his two-plus seasons with the Lakers prior to his trade to the Cavaliers last week.</p><p>Nance Jr. appears headed for a boom-or-bust contest. He has three distinct advantages: 1) His size and length set him apart from his competitors, 2) He should enjoy a home-court advantage in L.A., and 3) his father’s place in NBA history sets up the obvious possibility of tribute dunks, old-school jerseys, and other heartwarming narrative-generating fare. However, one-handed tomahawks play a lot better over Kevin Durant than they do in the Dunk Contest, a friendly audience can only do so much, and retro nostalgia must be supplemented with title-worthy material. Nance Jr. also faces the classic big man challenge: His dunks will need to have enough technical elements so that they don’t come off looking simplistic or “easy” given his significant height advantage over his three competitors.</p><h3><strong>Dennis Smith Jr., Mavericks</strong></h3><p>Pegged as a possible Rookie of the Year candidate during the preseason, Dennis Smith Jr. has quietly receded from the headlines for most of the 2017–18 season. Despite eye-popping physical tools, the 6’3” guard has struggled to score efficiently, and the Mavericks have been way out of the playoff picture all season. Other rookies like Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell and even Lonzo Ball have gobbled up all of the attention.</p><p>That said, Smith is built to win a Dunk Contest: He explodes off the court, he consistently gets head-level to the rim, and he finishes like he’s trying to rip the basket off its stanchion. But don’t sleep on his technique! As this highlight reel from Team Flight Brothers shows, the 20-year-old Smith is capable of finishing with either hand after putting the ball between his legs in mid-air.</p><p>The Slam Dunk Contest buzz picked up for Smith during Las Vegas Summer League, as he consistently dazzled during lay-up lines and in games. At his best, he boasts a rare combination of grace and might that has consistently drawn comparisons to Steve Francis and a young Derrick Rose.</p><h3><strong>Donovan Mitchell, Jazz</strong></h3><p>If there’s one major downside to the composition of this year’s field, it’s that Oladipo, Smith and the 6’3” Donovan Mitchell are cut from a similar cloth as smaller guards with thunderous potential. It seems inevitable that Saturday’s contest will start to blur together because the field is lacking a long-and-lean pogo-stick like 2017 runner-up Derrick Jones Jr., a true center like DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond, or a mighty mouse candidate like Nate Robinson.</p><p>However, Mitchell, a late addition once Gordon scratched, hasn’t had any problem separating himself from the pack this season. He’s leading all rookies in scoring, pushing Simmons for Rookie of the Year honors, and doing more than his fair share to keep Utah in the West’s playoff picture. His leaping ability is a huge part of his appeal: Mitchell bounced high against the Lakers for a put-back slam that stands as one of the NBA’s best dunks this season, he’s completed one-handed alley-oops and windmills in games, and he tracks towards the rim like a heat-seeking missile. He’s not a League Pass favorite by accident. </p><p>Will Mitchell’s dunking style translate to the contest format? The audience has been spoiled by LaVine, Gordon, Robinson III and others in recent years, and to keep pace Mitchell will need to display a level of creativity and intricacy that he hasn’t yet shown in games. No matter how forcefully delivered, a windmill isn’t going to cut it on Saturday.</p><h3><strong>SI.com prediction: Smith over Nance Jr. in the finals</strong></h3><p>Given that Nance has openly campaigned to be in the Dunk Contest for years, it seems like a safe bet that he’ll have a trick or two up his sleeve to ensure that he advances out of the first round.</p><p>Of the three smaller guards, Smith boasts the most pop and has the deepest catalog of high degree-of-difficulty dunks on tape. Back in 2014, Washington’s John Wall combined leaping ability, athleticism and just enough tricks with the ball to lead the East to the Slam Dunk Contest title (it was a <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/point-forward/2014/02/16/2014-nba-slam-dunk-contest-format-rules-john-wall-paul-george" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:team event that year" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">team event that year</a>). If Smith can handle the nerves that come with his first time on the NBA’s big stage, he should take home the crown by following a Wall-like formula.</p>
2018 NBA All-Star Weekend: Slam Dunk Contest Needs New Heir to the Throne

LOS ANGELES — The Slam Dunk Contest is in desperate need of a new heir to the throne.

In recent years, the NBA’s marquee All-Star Weekend event has enjoyed a nice renaissance thanks to Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon, whose classic 2016 duel stands as one of the best contests in NBA history. LaVine’s sensational 2015 debut and Gordon’s (unsuccessful) attempt at a drone-powered redemption in 2017 set the table for the Dunk Contest in those years too.

Unfortunately, 2018 is a different story and one in need of new starring characters. LaVine, a two-time champ, missed the first 42 games of the season due to an ACL injury and won’t be competing. Gordon was initially invited back, but he had to scratch earlier this month due to a hip injury. And Glenn Robinson III, last year’s surprise winner after Gordon struggled badly in the first round, was unable to defend his crown following ankle surgery last fall.

Who is set to enter the void? Well, this year’s Slam Dunk Contest headliner is Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, the field’s only All-Star and its only returning participant. Joining Oladipo are Cleveland forward Larry Nance Jr., a second-generation Dunk Contest participant, and a pair of high-flying rookie guards: Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Dallas’s Dennis Smith Jr.

Oddsmakers view this as an open race, with Bovada.LV tapping Smith (7/4) as the favorite followed by Mitchell (11/5), Nance (13/5) and Oladipo (4/1). Here’s a complete rundown, with video, of all four contestants.

Victor Oladipo, Pacers

Oladipo’s ability to make the most of an off-season trade from Oklahoma City with a breakout year in Indiana has been one of the league’s best storylines this season. The first-time All-Star and Most Improved Player candidate will get a second chance at adding a Dunk Contest belt to his résumé after finishing second to LaVine in 2015.

At 6’4”, Oladipo is a compact, power dunker who favors spinning tricks. In 2015, his best dunk was a “540” in which he double-clutched and then reached back for a reverse finish following a dizzying spin. That dunk drew a perfect “50” from the judges and led Oladipo to parade around the court with a sign that read “Mr. 360,” much to the crowd’s delight. Surely, Oladipo will go back to that portion of his toolbox on Saturday, given how quickly and effortlessly he is able to complete mid-air rotations.

The rest of Oladipo’s 2015 contest was less impressive: He caught an alley-oop off the side of the glass for a one-handed 360, he tried and failed to complete a lefty dunk after jumping over a seated Elfrid Payton, and he ended with a simple windmill after taking an alley-oop off the back of the backboard. While the 25-year-old Oladipo still has plenty of bounce and charisma three years later, he’ll need more creativity—and perhaps some additional props or stunts—to keep up with the younger guards in this year’s competition.

Larry Nance Jr. Cavaliers

Larry Nance Jr. is the son of Slam Dunk Contest royalty. In 1984, Suns forward Larry Nance Sr. completed nine dunks over three rounds to win the league’s first ever Dunk Contest, besting a star-studded nine-member field that included Hall of Famers Julius Erving, Dominique Wilkins, and Clyde Drexler. Nance Sr. used his long arms to rock the cradle, he dunked two balls simultaneously, he tossed an alley-oop off the glass, and he swooped underneath the basket for reverse dunks. By modern standards, of course, his work looks pedestrian.

After multiple years of Dunk Contest hype were derailed by various injuries, Nance Jr. is finally healthy and ready to follow in his father’s footsteps. The 25-year-old Nance Jr. has compiled a long list of posterization victims during his three-year career thanks to his 6’9” frame, excellent springs, and fearlessness. His signature is his willingness to extend fully so that the ball is well above the rim at its apex, and those Statue of Liberty style dunks made him a Staples Center favorite during his two-plus seasons with the Lakers prior to his trade to the Cavaliers last week.

Nance Jr. appears headed for a boom-or-bust contest. He has three distinct advantages: 1) His size and length set him apart from his competitors, 2) He should enjoy a home-court advantage in L.A., and 3) his father’s place in NBA history sets up the obvious possibility of tribute dunks, old-school jerseys, and other heartwarming narrative-generating fare. However, one-handed tomahawks play a lot better over Kevin Durant than they do in the Dunk Contest, a friendly audience can only do so much, and retro nostalgia must be supplemented with title-worthy material. Nance Jr. also faces the classic big man challenge: His dunks will need to have enough technical elements so that they don’t come off looking simplistic or “easy” given his significant height advantage over his three competitors.

Dennis Smith Jr., Mavericks

Pegged as a possible Rookie of the Year candidate during the preseason, Dennis Smith Jr. has quietly receded from the headlines for most of the 2017–18 season. Despite eye-popping physical tools, the 6’3” guard has struggled to score efficiently, and the Mavericks have been way out of the playoff picture all season. Other rookies like Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell and even Lonzo Ball have gobbled up all of the attention.

That said, Smith is built to win a Dunk Contest: He explodes off the court, he consistently gets head-level to the rim, and he finishes like he’s trying to rip the basket off its stanchion. But don’t sleep on his technique! As this highlight reel from Team Flight Brothers shows, the 20-year-old Smith is capable of finishing with either hand after putting the ball between his legs in mid-air.

The Slam Dunk Contest buzz picked up for Smith during Las Vegas Summer League, as he consistently dazzled during lay-up lines and in games. At his best, he boasts a rare combination of grace and might that has consistently drawn comparisons to Steve Francis and a young Derrick Rose.

Donovan Mitchell, Jazz

If there’s one major downside to the composition of this year’s field, it’s that Oladipo, Smith and the 6’3” Donovan Mitchell are cut from a similar cloth as smaller guards with thunderous potential. It seems inevitable that Saturday’s contest will start to blur together because the field is lacking a long-and-lean pogo-stick like 2017 runner-up Derrick Jones Jr., a true center like DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond, or a mighty mouse candidate like Nate Robinson.

However, Mitchell, a late addition once Gordon scratched, hasn’t had any problem separating himself from the pack this season. He’s leading all rookies in scoring, pushing Simmons for Rookie of the Year honors, and doing more than his fair share to keep Utah in the West’s playoff picture. His leaping ability is a huge part of his appeal: Mitchell bounced high against the Lakers for a put-back slam that stands as one of the NBA’s best dunks this season, he’s completed one-handed alley-oops and windmills in games, and he tracks towards the rim like a heat-seeking missile. He’s not a League Pass favorite by accident.

Will Mitchell’s dunking style translate to the contest format? The audience has been spoiled by LaVine, Gordon, Robinson III and others in recent years, and to keep pace Mitchell will need to display a level of creativity and intricacy that he hasn’t yet shown in games. No matter how forcefully delivered, a windmill isn’t going to cut it on Saturday.

SI.com prediction: Smith over Nance Jr. in the finals

Given that Nance has openly campaigned to be in the Dunk Contest for years, it seems like a safe bet that he’ll have a trick or two up his sleeve to ensure that he advances out of the first round.

Of the three smaller guards, Smith boasts the most pop and has the deepest catalog of high degree-of-difficulty dunks on tape. Back in 2014, Washington’s John Wall combined leaping ability, athleticism and just enough tricks with the ball to lead the East to the Slam Dunk Contest title (it was a team event that year). If Smith can handle the nerves that come with his first time on the NBA’s big stage, he should take home the crown by following a Wall-like formula.

Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
Derrick Rose&#39;s half-season in Cleveland has come to an unceremonious end.
Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
Derrick Rose's half-season in Cleveland has come to an unceremonious end.
Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
Derrick Rose&#39;s half-season in Cleveland has come to an unceremonious end.
Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
Derrick Rose's half-season in Cleveland has come to an unceremonious end.
Former Cavaliers guard Derrick Rose has cleared waivers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
Report: Former MVP Derrick Rose Goes Unclaimed on Waivers
Former Cavaliers guard Derrick Rose has cleared waivers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
Rose was waived by the Jazz on Saturday, just two days after joining Utah via a trade from the Cavaliers.
Derrick Rose clears waivers; now what?
Rose was waived by the Jazz on Saturday, just two days after joining Utah via a trade from the Cavaliers.
<p>Derrick Rose clears waivers; now what?</p>
Derrick Rose clears waivers; now what?

Derrick Rose clears waivers; now what?

<p>Derrick Rose clears waivers; now what?</p>
Derrick Rose clears waivers; now what?

Derrick Rose clears waivers; now what?

Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
Derrick Rose clears waivers, and his NBA future looks more and more uncertain
<p>Former Cavaliers guard Derrick Rose has cleared waivers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. </p><p>Rose was waived by the Jazz after being acquired in a three-team trade at the deadline that landed George Hill and Rodney Hood in Cleveland. Utah also acquired Jae Crowder and traded Joe Johnson to the Kings. (Johnson was subsequently waived and appears headed to the Rockets.)</p><p>Though no team wanted Rose enough to claim him on waivers, Wojnarowski reports that he does have suitors. He has yet to receive “a firm offer to sign him for the rest of the season,” Wojnarowski adds. The Wizards, another potential landing spot, are currently considering signing Ty Lawson after a year in China, according to Wojnarowski. </p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/TheSteinLine/status/961673010263547904" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Thursday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Marc Stein of the <em>New York Times</em> reported Thursday</a> that the Timberwolves would make Rose an offer if he passed through waivers. Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau has already added his former Bulls players Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. </p><p>Rose, 29, struggled with Cleveland this season, playing just 19.3 minutes per game in 16 appearances. He injured his ankle in late October and then left the team to contemplate retirement. He returned to the court on Jan. 18. </p>
Report: Former MVP Derrick Rose Goes Unclaimed on Waivers

Former Cavaliers guard Derrick Rose has cleared waivers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Rose was waived by the Jazz after being acquired in a three-team trade at the deadline that landed George Hill and Rodney Hood in Cleveland. Utah also acquired Jae Crowder and traded Joe Johnson to the Kings. (Johnson was subsequently waived and appears headed to the Rockets.)

Though no team wanted Rose enough to claim him on waivers, Wojnarowski reports that he does have suitors. He has yet to receive “a firm offer to sign him for the rest of the season,” Wojnarowski adds. The Wizards, another potential landing spot, are currently considering signing Ty Lawson after a year in China, according to Wojnarowski.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Thursday that the Timberwolves would make Rose an offer if he passed through waivers. Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau has already added his former Bulls players Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.

Rose, 29, struggled with Cleveland this season, playing just 19.3 minutes per game in 16 appearances. He injured his ankle in late October and then left the team to contemplate retirement. He returned to the court on Jan. 18.

<p>PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Ski jumping is largely about delaying the end: gain speed, take off, hang in the air as long as you can. When Sarah Hendrickson got to the bottom of the hill here Monday night, maybe for the last time in an Olympics, she knew she would not win a medal. She stopped expecting a medal long ago. Her triumph was delaying the end.</p><p>Hendrickson should be one of the American stars of these Olympics. She was the best in the world five years ago, at age 18, and America loves a smart, attractive woman who is able to fly. I admit there is not a lot of evidence for this. But we love smart, attractive people, and the whole flying thing does not seem like a deal-breaker.</p><p>Now Hendrickson is 23 but her knees are pushing 50. She has had six knee surgeries. If you’re a sports fan, you’ve heard this song before. Derrick Rose can tell you her story. Gale Sayers can feel her pain. But take a moment and appreciate Sarah Hendrickson. There ought to be a podium for people like this.</p><p>She has been an ambassador for her sport, selling it long before she had a product to sell. Men’s ski jumping has been part of the Winter Olympics since the winter games debuted in 1924, but for 90 years there was no women’s event. Hendrickson and others pushed for their place in the Games.</p><p>To understand why, just watch her come down that hill. Who does this? With some Olympic sports, it’s easy to understand how people got into it. Anybody who ever tried skating would like to skate really fast. Curling is a sport for people who just don’t get to do enough sweeping at home, and the luge is an extraordinarily efficient way to avoid creditors.</p><p>But ski jumping … well, Hendrickson probably explained it best in September, at the U.S.O.C. media summit:</p><p>“The girls who look up at the jump and say, ‘That’s what I want to do,’ those are the ones who you have to pay attention to. At no point should you convince a kid, boy or girl, that they have to do this. They have to look up there and want to do it. If there is fear at that first sight, then it’s not for them.”</p><p>Hendrickson was one of those kids who said, “That’s what I want to do.” And she was damn, damn great at it. During the sport’s first World Cup season, in 2012, she was not just the best in the world. She was the best in the world by a wide margin. She won nine of 13 events. That summer, she had knee surgery, but she came back to win the world championship the next year.</p><p>Women’s ski jumping was added to the Olympics in in 2014, and Hendrickson was the favorite to win the first Olympic gold. Then, in August 2013, she tore her ACL and MCL. The Sochi Olympics were just six months away. She competed anyway. She is one of those kids.</p><p>Hendrickson was assigned bib No. 1, making her the first female Olympic ski jumper ever. She would have preferred to finish No. 1. She finished 21st instead.</p><p>She was only 19. She had time to regain her old form. But the next year, she tore her ACL again. She has had four knee surgeries since Sochi. She said it was even harder to make this Olympic team than to make the one in Sochi, but she did it. She is still trying to reconcile the difference between her best jumps now and her best jumps five years ago. She described her performance here as “Two pretty mediocre jumps for me, but it’s the best I’ve done all season.”</p><p>Most of us would have retired long ago. But most of us would not look up at a ski jump and say: <em>That’s what I want to do.</em></p><p>“There is just this passion that you have,” she said. “There was just no (thought) in my mind that I was done.”</p><p>She has those thoughts now. At some point, it doesn’t make sense to go on.</p><p>“I’m not sure about the future,” Hendrickson said. “I will stay for the rest of the Games and go to two more World Cups in Germany and kind of reassess my future.”</p><p>Hendrickson is most looking forward to freestyle skiing; her boyfriend, Torin Yater-Wallace, is a medal contender. They started dating shortly after the Sochi Olympics. At one point, in 2015, Hendrickson was rehabbing after one of her knee surgeries and Yater-Wallace was recovering from a life-threatening infection in his liver and gall bladder, and this was the romantic version of her Olympic career: not what she envisioned, but oddly wonderful anyway.</p><p>“It was a really tough time when he was sick and I was recovering from another ACL injury,” she said. “But that was like the longest time we got to spend together. To have somebody that understands and that gets you and just … I don’t know, supports you through that really hard time, is amazing.”</p><p>She said Monday that Yater-Wallace did not give her any special words of encouragement Monday. There was no need.</p><p>“We just have that common language,” she said. “We don’t need to say anything to each other. That’s what he’s taught me. It doesn’t really matter what result you get. It’s that your boyfriend or girlfriend is happy at the end of the day. So he is always proud of me regardless of what I do, and vice versa. That’s amazing to have at the bottom of the hill.”</p>
No Fear: Six Knee Surgeries Couldn't Stop USA's Sarah Hendrickson from Returning to Ski Jumping

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Ski jumping is largely about delaying the end: gain speed, take off, hang in the air as long as you can. When Sarah Hendrickson got to the bottom of the hill here Monday night, maybe for the last time in an Olympics, she knew she would not win a medal. She stopped expecting a medal long ago. Her triumph was delaying the end.

Hendrickson should be one of the American stars of these Olympics. She was the best in the world five years ago, at age 18, and America loves a smart, attractive woman who is able to fly. I admit there is not a lot of evidence for this. But we love smart, attractive people, and the whole flying thing does not seem like a deal-breaker.

Now Hendrickson is 23 but her knees are pushing 50. She has had six knee surgeries. If you’re a sports fan, you’ve heard this song before. Derrick Rose can tell you her story. Gale Sayers can feel her pain. But take a moment and appreciate Sarah Hendrickson. There ought to be a podium for people like this.

She has been an ambassador for her sport, selling it long before she had a product to sell. Men’s ski jumping has been part of the Winter Olympics since the winter games debuted in 1924, but for 90 years there was no women’s event. Hendrickson and others pushed for their place in the Games.

To understand why, just watch her come down that hill. Who does this? With some Olympic sports, it’s easy to understand how people got into it. Anybody who ever tried skating would like to skate really fast. Curling is a sport for people who just don’t get to do enough sweeping at home, and the luge is an extraordinarily efficient way to avoid creditors.

But ski jumping … well, Hendrickson probably explained it best in September, at the U.S.O.C. media summit:

“The girls who look up at the jump and say, ‘That’s what I want to do,’ those are the ones who you have to pay attention to. At no point should you convince a kid, boy or girl, that they have to do this. They have to look up there and want to do it. If there is fear at that first sight, then it’s not for them.”

Hendrickson was one of those kids who said, “That’s what I want to do.” And she was damn, damn great at it. During the sport’s first World Cup season, in 2012, she was not just the best in the world. She was the best in the world by a wide margin. She won nine of 13 events. That summer, she had knee surgery, but she came back to win the world championship the next year.

Women’s ski jumping was added to the Olympics in in 2014, and Hendrickson was the favorite to win the first Olympic gold. Then, in August 2013, she tore her ACL and MCL. The Sochi Olympics were just six months away. She competed anyway. She is one of those kids.

Hendrickson was assigned bib No. 1, making her the first female Olympic ski jumper ever. She would have preferred to finish No. 1. She finished 21st instead.

She was only 19. She had time to regain her old form. But the next year, she tore her ACL again. She has had four knee surgeries since Sochi. She said it was even harder to make this Olympic team than to make the one in Sochi, but she did it. She is still trying to reconcile the difference between her best jumps now and her best jumps five years ago. She described her performance here as “Two pretty mediocre jumps for me, but it’s the best I’ve done all season.”

Most of us would have retired long ago. But most of us would not look up at a ski jump and say: That’s what I want to do.

“There is just this passion that you have,” she said. “There was just no (thought) in my mind that I was done.”

She has those thoughts now. At some point, it doesn’t make sense to go on.

“I’m not sure about the future,” Hendrickson said. “I will stay for the rest of the Games and go to two more World Cups in Germany and kind of reassess my future.”

Hendrickson is most looking forward to freestyle skiing; her boyfriend, Torin Yater-Wallace, is a medal contender. They started dating shortly after the Sochi Olympics. At one point, in 2015, Hendrickson was rehabbing after one of her knee surgeries and Yater-Wallace was recovering from a life-threatening infection in his liver and gall bladder, and this was the romantic version of her Olympic career: not what she envisioned, but oddly wonderful anyway.

“It was a really tough time when he was sick and I was recovering from another ACL injury,” she said. “But that was like the longest time we got to spend together. To have somebody that understands and that gets you and just … I don’t know, supports you through that really hard time, is amazing.”

She said Monday that Yater-Wallace did not give her any special words of encouragement Monday. There was no need.

“We just have that common language,” she said. “We don’t need to say anything to each other. That’s what he’s taught me. It doesn’t really matter what result you get. It’s that your boyfriend or girlfriend is happy at the end of the day. So he is always proud of me regardless of what I do, and vice versa. That’s amazing to have at the bottom of the hill.”

