Four Important Moves of the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline


An arena before an NBA Game

Jonathan Harris, Writer

Every year, the NBA allows for teams’ front offices to trade their players and draft picks in exchange for other players and draft picks up to 10 days before the All-Star Break. Most teams wait until the last day, even the last few minutes of the deadline to trade players so that they can assure that they are making the right deal for their team, which has allowed fans to see plenty of exciting players be moved to other teams. The 2023 NBA Trade Deadline might have been one of the most exciting and league-altering deadlines in the recent history of the league. We’ve seen the landscape of the league change with moves like Kyrie Irving to Dallas, and Kevin Durant to Phoenix which could not only change the outcome of this season, but plenty of seasons to come. Which out of the 20 total trades were the most important to the future of the league? Let’s look at four influential moves.

1. KD lights it up with Devin Booker & Suns

Early in the morning of February 9, Kevin Durant was sent to the Suns alongside T.J. Warren in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, and four first-round picks. This trade is huge considering the Western conference is already so close with the 13th-seeded Lakers being only 5 games back of the 5th-seeded Suns. Mikal Bridges has been one of, if not the best, role players in the league for the last few years, considering he was in last year’s race for Defensive Player of the Year, and Cam Johnson is a great shooter who can help out any contending team. That said, a combo of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Chris Paul has owned the mid-range area and has been nearly impossible to stop. KD in his first 3 games has averaged 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists with the Suns being 3-0. The only downside the Suns may face w is a blow to their depth. They don’t have too much firepower coming off of the bench, but they might have the best starting lineup in the league when healthy. Ultimately, the KD and Kyrie era of Brooklyn basketball was uneventful with just one playoff series, ending up as one of the most disappointing duos in NBA history. But in Bridges’ first 9 games as a member of the Nets, he averaged 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists per game, even putting up 45 points against the Heat. 

2. Luka gets some help, Brooklyn begins retooling the roster

Trade Deadline week started off on Sunday, February 5th, with Kyrie Irving being traded to the Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick, and two second-round picks. Just a few weeks ago, Irving said that he was excited to make Brooklyn his home, but the contract extension offer that he was given by the Nets’ front office wasn’t what he was looking for. He has been in a lot of controversy during his tenure with the Nets so it didn’t come as too much of a surprise when he requested a trade. The ongoing problem with the Mavericks this season was that if Luka Doncic doesn’t score, nobody else can. Their offense has been a lot better now that they have Kyrie, but the defense continues to struggle with a 3-2 record with Doncic and Irving playing.

3. Lakers improve their depth, T-Wolves get a true PG

Just a few hours before midnight on February 8th, the Lakers were involved in a three-team trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Jazz alongside Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damion Jones, Mike Conley to the Timberwolves with Nickeil Alexander-Walker and three second-round picks, and D’Angelo Russell to the Lakers along with Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. This was a really good trade for the Lakers since they took a few bad contracts and low-value players and turned them into players that can fill the holes in the Lakers’ roster like consistent scoring, shooting, and defense. For the Jazz, Westbrook is most likely going to be bought out, and for the Timberwolves, reuniting Gobert and Conley will prove to be beneficial, especially since they finally have a true point guard who can make plays for others and get Gobert involved offensively.

4. Dubs give up on Wiseman, Bey to the Hawks

Lastly, the Warriors gave up their second overall pick in 2020, James Wiseman in a three-team deal to the Pistons, with the Hawks receiving Saddiq Bey and the Warriors getting Kevin Knox and 5 second-round picks. The Warriors gave up on Wiseman way too early and if they wanted to trade him, they should have traded him on draft night in 2020. James Wiseman is a traditional, strong, athletic center who got drafted to a team who focuses on smaller, more pass-oriented big men in their system. Hopefully, he can flourish in Detroit, but the fit between Jalen Duren and Wiseman is going to be interesting.