February Trade Deadline Shakes Up NBA

Ryan Lawrence

For the 2023 NBA season, February 9th holds an important meaning. The trade deadline falls on this day, which then means that NBA teams cannot trade for players and make negotiations for other players between the teams. Players can be picked up off of free agency, but there can be no new negotiations between organizations. The final weeks leading up to the deadline are some of the most hectic in the NBA season. Teams are scrambling to switch up their rosters and get an advantage going into playoffs. This season especially, the trade deadline shook up the league. Many star players went to different teams, and the league was changed for years to come.

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To start, star point guard Kyrie Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks from the Brooklyn Nets. This monumental trade was made in advance of the deadline and included Irving and Markieff Morris to be traded to the Mavericks, while they gave up Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and two first-round draft picks (One in 2027 and one in 2029). A second-round draft pick was additionally added. What this means for the league now is that Kyrie Irving and prolific Mavericks guard Luka Doncic will now be a threatening dynamic duo in the Western Conference and possible National Title contenders. 

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In addition to the Irving trade, another Brooklyn Nets star was traded to a team in the west. Kevin Durant, one of the greatest players of his generation, was traded from the Nets to the Phoenix Suns. The Suns had given up Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Jae Crowder, as well as four first-round draft picks. Durant will be teaming up with star guard Devin Booker and the duo will look to also contend for a national championship. A possible star trio could emerge with the help of veteran point guard Chris Paul in the mix as well.  With the rebuilding of the sun’s team, the Western Conference of the NBA has become a dangerous and powerful league for years to come. As of now Durant is still out with a sprained MCL in the right knee but will return shortly after the upcoming all-star weekend. 

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Finally, in another crazy trade, Russel Westbrook was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Utah Jazz. While in a little bit of a slump, Westbrook has been one of the most explosive and outstanding guards in the past 20 years. The Westbrook trade was a trade between three different organizations in the Western Conference: The Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, and Minnesota Timberwolves. A total of eight players were traded to the three teams. The Lakers traded Westbrook and acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Timberwolves, a very capable and reliable guard. Los Angeles also got Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. The Lakers are sending Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, and a 2027  first-round pick to Utah with Westbrook. The Lakers fanbase seemed also happy that Westbrook was traded. Lakers Forward Anthony Davis in an interview with ESPN said “I think he’s in a good place and he’s ready to get back to being Russ…People got it all wrong. Russ is a really good dude” (ESPN). With all of the shakeup in the league, coming out of the all-star weekend it’ll be a treat to see which new teams can rise to the top with their new star power. 

The new slew of trades that struck the NBA by storm has been one of the most controversial, exciting, and tumultuous times in recent memory. To think star players have been traded to completely new teams shows the power of NBA organizations and how in the snap a finger the league can completely be shaken up. It’s going to be interesting to see how the season ends for the 2023 season.