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Grading every move at the 2021-22 NBA trade deadline

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The weeks of speculation have reached an endpoint. Teams have bargaining and negotiated, looking to squeeze every last inch of value, but the time has come for deals to be made (or not). It’s when we go from looking at potential deals to reacting to what has actually happened with our NBA trade deadline grades 2022.

We’re going through all NBA trade deadline moves here from the minor to the league-altering. It’s not strictly the last day itself either, with our NBA trade grades 2022 taking in all of trade season.

NBA midseason moves don’t always change the course of the campaign. Sometimes the reaction to the NBA trade deadline can be over-the-top. Yet, the best NBA trade deadline deals have made a real difference in the remainder of the season, and perhaps even for years to come.

NBA trade deadline grades 2022

We have tried to predict the unpredictable in our NBA trade forecasts. Some trade machine concoctions have become reality, while others have been shown to be far-fetched.

Here are all the NBA trade deadline moves and grades in 2022.


Theis returns to Boston

The Celtics had been looking to move Dennis Schroder for a while. They have their deal. Daniel Theis returns to Boston, giving frontcourt depth behind Robert Williams and Al Horford. Enes Kanter and Bruno Fernando join Schroder in Houston.

Schroder is on an expiring, and can perhaps help Houston’s young guards. It’s not much to get excited about for either team.

Celtics grade: C

Rockets grade: C+

Dallas flips Porzingis for Bertans, Dinwiddie

Kristaps Porzingis trade rumors ramped up in the last 24 hours before the deadline. Dallas pulled the trigger on a deal which saw the former Knick join the Wizards in return for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.


Dinwiddie and Bertans are having poor seasons. Bertans’ shot has deserted him, making him one of the worst contracts in the league. Dinwiddie hasn’t looked the same player off an ACL tear. This reflects where Dallas was at with Porzingis, who has missed plenty of games again this season.

The Mavs are also including a second-round pick in this deal. The hope will be that Bertans can re-find his shot with better quality looks alongside Luka Doncic, and Dinwiddie provides insurance against losing Jalen Brunson in free agency.

This is an absolute stunner of a deal. Both teams are moving unwanted contracts in the hope a fresh start changing things up — how does this impact Bradley Beal‘s desire to stay in Washington?

Mavericks grade: B-

Wizards grade: B-

Charlotte adds Harrell

Amid all the Hornets trade rumors, a center was clearly the priority, but it’s a surprise to see Montrezl Harrell heading to Charlotte. The Hornets paid a low price, giving up Vernon Carey and Ish Smith in the deal.

Harrell is another offense-first player for the Hornets. He’s no more than a placeholder until the end of the season, and it’s hard for it to be a bad trade when they haven’t given anything of note up, but this doesn’t necessarily improve them. The offense is already awesome. Harrell is generally a subpar defender, despite impressing on that end briefly earlier this season.

Washington was clearly wanting to clear out a locker room that has become increasingly toxic.

Hornets grade: C-

Wizards grade: C

Wizards trade Holiday to Phoenix

It’s been a difficult year in the capital for Aaron Holiday. He’s going to face an uphill battle for minutes in Phoenix.

The Suns aren’t giving up much here, though, and Holiday is still an upgrade on Elfrid Payton, who has been getting a surprising amount of playing time. The Suns were never going to do anything dramatic — tweaks on the edges are all that makes sense.

Suns grade: C+

Wizards grade: C

Suns move on from Smith

Having turned down his option, the Suns were always likely to trade Jalen Smith. He is heading to the Indiana Pacers along with a future second for Torrey Craig.

Smith had given Phoenix some good minutes this season, but his value was highest as a trade chip. Craig is useful wing depth. The Pacers add a former lottery pick and more draft capital.

Suns grade: C+

Pacers grade: C+

Celtics and Spurs swap Richardson, White

Boston sent a 2022 first (protected 1-4), Romeo Langford and Josh Richardson to the Spurs for Derrick White. This adds to San Antonio’s accumulation of assets after picking up other draft selections in recent trades. The Spurs can also swap firsts in 2028.