<p>Welcome back to The Crossover’s Power Rankings! It’s our first edition of the rankings post-trade deadline, so expect even more wild overreactions than usual. There’s a lot going on in the Association these days, from the streaking Rockets and Jazz to the revived Cavaliers, not to mention the first-place the Toronto Raptors. But let’s not waste time speaking in generalities so it looks like there’s a normal-sized paragraph at the top of this article, let’s get to these rankings, huh?</p><p>(All stats and records through Feb. 12)</p><p><strong>30. Memphis Grizzlies (18–37)</strong><br>It hurts me to put the Grizzlies this low, but this team is aimless right now. Not trading Tyreke Evans for anything at the deadline was a bad decision, and Marc Gasol probably should have been moved as well. Management is really going down with the ship here. I don’t want to be all negative, though, so <a href="https://www.gq.com/story/easy-baby-back-ribs-recipe-super-bowl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:go ahead and make these ribs" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">go ahead and make these ribs</a> courtesy of Lang Whitaker.</p><p><strong>29. New York Knicks (23–34)</strong><br>Losers of six in a row, Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL, and Joakim Noah is still hanging around. I swear, the Knicks were actually really fun for the first few weeks of the season. We’re one J.D. and the Straight Shot ballad about the fickle nature of the NBA beast from moving this team to No. 30.</p><p><strong>28. Phoenix Suns (18–39)</strong><br>I’m only half-surprised the Suns didn’t trade back for Isaiah Thomas at the deadline. There is nothing this team could do that I wouldn’t believe. The Suns have lost five in a row, and I don’t know how they can win one in their next five, either.</p><p><strong>27. Brooklyn Nets (19–38)</strong><br>Brooklyn didn’t do anything splashy at the deadline, even though they had a couple somewhat-coveted players in Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris. Still, Sean Marks has had a deft hand in restocking the cupboard here, and the process is going to take a long time. For now, Brooklyn has lost five in a row, reminding its fans just how long the process to respectability could take.</p><p><strong>26. Sacramento Kings (17–38)</strong><br>Twenty-six somehow feels extremely high for the Kings. Don’t be fooled. This team is still mostly a mess.</p><p><strong>25. Atlanta Hawks (18–39)</strong><br>This may be my favorite random stat of the season: Miles Plumlee is making roughly 76% of the salary the Warriors are paying Draymond Green. Get rid of salary caps!</p><p><strong>24. Dallas Mavericks (18–39)</strong><br>I swear every time I’m watching the Mavericks on League Pass they’re about to upset a good team but somehow they’re still really bad. I wish the end of Dirk’s career could be spent on a better team.</p><p><strong>23. Orlando Magic (18–37)</strong><br>The Magic are up here on the strength of Frank Vogel’s beard and their incredibly dope City Edition jerseys.</p><p><strong>22. Chicago Bulls (19–36)</strong><br>Chicago’s win over Minnesota had to be satisfying for a front office that was dragged for the <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2017/06/22/jimmy-butler-trade-bulls-wolves-nba-draft-grades-zach-lavine-kris-dunn" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:deal that sent Jimmy Butler" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">deal that sent Jimmy Butler</a> to the Wolves. The Bulls still aren’t quite good, but they’re fun to watch.</p><p><strong>21. Los Angeles Lakers (23–32)</strong><br>It feels like it’s only a matter of days before Lavar Ball and Isaiah Thomas are sniping at each other in the media over some kind of slight, perceived or otherwise. Still, L.A. did good at the deadline, scooping up a draft pick and clearing cap space for the summer.</p><p><strong>20. Charlotte Hornets (23–33)</strong><br>This team really deserves better. The Hornets would be fighting for a playoff spot if they weren’t so terrible in close games. Losing Kemba Walker as a sweetener to get rid of bad contracts at the deadline would have been devastating, but management still has their work cut out for them here.</p><p><strong>19. Detroit Pistons (27–28)</strong><br>I’ve really liked the Pistons with Blake Griffin, who’s busting his ass for that team right now. ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz wrote <a href="http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/22373807/can-blake-griffin-change-course-franchise" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a great piece about Griffin’s role in Detroit" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a great piece about Griffin’s role in Detroit</a> late last week. But the Pistons are still facing an uphill climb for a playoff spot, and right now, the top eight in the East seem to be rounding into form.</p><p><strong>18. Los Angeles Clippers (28–26)</strong><br>Keeping DeAndre Jordan at the trade deadline actually made a lot of sense—L.A. can now let him opt out this summer and hoard cap space instead of taking on any future salary. The Clippers have been frisky all season, and that’s partly in credit to Doc Rivers. Are they sure they want to make the playoffs, though? Maybe the eighth seed should get better lottery odds than the ninth-place team in the conference.</p><p><strong>17. New Orleans Pelicans (29–26)</strong><br>I’m not sure how long this team can hold on without Boogie Cousins, but the Pelicans have a manageable schedule headed into mid-March. They should still hang around in the playoff race.</p><p><strong>16. Miami Heat (30–26)</strong><br>Dwyane Wade is back, Luke Babbit is a Spoelstra favorite, and the Heat are back in the win column after a five-game losing streak. Miami still needs to figure out its frontcourt, where James Johnson has struggled and Hassan Whiteside has infuriated. A full return to health for Kelly Olynyk and Wayne Ellington will be key for the homestretch.</p><p><strong>15. Philadelphia 76ers (28–25)</strong><br>Winners of three in a row, the Sixers really are the cliché “Nobody wants to see them in the playoffs” team this season. And Joel Embiid’s All-Star Weekend promises to be the stuff of legends.</p><p><strong>14. Denver Nuggets (30–26)</strong><br>The internet’s once-favorite team has won four of its last five, and is hanging around in the middle of the pack until Paul Millsap’s return. Denver picked up Devin Harris at the deadline, but the team could still use a little more depth. Torrey Craig has been one of the season’s underrated stories, though.</p><p><strong>13. Indiana Pacers (32–25)</strong><br>The Pacers have won three of four, including wins over the Sixers and Celtics. And Victor Oladipo has been good for one LeBron-in-barbershop gif highlight for most of the season. The impact he’s had on this team is just insane. Oh, and the better Indy plays, the more Lance Stephenson starts to feel himself.</p><p><strong>12. Oklahoma City Thunder (32–25)</strong><br>The Thunder have either won two of their last three or lost five of their last seven, depending on how you want to judge them. A win over the Warriors is kind of negated when it’s sandwiched between losses to the Lakers. Sam Presti needs to be working the buyout market for help on the perimeter to make up for the loss of Andre Roberson.</p><p><strong>11. Portland Trail Blazers (31–26)</strong><br>The Blazers are 2–4 in February, and they play the Warriors in their last game before the All-Star break.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>10. Milwaukee Bucks (31–24)</strong><br>The coaching switch in Milwaukee has appeared to turn things around. If the Bucks play the kind of defense their length suggests their capable of, they become a top-four team in the East. It’s also great to see Jabari Parker back on the court.</p><p><strong>9. Washington Wizards (32–24)</strong><br>The OT loss to the Celtics was a bummer, and the bickering needs to stop, but the Wizards are looking frisky even in the wake of John Wall’s injury. It would be nice if Washington could become a player in the buyout market.</p><p><strong>8. San Antonio Spurs (35–22)</strong><br>The Spurs have lost three of four this month. Pop still has this team in third place, but it’s hard to get excited about anything they do without Kawhi, whose injury situation has zapped most of the joy to be felt around San Antonio.</p><p><strong>7. Minnesota Timberwolves (35–24)</strong><br>Please don’t sign Derrick Rose! Tyus Jones and Jeff Teague have been more than serviceable at point guard, and Jamal Crawford is already giving you no-defense minutes off the bench. If Thibs is looking to get the Chicago band back together, Marco Belinelli would make more sense here. </p><p><strong>6. Boston Celtics (40–18)</strong><br>The Celtics enter this week as the only team in the top-eight of the East on a losing streak, having dropped two in a row. This team could use a jolt of energy, and I’m not sure if Greg Monroe is the guy to provide it.</p><p><strong>5. Utah Jazz (28–28)</strong><br>Break up the Jazz! Utah has won nine straight, including wins over the Spurs, Warriors, Raptors and Blazers. Losing Rodney Hood is tough, but it’s possible Jae Crowder finds new life here. The Jazz would perhaps be better off in the lottery, but their super streak has them in the thick of the hunt for the final playoff spot out west.</p><p><strong>4. Cleveland Cavaliers (33–22)</strong><br>Oh, you thought putting the Jazz at five was an overreaction? Here come the Cavs! Cleveland spanked Boston on what was supposed to be Paul Pierce’s day, according to Paul Pierce. One game with LeBron and Jordan Clarkson already looks like a young Scottie Pippen. </p><p>Okay, fine, in all seriousness, the trade deadline seemed to rejuvenate the Cavs, particularly LeBron, who seems to be putting in his most consistent effort over the last week of the season. Will it last? Can this team actually play defense? There are still lots of questions here, and Cleveland isn’t out of the woods yet. But for the last week? Yeah, sure, the Cavs deserve a leap for remaking themselves for the final two months of the season. If they start playing the way they were pre-deadline, they’ll shoot right back down.</p><p><strong>3. Golden State Warriors (43–13)</strong><br>The most notable moment for the Warriors at the deadline was Bob Myers telling his players to stop complaining so much. They still don’t really care about the regular season, and frankly, they don’t need to.</p><p><strong>2. Toronto Raptors (39–16)</strong><br>The Raptors are No. 1 in the East, and their bench lineup has been one of the most fun units to watch across the league this season. OG Anunoby isn’t in the Rookie of the Year conversation, but he’s had an incredible impact on a team with Finals aspirations. If the Raptors make the Finals this year, their end-of-season documentary will spend a good eight minutes on how silly <em>Sports Illustrated</em> looked disrespecting DeMar DeRozan.</p><p><strong>1. Houston Rockets (42–13)</strong><br>The Rockets are winners of eight straight and haven’t received any stern talking-tos from their general manager. They’re adding Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright for the stretch run, two players who can have a decent impact on the roster. And Mike D’Antoni deserves a ton of credit for handling Chris Paul’s and James Harden’s minutes really well, even amid a swirl of injuries. If you squint hard enough, you can see this team reaaallly pushing the Warriors in a playoff series.</p>
NBA Power Rankings: Revived Cavaliers Surge After Trade Deadline

Welcome back to The Crossover’s Power Rankings! It’s our first edition of the rankings post-trade deadline, so expect even more wild overreactions than usual. There’s a lot going on in the Association these days, from the streaking Rockets and Jazz to the revived Cavaliers, not to mention the first-place the Toronto Raptors. But let’s not waste time speaking in generalities so it looks like there’s a normal-sized paragraph at the top of this article, let’s get to these rankings, huh?

(All stats and records through Feb. 12)

30. Memphis Grizzlies (18–37)
It hurts me to put the Grizzlies this low, but this team is aimless right now. Not trading Tyreke Evans for anything at the deadline was a bad decision, and Marc Gasol probably should have been moved as well. Management is really going down with the ship here. I don’t want to be all negative, though, so go ahead and make these ribs courtesy of Lang Whitaker.

29. New York Knicks (23–34)
Losers of six in a row, Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL, and Joakim Noah is still hanging around. I swear, the Knicks were actually really fun for the first few weeks of the season. We’re one J.D. and the Straight Shot ballad about the fickle nature of the NBA beast from moving this team to No. 30.

28. Phoenix Suns (18–39)
I’m only half-surprised the Suns didn’t trade back for Isaiah Thomas at the deadline. There is nothing this team could do that I wouldn’t believe. The Suns have lost five in a row, and I don’t know how they can win one in their next five, either.

27. Brooklyn Nets (19–38)
Brooklyn didn’t do anything splashy at the deadline, even though they had a couple somewhat-coveted players in Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris. Still, Sean Marks has had a deft hand in restocking the cupboard here, and the process is going to take a long time. For now, Brooklyn has lost five in a row, reminding its fans just how long the process to respectability could take.

26. Sacramento Kings (17–38)
Twenty-six somehow feels extremely high for the Kings. Don’t be fooled. This team is still mostly a mess.

25. Atlanta Hawks (18–39)
This may be my favorite random stat of the season: Miles Plumlee is making roughly 76% of the salary the Warriors are paying Draymond Green. Get rid of salary caps!

24. Dallas Mavericks (18–39)
I swear every time I’m watching the Mavericks on League Pass they’re about to upset a good team but somehow they’re still really bad. I wish the end of Dirk’s career could be spent on a better team.

23. Orlando Magic (18–37)
The Magic are up here on the strength of Frank Vogel’s beard and their incredibly dope City Edition jerseys.

22. Chicago Bulls (19–36)
Chicago’s win over Minnesota had to be satisfying for a front office that was dragged for the deal that sent Jimmy Butler to the Wolves. The Bulls still aren’t quite good, but they’re fun to watch.

21. Los Angeles Lakers (23–32)
It feels like it’s only a matter of days before Lavar Ball and Isaiah Thomas are sniping at each other in the media over some kind of slight, perceived or otherwise. Still, L.A. did good at the deadline, scooping up a draft pick and clearing cap space for the summer.

20. Charlotte Hornets (23–33)
This team really deserves better. The Hornets would be fighting for a playoff spot if they weren’t so terrible in close games. Losing Kemba Walker as a sweetener to get rid of bad contracts at the deadline would have been devastating, but management still has their work cut out for them here.

19. Detroit Pistons (27–28)
I’ve really liked the Pistons with Blake Griffin, who’s busting his ass for that team right now. ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz wrote a great piece about Griffin’s role in Detroit late last week. But the Pistons are still facing an uphill climb for a playoff spot, and right now, the top eight in the East seem to be rounding into form.

18. Los Angeles Clippers (28–26)
Keeping DeAndre Jordan at the trade deadline actually made a lot of sense—L.A. can now let him opt out this summer and hoard cap space instead of taking on any future salary. The Clippers have been frisky all season, and that’s partly in credit to Doc Rivers. Are they sure they want to make the playoffs, though? Maybe the eighth seed should get better lottery odds than the ninth-place team in the conference.

17. New Orleans Pelicans (29–26)
I’m not sure how long this team can hold on without Boogie Cousins, but the Pelicans have a manageable schedule headed into mid-March. They should still hang around in the playoff race.

16. Miami Heat (30–26)
Dwyane Wade is back, Luke Babbit is a Spoelstra favorite, and the Heat are back in the win column after a five-game losing streak. Miami still needs to figure out its frontcourt, where James Johnson has struggled and Hassan Whiteside has infuriated. A full return to health for Kelly Olynyk and Wayne Ellington will be key for the homestretch.

15. Philadelphia 76ers (28–25)
Winners of three in a row, the Sixers really are the cliché “Nobody wants to see them in the playoffs” team this season. And Joel Embiid’s All-Star Weekend promises to be the stuff of legends.

14. Denver Nuggets (30–26)
The internet’s once-favorite team has won four of its last five, and is hanging around in the middle of the pack until Paul Millsap’s return. Denver picked up Devin Harris at the deadline, but the team could still use a little more depth. Torrey Craig has been one of the season’s underrated stories, though.

13. Indiana Pacers (32–25)
The Pacers have won three of four, including wins over the Sixers and Celtics. And Victor Oladipo has been good for one LeBron-in-barbershop gif highlight for most of the season. The impact he’s had on this team is just insane. Oh, and the better Indy plays, the more Lance Stephenson starts to feel himself.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (32–25)
The Thunder have either won two of their last three or lost five of their last seven, depending on how you want to judge them. A win over the Warriors is kind of negated when it’s sandwiched between losses to the Lakers. Sam Presti needs to be working the buyout market for help on the perimeter to make up for the loss of Andre Roberson.

11. Portland Trail Blazers (31–26)
The Blazers are 2–4 in February, and they play the Warriors in their last game before the All-Star break.

?

10. Milwaukee Bucks (31–24)
The coaching switch in Milwaukee has appeared to turn things around. If the Bucks play the kind of defense their length suggests their capable of, they become a top-four team in the East. It’s also great to see Jabari Parker back on the court.

9. Washington Wizards (32–24)
The OT loss to the Celtics was a bummer, and the bickering needs to stop, but the Wizards are looking frisky even in the wake of John Wall’s injury. It would be nice if Washington could become a player in the buyout market.

8. San Antonio Spurs (35–22)
The Spurs have lost three of four this month. Pop still has this team in third place, but it’s hard to get excited about anything they do without Kawhi, whose injury situation has zapped most of the joy to be felt around San Antonio.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves (35–24)
Please don’t sign Derrick Rose! Tyus Jones and Jeff Teague have been more than serviceable at point guard, and Jamal Crawford is already giving you no-defense minutes off the bench. If Thibs is looking to get the Chicago band back together, Marco Belinelli would make more sense here.

6. Boston Celtics (40–18)
The Celtics enter this week as the only team in the top-eight of the East on a losing streak, having dropped two in a row. This team could use a jolt of energy, and I’m not sure if Greg Monroe is the guy to provide it.

5. Utah Jazz (28–28)
Break up the Jazz! Utah has won nine straight, including wins over the Spurs, Warriors, Raptors and Blazers. Losing Rodney Hood is tough, but it’s possible Jae Crowder finds new life here. The Jazz would perhaps be better off in the lottery, but their super streak has them in the thick of the hunt for the final playoff spot out west.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (33–22)
Oh, you thought putting the Jazz at five was an overreaction? Here come the Cavs! Cleveland spanked Boston on what was supposed to be Paul Pierce’s day, according to Paul Pierce. One game with LeBron and Jordan Clarkson already looks like a young Scottie Pippen.

Okay, fine, in all seriousness, the trade deadline seemed to rejuvenate the Cavs, particularly LeBron, who seems to be putting in his most consistent effort over the last week of the season. Will it last? Can this team actually play defense? There are still lots of questions here, and Cleveland isn’t out of the woods yet. But for the last week? Yeah, sure, the Cavs deserve a leap for remaking themselves for the final two months of the season. If they start playing the way they were pre-deadline, they’ll shoot right back down.

3. Golden State Warriors (43–13)
The most notable moment for the Warriors at the deadline was Bob Myers telling his players to stop complaining so much. They still don’t really care about the regular season, and frankly, they don’t need to.

2. Toronto Raptors (39–16)
The Raptors are No. 1 in the East, and their bench lineup has been one of the most fun units to watch across the league this season. OG Anunoby isn’t in the Rookie of the Year conversation, but he’s had an incredible impact on a team with Finals aspirations. If the Raptors make the Finals this year, their end-of-season documentary will spend a good eight minutes on how silly Sports Illustrated looked disrespecting DeMar DeRozan.

1. Houston Rockets (42–13)
The Rockets are winners of eight straight and haven’t received any stern talking-tos from their general manager. They’re adding Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright for the stretch run, two players who can have a decent impact on the roster. And Mike D’Antoni deserves a ton of credit for handling Chris Paul’s and James Harden’s minutes really well, even amid a swirl of injuries. If you squint hard enough, you can see this team reaaallly pushing the Warriors in a playoff series.

