The NBA trade deadline on Thursday afternoon brought fireworks to the desert, proving not to be completely overshadowed by Super Bowl week.
Countless teams improved their rosters on a busy deadline day, but no blockbuster was bigger than the Phoenix Suns’ trade for Kevin Durant. And while some like Phoenix went all-out in acquiring talent, other organizations opted to sell for draft capital — have you ever seen so many second-round picks traded?! — and some stood pat.
Here are our winners and losers of the NBA trade deadline with their current odds to win the NBA championship courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Phoenix Suns +425
The Suns elevated themselves back into championship contention with the blockbuster trade for Durant. The 13-time NBA All-Star now joins an organization he wanted with cornerstone Devin Booker and veteran point guard Chris Paul. Phoenix is not far removed from its Western Conference championship two seasons ago. The Suns now have Durant locked up for four seasons and Booker is under contract through the 2023-24 campaign, when they’ll have to pay him again. Still, Durant was worth everything Phoenix had to give up to get him, including Mikal Bridges and four first-round draft picks.
Boston Celtics +350
President of basketball operations Brad Stevens didn’t make a splash move for the Celtics, who currently hold the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference. However, Stevens did improve on the margins without giving up much. Boston’s trade for former Oklahoma City Thunder big man Mike Muscala gives the Celtics another dimension off the bench as the nine-year veteran brings size and shooting. It could be welcomed frontcourt depth behind Robert Williams and Al Horford, despite the fact Muscala might have a limited role when the postseason rolls around. Additionally, much of the rest of the Eastern Conference, the Celtics benefited from the Nets trading Durant — and in multiple ways.
Milwaukee Bucks +600
The Bucks added an impactful 3-and-D wing player in Jae Crowder, who seemingly also helps his team in the postseason. Milwaukee gave up five (!) second-rounders for the veteran, but with likely playoff scenarios against the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers down the road, he’ll greatly help Giannis Antetokounmpo and company.
Los Angeles Lakers +5000
The Lakers currently are staring down the NBA Play-In Tournament, but Los Angeles did improve its roster around LeBron James to the point it should make the postseason. Perhaps most notably, LA got out of the Russell Westbrook contract but the acquisitions of D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley provide the Lakers with better shooting to complement James and Anthony Davis while former Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt is a defensive-minded player who will provide the group with energy with Mo Bamba as a rim protector. Their last few days came after they traded for Rui Hachimura a week ago, too. And did we mention LA got out of the Westbrook contract?
Los Angeles Clippers +900
The Clippers upgraded their bench and added players who can both shoot and create for others with veteran Eric Gordon and the youthful Bones Hyland from Denver. The addition of Mason Plumlee should help LA’s bench unit too, as he serves as an upgrade behind Ivica Zubac. The Clippers need a spark and now get to head to the buyout market where they’re reportedly a contender for Westbrook.
Disclaimer: If Irving is bought in and healthy, the Dallas Mavericks also should fit in this “winner” category. However, should Irving torpedo yet another situation, Dallas’ gamble might prove they were one of the biggest “losers.”
Brooklyn Nets +8000
We’ve heard plenty of analysts and insiders speak on how Brooklyn received talent and a ton of draft capital over the last week. However, the Nets also traded away Durant and Irving in a matter of five days. That doesn’t happen a few short weeks after said team is viewed as a title contender. I mean, BetMGM had the Nets 7-1 to win the title before Irving’s trade request Friday. The “Big Three” era in Brooklyn is officially over, and given that we don’t care about the Nets receiving a haul of draft picks for two proven, superstar talents, they’re the biggest losers.
Golden State Warriors +1500
Less than one season after the Warriors opted not to re-sign Gary Payton II, Golden State overpaid for the guard while also parting ways with 2020 No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman. It’s not exactly the greatest asset management for the defending NBA champions, who should continue to go all-out in pursuit of titles but instead watched the rest of the Western Conference improve.
Cleveland Cavaliers +2200, Miami Heat +4000
The Cavaliers currently are the No. 4 seed while the Heat sit No. 6 in the Eastern Conference. Neither opted to do anything ahead of the deadline, despite Miami specifically surfacing in trade speculation. The Chicago Bulls didn’t do anything either, but it feels like they’re much less of a contender in the conference than the other two.
Denver Nuggets +800
This has more to do with the rest of the Western Conference improving than it does anything relating to the Nuggets. Denver got Thomas Bryant from the Lakers, and he should help provide some depth behind Nikola Jokić. But the top seed in the West more or less stayed right where they were as others improved.