NBA Trade Deadline Fantasy Basketball Winners & Losers
The lead-up to this year’s NBA trade deadline was one of the most dramatic in recent memory, as we watched the Ben Simmons saga continue its slow march to a final resolution and James Harden strong-arm his way out of a second franchise in two seasons. Fans were also treated to two big deals prior to Thursday, with C.J. McCollum and Caris LeVert dealt earlier in the week. This was one of the most interesting and action-packed trade deadlines in years, and now that we’re officially past the deadline, let’s dive into the fantasy winners and losers! We’ve got a lot to unpack…
Nets receive: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, two first-round picks
76ers receive: James Harden, Paul Millsap
Winners: Ben Simmons, James Harden, Andre Drummond
Losers: This was a win-win, baby!
The NBA trade deadline did not disappoint! If all other deals had been wiped out, it would have all been worth it for this highly-anticipated mega deal! Tyrese Maxey will likely see a dip in production with the addition of James Harden, but with Curry gone, I think it will be negligible. All of Brooklyn’s centers take a hit too, but let’s face it, we haven’t been able to trust any of them in weeks.
Put simply, Simmons will go from not playing to playing. That’s an obvious boost in value, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Simmons will get an arsenal of shooters around him in the forms of Patty Mills, Kevin Durant, Seth Curry and Kyrie Irving. Lack of shooters caused him problems in Philly, but that shouldn’t be an issue for his new team.
Blazers receive: Tomas Satoransky, Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, 2022 first-round pick, two future second-round picks
Pelicans receive: Larry Nance Jr., Tony Snell, C.J. McCollum
Winners: Josh Hart, Anfernee Simons, Justise Winslow
Losers: C.J. McCollum, Devonte’ Graham, Brandon Ingram
New Orleans went out and got another star to play alongside Jonas Valanciunas, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. That’s a win right there from a real-world perspective! For fantasy, however, McCollum’s arrival will likely cut into BI’s shot attempts and Graham’s time with the ball in his hands.
Josh Hart gets a boost as he should command high minutes and high usage for the completely hollowed-out Blazers. Justise Winslow has already seen a notable boost in playing time, so he’s a rest-of-season hero for fantasy managers who surreptitiously scooped him up.
Cavaliers receive: Caris LeVert, second-round pick
Pacers receive: Ricky Rubio, lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick, two future second-round picks
Losers: Caris LeVert, Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro
Indiana’s backcourt would have gotten pegged as winners before Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield were traded there (more on that below), so we’re just going to discuss the losers in this deal.
This is a great real-life move for Indiana, which moves off of LeVert and gets some future assets, and it’s an even better move for Cleveland, which adds another scorer and a guy who can be a primary ball-handler and playmaker. In the world of fantasy, however, all of Cleveland’s guards and wings should see a dip in production with LeVert in the fold.
Kings receive: Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, 2027 second-round pick
Pacers receive: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Tristan Thompson
Winners: Domantas Sabonis, Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb
Losers: Richaun Holmes, Chris Duarte, Malcolm Brogdon
The “trade head ’round the world” was quite a shocker, as many believed Sacramento might be more inclined to move De’Aaron Fox than the emerging sophomore, Tyrese Haliburton. Buddy Hield was finally traded out of SacTown after hearing his name in rumors for months.
All of the new Spurs are easy winners in this deal. Domas, Holiday and Lamb go from a team with a little bit of talent to a team with even less talent. All three made their Kings debuts Wednesday in a 132-119 win over the Timberwolves. Sabonis went 22/14/5 and Holiday went 6/2/4 with three stocks as both were in the starting lineup. Lamb came off the bench and put up 14/6/5 with two blocks in 31 minutes.
Richaun Holmes came off the bench for two points and three assists in 12 minutes, and it’s safe to drop him if he isn’t traded at the deadline. Chris Duarte and Malcolm Brogdon will obviously take a hit with Hali and Hield in the mix.
Blazers receive: Joe Ingles, Elijah Hughes, second-round pick
Spurs receive: Tomas Satoransky, second-round pick
Jazz receive: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Juancho Hernangomez
Winners: Elijah Hughes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker
No notable losers here, as this deal doesn’t move the needle too much for any player. NAW should see more run than he did with the Pels, and Hughes will go from buried on the depth chart to a rotational player almost immediately. Alexander-Walker was set up for a big boost with Portland, but we’re calling him a winner because he was promptly traded after landing there.
Raptors receive: Thaddeus Young, Drew Eubanks, 2022 second-rounder (from DET)
Spurs receive: Goran Dragic, 2022 first-round pick
Winners: Thad Young, Goran Dragic
Losers: Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa
Dragic is likely to be bought out and head to a contender, so it’s a big win from him in real life. After languishing on Toronto’s bench all season, there’s only one way to go in fantasy, and that’s up! Any team that signs him will likely use him (even sparingly), so he could enjoy deep-league value down the stretch.
Thad is in the same boat. He’s been a constant recipient of the DNP-CD this season, but he’s got new life in Toronto for a team that gave up a first-round pick to acquire him. Young is one of the best passing bigs in the league, and he brings a skillset to the table that neither Chris Boucher nor Precious Achiuwa can match. Both figure to see a dip in playing time and fantasy value, while Young should be involved in Toronto’s rotation right away.