<p>Welcome back to The Crossover’s Power Rankings! It’s our first edition of the rankings post-trade deadline, so expect even more wild overreactions than usual. There’s a lot going on in the Association these days, from the streaking Rockets and Jazz to the revived Cavaliers, not to mention the first-place the Toronto Raptors. But let’s not waste time speaking in generalities so it looks like there’s a normal-sized paragraph at the top of this article, let’s get to these rankings, huh?</p><p>(All stats and records through Feb. 12)</p><p><strong>30. Memphis Grizzlies (18–37)</strong><br>It hurts me to put the Grizzlies this low, but this team is aimless right now. Not trading Tyreke Evans for anything at the deadline was a bad decision, and Marc Gasol probably should have been moved as well. Management is really going down with the ship here. I don’t want to be all negative, though, so <a href="https://www.gq.com/story/easy-baby-back-ribs-recipe-super-bowl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:go ahead and make these ribs" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">go ahead and make these ribs</a> courtesy of Lang Whitaker.</p><p><strong>29. New York Knicks (23–34)</strong><br>Losers of six in a row, Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL, and Joakim Noah is still hanging around. I swear, the Knicks were actually really fun for the first few weeks of the season. We’re one J.D. and the Straight Shot ballad about the fickle nature of the NBA beast from moving this team to No. 30.</p><p><strong>28. Phoenix Suns (18–39)</strong><br>I’m only half-surprised the Suns didn’t trade back for Isaiah Thomas at the deadline. There is nothing this team could do that I wouldn’t believe. The Suns have lost five in a row, and I don’t know how they can win one in their next five, either.</p><p><strong>27. Brooklyn Nets (19–38)</strong><br>Brooklyn didn’t do anything splashy at the deadline, even though they had a couple somewhat-coveted players in Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris. Still, Sean Marks has had a deft hand in restocking the cupboard here, and the process is going to take a long time. For now, Brooklyn has lost five in a row, reminding its fans just how long the process to respectability could take.</p><p><strong>26. Sacramento Kings (17–38)</strong><br>Twenty-six somehow feels extremely high for the Kings. Don’t be fooled. This team is still mostly a mess.</p><p><strong>25. Atlanta Hawks (18–39)</strong><br>This may be my favorite random stat of the season: Miles Plumlee is making roughly 76% of the salary the Warriors are paying Draymond Green. Get rid of salary caps!</p><p><strong>24. Dallas Mavericks (18–39)</strong><br>I swear every time I’m watching the Mavericks on League Pass they’re about to upset a good team but somehow they’re still really bad. I wish the end of Dirk’s career could be spent on a better team.</p><p><strong>23. Orlando Magic (18–37)</strong><br>The Magic are up here on the strength of Frank Vogel’s beard and their incredibly dope City Edition jerseys.</p><p><strong>22. Chicago Bulls (19–36)</strong><br>Chicago’s win over Minnesota had to be satisfying for a front office that was dragged for the <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2017/06/22/jimmy-butler-trade-bulls-wolves-nba-draft-grades-zach-lavine-kris-dunn" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:deal that sent Jimmy Butler" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">deal that sent Jimmy Butler</a> to the Wolves. The Bulls still aren’t quite good, but they’re fun to watch.</p><p><strong>21. Los Angeles Lakers (23–32)</strong><br>It feels like it’s only a matter of days before Lavar Ball and Isaiah Thomas are sniping at each other in the media over some kind of slight, perceived or otherwise. Still, L.A. did good at the deadline, scooping up a draft pick and clearing cap space for the summer.</p><p><strong>20. Charlotte Hornets (23–33)</strong><br>This team really deserves better. The Hornets would be fighting for a playoff spot if they weren’t so terrible in close games. Losing Kemba Walker as a sweetener to get rid of bad contracts at the deadline would have been devastating, but management still has their work cut out for them here.</p><p><strong>19. Detroit Pistons (27–28)</strong><br>I’ve really liked the Pistons with Blake Griffin, who’s busting his ass for that team right now. ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz wrote <a href="http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/22373807/can-blake-griffin-change-course-franchise" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a great piece about Griffin’s role in Detroit" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a great piece about Griffin’s role in Detroit</a> late last week. But the Pistons are still facing an uphill climb for a playoff spot, and right now, the top eight in the East seem to be rounding into form.</p><p><strong>18. Los Angeles Clippers (28–26)</strong><br>Keeping DeAndre Jordan at the trade deadline actually made a lot of sense—L.A. can now let him opt out this summer and hoard cap space instead of taking on any future salary. The Clippers have been frisky all season, and that’s partly in credit to Doc Rivers. Are they sure they want to make the playoffs, though? Maybe the eighth seed should get better lottery odds than the ninth-place team in the conference.</p><p><strong>17. New Orleans Pelicans (29–26)</strong><br>I’m not sure how long this team can hold on without Boogie Cousins, but the Pelicans have a manageable schedule headed into mid-March. They should still hang around in the playoff race.</p><p><strong>16. Miami Heat (30–26)</strong><br>Dwyane Wade is back, Luke Babbit is a Spoelstra favorite, and the Heat are back in the win column after a five-game losing streak. Miami still needs to figure out its frontcourt, where James Johnson has struggled and Hassan Whiteside has infuriated. A full return to health for Kelly Olynyk and Wayne Ellington will be key for the homestretch.</p><p><strong>15. Philadelphia 76ers (28–25)</strong><br>Winners of three in a row, the Sixers really are the cliché “Nobody wants to see them in the playoffs” team this season. And Joel Embiid’s All-Star Weekend promises to be the stuff of legends.</p><p><strong>14. Denver Nuggets (30–26)</strong><br>The internet’s once-favorite team has won four of its last five, and is hanging around in the middle of the pack until Paul Millsap’s return. Denver picked up Devin Harris at the deadline, but the team could still use a little more depth. Torrey Craig has been one of the season’s underrated stories, though.</p><p><strong>13. Indiana Pacers (32–25)</strong><br>The Pacers have won three of four, including wins over the Sixers and Celtics. And Victor Oladipo has been good for one LeBron-in-barbershop gif highlight for most of the season. The impact he’s had on this team is just insane. Oh, and the better Indy plays, the more Lance Stephenson starts to feel himself.</p><p><strong>12. Oklahoma City Thunder (32–25)</strong><br>The Thunder have either won two of their last three or lost five of their last seven, depending on how you want to judge them. A win over the Warriors is kind of negated when it’s sandwiched between losses to the Lakers. Sam Presti needs to be working the buyout market for help on the perimeter to make up for the loss of Andre Roberson.</p><p><strong>11. Portland Trail Blazers (31–26)</strong><br>The Blazers are 2–4 in February, and they play the Warriors in their last game before the All-Star break.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>10. Milwaukee Bucks (31–24)</strong><br>The coaching switch in Milwaukee has appeared to turn things around. If the Bucks play the kind of defense their length suggests their capable of, they become a top-four team in the East. It’s also great to see Jabari Parker back on the court.</p><p><strong>9. Washington Wizards (32–24)</strong><br>The OT loss to the Celtics was a bummer, and the bickering needs to stop, but the Wizards are looking frisky even in the wake of John Wall’s injury. It would be nice if Washington could become a player in the buyout market.</p><p><strong>8. San Antonio Spurs (35–22)</strong><br>The Spurs have lost three of four this month. Pop still has this team in third place, but it’s hard to get excited about anything they do without Kawhi, whose injury situation has zapped most of the joy to be felt around San Antonio.</p><p><strong>7. Minnesota Timberwolves (35–24)</strong><br>Please don’t sign Derrick Rose! Tyus Jones and Jeff Teague have been more than serviceable at point guard, and Jamal Crawford is already giving you no-defense minutes off the bench. If Thibs is looking to get the Chicago band back together, Marco Belinelli would make more sense here. </p><p><strong>6. Boston Celtics (40–18)</strong><br>The Celtics enter this week as the only team in the top-eight of the East on a losing streak, having dropped two in a row. This team could use a jolt of energy, and I’m not sure if Greg Monroe is the guy to provide it.</p><p><strong>5. Utah Jazz (28–28)</strong><br>Break up the Jazz! Utah has won nine straight, including wins over the Spurs, Warriors, Raptors and Blazers. Losing Rodney Hood is tough, but it’s possible Jae Crowder finds new life here. The Jazz would perhaps be better off in the lottery, but their super streak has them in the thick of the hunt for the final playoff spot out west.</p><p><strong>4. Cleveland Cavaliers (33–22)</strong><br>Oh, you thought putting the Jazz at five was an overreaction? Here come the Cavs! Cleveland spanked Boston on what was supposed to be Paul Pierce’s day, according to Paul Pierce. One game with LeBron and Jordan Clarkson already looks like a young Scottie Pippen. </p><p>Okay, fine, in all seriousness, the trade deadline seemed to rejuvenate the Cavs, particularly LeBron, who seems to be putting in his most consistent effort over the last week of the season. Will it last? Can this team actually play defense? There are still lots of questions here, and Cleveland isn’t out of the woods yet. But for the last week? Yeah, sure, the Cavs deserve a leap for remaking themselves for the final two months of the season. If they start playing the way they were pre-deadline, they’ll shoot right back down.</p><p><strong>3. Golden State Warriors (43–13)</strong><br>The most notable moment for the Warriors at the deadline was Bob Myers telling his players to stop complaining so much. They still don’t really care about the regular season, and frankly, they don’t need to.</p><p><strong>2. Toronto Raptors (39–16)</strong><br>The Raptors are No. 1 in the East, and their bench lineup has been one of the most fun units to watch across the league this season. OG Anunoby isn’t in the Rookie of the Year conversation, but he’s had an incredible impact on a team with Finals aspirations. If the Raptors make the Finals this year, their end-of-season documentary will spend a good eight minutes on how silly <em>Sports Illustrated</em> looked disrespecting DeMar DeRozan.</p><p><strong>1. Houston Rockets (42–13)</strong><br>The Rockets are winners of eight straight and haven’t received any stern talking-tos from their general manager. They’re adding Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright for the stretch run, two players who can have a decent impact on the roster. And Mike D’Antoni deserves a ton of credit for handling Chris Paul’s and James Harden’s minutes really well, even amid a swirl of injuries. If you squint hard enough, you can see this team reaaallly pushing the Warriors in a playoff series.</p>
NBA Power Rankings: Revived Cavaliers Surge After Trade Deadline

Welcome back to The Crossover’s Power Rankings! It’s our first edition of the rankings post-trade deadline, so expect even more wild overreactions than usual. There’s a lot going on in the Association these days, from the streaking Rockets and Jazz to the revived Cavaliers, not to mention the first-place the Toronto Raptors. But let’s not waste time speaking in generalities so it looks like there’s a normal-sized paragraph at the top of this article, let’s get to these rankings, huh?

(All stats and records through Feb. 12)

30. Memphis Grizzlies (18–37)
It hurts me to put the Grizzlies this low, but this team is aimless right now. Not trading Tyreke Evans for anything at the deadline was a bad decision, and Marc Gasol probably should have been moved as well. Management is really going down with the ship here. I don’t want to be all negative, though, so go ahead and make these ribs courtesy of Lang Whitaker.

29. New York Knicks (23–34)
Losers of six in a row, Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL, and Joakim Noah is still hanging around. I swear, the Knicks were actually really fun for the first few weeks of the season. We’re one J.D. and the Straight Shot ballad about the fickle nature of the NBA beast from moving this team to No. 30.

28. Phoenix Suns (18–39)
I’m only half-surprised the Suns didn’t trade back for Isaiah Thomas at the deadline. There is nothing this team could do that I wouldn’t believe. The Suns have lost five in a row, and I don’t know how they can win one in their next five, either.

27. Brooklyn Nets (19–38)
Brooklyn didn’t do anything splashy at the deadline, even though they had a couple somewhat-coveted players in Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris. Still, Sean Marks has had a deft hand in restocking the cupboard here, and the process is going to take a long time. For now, Brooklyn has lost five in a row, reminding its fans just how long the process to respectability could take.

26. Sacramento Kings (17–38)
Twenty-six somehow feels extremely high for the Kings. Don’t be fooled. This team is still mostly a mess.

25. Atlanta Hawks (18–39)
This may be my favorite random stat of the season: Miles Plumlee is making roughly 76% of the salary the Warriors are paying Draymond Green. Get rid of salary caps!

24. Dallas Mavericks (18–39)
I swear every time I’m watching the Mavericks on League Pass they’re about to upset a good team but somehow they’re still really bad. I wish the end of Dirk’s career could be spent on a better team.

23. Orlando Magic (18–37)
The Magic are up here on the strength of Frank Vogel’s beard and their incredibly dope City Edition jerseys.

22. Chicago Bulls (19–36)
Chicago’s win over Minnesota had to be satisfying for a front office that was dragged for the deal that sent Jimmy Butler to the Wolves. The Bulls still aren’t quite good, but they’re fun to watch.

21. Los Angeles Lakers (23–32)
It feels like it’s only a matter of days before Lavar Ball and Isaiah Thomas are sniping at each other in the media over some kind of slight, perceived or otherwise. Still, L.A. did good at the deadline, scooping up a draft pick and clearing cap space for the summer.

20. Charlotte Hornets (23–33)
This team really deserves better. The Hornets would be fighting for a playoff spot if they weren’t so terrible in close games. Losing Kemba Walker as a sweetener to get rid of bad contracts at the deadline would have been devastating, but management still has their work cut out for them here.

19. Detroit Pistons (27–28)
I’ve really liked the Pistons with Blake Griffin, who’s busting his ass for that team right now. ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz wrote a great piece about Griffin’s role in Detroit late last week. But the Pistons are still facing an uphill climb for a playoff spot, and right now, the top eight in the East seem to be rounding into form.

18. Los Angeles Clippers (28–26)
Keeping DeAndre Jordan at the trade deadline actually made a lot of sense—L.A. can now let him opt out this summer and hoard cap space instead of taking on any future salary. The Clippers have been frisky all season, and that’s partly in credit to Doc Rivers. Are they sure they want to make the playoffs, though? Maybe the eighth seed should get better lottery odds than the ninth-place team in the conference.

17. New Orleans Pelicans (29–26)
I’m not sure how long this team can hold on without Boogie Cousins, but the Pelicans have a manageable schedule headed into mid-March. They should still hang around in the playoff race.

16. Miami Heat (30–26)
Dwyane Wade is back, Luke Babbit is a Spoelstra favorite, and the Heat are back in the win column after a five-game losing streak. Miami still needs to figure out its frontcourt, where James Johnson has struggled and Hassan Whiteside has infuriated. A full return to health for Kelly Olynyk and Wayne Ellington will be key for the homestretch.

15. Philadelphia 76ers (28–25)
Winners of three in a row, the Sixers really are the cliché “Nobody wants to see them in the playoffs” team this season. And Joel Embiid’s All-Star Weekend promises to be the stuff of legends.

14. Denver Nuggets (30–26)
The internet’s once-favorite team has won four of its last five, and is hanging around in the middle of the pack until Paul Millsap’s return. Denver picked up Devin Harris at the deadline, but the team could still use a little more depth. Torrey Craig has been one of the season’s underrated stories, though.

13. Indiana Pacers (32–25)
The Pacers have won three of four, including wins over the Sixers and Celtics. And Victor Oladipo has been good for one LeBron-in-barbershop gif highlight for most of the season. The impact he’s had on this team is just insane. Oh, and the better Indy plays, the more Lance Stephenson starts to feel himself.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (32–25)
The Thunder have either won two of their last three or lost five of their last seven, depending on how you want to judge them. A win over the Warriors is kind of negated when it’s sandwiched between losses to the Lakers. Sam Presti needs to be working the buyout market for help on the perimeter to make up for the loss of Andre Roberson.

11. Portland Trail Blazers (31–26)
The Blazers are 2–4 in February, and they play the Warriors in their last game before the All-Star break.

?

10. Milwaukee Bucks (31–24)
The coaching switch in Milwaukee has appeared to turn things around. If the Bucks play the kind of defense their length suggests their capable of, they become a top-four team in the East. It’s also great to see Jabari Parker back on the court.

9. Washington Wizards (32–24)
The OT loss to the Celtics was a bummer, and the bickering needs to stop, but the Wizards are looking frisky even in the wake of John Wall’s injury. It would be nice if Washington could become a player in the buyout market.

8. San Antonio Spurs (35–22)
The Spurs have lost three of four this month. Pop still has this team in third place, but it’s hard to get excited about anything they do without Kawhi, whose injury situation has zapped most of the joy to be felt around San Antonio.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves (35–24)
Please don’t sign Derrick Rose! Tyus Jones and Jeff Teague have been more than serviceable at point guard, and Jamal Crawford is already giving you no-defense minutes off the bench. If Thibs is looking to get the Chicago band back together, Marco Belinelli would make more sense here.

6. Boston Celtics (40–18)
The Celtics enter this week as the only team in the top-eight of the East on a losing streak, having dropped two in a row. This team could use a jolt of energy, and I’m not sure if Greg Monroe is the guy to provide it.

5. Utah Jazz (28–28)
Break up the Jazz! Utah has won nine straight, including wins over the Spurs, Warriors, Raptors and Blazers. Losing Rodney Hood is tough, but it’s possible Jae Crowder finds new life here. The Jazz would perhaps be better off in the lottery, but their super streak has them in the thick of the hunt for the final playoff spot out west.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (33–22)
Oh, you thought putting the Jazz at five was an overreaction? Here come the Cavs! Cleveland spanked Boston on what was supposed to be Paul Pierce’s day, according to Paul Pierce. One game with LeBron and Jordan Clarkson already looks like a young Scottie Pippen.

Okay, fine, in all seriousness, the trade deadline seemed to rejuvenate the Cavs, particularly LeBron, who seems to be putting in his most consistent effort over the last week of the season. Will it last? Can this team actually play defense? There are still lots of questions here, and Cleveland isn’t out of the woods yet. But for the last week? Yeah, sure, the Cavs deserve a leap for remaking themselves for the final two months of the season. If they start playing the way they were pre-deadline, they’ll shoot right back down.

3. Golden State Warriors (43–13)
The most notable moment for the Warriors at the deadline was Bob Myers telling his players to stop complaining so much. They still don’t really care about the regular season, and frankly, they don’t need to.

2. Toronto Raptors (39–16)
The Raptors are No. 1 in the East, and their bench lineup has been one of the most fun units to watch across the league this season. OG Anunoby isn’t in the Rookie of the Year conversation, but he’s had an incredible impact on a team with Finals aspirations. If the Raptors make the Finals this year, their end-of-season documentary will spend a good eight minutes on how silly Sports Illustrated looked disrespecting DeMar DeRozan.

1. Houston Rockets (42–13)
The Rockets are winners of eight straight and haven’t received any stern talking-tos from their general manager. They’re adding Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright for the stretch run, two players who can have a decent impact on the roster. And Mike D’Antoni deserves a ton of credit for handling Chris Paul’s and James Harden’s minutes really well, even amid a swirl of injuries. If you squint hard enough, you can see this team reaaallly pushing the Warriors in a playoff series.

Minnesota and Washington are among the teams rumored to be interested in him.
As expected, Jazz waive Derrick Rose
Minnesota and Washington are among the teams rumored to be interested in him.
Minnesota and Washington are among the teams rumored to be interested in him.
As expected, Jazz waive Derrick Rose
Minnesota and Washington are among the teams rumored to be interested in him.
<p>Utah Jazz waive former MVP Derrick Rose</p>
Utah Jazz waive former MVP Derrick Rose

Utah Jazz waive former MVP Derrick Rose

The Utah Jazz opted not to retain Derrick Rose after acquiring him in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Utah Jazz waive former MVP Derrick Rose
The Utah Jazz opted not to retain Derrick Rose after acquiring him in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
<p>Utah Jazz waive former MVP Derrick Rose</p>
Utah Jazz waive former MVP Derrick Rose

Utah Jazz waive former MVP Derrick Rose

<p>The Jazz released Derrick Rose after he was traded from the Cavs, the team <a href="https://twitter.com/UtahJazzPR/status/962397245764087810" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:announced" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">announced</a> Saturday.</p><p>Rose was sent to Utah in a large three-team deal that occurred Thursday: Utah sent <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/08/cavaliers-trade-rodney-hood-george-hill-deadline" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Rodney Hood" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Rodney Hood</a> to Cleveland. The Jazz also sent Joe Johnson to Sacramento, with the Cavs sending Jae Crowder and Rose to Utah. Sacramento sent George Hill to Cleveland. </p><p>The Cavs made the Thursday 3 p.m. ET trade deadline their show, orchestrating several blockbuster deals. </p><p>Isaiah Thomas was sent to the Lakers along with Channing Frye from the Cavs in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. </p><p>Dwyane Wade <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/08/cavaliers-trade-dwyane-wade-miami" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:headed back to Miami" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">headed back to Miami</a> in exchange for a heavily protected second-round pick.</p><p>Rose was in Chicago form 2008 to 2016. He played the 2016-2017 season with the Knicks before heading to Cleveland. He played just 16 games for the Cavs this season. He is averaging 9.8 points, 1.6 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game. He was <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2017/11/24/derrick-rose-evaluating-future-basketball-away-cavaliers" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:mulling retirement" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">mulling retirement</a> earlier this season after suffering yet another injury. He&#39;s dealt with various injuries including a torn ACL. </p>
Jazz Release Derrick Rose After Cavs Trade

The Jazz released Derrick Rose after he was traded from the Cavs, the team announced Saturday.

Rose was sent to Utah in a large three-team deal that occurred Thursday: Utah sent Rodney Hood to Cleveland. The Jazz also sent Joe Johnson to Sacramento, with the Cavs sending Jae Crowder and Rose to Utah. Sacramento sent George Hill to Cleveland.

The Cavs made the Thursday 3 p.m. ET trade deadline their show, orchestrating several blockbuster deals.

Isaiah Thomas was sent to the Lakers along with Channing Frye from the Cavs in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.

Dwyane Wade headed back to Miami in exchange for a heavily protected second-round pick.

Rose was in Chicago form 2008 to 2016. He played the 2016-2017 season with the Knicks before heading to Cleveland. He played just 16 games for the Cavs this season. He is averaging 9.8 points, 1.6 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game. He was mulling retirement earlier this season after suffering yet another injury. He's dealt with various injuries including a torn ACL.

<p>Jazz waive Derrick Rose; what&#39;s next for the former MVP?</p>
Jazz waive Derrick Rose; what's next for the former MVP?

Jazz waive Derrick Rose; what's next for the former MVP?

<p>Jazz waive Derrick Rose; what&#39;s next for the former MVP?</p>
Jazz waive Derrick Rose; what's next for the former MVP?

Jazz waive Derrick Rose; what's next for the former MVP?

The Jazz have waived Derrick Rose after acquiring him from the Cavaliers on Thursday.
Jazz waive Derrick Rose; what's next for the former MVP?
The Jazz have waived Derrick Rose after acquiring him from the Cavaliers on Thursday.
<p>After the Cavaliers shook up the league landscape during the NBA trade deadline Thursday, it&#39;s come to buyout season. </p><p>With players being bought out and becoming free agents, there&#39;s sure to be moves.</p><p>Here&#39;s a roundup of all the talk around the NBA on the Saturday after the deadline. </p><h3>Latest news, rumors</h3><p>• The Jazz will sign Naz Mitrou-Long on a 10-day contract after Ricky Rubio suffered an injury Friday. (<a href="https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/962419375692288001" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shams Charania, Yahoo Sports" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shams Charania, Yahoo Sports</a>)</p><p>• The Wizards will look into signing Derrick Rose as John Wall still has several weeks of rehab ahead of him after his knee surgery. (<a href="https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/962400002948648960" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN</a>).</p><p>• The Hawks waived guard Marco Belinelli. He&#39;ll become a free agent after clearing waivers. (<a href="https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/962405990628036609" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN</a>).</p><p>• Sacramento&#39;s buyout of Joe Johnson&#39;s is complete, and he has committed to signing with Houston. Brandan Wright is also expected to sign with the Rockets once clearing waivers. (<a href="http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/22391031/joe-johnson-sign-houston-rockets-sacramento-kings-buyout" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN</a>).</p>
NBA Rumors: Latest News, Updates on Buyouts, Contracts After Deadline

After the Cavaliers shook up the league landscape during the NBA trade deadline Thursday, it's come to buyout season.

With players being bought out and becoming free agents, there's sure to be moves.

Here's a roundup of all the talk around the NBA on the Saturday after the deadline.

Latest news, rumors

• The Jazz will sign Naz Mitrou-Long on a 10-day contract after Ricky Rubio suffered an injury Friday. (Shams Charania, Yahoo Sports)

• The Wizards will look into signing Derrick Rose as John Wall still has several weeks of rehab ahead of him after his knee surgery. (Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN).

• The Hawks waived guard Marco Belinelli. He'll become a free agent after clearing waivers. (Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN).

• Sacramento's buyout of Joe Johnson's is complete, and he has committed to signing with Houston. Brandan Wright is also expected to sign with the Rockets once clearing waivers. (Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN).

<p>Hawks fans chanted &quot;LeBron will trade you&quot; and &quot;LeBron will leave you&quot; at Cavs players Friday night.</p><p>The chants came the day after the NBA trade deadline, which saw the Cleveland <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/08/cavs-roster-2018-nba-trade-deadline-lebron-james" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:team completely changed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">team completely changed</a>.</p><p>Six players — Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert — all left Cleveland. The team gained Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr in the trades.</p><p>ESPN&#39;s Dave McMenamin <a href="https://twitter.com/mcten/status/962128451749797888?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&#38;ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fftw.usatoday.com%2F2018%2F02%2Fatlanta-hawks-lebron-james-will-trade-leave-you-chants-cavaliers-nba-video" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> the chants were in full swing when Tristan Thompson and Jeff Green were at the free-throw line. </p><p>But apparently it ended well enough — with the crowd <a href="https://twitter.com/nwilborn19/status/962133256341778433" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:chanting" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">chanting</a> &quot;LeBron we love you.&quot;</p>
Hawks Fans Chanted 'LeBron will trade you' at Cavs Players

Hawks fans chanted "LeBron will trade you" and "LeBron will leave you" at Cavs players Friday night.

The chants came the day after the NBA trade deadline, which saw the Cleveland team completely changed.

Six players — Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert — all left Cleveland. The team gained Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr in the trades.

ESPN's Dave McMenamin reported the chants were in full swing when Tristan Thompson and Jeff Green were at the free-throw line.

But apparently it ended well enough — with the crowd chanting "LeBron we love you."

