MIAMI, Fla. – Most of the top NBA playoff contenders stayed out of the down-to-the-wire frenzy at the trade deadline.
Miami and the Los Angeles Clippers beefed up instead.
And a slew of other teams — including the Golden State Warriors — made moves with short-term finances and long-term ramifications in mind.
The NBA’s 3 p.m. EST deadline Thursday for trades to be consummated did not arrive quietly, with a flurry of deals getting struck in the final hour and at least one other notable move falling apart before reaching the finish line. Deals that included at least 41 players and 15 future draft picks were struck on either Wednesday or Thursday — the biggest move likely being the one Thursday that saw Andrew Wiggins going from Minnesota to the Warriors so D’Angelo Russell could leave Golden State finally be paired with his good friend Karl-Anthony Towns with the Timberwolves.
Here's how busy the Timberwolves were at trade-deadline time: They announced the jersey numbers of eight new players Thursday night.
Marcus Morris leaves New York for Los Angeles, going from the woebegone Knicks to the title-hoping Clippers — who added a piece many teams wanted.
“My brother back with me. It's on," the Clippers' Patrick Beverley wrote on Twitter, one of many players expressing their happiness with Morris joining the West contenders.
The rest of that deal:
The Knicks got Moe Harkless, a first-round pick this year, a second-round pick next year and a first-round pick swap option in 2021 as well from the Clippers. The Clippers also sent Jerome Robinson to Washington for Isaiah Thomas — who is not staying with Los Angeles and will become a free agent option for teams shortly, the latest twist in a career that saw him as an All-Star averaging 29 points just three years ago but was derailed by injury and a long recovery.
“Thank you (at)WashWizards for giving me a opportunity to show the world I’m healthy and I can still play at a high level," Thomas wrote on Twitter. “I appreciate my coaches, teammates & everybody from top to bottom in the organization you truly made a impact on & off the court for me"
Three-time champion Andre Iguodala is ending his exile after not playing for Memphis at all this season and is going to join the Heat along with Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill, with Miami sending three players — Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and James Johnson — who’ve combined to score a mere 254 points this season out in the deal. Johnson was flipped by the Grizzlies to Minnesota for Gorgui Dieng.
“Today is a very good day because we think the acquisition of Andre, Jae and Solomon will help us with our versatility and create a more balanced roster,” Heat President Pat Riley said. “Today is also a sad day because we lose three very good players who have been part of our family. We wish Justise, James and Dion nothing but the best in the future.”
NBA rebounding leader Andre Drummond got moved by Detroit to Cleveland, then took to Twitter to express his dismay with the trade process.
“If there’s one thing I learned about the NBA, there’s no friends or loyalty,” Drummond wrote. “I’ve given my heart and soul to the Pistons, and to be have this happen with no heads up makes me realize even more that this is just a business! I love you Detroit ... .”
The Warriors decided to make the Russell-for-Wiggins move, giving Wiggins a fresh start that he likely needs — the former No. 1 overall pick will get to reap the benefits of playing alongside a healthy and rejuvenated Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green starting next season. And by throwing in a couple extra players, the Warriors also will likely escape the luxury tax this season. That’s not an insignificant point for a team that will go from five straight NBA Finals to the bottom of the Western Conference this season and, it hopes, back to title contention starting next year.
Miami's trade with Memphis also lowered the Heat potential tax bill, and Portland made a minor trade with Atlanta with a lower tax in mind as well.
Most of the trades were finalized Thursday. The only one from this week that got NBA approval before the deadline was a four-team, 12-player, three-pick swapping between Atlanta, Houston (which notably sent Clint Capela to the Hawks), Denver and Minnesota.
Meanwhile, the three top teams in the East — Milwaukee, Toronto and Boston — as well as the West-leading Los Angeles Lakers all remained out of the trade mix. It remains possible, and probably even likely, that at least some of those teams could look to bolster their rosters by adding free agents or when players become available through buyouts in the coming weeks.
Some of the other deals included:
—Washington got Shabazz Napier from Denver for guard Jordan McRae. Napier was acquired by the Nuggets on Wednesday in the 12-player, four-team deal.
—Philadelphia got Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III from Golden State for three second-round picks (this year’s from Dallas, next year’s from Denver and 2022’s from Toronto).
—Atlanta got forward/center Skal Labissiere and cash from Portland for a heavily protected 2024 second-round pick. The Hawks also landed Derrick Walton, Jr. and cash from the Los Angeles Clippers for their heavily protected 2022 second-round pick.
—Orlando acquired James Ennis from Philadelphia for the Lakers’ second-round pick this year, then waived forward Amile Jefferson.
—Memphis got forward Jordan Bell from Houston for forward Bruno Caboclo. The teams also agreed to swap second-round picks in 2023.