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Kings receive: Donte DiVincenzo, Trey Lyles Josh Jackson
Bucks receive: Serge Ibaka, two future second-round picks, cash
Clippers receive: Rodney Hood, Semi Ojele
Pistons receive: Marvin Bagley
Winners: Isaiah Hartenstein
Losers: Isaiah Stewart, Kelly Olynyk, Serge Ibaka
DiVincenzo has been relegated to the Bucks’ bench for most of his games since returning, but he should get a shot to play some more minutes with Sacramento. He’s not a winner or loser here, as he probably comes off the bench in a role that won’t lend itself to much fantasy relevance.
With Ibaka out of town, I-Hart should slot in as the team’s primary backup at center and see plenty of run for the shorthanded Clippers’ frontcourt.
The arrival of Bagley to Motor City will likely ding the values of Isaiah Stewart and Kelly Olynyk, though neither has been too enticing if we’re being honest. It’s unclear what kind of role Bagley will have in Detroit, but he’s in the final year of his deal and joins a rebuilding team with no real incentive to give him meaningful minutes. Serge Ibaka will get to compete for another ring in Milwaukee, but his fantasy value takes a hit from joining a much more talented roster. Opportunities are sure to be limited moving forward.
Celtics receive: Derrick White
Spurs receive: Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford
Winners: Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, Devin Vassell
Losers: Derrick White
White will go from a primary scoring role in San Antonio to a third or fourth option in Boston for a much more talented roster. It’s a great move for Boston, which gets a guard in White who can score, pass and defend at a high level. Richardson and Langford should get more run on the Spurs than they did on the Celtics, but the biggest winner here is Devin Vassell. He’s flashed throughout the season, and he’ll likely have a starting role shored up moving forward. That’s big news for a guy who’s just 27% rostered in Yahoo leagues.
Pacers receive: Jalen Smith, future second-round pick
Suns receive: Torrey Craig
Winners: Jalen Smith
Losers: Cam Johnson, Goga Bitadze, Isaiah Jackson
This one doesn’t move the needle a ton, but Smith should have a chance to compete for a rotation role in Indiana after getting lost in the shuffle behind Deandre Ayton, JaVale McGee and Bismack Biyombo in Phoenix. Smith balled out when given the chance, averaging 17.3 points, 9.5 boards and 1.0 swats in four starts. His arrival muddies up the big-man rotation in Indiana, but Isaiah Jackson remains a hold. Cam Johnson may see his playing time suffer with Craig in the rotation, but this won’t have major ramifications.
Hornets receive: Montrezl Harrell
Wizards receive: Vernon Carey, Ish Smith
Winners: Montrezl Harrell
Losers: Mason Plumlee, P.J. Washington
Charlotte has been in desperate need of help from the center position, and while Trez doesn’t help much defensively, he’ll be a solid upgrade to Mason Plumlee in the scoring department. Trez should make an immediate impact and see plenty of playing time in a role similar to what he’s played throughout his career: high-minute, high-energy bench player. Playing on a faster-paced team that scores a lot of points should be a boost for Harrell.
Washington and Plumlee will surely cede some playing time to Trez, so both see a dip in value. With Kristaps Porzingis traded to Washington, Thomas Bryant and Daniel Gafford are droppable.
Wizards receive: Kristaps Porzingis
Mavericks receive: Davis Bertans, Spencer Dinwiddie
Winners: Kristaps Porzingis, Raul Neto, Ish Smith, Maxi Kleber, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dorian Finney-Smith, Davis Bertans
Losers: Spencer Dinwiddie, Jalen Brunson, Thomas Bryant, Daniel Gafford, Kyle Kuzma
Lots of winners and losers and a ton of fantasy implications come out of this deal. With Bradley Beal out the rest of the season and Washington desperate for scoring, KP should take over in Washington as the team’s primary scorer or at least share that role with Kyle Kuzma. He’s a big winner here, going from a team with Luka Doncic and scorers to a rebuilding team that’s fading fast. All of Washington’s frontcourt players (especially Bryant and Gafford) are downgraded. Kuz should only take a small hit.
It’s hard to envision Dinwiddie’s value going up in Dallas after he failed to get anything going on a less-talented team. His arrival will likely hurt the value of Jalen Brunson, though. Bertans should see more run than he did in Washington, while the remaining Wizards guards/wings should all get a boost. Raul Neto or Ish Smith are the only guys left to run point guard, so whichever emerges should be a solid fantasy add. Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith get a boost with KP gone as well.
Rockets receive: Dennis Schroder
Celtics receive: Daniel Theis
Winners: Dennis Schroder, Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Alperen Sengun, KJ Martin
Losers: Garrison Mathews, Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green
Schroder should get a bigger role in Houston, but he’s still got competition for minutes in the forms of KPJ and Jalen Green. Smart and White should see a boost with J-Rich and Schroder out of town. The departure of Theis should clear the runway for an eventual Sengun breakout and, to a lesser extent, a KJ Martin breakout. All of Houston’s backcourt takes a hit, but the major takeaway here is the frontcourt depth and Sengun’s future.
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