<p>There was some speculation that Thursday&#39;s trade deadline might come and go without many fireworks, as talks seemed relatively tamed in the days leading up. But as is often the case, a few major deals came out of nowhere to shake up the league&#39;s landscape. </p><p>Most notably, the Cavaliers engaged in a comprehensive overhaul of their roster—Cleveland brought in Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. and gave up six players in total: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade. </p><p>While there were a number of players dealt—nine <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/08/nba-trade-deadline-completed-deals-tracker" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:deals were made" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">deals were made</a> on Deadline Day—a number of marquee players who were rumored to be on the move stayed put, including Tyreke Evans, DeAndre Jordan, Marcin Gortat and Marco Belinelli. </p><p>With the deadline now in the rearview mirror, it&#39;s on to buyout season. Many players who were recently moved (or not) will be bought out, allowing them to become free agents and sign with a new team. Title contenders frequently mine the buyout market to try to find a veteran piece who can help down the stretch run. </p><p>Here&#39;s a roundup of all the talk around the NBA on the day after the deadline. </p><h3>Latest news, rumors</h3><p>• After the Grizzlies complete Brandan Wright&#39;s buyout, he will likely make a deal with the Rockets for the rest of the season. (<a href="https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/962146215537401857" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shams Charania, Yahoo! Sports" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shams Charania, Yahoo! Sports</a>)</p><p>• The Hawks are finalizing a buyout agreement with 31-year-old Marco Belinelli. There are several interested contenders. (<a href="https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/962057580863356933" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN</a>).</p><p>• The Jazz acquired Derrick Rose in the three-team deal that sent Rodney Hood to Cleveland, but Utah is likely to cut the 29-year-old former MVP. A potential landing spot for him is Minnesota, where he&#39;d be reunited with Tom Thibodeau. (<a href="https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/961671048356909056" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shams Charania, Yahoo! Sports" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shams Charania, Yahoo! Sports</a>)</p><p>• Isaiah Thomas&#39; agent, Aaron Goodwin, told ESPN&#39;s Rachel Nichols that his client would not come off the bench. Now he&#39;s saying that Thomas will start, and that he is &#39;ecstatic&#39; about the opportunity to play up-tempo in Los Angeles. (<a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/columnist/sam-amick/2018/02/08/isaiah-thomas-agent-aaron-goodwin-cavaliers-lakers-trade/322184002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sam Amick," class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sam Amick, </a><em><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/columnist/sam-amick/2018/02/08/isaiah-thomas-agent-aaron-goodwin-cavaliers-lakers-trade/322184002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:USA Today" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">USA Today</a>)</em></p><p>• The Bulls waived Tony Allen, whom the Pelicans traded to Chicago in the deal that brought Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans. He&#39;s now available. (<a href="https://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat/status/961998598694162432" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ira Winderman, <em>South Florida Sun Sentinel</em></a>)</p><p>• Joe Johnson, who was traded from the Jazz to the Kings, will be bought out by Sacramento. Two teams he could sign with are the Warriors and Celtics. (<a href="https://twitter.com/TheSteinLine/status/961989441639370753" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Marc Stein," class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Marc Stein, </a><em><a href="https://twitter.com/TheSteinLine/status/961989441639370753" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:New York Times" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">New York Times</a></em>)</p><p>• Boris Diaw, who is currently playing in France, could be available for the stretch run. (<a href="https://twitter.com/espn_macmahon/status/961706424366747659" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tim McMahon, ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tim McMahon, ESPN</a>)</p><p>• The Kings would prefer Vince Carter, the oldest player in the NBA at 40, remains in Sacramento for the rest of the season. The two sides could work on a buyout if an enticing landing spot emerges for Carter, but the Kings want him to stay. (<a href="https://twitter.com/TheSteinLine/status/961990858127142914" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Marc Stein," class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Marc Stein, </a><em><a href="https://twitter.com/TheSteinLine/status/961990858127142914" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:New York Times" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">New York Times</a>)</em></p>
NBA Rumors: Latest News, Updates on Buyouts, Contracts After Deadline

There was some speculation that Thursday's trade deadline might come and go without many fireworks, as talks seemed relatively tamed in the days leading up. But as is often the case, a few major deals came out of nowhere to shake up the league's landscape.

Most notably, the Cavaliers engaged in a comprehensive overhaul of their roster—Cleveland brought in Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. and gave up six players in total: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade.

While there were a number of players dealt—nine deals were made on Deadline Day—a number of marquee players who were rumored to be on the move stayed put, including Tyreke Evans, DeAndre Jordan, Marcin Gortat and Marco Belinelli.

With the deadline now in the rearview mirror, it's on to buyout season. Many players who were recently moved (or not) will be bought out, allowing them to become free agents and sign with a new team. Title contenders frequently mine the buyout market to try to find a veteran piece who can help down the stretch run.

Here's a roundup of all the talk around the NBA on the day after the deadline.

Latest news, rumors

• After the Grizzlies complete Brandan Wright's buyout, he will likely make a deal with the Rockets for the rest of the season. (Shams Charania, Yahoo! Sports)

• The Hawks are finalizing a buyout agreement with 31-year-old Marco Belinelli. There are several interested contenders. (Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN).

• The Jazz acquired Derrick Rose in the three-team deal that sent Rodney Hood to Cleveland, but Utah is likely to cut the 29-year-old former MVP. A potential landing spot for him is Minnesota, where he'd be reunited with Tom Thibodeau. (Shams Charania, Yahoo! Sports)

• Isaiah Thomas' agent, Aaron Goodwin, told ESPN's Rachel Nichols that his client would not come off the bench. Now he's saying that Thomas will start, and that he is 'ecstatic' about the opportunity to play up-tempo in Los Angeles. (Sam Amick, USA Today)

• The Bulls waived Tony Allen, whom the Pelicans traded to Chicago in the deal that brought Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans. He's now available. (Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel)

• Joe Johnson, who was traded from the Jazz to the Kings, will be bought out by Sacramento. Two teams he could sign with are the Warriors and Celtics. (Marc Stein, New York Times)

• Boris Diaw, who is currently playing in France, could be available for the stretch run. (Tim McMahon, ESPN)

• The Kings would prefer Vince Carter, the oldest player in the NBA at 40, remains in Sacramento for the rest of the season. The two sides could work on a buyout if an enticing landing spot emerges for Carter, but the Kings want him to stay. (Marc Stein, New York Times)

<p>The NBA’s trade season—one of the <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/07/trade-deadline-live-blog-deandre-jordan-tyreke-evans-george-hill-rodney-hood" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:zaniest in recent memory" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">zaniest in recent memory</a>—is officially over. With that comes a good deal of housekeeping. The Cavs may have pulled off trade after trade before the deadline, but many teams failed to find suitable returns for players they would like to have dealt. There are no more picks or prospects to be had, though a buyout gives all involved a way out: a means for a player in an incompatible situation to seek employment elsewhere, and for an organization to recoup some of its financial losses.</p><p>This creates sort of a miniature market for late-season additions. Greg Monroe, who was bought out by the Suns last week, has already found a new home in Boston. Below are the other names central to the buyout conversation—along with updates on which players might actually be available.</p><h3>Joe Johnson, Kings</h3><p>Before the Jazz rattled off an NBA-high seven straight wins, there were whispers around the league that Johnson might seek a buyout to join a team bound for the playoffs. Now that is a virtual certainty; Sacramento has very little to offer Johnson from a basketball perspective, given that the Kings have already committed to cycling their veteran players out of the rotation and playing them fewer minutes overall. It’s best he move on. Johnson, after all, is only a King because his contract satisfied the salary-matching logistics of Thursday’s three-team trade between Sacramento, Utah, and Cleveland.</p><p>Johnson, 36, can still play. But his overall contribution level is emblematic of what one can expect from this buyout market: supporting contributors who, in ideal circumstances, fill a well-defined role. <a href="https://twitter.com/daldridgetnt/status/961694077598273537" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Houston" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Houston</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisMannixYS/status/961691864633171969" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Golden State, and Boston" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Golden State, and Boston</a> reportedly already have one in mind for Johnson.</p><h3>Brook Lopez, Lakers</h3><p>Lopez perfectly fits the buyout profile: a veteran player on an expiring contract playing the fewest minutes of his career for a lottery-bound team. If that context weren’t reason enough to suspect that Lopez might soon become available, his distraught reaction after being benched for the second half of a blowout loss to the Magic last week would reinforce the notion.</p><p>Yet, according to <a href="https://twitter.com/ramonashelburne/status/961724946882838528" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com</a>, Lopez might rather stay in Los Angeles for the remainder of his contract—unfavorable circumstances and all. Should that decision hold, it would take the biggest name and the best overall player out of the midseason market.</p><h3>Derrick Rose, Jazz</h3><p>Utah’s intention to release* Rose has already been reported, and the Timberwolves’—err, Tom Thibodeau’s—interest in potentially signing him already confirmed. Rose is honestly quite fortunate. If not for Thibodeau, it’s unlikely that any playoff team would vie for his services. Even Minnesota lacks any explicit need for Rose. That he might join a team with two superior point guards speaks more to Thibodeau’s regard for him than anything else.</p><p>*Since Rose plays for the veteran minimum, his release won’t technically be a buyout.</p><h3>Tyreke Evans, Grizzlies</h3><p>The Grizzlies stood firm at the deadline as suitors swirled around Evans, swatting down offers for second-round picks and underwhelming prospects. So let’s make one thing clear: Just because Memphis didn’t trade Evans as it intended does not mean he will soon be released. Part of the Grizzlies’ reported calculus at the deadline weighed the possible return on dealing Evans against the potential value in re-signing him. To cut him loose now would not service either end of the team’s consideration.</p><h3><strong>Marco Belinelli, Hawks</strong></h3><p>Consistent, reported interest in Belinelli prior to the trade deadline clearly wasn’t enough to get a deal done. A buyout would seem inevitable; unlike with the Grizzlies and Evans, the Hawks have no motivation to hold on to Belinelli and every reason to want to save on what remains of his $6.6 million contract. Everyone can win. Belinelli, an effective shooter and bench scorer, could make a nice run for a playoff team to set up his free agency this summer. And Atlanta, now tied for the worst record in the league, could aim for the best draft pick possible by playing its younger wings.</p><h3>Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves</h3><p>This has been a rough season for Muhammad—easily the worst of his young career. His game is so narrow as to make it a bit precarious. When he’s not scoring (as is the case when shooting 38.5% from the field), Muhammad has little to offer to an NBA team and almost nothing to offer the Wolves, in particular.</p><p>That could lead them to part ways. <a href="https://twitter.com/MarcJSpearsESPN/status/961684630645612544" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Reporting from Marc Spears of The Undefeated" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Reporting from Marc Spears of The Undefeated</a> suggests there might be interest in Muhammad, should he be released, which may give the 25-year-old wing the incentive he needs to pursue a buyout. Muhammad has a $1.8 million player option for next season. If he were willing to decline it (or even decline most of it), the Wolves would have reason to cut him loose apart from good will. </p><h3><strong>Tony Allen, Bulls</strong></h3><p>The Grindfather’s tenure as a Bull lasted a week, during which the team <a href="https://twitter.com/KCJHoop/status/959899438985523200" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:didn’t even bother to assign him a number" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">didn’t even bother to assign him a number</a>. Both Allen and Jameer Nelson—whom the <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/08/jameer-nelson-willie-reed-bulls-pistons-deadline-trade" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bulls rerouted to Detroit" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bulls rerouted to Detroit</a> while swapping future second-round picks on Thursday—served as filler in Chicago’s deal to <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/01/nikola-mirotic-trade-pelicans-bulls" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ship out Nikola Mirotic" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ship out Nikola Mirotic</a>. Taking back their contracts helped the Bulls acquire a second-round pick for their troubles, even if they had no interest in employing either guard for the rest of the season. </p><p>Expect the market for Allen’s services to be somewhat tepid. Allen was already playing on the veteran minimum, a reflection of the fact that teams are having a hard time finding room in their plans for aging defensive specialist. Factor in Allen’s ongoing recovery from a major leg injury and his appeal would seem unfortunately slim. It’s a shame; the NBA is a better league with Allen in it.</p>
Joe Johnson, Tyreke Evans and the NBA Buyout Market

The NBA’s trade season—one of the zaniest in recent memory—is officially over. With that comes a good deal of housekeeping. The Cavs may have pulled off trade after trade before the deadline, but many teams failed to find suitable returns for players they would like to have dealt. There are no more picks or prospects to be had, though a buyout gives all involved a way out: a means for a player in an incompatible situation to seek employment elsewhere, and for an organization to recoup some of its financial losses.

This creates sort of a miniature market for late-season additions. Greg Monroe, who was bought out by the Suns last week, has already found a new home in Boston. Below are the other names central to the buyout conversation—along with updates on which players might actually be available.

Joe Johnson, Kings

Before the Jazz rattled off an NBA-high seven straight wins, there were whispers around the league that Johnson might seek a buyout to join a team bound for the playoffs. Now that is a virtual certainty; Sacramento has very little to offer Johnson from a basketball perspective, given that the Kings have already committed to cycling their veteran players out of the rotation and playing them fewer minutes overall. It’s best he move on. Johnson, after all, is only a King because his contract satisfied the salary-matching logistics of Thursday’s three-team trade between Sacramento, Utah, and Cleveland.

Johnson, 36, can still play. But his overall contribution level is emblematic of what one can expect from this buyout market: supporting contributors who, in ideal circumstances, fill a well-defined role. Houston, Golden State, and Boston reportedly already have one in mind for Johnson.

Brook Lopez, Lakers

Lopez perfectly fits the buyout profile: a veteran player on an expiring contract playing the fewest minutes of his career for a lottery-bound team. If that context weren’t reason enough to suspect that Lopez might soon become available, his distraught reaction after being benched for the second half of a blowout loss to the Magic last week would reinforce the notion.

Yet, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, Lopez might rather stay in Los Angeles for the remainder of his contract—unfavorable circumstances and all. Should that decision hold, it would take the biggest name and the best overall player out of the midseason market.

Derrick Rose, Jazz

Utah’s intention to release* Rose has already been reported, and the Timberwolves’—err, Tom Thibodeau’s—interest in potentially signing him already confirmed. Rose is honestly quite fortunate. If not for Thibodeau, it’s unlikely that any playoff team would vie for his services. Even Minnesota lacks any explicit need for Rose. That he might join a team with two superior point guards speaks more to Thibodeau’s regard for him than anything else.

*Since Rose plays for the veteran minimum, his release won’t technically be a buyout.

Tyreke Evans, Grizzlies

The Grizzlies stood firm at the deadline as suitors swirled around Evans, swatting down offers for second-round picks and underwhelming prospects. So let’s make one thing clear: Just because Memphis didn’t trade Evans as it intended does not mean he will soon be released. Part of the Grizzlies’ reported calculus at the deadline weighed the possible return on dealing Evans against the potential value in re-signing him. To cut him loose now would not service either end of the team’s consideration.

Marco Belinelli, Hawks

Consistent, reported interest in Belinelli prior to the trade deadline clearly wasn’t enough to get a deal done. A buyout would seem inevitable; unlike with the Grizzlies and Evans, the Hawks have no motivation to hold on to Belinelli and every reason to want to save on what remains of his $6.6 million contract. Everyone can win. Belinelli, an effective shooter and bench scorer, could make a nice run for a playoff team to set up his free agency this summer. And Atlanta, now tied for the worst record in the league, could aim for the best draft pick possible by playing its younger wings.

Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves

This has been a rough season for Muhammad—easily the worst of his young career. His game is so narrow as to make it a bit precarious. When he’s not scoring (as is the case when shooting 38.5% from the field), Muhammad has little to offer to an NBA team and almost nothing to offer the Wolves, in particular.

That could lead them to part ways. Reporting from Marc Spears of The Undefeated suggests there might be interest in Muhammad, should he be released, which may give the 25-year-old wing the incentive he needs to pursue a buyout. Muhammad has a $1.8 million player option for next season. If he were willing to decline it (or even decline most of it), the Wolves would have reason to cut him loose apart from good will.

Tony Allen, Bulls

The Grindfather’s tenure as a Bull lasted a week, during which the team didn’t even bother to assign him a number. Both Allen and Jameer Nelson—whom the Bulls rerouted to Detroit while swapping future second-round picks on Thursday—served as filler in Chicago’s deal to ship out Nikola Mirotic. Taking back their contracts helped the Bulls acquire a second-round pick for their troubles, even if they had no interest in employing either guard for the rest of the season.

Expect the market for Allen’s services to be somewhat tepid. Allen was already playing on the veteran minimum, a reflection of the fact that teams are having a hard time finding room in their plans for aging defensive specialist. Factor in Allen’s ongoing recovery from a major leg injury and his appeal would seem unfortunately slim. It’s a shame; the NBA is a better league with Allen in it.

<p>The NBA’s trade season—one of the <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/07/trade-deadline-live-blog-deandre-jordan-tyreke-evans-george-hill-rodney-hood" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:zaniest in recent memory" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">zaniest in recent memory</a>—is officially over. With that comes a good deal of housekeeping. The Cavs may have pulled off trade after trade before the deadline, but many teams failed to find suitable returns for players they would like to have dealt. There are no more picks or prospects to be had, though a buyout gives all involved a way out: a means for a player in an incompatible situation to seek employment elsewhere, and for an organization to recoup some of its financial losses.</p><p>This creates sort of a miniature market for late-season additions. Greg Monroe, who was bought out by the Suns last week, has already found a new home in Boston. Below are the other names central to the buyout conversation—along with updates on which players might actually be available.</p><h3>Joe Johnson, Kings</h3><p>Before the Jazz rattled off an NBA-high seven straight wins, there were whispers around the league that Johnson might seek a buyout to join a team bound for the playoffs. Now that is a virtual certainty; Sacramento has very little to offer Johnson from a basketball perspective, given that the Kings have already committed to cycling their veteran players out of the rotation and playing them fewer minutes overall. It’s best he move on. Johnson, after all, is only a King because his contract satisfied the salary-matching logistics of Thursday’s three-team trade between Sacramento, Utah, and Cleveland.</p><p>Johnson, 36, can still play. But his overall contribution level is emblematic of what one can expect from this buyout market: supporting contributors who, in ideal circumstances, fill a well-defined role. <a href="https://twitter.com/daldridgetnt/status/961694077598273537" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Houston" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Houston</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisMannixYS/status/961691864633171969" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Golden State, and Boston" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Golden State, and Boston</a> reportedly already have one in mind for Johnson.</p><h3>Brook Lopez, Lakers</h3><p>Lopez perfectly fits the buyout profile: a veteran player on an expiring contract playing the fewest minutes of his career for a lottery-bound team. If that context weren’t reason enough to suspect that Lopez might soon become available, his distraught reaction after being benched for the second half of a blowout loss to the Magic last week would reinforce the notion.</p><p>Yet, according to <a href="https://twitter.com/ramonashelburne/status/961724946882838528" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com</a>, Lopez might rather stay in Los Angeles for the remainder of his contract—unfavorable circumstances and all. Should that decision hold, it would take the biggest name and the best overall player out of the midseason market.</p><h3>Derrick Rose, Jazz</h3><p>Utah’s intention to release* Rose has already been reported, and the Timberwolves’—err, Tom Thibodeau’s—interest in potentially signing him already confirmed. Rose is honestly quite fortunate. If not for Thibodeau, it’s unlikely that any playoff team would vie for his services. Even Minnesota lacks any explicit need for Rose. That he might join a team with two superior point guards speaks more to Thibodeau’s regard for him than anything else.</p><p>*Since Rose plays for the veteran minimum, his release won’t technically be a buyout.</p><h3>Tyreke Evans, Grizzlies</h3><p>The Grizzlies stood firm at the deadline as suitors swirled around Evans, swatting down offers for second-round picks and underwhelming prospects. So let’s make one thing clear: Just because Memphis didn’t trade Evans as it intended does not mean he will soon be released. Part of the Grizzlies’ reported calculus at the deadline weighed the possible return on dealing Evans against the potential value in re-signing him. To cut him loose now would not service either end of the team’s consideration.</p><h3><strong>Marco Belinelli, Hawks</strong></h3><p>Consistent, reported interest in Belinelli prior to the trade deadline clearly wasn’t enough to get a deal done. A buyout would seem inevitable; unlike with the Grizzlies and Evans, the Hawks have no motivation to hold on to Belinelli and every reason to want to save on what remains of his $6.6 million contract. Everyone can win. Belinelli, an effective shooter and bench scorer, could make a nice run for a playoff team to set up his free agency this summer. And Atlanta, now tied for the worst record in the league, could aim for the best draft pick possible by playing its younger wings.</p><h3>Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves</h3><p>This has been a rough season for Muhammad—easily the worst of his young career. His game is so narrow as to make it a bit precarious. When he’s not scoring (as is the case when shooting 38.5% from the field), Muhammad has little to offer to an NBA team and almost nothing to offer the Wolves, in particular.</p><p>That could lead them to part ways. <a href="https://twitter.com/MarcJSpearsESPN/status/961684630645612544" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Reporting from Marc Spears of The Undefeated" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Reporting from Marc Spears of The Undefeated</a> suggests there might be interest in Muhammad, should he be released, which may give the 25-year-old wing the incentive he needs to pursue a buyout. Muhammad has a $1.8 million player option for next season. If he were willing to decline it (or even decline most of it), the Wolves would have reason to cut him loose apart from good will. </p><h3><strong>Tony Allen, Bulls</strong></h3><p>The Grindfather’s tenure as a Bull lasted a week, during which the team <a href="https://twitter.com/KCJHoop/status/959899438985523200" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:didn’t even bother to assign him a number" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">didn’t even bother to assign him a number</a>. Both Allen and Jameer Nelson—whom the <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/08/jameer-nelson-willie-reed-bulls-pistons-deadline-trade" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bulls rerouted to Detroit" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bulls rerouted to Detroit</a> while swapping future second-round picks on Thursday—served as filler in Chicago’s deal to <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/01/nikola-mirotic-trade-pelicans-bulls" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ship out Nikola Mirotic" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ship out Nikola Mirotic</a>. Taking back their contracts helped the Bulls acquire a second-round pick for their troubles, even if they had no interest in employing either guard for the rest of the season. </p><p>Expect the market for Allen’s services to be somewhat tepid. Allen was already playing on the veteran minimum, a reflection of the fact that teams are having a hard time finding room in their plans for aging defensive specialist. Factor in Allen’s ongoing recovery from a major leg injury and his appeal would seem unfortunately slim. It’s a shame; the NBA is a better league with Allen in it.</p>
Joe Johnson, Tyreke Evans and the NBA Buyout Market

The NBA’s trade season—one of the zaniest in recent memory—is officially over. With that comes a good deal of housekeeping. The Cavs may have pulled off trade after trade before the deadline, but many teams failed to find suitable returns for players they would like to have dealt. There are no more picks or prospects to be had, though a buyout gives all involved a way out: a means for a player in an incompatible situation to seek employment elsewhere, and for an organization to recoup some of its financial losses.

This creates sort of a miniature market for late-season additions. Greg Monroe, who was bought out by the Suns last week, has already found a new home in Boston. Below are the other names central to the buyout conversation—along with updates on which players might actually be available.

Joe Johnson, Kings

Before the Jazz rattled off an NBA-high seven straight wins, there were whispers around the league that Johnson might seek a buyout to join a team bound for the playoffs. Now that is a virtual certainty; Sacramento has very little to offer Johnson from a basketball perspective, given that the Kings have already committed to cycling their veteran players out of the rotation and playing them fewer minutes overall. It’s best he move on. Johnson, after all, is only a King because his contract satisfied the salary-matching logistics of Thursday’s three-team trade between Sacramento, Utah, and Cleveland.

Johnson, 36, can still play. But his overall contribution level is emblematic of what one can expect from this buyout market: supporting contributors who, in ideal circumstances, fill a well-defined role. Houston, Golden State, and Boston reportedly already have one in mind for Johnson.