White is under team control through 2024-25, and has been scoring over 14 points per game this season. He’s a plus defender and a decent secondary playmaker. The role is similar to Richardson, but there’s no question White is the better player right now. He’s a nice fit next to Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

San Antonio is interested in the pick most of all here, and might see some upside with Langford. It feels like a pretty low return, though, particularly with the Celtics’ pick likely to be in the mid-teens.

Celtics grade: A

Spurs grade: B

Sixers and Nets finally complete Harden trade

James Harden is finally a Sixer. Philadelphia sent Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two firsts to Brooklyn to acquire Harden, who has a player option for next season. The Sixers also receive Paul Millsap, who had been away from the Nets for a significant period of time.

The picks are an unprotected first in 2022 and a protected pick in 2027. Brooklyn can defer the 2022 pick to 2023. The 2027 pick is protected 1-8 in 2027 and 2028 before becoming two seconds and cash.

This feels like a fair package on first look. The Sixers kept hold of Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle. Danny Green remains too, providing a three-and-D wing to put alongside Joel Embiid, Harden and Tobias Harris. It’s likely the Sixers will be after a backup five now given how many valuable minutes they were getting from Drummond.

There are questions about how Embiid and Harden fit. On talent level alone, it’s a special combination, but these are two players who need the ball, and Harden has not been a good off-ball player throughout his career. On defense, Embiid is a menace in a drop, but Harden wants to switch.

For the Nets, Curry replaces the shooting of Joe Harris, who could be out for the rest of the year. If Harris returns, Curry would be a great sniper off the bench. Simmons can slot into a Draymond Green role alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, putting in elite defense and being surrounded by shooting. Drummond is some welcome size.

It’s a win-win as an instant reaction — both fanbases should be happy with the return for wantaway players.

Sixers grade: B+

Nets grade: A-

Celtics move off Dozier and Bol

The Celtics sent PJ Dozier and Bol Bol to the Orlando Magic with cash and a future second. Orlando included a second in the deal, too.

This is simply about saving money for the Cs, who drop out of the tax with this trade. The former Denver duo are out for the season, but these are the sort of marginal trades rebuilding teams should push for.

Celtics grade: C

Magic grade: B

Raptors and Spurs swap veterans

With Goran Dragic away from the team, it always made sense for the Raptors to use his salary in a trade rather than settling for a buyout. Dragic has been sent to the Spurs for Thaddeus Young.

San Antonio receives a top-14 protected 2022 first from Toronto, which is protected 1-13 in 2023 and then becomes future seconds. Alongside Young, Toronto gets Drew Eubanks and Detroit’s 2022 second, which will be in the low-30s.

Young fits with what the Raptors are doing, building on a core of versatile defenders and length. He’ll likely come off the bench, backing up Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam. The Spurs are expected to negotiate a buyout with Dragic.

Raptors grade: B-

Spurs grade: C

Four-team trade featuring DiVincenzo, Bagley

The Sacramento Kings acquired Donte DiVincenzo and the Pistons landed Marvin Bagley III in a four-team trade. Serge Ibaka moved to the Bucks in the deal, providing frontcourt depth for the reigning champions with uncertainty over Brook Lopez‘s availability. The Clippers will receive Semi Ojeleye and Rodney Hood.

Detroit sent Josh Jackson and Trey Lyles to Sacramento — Bagley joins Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart in the Pistons’ young core. The cost for acquiring Bagley has been reported as multiple second-round picks.

Having lost Tyrese Haliburton, the Kings add DiVincenzo on a try-before-you-buy deal. He should be a good fit next to De’Aaron Fox.

The Kings and Pistons are the real winners here. Milwaukee is clearly happy with what it has on the wing, but this is a worrying indication about Lopez’s injury.

Clippers grade: C

Bucks grade: C+

Kings grade: B+

Pistons grade: B+

Thunder add salary

The Oklahoma City Thunder swapped a 2026 second round pick for KZ Okpala from the Miami Heat.

