The NBA trade season began Monday, and for parts of the day, it felt like most teams were waiting for free agency to get fully engaged in the offseason. And then the league went a little stir crazy after months of inaction, completing a flurry of trades.
The most common position of interest in these trades was point guard. The Lakers got things started by acquiring Dennis Schröder from Oklahoma City to shore up their depth at secondary playmaker. The Thunder then traded their starting point point guard Chris Paul to the Suns for a package containing Ricky Rubio, along with Kelly Oubre Jr.
After a break in the action, the Pelicans traded their starting point guard Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee for an absolute haul of assets, including three first-round picks and two pick swaps, as well as the rights to Eric Bledsoe and George Hill. The Bucks also acquired another playmaker later in the night when they traded for Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Kings.
That represents at least six starting-caliber point guards, or lead guards, that changed hands at the very beginning of the transaction window. Evidently, the most valuable skill in the NBA right now isn’t shooting, it’s playmaking.
The Clippers notably did not take part in the transaction frenzy. They have expressed interest in backup point guard Kris Dunn to help address some defensive weaknesses in their second unit, but it wouldn’t hurt to have another playmaker who doesn’t compromise the team’s defensive integrity.
Rubio, Bledsoe, and Hill are probably not long for their current teams, as both the Thunder and Pelicans appear to be in asset-accumulation mode rather than competing immediately. The Clippers don’t need to overpay to acquire any of these players, and by sitting out the initial wave, they may have put themselves in position to get some players on the cheap.
The next few days figure to be absolutely mad. The Clippers haven’t done anything worth commending thus far, but at least they haven’t made any mistakes by acting in haste. They just need to take their time.
More news for Tuesday:
- Two other trades took place Monday: the Pistons and Nets swapped some backups (with all due respect to Dzanan Musa and Bruce Brown Jr.), and the Blazers acquired Robert Covington for Trevor Ariza and some draft compensation. Ariza is another potential buyout candidate for the Clippers to keep an eye on, as his contract is only guaranteed for $1.8 million this season.
- The Covington deal could signal a fire sale in Houston, as James Harden is now asking to be traded from the Rockets. His desired destination is the Brooklyn Nets.
- Zach Lowe explored the implications of a Harden trade, and what the offensive triumvirate of Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving could be.
- Zach Kram has a great story on how now is the best time in NBA history to go undrafted. Rodney McGruder and JaMychal Green were both undrafted, and they’ve each had solid NBA careers thus far.