Brook Lopez, Lakers

Lopez perfectly fits the buyout profile: a veteran player on an expiring contract playing the fewest minutes of his career for a lottery-bound team. If that context weren’t reason enough to suspect that Lopez might soon become available, his distraught reaction after being benched for the second half of a blowout loss to the Magic last week would reinforce the notion.

Yet, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, Lopez might rather stay in Los Angeles for the remainder of his contract—unfavorable circumstances and all. Should that decision hold, it would take the biggest name and the best overall player out of the midseason market.

Derrick Rose, Jazz

Utah’s intention to release* Rose has already been reported, and the Timberwolves’—err, Tom Thibodeau’s—interest in potentially signing him already confirmed. Rose is honestly quite fortunate. If not for Thibodeau, it’s unlikely that any playoff team would vie for his services. Even Minnesota lacks any explicit need for Rose. That he might join a team with two superior point guards speaks more to Thibodeau’s regard for him than anything else.

*Since Rose plays for the veteran minimum, his release won’t technically be a buyout.

Tyreke Evans, Grizzlies

The Grizzlies stood firm at the deadline as suitors swirled around Evans, swatting down offers for second-round picks and underwhelming prospects. So let’s make one thing clear: Just because Memphis didn’t trade Evans as it intended does not mean he will soon be released. Part of the Grizzlies’ reported calculus at the deadline weighed the possible return on dealing Evans against the potential value in re-signing him. To cut him loose now would not service either end of the team’s consideration.

Marco Belinelli, Hawks

Consistent, reported interest in Belinelli prior to the trade deadline clearly wasn’t enough to get a deal done. A buyout would seem inevitable; unlike with the Grizzlies and Evans, the Hawks have no motivation to hold on to Belinelli and every reason to want to save on what remains of his $6.6 million contract. Everyone can win. Belinelli, an effective shooter and bench scorer, could make a nice run for a playoff team to set up his free agency this summer. And Atlanta, now tied for the worst record in the league, could aim for the best draft pick possible by playing its younger wings.

Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves

This has been a rough season for Muhammad—easily the worst of his young career. His game is so narrow as to make it a bit precarious. When he’s not scoring (as is the case when shooting 38.5% from the field), Muhammad has little to offer to an NBA team and almost nothing to offer the Wolves, in particular.

That could lead them to part ways. Reporting from Marc Spears of The Undefeated suggests there might be interest in Muhammad, should he be released, which may give the 25-year-old wing the incentive he needs to pursue a buyout. Muhammad has a $1.8 million player option for next season. If he were willing to decline it (or even decline most of it), the Wolves would have reason to cut him loose apart from good will.

Tony Allen, Bulls

The Grindfather’s tenure as a Bull lasted a week, during which the team didn’t even bother to assign him a number. Both Allen and Jameer Nelson—whom the Bulls rerouted to Detroit while swapping future second-round picks on Thursday—served as filler in Chicago’s deal to ship out Nikola Mirotic. Taking back their contracts helped the Bulls acquire a second-round pick for their troubles, even if they had no interest in employing either guard for the rest of the season.

Expect the market for Allen’s services to be somewhat tepid. Allen was already playing on the veteran minimum, a reflection of the fact that teams are having a hard time finding room in their plans for aging defensive specialist. Factor in Allen’s ongoing recovery from a major leg injury and his appeal would seem unfortunately slim. It’s a shame; the NBA is a better league with Allen in it.

<p><strong>1</strong>. <em>Boston Herald</em> reporter Ron Borges <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/02/09/ron-borges-boston-herald-tom-brady-catfish-don-yee" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:was allegedly tricked by a fan pretending to be Tom Brady&#39;s agent last night" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">was allegedly tricked by a fan pretending to be Tom Brady&#39;s agent last night</a>. The fan texted Borges that Brady was going to skip OTAs if he didn&#39;t get paid like Jimmy Garoppolo, who was given a 5-year, $137 million deal by the Niners earlier in the day. Borges thought he had a big story and so did the <em>Herald</em>.</p><p>At first glance, even though Borges ran with the story without seemingly doing any checking or additional reporting, I had <em>som</em>e sympathy for Borges because he could end up losing his job after being set up. This was the stance taken by respected NFL reporter, Ed Werder.</p><p>However, once you dig a little deeper, it seems Borges has many other issues. For starters, in his story, which has since been deleted by the Herald, he said he had &quot;sources&quot; on this story—meaning more than one.</p><p>Not good. Not good at all. It&#39;s one thing to be sloppy in the reporting, but when it seems you flat out lied about having more than one source in the story, it makes it harder to garner any sympathy.</p><p>In the end, every aspect of this story, from the fan messing with Borges, to Borges doing a terrible job, feels dirty.</p><p><em><strong>UPDATE: Friday afternoon, the </strong></em><strong>Herald</strong><em><strong> suspended Borges and released this statement: </strong></em></p><p>&quot;A column by Ron Borges in today’s <em>Herald</em> regarding Patriot Tom Brady’s salary discussions was based on information which proved to be false. The <em>Herald</em> apologizes to Brady, his agent Don Yee and the Patriots, and to our readers for this erroneous report. Borges’ column has been suspended pending further review.&quot;</p><p><strong>2</strong>. This Jazz fan was alerted to the fact that Rodney Hood had been traded with Utah landing Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose while still under anesthesia and the result was spectacular.</p><p><strong>3</strong>. Even the Miami PD caught NBA trade deadline fever after the Cavs traded Dwyane Wade back to the Heat.</p><p><strong>4</strong>. Wade&#39;s wife Gabrielle Union seemed particularly happy to leave Cleveland behind for Miami.</p><p><strong>5</strong>. If you&#39;re an old-school, 1980s WWF fan, <a href="http://www.mlwradio.com/something-to-wrestle-with-bruce-prichard.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:last week&#39;s Something To Wrestle With podcast" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">last week&#39;s <em>Something To Wrestle With</em> podcast</a> on &quot;The Main Event&quot; -- a 1988 NBC special which featured the famous Andre The Giant-Hulk Hogan match that saw the twin referees ending -- is a must-listen. <a href="https://deadspin.com/30-years-ago-wwe-drew-their-biggest-tv-audience-ever-f-1822809556" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Deadspin has an excellent deep dive into that 1988 TV event" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Deadspin has an excellent deep dive into that 1988 TV event</a>, which drew 33 million viewers.</p><p><strong>6</strong>. Tim Tebow is the guest on this week&#39;s <em>Off The Board</em> podcast. Tebow, who is headed to Mets camp next week, talked about his baseball career, the possibility of joining the XFL, his favorite wrestlers and much more. The second half of the podcast features a 20 minute roundtable with two of my SI.com colleagues, Daniel Rapaport and Chris Chavez, about <em>The Office</em>.</p><p>You can listen to the full podcast below or <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/off-the-board-with-jimmy-traina/id1258303282?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:on iTunes" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">on iTunes</a>, <a href="https://soundcloud.com/offtheboard" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SoundCloud" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SoundCloud</a> and <a href="https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/cadence13/off-the-board" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stitcher" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stitcher</a>.</p><p>7. One person who was smart enough to listen to the above podcast was Twitter follower Tom Horan. He was kind enough to pass along this informative tweet for all fans of <em>The Office</em>.</p><p><i>The best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina&#39;s Thoughts each day by <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyTraina" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:following on Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">following on Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/trainaj/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:liking on Facebook" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">liking on Facebook</a>. Catch up on <a href="https://www.si.com/author/jimmy-traina" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:previous editions of Traina Thoughts" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">previous editions of Traina Thoughts</a>. And check Jimmy Traina&#39;s weekly podcast &quot;Off The Board&quot; <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/off-the-board-with-jimmy-traina/id1258303282?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:on iTunes" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">on iTunes</a>, <a href="https://soundcloud.com/offtheboard" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SoundCloud" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SoundCloud</a> and <a href="https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/dgital-media/off-the-board" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stitcher" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stitcher</a>.</i></p><p><strong>FINAL THOUGHT</strong>: If Vince McMahon doesn&#39;t get Jason Kelce to appear on this week&#39;s episode of <em>Monday Night Raw</em> to cut a promo, it will be a big disappointment.</p>
Traina Thoughts: Boston Writer Gets Duped on Fake Tom Brady/Jimmy Garoppolo Story

1. Boston Herald reporter Ron Borges was allegedly tricked by a fan pretending to be Tom Brady's agent last night. The fan texted Borges that Brady was going to skip OTAs if he didn't get paid like Jimmy Garoppolo, who was given a 5-year, $137 million deal by the Niners earlier in the day. Borges thought he had a big story and so did the Herald.

At first glance, even though Borges ran with the story without seemingly doing any checking or additional reporting, I had some sympathy for Borges because he could end up losing his job after being set up. This was the stance taken by respected NFL reporter, Ed Werder.

However, once you dig a little deeper, it seems Borges has many other issues. For starters, in his story, which has since been deleted by the Herald, he said he had "sources" on this story—meaning more than one.

Not good. Not good at all. It's one thing to be sloppy in the reporting, but when it seems you flat out lied about having more than one source in the story, it makes it harder to garner any sympathy.

In the end, every aspect of this story, from the fan messing with Borges, to Borges doing a terrible job, feels dirty.

UPDATE: Friday afternoon, the Herald suspended Borges and released this statement:

"A column by Ron Borges in today’s Herald regarding Patriot Tom Brady’s salary discussions was based on information which proved to be false. The Herald apologizes to Brady, his agent Don Yee and the Patriots, and to our readers for this erroneous report. Borges’ column has been suspended pending further review."

2. This Jazz fan was alerted to the fact that Rodney Hood had been traded with Utah landing Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose while still under anesthesia and the result was spectacular.

3. Even the Miami PD caught NBA trade deadline fever after the Cavs traded Dwyane Wade back to the Heat.

4. Wade's wife Gabrielle Union seemed particularly happy to leave Cleveland behind for Miami.

5. If you're an old-school, 1980s WWF fan, last week's Something To Wrestle With podcast on "The Main Event" -- a 1988 NBC special which featured the famous Andre The Giant-Hulk Hogan match that saw the twin referees ending -- is a must-listen. Deadspin has an excellent deep dive into that 1988 TV event, which drew 33 million viewers.

6. Tim Tebow is the guest on this week's Off The Board podcast. Tebow, who is headed to Mets camp next week, talked about his baseball career, the possibility of joining the XFL, his favorite wrestlers and much more. The second half of the podcast features a 20 minute roundtable with two of my SI.com colleagues, Daniel Rapaport and Chris Chavez, about The Office.

You can listen to the full podcast below or on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

7. One person who was smart enough to listen to the above podcast was Twitter follower Tom Horan. He was kind enough to pass along this informative tweet for all fans of The Office.

The best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts. And check Jimmy Traina's weekly podcast "Off The Board" on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

FINAL THOUGHT: If Vince McMahon doesn't get Jason Kelce to appear on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw to cut a promo, it will be a big disappointment.

<p>There was a lot of talk leading up to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline that Lou Williams, DeAndre Jordan and Tyreke Evans could all possibly be on the move. If I told you none of them would end up being traded, you’d probably think it was a quiet day, right? Well, while all three are staying put with their respective teams, it was still one of the wilder deadlines in recent memory.</p><p>Now that the dust has settled and all trades are complete, let’s take a look at some of the biggest fantasy basketball winners and losers for rest of this season.</p><h3>Winners</h3><p><strong>De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings</strong></p><p>The Kings made a three-team trade that ultimately ended up with George Hill joining the Cavaliers. The Kings had already stated they were moving toward giving their young players more minutes, but this really opens up significant playing time for Fox. He’s played at least 30 minutes in 14 games this season, averaging 15.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. If he is somehow still available in your league, rush to pick him up now.</p><p><strong>Larry Nance Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers</strong></p><p>In the first stunning move of the day made by the Cavaliers, they completed a trade that sent Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a first-round pick to the Lakers for Nance and Jordan Clarkson. The Cavaliers are lacking depth up front with Kevin Love (hand) out, which should immediately open up a significant opportunity for Nance. He was stuck in a frontcourt log jam with the Lakers, sharing minutes with Julius Randle, Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma. Nance won’t provide many three-pointers and he is not a good free-throw shooter, but he could approach a double-double on a nightly basis while providing plenty of steals in his new role with the Cavaliers.</p><p><strong>Tyreke Evans, Memphis Grizzlies</strong></p><p>Evans seemed like one of the sure bets to be traded. The Grizzlies are terrible, they held him out as they worked on multiple offers, and he’s a free agent after the season. Despite all that, they deemed all the offers they received unacceptable, and may now shift their focus to resigning him for next season. Evans is in the midst of an excellent season, posting a career-high 28.4% usage rate. INow he doesn’t have to worry about fitting in a new team where his role could change dramatically, which is great news for his fantasy owners.</p><p><strong>George Hill, Cleveland Cavaliers</strong></p><p>The Cavaliers desperately needed help at point guard as the duo of Thomas and Derrick Rose was atrocious defensively. Enter Hill, who is averaging 0.9 steals despite only playing 27 minutes per game this season. He had averaged at least one steal in five-straight seasons heading into this year, so this is a genuine part of his skill set. Hill is more than just a good defender, too, shooting a career-high 45.3% from behind the arc this season. He should become the team’s starting point guard and will be a great fit with LeBron James. While his overall scoring numbers won’t be off the charts, this trade certainly gives him a boost in value, as opposed to sitting on the bench during the Kings’ youth movement.</p><p><strong>Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers</strong></p><p>In the weeks leading up to the deadline, the Lakers were reportedly looking to trade Randle, but it was Nance who ended up with a new home. That should free up more playing time for Randle. He’s been excellent lately, averaging 18.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his last eight games. With a more secure role in hand, Randle should be extremely valuable down the stretch.</p><p><strong>D.J. Augustin, Orlando Magic</strong></p><p>The Magic made an odd trade, sending Elfrid Payton to the Suns for just a second-round pick. Payton will be a free agent this summer, but that seems like an awfully low return for a young point guard who is averaging 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game this season. With Payton now out of the picture, Augustin will take over as the starting point guard for the Magic. He’s provided value when given extended playing time this season, averaging 10.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.6 three-pointers in 24 games that he has played at least 20 minutes. If you are looking for help at point guard, Augustin has upside.</p><h3>Losers</h3><p><strong>Jordan Clarkson, Cleveland Cavaliers</strong></p><p>The Cavaliers went from being thin at guard to adding Clarkson, Hill and Rodney Hood all in one day. Clarkson is an offensive spark plug, averaging 14.5 points and 1.3 three-pointers per game this season. However, he enjoyed a team-leading 27.5% usage rate with the Lakers. That’s not going to be the case with the Cavaliers. Hood and Hill will get up their shots, as well, and then there’s the issue of that LeBron guy doing his thing. Clarkson is in a better spot in real life, but a much worse spot for fantasy purposes.</p><p><strong>John Collins, Atlanta Hawks</strong></p><p>The Hawks are one of the worst teams in the league and were looking to be sellers at the deadline, but couldn’t pull the trigger on any significant moves to free up playing time for their young players. That’s bad news for Collins, who still has to share frontcourt minutes with Ersan Ilyasova, Miles Plumlee, Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala. The Hawks could eventually buy out one of their veterans, but it doesn’t look like Collins will be getting more run in the immediate future.</p><p><strong>Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies</strong></p><p>During Tyreke Evans’s trade-value-influenced benching, Harrison took on an expanded role. He cashed in his opportunity, averaging 14.3 points, 4.9 assists and 1.1 three-pointers in the seven games Evans sat. With Evans now back in the picture, Harrison will likely be relegated back to his former role, in which he didn’t provide much fantasy value.</p><p><strong>Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns</strong></p><p>The Suns have been experimenting with Devin Booker playing point guard, leaving Jackson as the team’s starting shooting guard. That is likely over now with Payton in the fold, which should move Booker back to shooting guard and Jackson back to the bench. Jackson was averaging 31 minutes per game in four starts in February, but his playing time should decrease as a likely member of the second unit.</p>
Fantasy Fallout of the Wild NBA Trade Deadline

There was a lot of talk leading up to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline that Lou Williams, DeAndre Jordan and Tyreke Evans could all possibly be on the move. If I told you none of them would end up being traded, you’d probably think it was a quiet day, right? Well, while all three are staying put with their respective teams, it was still one of the wilder deadlines in recent memory.

Now that the dust has settled and all trades are complete, let’s take a look at some of the biggest fantasy basketball winners and losers for rest of this season.

Winners

De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

The Kings made a three-team trade that ultimately ended up with George Hill joining the Cavaliers. The Kings had already stated they were moving toward giving their young players more minutes, but this really opens up significant playing time for Fox. He’s played at least 30 minutes in 14 games this season, averaging 15.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. If he is somehow still available in your league, rush to pick him up now.

Larry Nance Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers

In the first stunning move of the day made by the Cavaliers, they completed a trade that sent Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a first-round pick to the Lakers for Nance and Jordan Clarkson. The Cavaliers are lacking depth up front with Kevin Love (hand) out, which should immediately open up a significant opportunity for Nance. He was stuck in a frontcourt log jam with the Lakers, sharing minutes with Julius Randle, Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma. Nance won’t provide many three-pointers and he is not a good free-throw shooter, but he could approach a double-double on a nightly basis while providing plenty of steals in his new role with the Cavaliers.

Tyreke Evans, Memphis Grizzlies

Evans seemed like one of the sure bets to be traded. The Grizzlies are terrible, they held him out as they worked on multiple offers, and he’s a free agent after the season. Despite all that, they deemed all the offers they received unacceptable, and may now shift their focus to resigning him for next season. Evans is in the midst of an excellent season, posting a career-high 28.4% usage rate. INow he doesn’t have to worry about fitting in a new team where his role could change dramatically, which is great news for his fantasy owners.

George Hill, Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers desperately needed help at point guard as the duo of Thomas and Derrick Rose was atrocious defensively. Enter Hill, who is averaging 0.9 steals despite only playing 27 minutes per game this season. He had averaged at least one steal in five-straight seasons heading into this year, so this is a genuine part of his skill set. Hill is more than just a good defender, too, shooting a career-high 45.3% from behind the arc this season. He should become the team’s starting point guard and will be a great fit with LeBron James. While his overall scoring numbers won’t be off the charts, this trade certainly gives him a boost in value, as opposed to sitting on the bench during the Kings’ youth movement.

Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers

In the weeks leading up to the deadline, the Lakers were reportedly looking to trade Randle, but it was Nance who ended up with a new home. That should free up more playing time for Randle. He’s been excellent lately, averaging 18.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his last eight games. With a more secure role in hand, Randle should be extremely valuable down the stretch.

D.J. Augustin, Orlando Magic

The Magic made an odd trade, sending Elfrid Payton to the Suns for just a second-round pick. Payton will be a free agent this summer, but that seems like an awfully low return for a young point guard who is averaging 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game this season. With Payton now out of the picture, Augustin will take over as the starting point guard for the Magic. He’s provided value when given extended playing time this season, averaging 10.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.6 three-pointers in 24 games that he has played at least 20 minutes. If you are looking for help at point guard, Augustin has upside.

Losers

Jordan Clarkson, Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers went from being thin at guard to adding Clarkson, Hill and Rodney Hood all in one day. Clarkson is an offensive spark plug, averaging 14.5 points and 1.3 three-pointers per game this season. However, he enjoyed a team-leading 27.5% usage rate with the Lakers. That’s not going to be the case with the Cavaliers. Hood and Hill will get up their shots, as well, and then there’s the issue of that LeBron guy doing his thing. Clarkson is in a better spot in real life, but a much worse spot for fantasy purposes.

John Collins, Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are one of the worst teams in the league and were looking to be sellers at the deadline, but couldn’t pull the trigger on any significant moves to free up playing time for their young players. That’s bad news for Collins, who still has to share frontcourt minutes with Ersan Ilyasova, Miles Plumlee, Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala. The Hawks could eventually buy out one of their veterans, but it doesn’t look like Collins will be getting more run in the immediate future.

Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies

During Tyreke Evans’s trade-value-influenced benching, Harrison took on an expanded role. He cashed in his opportunity, averaging 14.3 points, 4.9 assists and 1.1 three-pointers in the seven games Evans sat. With Evans now back in the picture, Harrison will likely be relegated back to his former role, in which he didn’t provide much fantasy value.

Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns

The Suns have been experimenting with Devin Booker playing point guard, leaving Jackson as the team’s starting shooting guard. That is likely over now with Payton in the fold, which should move Booker back to shooting guard and Jackson back to the bench. Jackson was averaging 31 minutes per game in four starts in February, but his playing time should decrease as a likely member of the second unit.

