Winners and losers from the NBA’s pre-term trading frenzy

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The four teams have a head start on the NBA Trading Term with a big trading pair on Tuesday. The Kings of Sacramento sent Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson to the Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb. Earlier in the day, the Trail Blazers sent CJ McCollum, Tony Snell and Larry Nance Jr to the Pelicans for Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker Didi Louzada, a protected first-round pick and two second-round picks.

Some fans seemed delighted by their team’s decision, others not so much. As we prepare for the bigger fireworks to come, here are the biggest questions (and answers) from Tuesday’s deals.

What does the Indiana Pacers get at Tyrese Haliburton?

Playing in Sacramento is as close as you can get from the NBA spotlight, and many fans may not know much about Haliburton. At first glance his stats this season – 14.3 points, 7.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game with 45.7/41.3/83.7 splits cut – will inspire optimism. But it got better from there.

The most important part of Haliburton’s kit, at this point, is his ability to shoot scissors. He’s an excellent catch-and-shoot threat – scoring 43.4% of the 3s catch and shoot in his two-year career. But this season, he also scored 40.1% in 3-second pull-ups, the third-highest in the league among 68 players averaging at least two pull-ups per game. It’s elite territory and the type of skill that makes him a viable tier three or tier three scorer and main creator and will allow him to scale up his score load now that he will not playing next to another high-use guard like De’ Aaron Fox (even if he is in the same position next to the current Malcolm Brogdon).

Haliburton struggled a bit to finish the year – scoring 41.3% of drives, down from 54.6% last season. He also has a strong tendency to pass and create for others – just TJ McConnell and Fred VanVleet passed more often this season, among high-volume penetration machines. But everything in his statistical record seems to hint at a malleable player, one who could continue to play the same role if the squad demands or expands. And, at 6 foot-5, he gives the team some additional flexibility in terms of back lane pairs. And, as the soon-to-be 22-year-old is already an upside-down defender, the Pacers will likely be looking for one of the better two-lane defenders in the league in a few years’ time.

If you’re a Pacers fan, you’ll feel great today. Sabonis is amazing and an established All-Star. But the current roster is on the right track and change seems inevitable. In return, the Pacers find a young, smart, hard-working two-way guardian with star potential or the ability to slow down as an additional weapon if the rest of this rebuild has some sort of house. other stars.

Does Domantas Sabonis change anything for the Sacramento kings?

In terms of current value, Sabonis is the best player in the trade and at 25, he could have a lot of value in the future for the Kings. However, he seems to have been near his ceiling and so the big question is how much what he has to offer really moves the compass for the kings.

Sabonis could be an anchor in the middle of the floor, unlike anything the Kings had in recent memory. He’s not really an efficient goalscorer but his passing ability makes him extremely dangerous from the elbows and with his back to the basket. Simple actions like surrounding him with shootersrunning cut entry card and bend for slick serves at the elbow will lead to open shots more often than not. His presence in particular should help create some easy points for De’Aaron Fox, with scoring opportunities that he absolutely does not need to create. And while Sabonis won’t fly to the floor, his resilience and defenses can help facilitate a paced attack.

However, his addition comes with questions. Sabonis is not a defensive anchor and his inclusion in the squad probably makes Richaun Holmes (who was once one of the Kings most consistent players) redundant. Other than that, this is still a roster that in terms of talent, from top to bottom, looks no better than the team that Sabonis just left. Fox and Sabonis make for a compelling core, and they could be the cornerstone of a competitive playoff team. But the Kings still have a lot more to figure out before they get there, and it’s possible they’re just substituting one set of team building challenges for another.

What do Portland Trail Blazers do next?

The Trail Blazers appear to be gearing up for another run to build an opponent around Damian Lillard. However, after two large transactions, it is still unclear how it behaves differently than before. Assuming the Blazers will continue to pursue deals for Eric Bledsoe and Jusuf Nurkic, their base for next season is – Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, Josh Hart, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, Greg Brown III, their own first pick, Pelicans first round pick, up to $60 million in cap space and whatever they can get for Nurkic and Bledsoe.

I’m not sure how you turn that into the kind of squad that can compete for a title at the Western Conference next season and to be honest, it looks like there’s a good chance they’ll be even worse off than they were. begin. Season.

What is the end game for the New Orleans Pelicans?

The intent behind the Pelicans’ deal to take CJ McCollum is pretty clear – do everything possible to stay in the playoff race. They currently hold the last starting spot but have just three games left before Kings, who is likely to make a hit. Even in the best-case scenario, a starting spot leads to a first-round defeat at the hands of either the Warriors or the Suns but maybe, just maybe, it’s enough to convince Zion Williamson that the Pelicans are worth sticking around for the long haul. .

But from where I was sitting, McCollum looked like he was betting an extra $70 million on a hand the Pelicans could have lost.

Other NBA stories:

Russell Westbrook will not stop taking the hit at Frank Vogel. On a possibly related note, the Lakers’ odds of reaching the knockout stages have dropped to 28 percent.

Two days before the transaction deadline, the Nets stood firm and (at least publicly) refused to execute the James Harden trade. Being confounded on national television by the Celtics, including taking down 28-2 to start the game, will only increase pressure.

Bradley Beal chose End of season wrist surgery. Whether the timing was intentional or not, it will put an end to all speculation as to whether he will be moved into the trading term.

We still have rumors for two more days and hopefully there will be more rumors about the trading deadline. Stay up to date with all the latest news and gossip with NBA Trade Deadline Tracker.

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John Verrall

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