Needing to reach the salary floor, the Thunder were bound to be active before the deadline, and Okpala is worth taking a flier on. Miami has no need for Okpala, and adds a second-round pick that could prove useful down the line.

Thunder grade: B

Heat grade: B

Jazz flip Ingles for NAW

The Utah Jazz had Joe Ingles‘ expiring to use in a trade, and they’ve done just that. Utah gets Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Juancho Hernangomez for two second-round picks, with the Spurs landing Tomas Satoransky with a future second and the Blazers getting Ingles, Elijah Hughes and a future second.

Alexander-Walker is the main part here, providing some bench scoring for the Jazz. Ingles is out for the year, and Satoransky is unlikely to be involved too much given the Spurs’ abundance of young guards.

This is a bit of a weird one for Portland, who acquired Alexander-Walker as the high-upside piece in the CJ McCollum trade. The Spurs have enabled the trade, and get an extra pick for their troubles.

Jazz: B

Blazers: C

Spurs: C+

Kings and Pacers swap Haliburton and Sabonis

Tyrese Haliburton would have been one of the best players available at the 2022 trade deadline, but he was meant to be the Kings’ only untouchable. Instead, Haliburton was traded along with Buddy Hield, Tristan Thompson to the Indiana Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and a 2027 second.

Well below .500, this is a curious move from Sacramento. Sabonis is good, and Holiday and Lamb are decent role players, but how good is a Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox team going to be?

Perhaps the Kings view it as selling high on Haliburton. In reality, this is a bizarrely aggressive move for a team that’s currently outside the Play-In spots. Haliburton is a two-way star in the making — he’s a great fit alongside Malcolm Brogdon long-term, while this clears up the long-running confusion at the five for the Pacers.

Kings grade: D-

Pacers grade: A+

Pelicans acquire McCollum, give up Hart

Following a move which saw Robert Covington and Norman Powell leave for pennies on the dollar, Portland finally broke up the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum backcourt on Tuesday. McCollum is a Pelican along with Larry Nance Jr and Tony Snell. The Pels gave up a protected 2022 first, Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Didi Louzada.

This raises the Pels’ floor, giving another elite scorer alongside Brandon Ingram. Losing Hart will hurt, but a healthy Nance can provide similar defensive versatility. Already in 10th, this makes more sense for the picks-rich Pelicans if Zion Williamson is due to return this season.

It feels like Portland could have got more, but McCollum’s value is weighed down by his contract. In theory, they have opened up cap space, and Alexander-Walker is a fun project, yet it’s hard to see view this too positively in our NBA trade grades as they retool around Lillard.

Pelicans grade: B

Blazers grade: C

LeVert heads to Cleveland

Caris LeVert was a popular name in Cavs trade rumors. The deal came together on Sunday with Cleveland sending Ricky Rubio‘s expiring, Utah’s 2022 second and Houston’s 2027 second to the Pacers for LeVert and Miami’s 2022 second.

There’s not much to lose for Cleveland here. LeVert gives backcourt scoring alongside Darius Garland, allowing them to go smaller in lineups with Isaac Okoro. He’s not a great playmaker, but he can run the second unit as a scorer if required. They are giving up a late first and a distant Rockets second with Rubio ruled out for the year.

Indiana might have hoped for more when they acquired LeVert. It wasn’t going to get much better than this, though.

Pacers grade: C+ 

Cavs grade: B

Clippers add Covington, Powell

The Clippers landed Robert Covington and Norm Powell for Eric Bledsoe, Keon Johnson, Justise Winslow and the Pistons’ 2025 second.

This looks like a straight up salary dump from Portland, who could look to buy Bledsoe out after the deadline. Johnson is a decent enough prospect, but none of these three players are starters if Portland is contending next year.

Covington’s bird rights could prove useful for the Clips — he might have declined this year, but he’s a decent fit as a smallball five. Powell can add a scoring punch down the stretch, keeping them in the hunt in case Kawhi Leonard and/or Paul George return. There’s a lot to like about this for LA.

Blazers grade: D

Clippers grade: A-

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