<p>There was breathtaking dysfunction on the court, a dozen anonymously sourced reports detailing fissures within the organization, endless LeBron free agency rumors, and the abrupt departures of Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade, Channing Frye, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Derrick Rose. It was maddening. It was exhausting. It was hilarious. And yet, here&#39;s what the Cavs got for Kyrie Irving in the end: George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and a top-10 pick. </p><p>That&#39;s not a bad deal! We live in the era of NBA teams trading superstars for pennies on the dollar, and the Cavs just managed to use the assets from the Kyrie trade to turn over half their roster. They got younger and more athletic in key places (Hood, Nance), they now have a capable starting point guard (Hill), they have a scorer off the bench who&#39;s a healthier version of the seventh man Isaiah Thomas should&#39;ve been (Clarkson), and the rest of the NBA season just became a lot more interesting. None of this seemed possible as recently as Wednesday afternoon, but here we are.</p><p>Granted, there are various corners of the story that are more complicated than a simple Cavs deadline win. First of all, Isaiah Thomas. Cleveland fans—and probably Cleveland players and coaches—will not miss him. He was borderline unplayable on defense, his offense never fit next to LeBron, and in between underwhelming performances, he spent much of his time criticizing teammates, gameplans, and promising not to change his game. It was in everyone&#39;s interest to part ways. But as Isaiah moves on to Los Angeles, where there&#39;s already <a href="https://twitter.com/AlexKennedyNBA/status/961679512332390400" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:some dispute" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">some dispute</a> about what his role will be, it has to be said that the timeline here has been phenomenally depressing.</p><p>For the past few years in Boston, Isaiah outplayed his contract and became the greatest bargain in the NBA. He helped build the foundation that allowed the Celtics to recruit Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, and he became so valuable that he helped net Kyrie Irving in a blockbuster trade. He&#39;s also one of the most candid athletes in any sport, basically impossible to root against, and he&#39;s just lived through nine months of personal tragedy and professional upheaval, not to mention an injury that could alter the trajectory of his career right he&#39;s due to finally hit free agency. All of this sucks. Isaiah bears some responsibility for what went wrong in Cleveland and there are weaknesses in his game that&#39;ll be magnified as his athleticism drops off, but that doesn&#39;t change the baseline of frustration with how this has played out for him. So as basketball fans celebrate <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/08/nba-trade-deadline-cavaliers-isaiah-thomas-lebron-james-makeover" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Cavs&#39; overhaul" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the Cavs&#39; overhaul</a> after Thursday, there&#39;s still a somber undertone anytime anyone remembers Thomas&#39;s role in what happened.</p><p>Speaking of bad news, the Lakers. Clarkson can help Cleveland off the bench and Nance is the exactly the sort of rangy athlete who could become twice as valuable next to LeBron, so that&#39;s good. But yes: after nine of months of rumors that LeBron could go to Los Angeles, the Cavs just absorbed Clarkson&#39;s deal (worth $25 million over the next two years) and made it much easier for the Lakers to sign two max superstars this summer.</p><p>There are two ways to look at the L.A. element of this story. On the one hand, the Cavs just handed L.A. a first–round pick while also solving their biggest problem headed into free agency. Not great. On the other hand, if the Cavs think LeBron is leaving regardless, and even if they think he&#39;s going to the Lakers, they&#39;ve at least been able to extract some helpful role players from the team that could potentially sign him. Even in the worst–case scenario, where LeBron goes to Los Angeles, Thursday&#39;s deal is like <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2017/06/28/chris-paul-trade-rockets-clippers-grades-james-harden-patrick-beverley" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the CP3 trade" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the CP3 trade</a> this summer, only Cleveland keeps LeBron for another four months and gives him more help. As for the pick involved, that would hurt a lot more if the Cavs hadn&#39;t held onto the top–10 Nets pick they got for Kyrie; but they did, so surrendering the No. 25 pick in the draft doesn&#39;t sting as much.</p><p>While we&#39;re considering the potential downsides of Thursday&#39;s Cavs deals, it should be noted that all of this could fail. George Hill has been a shell of himself in Sacramento, and while the prevailing assumption is that he&#39;ll look better in a winning situation, maybe he&#39;s just old now. Rodney Hood is incredibly streaky, and his health has been an ongoing adventure for the Jazz the past few years. Nance is still largely unproven, and Clarkson is helpful, but he&#39;s just as streaky as Hood and his defense isn&#39;t much better than the players the Cavs traded away. </p><p>Most importantly, the Cavs are going to be working with a completely different team, and they&#39;ve got two months to learn how to play together. This version of Cleveland is much better than the alternative Cleveland was facing—playing the next three months with a roster full of players who didn&#39;t like each other and couldn&#39;t guard the Orlando Magic—but none of these deals guarantee a title contender.</p><p>The best case for believing in the Cavs the next few months actually came Wednesday night against the Wolves. It was a game the Cavs should&#39;ve won easily—Cleveland shot 59% from the field and 51% from three—but the defense was so bad that they gave up 138 points to Minnesota and went to overtime. This is how the Cavs have looked for the past six weeks. It&#39;s been a disaster. The difference against Minnesota was LeBron—as the game got close at the end, he did everything on offense, he smothered Jimmy Butler on a key defensive play late, and he hit a <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/07/lebron-james-fadeway-buzzer-beater-cavaliers-video" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:mind-blowing game-winner" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">mind-blowing game-winner</a> to seal it at the buzzer. It was a reminder that when he&#39;s engaged, LeBron is still the best player on the planet. </p><p>LeBron hasn&#39;t been engaged since Christmas. He&#39;s so good that even when he&#39;s on cruise control, he&#39;s more valuable than all but a handful of players in the league. But as the season spiraled and it became clear that the Cavs roster had fundamental problems that made a title look increasingly hopeless, LeBron became a different player. His defense has been mediocre, his offense has fallen off, and the entire team suffered. Now that improvements have been made in practically every area—seriously, this team needed the athleticism so badly—LeBron has no excuses if things fall apart. He also has a reason buy into the rest of the season, and that alone is a reason to trust the Cavs.</p><p>The sequence of the trades on Thursday was perfect. First came that Lakers deal, and for about thirty minutes Twitter became a flood of jokes about Jordan Clarkson as the new Kyrie and Dan Gilbert paving LeBron&#39;s way to L.A. This is how it always works with LeBron teams, even going back to the Heat. When things aren&#39;t working, his teams become the easiest targets in the world. So that Lakers trade was a continuation on what this season has been in Cleveland for months, a punchline that somehow got more ridiculous every day. And then those other moves fell into place. On top of Nance up front and Clarkson off the bench, the Cavs got a serviceable point guard who isn&#39;t Jose Calderon, a 25-year-old shooting guard who isn&#39;t J.R. Smith, and the entire roster began look a lot more interesting. Jokes on Twitter gave way to columns about how Cleveland is once again the favorite in the East. </p><p>It&#39;s not that the Cavs are suddenly on the same level as Golden State. They may not even make the Finals. But that&#39;s all fine. The trade deadline was just a reminder that laughing at LeBron&#39;s teams is fun for a while, but it&#39;s actually a lot more fun to watch LeBron&#39;s teams make all the critics look ridiculous. At the very least, they did it on Thursday.</p>
The Cavs’ Future Gets Brighter as I.T.’s Timeline Gets More Depressing

There was breathtaking dysfunction on the court, a dozen anonymously sourced reports detailing fissures within the organization, endless LeBron free agency rumors, and the abrupt departures of Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade, Channing Frye, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Derrick Rose. It was maddening. It was exhausting. It was hilarious. And yet, here's what the Cavs got for Kyrie Irving in the end: George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and a top-10 pick.

That's not a bad deal! We live in the era of NBA teams trading superstars for pennies on the dollar, and the Cavs just managed to use the assets from the Kyrie trade to turn over half their roster. They got younger and more athletic in key places (Hood, Nance), they now have a capable starting point guard (Hill), they have a scorer off the bench who's a healthier version of the seventh man Isaiah Thomas should've been (Clarkson), and the rest of the NBA season just became a lot more interesting. None of this seemed possible as recently as Wednesday afternoon, but here we are.

Granted, there are various corners of the story that are more complicated than a simple Cavs deadline win. First of all, Isaiah Thomas. Cleveland fans—and probably Cleveland players and coaches—will not miss him. He was borderline unplayable on defense, his offense never fit next to LeBron, and in between underwhelming performances, he spent much of his time criticizing teammates, gameplans, and promising not to change his game. It was in everyone's interest to part ways. But as Isaiah moves on to Los Angeles, where there's already some dispute about what his role will be, it has to be said that the timeline here has been phenomenally depressing.

For the past few years in Boston, Isaiah outplayed his contract and became the greatest bargain in the NBA. He helped build the foundation that allowed the Celtics to recruit Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, and he became so valuable that he helped net Kyrie Irving in a blockbuster trade. He's also one of the most candid athletes in any sport, basically impossible to root against, and he's just lived through nine months of personal tragedy and professional upheaval, not to mention an injury that could alter the trajectory of his career right he's due to finally hit free agency. All of this sucks. Isaiah bears some responsibility for what went wrong in Cleveland and there are weaknesses in his game that'll be magnified as his athleticism drops off, but that doesn't change the baseline of frustration with how this has played out for him. So as basketball fans celebrate the Cavs' overhaul after Thursday, there's still a somber undertone anytime anyone remembers Thomas's role in what happened.

Speaking of bad news, the Lakers. Clarkson can help Cleveland off the bench and Nance is the exactly the sort of rangy athlete who could become twice as valuable next to LeBron, so that's good. But yes: after nine of months of rumors that LeBron could go to Los Angeles, the Cavs just absorbed Clarkson's deal (worth $25 million over the next two years) and made it much easier for the Lakers to sign two max superstars this summer.

There are two ways to look at the L.A. element of this story. On the one hand, the Cavs just handed L.A. a first–round pick while also solving their biggest problem headed into free agency. Not great. On the other hand, if the Cavs think LeBron is leaving regardless, and even if they think he's going to the Lakers, they've at least been able to extract some helpful role players from the team that could potentially sign him. Even in the worst–case scenario, where LeBron goes to Los Angeles, Thursday's deal is like the CP3 trade this summer, only Cleveland keeps LeBron for another four months and gives him more help. As for the pick involved, that would hurt a lot more if the Cavs hadn't held onto the top–10 Nets pick they got for Kyrie; but they did, so surrendering the No. 25 pick in the draft doesn't sting as much.

While we're considering the potential downsides of Thursday's Cavs deals, it should be noted that all of this could fail. George Hill has been a shell of himself in Sacramento, and while the prevailing assumption is that he'll look better in a winning situation, maybe he's just old now. Rodney Hood is incredibly streaky, and his health has been an ongoing adventure for the Jazz the past few years. Nance is still largely unproven, and Clarkson is helpful, but he's just as streaky as Hood and his defense isn't much better than the players the Cavs traded away.

Most importantly, the Cavs are going to be working with a completely different team, and they've got two months to learn how to play together. This version of Cleveland is much better than the alternative Cleveland was facing—playing the next three months with a roster full of players who didn't like each other and couldn't guard the Orlando Magic—but none of these deals guarantee a title contender.

The best case for believing in the Cavs the next few months actually came Wednesday night against the Wolves. It was a game the Cavs should've won easily—Cleveland shot 59% from the field and 51% from three—but the defense was so bad that they gave up 138 points to Minnesota and went to overtime. This is how the Cavs have looked for the past six weeks. It's been a disaster. The difference against Minnesota was LeBron—as the game got close at the end, he did everything on offense, he smothered Jimmy Butler on a key defensive play late, and he hit a mind-blowing game-winner to seal it at the buzzer. It was a reminder that when he's engaged, LeBron is still the best player on the planet.

LeBron hasn't been engaged since Christmas. He's so good that even when he's on cruise control, he's more valuable than all but a handful of players in the league. But as the season spiraled and it became clear that the Cavs roster had fundamental problems that made a title look increasingly hopeless, LeBron became a different player. His defense has been mediocre, his offense has fallen off, and the entire team suffered. Now that improvements have been made in practically every area—seriously, this team needed the athleticism so badly—LeBron has no excuses if things fall apart. He also has a reason buy into the rest of the season, and that alone is a reason to trust the Cavs.

The sequence of the trades on Thursday was perfect. First came that Lakers deal, and for about thirty minutes Twitter became a flood of jokes about Jordan Clarkson as the new Kyrie and Dan Gilbert paving LeBron's way to L.A. This is how it always works with LeBron teams, even going back to the Heat. When things aren't working, his teams become the easiest targets in the world. So that Lakers trade was a continuation on what this season has been in Cleveland for months, a punchline that somehow got more ridiculous every day. And then those other moves fell into place. On top of Nance up front and Clarkson off the bench, the Cavs got a serviceable point guard who isn't Jose Calderon, a 25-year-old shooting guard who isn't J.R. Smith, and the entire roster began look a lot more interesting. Jokes on Twitter gave way to columns about how Cleveland is once again the favorite in the East.

It's not that the Cavs are suddenly on the same level as Golden State. They may not even make the Finals. But that's all fine. The trade deadline was just a reminder that laughing at LeBron's teams is fun for a while, but it's actually a lot more fun to watch LeBron's teams make all the critics look ridiculous. At the very least, they did it on Thursday.

<p>There was breathtaking dysfunction on the court, a dozen anonymously sourced reports detailing fissures within the organization, endless LeBron free agency rumors, and the abrupt departures of Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade, Channing Frye, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Derrick Rose. It was maddening. It was exhausting. It was hilarious. And yet, here&#39;s what the Cavs got for Kyrie Irving in the end: George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and a top-10 pick. </p><p>That&#39;s not a bad deal! We live in the era of NBA teams trading superstars for pennies on the dollar, and the Cavs just managed to use the assets from the Kyrie trade to turn over half their roster. They got younger and more athletic in key places (Hood, Nance), they now have a capable starting point guard (Hill), they have a scorer off the bench who&#39;s a healthier version of the seventh man Isaiah Thomas should&#39;ve been (Clarkson), and the rest of the NBA season just became a lot more interesting. None of this seemed possible as recently as Wednesday afternoon, but here we are.</p><p>Granted, there are various corners of the story that are more complicated than a simple Cavs deadline win. First of all, Isaiah Thomas. Cleveland fans—and probably Cleveland players and coaches—will not miss him. He was borderline unplayable on defense, his offense never fit next to LeBron, and in between underwhelming performances, he spent much of his time criticizing teammates, gameplans, and promising not to change his game. It was in everyone&#39;s interest to part ways. But as Isaiah moves on to Los Angeles, where there&#39;s already <a href="https://twitter.com/AlexKennedyNBA/status/961679512332390400" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:some dispute" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">some dispute</a> about what his role will be, it has to be said that the timeline here has been phenomenally depressing.</p><p>For the past few years in Boston, Isaiah outplayed his contract and became the greatest bargain in the NBA. He helped build the foundation that allowed the Celtics to recruit Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, and he became so valuable that he helped net Kyrie Irving in a blockbuster trade. He&#39;s also one of the most candid athletes in any sport, basically impossible to root against, and he&#39;s just lived through nine months of personal tragedy and professional upheaval, not to mention an injury that could alter the trajectory of his career right he&#39;s due to finally hit free agency. All of this sucks. Isaiah bears some responsibility for what went wrong in Cleveland and there are weaknesses in his game that&#39;ll be magnified as his athleticism drops off, but that doesn&#39;t change the baseline of frustration with how this has played out for him. So as basketball fans celebrate <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/08/nba-trade-deadline-cavaliers-isaiah-thomas-lebron-james-makeover" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Cavs&#39; overhaul" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the Cavs&#39; overhaul</a> after Thursday, there&#39;s still a somber undertone anytime anyone remembers Thomas&#39;s role in what happened.</p><p>Speaking of bad news, the Lakers. Clarkson can help Cleveland off the bench and Nance is the exactly the sort of rangy athlete who could become twice as valuable next to LeBron, so that&#39;s good. But yes: after nine of months of rumors that LeBron could go to Los Angeles, the Cavs just absorbed Clarkson&#39;s deal (worth $25 million over the next two years) and made it much easier for the Lakers to sign two max superstars this summer.</p><p>There are two ways to look at the L.A. element of this story. On the one hand, the Cavs just handed L.A. a first–round pick while also solving their biggest problem headed into free agency. Not great. On the other hand, if the Cavs think LeBron is leaving regardless, and even if they think he&#39;s going to the Lakers, they&#39;ve at least been able to extract some helpful role players from the team that could potentially sign him. Even in the worst–case scenario, where LeBron goes to Los Angeles, Thursday&#39;s deal is like <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2017/06/28/chris-paul-trade-rockets-clippers-grades-james-harden-patrick-beverley" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the CP3 trade" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the CP3 trade</a> this summer, only Cleveland keeps LeBron for another four months and gives him more help. As for the pick involved, that would hurt a lot more if the Cavs hadn&#39;t held onto the top–10 Nets pick they got for Kyrie; but they did, so surrendering the No. 25 pick in the draft doesn&#39;t sting as much.</p><p>While we&#39;re considering the potential downsides of Thursday&#39;s Cavs deals, it should be noted that all of this could fail. George Hill has been a shell of himself in Sacramento, and while the prevailing assumption is that he&#39;ll look better in a winning situation, maybe he&#39;s just old now. Rodney Hood is incredibly streaky, and his health has been an ongoing adventure for the Jazz the past few years. Nance is still largely unproven, and Clarkson is helpful, but he&#39;s just as streaky as Hood and his defense isn&#39;t much better than the players the Cavs traded away. </p><p>Most importantly, the Cavs are going to be working with a completely different team, and they&#39;ve got two months to learn how to play together. This version of Cleveland is much better than the alternative Cleveland was facing—playing the next three months with a roster full of players who didn&#39;t like each other and couldn&#39;t guard the Orlando Magic—but none of these deals guarantee a title contender.</p><p>The best case for believing in the Cavs the next few months actually came Wednesday night against the Wolves. It was a game the Cavs should&#39;ve won easily—Cleveland shot 59% from the field and 51% from three—but the defense was so bad that they gave up 138 points to Minnesota and went to overtime. This is how the Cavs have looked for the past six weeks. It&#39;s been a disaster. The difference against Minnesota was LeBron—as the game got close at the end, he did everything on offense, he smothered Jimmy Butler on a key defensive play late, and he hit a <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/07/lebron-james-fadeway-buzzer-beater-cavaliers-video" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:mind-blowing game-winner" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">mind-blowing game-winner</a> to seal it at the buzzer. It was a reminder that when he&#39;s engaged, LeBron is still the best player on the planet. </p><p>LeBron hasn&#39;t been engaged since Christmas. He&#39;s so good that even when he&#39;s on cruise control, he&#39;s more valuable than all but a handful of players in the league. But as the season spiraled and it became clear that the Cavs roster had fundamental problems that made a title look increasingly hopeless, LeBron became a different player. His defense has been mediocre, his offense has fallen off, and the entire team suffered. Now that improvements have been made in practically every area—seriously, this team needed the athleticism so badly—LeBron has no excuses if things fall apart. He also has a reason buy into the rest of the season, and that alone is a reason to trust the Cavs.</p><p>The sequence of the trades on Thursday was perfect. First came that Lakers deal, and for about thirty minutes Twitter became a flood of jokes about Jordan Clarkson as the new Kyrie and Dan Gilbert paving LeBron&#39;s way to L.A. This is how it always works with LeBron teams, even going back to the Heat. When things aren&#39;t working, his teams become the easiest targets in the world. So that Lakers trade was a continuation on what this season has been in Cleveland for months, a punchline that somehow got more ridiculous every day. And then those other moves fell into place. On top of Nance up front and Clarkson off the bench, the Cavs got a serviceable point guard who isn&#39;t Jose Calderon, a 25-year-old shooting guard who isn&#39;t J.R. Smith, and the entire roster began look a lot more interesting. Jokes on Twitter gave way to columns about how Cleveland is once again the favorite in the East. </p><p>It&#39;s not that the Cavs are suddenly on the same level as Golden State. They may not even make the Finals. But that&#39;s all fine. The trade deadline was just a reminder that laughing at LeBron&#39;s teams is fun for a while, but it&#39;s actually a lot more fun to watch LeBron&#39;s teams make all the critics look ridiculous. At the very least, they did it on Thursday.</p>
The Cavs’ Future Gets Brighter as I.T.’s Timeline Gets More Depressing

There was breathtaking dysfunction on the court, a dozen anonymously sourced reports detailing fissures within the organization, endless LeBron free agency rumors, and the abrupt departures of Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade, Channing Frye, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Derrick Rose. It was maddening. It was exhausting. It was hilarious. And yet, here's what the Cavs got for Kyrie Irving in the end: George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and a top-10 pick.

That's not a bad deal! We live in the era of NBA teams trading superstars for pennies on the dollar, and the Cavs just managed to use the assets from the Kyrie trade to turn over half their roster. They got younger and more athletic in key places (Hood, Nance), they now have a capable starting point guard (Hill), they have a scorer off the bench who's a healthier version of the seventh man Isaiah Thomas should've been (Clarkson), and the rest of the NBA season just became a lot more interesting. None of this seemed possible as recently as Wednesday afternoon, but here we are.

Granted, there are various corners of the story that are more complicated than a simple Cavs deadline win. First of all, Isaiah Thomas. Cleveland fans—and probably Cleveland players and coaches—will not miss him. He was borderline unplayable on defense, his offense never fit next to LeBron, and in between underwhelming performances, he spent much of his time criticizing teammates, gameplans, and promising not to change his game. It was in everyone's interest to part ways. But as Isaiah moves on to Los Angeles, where there's already some dispute about what his role will be, it has to be said that the timeline here has been phenomenally depressing.

For the past few years in Boston, Isaiah outplayed his contract and became the greatest bargain in the NBA. He helped build the foundation that allowed the Celtics to recruit Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, and he became so valuable that he helped net Kyrie Irving in a blockbuster trade. He's also one of the most candid athletes in any sport, basically impossible to root against, and he's just lived through nine months of personal tragedy and professional upheaval, not to mention an injury that could alter the trajectory of his career right he's due to finally hit free agency. All of this sucks. Isaiah bears some responsibility for what went wrong in Cleveland and there are weaknesses in his game that'll be magnified as his athleticism drops off, but that doesn't change the baseline of frustration with how this has played out for him. So as basketball fans celebrate the Cavs' overhaul after Thursday, there's still a somber undertone anytime anyone remembers Thomas's role in what happened.

Speaking of bad news, the Lakers. Clarkson can help Cleveland off the bench and Nance is the exactly the sort of rangy athlete who could become twice as valuable next to LeBron, so that's good. But yes: after nine of months of rumors that LeBron could go to Los Angeles, the Cavs just absorbed Clarkson's deal (worth $25 million over the next two years) and made it much easier for the Lakers to sign two max superstars this summer.

There are two ways to look at the L.A. element of this story. On the one hand, the Cavs just handed L.A. a first–round pick while also solving their biggest problem headed into free agency. Not great. On the other hand, if the Cavs think LeBron is leaving regardless, and even if they think he's going to the Lakers, they've at least been able to extract some helpful role players from the team that could potentially sign him. Even in the worst–case scenario, where LeBron goes to Los Angeles, Thursday's deal is like the CP3 trade this summer, only Cleveland keeps LeBron for another four months and gives him more help. As for the pick involved, that would hurt a lot more if the Cavs hadn't held onto the top–10 Nets pick they got for Kyrie; but they did, so surrendering the No. 25 pick in the draft doesn't sting as much.

While we're considering the potential downsides of Thursday's Cavs deals, it should be noted that all of this could fail. George Hill has been a shell of himself in Sacramento, and while the prevailing assumption is that he'll look better in a winning situation, maybe he's just old now. Rodney Hood is incredibly streaky, and his health has been an ongoing adventure for the Jazz the past few years. Nance is still largely unproven, and Clarkson is helpful, but he's just as streaky as Hood and his defense isn't much better than the players the Cavs traded away.

Most importantly, the Cavs are going to be working with a completely different team, and they've got two months to learn how to play together. This version of Cleveland is much better than the alternative Cleveland was facing—playing the next three months with a roster full of players who didn't like each other and couldn't guard the Orlando Magic—but none of these deals guarantee a title contender.

The best case for believing in the Cavs the next few months actually came Wednesday night against the Wolves. It was a game the Cavs should've won easily—Cleveland shot 59% from the field and 51% from three—but the defense was so bad that they gave up 138 points to Minnesota and went to overtime. This is how the Cavs have looked for the past six weeks. It's been a disaster. The difference against Minnesota was LeBron—as the game got close at the end, he did everything on offense, he smothered Jimmy Butler on a key defensive play late, and he hit a mind-blowing game-winner to seal it at the buzzer. It was a reminder that when he's engaged, LeBron is still the best player on the planet.

LeBron hasn't been engaged since Christmas. He's so good that even when he's on cruise control, he's more valuable than all but a handful of players in the league. But as the season spiraled and it became clear that the Cavs roster had fundamental problems that made a title look increasingly hopeless, LeBron became a different player. His defense has been mediocre, his offense has fallen off, and the entire team suffered. Now that improvements have been made in practically every area—seriously, this team needed the athleticism so badly—LeBron has no excuses if things fall apart. He also has a reason buy into the rest of the season, and that alone is a reason to trust the Cavs.

The sequence of the trades on Thursday was perfect. First came that Lakers deal, and for about thirty minutes Twitter became a flood of jokes about Jordan Clarkson as the new Kyrie and Dan Gilbert paving LeBron's way to L.A. This is how it always works with LeBron teams, even going back to the Heat. When things aren't working, his teams become the easiest targets in the world. So that Lakers trade was a continuation on what this season has been in Cleveland for months, a punchline that somehow got more ridiculous every day. And then those other moves fell into place. On top of Nance up front and Clarkson off the bench, the Cavs got a serviceable point guard who isn't Jose Calderon, a 25-year-old shooting guard who isn't J.R. Smith, and the entire roster began look a lot more interesting. Jokes on Twitter gave way to columns about how Cleveland is once again the favorite in the East.

It's not that the Cavs are suddenly on the same level as Golden State. They may not even make the Finals. But that's all fine. The trade deadline was just a reminder that laughing at LeBron's teams is fun for a while, but it's actually a lot more fun to watch LeBron's teams make all the critics look ridiculous. At the very least, they did it on Thursday.

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers&#39; Derrick Rose (1) drives against the Miami Heat in the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers sent guard Derrick Rose and forward Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz for forward Rodney Hood, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' Derrick Rose (1) drives against the Miami Heat in the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers sent guard Derrick Rose and forward Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz for forward Rodney Hood, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' Derrick Rose (1) drives against the Miami Heat in the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers sent guard Derrick Rose and forward Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz for forward Rodney Hood, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
<p>The Cavaliers’ multi-stage roster detonation made for a pulse-pounding NBA trade deadline: LeBron James received a brand-new supporting cast, Dwyane Wade embarked on a reunion tour with the Heat, Derrick Rose was kicked to the curb and Isaiah Thomas joined Lakers guard Lonzo Ball to form one of the league’s oddest couples. While contenders like the Warriors, Spurs, Rockets and Celtics all stood pat Thursday, there were also some noteworthy moves on the margins, including former lottery point guards Emmanuel Mudiay and Elfrid Payton finding new homes.</p><p>Now that the dust has settled, let’s run down the NBA trade deadline’s biggest winners and losers.</p><h3><strong>Winner: LeBron James</strong></h3><p>The Cavaliers, of late, had looked utterly broken as a Warriors threat and increasingly vulnerable to the Eastern Conference competition they’ve dominated for the past three postseasons. Constructing a quality five-man lineup that could function defensively has been a problem all season, and Kevin Love’s recent injury only ramped up the inconsistency and chaos. Isaiah Thomas was struggling in a recent offensive role and consistently playing pitiful defense. Jae Crowder was an unexpected disappointment. Derrick Rose was an expected disappointment. And Cleveland’s other pieces often looked too old, too slow or too disinterested to provide sufficient help to LeBron James.</p><p>Thursday’s rash of activity—adding George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. while trading away Thomas, Wade, Crowder, Rose, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and a first-round pick—undoubtedly has a short-term bent. Yes, Cleveland retained its top chip, Brooklyn’s first-round pick, but it dealt away multiple expiring contracts, took on long-term money for both Hill and Clarkson and replaced name recognition and star power with role players who address Cleveland’s need for defensive competence and energy.</p><p>There’s a strong debate to be had over the merits of Cleveland’s trades from the organizational perspective. Taking Clarkson opened two max slots for the Lakers, who are now in better position to chase James in free agency. Trading a first-round pick in the Clarkson/Nance deal feels like an overpay. Taking on Hill, a solid but unspectacular point guard with injury issues, nearly $20 million in each of the next two seasons should cause serious heartburn. And acquiring Hood comes with the clear risk that he could prove to be a rental once he hits restricted free agency this summer.</p><p>But those are concerns for the Cavaliers, not James—at least not at this moment. James’ biggest concern was being able to win the East again and reasonably compete with Golden State in a potential Finals matchup and these moves should help on both fronts. Hill is a vast upgrade as an on-ball defender over Cleveland’s pre-existing backcourt personnel and he’s most comfortable playing off the ball on offense. Hood is a multi-positional wing who should help in match-ups against interchangeable lineups fielded by the Celtics and Warriors. Clarkson is a capable second-unit shot-creator, representing an immediate upgrade over Rose and the struggling Thomas. Nance, finally, brings some pop, hustle and finishing ability to a frontline that can use it. On paper, lineups comprised of Hill/Hood/James/Love/Tristan Thompson or Hill/Hood/J.R. Smith/James/Love are better equipped for the playoffs than any five-man group that Cleveland could field before the deadline. </p><p>James surely understood better than anyone how dim Cleveland’s chances were becoming, and he should be thankful that owner Dan Gilbert and GM Koby Altman compromised their long-term position to chase another title this spring. In return, the pressure is now on James to integrate these pieces more effectively than his last round of new teammates.</p><h3><strong>Loser: Isaiah Thomas</strong></h3><p>Scapegoating Thomas for Cleveland’s struggles is clearly misguided given both the severity of his hip injury and his need to scale back his role following a breakout 2016-17 season in Boston. He was in a tricky spot with the Cavaliers and he was given a comically short window to settle in and prove his worth.</p><p>That said, Thomas did himself no favors in recent weeks, publicly questioning Cleveland’s coaching staff and his teammates while simultaneously struggling to make a positive impact on either end of the court. It’s been a discombobulating two-year run for Thomas—a dream followed by a nightmare, with personal tragedy and injury mixed in—but his Cleveland tenure already feels like a gigantic missed opportunity. James might dominate the ball and cast a shadow over his teammates, but his presence guarantees a deep playoff run. For a player who languished in two of the NBA’s biggest backwaters—Sacramento and Phoenix—earlier in his career, this was an unprecedented chance to win big while supporting one of the sport’s all-time legends.</p><p>Thomas instead was subjected to a trade that should be humbling on many levels: the lack of a star player in the return package, the fact that the Lakers have spent months positioning Lonzo Ball as their point guard of the future, the fact that LA is a lottery team headed nowhere and, finally, that LA value Thomas’s expiring contract more than Thomas the player. All told, this trade looms as a foreboding precursor to what might be awaiting Thomas when he hits free agency this summer. After a brilliant campaign playing himself into the max-contract discussion and “Brinks truck” talk last year, it sure feels like Thomas has plummeted back to earth. </p><h3><strong>Winner: Dwyane Wade</strong></h3><p>Cynically, financially and sentimentally, being traded to the Heat is the best thing that could have happened for Dwyane Wade. At 36, it was unreasonable to expect Wade to handle major minutes and responsibilities during a deep postseason run. A potential match-up with the Warriors, in particular, was not going to go well for him. Heading back to South Beach removes any expectation of postseason success. If he pulls off a first-round series win, like he did against Charlotte in 2015, it only adds to his legend. If not, no one will hold it against him. Plus, Dion Waiters’ season-ending ankle surgery fully cleared the runway for Wade’s return: the Heat need not worry about Wade/Waiters minutes-crunching or ego collisions.</p><p>Money-wise, Wade really made a killing since Pat Riley played hardball and opted not to re-sign him two summers ago. After earning $23 million last year and cashing in a $16 million buyout from the Bulls last fall, he signed a new one-year, $2.3 million contract with Cleveland. Now, with that $40+ million in his bank account, he returns to a hero’s welcome in Miami. It took some time to play out, but Wade is having his cake and eating it too.</p><h3><strong>Losers: Orlando Magic</strong></h3><p>The Elfrid Payton era in Orlando sputtered to its demise, returning only a second-round pick from Phoenix. That’s better than nothing for one of the league’s least effective starting point guards, but it’s a far cry from the ransom Orlando paid to get him in the first place. Remember, the Magic parted with a future first-round pick and a second-round pick to move up a few slots in the 2014 draft order to nab Payton, their supposed point guard of the future. Later, the Magic opted to keep Payton instead of Victor Oladipo, who was traded in a package for Serge Ibaka once it became clear that the Payton/Oladipo pairing wasn’t a productive match. Payton’s career has plateaued while Oladipo has risen to All-Star status in Indiana.</p><p>Orlando’s new regime shouldn’t be held responsible for mistakes made by former GM Rob Hennigan. Nevertheless, Thursday represents a painful and fruitless end to an experiment that lasted too long.</p><h3><strong>Winners: Knicks fans</strong></h3><p>Losing Kristaps Porzingis to a season-ending ACL injury was as brutal as it gets for a fan base that’s accustomed to nonstop brutality. Will Porzingis, at 7-3, be able to fully recover his athleticism and continue on his glorious track? How much will this lost year stifle the developments he needs to make in filling out his game? Will New York, with so little other talent and no leverage, be forced to max him out regardless of the injury? Is there any point to watching a Knicks game over the next three months?</p><p>Those were just some of the difficult questions bouncing about the Big Apple this week. Together, they point to a clear conclusion: The Knicks must tank as hard and as shamelessly as humanly possible this season. Lots of losing was going to be inevitable, but total losing would be ideal.</p><p>Great news: Emmanuel Mudiay is an ideal tank commander. The 21-year-old guard ranked 479th out of 482 players by ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus, and the Nuggets’ net rating was a whopping 12.7 points worse when Mudiay took the court this season. He’s young, he’s on a cheap rookie contract, he’s theoretically hungry for a change of scenery after losing his starting job multiple times in Denver and he’s capable of occasional highlight-reel plays. Most importantly, though, his teams have consistently performed poorly when he’s on the court. Sometimes hope arrives in unexpected forms, and this is one of those times for draft-minded Knicks fans.</p><h3><strong>Losers: Blazers fans</strong></h3><p>Rip City spent the trade deadline suffering through yet another reminder of Neil Olshey’s misguided 2016 spending spree.</p><p>Rather than adding talent for a potential push into the West’s top four or off-loading one of the cap-clogging contracts on its books (Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, or Moe Harkless), the Blazers had to settle for a pure salary dump of Noah Vonleh. That move brought Portland below the luxury tax line—a clear financial win—but it did little to relieve the fan base’s feelings of gridlock and stagnation. The 22-year-old Vonleh never found a clear role in Portland after arriving in a trade for Nicolas Batum, but most teams would prefer continuing to develop him rather than moving him for nothing. </p><p>The quiet deadline did little to solve Portland’s immediate concerns (improving its playoff positioning) or its long-term issues (a salary cap that’s jammed up through 2020). Instead, the Blazers remain lodged in a respectable but aimless state that gets more maddening the longer it drags. </p><h3><strong>Winners: Utah Jazz</strong></h3><p>Entering the season, Jazz optimists hoped that Rodney Hood would fully blossom as a lead scoring option in the wake of Gordon Hayward’s departure. More touches. More shots. Contract year. A return to health after an injury-plagued 2016-17 season. The concept made sense, and Hood’s growth seemed crucial to Utah’s playoff hopes.</p><p>Things just didn’t play out that way. Hood shifted into a sixth-man role and missed multiple stretches due to injuries, rookie guard Donovan Mitchell exploded onto the scene, and it became easier to envision Utah moving on from Hood, who is set to hit free agency this summer. Similarly, Joe Johnson, one of Utah’s 2017 postseason stars, had not been the same player this season. At age 36, it’s no great surprise that he was shooting a career-low 27.4% and posting a team-worst -7.7 net rating.</p><p>Just as it made less sense for the middling Jazz to pay up next summer for Hood, it made no sense for them to continue paying Johnson’s $10.5 million contract. By moving both players in a three-way deal that landed Hood in Cleveland and Johnson in Sacramento, they made prudent financial decisions and bought low on Jae Crowder. While Crowder was a shell of himself in Cleveland, he should find Utah’s more egalitarian offense to be a better fit and his trademark defense/toughness/hustle perfectly matches the Jazz’s general ethos. He’s owed $7.3 million next season and $7.8 million in 2019-20, but he should be able to deliver capable rotation minutes throughout his deal given that he’s only 27.</p><h3><strong>Losers: Sacramento Kings</strong></h3><p>Surprise, surprise: another demoralizing day for Sacramento fans.</p><p>First, George Hill was their biggest off-season addition, one who supposedly would aid a push into the playoff bubble and mentor rookie De’Aaron Fox. Poof. He’s gone after 43 uninspiring games with only some monetary savings and a second-round pick to show for it, rendering the whole experiment a waste of time. Better luck next summer! Second, Sacramento outright waived Georgios Papagiannis, the 7-1 Greek center they selected with the 13th pick in the 2016 draft. That was a disastrous pick at the time—given his limited and archaic profile and lack of NBA interest—and it only looks worse now that Sacramento has admitted its calamity by cutting bait. And third, the Kings traded away a marginal NBA talent in Malachi Richardson for a marginal G-League talent in Bruno Caboclo. Why swap a nickel for a Canadian penny?</p><p>Vivek Ranadive and Vlade Divac just keep chugging along on the treadmill of sub-mediocrity with no end in sight.</p><h3><strong>Winners: Golden State Warriors</strong></h3><p>The defending champs are only a trade deadline footnote because they stood pat. However, they emerge as indirect winners because their top competition in the West—Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Minnesota—all remained quiet too. While regular bouts of complacency have stunted the Warriors’ record, they escaped the deadline without needing to process any new major threats.</p><h3><strong>Losers: Memphis Grizzlies</strong></h3><p>According to reports, Memphis drove such a hard bargain for Tyreke Evans that his numerous interested suitors eventually evaporated one by one. Now, the scoring guard returns for the balance of a lost season without garnering a pick that would have been incredibly helpful for the retooling Grizzlies. What a gigantic waste of time for everyone involved. </p>
Biggest Winners and Losers From a Wild NBA Trade Deadline

The Cavaliers’ multi-stage roster detonation made for a pulse-pounding NBA trade deadline: LeBron James received a brand-new supporting cast, Dwyane Wade embarked on a reunion tour with the Heat, Derrick Rose was kicked to the curb and Isaiah Thomas joined Lakers guard Lonzo Ball to form one of the league’s oddest couples. While contenders like the Warriors, Spurs, Rockets and Celtics all stood pat Thursday, there were also some noteworthy moves on the margins, including former lottery point guards Emmanuel Mudiay and Elfrid Payton finding new homes.

Now that the dust has settled, let’s run down the NBA trade deadline’s biggest winners and losers.

Winner: LeBron James

The Cavaliers, of late, had looked utterly broken as a Warriors threat and increasingly vulnerable to the Eastern Conference competition they’ve dominated for the past three postseasons. Constructing a quality five-man lineup that could function defensively has been a problem all season, and Kevin Love’s recent injury only ramped up the inconsistency and chaos. Isaiah Thomas was struggling in a recent offensive role and consistently playing pitiful defense. Jae Crowder was an unexpected disappointment. Derrick Rose was an expected disappointment. And Cleveland’s other pieces often looked too old, too slow or too disinterested to provide sufficient help to LeBron James.

Thursday’s rash of activity—adding George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. while trading away Thomas, Wade, Crowder, Rose, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and a first-round pick—undoubtedly has a short-term bent. Yes, Cleveland retained its top chip, Brooklyn’s first-round pick, but it dealt away multiple expiring contracts, took on long-term money for both Hill and Clarkson and replaced name recognition and star power with role players who address Cleveland’s need for defensive competence and energy.

There’s a strong debate to be had over the merits of Cleveland’s trades from the organizational perspective. Taking Clarkson opened two max slots for the Lakers, who are now in better position to chase James in free agency. Trading a first-round pick in the Clarkson/Nance deal feels like an overpay. Taking on Hill, a solid but unspectacular point guard with injury issues, nearly $20 million in each of the next two seasons should cause serious heartburn. And acquiring Hood comes with the clear risk that he could prove to be a rental once he hits restricted free agency this summer.

But those are concerns for the Cavaliers, not James—at least not at this moment. James’ biggest concern was being able to win the East again and reasonably compete with Golden State in a potential Finals matchup and these moves should help on both fronts. Hill is a vast upgrade as an on-ball defender over Cleveland’s pre-existing backcourt personnel and he’s most comfortable playing off the ball on offense. Hood is a multi-positional wing who should help in match-ups against interchangeable lineups fielded by the Celtics and Warriors. Clarkson is a capable second-unit shot-creator, representing an immediate upgrade over Rose and the struggling Thomas. Nance, finally, brings some pop, hustle and finishing ability to a frontline that can use it. On paper, lineups comprised of Hill/Hood/James/Love/Tristan Thompson or Hill/Hood/J.R. Smith/James/Love are better equipped for the playoffs than any five-man group that Cleveland could field before the deadline.

James surely understood better than anyone how dim Cleveland’s chances were becoming, and he should be thankful that owner Dan Gilbert and GM Koby Altman compromised their long-term position to chase another title this spring. In return, the pressure is now on James to integrate these pieces more effectively than his last round of new teammates.

Loser: Isaiah Thomas

Scapegoating Thomas for Cleveland’s struggles is clearly misguided given both the severity of his hip injury and his need to scale back his role following a breakout 2016-17 season in Boston. He was in a tricky spot with the Cavaliers and he was given a comically short window to settle in and prove his worth.

That said, Thomas did himself no favors in recent weeks, publicly questioning Cleveland’s coaching staff and his teammates while simultaneously struggling to make a positive impact on either end of the court. It’s been a discombobulating two-year run for Thomas—a dream followed by a nightmare, with personal tragedy and injury mixed in—but his Cleveland tenure already feels like a gigantic missed opportunity. James might dominate the ball and cast a shadow over his teammates, but his presence guarantees a deep playoff run. For a player who languished in two of the NBA’s biggest backwaters—Sacramento and Phoenix—earlier in his career, this was an unprecedented chance to win big while supporting one of the sport’s all-time legends.

Thomas instead was subjected to a trade that should be humbling on many levels: the lack of a star player in the return package, the fact that the Lakers have spent months positioning Lonzo Ball as their point guard of the future, the fact that LA is a lottery team headed nowhere and, finally, that LA value Thomas’s expiring contract more than Thomas the player. All told, this trade looms as a foreboding precursor to what might be awaiting Thomas when he hits free agency this summer. After a brilliant campaign playing himself into the max-contract discussion and “Brinks truck” talk last year, it sure feels like Thomas has plummeted back to earth.

Winner: Dwyane Wade

Cynically, financially and sentimentally, being traded to the Heat is the best thing that could have happened for Dwyane Wade. At 36, it was unreasonable to expect Wade to handle major minutes and responsibilities during a deep postseason run. A potential match-up with the Warriors, in particular, was not going to go well for him. Heading back to South Beach removes any expectation of postseason success. If he pulls off a first-round series win, like he did against Charlotte in 2015, it only adds to his legend. If not, no one will hold it against him. Plus, Dion Waiters’ season-ending ankle surgery fully cleared the runway for Wade’s return: the Heat need not worry about Wade/Waiters minutes-crunching or ego collisions.

Money-wise, Wade really made a killing since Pat Riley played hardball and opted not to re-sign him two summers ago. After earning $23 million last year and cashing in a $16 million buyout from the Bulls last fall, he signed a new one-year, $2.3 million contract with Cleveland. Now, with that $40+ million in his bank account, he returns to a hero’s welcome in Miami. It took some time to play out, but Wade is having his cake and eating it too.

Losers: Orlando Magic

The Elfrid Payton era in Orlando sputtered to its demise, returning only a second-round pick from Phoenix. That’s better than nothing for one of the league’s least effective starting point guards, but it’s a far cry from the ransom Orlando paid to get him in the first place. Remember, the Magic parted with a future first-round pick and a second-round pick to move up a few slots in the 2014 draft order to nab Payton, their supposed point guard of the future. Later, the Magic opted to keep Payton instead of Victor Oladipo, who was traded in a package for Serge Ibaka once it became clear that the Payton/Oladipo pairing wasn’t a productive match. Payton’s career has plateaued while Oladipo has risen to All-Star status in Indiana.

Orlando’s new regime shouldn’t be held responsible for mistakes made by former GM Rob Hennigan. Nevertheless, Thursday represents a painful and fruitless end to an experiment that lasted too long.

Winners: Knicks fans

Losing Kristaps Porzingis to a season-ending ACL injury was as brutal as it gets for a fan base that’s accustomed to nonstop brutality. Will Porzingis, at 7-3, be able to fully recover his athleticism and continue on his glorious track? How much will this lost year stifle the developments he needs to make in filling out his game? Will New York, with so little other talent and no leverage, be forced to max him out regardless of the injury? Is there any point to watching a Knicks game over the next three months?

Those were just some of the difficult questions bouncing about the Big Apple this week. Together, they point to a clear conclusion: The Knicks must tank as hard and as shamelessly as humanly possible this season. Lots of losing was going to be inevitable, but total losing would be ideal.

Great news: Emmanuel Mudiay is an ideal tank commander. The 21-year-old guard ranked 479th out of 482 players by ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus, and the Nuggets’ net rating was a whopping 12.7 points worse when Mudiay took the court this season. He’s young, he’s on a cheap rookie contract, he’s theoretically hungry for a change of scenery after losing his starting job multiple times in Denver and he’s capable of occasional highlight-reel plays. Most importantly, though, his teams have consistently performed poorly when he’s on the court. Sometimes hope arrives in unexpected forms, and this is one of those times for draft-minded Knicks fans.

Losers: Blazers fans

Rip City spent the trade deadline suffering through yet another reminder of Neil Olshey’s misguided 2016 spending spree.

Rather than adding talent for a potential push into the West’s top four or off-loading one of the cap-clogging contracts on its books (Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, or Moe Harkless), the Blazers had to settle for a pure salary dump of Noah Vonleh. That move brought Portland below the luxury tax line—a clear financial win—but it did little to relieve the fan base’s feelings of gridlock and stagnation. The 22-year-old Vonleh never found a clear role in Portland after arriving in a trade for Nicolas Batum, but most teams would prefer continuing to develop him rather than moving him for nothing.

The quiet deadline did little to solve Portland’s immediate concerns (improving its playoff positioning) or its long-term issues (a salary cap that’s jammed up through 2020). Instead, the Blazers remain lodged in a respectable but aimless state that gets more maddening the longer it drags.

Winners: Utah Jazz

Entering the season, Jazz optimists hoped that Rodney Hood would fully blossom as a lead scoring option in the wake of Gordon Hayward’s departure. More touches. More shots. Contract year. A return to health after an injury-plagued 2016-17 season. The concept made sense, and Hood’s growth seemed crucial to Utah’s playoff hopes.

Things just didn’t play out that way. Hood shifted into a sixth-man role and missed multiple stretches due to injuries, rookie guard Donovan Mitchell exploded onto the scene, and it became easier to envision Utah moving on from Hood, who is set to hit free agency this summer. Similarly, Joe Johnson, one of Utah’s 2017 postseason stars, had not been the same player this season. At age 36, it’s no great surprise that he was shooting a career-low 27.4% and posting a team-worst -7.7 net rating.

Just as it made less sense for the middling Jazz to pay up next summer for Hood, it made no sense for them to continue paying Johnson’s $10.5 million contract. By moving both players in a three-way deal that landed Hood in Cleveland and Johnson in Sacramento, they made prudent financial decisions and bought low on Jae Crowder. While Crowder was a shell of himself in Cleveland, he should find Utah’s more egalitarian offense to be a better fit and his trademark defense/toughness/hustle perfectly matches the Jazz’s general ethos. He’s owed $7.3 million next season and $7.8 million in 2019-20, but he should be able to deliver capable rotation minutes throughout his deal given that he’s only 27.

Losers: Sacramento Kings

Surprise, surprise: another demoralizing day for Sacramento fans.

First, George Hill was their biggest off-season addition, one who supposedly would aid a push into the playoff bubble and mentor rookie De’Aaron Fox. Poof. He’s gone after 43 uninspiring games with only some monetary savings and a second-round pick to show for it, rendering the whole experiment a waste of time. Better luck next summer! Second, Sacramento outright waived Georgios Papagiannis, the 7-1 Greek center they selected with the 13th pick in the 2016 draft. That was a disastrous pick at the time—given his limited and archaic profile and lack of NBA interest—and it only looks worse now that Sacramento has admitted its calamity by cutting bait. And third, the Kings traded away a marginal NBA talent in Malachi Richardson for a marginal G-League talent in Bruno Caboclo. Why swap a nickel for a Canadian penny?

Vivek Ranadive and Vlade Divac just keep chugging along on the treadmill of sub-mediocrity with no end in sight.

Winners: Golden State Warriors

The defending champs are only a trade deadline footnote because they stood pat. However, they emerge as indirect winners because their top competition in the West—Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Minnesota—all remained quiet too. While regular bouts of complacency have stunted the Warriors’ record, they escaped the deadline without needing to process any new major threats.

Losers: Memphis Grizzlies

According to reports, Memphis drove such a hard bargain for Tyreke Evans that his numerous interested suitors eventually evaporated one by one. Now, the scoring guard returns for the balance of a lost season without garnering a pick that would have been incredibly helpful for the retooling Grizzlies. What a gigantic waste of time for everyone involved.

Rose traded by Cavaliers to Jazz, who are waiving him
Report: Timberwolves want to sign Derrick Rose
Rose traded by Cavaliers to Jazz, who are waiving him
Rose traded by Cavaliers to Jazz, who are waiving him
Report: Timberwolves want to sign Derrick Rose
Rose traded by Cavaliers to Jazz, who are waiving him
<p>After a slow, boring rumble, deadline day exploded with deals Thursday afternoon, as numerous teams made a flurry of moves that saw intriguing names switch squads. The Cavs were the most active, rebuilding their roster by acquiring Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., while sending away Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and (deep breath) ISAIAH THOMAS. Outside of Cleveland, we saw some surprising moves—Elfrid Payton is worth only a second-round pick???—and some surprising non-moves—why is Tyreke Evans still in Memphis?</p><p>If your head is still spinning from all the action, well, we’re in the same boat. You can catch up on all the madness with <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/07/trade-deadline-live-blog-deandre-jordan-tyreke-evans-george-hill-rodney-hood" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Crossover’s trade deadline live blog" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Crossover’s trade deadline live blog</a>. If you want to know what’s most important moving forward, here are five takeaways from Thursday’s trade deadline.</p><h3><strong>1. No one wants to lose a first-round pick</strong></h3><p>With the salary cap flatlining, cheap labor is as important as ever in the NBA. As a result, teams seemed reluctant to part ways with first-round picks at the deadline. The Cavs were the only team to trade one, and it will be their own pick (not the coveted Nets one), covered with some protections. A first-round pick could’ve likely been used to acquire guys like Evans, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart, each of whom would have had value for specific teams.</p><p>But teams didn’t seem willing to make the gamble. Even some young players worth a flier, like Hood or Payton, didn’t fetch their now-former teams any valuable picks. Teams hoarding picks is certainly something to keep an eye on, and the reluctance to splurge on even modestly priced help will likely have a trickle-down effect in free agency.</p><h3><strong>2. Do centers still matter?</strong></h3><p>There was some chatter about <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/08/deandre-jordan-trade-deadline-rumors-clippers-cavs-bucks-wizards" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DeAndre Jordan trades" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DeAndre Jordan trades</a> Thursday, and to a lesser extent the past month, Hassan Whiteside. Both are on big contracts, and both are staying put after the trade deadline. Jordan’s lack of movement makes a little more sense—the Clips can let him walk this season and use the cap space for their rebuild. The Heat probably wouldn’t have been too upset to get Whiteside off their books with a complicated cap situation soon approaching, but it appears they couldn’t find any takers.</p><p>The lack of trades involving these guys could certainly be connected to the first-round pick business, but it could also speak to a larger issue with centers. Who wants big guys that can’t shoot? Jordan and Whiteside are useful players, but their value decreases at the end of games, and they can be tricky to deploy in the playoffs. A chill on contracts is expected this summer no matter what, but I’m curious how close we are to centers being frozen out of big deals. Will a contender really want to max DeAndre?</p><h3><strong>3. The Cavs believe they have a chance, right?</strong></h3><p>It’s hard to imagine Dan Gilbert was in charge of the Cavs’ dealings Thursday. General manager Koby Altman completely re-made the roster, and he did so with the intent of building a contender for LeBron James’s potential last stand. But maybe Altman also believes there’s a chance James sticks it out this summer? Granted, the Cavs didn’t part with any important long-term assets (especially the Nets pick), but they also didn’t make moves focused solely focused on the future. George Hill and Rodney Hood are likely short-term plays, while Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance add money beyond this season.</p><p>If you squint hard enough, you can see Altman building a semblance of a case to bring James back. Hood can be re-signed, Hill is under contract for another year, and the trades added some much-needed youth to Cleveland’s roster. The Cavs still aren’t in the same stratosphere as the Warriors, but the moves they made bring them marginally closer. Is that enough to keep a narrative-minded LeBron in town? It’s way too early to tell, but it appears Altman and the Cavs aren’t ready to give up on the idea.</p><h3><strong>4. Isaiah Thomas’s career is in a tough spot</strong></h3><p>Damn, Isaiah Thomas deserves better. Not even a year ago, he was dropping 50 points in a playoff game in the wake of his sister’s death. Now he’s on his third team in the span of eight months, and he’ll spend the rest of his season playing for a Lakers team headed straight to the lottery. Thomas hasn’t had an opportunity to re-prove himself after his hip injury, and while he was part of the problem in Cleveland, in retrospect, that environment may not have been the most conducive for his reintegration into the league.</p><p>With Thomas’s contract expiring, he’ll have only a couple months (and no playoff run) to rebuild his reputation with the hopes of securing a big deal. With the cap tightening and the Lakers in the midst of a losing season, Thomas could be looking at having to prove himself again next year before receiving some substantial financial security. It’s a sad downfall for one of the league’s best stories. If there’s one thing we know about Thomas, however, it&#39;s that he’s never been one to back down from adversity.</p><h3><strong>5. The buyout market is the hottest club in the NBA</strong></h3><p>A bunch of contenders stood still Thursday. The Warriors, Rockets, Celtics, Spurs and Thunder all declined to make moves at the deadline, and most could still use a piece or two for the home stretch. The Rockets are loaded, but one more player could signal they are truly all-in on taking down the Warriors this season. The Celtics need scoring, the Spurs need Kawhi Leonard insurance and the Thunder need an Andre Roberson replacement.</p><p>Fortunately for these clubs, the buyout market will present another opportunity to improve their rosters. Joe Johnson (may have a little left) and Derrick Rose (stay away!) are those already expected to become free agents after getting traded, with perhaps a Wilson Chandler shaking free as well. We’ll see which names do actually enter the market, but I would assume some of the top teams aren’t done tinkering on the margins. It’s not a bad position to be in for potential free agents, who could end up with their choice of contender to hang onto for the playoffs.</p>
Five Takeaways From the Madness of the NBA Trade Deadline

After a slow, boring rumble, deadline day exploded with deals Thursday afternoon, as numerous teams made a flurry of moves that saw intriguing names switch squads. The Cavs were the most active, rebuilding their roster by acquiring Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., while sending away Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and (deep breath) ISAIAH THOMAS. Outside of Cleveland, we saw some surprising moves—Elfrid Payton is worth only a second-round pick???—and some surprising non-moves—why is Tyreke Evans still in Memphis?

If your head is still spinning from all the action, well, we’re in the same boat. You can catch up on all the madness with The Crossover’s trade deadline live blog. If you want to know what’s most important moving forward, here are five takeaways from Thursday’s trade deadline.

1. No one wants to lose a first-round pick

With the salary cap flatlining, cheap labor is as important as ever in the NBA. As a result, teams seemed reluctant to part ways with first-round picks at the deadline. The Cavs were the only team to trade one, and it will be their own pick (not the coveted Nets one), covered with some protections. A first-round pick could’ve likely been used to acquire guys like Evans, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart, each of whom would have had value for specific teams.

But teams didn’t seem willing to make the gamble. Even some young players worth a flier, like Hood or Payton, didn’t fetch their now-former teams any valuable picks. Teams hoarding picks is certainly something to keep an eye on, and the reluctance to splurge on even modestly priced help will likely have a trickle-down effect in free agency.

2. Do centers still matter?

There was some chatter about DeAndre Jordan trades Thursday, and to a lesser extent the past month, Hassan Whiteside. Both are on big contracts, and both are staying put after the trade deadline. Jordan’s lack of movement makes a little more sense—the Clips can let him walk this season and use the cap space for their rebuild. The Heat probably wouldn’t have been too upset to get Whiteside off their books with a complicated cap situation soon approaching, but it appears they couldn’t find any takers.

The lack of trades involving these guys could certainly be connected to the first-round pick business, but it could also speak to a larger issue with centers. Who wants big guys that can’t shoot? Jordan and Whiteside are useful players, but their value decreases at the end of games, and they can be tricky to deploy in the playoffs. A chill on contracts is expected this summer no matter what, but I’m curious how close we are to centers being frozen out of big deals. Will a contender really want to max DeAndre?

3. The Cavs believe they have a chance, right?

It’s hard to imagine Dan Gilbert was in charge of the Cavs’ dealings Thursday. General manager Koby Altman completely re-made the roster, and he did so with the intent of building a contender for LeBron James’s potential last stand. But maybe Altman also believes there’s a chance James sticks it out this summer? Granted, the Cavs didn’t part with any important long-term assets (especially the Nets pick), but they also didn’t make moves focused solely focused on the future. George Hill and Rodney Hood are likely short-term plays, while Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance add money beyond this season.

If you squint hard enough, you can see Altman building a semblance of a case to bring James back. Hood can be re-signed, Hill is under contract for another year, and the trades added some much-needed youth to Cleveland’s roster. The Cavs still aren’t in the same stratosphere as the Warriors, but the moves they made bring them marginally closer. Is that enough to keep a narrative-minded LeBron in town? It’s way too early to tell, but it appears Altman and the Cavs aren’t ready to give up on the idea.

4. Isaiah Thomas’s career is in a tough spot

Damn, Isaiah Thomas deserves better. Not even a year ago, he was dropping 50 points in a playoff game in the wake of his sister’s death. Now he’s on his third team in the span of eight months, and he’ll spend the rest of his season playing for a Lakers team headed straight to the lottery. Thomas hasn’t had an opportunity to re-prove himself after his hip injury, and while he was part of the problem in Cleveland, in retrospect, that environment may not have been the most conducive for his reintegration into the league.

With Thomas’s contract expiring, he’ll have only a couple months (and no playoff run) to rebuild his reputation with the hopes of securing a big deal. With the cap tightening and the Lakers in the midst of a losing season, Thomas could be looking at having to prove himself again next year before receiving some substantial financial security. It’s a sad downfall for one of the league’s best stories. If there’s one thing we know about Thomas, however, it's that he’s never been one to back down from adversity.

5. The buyout market is the hottest club in the NBA

A bunch of contenders stood still Thursday. The Warriors, Rockets, Celtics, Spurs and Thunder all declined to make moves at the deadline, and most could still use a piece or two for the home stretch. The Rockets are loaded, but one more player could signal they are truly all-in on taking down the Warriors this season. The Celtics need scoring, the Spurs need Kawhi Leonard insurance and the Thunder need an Andre Roberson replacement.

Fortunately for these clubs, the buyout market will present another opportunity to improve their rosters. Joe Johnson (may have a little left) and Derrick Rose (stay away!) are those already expected to become free agents after getting traded, with perhaps a Wilson Chandler shaking free as well. We’ll see which names do actually enter the market, but I would assume some of the top teams aren’t done tinkering on the margins. It’s not a bad position to be in for potential free agents, who could end up with their choice of contender to hang onto for the playoffs.

<p>After a slow, boring rumble, deadline day exploded with deals Thursday afternoon, as numerous teams made a flurry of moves that saw intriguing names switch squads. The Cavs were the most active, rebuilding their roster by acquiring Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., while sending away Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and (deep breath) ISAIAH THOMAS. Outside of Cleveland, we saw some surprising moves—Elfrid Payton is worth only a second-round pick???—and some surprising non-moves—why is Tyreke Evans still in Memphis?</p><p>If your head is still spinning from all the action, well, we’re in the same boat. You can catch up on all the madness with <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/07/trade-deadline-live-blog-deandre-jordan-tyreke-evans-george-hill-rodney-hood" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Crossover’s trade deadline live blog" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Crossover’s trade deadline live blog</a>. If you want to know what’s most important moving forward, here are five takeaways from Thursday’s trade deadline.</p><h3><strong>1. No one wants to lose a first-round pick</strong></h3><p>With the salary cap flatlining, cheap labor is as important as ever in the NBA. As a result, teams seemed reluctant to part ways with first-round picks at the deadline. The Cavs were the only team to trade one, and it will be their own pick (not the coveted Nets one), covered with some protections. A first-round pick could’ve likely been used to acquire guys like Evans, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart, each of whom would have had value for specific teams.</p><p>But teams didn’t seem willing to make the gamble. Even some young players worth a flier, like Hood or Payton, didn’t fetch their now-former teams any valuable picks. Teams hoarding picks is certainly something to keep an eye on, and the reluctance to splurge on even modestly priced help will likely have a trickle-down effect in free agency.</p><h3><strong>2. Do centers still matter?</strong></h3><p>There was some chatter about <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/2018/02/08/deandre-jordan-trade-deadline-rumors-clippers-cavs-bucks-wizards" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DeAndre Jordan trades" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DeAndre Jordan trades</a> Thursday, and to a lesser extent the past month, Hassan Whiteside. Both are on big contracts, and both are staying put after the trade deadline. Jordan’s lack of movement makes a little more sense—the Clips can let him walk this season and use the cap space for their rebuild. The Heat probably wouldn’t have been too upset to get Whiteside off their books with a complicated cap situation soon approaching, but it appears they couldn’t find any takers.</p><p>The lack of trades involving these guys could certainly be connected to the first-round pick business, but it could also speak to a larger issue with centers. Who wants big guys that can’t shoot? Jordan and Whiteside are useful players, but their value decreases at the end of games, and they can be tricky to deploy in the playoffs. A chill on contracts is expected this summer no matter what, but I’m curious how close we are to centers being frozen out of big deals. Will a contender really want to max DeAndre?</p><h3><strong>3. The Cavs believe they have a chance, right?</strong></h3><p>It’s hard to imagine Dan Gilbert was in charge of the Cavs’ dealings Thursday. General manager Koby Altman completely re-made the roster, and he did so with the intent of building a contender for LeBron James’s potential last stand. But maybe Altman also believes there’s a chance James sticks it out this summer? Granted, the Cavs didn’t part with any important long-term assets (especially the Nets pick), but they also didn’t make moves focused solely focused on the future. George Hill and Rodney Hood are likely short-term plays, while Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance add money beyond this season.</p><p>If you squint hard enough, you can see Altman building a semblance of a case to bring James back. Hood can be re-signed, Hill is under contract for another year, and the trades added some much-needed youth to Cleveland’s roster. The Cavs still aren’t in the same stratosphere as the Warriors, but the moves they made bring them marginally closer. Is that enough to keep a narrative-minded LeBron in town? It’s way too early to tell, but it appears Altman and the Cavs aren’t ready to give up on the idea.</p><h3><strong>4. Isaiah Thomas’s career is in a tough spot</strong></h3><p>Damn, Isaiah Thomas deserves better. Not even a year ago, he was dropping 50 points in a playoff game in the wake of his sister’s death. Now he’s on his third team in the span of eight months, and he’ll spend the rest of his season playing for a Lakers team headed straight to the lottery. Thomas hasn’t had an opportunity to re-prove himself after his hip injury, and while he was part of the problem in Cleveland, in retrospect, that environment may not have been the most conducive for his reintegration into the league.</p><p>With Thomas’s contract expiring, he’ll have only a couple months (and no playoff run) to rebuild his reputation with the hopes of securing a big deal. With the cap tightening and the Lakers in the midst of a losing season, Thomas could be looking at having to prove himself again next year before receiving some substantial financial security. It’s a sad downfall for one of the league’s best stories. If there’s one thing we know about Thomas, however, it&#39;s that he’s never been one to back down from adversity.</p><h3><strong>5. The buyout market is the hottest club in the NBA</strong></h3><p>A bunch of contenders stood still Thursday. The Warriors, Rockets, Celtics, Spurs and Thunder all declined to make moves at the deadline, and most could still use a piece or two for the home stretch. The Rockets are loaded, but one more player could signal they are truly all-in on taking down the Warriors this season. The Celtics need scoring, the Spurs need Kawhi Leonard insurance and the Thunder need an Andre Roberson replacement.</p><p>Fortunately for these clubs, the buyout market will present another opportunity to improve their rosters. Joe Johnson (may have a little left) and Derrick Rose (stay away!) are those already expected to become free agents after getting traded, with perhaps a Wilson Chandler shaking free as well. We’ll see which names do actually enter the market, but I would assume some of the top teams aren’t done tinkering on the margins. It’s not a bad position to be in for potential free agents, who could end up with their choice of contender to hang onto for the playoffs.</p>
Five Takeaways From the Madness of the NBA Trade Deadline

After a slow, boring rumble, deadline day exploded with deals Thursday afternoon, as numerous teams made a flurry of moves that saw intriguing names switch squads. The Cavs were the most active, rebuilding their roster by acquiring Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., while sending away Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and (deep breath) ISAIAH THOMAS. Outside of Cleveland, we saw some surprising moves—Elfrid Payton is worth only a second-round pick???—and some surprising non-moves—why is Tyreke Evans still in Memphis?

If your head is still spinning from all the action, well, we’re in the same boat. You can catch up on all the madness with The Crossover’s trade deadline live blog. If you want to know what’s most important moving forward, here are five takeaways from Thursday’s trade deadline.

1. No one wants to lose a first-round pick

With the salary cap flatlining, cheap labor is as important as ever in the NBA. As a result, teams seemed reluctant to part ways with first-round picks at the deadline. The Cavs were the only team to trade one, and it will be their own pick (not the coveted Nets one), covered with some protections. A first-round pick could’ve likely been used to acquire guys like Evans, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart, each of whom would have had value for specific teams.

But teams didn’t seem willing to make the gamble. Even some young players worth a flier, like Hood or Payton, didn’t fetch their now-former teams any valuable picks. Teams hoarding picks is certainly something to keep an eye on, and the reluctance to splurge on even modestly priced help will likely have a trickle-down effect in free agency.

2. Do centers still matter?

There was some chatter about DeAndre Jordan trades Thursday, and to a lesser extent the past month, Hassan Whiteside. Both are on big contracts, and both are staying put after the trade deadline. Jordan’s lack of movement makes a little more sense—the Clips can let him walk this season and use the cap space for their rebuild. The Heat probably wouldn’t have been too upset to get Whiteside off their books with a complicated cap situation soon approaching, but it appears they couldn’t find any takers.

The lack of trades involving these guys could certainly be connected to the first-round pick business, but it could also speak to a larger issue with centers. Who wants big guys that can’t shoot? Jordan and Whiteside are useful players, but their value decreases at the end of games, and they can be tricky to deploy in the playoffs. A chill on contracts is expected this summer no matter what, but I’m curious how close we are to centers being frozen out of big deals. Will a contender really want to max DeAndre?

3. The Cavs believe they have a chance, right?

It’s hard to imagine Dan Gilbert was in charge of the Cavs’ dealings Thursday. General manager Koby Altman completely re-made the roster, and he did so with the intent of building a contender for LeBron James’s potential last stand. But maybe Altman also believes there’s a chance James sticks it out this summer? Granted, the Cavs didn’t part with any important long-term assets (especially the Nets pick), but they also didn’t make moves focused solely focused on the future. George Hill and Rodney Hood are likely short-term plays, while Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance add money beyond this season.

If you squint hard enough, you can see Altman building a semblance of a case to bring James back. Hood can be re-signed, Hill is under contract for another year, and the trades added some much-needed youth to Cleveland’s roster. The Cavs still aren’t in the same stratosphere as the Warriors, but the moves they made bring them marginally closer. Is that enough to keep a narrative-minded LeBron in town? It’s way too early to tell, but it appears Altman and the Cavs aren’t ready to give up on the idea.

4. Isaiah Thomas’s career is in a tough spot

Damn, Isaiah Thomas deserves better. Not even a year ago, he was dropping 50 points in a playoff game in the wake of his sister’s death. Now he’s on his third team in the span of eight months, and he’ll spend the rest of his season playing for a Lakers team headed straight to the lottery. Thomas hasn’t had an opportunity to re-prove himself after his hip injury, and while he was part of the problem in Cleveland, in retrospect, that environment may not have been the most conducive for his reintegration into the league.

With Thomas’s contract expiring, he’ll have only a couple months (and no playoff run) to rebuild his reputation with the hopes of securing a big deal. With the cap tightening and the Lakers in the midst of a losing season, Thomas could be looking at having to prove himself again next year before receiving some substantial financial security. It’s a sad downfall for one of the league’s best stories. If there’s one thing we know about Thomas, however, it's that he’s never been one to back down from adversity.

5. The buyout market is the hottest club in the NBA

A bunch of contenders stood still Thursday. The Warriors, Rockets, Celtics, Spurs and Thunder all declined to make moves at the deadline, and most could still use a piece or two for the home stretch. The Rockets are loaded, but one more player could signal they are truly all-in on taking down the Warriors this season. The Celtics need scoring, the Spurs need Kawhi Leonard insurance and the Thunder need an Andre Roberson replacement.

Fortunately for these clubs, the buyout market will present another opportunity to improve their rosters. Joe Johnson (may have a little left) and Derrick Rose (stay away!) are those already expected to become free agents after getting traded, with perhaps a Wilson Chandler shaking free as well. We’ll see which names do actually enter the market, but I would assume some of the top teams aren’t done tinkering on the margins. It’s not a bad position to be in for potential free agents, who could end up with their choice of contender to hang onto for the playoffs.

FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2017, file photo, San Antonio Spurs guard Bryn Forbes, right, guards Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Salt Lake City. The Cavaliers sent guard Derrick Rose and forward Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz for forward Rodney Hood, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2017, file photo, San Antonio Spurs guard Bryn Forbes, right, guards Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Salt Lake City. The Cavaliers sent guard Derrick Rose and forward Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz for forward Rodney Hood, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2017, file photo, San Antonio Spurs guard Bryn Forbes, right, guards Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Salt Lake City. The Cavaliers sent guard Derrick Rose and forward Jae Crowder to the Utah Jazz for forward Rodney Hood, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

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